State Policy Program News

An Inconvenient Truth: We Could be Fighting about Climate Change for a While Yet

CBC News cites a study co-authored by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions' Brian Murray that indicates  that support for British Columbia's carbon tax increased after it was implemented, perhaps after it failed to result in economic ruin.

Read Full Story

The Number Of Oil Spills in Texas Dropped 26 Percent in 2016

Texas Monthly reports on a study published in February and led by Lauren Patterson of Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, on hydraulic fracturing spill risk in Texas and other states. It indicated that “75 to 94% of spills occurred within the first three years of well life when wells were drilled, completed, and had their largest production volumes.” 

Read Full Story

A Look at how Trump's Climate Moves affect the Coal Industry

President Donald Trump says withdrawing from a global climate change agreement will boost the U.S. economy, but existing market forces have had far more of an effect on the fossil fuel industries than climate regulations. Utilities "are not going to flip on a dime and say now it's time to start building a whole bunch of coal plants because there's a Trump administration," Brian Murray, director of environmental economics at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, tells the Associated Press.

Read Full Story

Building a Blue Economy in North Carolina

The ocean economy contributed $2.1 billion and 43,385 jobs to North Carolina’s economy in 2013, according to a new report by North Carolina Sea Grant and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Ocean and coastal resources played an even larger role in the state’s coastal counties, providing 6.5 percent of gross domestic product, or GDP, and supporting 13 percent of employment. And according to “North Carolina’s Ocean Economy: A First Assessment and Transitioning to a Blue Economy” report co-author Tibor Vegh, these figures are most likely low. “Our estimates represent a snapshot in time only for the sectors where we could find economic data,” Vegh, a policy analyst with the Nicholas Institute, tells CoastWatch.

Read Full Story

Guess Who’s for a Carbon Tax Now

New York Times op-ed on carbon tax mentions a paper co-authored by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions' Brian Murray on British Columbia's carbon tax. Introduced in 2008, it started low, as it had at other places, so that people could shift their energy practices, and then increased yearly. The paper found that the tax worked; emissions in British Columbia dropped more than three times as much as in the rest of Canada. And economic growth was not affected. 

Read Full Story

Alumnus Robert Bonnie Returns as a Rubenstein Fellow to Explore Conservation in Rural America

Robert Bonnie, a Nicholas School of the Environment alumnus and former Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, returns to Duke as a Rubenstein Fellow to address issues related to climate change and natural resource conservation in rural America. Bonnie is the fifth expert to join Duke’s Rubenstein Fellows Academy, which brings leaders with deep expertise in issues of global importance to campus each year for in-depth engagement with students and faculty.  His 12-month term begins April 3. As a Rubenstein Fellow, Bonnie will work with students, staff and faculty in the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, the Nicholas School and the Sanford School of Public Policy to develop strategies to tackle conservation challenges for rural America that rely on collaboration and incentives to address environmental issues while providing economic opportunity. Bonnie will also share his experiences in environmental policymaking with students through seminars and career advising sessions.

Read Full Story

A Look at How Trump's Moves on Coal will Affect the Industry

President Donald Trump's move to roll back Obama-era regulations aimed at curbing climate change comes as the coal industry is reeling from job losses, bankruptcies, pollution restrictions and growing competition from natural gas, wind and solar. In an executive order, Trump set forth a review of the Clean Power Plan, which seeks to reduce emissions from fossil-fuel fired power plants, and the lifting of a moratorium on the sale of coal mining leases on federal lands. Coal’s share of the electric sector dwindled in the last decade to about 32 percent last year while gas and renewables have made gains as hundreds of coal-burning power plants have been retired or are on schedule to retire soon. “[Utilities] are not going to flip a dime and say now it’s time to start building a whole bunch of coal plants because there’s a Trump administration,” said Brian Murray, director of the Environmental Economics Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, told The Associated Press.

Read Full Story

Trump Moves Decisively to Wipe out Obama’s Climate-Change Record

President Trump will take the most significant step yet in obliterating his predecessor’s environmental record Tuesday, instructing federal regulators to rewrite key rules curbing U.S. carbon emissions. The sweeping executive order also seeks to lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing and remove the requirement that federal officials consider the impact of climate change when making decisions. Tim Profeta, who directs Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, told The Washington Post that regulators from more than a half-dozen states in the Southeast are now talking about how to chart their own path forward. Having met for nearly three years, the group stopped discussing how to comply with the Clean Power Plan after November’s election, but it is still talking. “We are now talking about the evolution of the power sector in an environment of uncertainty,” Profeta said. “We’re seeing the beginning of states taking control of their destiny.”

Read Full Story

As Trump Targets Carbon Rules, Green Groups Promise a Legal Fight ‘at Every Step’

With President Trump poised to issue an executive order aimed at undoing a key pillar of the Obama administration’s climate-change agenda, environmental activist groups have joined forces for what they say will be a tooth-and-nail legal battle that could drag on for years. “Altering a final rule, like the Clean Power Plan, isn’t as simple as the stroke of a pen. It will likely require the EPA to undertake a new rulemaking process including public notice and comment that could last a few years,” Tim Profeta, director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, told The Washington Times.

Read Full Story

News Tip: Expert Available to Comment on Climate Rules Executive Order

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to dismantle Obama-era climate rules, including the Clean Power Plan, which sets limits on carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil-fueled power plants. Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions director Tim Profeta is available for comment.

Read Full Story

Pages