From Fracking to Renewable Energy, Interactive Website Tracks Legislation State by State
Colorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy (CNEE) announced the rollout of the Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker (AEL)—a new online database of energy-related state legislation pending in all 50 states, from solar to natural gas and everything in between. This first-of-its-kind database, created in partnership with Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), will also enable CNEE to conduct analysis of trends in state energy legislation.
State legislatures are considering more than 2,100 bills that could change the way Americans produce, buy and use energy. AEL Tracker identifies all those measures and monitors the progress of many advanced energy bills as they move forward.
“If we look at where the country is going on advanced energy policy, overwhelmingly that transition is being led by states,” said Bill Ritter, Jr., director of CNEE and former governor of Colorado.
“To get the pulse of where the country is going we need to understand what the states are doing. AEL Tracker brings together information on energy-related legislation in all 50 states, in a form that is easily accessible not only to lawmakers at all levels of government, but to academics, analysts, environmentalists, funders, business leaders and the general public. It will allow our center to conduct critical academic analysis of issues related to energy legislation nationwide.”
Based on information available only in AEL Tracker:
- Nearly 25 percent of pending state energy legislation call for new financing tools—including tax incentives—for the installation of energy facilities.
- Roughly 21 percent of pending bills promote development of clean energy sources.
- About eight percent encourages adoption of energy-efficient appliances, building codes and practices—the low-hanging fruit in America’s energy supply chain.
The center’s first trend analysis, Rediscovering the First Fuel, is on energy efficiency. The center expects to publish two to three trend analyses per month and will next publish a white paper on financing of advanced energy.
The database has been developed in collaboration with AEE, a national business organization representing the entire advanced energy industry, from wind, hydro, solar and natural gas to efficiency and electric vehicles.
“This online database provides information on critical state legislation that is available nowhere else,” said Graham Richard, CEO of AEE. “AEL Tracker is a nonpartisan tool that allows researchers, journalists, policymakers and concerned citizens to follow and analyze advanced energy legislation, individually and in aggregate. We hope this unique database will increase awareness of advanced energy and the way state action can unleash its economic potential for the United States.”
CNEE operates the database on the Fort Collins campus of Colorado State University, a land-grant university with a long history of cutting-edge research into natural gas emissions and renewable energy, water resources and the environment.
Visit EcoWatch’s ENERGY page for more related news on this topic.
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John Kerry helped bring the world into the Paris climate agreement and expanded America's reputation as a climate leader. That reputation is now in tatters, and President-elect Joe Biden is asking Kerry to rebuild it again – this time as U.S. climate envoy.
Energy Is at the Center of the Climate Challenge<p>The <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/1/" target="_blank">effects of climate change</a> are already evident across the globe, from <a href="https://theconversation.com/100-degrees-in-siberia-5-ways-the-extreme-arctic-heat-wave-follows-a-disturbing-pattern-141442" target="_blank">extreme heat waves</a> to <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/12/" target="_blank">sea level rise</a>. But while the challenge is daunting, there is hope. Solar and wind power have become the <a href="https://www.irena.org/publications/2020/Jun/Renewable-Power-Costs-in-2019" target="_blank">cheapest forms of power generation globally</a>, and technology progress and innovation continue apace to support a transition to clean energy.</p><p>In the U.S. under a Biden administration, long-term national climate legislation will depend on who controls the Senate, and that won't be clear until after two run-off elections in Georgia in January.</p><p>But there is no shortage of <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2020-biden-climate-change-advice/" target="_blank">ideas for ways Biden</a> could still take action even if his proposals are blocked in Congress. For example, he could use executive orders and direct government agencies to tighten regulations on greenhouse gas emissions; increase research and development in clean energy technologies; and empower states to exceed national standards, <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-emissions-california/defying-trump-california-locks-in-vehicle-emission-deals-with-major-automakers-idUSKCN25D2CH" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">as California did in the past with auto emission standards</a>. A focus on a just and equitable transition for communities and people affected by the decline of fossil fuels will also be key to creating a sustainable transition.</p><p>The U.S. position as the world's largest oil and gas producer and consumer creates political challenges for any administration. U.S. forays into European energy security are often treated with suspicion. Recently, France blocked <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/frances-engie-backs-out-of-u-s-lng-deal-11604435609" target="_blank">a multi-billion dollar contract</a> to buy U.S. liquefied natural gas because of concerns about limited emissions regulations in Texas.</p><p>Strengthening cooperation and partnerships with like-minded countries will be critical to bring about a transition to cleaner energy as well as sustainability in agriculture, forestry, water and other sectors of the global economy.</p>
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We Need More Than Listening<p>By now we have all become sadly accustomed to the current administration sidelining scientists, most prominently Dr. Anthony Fauci, because the facts they provide do not fit with the political rhetoric of the moment.</p><p>I have <a href="https://www.csldf.org/2019/08/22/csldf-helps-climate-scientist-maria-caffrey-fight-for-scientific-integrity/" target="_blank">my own history</a> of filing a scientific integrity complaint with the National Park Service (which falls under the Department of the Interior) after senior ranking employees attempted to censor one of my scientific reports. I know all too well the damage and pain that these actions cause, not just for the individual scientist, but also because these <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/attacks-on-science" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">attacks on science</a> over the last few years have undermined sound, evidence-based decision making.</p><p>President-elect Biden has repeatedly said that he will <a href="https://thehill.com/homenews/521638-trump-biden-will-listen-to-the-scientists-if-elected" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">listen to the scientists</a>. While this is certainly a welcome change, listening can only take us so far. This past week Lauren Kurtz from the <a href="https://www.csldf.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Climate Science Legal Defense Fund</a> and my colleague <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/about/people/gretchen-goldman" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Gretchen Goldman</a> published <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ten-steps-that-can-restore-scientific-integrity-in-government/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">an article</a> listing 10 actions the new administration should implement to show their commitment to strengthening government science:</p><ol><li>Clearly prohibit political interference and censorship.</li><li>Protect scientists' communication rights.</li><li>Acknowledge that attempts to violate scientific integrity, even if ultimately not fruitful, are still violations.</li><li>Protect federal scientists' right to provide information to Congress and other lawmakers.</li><li>Commit to incorporating the best science as part of agency decisions.</li><li>Elevate agency scientific integrity policies to have the full force of law.</li><li>Publicly release anonymized information about scientific integrity complaints and their resolutions at every agency.</li><li>Institute an intra-agency workforce, potentially under the White House <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/strengthening-science-and-si-at-ostp.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Office of Science and Technology Policy</a>, to coordinate scientific integrity efforts across agencies, foster discussion of policy improvements, and standardize criteria for policies across agencies.</li><li>Strengthen whistleblower protections.</li><li>Ensure that policies cover all actors who will be dealing with science.</li></ol>
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