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Today's Climate

January 27, 2015

(Fuel Fix)
The Obama administration is poised to unveil a draft plan for selling offshore oil and gas leases that is expected to rule out auctioning drilling rights in parts of the Atlantic Ocean as well as in some Arctic waters and along the West Coast between 2017 and 2022.
President Barack Obama's call to restrict oil exploration on 12 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge probably won't have much practical impact for an area already off-limits to drillers, though it's created a new fault line with the Republican-led Congress.
(The Hill)
The Obama administration told an appeals court that 12 states cannot preemptively challenge its landmark proposed climate rule for power plants.
(National Journal)
Wyoming's House of Representatives approved legislation Monday by a 39-21 vote that paves the way for public school educators to teach students that the climate is changing as a result of human activity.
(The Telegraph)
Fracking will be banned in national parks and new red tape imposed on shale gas companies, the Government has announced, in a major concession to Labour and opponents of the industry.
(Tulsa World)
In a case expected to set a precedent for future earthquake claims in Oklahoma, the state Supreme Court will consider whether two oil companies can be held liable in state court for injuries a Prague woman suffered during the 2011 earthquake.
(Chicago Tribune)
Lyle Weber paid off a sizable chunk of his son's college loan three years ago with money he got from an oil company intending to drill on his farmland.
China's coal production dropped in 2014, the first time since 2000, the China National Coal Association said Friday.
(New York Times)
The British oil giant BP announced on Monday that it was freezing the wages of its 80,000 workers, another sign that oil companies are being forced to cut back in the face of collapsing oil prices.
(Sydney Morning Herald)
Melbourne's climate can be expected to warm across all seasons, with less rainfall in winter and spring but more intense rain events, according to the latest projections by the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology.
(Climate Central)
La Niña events can drive weather patterns wild around the globe from helping exacerbate drought in West Africa and increase rainfall in areas as diverse as South Asia and the Pacific Northwest. The more extreme the La Niña, which is characterized by a cooling of waters in the tropical Pacific, generally the more pronounced the impacts can be.
(Think Progress)
The new Republican majorities in the 114th Congress are mostly—56 percent—on the record denying the reality of climate change. And barely two weeks into its tenure, the 114th is on a roll, with the new Senate Environment Committee Chair going on a rant about climate change being a hoax the first day he got his gavel, and a series of odd amendment votes on a bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline revealing that the Senate itself may be a hoax.

January 26, 2015

Federal regulators on Friday ordered a pipeline company to make major upgrades to a line that spilled almost 40,000 gallons of oil into Montana's Yellowstone River and fouled a local water supply.
(New York Times)
On the heels of data showing that last year was the hottest on earth since record keeping began, business leaders, politicians and scientists at the World Economic Forum redoubled their calls to combat climate change.
Fracking shale for oil and gas should be put on hold in the U.K. because of risks to public health and the environment, a panel of lawmakers said.
George Osborne has requested that ministers make dozens of interventions to fast-track fracking as a "personal priority," including the delivery of numerous "asks" from shale gas company Cuadrilla.
(Fuel Fix)
Crude oil producers set aside another 49 oil rigs over the last week and brought the number of rigs looking for oil to its lowest level in two years, according to oil service company Baker Hughes' weekly count.
(The Hill)
Federal investigators are blaming company safety culture, flawed emergency response and inadequate federal regulations for a 2012 fire at a Chevron Corp. refinery in California.
Meet one of the world's leading climate change skeptics. Though he is not a scientist, Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brentley, is a prolific and vocal opponent of mainstream climatology. Once a Special Adviser to Margaret Thatcher, he now spends much of his time trumpeting conservative causes.
(Christian Science Monitor)
When it comes to energy and climate politics, things are heating up on the Senate floor.
(Washington Post)
The bipartisan trio of climate risk prognosticators for the business community—Michael Bloomberg, former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, and billionaire investor Tom Steyer—are back. And this time, their Risky Business Project has produced a report focusing in particular on how a world of rising temperatures could threaten the Midwestern region of the U.S.: the Heartland.
(Climate Central)
It's easy to think of global warming as something that happens at a steady pace everywhere. But that's not the full story. It's true that the global average temperature has been rising overall since modern record-keeping began, and it's true that 2014 was the hottest year on record, but the rise hasn't been perfectly steady. Each year isn't always warmer than the one before, and some places—the Arctic, for example—have warmed faster than others.
European countries should be given binding targets for installing technology to capture and store carbon emissions, according to a new report for the European commission.
(Al Jazeera America)
Come hell or high water, the residents of St. Kjeld, a Copenhagen neighborhood, will be ready. Actually, skip the hell part. But when the next megastorm hits the Danish capital, St. Kjeld's residents will be safe and dry. That's because as of December, they live in the world's first climate-change-adapted neighborhood.
The latest forecasts based on updated computer model runs are clearly pointing in the direction of much higher snowfall totals than previously expected from coastal New Jersey all the way northeast to Maine.

January 23, 2015

Earthen barriers have been set up across a creek and water was being tested Thursday around the site of a nearly 3 million-gallon leak of saltwater generated by oil drilling, the largest spill of its kind during North Dakota's current oil rush.
(Columbus Dispatch)
A state appeals court has ruled largely in favor of a coal-mining company that had been fighting the Ohio EPA to mine and operate in wetland areas in eastern Ohio.
European Union carbon allowances posted their biggest drop since April after a panel in the bloc's parliament failed to agree on how to modify a measure curbing a glut of carbon permits.
(The Aspen Times)
The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said during a visit to Aspen yesterday that she doesn't believe Congress will derail plans for groundbreaking regulation of carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.
(Washington Post)
As governments' efforts to cut greenhouse-gas emissions continue to sputter, some researchers have discussed another possible tool for combating climate change: "geoengineering" the climate. One particular form of it, "solar geoengineering," would involve reflecting sunlight away from the Earth to reduce future warming, possibly by deploying an army of mirrors or spraying the air with reflective aerosols that would function like a chemical sunscreen.