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Pipeline Protesters Arrested in Vermont After Converging on Gov.'s Office

Oct 27, 2014
(Burlington Free Press)

Dozens of protesters entered the Pavilion Building in Montpelier on Monday afternoon with demands for Gov. Peter Shumlin to reverse his support for expanding a Vermont Gas pipeline in the state.

More than 80 demonstrators intent on civil disobedience stayed past the building's closing time and beyond an extra protest window, vowing to be arrested Monday night. The first arrest occurred at 7:55 p.m.

The protesters and the police agreed a few minutes earlier that the demonstrators would be escorted from the building by law enforcement, ticketed at a nearby van, and then sent on their way.

Climate Panel Sees Risk of 'Serious, Pervasive & Irreversible' Warming

Oct 27, 2014
(Reuters)

Climate change may have "serious, pervasive and irreversible" impacts on human society and nature, according to a draft U.N. report due for approval this week that says governments still have time to avert the worst.

Delegates from more than 100 governments and top scientists meet in Copenhagen on Oct 27-31 to edit the report, meant as the main guide for nations working on a U.N. deal to fight climate change at a summit in Paris in late 2015.

They will publish the study on Nov. 2.

Anti-Keystone XL Activists Plan Post-Elections Protest

Oct 24, 2014
(MSNBC)

After six years of administrative delays and internecine fighting, environmentalists’ last best chance to kill the Keystone XL could come during a 60 day window after next month’s election and before the new Congress gets sworn in.

The Obama administration controls the approval process for now, but if Republicans win control of the Senate, as expected, they plan to fast track legislation to greenlight the controversial pipeline. That gives opponents one more chance to try to convince the president to reject the pipeline before the landscapes shifts against them, which could happen if Republicans control both chambers of Congress come January.

China's Coal Use Falls for First Time This Century, Analysis Suggests

Oct 23, 2014
(Guardian)

The amount of coal being burned by China has fallen for the first time this century, according to an analysis of official statistics.

China's booming coal in the last decade has been the major contributor to the fast-rising carbon emissions that drive climate change, making the first fall a significant moment.

The amount of coal burned in the first three-quarters of 2014 was 1-2% lower than a year earlier, according to Greenpeace energy analysts in China. The drop contrasts sharply with the 5-10% annual growth rates seen since the early years of the century.

"The significance is that if the coal consumption growth we have seen in China in the last 10 years went on, we would lose any hope of bringing climate change under control," said Lauri Myllyvirta at Greenpeace East Asia. "The turnaround now gives a window of opportunity."

Such a turnaround would potentially have a large impact on the biggest coal exporting countries such as Indonesia and Australia, which have profited from China’s demand for the fuel.

At the UN climate change summit in New York in September, China said it would start to reduce the nation's huge carbon emissions "as early as possible."

Myllyvirta warned that year-to-year fluctuations in energy use and industrial prediction could see coal burning grow again in future. "It may not be the peak yet, but it is a sign that China is moving away from coal." Climate scientists say that global carbon emissions need to peak by 2020 and rapidly decline to avoid dangerous climate change.

Myllyvirta said the greatest significance of the current drop in coal use was that economic growth had continued at 7.4% at the same time, although that is a lower rate than in recent years. "The Chinese economy is divorcing coal," he said. By contrast, the tripling of the Chinese economy since 2002 was accompanied by a doubling of coal use.

World's Scientists Call on Canadian PM Stephen Harper to Restore Science Funding, Freedom

Oct 21, 2014
(CBC News)

Hundreds of scientists around the world are asking Prime Minister Stephen Harper to end "burdensome restrictions on scientific communication and collaboration faced by Canadian government scientists."

The call was made in an open letter drafted by the Cambridge, Mass.-based Union of Concerned Scientists, a group that represents U.S. scientists and uses science to advocate for environmental sustainability.

The letter was signed by more than 800 scientists outside Canada from 32 countries, at institutions ranging from Harvard Medical School in the U.S. to the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

Warming Planet Heading for the Hottest Year on Record

Oct 20, 2014
(AP)

Earth is on pace to tie or even break the mark for the hottest year on record, federal meteorologists say.

That's because global heat records have kept falling in 2014, with September the latest example.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that last month the globe averaged 60.3 degrees Fahrenheit (15.72 degrees Celsius). That was the hottest September in 135 years of record keeping.

It was the fourth monthly record set this year, along with May, June and August.

NASA, which measures temperatures slightly differently, had already determined that September was record-warm.

Crude Oil Spills Into Caddo Bayou in Louisiana, Kills Wildlife

Oct 19, 2014
(Shreveport Times)

A major crude oil spill discovered near here Monday that stopped just shy of Caddo Lake has already killed dozens of fish and some reptiles and will keep cleanup crews and regulatory agencies on site likely for months to come.

"I would call it a significant size spill," Bill Rhotenberry, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's federal on-scene coordinator said of the oil that leaked in a rural Caddo Parish bayou from a Mid-Valley Pipeline.

The pipeline's owner, Sunoco Logistics, roughly estimated 4,000 barrels of crude oil had flowed into Tete Bayou when control operators noticed a drop in pressure around 8 a.m. Monday. The line, stretching 1,000 miles from Longview, Texas, to major oil refineries in Ohio and Michigan, was shut down within 20 minutes, Sunoco spokesman Jeff Shields said.

IPCC Corrects Claim Suggesting Climate Change Would Be Good for the Economy

Oct 17, 2014
(Guardian)

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has corrected a controversial claim that small amounts of global warming could have overall positive economic impacts, after Bob Ward, policy and communications director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at London School of Economics and Political Science, pointed out that it was based on inaccurate information.

The final version of the IPCC's report on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability was published without fanfare on the web this week, including a chapter on Key Economic Sectors and Services.

The final draft of the chapter, which was published in April, featured a section on the aggregate economic impacts of climate change, containing the statement: "Climate change may be beneficial for moderate climate change but turn negative for greater warming."

But the version published this week omits the statement because it was based on faulty data.

The statement had been inserted into the draft report at a late stage in the preparation process, and after it had been sent to independent reviewers, including Ward, for comment.

Fracking Boom Will Not Tackle Global Warming, Nature Study Finds

Oct 16, 2014
(Guardian)

An unrestrained global fracking boom that unleashes plentiful and cheap gas will not tackle global warming by replacing coal and cutting carbon emissions, according to a comprehensive analysis that takes into account the impact on the rest of the energy supply.

Burning natural gas produces half the carbon dioxide released by coal, and shale gas proponents argue that gas can therefore be a “bridge” fuel, curbing emissions while very low carbon sources such as renewable and nuclear energy are ramped up.

But a new analysis published in the journal Nature shows that a gas boom would cut energy prices, squeezing out renewable energy, and is likely to actually increase overall carbon emissions. The researchers conclude that only new interventions, such as a long-sought international climate change deal or significant global price on carbon pollution, would be effective in tackling warming.

Pentagon Unveils Plan for Military's Response to Climate Change

Oct 13, 2014
(Los Angeles Times)

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel addressed the Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas on Monday, unveiling a comprehensive plan for how the U.S. military will address the effects of climate change.

Rising global temperatures, increasing sea levels and intensifying weather events will challenge global stability, he said, and could lead to food and water shortages, pandemic disease and disputes over refugees and resources.

The Pentagon's "2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap" describes how global warming will bring new demands on the military.