Energy in the News: Friday, November 18

Friday, November 18, 2016

How will President Trump treat the Great Lakes?

MLive, feat. Mark Barteau

What does a Donald Trump Administration mean for the Great Lakes?

Academics, legislators, scientists, environmental groups and citizens are pondering the breadth and depth of that question following the American electorate's decision to make the New York businessman president.

Trump has made no secret of his skepticism toward climate change, but he also supports nationwide infrastructure investment. Both are key issues that will greatly impact the eight-state Great Lakes region and its vast freshwater resources in some overlapping and possibly competing ways.

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Why Trump’s vow to kill Obama’s sustainability agenda will lead business to step in and save it

The Conversation, feat. Joe Arvai

During the campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump called climate change a hoax, threatened to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency, committed to easing restrictions on drilling and mining on federal lands, and promised to push for oil pipelines and other controversial energy infrastructure.

Perhaps most troubling to the sustainability community, however, is his vow to abolish President Barack Obama’s executive actions on climate change, such as the Clean Power Plan. He also promised to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, which he claimed was bad for business and threatened U.S. sovereignty.

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Can Trump deliver on immense energy, climate promises?

E&E News, feat. Barry Rabe

President-elect Donald Trump vowed on the campaign trail to topple just about every major energy and environment policy enacted in the past eight years.

From torpedoing the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan and international climate deal to expanding oil and gas development and overhauling the regulatory system, the incoming administration has big promises to keep.

But while massive change is expected, Trump will face limits on carrying out his plans.

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You make me want to nuke: The nuclear option may be the best environmental option too

Salon, feat. Gary Was

It’s a giant tea kettle — but unlike a cup of Cozy Chamomile, its contents can melt your flesh or deform your body. The pressure is the same as you’d find half a mile below the surface of the ocean. The temperature is 572 degrees Fahrenheit. Unstable atoms — the microscopic equivalent of decrepit buildings — are fracturing into pieces that spiral away from one another in frenetic fashion.

This is the inside of a nuclear reactor’s core. And depending on your point of view it represents all the risk and disaster of Chernobyl, Fukushima and Three Mile Island, an unholy human innovation that, like Frankenstein’s monster, will come back to bite us; or, it’s the clean, reliable and scalable solution to our growing energy needs.

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Plug-in electric vehicles: A consumer wish list

University of Michigan News, feat. Michael Sivak

A national survey of consumer attitudes towards plug-in electric vehicles suggests that people would prefer control to convenience in many charging scenarios, and also that renewable energy sources are an important component.

The survey, released today by researchers Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, includes responses from 542 people. Although a majority of the participants have never owned or ridden in an electric vehicle, 17 percent had some prior experience with the technology.

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Student and faculty concerned over Trump administration policy platform

The Michigan Daily, feat. Mark Barteau

Following the unexpected victory of President-elect Donald Trump early Wednesday morning, in addition to issues of safety, racism and hateful speech, many students and faculty on the University of Michigan campus are worried about climate change, economic, immigration and women’s health policies under a Trump presidency and a Republican-dominated Congress.

Most concerning, LSA senior Hannah Moore said Tuesday night, is the fear of an entirely unchecked Republican controlled government and the policies that will be blocked by the executive and legislative branches. Republicans now have control over both chambers of the legislature and the White House for the first time since 1928.

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Biofuels turn out to be a climate mistake

The Energy Collective, feat. John DeCicco

This piece is reprinted from an October 5 article on The Conversation.

Biofuels are usually regarded as inherently carbon-neutral, but once all emissions associated with growing feedstock crops and manufacturing biofuel are factored in, they actually increase CO2 emissions rather than reducing them, writes John DeCicco of the University of Michigan. According to DeCicco, biofuels are actually more harmful to the climate than gasoline. Courtesy of The Conversation.

Ever since the 1973 oil embargo, U.S. energy policy has sought to replace petroleum-based transportation fuels with alternatives. One prominent option is using biofuels, such as ethanol in place of gasoline and biodiesel instead of ordinary diesel.

Transportation generates one-fourth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, so addressing this sector’s impact is crucial for climate protection.

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Mcity deploys new vehicles for self-driving research

Detroit Free Press, feat. U-M MTC

The University of Michigan's Mobility Transformation Center will deploy three new vehicles in a project aimed at making it easier for students, automakers and suppliers to share new robotics and connected vehicle technology.

The first vehicle, a Lincoln MKZ, is already being tested at the Mcity test center on U-M's North Campus. The MTC plans to begin testing two Kia Souls in coming months, said spokeswoman Sue Carney. The center will own the Lincoln and one of the Kias. The second Kia will be owned by PolySync, a Portland, Ore.-based company that develops sensors, actuators, computing hardware and third-party software that serve as an operating system to let software code writers enable vehicles to perform more functions on their own.

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Researchers seek efficiency gains from driverless car technology

Midwest Energy News

Passenger safety and convenience has until now been the primary driver behind advances in autonomous vehicle technology. Now the federal government is hoping to leverage that work into making those vehicles more fuel efficient.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Energy announced $32 million in funding for 10 projects around the country that look to make automated vehicles — from passenger cars to tractor trailers; internal combustion engines to plug-in electric vehicles — more fuel efficient. Nearly $20 million of that was awarded to five universities and one company in the Midwest.

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Could Donald Trump kill the EPA? Probably not, but he could cripple it

InsideClimate News

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised cheering Rust Belt crowds that he would shutter the Environmental Protection Agency and roll back regulations. Now that he's headed to the Oval Office, the environmental community is contemplating how Trump might make good on those promises.

Some of them may prove to be campaign bluster. Some of them may not.

"Trump sounds like he's serious about scaling back much environmental regulation," said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change at the Columbia Law School.

But dismantling the EPA, as Trump has threatened, is far more difficult than simply shooing it away.

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U.S. companies to Trump: Don’t abandon global climate deal

The New York Times

Hundreds of American companies, including Mars, Nike, Levi Strauss and Starbucks, have urged President-elect Donald J. Trump not to abandon the Paris climate deal, saying a failure by the United States to build a clean economy endangers American prosperity.

In a plea addressed to Mr. Trump — as well as President Obama and members of Congress — 365 companies and major investors emphasized their “deep commitment to addressing climate change,” and demanded that he leave in place low-emissions policies in the United States.

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