State Policy Program News

Why Obama’s Clean Power Plan Could Mean Opportunity for Some Industries in Oklahoma

State-by-state differences in the sources from which states generate electricity could create an opportunity for industries in some states, including Oklahoma, Jonas Monast told StateImpact Oklahoma, a reporting project of NPR. Monast, the Climate and Energy Program director at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, said the Clean Power Plan gives states the flexibility to use the market in their favor and that it is “sending a market signal to the electricity sector putting it on a path for the next 10, 20 years and creating some investment certainty for utilities and for their shareholders so they can make more educated decisions about where to invest their money.”

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RGGI 'Largest Factor' in Member States' Emissions Decline -- Study ($)

When it comes to factors that influence the Northeast's greenhouse gas emissions, a lot happened between 2009 and 2012. The economy foundered. Natural gas boomed. States ratcheted up the use of emissions-free energy under renewable portfolio standards. And the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative came into effect. But a new study, published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Energy Economics, determined that program's rollout had a bigger effect than the financial crisis, low natural gas prices or renewable portfolio standards. Even when controlling for other factors, without RGGI, ClimateWire reports emissions would have been 24 percent higher in participating states.

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Trading Program Linked to Significant Emissions Reductions

The emissions trading program in the northeastern U.S. to limit carbon dioxide emissions from the electric power sector is responsible for about half the region’s emissions reductions – an amount far greater than reductions achieved in the rest of the country, according to a Duke University-led study. Published online this week in the journal, Energy Economics, the analysis used econometric methods to quantify emissions reductions due to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and those due to the recession, complementary environmental programs and lower natural gas prices. The report suggests that without the 2009 introduction of RGGI, undertaken by a consortium of states in the Northeast, the region’s emissions would have been 24 percent higher.

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Cost and Legality of Clean Power Plan Debated

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions' director Tim Profeta told MetroNews Talkline that the focus of legal challenges to the Clean Power Plan may be section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. The section, he noted, has been rarely used. The lack of precedent gives the EPA some flexibility in how it regulates while raising uncertainty about legal interpretation.

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Industry, States Set to Fight EPA Greenhouse Gas Rules

Industry representatives and a group of state attorneys general are preparing to file lawsuits soon to challenge Obama administration rules requiring significant cuts in power-plant carbon emissions. The move, expected in the coming weeks, would open up a legal battle by contesting the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency on a wide range of grounds, some of them little explored by the courts. Tim Profeta, director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, comments in the Wall Street Journal.

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How Should We Define Success for the EPA Clean Power Plan?

On August 3, the United States crossed a major threshold in the effort to mitigate climate change. With the release of the final Clean Power Plan, the nation’s fleet of existing power plants now face mandatory limits on how much CO2 they can emita key contributor to global climate change. Jonas Monast, director of the Climate and Energy Program at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, discusses three factors for assessing the long-term success of the Clean Power Plan in The Conversation.

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EPA Clean Power Plan: Start Trading Carbon, Please

U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan does far more than the draft proposal to support states pursuing carbon trading, offering a "panoply" of tools, in the rule's words. States can still choose to write plans to direct individual carbon-cutting actions, from burning more natural gas to building renewable power. Or they can tell power plants to meet emissions rates--to reduce the amount of carbon they emit with each unit of energy they produce--or buy credits to make up for the difference. The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Jonas Monast and Sarah Adair discuss state options in this ClimateWire story.

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McCrory Will Sue EPA Over Carbon Rule

Republican administrations across the country have opposed the Obama administration’s plan to regulate carbon emissions since it was first announced, and North Carolina is no exception. Brian Murray, director of the Environmental Economics Program at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, comments on the final Clean Power Plan's effects for North Carolina on WFAE.

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N.C. to Fight Obama Climate Change Plan that Cuts Carbon Emissions

The Obama administration on Monday issued the first limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in a major climate change initiative that North Carolina might try to ignore.The Environmental Protection Agency’s rule would lower U.S. carbon emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. Reductions would have to start in 2022. “One thing the legislation could do is to take away the choices for how North Carolina can devise a cost-effective plan from DENR and put it with the EPA," Jonas Monast of Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions tells the Charlotte Observer.

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Renewable Energy Shoulders More Weight In Carbon Plan ($)

Renewable energy on Monday was given a bigger role in the Obama administration's final plan to curb carbon emissions at existing power plants, a change experts said is largely due to the industry's successful effort to convince federal regulators of its viability as an alternative to traditional energy sources. Brian Murray, director of the Environmental Economics Program at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions told Law 360 that with the new data and with input from the renewable industry, the administration simply determined that renewables are a more cost-effective solution than they believed 14 months ago when they wrote the proposed rule.

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