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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.

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...

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.

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.

EPA’s New Clean Power Plan Is Both Achievable and Economically Beneficial

The EPA's proposed rule to cut carbon pollution from power plants is a critical step in avoiding the worst consequences of global warming. Without significant reductions from the power sector—America’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions—the country cannot meet its goal of reducing its emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. EPA’s proposal provides a flexible framework that puts those reductions within reach.

Here’s a look at how the proposed rule would impact states and the future of U.S. climate action.

3 Reasons Why Cutting Carbon From Power Plants Is Good For Business

To this day, carbon pollution—the main driver of climate change—has not been controlled from power plants.

That’s why the U.S. EPA’s new rules are so momentous, putting federal limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants for the first time. With the power sector representing a third of America’s carbon footprint, these rules are the biggest single action the administration can take to drive down greenhouse gases.

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