Topic: Regulation
News
July 30, 2017

Lu Fang, secretary general of the photovoltaics decision in the China Renewable Energy Society, wrote in an article circulating on mainland social media this month that the country’s cumulative capacity of retired panels would reach up to 70 gigawatts (GW) by 2034.

That is three times the scale of the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydropower project, by power production.

By 2050 these waste panels would add up to 20 million tonnes, or 2,000 times the weight of the Eiffel Tower, according to Lu.

. . . A panel’s lifespan ranges from 20 to 30 years, depending on the environment in which they are used, according to the US Department of Energy. High temperatures can accelerate the ageing process for solar cells, while other negative factors – such as the weight of snow or dust storms – could cause material fatigue on the surface and internal electric circuits, gradually reducing the panel’s power output.

News
July 30, 2017

A constant tenet of Marin County’s guiding ethos is resistance to growth, manifesting itself in a kind of environmental apartheid. Under the guise of preserving a serene environment, Marin County’s residents and politicians use every means possible to avoid building new housing that would allow more population growth, particularly low- or moderate-income dwellings. They’ve been remarkably successful. Between 1969 and 2015, while California’s population was doubling, Marin County’s grew by just 28.4 percent. . . . When California’s housing shortfall became acute and the state government started getting serious about the housing quotas it had been assigning to communities, Marin County’s assemblyman, Democrat Marc Levine, carried a 2014 bill to exempt it from quotas until 2023, arguing that Marin needed more time to get it right. However, without waiting for a scheduled report on the county’s progress on meeting its housing quotas, Levine persuaded legislative leaders last month to insert into a budget “trailer bill” (Senate Bill 106) a brief passage that extends Marin County’s exemption from quotas for an additional five years, until 2028.

Report

he Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes several provisions designed to expand insurance coverage that also alter the tie between employment and health insurance. In this paper, we exploit variation across geographic areas in the potential impact of the ACA to estimate its effect on health insurance coverage and labor market outcomes in the first two years after the implementation of its main features. Our measures of potential ACA impact come from pre- existing population shares of uninsured individuals within income groups that were targeted by Medicaid expansions and federal subsidies for private health insurance, interacted with each state’s Medicaid expansion status. Our findings indicate that the majority of the increase in health insurance coverage since 2013 is due to the ACA and that areas in which the potential Medicaid and exchange enrollments were higher saw substantially larger increases in coverage. While labor market outcomes in the aggregate were not significantly affected, our results indicate that labor force participation reductions in areas with higher potential exchange enrollment were offset by increases in labor force participation in areas with higher potential Medicaid enrollment

News
July 28, 2017

A powerful California water agency is poised to adopt its own regulations that could protect more of the state’s wetlands from being plowed, paved over or otherwise damaged. Environmental groups are pressuring the State Water Resources Control Board to push back against Trump’s decision and adopt a wetlands policy that’s even stricter than former President Barack Obama’s. “The state board should be adopting a policy that is even more protective of California’s wetlands,” said Rachel Zwillinger, water policy adviser for Defenders of Wildlife. “This (proposed) policy is a critical opportunity for the state to step up and protect its own resources.” A fight over the proposed rules has been brewing for years and is about to come to a head. A year ago, a broad coalition of developers, homebuilders, farmers and other business groups submitted testimony against the regulations, saying they would create more red tape, higher costs and fewer rights for landowners.

News
July 28, 2017

Occupational licensing requirements have a widespread and deep reach in California. The Golden State ranks 7th in the nation for licensing burden, with a total of 62 low-income occupations licensed and requiring an average of 549 days of education. These licenses have cast a wide net, with one out of every five Californian’s needing to receive permission to work from the government . By restrict entry into the market occupational licenses also result in lower job growth. Specifically, licensed industries experience up to 20% lower job growth than their unlicensed counterparts. This has prevented the creation of 3 million jobs nationally, according to a study from the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. Occupational licenses also increase wages at the cost of consumers. While we can cheer hooray for those licensed workers who now enjoy 15% higher wages, the party is ruined for consumers who now fork out an additional $203 billion a year. In fact, the increase in consumer prices in licensed industries ranges from 5% to a whopping 33%.

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