What About Pollution

What are YOU going to Do!

Curbing Pollution’

New Electronics Gifts for the Holidays? Make Simple Fixes So They Don’t Cost You Year-Round

Pierre Delforge, Director, High Tech Sector Energy Efficiency, San Francisco If you’re the lucky recipient of the latest electronic gadgets this holiday season—or live in the same household—you may soon discover that gift comes with a price  because today’s TVs, computers, video game consoles, and other devices can generate Santa-sized drains on  electricity all year long. Fortunately, a few simple changes can help trim your energy costs. Not only will you save money on your utility bill, you’ll also prevent the generation of unnecessary electricity and the millions of tons of pollution when power plants make it. Here are some easy tips on how to minimize the electricity use of your devices. The right settings for your TV: Although… Read More

What might the future look like if we took climate change seriously?

Merrian Borgeson, Senior Scientist, Energy and Transportation, San Francisco A new analysis lays out several detailed “pathways” to a low-carbon future for the United States, and offers practical guidance for policy makers. The bottom line finding is that there are multiple ways we can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with known technologies and with an incremental cost equivalent to less than 1 percent of gross domestic product. But the choices we make in the short term matter a lot if we want to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change. This work is important because the negotiations in Lima last week set a positive direction for the international climate agreement planned for next December in Paris. As the… Read More

Clean Water Delayed is Clean Water Denied: After a Decades-Long Dodge, EPA Must Update Polluted Runoff Rules

Larry Levine, Senior Attorney, New York A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… No, make that Washington, DC, in the year 1987.  (Perhaps that is another galaxy.  But that’s a topic for another blog.) Way back then—more than a quarter-century ago—Congress passed a law directing the Environmental Protection Agency to create a new program to protect our nation’s waters from stormwater pollution.  Stormwater is the dirty runoff that washes off of developed land, after rainstorms and snowmelt, carrying toxic metals, pesticides, excess nutrients and sediment, and even harmful bacteria into waters nationwide.  Unlike pollution from factories, EPA had failed to develop pollution control standards for this ubiquitous form of water pollution. When Congress acted, stormwater represented—and… Read More

Historic Victory for Public Health as Governor Cuomo Bans Fracking in New York

Kate Sinding, Senior Attorney, New York City As most of the world now knows, yesterday Governor Cuomo made the incredibly bold and principled decision to ban fracking in New York State.  For those of us who have been working so hard over the past almost seven years to ensure that science, not industry influence, guided the state’s decision on this most critical of issues, it was an outcome that frankly exceeded many of our wildest expectations.  I’ll admit it: I am still pinching myself 24 hours later. Thank you, Governor Cuomo, for having the courage and wisdom to listen to what the scientists in your administration and across the country are telling us: The risks of fracking remain too… Read More

On the 40th Anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act, Where We Were and Where We Are Going

Mae Wu, Program Attorney, Washington, DC This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act. As part of the celebration, I participated in an event recently at the National Press Club to talk about the challenges ahead on dealing with emerging contaminants in drinking water. Below are the remarks that I prepared for that event. And here you can see an archived video of all the remarks, including from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. Back many years ago, I went to graduate school in another country. And I remember the first day walking into what they called the gyp or the tiny kitchen and seeing a sign above the faucet warning that the water wasn’t potable. I… Read More

Leaked Internal Presentation Details the Oil Industry’s Coordinated Multi-State Campaign to Stop Progress on Clean Energy

Merrian Borgeson, Senior Scientist, Energy and Transportation, San Francisco The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) – whose members include Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, ConocoPhillips, BP, and others – was caught red-handed last week when a leaked internal presentation revealed a coordinated campaign to stomp out climate and clean energy progress in California, Oregon and Washington by propping up over 15 front groups that purport to represent the views of concerned citizens and the broader business community. The leak comes on the heels of NRDC’s report released this month, which unmasked eight of the front groups that are campaigning against California’s climate and clean energy laws, as having direct ties to the oil industry. Fortunately, Californians have shown they can see… Read More

Energy Efficiency and Renewables Are Lowest Risk/Cost Investments for Utilities

Sheryl Carter, Co-Director, Energy Program, San Francisco A new report by utility and finance experts contains positive news for the environment, our air and our (and our utilities’) pocketbooks — the economics of electric power resources have made zero-emissions energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies the most financially attractive options to meet the nation’s future energy demands. The report by the nonprofit organization Ceres, entitled “Practicing Risk-Aware Electricity Regulation: 2014 Update,” says energy efficiency, distributed (onsite) energy, and renewable energy (whose costs, in some cases, have come down dramatically since 2012) are enticing investments for utilities because they bring lower risks and will cost less than traditional energy sources used to generate electricity. And almost without exception, the report… Read More