Predicting public support for renewable energy policy

Read the full story from the Yale Program for Climate Change Communication.

We are pleased to announce a new publication in Energy Policy entitled The influence of extractive industries on public support for renewable energy policy.

There is broad public support for renewable energy in the United States. However, renewable energy policies are increasingly being politically contested. This study investigates what factors shape public support for and opposition to renewable energy policies.

Drawing on eight years of nationally representative public opinion data (N = 13,233) and county-level mining, oil, and gas production data, we found that individuals living in counties dependent on mining or producing natural gas were less likely to support renewable energy policies than individuals living elsewhere, even when controlling for political ideology and other socio-demographic factors. We did not, however, find a similar pattern among individuals living in oil producing counties.

We also found a strong relationship between understanding that human-caused global warming is happening and support for renewable energy policy. Additionally, being politically liberal, more educated, and female were positively associated with policy support.

Solar, Wind, and State Mandates: 10 Years of Renewable Energy in the NSEE

Download the document.

This report considers how American attitudes about renewable energy policies—and solar and wind energy, more specifically—have changed over the last decade. We use time-series data to consider shifts in support for state-level renewable energy requirements and the extent to which Americans are willing to pay more for renewable energy. We also look at whether or not Americans support increased use of solar and wind energy outside of the context of state mandates, and their perceptions of the positive and negative impacts of these energy sources.

4 steps to prepare your business for a carbon-neutral future

Read the full story at Fast Company.

Driving carbon neutrality not only mitigates climate change, it also makes good business sense. It can help to reduce energy costs, boost efficiency, and attract talent to a company.

As we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution–a time of emerging technology and extraordinary innovation–companies around the world have a new opportunity and responsibility to use their voices and innovative capabilities to address these climate issues. The urgency is greater than ever to bring transformative thinking and solutions around mitigating climate change to the forefront.

Now is the time for business leaders to lead the charge in building a carbon-neutral world. Here are four steps to get started.

Packaging the carbon tax: Can we affect emitter behavior like consumer behavior?

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Earlier this month, Yale economist William Nordhaus was announced as this year’s co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics (along with Paul Romer, who we profiled the other day). Nordhaus is a pioneer in environmental economics and has his research has laid the foundation behind using a carbon tax to counter climate change. While Romer’s research deals with knowledge as a “public good,” Nordhaus has explored climate as a public good. His views are summarized by global advocates for carbon pricing:

“Climate change is a member of a special kind of economic activity known as global public goods.” To solve this problem, “At a minimum, all countries should agree to penalize carbon and other GHG emissions by the agreed upon minimum price.”

Charging a fee for using the atmosphere as a garbage dump for carbon would create incentives both to cut down on damaging emissions, to invest in cleaner sources of energy and transportation, and to more quickly come up with ideas and technology for fighting global warming. While it seems like a heavy lift, the carbon tax would be the most subtle and systematic way to inform the decisions of producers, consumers and investors in a way that would lead to lower carbon emissions.

Why Choosing Clean Green Certified Companies Enhances Your Facility

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

If you’re a facility management professional, you’re engaged in an ongoing effort to evaluate and selectively implement a variety of productivity options that promise to enhance the efficiency, functionality, and harmonious operation of your worksite environment. Part of this task should include choosing environmentally friendly solutions to make your facility as green as possible.

These days, an increasing number of companies are achieving this eco-conscious goal by obtaining reusable textiles and uniforms from TRSA (Textile Rental Services Association) Clean Green certified companies. Let’s use this opportunity to explore the Clean Green international certification program and the ways it can benefit your business.

Webinar for public libraries: HandPrint Parties

November 15, 2018, 11:15-11:45 am CST
Register here

Explore how librarians at the Portsmouth Public Library (NH) have successfully collaborated with community partners to plan and implement educational programs called “Handprint Parties” that encourage positive action around a wide range of sustainability topics.

What is a “Handprint”?

The handprint of an action or a product or a service is the sum total of positive impacts we create in the process that support the health of our planetary systems. This contrasts with a “footprint”, such as a carbon footprint, which is the sum total of negative impacts caused by a process necessary to produce a product or service. You can read more about these two concepts in the following article in which Dr. Greg Norris of the Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment discusses the issues in more detail,

This webinar will be an experiential, action oriented presentation in which attendees are asked to interact with the presenters so come with a pad of paper and writing device. In exchange, all attendees will be offered free consultations on how to host a Handprint Party at their own institution on a topic of their choosing.


Bert Cohen is retired Adjunct Faculty at the University of New Hampshire where he team taught classes in Sustainable Living and Systems Thinking for Sustainable Living. He currently chairs the mayor’s Blue Ribbon Committee on Sustainability for the City of Portsmouth. Bert is a founder member of the Sustainable Alliance, an organization that is building a community of citizens who understand and use The Natural Step principles to create a sustainable future. During his sixty plus years of teaching he has been on a path of exploring how to form learning communities that support the well-being of the individual, enhance the civility within society, and respect the integrity of our environment.

Steven Butzel, Director of the Portsmouth Public Library, Portsmouth, NH. Steering Committee member of the Sustainability Alliance.

Questions? Contact Eric Tans at

Case studies on restoration in the Great Lakes Areas of Concern

The International Association for Great Lakes Research has published a series of case studies about the progress of restoration in the Great Lakes Areas of Concern. The case studies to date include:

  1. River Raisin Area of Concern
  2. Detroit River Area of Concern
  3. Severn Sound Area of Concern
  4. Collingwood Harbour Area of Concern
  5. Hamilton Harbour Area of Concern
  6. Muskegon Lake Area of Concern
  7. Cuyahoga River Area of Concern

If nature doesn’t need trash, neither do we

Read the full story in Grist.

Now that summer has faded away so too has the persistent stench of garbage piled on sidewalks and left out in the sun in major cities across the country. But trash itself isn’t going anywhere.

Managing waste in our cities is a daunting environmental challenge. We dump our trash bags outside, attracting rats and degrading the quality of public space. We collect this refuse with noisy diesel trucks that pollute the air and endanger communities; and we burn or bury the garbage in distant places, contaminating land, water, and the atmosphere.

But waste is not present in nature; it is a human design flaw.

The Unlikely Decision That Can Save a Struggling Business

Read the full story in Inc.

Is the complicated B Corp process to become a better corporate citizen worth it?

10 Free Data Visualization Tools

Read the full story in PC Magazine.

Data visualization literally changes how you look at data. But if you’re worried that an investment in this technology might not be for you, then check out these 10 free tools that let you explore your data in new ways, without having to spend a bundle on the experience.