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Renewable Energy
Solar home designed by University of Maryland students for the Department of Energy's 2017 Solar Decathlon. DOE Solar Decathlon

Subsidizing Coal and Nuclear Power Could Drive Customers Off the Grid

By Joshua M. Pearce

Within the next month, energy watchers expect the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to act on an order from Energy Sec. Rick Perry that would create new pricing rules for certain power plants that can store fuel on site to support grid resilience. This initiative seeks to protect coal-fired and nuclear power plants that are struggling to compete with cheaper energy sources.

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Trump Watch
Thuli Makama

Protestors Halt Trump’s 'Clean Fossil Fuels' Panel at COP23, Dismissed as 'Promoting Tobacco at a Cancer Summit'

By Andy Rowell

Donald Trump's attempts to promote so called "false solutions" at the UN climate conference in Bonn backfired badly Monday.

The U.S. delegation had organized the event, "The Role of Cleaner and More Efficient Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Power in Climate Mitigation," to promote what many see as "false solutions" to climate change, such as nuclear, the misnomer of "clean coal" and carbon capture and storage or CCS.

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Energy
IRSN

Don't Worry, Europe, Radioactive Cloud Likely From Russian Nuclear Plant Accident Deemed 'Harmless'

By Jake Johnson

An upsurge in radioactive pollution detected over Europe in recent weeks is likely the result of an accident at a nuclear facility in Russia or Kazakhstan, France's Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) said in a new report.

The radioactive plume—composed of Ruthenium-106—was detected "in the atmosphere of the majority of European countries" beginning late in September, IRSN observed.

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Energy
iStock

Picking Losers: Why Coal and Nuclear Interests Are Desperate for a Ratepayer Bailout

Without Energy Sec. Rick Perry's scheme to make utility customers buy more expensive electricity from aging, dirty and dangerous coal and nuclear plants, utilities plan to close 75 coal and nuclear units in the next three years, according to federal data compiled by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

A new EWG report, Picking Losers, analyzes data from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showing that since 2009, solar power capacity has grown by a factor of 89 and wind power capacity has increased sixfold. But coal and nuclear capacity have declined or stagnated, as the rapidly declining cost of solar and wind power—among other factors, including the glut of natural gas and increased energy efficiency—are driving coal and nuclear plants out of the competitive wholesale market for electricity.

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Trump Watch
U.S. Department of the Interior building. Kmf164 / CC-BY-SA-2.5

Department of the Interior, or Ministry of Doublespeak?

Defenders of Wildlife recently obtained a copy of Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke's "Top 10 Priorities" for his department (text version). These priorities are reflected in the department's recently leaked draft 2018–2022 Strategic Plan, but the priorities themselves are noteworthy for their strikingly euphemistic tone.

They are written to evoke a responsive, progressive Interior Department serving the country by protecting our natural heritage and ensuring sensible use of our natural resources. And there's the problem. All ten priorities are entirely disconnected from Interior's actions to date. Following is our take on the doublespeak nature of the secretary's Top 10 Priorities.

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Windorah's Solar Farm dishes taken from the roadside (Diamantina Developmental Road) on a hot summer day. Aaronazz / Wikimedia Commons

100% Renewable Electricity to Power the World by 2050? It's Happening, Study Says

By Alex Kirby

If you think a world powered by 100 percent renewable electricity—and significantly cheaper than today's—is an impossible dream, there's a surprise in store for you. A new study says it's already in the making.

A global transition to 100 percent renewable electricity, far from being a long-term vision, is happening now, the study says. It is the work of Finland's Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and the Energy Watch Group (EWG), and was published at the UN climate change conference, COP23, which is meeting here.

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Trump Watch
[Left to Right] Thanu Yakupitiyage, 350.org; Katia Aviles-Vasquez, Organización Boricua & It Takes Roots; Varshini Prakash, SustainUS & Sunrise Movement; Dallas Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network & It Takes Roots; Kiran Ooman, youth plaintiff with Our Children's Trust; Dyanna Jaye, Sunrise Movement & ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability; Ellen Anderson, Energy Transition Lab & Climate Generation

U.S. People’s Delegation Takes on Trump Administration at COP23

Community and grassroots leaders from the U.S. on Tuesday announced their platform at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23). The "U.S. People's Delegation" is attending to counter the Trump administration's fossil fuel agenda and to hold U.S. states, cities, businesses and the public accountable to climate action commitments.

The platform includes youth, Indigenous peoples, frontline communities, advocates and policymakers who have come to Bonn, Germany with organizations from across the U.S. They have come together to show what climate leadership should look like.

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Environment America

'Blocking the Sun': New Report Documents Efforts to Undermine Rooftop Solar

While nearly 9 in 10 Americans support the development of more solar energy, electric utilities and fossil fuel-backed special interests are trying to hold off the inevitable renewable-energy future by promoting policies that would make rooftop solar harder to obtain.

A new report released Thursday by Environment America Research & Policy Center documents 20 entities, across 12 states, who sought to roll back key policies driving solar power over the past year.

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Politics
North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site. Google Earth

Fears of Radiation Leak Soar After North Korea Nuclear Site Collapse Kills 200

Experts are issuing urgent warnings of a possible radiation leak following the collapse of a tunnel at North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site, an accident that reportedly killed at least 200 people.

"Should [the Punggye-ri site] sink, there is a possibility" that hazardous radioactive gas could be released into the atmosphere, warned South Korea weather agency chief Nam Jae-cheol during a parliamentary meeting on Monday, ahead of reports of the incident.

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