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The 2014 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard

October 24, 2014 Comments off

The 2014 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard
Source: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)

For the past eight years, the ACEEE State Energy Efficiency Scorecard has measured the progress of state policies and programs that save energy while also benefiting the environment and promoting economic growth. Using data vetted by state energy officials, we rank states in six categories—utility programs, transportation, building energy codes, combined heat and power, state initiatives, and appliance standards. In this eighth edition of the State Scorecard, Massachusetts secured the top spot for the fourth year in a row. Joining Massachusetts in the top five were California, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Vermont. The most-improved states in 2014 were Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, and Wisconsin. Indiana and Ohio, meanwhile, fell the furthest in the rankings due to decisions by legislators in both states to roll back energy savings targets. Despite setbacks in these states, energy efficiency has remained a key resource, with utilities budgeting more than $7.7 billion in 2013 for efficiency programs across the country.

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Country Analysis Brief — Canada

October 24, 2014 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief — Canada
Source: Energy Information Administration

Canada is a net exporter of most energy commodities and is an especially significant producer of conventional and unconventional oil, natural gas, and hydroelectricity. It stands out as the largest foreign supplier of energy to the United States, its southern neighbor and one of the world’s largest consumers of energy. Just as the United States depends on Canada for much of its energy needs, so is Canada profoundly dependent on the United States as an export market. However, economic and political considerations are leading Canada to consider ways to diversify its trading partners, especially by expanding ties with emerging markets in Asia.

U.S. Digital Video Benchmark: Adobe Digital Index Q2 2014

October 23, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Digital Video Benchmark: Adobe Digital Index Q2 2014 (PDF)
Source: Adobe

Key Insights

New record for total online video consumption

  • 38.2 billion−Online video (free access) achieves a record number of videos watched, up 43% year-overyear (YOY) to 38.2 billion.
  • Smartphones overtake tablets−Device preference swings back toward smartphones, with share of access via phones up 59%. (Q2 ‘13 versus Q2 ’14)
  • 25.8% ad growth−Ad growth follows as viewers now watch more than two ads per video start, a 25.8% growth YOY. (Q2 ‘13 through Q2 ’14)

Online TV growth accelerates in 2014

  • 388% YOY growth for online TV video consumption
  • 85% unique visitor growth−2014 has seen a surge in monthly unique viewership growing 85% over the past six months, up 146% YOY.

Weather-driven energy intensity increase led to higher energy-related emissions in 2013

October 23, 2014 Comments off

Weather-driven energy intensity increase led to higher energy-related emissions in 2013
Source: Energy Information Administration

U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased in 2013 by 129 million metric tons (2.5%), the largest increase since 2010 and the fourth-largest increase since 1990. Emissions trends reflect a combination of economic factors (population multiplied by per capita output [GDP/population]), energy intensity (energy use per dollar of GDP), and carbon intensity (carbon emissions per unit of energy consumed).

In the decade prior to 2013, energy intensity decreased on average by 2.0% per year; given that it increased by 0.5% in 2013, this meant there was a 2.5% swing compared to trend. Energy intensity changes can reflect weather variations that directly affect energy use for heating and cooling as well as changes in the composition of economic activity. Heating degree days, a measure of heating requirements, increased about 19% between 2012 and 2013. As compared to the 2003-12 trend, the increase in energy intensity added about 134 million metric tons.

Who Pollutes? A Household-Level Database of America’s Greenhouse Gas Footprint

October 23, 2014 Comments off

Who Pollutes? A Household-Level Database of America’s Greenhouse Gas Footprint
Source: Center for Global Development

This paper describes the creation of a database providing estimated greenhouse gas (GHG) footprints for 6 million US households over the period 2008-2012. The database allows analysis of footprints for 52 types of consumption (e.g. electricity, gasoline, apparel, beef, air travel, etc.) within and across geographic regions as small as individual census tracts.

Potential research applications with respect to carbon pricing and tax policy are discussed. Preliminary analysis reveals:

  • The top 10% of US polluters are responsible for 25% of the country’s GHG footprint. The least-polluting 40% of the population accounts for only 20% of the total. The average GHG footprint of individuals in the top 2% of the income distribution is more than four times that of those in the bottom quintile.
  • The highest GHG footprints are found in America’s suburbs, where relatively inefficient housing and transport converge with higher incomes. Rural areas exhibit moderate GHG footprints. High-density urban areas generally exhibit the lowest GHG footprints, but location-specific results are highly dependent on income.
  • Residents of Republican-held congressional districts have slightly higher average GHG footprints than those in Democratic districts – but the difference is small (21.8 tCO2e/person/year in Republican districts; 20.6 in Democratic). There is little relationship between the strength of a district’s party affiliation and average GHG footprint.

Understanding the Organization, Operation, and Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking in the United States

October 23, 2014 Comments off

Understanding the Organization, Operation, and Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking in the United States
Source: Urban Institute

This study chronicles the experiences of labor trafficking victims from the point of recruitment for work, their forced labor victimization, their attempts to escape and get help, and their efforts to seek justice through civil or criminal cases. The report finds that legal loopholes and lax enforcement enable labor traffickers to commit crimes against workers in major US industries: agriculture, domestic work, hotels, restaurants, and construction. Interview and case file data detail the ubiquity of trafficking, which occurs both in plain sight and behind lock and key. Detailed recommendations propose next steps for policy and practice.

See also: Lax Enforcement and Legal Loopholes Enable Labor Trafficking Victimization; Broadest look ever at victim experiences in five major US industries

Political Polarization & Media Habits

October 22, 2014 Comments off

Political Polarization & Media Habits
Source: Pew Research Journalism Project

When it comes to getting news about politics and government, liberals and conservatives inhabit different worlds. There is little overlap in the news sources they turn to and trust. And whether discussing politics online or with friends, they are more likely than others to interact with like-minded individuals, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

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