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Solving Global Warming’

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

Six Products in Your Holiday Shopping Cart that Drive Deforestation in Latin America

Amanda Maxwell, Latin America Advocate, Washington, DC Approximately 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions originate from deforestation and forest degradation, which are no longer problems that can be discounted as local or rural issues. Whether burned, processed, or discarded, trees release immense amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, feeding global climate change. Nowhere is it more important to halt deforestation than in Latin America, whose forests store 49 percent of the carbon in the world’s tropical forests. In recent years, increasing urbanization, especially in Latin America, has separated the demand for the commodities driving this deforestation and degradation—beef, soy, palm oil, paper products, fuels, and precious metals—from the local farmers, ranchers, loggers, and miners who produce… Read More

Our Forests Aren’t Fuel

Peter Lehner, Executive Director, New York City As an admitted arborophile, I’m happy to see that tree-planting crews from the New York City Parks Department are kicking their efforts into high gear as winter approaches, planting saplings that can turn barren urban streets into cool, leafy corridors. Intuitively, we all know that trees are transformative. A single tree can change a neighborhood. But when we walk along a treeless city street, it’s easy to forget what we don’t see. So much of what trees do is invisible. I recently saw an inspiring visualization of the Amazon rainforest that helped bring it home to me. Trees and forests are the lungs that soak up carbon, the heart that pumps out… 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

Another Major Climate Breakthrough: China Will Cap its Coal Consumption by 2020

Barbara Finamore, Senior Attorney and Asia Director, Beijing Hard on the heels of last week’s historic US-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change, in which China pledged for the first time to cap its CO2 emission by 2030, China’s State Council has just announced a new energy strategy action plan that includes, also for the first time, a cap on national coal consumption by 2020.  This is another major breakthrough for climate and for China’s people, since coal is the largest contributor to CO2 emissions as well as to China’s dangerous PM 2.5 air pollution. This latest announcement came just after the Coal Consumption Cap and Energy Transition International Workshop that NRDC organized in Beijing on November 17-18th.  NRDC has… Read More