There is a direct line from the policy decisions the United States has made over the last century – decisions that have almost universally moved the country toward deepening dependence on fossil fuel-powered personal cars – to the climate-altering reality of today.

The vast majority of the 16 recent solar cost-benefit analyses we reviewed for Shining Rewards found that, even with full retail net metering, solar owners provide a net benefit to the grid. And the analyses finding otherwise were largely commissioned by utilities.

Fast Forward surveys the lay of the land for innovative mobility technologies and tools in Massachusetts, explores their potential impacts, and makes a series of recommendations for local, state and federal policy-makers.

Over the summer, my seven-year-old son and I flew to Los Angeles to visit his cousins. When we arrived, he was fidgety from having to sit still on a plane and his youngest cousin was bouncing off the walls in excitement at our arrival, so we walked over to the playground next to his cousin’s elementary school. It wasn’t until a few weeks later, as I was mapping data for Frontier Group’s newest report about the risks of fracking, that I realized that the elementary school and the playground the kids had enjoyed so much is about a mile and a half from numerous fracked wells.

Starting this fall, 16- and 17-year-olds will be eligible to "preregister" to vote, so when they turn 18 they will automatically be listed on voter rolls. Our new report, Path to the Polls, makes recommendations to encourage California to adopt strong policies to make voter preregistration effective.

In order for humans to continue to prosper, our society must take action to curb global warming.  Our new report, Carbon-Cutting Success Stories, shows that a powerful program to reduce emissions can help people and organizations take effective action against climate change and bring other benefits to their communities.

Not one of New Jersey's biggest cities has a modern, searchable and sortable budget website to allow easy access to checkbook-level municipal spending data. 

Not only can shared networks enable people to choose the right tool for the job, but if we integrate sharing and autonomy into our cities intelligently, we can allow for the safe use of additional modes – like walking and bicycling – that are currently crowded off our streets by our over-reliance on the 20th century’s intended one-size-fits-all solution to our transportation challenges: the personal car.

Denver is one of the fastest growing cities in the country and rapidly changing as a result. What this change looks like will largely depend on policy.

Massachusetts continues to experience a slow slide in car commuting, and an increase in the importance of transit and active transportation – driven in part by economic and population growth in the region’s core and, relatedly, by shifting patterns of commuting among younger residents.

Earthquakes are becoming a great risk to the people of Oklahoma, Texas and Ohio, and evidence points to the disposal of fracking wastewater.

The history of urban policy over the last century suggests that the words we use to describe our city neighborhoods matter – a lot.

Amtrak’s loan backlash shows that a certain transportation funding argument is alive and well – and it’s one we’ve been refuting for a long time. It goes like this: If transit projects don’t sustain themselves financially, or even turn a profit, we shouldn’t support them with taxpayer dollars. 

After a summer of apartment hunting, I have acquired both a place to live for the next year and a persisting habit of browsing housing websites when bored. Amidst all the numbers you might expect to see on a real estate listing – square footage, cost, walkability, etc. – I recently noticed a new one: the Sun Number, a rating from zero to 100 of a house’s solar energy potential. By educating prospective homeowners about the value of installing rooftop solar panels, the Sun Number could be an effective tool for increasing the production of clean, renewable energy.

The need to revisit old assumptions in transportation planning, and to bring a clear-eyed sense of priorities and fresh perspective to transportation policy is as urgent today as it has ever been – regardless of month-to-month or year-to-year fluctuations of VMT. 

Empathy for the plight of those who drive cannot be an excuse for failing, through appropriate public policy, to try to get the balance of responsibility right.

If we reach lightbulb saturation – meaning, every home has long-lasting lightbulbs installed – it will be hard for lightbulb companies to sell the same quantity of products they do today. So some are designing LED lightbulbs purposefully designed to burn out sooner, or lights that require frequent upgrades or replacements to function properly. 

Cheap gas, readily available financing, low interest rates, increasing employment and rising wages have continued to fuel car sales. Now, however, auto industry observers are signaling that the party may be over.

While researching and writing Natural Gas and Global Warming: A Review of the Evidence Finds that Methane Leaks Undercut the Climate Benefits of Gas, I read stacks of research papers on the climate impacts of natural gas. Parsing these academic studies is an acquired skill and I thought I’d share some of what I learned about how to read methane research for anybody who is just diving into this topic.


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