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What’s the FERC, and How is it Shaping Our Energy Future? (Part 2)

Former FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable discusses the FERC's challenging relationship with the states over clean energy subsidies and their potential impact on the nation’s electricity markets. --- The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulates the United States’ wholesale natural gas and electricity markets, wielding influence over the cost of energy and the environmental impacts of the nation’s energy consumption. Today, the FERC finds itself at the center of intense debate over...


What’s the FERC, and How is it Shaping Our Energy Future? (Part 1)

Former FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable explains the work of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and its often contentious role in shaping the future of U.S. electricity and natural gas systems. --- Fundamental changes are taking place across the U.S. energy landscape. The growth of shale natural gas has changed the mix of fuels used to generate the nation’s electricity, with natural gas surpassing coal as the fuel of choice. At the same time, growing concern over climate change...


An Inside Look at the UN’s Effort to End Energy Poverty (and Fight Climate Change)

Rachel Kyte, a leader of the United Nation’s effort to eradicate energy poverty within a decade, discusses the challenge of providing universal energy access while limiting climate impacts. --- One billion people around the world live without access to electricity, and well over a third of the global population still relies on wood to cook its food. The lack of access to reliable and clean energy is a major barrier to improving human health and to driving economic growth in the world’s...


A Hard Look at Negative Emissions

Much faith is being put in the ability of negative emissions technologies to slow the pace of climate change. Glen Peters of Norway’s Center for International Climate Research looks at the potential of negative emissions strategies, and the steep challenges to implementing them. --- The goal of the Paris Climate Accord is to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, the point beyond which the impacts of climate change are feared to be most severe and enduring. Staying below the 2 degree...


200 Years of Energy History in 30 Minutes (And What We Might Learn for the Future)

The current energy transition is fraught with economic and social implications, not to mention abundant political squabbles. An economist looks at the past 200 years of global energy history and finds that difficult transitions are nothing new. --- The world faces an urgent need to transform energy systems toward cleaner, renewable fuels. Yet as challenging as the current energy transformation is, it’s worth noting that we’ve been through such momentous changes before. Over 250 years ago...


Can Norway’s State Oil Company Be A Climate Champion?

Norway is pursuing a future rich in fossil energy and climate solutions. Can its oil company, Equinor, reconcile these priorities and continue to reliably finance the country’s expansive social welfare system? Equinor’s Clean Energy Chief weighs in. --- Much has been made of Norway’s efforts to address climate change. The country has set the goal of going carbon neutral by the middle of the century, and generates nearly all of its electricity from hydropower. Norway’s ambitious...


Getting to the Right Carbon Price

Bipartisan carbon pricing proposals have started to appear at the national level, which begs a question: what’s the right price for carbon? An advisor to California and RGGI carbon markets offers insights. --- Over the past two years the idea of putting a price on carbon has gathered new and often unexpected support from across the political spectrum. In 2017 a group of former Republican leaders offered up a proposal for a national carbon tax. This January, top economists including all of...


China's EV Juggernaut

China is aggressively expanding its electric vehicle industry, with the aim of becoming a leader in the global automotive market. --- China produces as many electric vehicles as the rest of the world combined, the result of aggressive government policies to boost EV demand and manufacturing. The push to electrify is part of China’s broader effort to control air pollution in its cities, where car ownership has risen dramatically. In a concerted effort, the government has invested heavily...


Where does the Defense Department Really Stand on Climate?

Congress has played down climate change while demanding that the Pentagon tackle climate-related security risks. A former DoD environmental lawyer looks at military efforts to address climate, and political mine fields along the way. --- When one thinks of major security threats to the United States it’s pretty standard to conjure up images of hostile foreign armies or terrorist groups. Yet over the past decade, the U.S. Department of Defense has increasingly recognized climate change as a...


Welcome to the Anthropocene, Our New Biogeophysical Home

Mankind’s impact on Earth extends well beyond climate change to the broader biosphere, where the conditions that nurtured the development of modern humans are at risk of being lost in a new epoch known as the Anthropocene. --- Climate change makes headline news, but mankind's changes to planet Earth go well beyond rising temperatures. In this episode of Energy Policy Now prominent earth system scientist Will Steffen explores the dawn of a new geologic epoch, the Anthropocene, where the...


Bold Climate Policy Is Coming. Investors, Take Note

A group of investors that manages $80 trillion in assets forecasts bold policy action on climate by the mid-2020s. What will such action mean for capital markets and economies? --- Principles for Responsible Investment, a London-based organization focused on socially responsible investment, has introduced a dramatic vision of a global response to climate change. PRI, which is supported by the United Nations and a consortium of global investors, believes that by the middle of the next...


Vox’s David Roberts on Energy, Climate, and the Media

Vox writer David Roberts weighs in on the media’s role in shaping views on energy and the environment. --- Vox Media’s David Roberts is one of the nation’s top energy and environmental journalists, and now also a Senior Fellow with the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. In this episode of Energy Policy Now, Roberts discusses the media’s coverage of the politicized issues of energy and climate and the challenge of being heard in a noisy and splintered media environment. He also talks about...


As India Eliminates Energy Poverty, Can It Also Fight Climate Change?

Piyush Goyal, India’s minister of railways and coal and past minister of renewable energy, discusses his country’s efforts to provide universal electricity access while limiting power sector pollution and climate impact. --- India is home to the world’s most ambitious electrification effort. By the spring of 2019, India’s government aims to connect the 30 million rural Indian homes that remain without power to the electric grid, as part of its broader effort to raise living standards and...


The Battle Over Methane Leaks

As Washington relaxes standards governing methane leaks, oil and gas industry leaders pledge to limit emissions. An economist and an environmental advocate examine the impact of methane leaks and the credibility of industry efforts to contain them. --- In September, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior pushed forward two separate regulations that will, in effect, hold oil and gas companies less accountable for methane gas emissions into the atmosphere. The...


What IPCC 1.5 Degree Report Means for Global Climate Action

IPCC lead climate author Oliver Geden talks about how politicians view the IPCC’s 1.5 degree report, and implications for climate action. --- On October 8ththe Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees. The report describes expected environmental, economic and social impacts brought by 1.5 degrees Celsius of climate warming, and the actions that need to be taken on a global scale to limit warming to that level. The report’s timing is...


Gas Pipelines: A Threat to Grid Resilience?

As natural gas has grown in importance as a fuel for electricity generation, have gas pipelines become the electric grid’s Achilles heel? A cybersecurity expert discusses the risk posed by the grid’s growing dependence on gas. --- Natural Gas fuels a third of the nation’s electricity generation, and the strong economics of natural gas are likely to cause its use to widen its use in years to come. Yet the growing reliance on natural gas may increase the risk of electricity supply disruption...


Grid Resilience in the Cyber Age

Can the U.S. electric grid remain resilient as the threat of cyber and physical attack rises? Pennsylvania PUC Chair Gladys Brown talks about state and federal efforts to safeguard the electric power system. --- The electricity industry has taken advantage of network communications technologies to deliver power more efficiently and reliably. But as information technology becomes interwoven into the electricity system, the industry has also become more vulnerable to cyber attack. In recent...


Decision Making for Climate Leaders

Can policymakers effectively prepare for an uncertain future climate? The Kleinman Center’s Mark Alan Hughes discusses emerging decision models for climate mitigation and adaptation. --- Policymakers increasingly face the challenge of deciding on pathways to mitigate and address the impacts of climate change, yet no clear view exists into the impacts of rising temperatures, changing weather patterns, and the timing of sea level rise. And, as we enter unprecedented climate territory, past...


Handicapping EPA's Deregulatory Climate Agenda

Can EPA’s Clean Power Plan replacement survive the courts? An architect of the Clean Power Plan weighs in. --- In August the Environmental Protection Agency revealed its replacement for the Clean Power Plan, the Obama-era regulation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the electric power industry. The replacement plan, championed by current EPA acting administrator Andrew Wheeler with backing from President Trump, does away with broad carbon emissions reduction targets for the electricity...


U.S. Offshore Wind Industry Arrives

After a decade of false starts, the U.S. offshore wind industry is poised for real growth. The Chief of the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s renewables office takes a look at offshore wind’s future. --- After years of high hopes but little development, the U.S. offshore wind industry finally seems poised for growth following a series of major offshore project announcements this year. In May and June, the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut selected a combined 1,400...