Issues

Global Warming

175 nations sign the Paris Climate Agreement

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Over 170 governments declared an end to the fossil fuel era on Earth Day, April 22, signing the Paris Agreement, the first global commitment on climate change. Signers included the big emitters: the U.S., China, India, and Russia. World leaders were united in speaking of the urgency to act on climate change, calling for scaled up actions, and saying that political will was never stronger. Leaders also committed to rapid national processes to approve the agreement. However, while the landmark signing ceremony made history, global temperatures keep shattering records. As UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon explained, “We are in a race against time.”

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Global Warming

Nation-leading news: Judge recommends Minnesota use federal “social cost of carbon”

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A huge win for Minnesota on April 15 – a judge, after over a year of expert testimony, legal briefs, and public hearings, recommended to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that it adopt the federal “social cost of carbon” as the binding external cost of carbon dioxide emissions for all electric utility decision making. That means that the PUC (and the utilities that need the PUC to approve their spending plans) will have to include those very negative external costs in their calculations. As a result, fossil forms of electricity generation will be much more difficult to justify on economic terms.

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Issues

RELEASE: Judge Recommends Use of the Social Cost of Carbon

St. Paul, MN (April 15, 2016) – A new report recommends using the federal “social cost of carbon” when estimating the health and economic impacts of carbon dioxide pollution in the State of Minnesota, with a couple of minor suggested amendments. The report was submitted to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) by an administrative law judge earlier today.

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Transportation & Land Use

325,000 reserved the new Tesla – what does it mean for EVs?

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This is the latest is a series of events showing the growing demand for electric vehicles (EVs) in Minnesota and nationally, including an all-electric room at the Twin Cities Auto Show and a steep discount on the Nissan Leaf in the month of March. With the Chevy Bolt (another 200 mile electric vehicle expected to cost around $35,000) set to release next year, a year ahead of the Model 3, a new issue is about to be raised in the world of electric vehicles: the downside of being first to market.

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Energy Efficiency

Research shows utilities save even more with decoupling

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A recent article published in the Electricity Journal, co-authored by Fresh Energy and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), shows that utilities with decoupling policies are putting more money into energy efficiency and achieving greater energy savings.

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Issues

Soil, Crop, & Storm Water Benefits of Solar Sites

When investing $1-$2 million per acre in solar panels, one tends to focus on the benefits directly generated by the new hardware — 100% fuel-free energy with no moving parts. However—simply by using the right seed mix—each of these sites can also provide significant agricultural benefits related to storm water, soil, and crop pollination.

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Transportation & Land Use

Tackling transportation issues this session

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As the legislative session gets underway, there has been growing demand from local leaders around the state calling for the legislature to pass a sustainable, long-term funding package that support all transportation options, from biking and walking trails to public transportation and road repair.

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