State Policy Program News

Carbon Trading Workshop Panelists

Workshop: RGGI Just One Example of Carbon Trading Program States Could Follow

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cooperative effort of nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants through a market-based emissions trading program, recently marked ten years of carbon auctions. A September workshop in Washington, D.C.—hosted by Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy SolutionsGeorgetown Climate CenterResources for the Future, and the RGGI Project Series—explored how this successful carbon trading program and plans by New Jersey and Virginia to participate, might inform other states that might want to link to RGGI or implement a separate carbon trading program.

Hurricanes Show the Benefits, Limits of Dams

Over the past week, rivers in North Carolina have broken previous flood records, many of which were set by Hurricane Matthew just two years earlier, write Martin Doyle and Lauren Patterson in the Herald Sun. Hurricane Florence dropped 2 to 3 feet of rain, causing major flooding along the Cape Fear, Lumberton, and Neuse rivers. The Cape Fear River alone carried more than 62,000 cubic feet of water per second — enough to overfill an Olympic swimming pool every two seconds — which destroyed property and highlighted the limits of our country’s infrastructure.

Our Nearby Dams Worked After Florence. But Someday They Won’t.

Over the past week, rivers in North Carolina have broken previous flood records, many of which were set by Hurricane Matthew just two years earlier. Hurricane Florence dropped two to three feet of rain, causing major flooding along the Cape Fear, Lumberton, and Neuse rivers—destroying property and highlighting the limits of our country’s infrastructure, write Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions' Martin Doyle and Lauren Patterson in the News & Observer. 

Environmentalists Worry that Florence will Leave Behind a Toxic Mess in North Carolina

Hurricane Florence has caused havoc with North Carolina's infrastructure since it began hammering the coastline last week. Hog farms are one of the most problematic environmental challenges after Florence dumped a historic amount of rain on the region, but they’re far from the only one. There are threats from coal ash basins, where the residue from power plants is stored, and toxic sites across the state. And floodwaters can rise high enough to mix with contaminants and then deposit them back into rivers and wetlands that provide drinking water and natural habitats. Martin Doyle, director of the Water Policy Program at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, tells The Los Angeles Times that “These are changes that are consistent with what we would see from the effects of climate change. It’s a totally different calculus.”

The Anatomy of a Hurricane: Exploring Florence's Causes and Potential Effects

The Duke Chronicle discusses what NC residents might expect from Hurricane Florence. Nicholas Institute Water Policy Program Director Martin Doyle tells the paper “With major towns all near rivers and coasts, these are societally changing decisions. As sea levels rise, of course it’s going to get worse.”

Martin Doyle Speaks at a Press Conference on Hurricane Florence

'We Can Kiss Highway 12 Goodbye Again:' Duke Experts on the Potential Effects of Hurricane Florence

With Hurricane Florence churning toward the coastline of North and South Carolina, a panel of Duke experts that included Martin Doyle, Water Policy Program director at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, discussed ways to weather the storm and what might happen once the storm is over and communities begin to rebuild.

New Jersey, Virginia Close to Completing RGGI Regulations, as Emissions Cap Negotiations Come to a Head ($)

New Jersey and Virginia have nearly finished establishing their respective carbon trading regulations, but those rules remain contingent on final negotiations with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative over the two states’ emissions cap levels, Carbon Pulse reports officials said at a conference sponsored by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, the Georgetown Climate Center at Georgetown Law in Washington, and Resources for the Future on Sept. 6.

New Jersey, Virginia Move to Join Regional Carbon Trading in 2020

New Jersey and Virginia are on track to join the Northeast’s carbon trading program in 2020, with final rules expected to be released later this year and adopted in 2019. Bloomberg reports that both states are in discussions with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative on the details of linking up with the nine-state cap-and-trade program, state environmental regulators said Sept. 6 at a conference sponsored by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, the Georgetown Climate Center at Georgetown Law in Washington, and Resources for the Future.

Utilities are Reluctant to Invest in Coal Plants, Even After Trump Tries to Save Them

Utilities are expressing little interest in the Trump administration’s bid to help keep their coal plants alive, remaining committed to providing energy from cleaner and cheaper sources such as natural gas, wind, and solar. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule Aug. 21 to replace President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan — his signature climate change initiative, targeting carbon pollution from coal plants — with a more modest measure designed to encourage plants to invest in efficiency upgrades that would allow them to burn less pollution, and exist longer. The article in the Washington Examiner quotes Kate Konschnik, director of the Climate and Energy Program at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions: "ACE as a driver of energy policy pales in comparison to market forces. Cheap natural gas prices, falling costs for renewables, and corporate and consumer demand for clean energy will continue to put pressure on coal plants, with or without this rule.”

EPA Rule Change Could Let Dirtiest Coal Plants Keep Running (and Stay Dirty)

The Trump administration’s proposed rewrite of climate-change regulations could enable some of America’s dirtiest remaining coal plants to be refurbished and keep running for years without adding scrubbers or other modern pollution controls, according to a New York Times article. Kate Konschnik, who directs the Climate and Energy Program at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, discusses the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal, made public this week, to replace the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which was designed to slow the pace of climate change in part by encouraging the retirement of older coal plants and a shift toward greener energy sources.

Pages