Author Archives: Meredith Fowlie

Shipping oil by rail: A modern-day problem of social cost

While environmental groups and other stakeholders have been working hard to delay – if not derail- major pipeline projects like Keystone, oil companies have been working hard to find alternative ways to get their crude oil to market: A single … Continue reading

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On the inefficiency of fuel efficiency standards

Imagine you have just been pulled over for exceeding the speed limit. The officer explains that the penalty for speeding decreases with engine size. Why?  Because it is relatively more difficult for drivers of high performance cars to exercise restraint … Continue reading

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Cap-and-Trade Throws a Wrench into the Gears of Green Consumerism

Last week, Severin posted a great piece on household electricity consumption. Armed with a simple metering device and your energy bill, you can easily measure how your various household appliances affect your energy consumption and your pocketbook. Understanding the link … Continue reading

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Natural gas: Not all it’s fracked up to be?

Natural gas is being touted as a “game changer” and a “bridge to a low carbon economy.” It is an abundant, made-in-America energy source.  It is about half as carbon intensive as coal when burned. The figure below suggests that … Continue reading

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Much ado about nothing?

“Cutting carbon pollution from power plants” is the first item on President Obama’s 2013 Climate Action Plan.  The first milestone in this effort involves setting carbon dioxide emissions standards for new power plants. Last week, EPA administrator Gina McCarthy met … Continue reading

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Solar panels (and energy efficiency) at the White House

Last week, the Washington Post reported that solar panels are being installed on the White House roof. Or, more accurately, re-installed.  Jimmy Carter installed a solar thermal system on this roof back in 1979. This was quickly removed by the next … Continue reading

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British Columbia says no to iconic pipeline. Should Obama follow suit?

When President Obama blocked approval of the Keystone XL pipeline to transport oil from the Canadian oil sands to the Gulf Coast back in 2012, the Canadian government took notice. The Foreign Affairs Minister was quoted as saying:

 “this whole episode underlines … Continue reading

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400 ppm and the rising cost of climate change

Last week brought some sobering news from the Mauna Loa Observatory where the Keeling family has been dutifully recording atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide since 1958. On May 9, measured concentrations surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm). [1] Of course, … Continue reading

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With cross-state cap-and-trade, challenges await the next EPA administrator

Last week, President Obama nominated Gina McCarthy to be the new EPA administrator. If confirmed, McCarthy will be looking to break ground with new carbon dioxide regulations for power plants and rules of the road for hydraulic fracturing. But she … Continue reading

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Pricing Carbon in California : A Complicated Problem with No Simple Solution

In a couple of weeks, California will hold the first auction of greenhouse gas emissions permits. This auction is notable and newsworthy as it effectively sets in motion the world’s second largest greenhouse gas emissions trading program. But it represents … Continue reading

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