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Sea-level rise 2Be sure to reserve your seat for next Thursday’s N.C. Policy Watch Crucial Conversation with Dr. Robert Young of Western Carolina University – “Getting our heads out of the sand: The facts about sea level rise and the future of the North Carolina coastline.”

Young is a Professor of Geology, an accomplished author and a nationally recognized expert on the future of our developed shorelines. Recent natural disasters like the BP gulf oil spill and Hurricane Sandy have also made him a sought-after media figure and commentator who has appeared on CNN, NPR and several other media outlets.

Event details:

When: Wednesday, November 20, at 12:00 p.m. — Box lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m.

Where: Center for Community Leadership Training Room at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St. (At the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary’s streets) Click here for parking info.

Space is limited – pre-registration required.

Click here to register

Questions?? Contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 or rob@ncpolicywatch.com

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Sea-level rise 2One year ago this week, the U.S. was dealing with the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. What lessons have we learned?  Don’t miss this upcoming NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation luncheon:  

Getting our heads out of the sand: The facts about sea level rise and the future of the North Carolina coastline

Featuring Dr. Robert S. Young, Professor of Geology and Director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University

If current luck holds, North Carolina may well escape the 2013 hurricane season without the widespread damage that has so frequently plagued the fragile coastal region in recent years. Unfortunately, this brief respite is almost certainly only that – a temporary breather.

Experts assure us that the impacts of climate change (including rising oceans and frequent, damaging storms) are sure to remake the coast in myriad ways over the decades to come and will, quite likely, permanently submerge large tracts of real estate.

So, what does our best science predict? Read More

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Duke Energy ratehikeWaving over-sized “Monopoly” money and signs calling for the state Utilities Commission and its Public Staff to begin acting like genuine watchdogs, 50-plus representatives from a variety of consumer and environmental groups held a press conference/protest today outside the offices of the Commission in downtown Raleigh. The took place just over an hour prior to the commencement of new hearings on what would be Duke’s third major rate hike for residential consumers since 2009.

Despite the immediate impetus for the event, Jim Warren, Executive Director of NC WARN said that the protest was about “a lot more than a rate hike. ” He said that protesters were calling into question “Duke Energy’s business model” which is predicated on improperly charging customers hundreds of millions of dollars each year.   Read More

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Sea-level rise 2North Carolina’s embarrassing head-in-the-(underwater)-sand approach to sea level rise received renewed attention this morning in the national media. New York Times columnist Gail Collins included the following passage in her story about the conservative movment’s aggressive abandonment of climate science:

“But a carbon tax/fee is the key to controlling climate change. That or just letting the next generation worry about whether the Jersey Shore is going to wind up lapping Trenton. Currently, majority sentiment in Congress is to hope for the best and pass the baton to the grandchildren. (When it comes to rising-sea-level denial, the champion may be North Carolina, where the Legislature has voted to base state coastal management policy on historic trends rather than anything the current experts have to say. “This means that even though North Carolina scientists predict 39 inches of sea-level rise within the century, North Carolina, by its own law, is only allowed to prepare for 8. King Canute would be so proud,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island in a recent speech.)” (Emphasis  supplied.)

Meanwhile, in case you missed it, Read More

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While the General Assembly is currently focused on smoothing the road to drill for natural gas in North Carolina, a new report shows the economic value clean energy has brought to our state over the past five years.

The report was prepared by Research Triangle Institute and LaCapra Associates.

Some of the key findings:

Clean energy programs created or retained over 21,000 jobs.

The clean energy industry and government incentives spurred $1.4 billion in project investments.

These projects contributed about $1.7 billion to the gross state product.

Clean energy and energy efficiency projects saved 8.2 million megawatt hours of energy.

For every $1 spent on renewable projects, $1.90 was generated for that investment. For energy efficiency projects, $1.67 was generated for that investment.

Finally, rate payers benefit from renewables and energy efficiency programs.  A typical NC residential customer saved $.50 per month last year and that is expected to only rise if our state continues to lead in this industry.

Earlier this year the Washington Post reported that the conservative Heartland Institute and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) were considering a strategy to repeal North Carolina’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES).  Our state has the only RES legislation in the south. This legislation requires utilities to  hold a portion of their energy portfolio in renewables.   This legislation and incentive programs are the reason for the healthiness of the renewable energy industry.  As the governor and legislature focus on job creation and economic development, this part of the energy sector now has a strong and proven track record and should be encouraged to grow.