We create transit systems to benefit society, not to maximize profits. Raising fares on transit riders might increase revenue, but if the effect of doing so is to put transit users back onto congested streets and highways, deny people access to economic opportunity, and increase pollution, the benefits to society are reduced.

On a recent vacation in Germany with my husband, we spent a day at the Deutsches Museum, a huge science and technology museum. Two exhibits, one on nanotechnology and the other on nuclear power, presented strikingly different messages about acceptable risks to society from any I’ve encountered from a major institution in the U.S.

Since its launch in 2011, FracFocus, a government- and industry-funded website, has been the only place where Americans could learn the details about chemicals and water used in fracking operations near their homes, schools and businesses. But FracFocus has never lived up to its promise of bringing true transparency to fracking. And now, at least one state is planning to set its own course for fracking disclosure.

A new Frontier Group and Environment America Research & Policy Center report, Path to the Paris Climate Conference, estimates how much the U.S. might reduce its carbon dioxide pollution from fossil fuel combustion by 2025 from policies already in place.

Failing to adapt to changing trends isn’t just a federal problem. It also affects regional forecasts of energy demand that have major implications for environmental and energy policy.

Energy efficiency opportunities abound, the research tells us, but typically none of these opportunities are obvious to the naked eye. Thus I was surprised during a recent trip to Germany to witness several simple energy-saving technologies that underscore the idea that energy efficiency opportunities are widely available.

One of the first things that I read upon my return from vacation in Germany was Frontier Group intern Dana Bradley’s blog post about the need for a clear transportation vision for U.S. cities. She suggested that cities could look overseas for ideas. Based on my recent experience traveling around Munich, I think that’s a great idea.

Cities such as Helsinki, Seoul, Dublin and Copenhagen are showing how bold visions for a new transportation future can motivate changes to expand the availability of sustainable transportation options.

The imperative for climate action, the growing transportation funding crisis, and the emerging uncertainty about future demand for automobile travel all suggest that we open a fundamental debate about the transportation future of this country.

Last year, a coalition of electric utilities and fossil fuel interest groups lobbied for and won a “freeze” of Ohio's Clean Energy Law, halting the ramp-up of Ohio’s renewable electricity and energy efficiency standards, and permanently dismantling provisions of the law. Frontier Group's new analysis, Progress on Hold, found that the clean energy freeze will increase pollution, and result in Ohioans missing out on energy efficiency savings worth billions.

The EPA concludes that fracking is linked to “important vulnerabilities to drinking water resources.” Translation: Fracking threatens water quality. Period.

What started in 2013 with a prototype system that sent email alerts to clients when specified keywords or phrases appeared in local government meeting agendas, minutes or documents, is now morphing into an aggregated compilation of city, county and school district records – all available for download by individuals and organizations.

Gamification of public policy choices and dilemmas isn’t just for recreation. Getting large numbers of people to play such games can support richer, more informed, and more diverse participation in public policy debates.

The Santa Barbara oil spill on May 19 - a ruptured pipeline that spread 105,000 gallons of oil onto Refugio State Beach and into the ocean - is another reminder that our oil dependence is inevitably linked to tragedies for our communities and the environments on which we depend.

A federal court in Wisconsin yesterday ruled that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) did not properly justify the need for a $128-million widening of a stretch of State Highway 23 between Fond du Lac and Plymouth.

Any growth in VMT in the future is likely to be slow by historical standards, and any growth in per-capita driving to be minimal.

Urban heat islands are a health risk for vulnerable populations, cause people to run air conditioners more (driving up electricity bills and global warming pollution), and accelerate the formation of ground-level ozone that triggers breathing problems. To combat the urban heat island effect, cities are pursuing a variety of strategies, including planting more trees, replacing roofs with more reflective material or even vegetation, and using different pavement that reflects more heat. Los Angeles, for example, just released its sustainability plan that includes the goal of reducing its urban-rural heat difference by 1.7 degrees in 2025 and 3.0 degrees in 2035. Part of the way the city intends to achieve this goal is by planting trees, installing 10,000 cool roofs by 2017, testing cooler pavements, and removing hard surfaces where possible. Los Angeles and other cities should pursue an additional strategy: replacing conventional gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles with electric vehicles.

If you don’t eat meat or work on a farm, are the dangerous resistant bacteria that develop in livestock a threat to your health?


Subscribe to Blog