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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.

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.

Country Analysis Brief — Malaysia

October 22, 2014 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief — Malaysia
Source: Energy Information Administration

Malaysia’s energy industry is a critical sector of growth for the entire economy, and it makes up almost 20% of the total gross domestic product. New tax and investment incentives, starting in 2010, aim to promote oil and natural gas exploration and development in the country’s deepwater and marginal fields as well as promote energy efficiency measures and use of alternative energy sources. These fiscal incentives are part of the country’s economic transformation program to leverage its resources and geographic location to be one of Asia’s top energy players by 2020. Another key pillar in Malaysia’s energy strategy is to become a regional oil and natural gas storage, trading, and development hub that will attract technical expertise and downstream services that can compete in Asia.

Country Analysis Brief: Yemen

October 21, 2014 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Yemen
Source: Energy Information Administration

Yemen’s energy sector is in a state of flux. Declining oil production and frequent attacks on Yemen’s energy infrastructure have offset positive developments in the country’s natural gas sector since 2009. Yemen’s difficult security environment complicates the exploration, production, and transport of energy resources in the country, and could undermine the country’s emerging liquefied natural gas (LNG) export sector.

New From the GAO

October 20, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Food Safety: USDA Needs to Strengthen Its Approach to Protecting Human Health from Pathogens in Poultry Products. GAO-14-744, September 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-744
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666230.pdf
Podcast – http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/666518

2. Changing Crude Oil Markets: Allowing Exports Could Reduce Consumer Fuel Prices, and the Size of the Strategic Reserves Should Be Reexamined. GAO-14-807, September 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-807
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666275.pdf

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