Earth Policy Institute

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Earth Policy Institute (EPI) is a U.S.-based environmental group that says its goal is "to provide a vision of what a sustainable economy will look like and a plan for how to get from here to there." [1]

EPI also critiques the impact of the U.S. environmental movement to date: "Since the publication of Silent Spring and the birth of the modern environmental movement, the environmental community has worked hard to arrest the deterioration of the Earth’s health. Many battles have been won, but we are losing the war. The Earth’s capacity to support the economy continues to deteriorate. The gap between what we need to do to arrest the deterioration of the Earth and what we are doing continues to widen." [2]

EPI publishes reports on various environmental issues, some of which are highlighted below.

Problems with coal

"Startling new research shows that one out of every six women of childbearing age in the United States may have blood mercury concentrations high enough to damage a developing fetus," states an EPI report by Janet Larsen. "This means that 630,000 of the 4 million babies born in the country each year are at risk of neurological damage because of exposure to dangerous mercury levels in the womb." [3]

"In a report compiled in early 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy listed 151 coal-fired power plants in the planning stages and talked about a resurgence in coal-fired electricity. But during 2007, 59 proposed U.S. coal-fired power plants were either refused licenses by state governments or quietly abandoned," reads an EPI report by Lester R. Brown. "In addition to the 59 plants that were dropped, close to 50 more coal plants are being contested in the courts, and the remaining plants will likely be challenged as they reach the permitting stage." [4]

Global warming

"With the record for 2007 now complete, it is clear that temperatures around the world are continuing their upward climb. The global average in 2007 was 14.73 degrees Celsius (58.5 degrees Fahrenheit) -- the second warmest year on record, only 0.03 degrees Celsius behind the 2005 maximum," according to an EPI report by Frances C. Moore. "January 2007 was the hottest January ever measured, a full 0.23 degrees Celsius warmer than the previous record. August was also a record for that month and September was the second warmest September recorded." [5]

"Following a string of high heat days and meteorologists’ warnings that this summer could be another scorcher, European public health officials and politicians are revisiting the devastating heat wave of 2003. The severely hot weather that withered crops, dried up rivers, and fueled fires that summer took a massive human toll. The full magnitude of this quiet catastrophe still remains largely an untold story, as data revealing the continent-wide scale have only slowly become available in the years since," states an EPI report by Janet Larsen. "All in all, more than 52,000 Europeans died from heat in the summer of 2003, making the heat wave one of the deadliest climate-related disasters in Western history." [6]

Compact fluorescents and energy efficiency

"On February 20, 2007, Australia announced it would phase out the sale of inefficient incandescent light bulbs by 2010, replacing them with highly efficient compact fluorescent bulbs that use one fourth as much electricity. If the rest of the world joins Australia in this simple step to sharply cut carbon emissions, the worldwide drop in electricity use would permit the closing of more than 270 coal-fired (500 megawatt) power plants. For the United States, this bulb switch would facilitate shutting down 80 coal-fired plants," states an EPI report by Lester R. Brown. [7]

Wind energy

"When Austin Energy, the publicly owned utility in Austin, Texas, launched its GreenChoice program in 2000, customers opting for green electricity paid a premium. During the fall of 2005, climbing natural gas prices pulled conventional electricity costs above those of wind-generated electricity, the source of most green power. This crossing of the cost lines in Austin and several other communities is a milestone in the U.S. shift to a renewable energy economy," according to an EPI report by Lester R. Brown. [8]


From EPI's website: [9]




Earth Policy Institute, 1350 Connecticut Ave. NW
Suite 403, Washington DC 20036
Phone: 202.496.9290
Fax: 202.496.9325

SourceWatch resources

External links


  1. About, Earth Policy Institute, accessed February 2008.
  2. About, Earth Policy Institute, accessed November 28, 2007.
  3. Janet Larsen, "COAL TAKES HEAVY HUMAN TOLL: Some 25,100 U.S. Deaths from Coal Use Largely Preventable," Earth Policy Institute, August 24, 2004.
  4. Lester R. Brown, "U.S. Moving Toward Ban on New Coal-Fired Power Plants," Earth Policy Institute, February 14, 2008.
  5. Frances C. Moore, "2007 SECOND WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD: Northern Hemisphere Temperature Highest Ever," Earth Policy Institute, January 10, 2008.
  6. Janet Larsen, "SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: More than 52,000 Europeans Died from Heat in Summer 2003," Earth Policy Institute, July 28, 2006.
  7. Lester R. Brown, "BAN THE BULB: Worldwide Shift from Incandescents to Compact Fluorescents Could Close 270 Coal-Fired Power Plants," Earth Policy Institute, May 9, 2007.
  8. Lester R. Brown, "WIND ENERGY DEMAND BOOMING: Cost Dropping Below Conventional Sources Marks Key Milestone in U.S. Shift to Renewable Energy," Earth Policy Institute, March 22, 2006.
  9. About, Earth Policy Institute, accessed November 28, 2007.