The 501Carbon Blog

How the Clean Power Plan Fits into the Larger Climate Puzzle

In light of the recent announcement of the CPP, one of the key questions should be: is the CPP enough to set the U.S. on track to meet its overall emission reduction targets? According to a report from the World Resources Institute (WRI), the CPP combined with all of the current climate policies are not quite enough to reach the targets of 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 – but they are nearly enough.

The Clean Power Plan is not Just About Climate Change: It’s About Public Health

On Monday, President Obama announced the Clean Power Plan (CPP), a set of regulations designed to mitigate climate change from the power sector. Through the Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will direct states to reduce the emissions from existing power plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. The Plan also sets state-specific overall greenhouse gas reduction goals. The CPP will have the largest impact on coal power plants, which are the largest source of GHG emissions in the U.S. But burning coal also produces large amounts of pollutants that are damaging to human health. The CPP will therefore have positive impacts beyond the reduction in climate-forcing carbon dioxide emissions. 

Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies are Unsustainable

The level of global subsidies on oil and gas production continues to exceed sustainable energy subsidies. Pre-tax subsidies to the oil and gas sector amounted to $550 billion in 2013, $25 billion less than in 2012, but still four-times more than subsidies for renewable energy and more than four-times the amount invested in energy efficiency. So far, investment levels in sustainable energy are not increasing fast enough to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

The Clean Trillion: How will we get there?

The Clean Trillion has been touted by Ceres and the UN as the amount of annual investment in clean energy solutions that is required over the next 36 years to prevent global climate change from exceeding two degrees Celsius. So far, we are not nearly there: annual investment in clean energy solutions (which includes renewable energy and emission reductions) was just $310 billion in 2014. Though significant progress has been made towards the Clean Trillion since 2004 – when global investment levels were just $45 billion – it remains to be seen whether the high growth rate in 2014 will be sustained in the coming years.

A Primer on Waste Agricultural Biomass to Energy

Waste agricultural biomass refers to organic byproducts from agriculture that cannot be sold as food nor used in the production of other goods. Basically, waste agricultural biomass has no useful application, but it does have embodied energy that can be harnessed. This article introduces the global opportunity and the technologies available for converting agricultural waste to energy.

The Global Fight Against Energy Poverty

Many in developing countries are currently experiencing energy poverty, either through access to very low levels of energy consumption, the use of excessively dirty and polluting fuels, or through the time spent procuring fuel to meet only the most basic human needs (or a combination thereof). Addressing energy poverty is crucial for overall development because of the multiplier effect of access to clean and secure energy sources. 501Carbon is actively engaged in the fight against energy poverty.

An Introduction to Carbon Markets

This article explores how companies, states, provinces, or countries can purcahse carbon emission credits through a carbon market to meet their emission reduction obligations (or voluntary targets) without directly reducing their own carbon emissions. The structure of carbon markets is discussed, along with a comparison to carbon taxes.

The Environmental Costs/Benefits of In-Store Pickup vs. Home Delivery

With the growing prominence of online shopping, consumers are having more and more of their purchases delivered directly to their home. This trend is reducing the need to make time-consuming and GHG-intensive trips to the store, but also entails a growing material handling industry and an increase in delivery trucks. What implications does this growing trend have for the environment and more specifically greenhouse gas emissions? This blog post explores which shopping option has a larger carbon footprint.

Environmental Policy and Technological Innovation

It has long been argued that sound environmental policy is necessary in order to overcome market failures with regard to the innovation and diffusion of new technologies for emissions reductions. And when it comes to acting on climate change, time is of the essence. This article explores the importance of climate policy in incentivizing the widespread application of low-carbon technology to address climate change.

Watching your Baseline: Quantifying Emission Reductions

Certified carbon offset credits can be issued to organizations that reduce GHG emissions through the implementation of a particular project. But before offsets are granted, project developers must prove that emissions reductions have in fact taken place. To do this, the additionality principle must be satisfied. This article discusses the meaning of additionality and the significance of establishing a project baseline.