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WRI established its U.S. office in 1982. We work to improve water quality, increase awareness of local climate change impacts, and identify cost-effective emissions-reduction opportunities in the United States. Learn more about our Eutrophication and Hypoxia, Water Quality Trading, U.S. Local Climate Impacts Initiative, and U.S. Climate Action projects.

Former Republican EPA Administrators Show that Climate Change Need Not Be Partisan

U.S. climate action received support yesterday from four former EPA administrators who served Republican presidents. William D. Ruckelshaus, Lee M. Thomas, William K. Reilly, and Christine Todd Whitman testified before the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee at a hearing entitled “Climate Change: The Need to Act Now.”

They delivered a clear message for Congress: Climate change is one of the greatest threats to America’s economy, environment, and communities—and it need not be a partisan issue.

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Shifting to Renewable Energy Can Save U.S. Consumers Money

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) carbon emissions regulations for existing power plants, released earlier this month, are an opportunity for utility customers to save big with renewable energy—accelerating the current trend.

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High Water Stress Jeopardizes One-Third of World’s Corn Crop

According to a new report, the $65 billion U.S. corn industry faces a range of water-related risks that could disrupt production. Other countries face similar threats. In fact, one-third of the world’s corn production occurs in highly or extremely highly water-stressed regions.

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Improving Water Quality (3 of 3)

Overcoming Barriers to Better Targeting of U.S. Farm Conservation Funds

This issue brief identifies the technical, political, and implementation challenges of cost-effectively targeting agricultural conservation funds to achieve greater improvements in water quality and suggests options for addressing these challenges.

This publication is the third in a...

Getting More from the U.S. Farm Conservation Water Quality Budget

The U.S. Department of Agriculture could potentially spend part of its budget for water quality improvements seven to 12 times more cost effectively than it does now. A new WRI analysis shows how, explains why USDA isn’t already doing so, and proposes ways to make a complex policy a reality.

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Overcoming Barriers to USDA’s New Conservation Program

For more than 30 years, the USDA has worked to reduce water pollution by offering farmers throughout the nation financial and technical help to put conservation measures in place. While these efforts have successfully addressed environmental problems at the individual farm level—such as soil erosion—agriculture remains a key source of water pollution.

However, it’s only a small portion of farms that generate the majority of agriculture’s contribution to U.S. water pollution. New research shows that targeting conservation funds to these farms with the most potential to reduce pollution could be up to 12 times more cost effective than the usual practice of disbursing funds widely. And encouragingly, a new USDA program aims to capitalize on a similar targeted approach.

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Providing guidance on how to better target agricultural conservation in the United States, to cost-effectively achieve measurable improvements in water quality.

What Does the Clean Power Plan Mean for Meeting U.S. Climate Goals?

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced its Clean Power Plan, the first time the United States has set standards to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants. The Plan sets emissions reduction goals for individual states; once the goals are finalized next year, states will develop plans to achieve the necessary reductions. EPA’s modeling indicates that the standards will reduce national carbon pollution from power plants by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

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