Pulitzer winning climate news

Elizabeth Douglass

Elizabeth Douglass writes about energy for InsideClimate News. She worked for more than two decades as a business writer at daily newspapers, including a ten-year stint at the Los Angeles Times, where she spent the last half of her tenure covering energy. Her stories followed developments in the oil market, alternative fuels, and renewable energy, and exposed long-running performance problems at California's San Onofre nuclear power plant. She also chronicled how a power company falsified data to win customer-funded performance bonuses and how oil refiners and others in California created one of the nation’s most profitable fuel markets.

While covering telecommunications, she was the first to report financial sleight-of-hand at fiber network company Global Crossing, and uncovered Pacific Bell's boiler room-style sale of add-on features. At the San Diego Union-Tribune, she co-wrote an investigative series on government contractor Science Applications International Corp. that was a finalist for the 1996 Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism.

She holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

You can reach her by email at elizabeth.douglass@insideclimatenews.org


Woe, Canada: Ramifications of Oil Sands Slump Are Economic and Political

In the country that bet big on the "carbon bomb" in Alberta, the industry's crisis impacts the economy and maybe Stephen Harper's re-election.

Aug 19, 2015

A dramatic reversal of fortune for Canada's tar sands oil industry has cheered environmental advocates, and it may also leave Prime Minister Stephen Harper vulnerable in the coming federal election because of the economic repercussions, some have predicted.

Exxon’s Maligned $5M Settlement for Pegasus Spill Ruled ‘Fair and Reasonable’

Arkansas authorities had sought stronger measures to protect waterways from toxic tar sands oil spills, but a federal judge rejects their pleas.

Aug 13, 2015

A federal judge rejected arguments by local Arkansas authorities that a $5 million settlement related to ExxonMobil’s 2013 pipeline rupture was too weak to protect residents and drinking water sources from another disastrous spill.

Americans Are Fueling Up Cheaply, and the Climate Suffers

Cheap gas puts people back on the road and buying gas-guzzlers, reversing long decline in greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles.

Aug 13, 2015

So much for the idea that American gasoline use topped out in the last decade.

Lower oil prices and the improving economy have sparked an increase in fuel use, road travel and vehicle emissions. It puts an emphatic end to the notion that better fuel economy and fewer active drivers would shrink demand for gasoline in the U.S. from what was thought to be its peak in 2007.

Plunging Prices, Climate Concerns Hit Canadian Oil Sands Producers Hard

Canadian producers share an uncertain future with the oil industry, but higher costs and opposition to expansion and pipelines bring extra hardship.

Aug 11, 2015

Canadian oil sands producers, facing a double whammy of low oil prices and higher taxes in Alberta, are slashing spending, suspending production, cutting jobs and halting shareholder dividends. They are fighting the same market forces that are putting pressure on the entire oil industry, but face even more hurdles than the oil majors.

Is the Oil Industry Off a Cliff or Just in a Down Cycle?

Low prices are forcing companies to curtail exploration and borrow to sustain dividends and stock value as the world looks to curtail emissions.

Aug 6, 2015

With the oil industry facing what could be its worst downturn in more than 45 years, the major companies are taking extraordinary, perhaps even desperate, measures to preserve their dividends. This is raising the question of whether the current price slump is just another in a long history of down business cycles, from which oil companies always emerge victoriously, or a sign of more deeply troubled times ahead.

SolarCity Aims to Power Nation's Smaller Businesses

With households and large companies turning to solar, SolarCity moves to make its power accessible for the smaller commercial market.

Jul 28, 2015

In a move to accelerate the spread of solar power in the United States, the nation's largest residential solar installer launched a new offering Tuesday aimed at the underserved  small- and medium-sized business market.

SolarCity has grown quickly with a boost from new financing options for residential  installations that have removed or significantly lowered the up-front costs.  Now the company hopes to do the same thing for smaller commercial customers.

Exxon's Deal for Arkansas Pipeline Spill Leaves Water Vulnerable, Groups Warn

Groups opposed to the $5 million ExxonMobil settlement are worried that drinking water for 750,000 Arkansas residents isn't protected.

Jul 28, 2015

ExxonMobil's $5 million settlement for polluting water during the Pegasus oil pipeline spill may be final as soon as this week. But many Arkansas water agencies and cities are blasting the penalty and other requirements in the pact as being too weak and too reliant on struggling federal pipeline regulators to keep the 1940s-era pipeline from failing again.  

Climate Treaty's Finances on Shaky Ground

This primer explains why faith is beginning to wane in the Green Climate Fund, designed to heal divisions between rich and poor nations.

Jul 20, 2015

Faith in the Green Climate Fund, the finance arm long believed to hold a key to achieving a global climate change accord in Paris in December, is beginning to wane.

The Green Climate Fund is supposed to be the primary distributor of tens of billions of dollars in climate aid to help the world's poorest countries deal with climate change caused primarily by the actions of others. It was designed to help heal the deep divisions between rich and poor nations that have long dimmed hopes for a meaningful global warming solution.