CEPL Blog

Atlanta is Committed to 100% Clean Energy by 2035

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100% Clean Energy - Matt CoxAfter more than two years of deliberation, last week the City of Atlanta officially adopted a plan to transition to 100% clean energy by 2035. 

Georgia Tech hosted the first town hall meeting on the goal, and Matt Cox (a Georgia Tech alum and a PhD from the Climate and Energy Policy) and his team from the Greenlink Group spearheaded the analytical support for the goal. Above is a photo of Matt after making remarks at the final city council vote. 

20-20 Foresight: Scenarios for a Clean Energy Future

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Scenarios for a Clean Energy FutureTaxing carbon to account for its environmental and human health damages is the efficient way to cut CO2 emissions. And that’s what most economists are advocating. But progressives appear to prefer the government mandates embedded in the Green New Deal. Both approaches (and others) could probably be made to work…the problem is that we don’t have a majority supporting any single policy intervention. This could cause an enduring stalemate at a time when delayed action is so costly.

Green New Deal Proposal Overlooks Key Element ​​

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The proposal for a “Green New Deal” to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions in the United States within a decade is a laudable example of climate change leadership. It recognizes that the cost of inaction on climate is great and that rapid change is needed. But it overlooks the role that U.S. energy exports would have in keeping greenhouse gas emissions above sustainable levels. ​​

Exit Paris Accord, Enter Carbon Tax?

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Dr. Marilyn A. Brown, Regents and Brook Byers Professor

Climate and Energy Policy Lab
Georgia Institute of Technology

President Trump is pulling the United States out of the Paris climate change agreement, which calls on countries to limit global warming by reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Marilyn Brown, the Brook Byers Professor of Sustainable Systems in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, explains the ramifications of Trump’s decision for the U.S. and the world and discusses the rise of the Carbon Dividend Plan.

The Ramifications of a Paris Exit

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Dr. Marilyn A. Brown,
Regents and Brook Byers Professor

Climate and Energy Policy Lab
Georgia Institute of Technology

The U.S. must stay in the Paris Accord to help combat the clear and present danger of climate change. If the U.S. does not act, how can we expect others to address the problem? The U.S. Senate did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol 20 years ago because the Protocol did not include goals for developing countries. Now the U.S. is threatening to be a “free rider,” but in reality it would be a “big loser.”

Economic Case for Energy Efficiency

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''Marilyn Brown, a professor in the School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech, 2007 co-recipient of the Nobel Prize, and co-founder of the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance, made a strong case for the value of efficiency projects during her presentation “Selling Energy Efficiency in a Climate-Conscious World”. Her discussion highlighted the importance of educating consumers, businesses, and politicians about practical policy solutions that drive increased adoption of energy efficiency projects.

When Gas Prices are Low, We Should "Double Down" on Fuel Economy – Not "Dial Back"

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In Michigan this week, President Trump called for a re-evaluation of the fuel economy regulations set by the Obama administration. These standards require automakers to increase the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/03/15/519037545/epa-reopens-u-s-rules-setting-vehicle-efficiency-standards-for-2025

Georgia Tech Panel: Wind, Solar and Other Clean Energy Sources Could Supply All of Our Power

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Atlanta, GA—Wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources now make up just about 13 percent of the nation’s electricity supply, but transitioning to 100 percent clean energy in the South is both necessary and feasible, academic experts and clean energy advocates said at a lunch panel held at Georgia Tech on Wednesday.
 
“We can and we must transition to 100% clean renewable energy,” said Jennette Gayer, director of Environment Georgia. “Nationally and globally the move to 100% renewable is taking off with major businesses like Google and cities like San Diego setting 100% goals but this is the first 100% renewables discussion in Georgia.”

New GA Tech Study Concludes that Clean Power Plan Could Deliver Significant Energy Bill Savings to Cities and Businesses Nationwide

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ATLANTA, GA – City skylines have long been a symbol of innovation and prosperity. What you can’t see is that these same buildings are some of the United States’ largest energy consumers and are therefore responsible for significant amounts of the nation’s carbon pollution.  However, a new study by Dr. Marilyn Brown and the Georgia Institute of Technology has found that by implementing the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, which was finalized one year ago today, commercial building owners and occupants in the United States could realize total annual electricity savings of $11.3 billion in 2030, a reduction of 6.7% compared to doing nothing at all.

Clean Power Will Cut Our Electricity Bills

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''Without any changes in the way we produce and use electricity, Georgia households can expect an 8.4 percent increase in electricity bills over the next 15 years, while the typical U.S. household will see bills increase by 18 percent. But a new report has found that implementing the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan will cut costs. The average Georgia household would save $2,070 in electricity costs over the same period, while U.S.

A Big Step Toward Clean Energy in the South

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This past weekend, licensed reactor operators at the Tennessee Valley Authority safely connected a new source of nuclear power to its electric system. It is an historic moment for the nuclear industry because it is the first new U.S. nuclear generation of the 21st century.  Marilyn Brown, the Brook Byers Professor of Sustainable Systems in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, chairs the TVA Nuclear Oversight Committee. She explains  the importance of this achievement.

Calm Down – The Supreme Court’s “Stay” on the Clean Power Plan is Just a Procedural Step

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On February 9th, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court placed a “stay” on implementing the Clean Power Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. power plants. With a 5-to-4 vote, the Court has put a halt to the regulation while its legal fate is being decided. The request for a stay came from a coalition of 27 states, led by West Virginia and including most of the states in the South. The claim is that the regulation is overly far-reaching and burdensome. 

Watch out for Political Fallout from the Paris Climate Accord

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In 1992, President George H. W. Bush signed the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) along with leaders of 194 other countries. The treaty’s objective was to “Stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” Few knew that at that time, dangerous interference was well already underway.

Public Comment on EPA’s Federal Plan and Model Rule

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By Marilyn A. Brown, Brook Byers Professor of Sustainable Systems, School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology

November 19, 2015

Background

The U.S. fleet of fossil fuel fired power plants is our nation’s single largest source of climate-destabilizing pollution and one of the largest sources in the world. 

Climate change presents a clear and present danger to human health and the environment. All Americans need to be protected from the serious adverse impacts of climate pollution, in whichever state they live.

  • The Clean Power Plan will save

    • thousands lives each year,

    • prevent tens of thousands of asthma attacks annually, and

Getting Past Rate Fixation to the Benefits of the Clean Power Plan

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Making use of energy efficiency can help contain the cost of complying with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and reduce electricity bills. Yet as climate policy discussions try to balance the urgent demand for quick action with upfront capital investments, energy efficiency isn’t without its skeptics. As efficiency programs are being ramped up by utilities with an over-capacity of power plants, rates may also rise for a few years before they fall. Policymakers and stakeholders need to get past “rate fixation” to see the long-term value of energy efficiency. With the strong “nudge” of the Clean Power Plan, we have an opportunity to cut future electricity costs while addressing climate change.

Response to Dr Zycher at Our Energy Policy

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Recently, Dr. Benjamin Zycher wrote a piece for Our Energy Policy, detailing reasons why he believes that the US government's Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) is not advisable or useful for policy analysis. He argues that US CO2 emissions are a small piece of total global emissions, that the SCC violates OMB guidelines, and that the government is not an impartial or disinterested actor. For these reasons, he advocates for congressional approval in using the SCC and any regulation of greenhouse gases. CEPL director Marilyn Brown and CEPL student Matt Cox, along with former CEPL co-director Paul Baer, respond with this comment.

Gender and Other Social Demographics: Can They Explain Attitudes Towards Energy Security?

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By Marilyn Brown, Georgia Institute of Technology

Working with colleagues at Georgia Tech and the Vermont Law School and with support from a MacArthur Foundation grant, I had the opportunity to help design and evaluate a survey about energy security that was completed by more than 2,000 individuals from 10 countries. The survey measured individuals’ concerns regarding specific dimensions of energy security, including resource availability, energy affordability, climate, and equity.  Our results identified perspectives on energy security that aligned strikingly with several socio-demographic attributes.

Will the Bonanza of Cheap Natural Gas Postpone the Transition to a Clean Energy Future?

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By Marilyn Brown, Georgia Institute of Technology

Thanks to breakthroughs in seismic imaging, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, the US in 2012 reduced its reliance on much dirtier coal by shifting to gas-fired power plants. This trend is expected to continue, spurred by low gas prices and increased regulation on coal. The move to shale gas is being heralded as a key to economic prosperity and a clean energy future. But there are other options for displacing baseload electricity from retired coal plants, the principals being nuclear, renewables and energy efficiency. Will the gas bonanza enable or postpone the transition to these cleaner options?