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Tim Profeta is the founding director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. The Nicholas Institute is part of Duke University and focuses on improving environmental policy making worldwide through objective, fact-based research in the areas of climate change, the economics of limiting carbon pollution, oceans governance and coastal management, emerging environmental markets and freshwater concerns at home and abroad.

In his role at the Nicholas Institute, Profeta has continued to use his experience on Capitol Hill to engage in climate change debates. His research has focused, specifically, on market-based approaches to environmental regulations—particularly energy and climate change policy. Other projects engage his expertise in environmental law and air pollution regulation under the Clean Air Act.

Federal Appeals Court Upholds EPA Mercury Rule

A federal appeals court upheld the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) requiring power plants install technology to cut emissions of mercury and other air pollutants. MATS was challenged by industry and several states that argued the EPA should have considered costs when determining whether it was “appropriate and necessary” to go forward with the standards. The…

Climate Change, EPA Rules Focus of McCabe Confirmation Hearing

Climate change, extreme weather and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants were the focus of a confirmation hearing for Janet McCabe, President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. In the hearing—at which lawmakers took jabs at one another on the…

IPCC Report Shares Dire News, Some Adaptation Measures

Climate change risks dramatically increase the more Earth warms, but reducing greenhouse gas emissions lowers the risk of the most unwelcome consequences, according to the latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). “We have assessed impacts as they are happening on the natural and human systems on all continents,” said IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri. “In…

Air Pollution Now Top Environmental Health Risk

New analysis from the World Health Organization (WHO) links exposure to air pollution to roughly 7 million deaths annually. The report confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest environmental health risk. It estimates 4.3 million people died in 2012—mainly due to cooking inside with coal or wood stoves. Another 3.7 million died from outdoor pollution, including…

Reports, Website Document Effects of and Need for Dialogue on Climate Change

Last year, carbon dioxide briefly passed the 400 parts per million milestone. Now, says Ralph Keeling of the Scripps Institution for Oceanography, we’re on track to “see values dwelling over 400 in April and May. It’s just a matter of time before it stays over 400 forever.” This pronouncement comes the same week the American Association for the…

All-Night Senate Session Focuses on Climate Change

In the last 100 years, senators have held all-night sessions 35 times on everything from the Civil Rights Act to the Iraq War. This week, climate change made the list as number 36. The more than 14-hour session, which began Monday night, was organized by the Climate Action Task Force. Dubbed an avenue to voice concerns over the issue that has…

Budget Provides Blueprint for Climate, Energy Goals

President Barack Obama unveiled his 2015 budget proposal Tuesday, outlining his spending and policy priorities for the upcoming year. In it, President Obama earmarked funding for both his Climate Action Plan and Climate Resiliency Fund. The budget for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—the agency that released stricter fuel standards this week—represented a $309 million decrease from the current fiscal year budget. The nearly $8 billion…

Supreme Court Divided After Hearing on EPA Authority

In a hearing Monday, the Supreme Court questioned whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is correct in its interpretation that regulating greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles triggers the requirement to also implement permitting requirements for large stationary sources. At issue is the legality of EPA’s interpretation of the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) regulations. Industry groups argue that the PSD…

Tougher Efficiency Standards Ordered for Large Trucks

President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced his administration will begin developing tougher fuel standards for the nation’s fleet of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The new standards will build on a 2011 regulation that set the first-ever fuel standards for model years 2014–18. The next phase—for models beyond 2018—will be proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Transportation Department’s…

Guidelines Issued for Diesel Fuel Used in Hydraulic Fracturing

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued guidelines on the use of diesel fuel in oil and gas hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a method that involves pumping water containing chemicals into shale formations to unlock trapped energy resources. The EPA defines five substances as diesel variations and outlines guidelines and “technical recommendations” for their use.…

Keystone XL Assessment Report Finds No Significant Environmental Objections

The State Department issued its final environmental impact statement on the Keystone XL pipeline, which echoed findings in previous analyses that the pipeline would lead to no substantial increase in greenhouse gas emissions. It found that approximately 147-168 million metric tons of carbon dioxide would be created by producing, refining and burning the pipeline’s oil. The report’s release kicks off a 30-day…

Obama Promises Strong Action on Climate Change, Energy Independence in State of the Union Address

In his 2014 State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama took just 5 minutes of the 65-minute speech to cover energy and environment issues. He declared climate change “a fact,” stating “when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with…

Obama Doesn’t Need Congress to Move Forward on Clean Energy

A week before President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, a new report says Obama could advance key measures of his Climate Action Plan with or without the cooperation of Congress. “When they believed a national situation warranted action, some past presidents interpreted their authority broadly and exercised it aggressively,” the report said. “That is the practice of presidential authority Americans…

Study Says United States Tops List of Global Warming Offenders

A new study by Canadian researchers finds the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, and developing nations Brazil and India were responsible for more than 60 percent of global temperature changes between 1906 and 2005. The U.S. alone was responsible for 22 percent of the warning; China followed at 9 percent and Russia at 8 percent. Brazil…

Carbon Markets Show Glimmers of Recovery in 2014

A year after the launch of its cap-and-trade program, California formally linked its emissions trading scheme with Quebec’s—enabling carbon allowances and offset credits to be exchanged between participants in the two jurisdictions. The linkage, which marks the first agreement in North America that allows for the trading of greenhouse gas emissions across borders, is designed to escalate…