Category

Climate

Article, Climate, Electricity

Coal comeback unlikely after Paris climate pact withdrawal: utility CEO

From USA TODAY President Trump once again promised to revive the U.S. coal industry when he announced his intention to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement. But that reversal seems as unlikely as ever as electric power producers, the biggest consumers of coal in the U.S., continue to shift to natural gas and renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. In 2016, natural gas became the leading fuel for U.S. electricity generation for the first time, responsible for 33.8% of the output, compared with 30.4% for coal, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Nick Akins, the CEO of American Electric Power, one of the largest utilities in the U.S., says the preference for gas, renewables and energy efficiency, will only grow in response to increasing demands from shareholders and customers for cleaner energy, regardless of changes in…

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Blog, Climate, Sustainable Energy

With void in Washington, energy policy shifts to states

As the late U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill said, “All politics is local,” and that pertains to energy as much as any issue. Take the Metro section in the May 17 Washington Post where three stories remind us that battles over climate change are increasingly shifting from Washington to the states and local communities, as the Trump administration puts the kibosh on Obama-era environmental policies. The lead story reports that Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) has ordered state officials to develop regulations to reduce carbon emissions from power plants and encourage solar and other clean energy sources. McAuliffe wants the plan, which is consistent with the Obama strategy for climate change and energy, implemented by the time he leaves office in January, a tall order given the resistance he will face from the Republican-controlled legislature in Virginia. Nonetheless, his bid…

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Climate, Oil, Podcast, Policy, Shale

Columbia Energy Exchange: Chevron CEO John Watson

Host Bill Loveless talks with John Watson, Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Chevron Corporation, the second largest integrated oil company in the United States. Bill and John spoke in Washington, D.C. about topics including: the outlook for oil and natural gas markets; climate change and the role of energy companies; the breakdown of public discourse on energy issues; and the Trump Administration, free trade, tax reform and energy policy. Listen.

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Climate, Energy, Government and Politics, Podcast, Policy

Columbia Energy Exchange: Minister Catherine McKenna

Host Bill Loveless sits down with Hon. Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, to get an inside look at environmental policy in the nation. Catherine and Bill discuss: Canada’s approach to climate change and linkages between the environment and economic policy; different approaches to environmental and climate policy between the U.S. and Canada under President Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; and the realities of a national carbon pricing plan in Canada. (Listen)

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Climate, Energy, Podcast, Policy

Columbia Energy Exchange: Steve Mufson, Amy Harder

New markets dynamics, technological innovation, and evolving climate and geopolitical issues have made the energy sector incredibly dynamic and increasingly complicated to understand for policymakers, business leaders, academia and the general public alike. To help decode and explain these issues and their significance within a greater global context, journalists covering the energy beat have never been more important. On this episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange host Bill Loveless sits down with veteran energy reporters Steve Mufson from the Washington Post and Amy Harder, who has recently moved from the Wall Street Journal to a new startup called Axios, to discuss the importance of energy literacy and how the energy beat has dramatically changed in the last decade. Among many topics Bill, Steve and Amy discussed, several include: The importance of energy literacy and key challenges journalists face when covering the energy beat;…

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Climate, Energy, Government and Politics, Podcast, Policy, Regulations

Columbia Energy Exchange: Robert Powelson

Host Bill Loveless speaks with Robert Powelson, the new President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). Robert is a member of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, he has chaired the NARUC Committee on Water and he formerly served as the President of the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry. Bill and Robert discussed: what state utility regulators expect to see from the Trump Administration and how it will differ from regulation under President Obama; the future of the Clean Power Plan and state approaches to decarbonization; nuclear waste and the future of Yucca Mountain; the need for a renaissance in energy infrastructure; and energy innovation. (Listen)

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Climate, Energy, Government and Politics, Podcast

Columbia Energy Exchange: Gina McCarthy

Bill Loveless sits down with the current Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, who has overseen major environmental initiatives in the Obama Administration. Gina, who was previously Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection has also worked at both the state and local levels on critical environmental issues. They discuss: the legacy of the Obama Administration on climate change and other environmental issues; the endurance of the Clean Power Plan under the Trump Administration; the future of the Paris Agreement; reaching bipartisan consensus in a world where social media drives and exaggerates opposition; and reconciling demands to “keep it in the ground” with benefits of domestic energy production. (Listen)

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Article, Climate, Energy, Government and Politics

Trump may be good for oil, trouble for renewables

U.S. energy producers of all kinds see reasons for optimism as they start 2017, though the incoming Trump administration may spell trouble for some of a greener hue. Among oil drillers, a recent uptick in prices suggests an end to a slump that has persisted since mid-2014, while natural gas, solar and wind energy companies aim to build on their gains in U.S. electric power markets in 2016. Even the struggling nuclear sector can point to victories in New York and Illinois, where unprofitable reactors were saved by state actions last year. That said, here’s a list of some of the most notable energy developments for the U.S. in 2016 — ones that may set the stage for how Americans produce and use energy in 2017. (Read More)

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Article, Climate, Corporations, Government and Politics

Look to places like Mars (the company) for greenhouse-gas reform

Just where Donald Trump stands on climate change seems more uncertain than ever now that he’s acknowledged to The New York Times that he sees “some connectivity” between human activity and increasing global temperatures. Trump’s remarks last week followed his disregard of climate change during his election campaign, including his pledge to pull the U.S. out of a 2015 agreement with nearly 200 other nations to keep temperatures from rising to catastrophic levels. (Read More)

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Article, Climate, Energy, Government and Politics

Coal’s decline may continue even under Trump

During his campaign for the White House, President-elect Donald Trump promised to eliminate regulations that target coal-fired power plants, one of the primary causes of carbon emissions responsible for climate change. For Trump, a climate-change skeptic, getting rid of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which would curb carbon emissions from power plants by 32% by 2030, would give a boost to the declining U.S. coal industry and its decimated workforce across Appalachia. Even if the next president were to succeed, he would probably not reverse a years-long movement away from coal in the U.S. electric power industry, the biggest consumer of the black rock, according to the head of one of the nation’s leading electric utilities. (Read more)

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