How the Clean Power Plan May Actually Become America’s First Real Clean Energy Law

by Jesse Crabtree

The Clean Power Plan is an attempt by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and President Barack Obama to reduce carbon emissions from US power plants. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, power plants make up 40% of all U.S. carbon emissions—more than all our cars and planes combined. The plan seeks to cut energy carbon emissions 30% by 2030, a number that some are calling “ambitious” or as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says, a form of climate radicalism. On the other hand, many followers of the plan have argued that the plan is actually quite weak in its goals. According to Polito.com, market shifts towards renewable energy, towards low-carbon natural gas, and a general reduction in electricity demand have already brought the U.S. almost halfway to that goal of 30%. Continue reading

EPA’s New Energy Star Home Advisor

by Dylan Goodman

In December, 2014 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched its new Energy Star Home Advisor, an online tool dedicated to improving energy efficiency for American homeowners. The release came as a part of the EPA’s Energy Efficiency Action Week, a weeklong event in which regional EPA offices hosted events dedicated to increasing awareness about energy use and potential energy efficient upgrades. The entire initiative is designed specifically for homeowners and encourages a do-it-yourself approach to upgrading your home. According to EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, “As we enter the winter months, homeowners can use our new Energy Star Home Advisor to increase energy efficiency and save money while reducing greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change.” Their new website, https://www.energystar.gov, allows users to create a custom home energy profile which in turn provides customized feedback to the user. Based on your home’s unique profile, the Energy Star tool recommends prioritized projects to best increase your in-home energy efficiency. Continue reading

Bloomberg Philanthropies Building Greener Cities

by Jessie Capper

Although many know Michael Bloomberg as the past Mayor of New York City, holding the position for three consecutive terms from 2001-2004, his company Bloomberg Philanthropies demonstrates that he is much more than an active politician in the U.S. government. Bloomberg Philanthropies primary mission is to help the largest number of people live the best, and healthiest lives possible. Through harnessing his entrepreneurial spirit, discovering viable solutions, using data to assess financial reasonability, advocacy, and partnerships with other organizations (both private and public), Bloomberg Philanthropies work to address a multitude of issues facing our world—starting within cities (Bloomberg Philanthropies). Most interesting is Bloomberg Philanthropies’ most recent partnership with the Heising-Simons family to begin a Clean Energy Initiative, supporting city initiatives to develop a cleaner, more sustainable energy system within local power grids (Green Tech Media). Due to the out-of-date, harmful practices of our current cities, I see this partnership as a promising start towards achieving Bloomberg Philanthropies’ goal, and making clean energy the “norm.”  Continue reading