State Policy Program News

Nicholas Institute Publishes Paper on CO2 Strategy ($)

Even if judges or his successor scrap President Barack Obama’s “Clean Power Plan” for curbing greenhouse gas emissions, federal law gives regulators and interest groups other ways to push the issue, a team that includes researchers from Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and UNC Chapel Hill said in a paper released today. The paper authors say that one likely channel is an expansion of the “ambient” air-quality standards that now target well-known pollutants like carbon monoxide, lead and ozone, the Durham Herald Sun reports.

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Proposed Carbon Tax Equals Higher Fuel, Utility Prices; Southern Utah Representatives Respond

In an effort to address climate change and clean air issues in Utah, Rep. Joel Briscoe of House District 25 recently stated he intends to propose a carbon tax during the 2017 legislative session similar to that enacted in 2008 by British Columbia. The St. George News article cites a study by Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the University of Ottawa’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainable Prosperity showed a 5 to 15 percent decrease in emissions with “little net impact, either negative or positive, on provincial economic performance.”

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Can Private Investment Make up for Trump-Era Policy Retreat? ($)

Increasing investor confidence in clean energy technology is a leading challenge to wringing carbon dioxide emissions out of the U.S. power sector, says a new paper from the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University. EnergyWire cites the new working paper, which suggests that the "recent U.S. presidential election has increased uncertainty regarding federal policy related to greenhouse gases and highlighted the fact that although policy goals can be powerful drivers, innovation can also benefit from private investment, private action, and public-private partnerships."

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Regional Climate Program Facing New Challenges under Trump

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has spent several months on how to comply with federal carbon dioxide limits for utilities, but the cap-and-trade program faces new questions and challenges with the election of Donald Trump and the likely demise of the Clean Power Plan. The nine RGGI states are finishing a year-long review that began with the goal of meeting the requirements of the Clean Power Plan, which sets the first ever carbon dioxide emissions limits on power plants, but will now conclude with the likely prospect that federal climate change action will be nixed under the incoming Trump administration. Brian C. Murray, Interim Director of the Duke University Energy Initiative and Director of the Environmental Economics Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, is quoted in this piece published in Bloomberg BNA's Daily Environment Report.

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One Of These Conservatives Should Be Trump's EPA Chief

There have been lots of rumors about who President-elect Trump is going to pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. In truth, at this point, no one knows who is going to lead the Trump Administration’s EPA. Forbes provides a list of individuals they would suggest who are knowledgeable about environmental policy, who are fiscally responsible, and who care about the environment. Among them: Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Board of Advisors Chair William K. Reilly. 

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States Say They 'are Not Going to be Stopped' by Trump ($)

State climate leaders are striking a defiant note following the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, pledging to redouble their efforts to combat climate change even as they prepare for a rollback in federal efforts. Amy Pickle, director of the State Policy Program at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions comments in ClimateWire.

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The Billion-Dollar Battle over Clean Air

South Carolina electricity customers could save as much as $1 billion a year thanks to the Obama administration’s Clean Air Plan and steps here to shift from coal toward nuclear power, reports The Post and Courier which cites a Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Clean Power Plan study. 

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Judges Wonder How Congress Stiffed them on Climate

In Bloomberg Government, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions director Tim Profeta writes about his first impressions after the September 27 “en banc” review of the Clean Power Plan, a rule intended to limit greenhouse gas emissions from the existing fleet of fossil fuel-fired power plants, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. What's now clear, he says, is that the EPA possesses the authority to regulate greenhouse gases as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.

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Expert Available for Comment on Clean Power Plan Hearing

On Sept. 27, a rare “en banc” review of the Clean Power Plan, a rule intended to limit greenhouse gas emissions from the existing fleet of fossil fuel-fired power plants, will take place before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

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Getting Real About the Clean Power Plan

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments tomorrow in West Virginia vs. EPA to determine whether the agency violated the law when it finalized its rules to address greenhouse gas emissions from the electric power sector under the Clean Air Act. Those rules, known as the Clean Power Plan, are the main vehicle by which the Obama administration hopes to address climate change. Every single analysis published since the final Clean Power Plan rulemaking finds that, even if optimistic scenarios don’t come to pass, states need do little to hit EPA emission targets. A review by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions of five detailed studies published recently by various NGOs and federal energy forecasters (M.J. Bradley, the Energy Information Administration, the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Rhodium Group for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Nicholas Institute) finds that the Clean Power Plan will only require about an 18 percent emissions reduction beyond business-as-usual scenarios from now through 2030.

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