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Blog Posts: united states

  • Drought Is Only One Explanation for California’s Water Crisis

    As California lawmakers move forward with potential solutions to the state’s current water shortage, it’s important to consider the full context of underlying reasons for California’s water vulnerability.

    Our research shows that about 66 percent of the state’s irrigated agriculture—its biggest water user—faces extremely high levels of baseline water stress. This means that more than 80 percent of the available water supply is already being used by farms, homes, businesses, and energy producers. It’s clear that even without drought, the state would be in trouble.

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  • 5 Overlooked Deforestation Hotspots

    The UN has announced that March 21 be recognized as the International Day of Forests. In tandem with the celebration of forests worldwide, is an awareness that we are still losing forests and trees much faster than they can regrow.

    Many people are working to reverse tree cover loss in the world’s largest remaining forests. But several hugely important deforestation hotspots are still flying under the radar. These forest areas are seeing alarming trends and/or have lost much of their tree cover. We are using the latest data from Global Forest Watch, an online forest monitoring and alert system, to dive deeper into some under-reported deforestation hotspots.

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  • Open Data: A New Tool for Building Climate Resilience

    The White House recently unveiled a new Climate Data Initiative. The initiative creates an online hub of government data on climate impacts, providing a detailed look at how a warmer world may impact critical infrastructure like bridges, roads, and canals. The platform provides a key tool for helping those at the frontlines of climate change—local communities.

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  • 3 Ways the US and China Can Work Together for Responsible Shale Gas Development

    As China pursues shale gas exploration and development, it could draw some lessons—both positive and negative—from the experience in the United States. Indeed, it is in both countries’ interest that their businesses and governments collaborate to ensure that when and where shale gas is developed, it is done responsibly.

    In order to pursue shale gas development responsibly, three issues are emerging as potential hotspots for U.S.-China collaboration—environmentally smart development, energy security, and economy.

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  • New Fuel Efficiency Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles Are a “Win-Win-Win”

    Last week, President Obama directed his administration to set new fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, including large pick-up trucks, school buses, and tractors. Improving fuel efficiency standards from these vehicles—which make up 20 percent of U.S. transport emissions—can not only rein in emissions, it can help consumers save money at the gas pump.

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  • Blue-Green Opportunities: Energy Efficiency and Jobs Impacts in the U.S. Manufacturing Resurgence

    U.S. manufacturing—and the jobs that go with it—have been steadily increasing since 2010.

    The future of U.S. manufacturing jobs is not set in stone—it will be highly influenced by company investments and new policies. As policymakers, private companies, and industry stakeholders turn their attention to the ongoing resurgence of U.S. manufacturing, policy and private sector programs are available to generate the Good Jobs, Green Jobs needed to sustain American prosperity.

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  • Top 5 Climate and Energy Stories for 2014

    Manish Bapna discusses the top 5 U.S. climate and energy stories for 2014. Editor's Note: This blog post was originally published at Forbes.

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  • 7 Stories to Watch in 2014

    Earlier this month, WRI launched its “Stories to Watch in 2014.”

    All years are important, but decisions made in 2014 will have a striking impact for decades to come. Here are seven potential game-changers:

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  • 5 Ways Colorado Can Reduce Power Plant Emissions

    As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) moves forward with standards to reduce power plant emissions—which are due to be finalized in June 2015—many states are wondering how they will comply. WRI’s fact sheet series, Power Sector Opportunities for Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions, examines the policies and pathways various states can use to cost-effectively meet or even exceed future power plant emissions standards. This post explores these opportunities in Colorado. Read about additional analyses in this series.

    Colorado is generating more electricity than it has in the past, but it’s doing so while emitting less carbon dioxide pollution thanks to ongoing efforts to ramp down coal use. And the state has the potential to go even further. In fact, new WRI analysis finds that Colorado can reduce its CO2 emissions 29 percent below 2011 levels by 2020 just by complying with current policies and taking advantage of existing infrastructure. Achieving these reductions will allow Colorado to meet moderately ambitious EPA power plant emissions standards, which are due to be finalized in 2015.

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  • 5 Ways Illinois Can Reduce Power Plant Emissions

    Like all U.S. states, Illinois will need to reduce its power sector carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in order to alleviate climate change impacts and comply with future EPA standards. The good news is that the state has already taken steps to reduce its emissions, including saving energy and increasing its use of renewable energy sources. And, Illinois has the potential to go even further. New WRI analysis finds that Illinois can reduce its CO2 emissions 35 percent below 2011 levels by 2020 just by complying with current policies and taking advantage of existing infrastructure. Achieving these reductions will allow Illinois to meet or exceed moderately ambitious EPA power plant emissions standards, which are due to be finalized in 2015.

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