The Obama administration unveiled an ambitious plan Wednesday that it said would improve public health by slashing the ozone pollution that causes smog.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy framed the update to the ground-level ozone standard as an imperative, bringing agency rules in line with the latest science to protect the nation's most vulnerable populations from a range of respiratory illnesses including asthma.
"Bringing ozone pollution standards in line with the latest science will clean up our air, improve access to crucial air quality information, and protect those most at-risk," McCarthy said in a statement Wednesday morning.
The Obama administration is expected to propose restrictions on smog-causing ozone on Wednesday in a move that will address a major cause of respiratory illness for millions of Americans while also setting the stage for new clashes with the Republican-controlled Congress.
The Environmental Protection Agency's long-awaited proposal will reportedly call for toughening restrictions on the pollutant, which forms when chemicals in factory smoke and automobile exhaust react to sunlight. Ground-level ozone has been linked to numerous premature deaths annually as well as to the "code red" respiratory warnings common to Washington and other urban areas during the summer months.
China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, plans to start a nationwide carbon market in the next two years following a pledge to cap emissions by 2030.
Opening in 2016, the market would have matured by 2020, Su Wei, an official at the climate change department under the National Development and Reform Commission, said today at a press conference in Beijing. China, which is working on an absolute control plan for carbon emissions, may announce rules for carbon-permit trading as early as the end of the year, Su said.
The world’s fossil fuels will "obviously" have to stay in the ground in order to solve global warming, Barack Obama’s climate change envoy said on Monday.
In the clearest sign to date the administration sees no long-range future for fossil fuel, the state department climate change envoy, Todd Stern, said the world would have no choice but to forgo developing reserves of oil, coal and gas.
The assertion, a week ahead of United Nations climate negotiations in Lima, will be seen as a further indication of Obama’s commitment to climate action, following an historic US-Chinese deal to curb emissions earlier this month.
A global deal to fight climate change would necessarily require countries to abandon known reserves of oil, coal and gas, Stern told a forum at the Center for American Progress in Washington.
"It is going to have to be a solution that leaves a lot of fossil fuel assets in the ground," he said. "We are not going to get rid of fossil fuel overnight but we are not going to solve climate change on the basis of all the fossil fuels that are in the ground are going to have to come out. That’s pretty obvious."
Last week's historic climate deal between the US and China, and a successful outcome to climate negotiations in Paris next year, would make it increasingly clear to world and business leaders that there would eventually be an expiry date on oil and coal.
"Companies and investors all over are going to be starting at some point to be factoring in what the future is longer range for fossil fuel," Stern said.
At least a dozen protesters including an 11-year-old girl were taken into custody Sunday on a mountain near Vancouver as a demonstrations continued against a controversial pipeline project.
Dozens of people have been arrested since Thursday, when the RCMP began enforcing a court injunction ordering protesters to clear a pair of work sites on Burnaby Mountain, where Kinder Morgan is conducting drilling and survey work related to the proposed expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline.
The Obama administration's decision to put off this year's quotas for using renewable fuels sets up fights in Congress and the courts over a program that has been bitterly contested for nearly a decade.
The delay, announced yesterday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, caps months of fighting between refiners and ethanol producers over a proposal by the agency to lower the quotas for using ethanol, biodiesel and cellulosic fuels.
An explosion at an offshore oil and gas platform in the Gulf of Mexico killed one worker and injured three others Thursday afternoon, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said.
Fieldwood Energy LLC of Houston reported the blast around 3 p.m. at its Echo platform about 12 miles off the Louisiana coast. The oil and gas pumping facility wasn't producing fuel at the time and no pollution has been reported, according to the federal regulator.
The progressive group MoveOn.org is pressing Hillary Clinton to come out against the Keystone XL oil-sands pipeline, warning that she could lose Democratic voters if she doesn't take a stand against the project.
"Hillary Clinton's refusal to take a position raises the possibility that she is worse on climate change than 80 percent of the incoming Senate's Democratic Caucus," said Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn.org Civic Action.
She warned: "If she's considering a run for president and wants the support of the party's base, Hillary Clinton should clarify that she opposes this dirty and dangerous pipeline."
A group ofstudents, frustrated by the university's refusal to shed fossil fuel stocks from its investment portfolios, is looking beyond protests and resolutions to a new form of pressure: the courts.
The seven law students and undergraduates filed a lawsuit on Wednesday in Suffolk County Superior Court in Massachusetts against the president and fellows of Harvard College, among others, for what they call "mismanagement of charitable funds." The 11-page complaint, with 167 pages of supporting exhibits, asks the court to compel divestment on behalf of the students and "future generations."
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday narrowly failed to pass a bill that would have approved construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, rejecting a measure the House of Representatives approved last week.
The vote count was 59-41 in favor, but 60 "ayes" would have been needed to assure passage. Fourteen Democrats voted for the bill, joining all 45 Republicans who voted to support the pipeline.
TransCanada Corp's $8 billion pipeline would help transport crude oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, but is opposed by environmentalists.