California Governor Issues North America's Most Aggressive Climate Goal

Think Progress

On Wednesday morning, four-term California Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order that aims to reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Brown called it the most aggressive GHG target by any North American government to date.

Under Brown’s guidance, California has made ambitious steps to confront climate change, which has contributed to the state’s current water woes. But this is his boldest gambit yet. His carbon reduction target is even more aggressive than the Obama administration’s, which aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

G20 Launches Probe into Risk of 'Unburnable Carbon' Assets

The Telegraph

The G20 powers have launched a joint probe into global financial risks posed by fossil fuel companies investing in costly ventures that clash with international climate goals and may never be viable.

World leaders are increasingly concerned that a $6 trillion wave of investment into the nexus of oil, gas, and coal since 2007 is based on false assumptions, leaving companies with an overhang of debt and "stranded assets" that cannot easily be burned under CO2 emission limits.

The G20 has asked the Financial Stability Board in Basel to convene a public-private inquiry into the fall-out faced by the financial sector as climate rules become much stricter. All member countries have agreed to co-operate or carry out internal probes, including the United States, China, India, Russia, Australia, and Saudi Arabia.

Catholics Can Play 'Decisive Role' in Solving Climate Challenge, Vatican Says


The world's 1.2 billion Catholics should help mobilize public opinion and funding to help poor countries access green sources of energy.

Two of the Vatican's leading bodies, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, made the call during a climate conference in Rome on Tuesday, attended by UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

They issued a declaration setting out why rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions and unsustainable consumption levels are the "dominant moral and ethical issue for society."

Continued extraction and use of coal, oil and gas would likely create a "grave existential risks for the poorest three billion" they added.

Obama: 'No Greater Threat' Than Climate Change (Video)

CBS News

As the nation's capital gears up for a large Earth Day celebration this weekend, President Obama issued a warning on the dangers global warming pose to the planet.

"Climate change can no longer be denied - or ignored," the president said in a video Saturday. "The world is looking to the United States - to us - to lead."

"Today, there's no greater threat to our planet than climate change," Mr. Obama continued. "This is the only planet we've got. And years from now, I want to be able to look our children and grandchildren in the eye and tell them that we did everything we could to protect it."

The full address:

Greenpeace Activists Board Arctic-Bound Oil Rig

AP via Guardian

Six Greenpeace activists protesting Arctic offshore drilling on Monday boarded a drill rig as it was transported across the Pacific Ocean toward Seattle, where it will be staged for drilling on Shell leases in Alaska waters.

The 400-foot (122-meter) Polar Pioneer, owned by Transocean Ltd, was on board a heavy-lift vessel about 750 miles (1,206 kilometres) northwest of Hawaii when the activists approached in inflatable boats and used climbing gear to get on board, Greenpeace spokesman Travis Nichols said.

They plan to unfurl a banner in protest of Arctic offshore drilling but have no plans to interfere with the ship’s navigations, he said.

Ontario Plans Cap-and-Trade on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Globe and Mail

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is preparing to bring in a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions, an ambitious move that could amount to the nation's single largest salvo in the battle against global warming.

The new system would be linked with Quebec and California’s current cap-and-trade program, government and industry sources said, creating a carbon market of 61 million people and covering more than 60 per cent of Canada’s population.

Under a cap-and-trade system, the government caps the amount of carbon that can be burnt, and raises money by auctioning off permits to companies that plan to create greenhouse-gas emissions. Companies that want to burn more than their share must buy permits from other companies that have burned less.

Germany Sets Very High Bar for Fracking


German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet signed off on a draft law on Wednesday that imposes an effective ban on the controversial technique of fracking for shale gas.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves blasting chemicals and water into rock formations to release trapped gas. Opposition is strong in densely populated Germany due to concerns about the risk of contaminating drinking water.

Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said the new law would set Germany's strictest conditions for fracking.

"Protecting health and drinking water are top priorities. For this reason, we want to restrict fracking as far as possible," Hendricks told a news conference.

Offshore Oil Platform in Gulf of Mexico Fire Kills One Worker, Injures 45

Fuel Fix

A fire on a Pemex offshore platform in Mexico’s Bay of Campeche Wednesday killed at least one worker, injured 45 and forced evacuation of 300, according to multiple media reports.

The platform off the southeastern coast of Mexico is owned by state-run oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, which said on its website that one worker was dead and that it was battling the fire with eight firefighting vessels.

Obama Administration OKs Arctic Lease Sale, Shell's Drilling Plans on Track

Fuel Fix

The Obama administration reaffirmed a 2008 government auction of Arctic drilling rights on Tuesday, delivering a major victory to Shell Oil Co. as it aims to resume exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea this summer.

In validating the seven-year-old auction, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell stressed that the Arctic "is an important component of the administration’s national energy strategy."

"We remain committed to taking a thoughtful and balanced approach to oil and gas leasing and exploration offshore Alaska," Jewell said in a statement. "This unique, sensitive and often challenging environment requires effective oversight to ensure all activities are conducted safely and responsibly."

U.S. to Submit Climate Change Plan to UN; Most Others Delay


The United States will submit plans for slowing global warming to the United Nations early this week but most governments will miss an informal March 31 deadline, complicating work on a global climate deal due in December.

The U.S. submission, on Monday or Tuesday according to a White House official, adds to national strategies beyond 2020 already presented by the 28-nation European Union, Mexico, Switzerland and Norway.

Together, they account for about a third of world greenhouse emissions. But other emitters such as China, India, Russia, Brazil, Canada and Australia say they are waiting until closer to a Paris summit in December, meant to agree a global deal.

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