Pioneering municipalities can use traditional financial tools to preserve natural assets.

Moving Natural Assets from the Drawing Board to the Board Room

Making an environmental case for preserving natural assets is straightforward, but explaining their value within financial and management strategies takes real innovation. A handful of pioneering municipalities are testing new approaches to integrate natural assets such as rivers, forests and foreshores into the core of urban management.

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Research Group Blames Politics for Tax Filing Problems

Tax filing is a headache, and that’s why some 80 million Americans invest in professional tax preparation. But it doesn’t have to be that way, points out the nonpartisan organization Maplight. The research group did some digging and found that there are big names and big money standing in the way of a bill to simplify the tax filing system. The pockets are deep: to the tune of $35 million. And several top politicians own stock in the companies most fiercely opposed to tax filing reform.

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Canada’s Green Energy: The Push for a New East-West Grid

Geography and economic benefits have dominated Canada’s power grid for years. Now, researchers are calling for a redesign that would allow Canada to upgrade its ailing power structure and improve its green energy. The results of this 20-year endeavor could make Canada a powerhouse in the energy sector. And it could benefit the U.S. as well.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Rush escorts the suspected high seas drift net fishing vessel Da Cheng in the North Pacific Ocean on August 14, 2012.

Some Question New U.S. Plan to Combat Illegal Fishing

“[The government] wants to prevent illegal, unregulated [and] unreported fishing — they have an acronym for it, and when the government gets acronyms for things, watch out! Here it comes,” trade lawyer Robert Becerra said at 2015 Seafood Expo North America. He’s not the only one who’s wondering how the government plans to enforce its new regulations to curb IUU fishing.

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Policy Points: How Tax Inversions Hurt Smaller Businesses

Unfortunately, this Tax Day, some companies will shoulder a smaller tax burden than others — a few will have none at all. It makes absolutely zero sense. And it’s all legal. One way companies can get their bill down to zero is through the process of a tax inversion. Here, a U.S. company buys a foreign competitor, then reincorporates the new company in the foreign country, where tax burdens are lower. This sleight of hand can have very real consequences for businesses.

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Report: Climate Change Poses High Risk for Low-Income Rural Communities

If you live on a fixed income, fluctuations in energy prices can have a dizzying impact. As climate justice advocate Gerald Durley put it during a recent conference call hosted by the Natural Resources Defense Council: “When unprecedented weather disasters devastate the poorest neighborhoods in places like New Orleans, New Jersey and New York, [climate change] is a civil rights issue.”

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Philip Morris Sues Uruguay Over Anti-Smoking Campaign

One can surmise the many things tobacco companies have in common with fast food corporations, including the fact they must expand their business abroad while sales stagnate on both sides of the Atlantic. The result is that the World Health Organization estimates that 70 percent of the 8.4 million deaths that will be attributed tobacco use in 2020 will occur in developing countries. One country that has long run an aggressive anti-smoking campaign is Uruguay, but its laws are under threat by a lawsuit filed by Philip Morris International.

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Cutting California Emissions by 40 Percent: A Blueprint for Climate Leadership

California is America’s climate policy leader, home to both the country’s biggest clean energy industry and an internationally-linked carbon market being modeled across the world. But to build on this momentum, it must go even further. A recent proposal to cut emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 will support the push for international commitments leading up to this year’s COP21 climate conference in Paris. It will also empower California to keep leading America’s clean energy transition.

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Transportation Planning, Liquid Asphalt and the Road Ahead

Are we making policy decisions that leverage our transportation infrastructure investments? Alternative fuels and alternative-fuel based vehicles don’t just have a positive impact on our environment, but they also have a positive impact on our economy. The golden-age of roadways and automobiles isn’t over. Ushering in another era will be determined by progressive policy decisions that embrace new technology. Climate change is the real road block; yet, certain policies have stopped progress dead in its tracks. It’s time to give alternatively-fueled vehicles a green light.

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Obama Links Climate Change with Public Health

This week is National Public Health Week. One of the events commemorating the occasion was a roundtable discussion on Tuesday at Howard University’s College of Medicine, where President Barack Obama joined U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to discuss the link between climate change and public health.

The 12 Best Practices were developed from a national survey and funded by the DOE Sunshot Initiative.  (Click to enlarge)

Colorado’s Solar-Friendly Communities Go National

Solar Communities is a program that helps local governments implement 12 best practices for rooftop solar, breaking through red tape and making residential installations easier on homeowners. The program covers over half the population of the state. The Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association now hopes to expand its program to the rest of the country.

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Climate Change — Just a Data Problem?

A firm understanding of data and statistics is necessary to navigate today’s world. In this post, Persistent Efficiency CEO Jason Trager highlights the basic concepts of data and statistics, and outlines how misinterpretations can lead to errant conclusions.

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How Government Subsidies Drive Deforestation and Inequality

While contributing to agricultural and natural resource development and GDP, government subsidies are drivers of deforestation and marginalization of indigenous communities in environmentally critical tropical forests. Reports from ODI (Overseas Development Institute) and Forest Peoples Program offer details and insights.

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Educate Refugees or Lose a Generation

Education is often among the first casualties of sustained conflict, and all too often, the international focus simply moves on to the next conflict, leaving a massive skills and knowledge void in its wake. Pearson’s CEO John Fallon explains why educating refugees is crucial.