State Policy Program News

In Executive Order, Gov. Cooper Wants 40 Percent Reduction In Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Gov. Roy Cooper has signed an executive order that directs the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2025. It's a move that some other state and local governments have taken since President Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. Jennifer Weiss, a senior policy associate with the Climate and Energy Program at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions told NPR that it "is a realistic goal, but I think it's going to take a lot of work by multiple parties." The order lays out several different ways to reduce greenhouse gases, and it creates a climate change council that is supposed to get input from a wide range of sources like utilities, local governments and business owners.

Cooper Calls for NC to Slash Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order Monday calling on North Carolina to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent in the next seven years. The executive order calls for getting at least 80,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road, improving the efficiency of state buildings so they cut their energy use by 40 percent and working to expand North Carolina's clean energy industries. The 40 percent target is based on the state's 2005 emission levels, and Tim Profeta, director of Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions tells WRAL that it is an ambitious goal, noting that it's more than any other state in the Southeast.

Gov. Cooper at News Conference

News Tip: Experts Available for Comment on NC Climate Executive Order

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday announced an executive order aimed at addressing climate change and advancing the clean energy economy in the state.

After Florence: Duke Faculty Discuss Relief Planning

Hurricane Florence brought much damage to the North Carolina coast and it’s clear that the work of recovery will take years. The expertise of Duke faculty will contribute to that work. A Duke Today story reports on what Duke faculty had to say about major issues, quoting the Nicholas Institute's Martin Doyle and Lauren Patterson who that the state’s dam infrastructure is being “pushed to its limits” by hurricanes such as Florence and 2016’s Matthew. “Climate change matters and it will push the limits of our infrastructure. A warming climate allows more precipitation to be held in the atmosphere, increasing the potential for high intensity precipitation, and appears to create conditions that make ‘stalling’ hurricanes like Florence, and what Texas saw with Harvey, more likely.”

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.

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