News & Events


Energy in the News: Friday, September 30

There’s so many events during this time of year that we’ll lead with a few- covering Friday and next week. News below!

TODAY AT 4PM: The Glenn F. Knoll lecture, with speaker David Kay: Learn more
October 3: CLOSUP’s “Reclaiming the Atmospheric Common: A New Strategy for Climate Policy Success?” w/ Purdue’s Leigh Raymond: Learn more
October 4: Erb C-Suite Speaker Series, Walmart CSO Kathleen McLaughlin: Learn more
October 5-7: Great Lakes Adaptation Forum: Learn more
October 6: UMTRI 2nd Annual Transportation Safety Research Symposium: Learn more
October 7: Beyond Carbon Neutral Seminar Series: Direct Air Capture as a Tool for Carbon Management, feat ASU’s Klaus Lackner: Learn more

Critics: Proposed charge could pull plug on clean energy growth

Crain’s Detroit Business, feat. Mark Barteau

A proposed new grid charge leveled at small solar and wind projects in legislation on the Michigan Senate floor could derail growth in the state’s net metering program that incentivizes clean energy produced by homeowners and small businesses.

Despite some changes in Michigan Senate Bills 437 and 438 — primarily sections that govern net metering program rules — businesses in the state’s small solar and wind industry say the proposed bill package could reverse more than eight years of growth in net metering by discouraging investment in small projects.

Read more

Planes, trains and automobiles have become top carbon polluters

MIT Technology Review, feat. John DeCicco

Transportation is likely to surpass the electricity sector in 2016 as the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, according to a new analysis of government data.

In 2008, the global financial crisis caused widespread declines in energy use. In the U.S., that coincided with the early stages of a large-scale shift away from coal toward cleaner-burning natural gas as a way to generate electricity. As a result, carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector have continued to decline from their 2007 peak, even as the economy has resumed growing.

Read more

Meet the car-emissions sleuth who’s costing Chrysler $5 billion

Bloomberg, feat. UMEI EAB member Chris Grundler

In low brown-brick buildings near the University of Michigan, 350 workers test the emissions on 400 vehicles a year, tearing them apart as needed. Their tools detect pollutants like nitrogen oxide at 100 parts per billion. In a hangar-size garage, they chain 80,000-pound freight trucks in place and spin their wheels at 90 miles an hour, measuring the exhaust.

Welcome to the hive of Chris Grundler—environmental sleuth, bureaucrat and more-than-occasional bane of the auto industry.

Read more

The Truth About Climate Change

Universal Ecological Fund (FEU-US)

The adoption of the Paris Agreement represents a critical step towards global climate action. In December 2015, all countries agreed for the first time to collectively tackle climate change. Starting in 2020, actions will be implemented in 195 countries to combat and adapt to the changing climate.

Except for a handful of countries, climate change has not been a priority for taking action for almost two decades. Despite robust scientific facts, several excuses have been used to justify why action should be delayed.

Read more

Recent increases in global nuclear capacity led by Asia

U.S. Energy Information Administration

Global nuclear capacity reached 383 gigawatts (GW) in 2015, driven primarily by nuclear additions in Asia. Currently, 31 countries have nuclear power programs, totaling 441 operating reactors. An additional 60 reactors are under construction in 15 countries, adding 59 GW of electricity generating capacity over the next decade. Plans to add another 90 reactors (76 GW) have been formally transmitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by 8 countries.

Following the development of the first nuclear reactors in the 1950s, nuclear power steadily grew around the world from the early 1970s to the early 1990s, with brief periods of relatively slow growth following the accidents at Three Mile Island (1979) and Chernobyl (1986). Since then, nuclear power capacity has remained relatively stable throughout most of the world, with the exception of Asia.

Read more

U.S. emissions set to miss 2025 target in Paris climate change deal, research finds

The Guardian

The US is on course to miss its emissions reduction target agreed in the Paris climate accord nine months ago, with new research finding that the world’s largest historical emitter doesn’t currently have the policies in place to meet its pledge.

Even if the US implements a range of emissions-slashing proposals that have yet to be introduced, the nation could still overshoot its 2025 target by nearly 1bn tonnes of greenhouse gases. This failure would have profound consequences for the US’s position as a climate leader, as well for the global effort to stave off the dangerous heatwaves, sea level rise and extreme weather associated with climate change.

Read more

The world passes 400 ppm threshold. Permanently.


In the centuries to come, history books will likely look back on September 2016 as a major milestone for the world’s climate. At a time when atmospheric carbon dioxide is usually at its minimum, the monthly value failed to drop below 400 parts per million.

That all but ensures that 2016 will be the year that carbon dioxide officially passed the symbolic 400 ppm mark, never to return below it in our lifetimes, according to scientists.

Read more

Why a price on carbon alone isn’t the golden ticket

The Wall Street Journal

Carbon pricing is trending.  Well, OK, it’s always trending.  Still, the year has seen a notable uptick of buzz about the virtues of a carbon tax to ease our climate change woes.   Economists, policy wonks, bloggers, editorial writers, news outlets and activists (though not the presidential candidates!) have all been weighing in, and almost all are “singing from the same hymnal,” as blogger David Roberts puts it.  The constant refrain:  By putting a price on pollution to reflect its costs government can ensure markets will efficiently adjust and naturally limit emissions.  All of which is mostly fine: Pricing carbon by imposing a carbon tax makes a lot of sense.

And yet, there is a problem here.  To the extent that pricing carbon has emerged as the ideal of climate policy, it has also been idealized in ways that may be diverting attention from other needed actions.

Read more

Trump, Clinton argue over climate change

Scientific American

Donald Trump refuted accusations by Hillary Clinton that he had once described climate change as a Chinese concoction, during a quarrelsome debate last night that set the candidates on a 42-day sprint toward the presidential election.

Twelve minutes into the first face-to-face encounter between the candidates, Clinton raised the issue of climate change by pointing to Trump’s past claims that question the science behind rising temperatures.

Read more