A federal appeals court Wednesday said a lower court was correct when it refused to temporarily stop construction of what is intended to be the southern end of the Keystone XL pipeline and carry oil from Oklahoma to refineries along the Gulf Coast.
The Sierra Club, Clean Energy Future of Oklahoma and the East Texas Sub Regional Planning Commission had sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, saying the project posed significant environmental hazards and shouldn't have been approved. The groups sought an order that would have stopped work on the pipeline while the lawsuit was being heard, but a district court denied that request last year.
In a split decision, a panel of judges on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld the ruling, saying the groups couldn't prove that potential environmental harm would surpass concrete economic harm that the pipeline's builders would see.
The number of large-scale projects to capture and bury carbon dioxide has fallen to 65 from 75 over the past year, a worldwide survey has found, despite a consensus among scientists and engineers that the so-called carbon capture and sequestration, known as C.C.S., will be essential to meet international goals for slowing the buildup of climate-changing gases.
The survey was released Thursday in Seoul, South Korea, by the Global CCS Institute, which is based in Canberra, Australia. Since the previous survey a year ago, five projects have been canceled, one reduced in size and seven postponed, while three have been added, the report said.
Spanish company Abengoa has successfully passed commercial operation tests at its Solana solar thermal power plant located near Gila Bend and about 70 miles southwest of Phoenix, Arizona.
Touted as the world's largest parabolic trough plant and also the first solar plant in the US with thermal energy storage, the 280MW (gross) project has completed several tests, which have demonstrated various operation modes of the project.
During the tests completed on October 7, 2013, the company has operated the turbine at full capacity while charging the thermal storage system, generated electricity after the sun went down, and operated the project for six hours using only the thermal storage system.
Russian investigators say they have found what appear to be hard drugs on board the Greenpeace ship seized during a protest in the Arctic last month.
"During a search of the ship, drugs (apparently poppy straw and morphine) were confiscated," Russia's Investigative Committee said.
Poppy straw, or raw opium, can be used to produce morphine or heroin.
Greenpeace said in a statement that any suggestion of illegal drugs being found was a "smear".
"We can only assume the Russian authorities are referring to the medical supplies that our ships are obliged to carry under maritime law," it said.
A Massachusetts power plant recently cited by federal regulators as one of the state's heaviest polluters is planning to shut down.
Owners of the coal-fired Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset filed papers Monday indicating the plant will no longer provide power to the region's electricity grid when it is retired as of May 2017.
The announcement came just months after the plant was sold by Virginia-based Dominion to Energy Capital Partners, a private equity firm with offices in New Jersey and California. Dominion bought the plant in 2005.
A Koch Energy Services LLC unit will buy a natural gas-fired power plant in Texas, the company said on Tuesday, confirming that the purchase of the 1,055-megawatt Odessa Power plant from an affiliate of Energy Capital Partners LLC will be the Koch unit's first foray into the power generation market.
Koch Energy Services itself is a unit of Koch Industries Inc , of the largest privately held companies in the United States. The plant is near the Permian Basin of West Texas where energy companies tapping into tight deposits of oil and gas have a growing and voracious appetite for electricity.
Koch Industries is a closely held company that does not reveal much information about its many subsidiaries.
Water scarcity will increase around the world due to climate change, with more than 500 million people affected if mean global warming is limited to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), based on modeling studies by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, or PIK.
An additional 8 percent of humankind may face new or worse water scarcity with 2 degrees warming, the target set by international climate negotiators, the German government-funded institute wrote in a news release today. That could reach 13 percent in the case of a 5-degree-Celsius rise, which is probable if climate change goes on unchecked, PIK said.
About 1.3 billion people already live in water-scarce regions, according to the institute. The institute calculated 152 scenarios using 19 climate change models, and said the projections for the affected population by 2100 carry a greater than 50 percent confidence.
A campaign to persuade investors to take their money out of the fossil fuel sector is growing faster than any previous divestment campaign and could cause significant damage to coal, oil and gas companies, according to a study from the University of Oxford.
The report compares the current fossil fuel divestment campaign, which has attracted 41 institutions since 2010, with those against tobacco, apartheid in South Africa, armaments, gambling and pornography. It concludes that the direct financial impact of such campaigns on share prices or the ability to raise funds is small but the reputational damage can still have major financial consequences.
"Stigmatization poses a far-reaching threat to fossil fuel companies – any direct impacts of divestment pale in comparison," said Ben Caldecott, a research fellow at the University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, and an author of the report. "In every case we reviewed, divestment campaigns were successful in lobbying for restrictive legislation."
The report is part of a new research program on stranded assets backed by Aviva Investors, HSBC, Standard & Poor's and others. It found: "The fossil fuel campaign has achieved a lot in the relatively short time since its inception."
Some major investors, such as the $74bn Scandinavian asset manager Storebrand, have already pulled their funds from coal stocks. But the researchers found that even if the maximum possible capital was divested by university endowments and public pension funds, the total was relatively small compared to the market capitalization of traded fossil fuel companies and the size of state-owned enterprises.
However, the team concluded: "The outcome of the stigmatization process, which the fossil fuel divestment campaign has now triggered, poses the most far-reaching threat to fossil fuel companies and the vast energy value chain."
Analyzing previous campaigns, the researchers found examples of stigmatized companies being shunned by governments and being barred from public contracts or acquiring licenses. "Stigma attached to merely one small area of a large company may threaten sales across the board," the report found, citing the examples of Motorola dumping its defense business due to bad press and Revlon's decision to disinvest from its South African operation after customer groups threatened a boycott.
The report also found instances when customers, suppliers and potential employees were scared off by stigma and where stigma had led shareholders to demand changes in the management of companies.
Bill McKibben, the environmental campaigner who leads the 350.org divestment campaign which is expanding from the US into Europe this autumn, said: "This divestment campaign is just one front in the climate fight, but of all the actions people can take to bring about structural change, it's probably the easiest. Severing our ties with the guys digging up the carbon won't bankrupt them--but it will start to politically bankrupt them, and make their job of dominating the planet's politics that much harder."
Mayflower homes were demolished Monday so that the oil trapped underneath the foundations can be removed. So far, Exxon Mobile has purchased 5 homes in the Northwoods subdivision. North Starlite is the street most affected by the spill that sent roughly 200,000 gallons of oil into the neighborhood.
Six months after the Pegasus pipeline burst, two homes that were never clear for reentry were demolished. In a few weeks, it will be green space.
In less than 4-hours, a single back hoe tore both homes down that have been purchased by Exxon mobile. Exxon Mobil spokesperson, Aaron Stryk says soil test indicated oil got beneath the foundation of three homes. "It was determined that demolition would be an efficient and effective way to remove all of that oil from underneath the foundations."
The U.S. Supreme Court meets later this week to consider whether to undertake a legal review of the Obama administration's first wave of regulations tackling climate change.
For the second week running on Monday, the nine justices took no action on the cases, but the court later in the day listed them on its online docket for its next private meeting on Friday. That is when they will decide what new cases to take.
The court will likely announce what action it will take only on Tuesday, Oct. 15.
The nine petitions pending before the court, filed by states and industry groups, were not mentioned in a list of cases the court declined to hear on Monday, the first day of oral argument in a term that runs through June.