July 19, 2013
by Allison Clements
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A low-carbon electricity future is cleaner and cheaper.

Allison Clements, Senior Attorney, Project for Sustainable FERC Energy Policy, New York
A new study released today shows that taking steps to significantly reduce carbon emissions as part of planning our future electric generation and t… Continue reading

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July 16, 2013
by MoreRecycling
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Solar power makes yard work clean and quiet


Gas-burning mowers, blowers, trimmers – they’re polluters of the first rank. But Madison Earth Care, a family-owned business, has come up with a briliant way to run a landscaping company without the polluting footprint. Continue reading

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July 3, 2013
by Sasha Lyutse
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Substituting trees for coal in power plants would take us backwards in the fight against climate change

Sasha Lyutse, Policy Analyst, New York
Last week, President Obama gave a historic speech in which he laid out his second term plan for tackling the urgent threat of climate change. Delivered from the steps of Old North at Georgetown Uni… Continue reading

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May 14, 2013
by Adrianna Quintero
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Latinos Agree: Time for President Obama to Cut Carbon Pollution from Power Plants

Adrianna Quintero, Senior Attorney, Director, La Onda Verde de NRDC, San Francisco
It’s been nearly three months since President Obama’s strongly worded State of the Union address, in which he vowed to tackle climate change … Continue reading

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March 13, 2013
by MoreRecycling
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Democrats release draft legislation putting price on carbon

Today, four Democratic Congressmen released draft legislation that would put a price on carbon released by polluters. Continue reading

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March 6, 2013
by Barbara Finamore
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Environmental Champion Pan Yue Could be China’s New Minister of Environmental Protection

Barbara Finamore, China Program Director, Beijing

Leaders of the Chinese government gathered in Beijing yesterday for the National People’s Congress, an annual meeting in which the top legislative body discusses and votes on major issues and legislation. During this year’s NPC, several new members of China’s State Council will also be sworn in, including new President Xi Jinping and new Premier Li Keqiang. Additionally, at least half of the cabinet’s ministers will be new. Among the list of candidates recommended for the Minister of Environmental Protection (MEP) is Pan Yue, who is currently serving as Vice Minister. Since he first joined MEP in 2003, Pan Yue has been one of the government’s most outspoken and fearless advocates for environmental protection. Appointing Pan Yue as the new Minister of Environmental Protection would send a strong signal domestically and internationally that China is serious about addressing its worsening environmental crises.

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In the mid-2000’s, Pan Yue led a fierce campaign (known in China as the “environmental protection storm” 环保风暴) to challenge China’s giant government-backed polluters. When Pan first took office, he ordered 30 projects worth $14 billion in investments, ranging from thermal power to hydroelectric plants, to shut down for not filing proper Environmental Impact Assessments. He also advocated for information disclosure and public participation by ordering local authorities to release pollution data and encouraging NGOs and journalists to expose environmental wrongdoing. To Pan Yue, public participation is a key principle that reflects the development of a society, and is a requirement for both economic growth and environmental protection (see his theory on environmental protection and social justice in Chinese here.)  

Other policies from his campaign included providing economic incentives for sustainable development, adding local official’s environmental protection record to their job performance appraisals, and using green GDP to calculate China’s economic growth. But by 2008, his public criticism of powerful state interests led the Party to take away his position of environment spokesperson and his power to block projects that pollute, waste energy, or hurt biodiversity. His green GDP policy was shelved, and the 30 projects he halted resumed construction after paying small fines.

But even though Pan Yue’s policies met opposition and setbacks, they ignited a national debate on the need to balance economic growth and environmental protection. Just last week, a green GDP pilot system was launched in the Kubuqi Desert region of Inner Mongolia in order to establish an accurate system for evaluating gross GDP against environmental losses. In 2009 alone, pollution cost China nearly 1.4 trillion yuan, or 3.8% of GDP. Therefore, establishing a consistent and accurate methodology for evaluating economic growth with regard to ecological damage and natural resource depletion will push China to find a more balanced approach. 

During yesterday’s NPC, Premier Wen Jiabao began the plenary session with a 2013 work report, which had been approved by the incoming leadership team, that highlighted achievements from the past five years and areas of focus for the coming year. Premier Wen emphasized strengthening ecological improvement and environmental protection, while Fu Ying, spokeswoman for the Parliament session, said that two environmental laws will be tightened – further cutting emissions and linking environmental protection efforts with local government performance evaluations, a policy reform that Pan Yue has been advocating for years.

As evidence regarding the health impacts of air pollution continues to grow, there is mounting public anger and pressure for the government to act. China has already proposed a number of new measures, including new fuel standards and air pollution regulations. The new leadership should continue this momentum by appointing proven environmental leaders to office. I have met Pan Yue on several occasions and have long admired his courageous efforts, which have earned him praise domestically and abroad. China desperately needs a champion like Pan Yue who can address the formidable challenges blocking environmental progress, including conflicts of interest, weak enforcement and powerful state-owned enterprises.

This blog was coauthored with my colleague Christine Xu.

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January 1, 2013
by Rocky Kistner
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On the Carbon Pollution Front Lines, There’s No Normal Anymore

Rocky Kistner, Communications Associate, Washington, DC
As Congress stumbles through an embarrassing year-end game of fiscal brinkmanship, the world continues its slow burn toward unchartered and dangerous territory. It’s a future… Continue reading

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April 22, 2012
by Claire Morgenstern
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What Earth Day Means to Millennials

Claire Morgenstern, Online and Social Media Development, NRDC Membership, New York
Today is Earth Day. And I, by virtue of being a member of the first generation to have grown up with this holiday, am an Earth Day expert. I’ve mad… Continue reading

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April 18, 2012
by Peter Lehner
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Finger-Pointing Continues on Gas Prices

Peter Lehner, Executive Director, New York City
Big Oil’s supporters in Congress have yet to come up with a credible plan to help get America out of the gas price crunch. Their latest effort, the Gasoline Regulations Act, is no excep… Continue reading

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October 6, 2011
by NRDC News
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NRDC News, NRDC News Team, NRDC Offices…

NRDC News, NRDC News Team, NRDC Offices Worldwide
Frances Beinecke said, “Voting against clean air puts polluters before people and endangers kids,” in a Washington Post article about an advertising campaign raising awarenes… Continue reading

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February 28, 2011
by Recycling
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GE to Recycle Fridges, Cut Greenhouse Gases

Major appliances can be major polluters, if not trashed properly. Of the 9 million refrigerators disposed of annually, about 90 percent are recycled for their metal alone – a process that emits a substantial amount of ozone-destroying gases and…
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January 26, 2011
by Frances Beinecke
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Obama Promotes Clean Energy and Clean Air in the State of the Union

In last night’s State of the Union Address, President Obama presented a bold, confident plan for leading America into the future, and he placed clean energy solutions at its center. These technologies, he said, will help our nation “win the… Continue reading

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December 9, 2010
by Shravya Reddy
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India Climate Change and Energy News – Week of November 28 to December 4, 2010

Climate Change
India Says Climate Talks Moving from Global Treaty
“United Nations climate talks in Mexico are moving away from a global treaty, and nations should focus more on what they can be doing domestically to prevent climate change, India… Continue reading

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