CGMF's Top Blog Posts of 2015

What does ‘getting gas right,’ water infrastructure, improving the conservation narrative, and outlawing legal loopholes have in common? They are subjects addressed in the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation’s top blog posts of 2015—opinions penned by influencers from a global community of disparate experts—topics that explore solutions at the nexus of environmental protection, social equity, and economic vibrancy.

Editor's Note: Blog posts rankings are based on social media quantitative measurements, and are listed in alphabetical order according to the author's name, with links to the full article and the author's background.

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Let’s ‘get gas right’ and exploit synergies of natural gas and renewables

The energy landscape in the U.S. is changing. Renewable technologies like wind and solar power are on the rise. Together, natural gas and renewables can contribute to a resilient and reliable electrical system that is also less carbon intensive. That potential, argues Douglas J. Arent, Ph.D. and Jacquelyn Pless of the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis, rests on “getting gas right.”  

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Note to Industry: Regulation and business success are not mutually exclusive

Mark Brownstein of Environmental Defense Fund writes that leadership of the oil and gas industry could stand to remember George Mitchell’s example. He and others built a strong foundation for responsible oversight of the oil and gas industry, which is at risk of being wiped out by a sector that has moved toward resistance of regulation at all cost, even if it works in their favor.

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How Texas escaped the crippling effects of the 2030-2032 drought

Paul Faeth of CNA takes a satirical look back to focus on the serious issue of drought, and how Texas could adopt the strategies of today for water-related solutions that are sustainable, economically viable, and smart for our environment in the long-term. 

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A plan that doesn't account for all environmental needs doesn't hold water

Myron Hess of the National Wildlife Federation says the time is now for changed attitudes about water use as well as water use efficiency in Texas and across the U.S. To continue to develop water plans based on the pretense that critical environmental needs don't exist, or don’t matter, is pure folly. A water plan that doesn’t account for all water needs is not useful and it’s certainly not sustainable.

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Hey Texas, what about climate change?

Recent findings show the need to incorporate the effects of climate change on water resources management practices and planning in the state of Texas. To do so, critical questions need to be answered. Dr. Paulina Jaramillo of Carnegie Mellon University says ensuring the long-term availability of water resources for human and environmental wellbeing in Texas requires that water managers and planners account for these answers as they prepare for the future. 

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One way to reduce dangerous pollution from Texas coal plants? Outlaw legal loopholes

Ilan Levin of the Environmental Integrity Project says coal combustion is a dirty and dangerous business yet, in the past, coal plant air pollution has escaped meaningful regulatory oversight in Texas. Levin and his allies are working to clamp down on coal plant pollution and close startup/shutdown loopholes. As a result, they’ve helped influence improved state laws and forced both Texas and the EPA to adopt new and better startup/shutdown rules.

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What is a conservative after all but one who conserves

The arguments against efficiency are tired and often repeated in the public and political dialogue. Doug Lewin of the South-central Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resource points out hat the conservation of natural resources, however, is not, and should not be, a partisan issue. We all want a strong economy, and an economy with excess waste is not as strong as it could be.

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When it rains, it pours: Why Texas needs to invest in better water infrastructure

The best way to protect Texans from this pollution is to prevent it. Luke Metzger and Sarah E. Smith of Environment Texas spell out an innovative solution focused on investing in a water infrastructure that is cost-effective, flexible, and environmentally-sound—an approach to reduce stormwater runoff and sewer overflows that affect our general health and welfare.  

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Solar energy shines bright in Texas

Over the last fifty years, most of the power generated for ERCOT, the electric grid operator for 90 percent of Texas’s power use, has come from natural gas and coal, with some from two large nuclear power plants. Cyrus Reed, Ph.D., of the Sierra Club, says the traditional Big Three—natural gas, coal, and nuclear—are getting competition from cleaner and more sustainable renewable resources, and that’s good news for solar power-rich Texas.  

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Improving the conservation narrative: What we say vs. what the public hears

Conservationists desperately need to engage minds that are misinformed, uneducated, or simply disinterested. Dr. Hilary Swain of Archbold Biological Station shares how one can give the facts about conservation a fighting chance, offering 10 well-honed tips to improve the conversation message.

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A Day in the Life: What it Means to Advocate for the Environment

Kate Zerrenner of Environmental Defense Fund uses humor, intellect, facts, and commonsense to advocate for change to environmental policies. And, she makes no bones about it: her day-to-day charge is challenging, particularly in the state of Texas.

 

The views expressed by contributors to the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation's blogging initiative, "Achieving a Sustainable Texas," are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the foundation.

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