Publications

Measuring Water Affordability and the Financial Capability of Utilities

The cost of providing water services is increasing, placing greater financial burdens on individual households and utilities. Five metrics were calculated at multiple volumes of water usage and were applied to 1791 utilities, estimating bills from 2020 rates data, to gauge financial burdens in four states. More than a fifth of the population in 77% of utilities was experiencing poverty, suggesting widespread poverty is a major contributor to utility financial capability challenges.

A Closer Look at RGGI and Grid Reliability

This policy brief reviews how RGGI modeling has considered reliability issues and mines existing research on the real-world impacts of RGGI since 2008. In short, research indicates that the program’s implementation has not impacted grid reliability—and that RGGI may help to improve reliability through strategic demand-side investments—all while delivering important economic, public health, and emissions reduction benefits to consumers.

EPA’s Methane Proposal for the Oil and Gas Sector – A Strong Foundation to Reduce Methane Emissions and Regulatory Path for More

In the months leading up to the UN climate conference in Glasgow (COP26), the United States and the European Union made a global methane pledge to reduce their collective methane emissions 30 percent from 2020 by 2030. In November, with the COP26 underway, the U.S.

Opportunities for Coral Reefs at the Ocean-Climate Policy Nexus

This whitepaper summarizes the scientific and policy consensus at the ocean-climate nexus, specifically with respect to the role of coral reefs and closely associated tropical coastal ecosystems in climate change processes, and explicitly identifies gaps within key intergovernmental climate and biodiversity policy frameworks that must be addressed to maximize their potential as nature-based solutions during a key decade of conservation action. It concludes with recommendations for national governments and other stakeholders.

Water Consumption and Utility Revenues at the Start of a Pandemic: Insights From 11 Utilities

Key Takeaways

Eleven utilities from across the United States were studied to understand the pandemic's effects on water consumption and utility revenues.

Most utilities in the study saw an overall increase in water consumption with a rise in residential demand that offset declines in nonresidential demand.

Most utilities in the study experienced increased revenues in 2020 compared with previous years, largely due to rate increases, inclining block rates, and an unusually warm summer.

Corporations and Plastic Pollution: Trends in Reporting

We compiled a novel library of 2,317 corporate reports from the world's 200 largest companies, by revenue, over a ten-year period (2010–2019) and used text mining tools to identify pronounced regional and sectoral variability in the extent to which plastic waste and pollution is of material importance to corporate operations. The results show a dominant focus on recycling, with far less attention to the other stages of the life cycle of plastic.

Infrastructure Investment Must Incorporate Nature’s Lessons in a Rapidly Changing World

The authors of this commentary in One Earth suggest that infrastructure must become more resilient as the global climate changes and also more affordable in the economic and political context of a post-COVID world, and that we can solve this dual challenge and drive global infrastructure investment into a more sustainable direction by taking our cues from Nature.

Fixing Financial, Economic and Governance Structures to Save Forests and the Ocean, and Enhance Their Contributions to Climate Change Solutions

Forests and the ocean are vital for climate, biological diversity, and human communities, but they are degraded and their ecosystem services are seriously impaired, mainly because financial, economic and governance structures are misconfigured. We propose that G20 help strengthen the REDD+ climate instrument for forests and extend it to Blue Carbon1 from coastal and marine ecosystems. Scaled up to cover the Earth’s two largest, most diverse and most productive ecosystems, these two approaches can deliver significant economic and climate benefits.

Federal-State Partnerships: Tackling Climate through Infrastructure

This report by the Nicholas Institute and the Center for the New Energy Economy highlights several specific policy priority areas relevant to infrastructure proposals in regards to climate issues.

Climate Policy Impacts on Building Energy Use, Emissions, and Health: New York City Local Law 97

This study in Energy uses several models and regulatory datasets to build novel NYC building energy use and GHG emission profiles based on New York City’s local law 97 and to investigate the impacts of LL97 on energy, climate, and health. The findings demonstrate the necessity of including health in energy and climate policy design.