Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions - February 2, 2016

Upcoming Events
February 4
Durham, NC

February 5

February 11

February 12
Durham, NC

March 3

For information on other upcoming events, visit the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions website

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Billy Pizer Reflects on the Paris Climate Conference
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Does Coal or Gas Use More Water?
Extraction of coal and natural gas and power generation from both fuels contributed to a yearly 2.6 to 8.4 percent increase in water consumption in Pennsylvania during the early stages of the coal-to-gas transition from 2009 to 2012. However, impacts varied across the state as some areas experienced no change or large decreases in water consumption, according to a new working paper and interactive maps examining the water implications of Pennsylvania's energy extraction and generation choices.
Doubling the Value of Water in the West
Progress on water reform in the western United States has been slow. Little discussed are opportunities to increase the value of water rights and to improve the ways that they are defined. In Water Economics and Policy, Mike Young reflects on a Nicholas Institute report that builds on lessons from Australia's search for a water rights and management framework that would increase the contribution that water makes to the economy, the environment, and communities.
A new policy brief examining rising electricity demand--or load growth--in the context of Clean Power Plan design choices finds that the plan will not limit future load growth under mass or rate-based state implementation strategies. The policy brief summarizes recent trends in load growth and carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. electricity sector, shows that electricity demand growth has been low in the United States for more than a decade, and illustrates how the carbon intensity of electricity generation has declined.
Murray is Interim Lead of Energy Initiative 
Richard Newell, the founding director of the Duke University Energy Initiative, will step down from his position to pursue new opportunities in research and public service. While a search is under way, Brian Murray, director of the Environmental Economics Program at the Nicholas Institute, has been named interim director.
Staffer to Speak at AAAS Meeting
Alison Eagle, policy associate in the Ecosystem Services Program at the Nicholas Institute, will speak during a session titled "Climate Change and Agriculture: Revisiting the Evidence and Potential Solutions," at the American Association for the Advancement of Science 2016 Annual Meeting, Feb. 14.
Study on Updates to Social Cost of Carbon 
There would not be sufficient benefit to updating estimates of the social cost of carbon (SCC) within a year if that updating was based solely on revision of a specific climate parameter in the existing framework used by the government's interagency group to measure the SCC, says a new interim report from a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee. The committee, which includes the Nicholas Institute's Billy Pizer, recommended ways to change federal technical support documents on the SCC to enhance characterization of uncertainties associated with tSCC estimates.
The Nicholas Institute will present the program for the 2016 Navigating the American Carbon World (NACW) conference in San Diego, May 4-6, in partnership with NACW organizer Climate Action Reserve. NACW session topics will include U.S. and North American climate policy, the road after Paris, the current status and future growth of California's historic cap-and-trade program, other established and emerging carbon markets, and state-level activity under the Clean Power Plan.

The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions helps decision makers create timely, effective, and economically practical solutions to the world's critical environmental challenges.

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University,
 P.O. Box 90335, Durham, NC 27708.