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Today's Climate

October 23, 2014

(Bloomberg)
European Union leaders face heated negotiations today on a deal to toughen emission-reduction policies in the next decade and boost the security of energy supplies amid a natural-gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine.
(The Hill)
Peru could soon pledge a substantial amount of money to the United Nations climate fund aimed at helping poorer countries fight climate change.In an interview with Bloomberg News on Wednesday, Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal said the country is considering a pledge as a "political signal" and plans to decide before the Lima talks in December.
(Huffington Post)
When it comes to environmental pollutants, sometimes what's legal is what's most worrying. That's the conclusion of a new report on a major loophole in the regulations governing hydraulic fracturing. The report, released Wednesday by the Environmental Integrity Project, looks at what is known as the "Halliburton loophole"—an exemption from existing rules that allows companies to inject some petroleum-based chemicals into the ground without obtaining a permit.
(Lohud Journal News)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo turned a few heads at the WNED-TV studio when he appeared to set a deadline on the state's ongoing review of hydraulic fracturing, saying the state's long-running analysis of the technique should be completed "by the end of the year."
(StateImpact Pennsylvania)
The state Department of Environmental Protection has levied a $306,570 fine against a Texas pipeline company for multiple violations involving construction of two gas pipelines in 2012 and 2013. According to the DEP, the flawed work was performed by PVR Marcellus Gas Gathering LLC of Williamsport. That company was later acquired by Regency Marcellus Gas Gathering of San Antonio, Texas.
(Sun Sentinel)
Officials in the City of South Miami have passed a resolution in favor of splitting the state in half so South Florida would become the 51st state. Vice Mayor Walter Harris proposed the resolution and it passed with a 3-2 vote at the city commission meeting on Oct. 7.
(Washington Post)
Earlier this year, when a study came out suggesting global warming will increase the rates of violent crimes in the United States—producing "an additional 22,ooo murders, 180,000 cases of rape," and many other crime increases by the year 2099—it drew widespread criticism. "This ... is what people who are losing the argument look like," noted the conservative publication National Review.
(Grist)
Those feisty, litigious climate-hawk kids just won't go away. Back in 2011, we wrote about a group of witty whippersnappers that filed a lawsuit against the federal government. The premise: The government must take action to protect the atmosphere for future generations.
(Climate Central)
Bitter cold and a chill wind inevitably mean the heat gets cranked up inside. And as the polar vortex parked itself over Canada and the northeastern U.S. to end 2013, that's what people did.
(Think Progress)
Texas' chief toxicologist is arguing that the EPA shouldn't tighten ground-level ozone, or smog, rules because there will be little to no public health benefit. Dr. Michael Honeycutt heads the toxicology division of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the state agency tasked with protecting Texans from pollution.
(Wall Street Journal)
Drillers for Pennsylvania's natural gas are facing a growing threat—from their own productivity.
(AP)
A study in a rural Ohio county where oil and gas drilling is booming found air pollution levels near well sites higher than those in downtown Chicago. A team from the University of Cincinnati and Oregon State University placed 25 monitors as close as one-tenth of a mile from gas wells in Carroll County, about 100 miles south of Cleveland. The monitoring occurred over a three-week period in February.
(BusinessWeek)
Narendra Modi has proven once again how important it is to be lucky in politics. In the spring, he was India's opposition leader, running for prime minister by focusing on the government's mismanagement of the economy. He had plenty of ammunition: The coalition led by the Congress Party had presided over years of corruption scandals and stalled reforms—and also had to contend with a growing budget deficit fueled by soaring prices for oil and other imported commodities.

October 21, 2014

(RTCC)
The impact of Ban Ki-moon's New York summit on UN efforts to curb climate change faces its first test on Monday in Bonn, where envoys from over 190 countries meet for a week of negotiations.
(AP)
One year after a pipeline rupture flooded a wheat field in northwestern North Dakota with more than 20,000 barrels of crude, Tesoro Corp. is still working around the clock cleaning up the oil spill—one of the largest to happen onshore in U.S. history.
(New York Times)
The chief executive of the French oil giant Total, Christophe de Margerie, was killed when a business jet collided with a snow plow during takeoff at Moscow's Vnukovo International Airport, the company and airport officials said. The collision occurred Monday, just minutes before midnight Moscow time, the airport said in a statement. A Dassault Falcon business jet carrying Mr. de Margerie had been due to travel to Paris.
(The Globe and Mail)
New Brunswick's new premier said Monday he's looking to assure Alberta's oilpatch that even though the government has changed, its support for the Energy East pipeline has not. Brian Gallant is visiting Calgary this week in his first official visit since being elected premier about a month ago.
(WDIO)
An 80-year old Wisconsin man is boarding his bike and traveling across 16 counties in Wisconsin to raise awareness to what he sees as the threats Enbridge pipelines could have on public safety and the environment.  The 16 counties that he plans to ride through are counties that could see an Enbridge Pipeline 61 pass through them. The pipeline would start in Superior, Wis., making it way into Illinois.
(The Independent)
Customers of Britain's biggest banks are threatening to close their accounts unless the institutions cut all ties with coal, tar sands, fracking and other fossil-fuel industries as part of a new campaign launched today.
(Think Progress)
Floridians travelled to the state capitol Monday to call on Gov. Rick Scott to make a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Florida. State residents delivered a petition with 92,000 signatures to the governor's office Monday morning in an attempt to urge Scott to take action on carbon reductions proposed by the EPA's recent rule on power plant emissions. The petition, which was organized by state environmental group Florida's Clean Future, calls on the governor to invest in a plan for emissions reductions from power plants.
(AP)
The Supreme Court rejected an appeal Monday from 11 Louisiana parishes that wanted to revive their lawsuits over wildlife damage from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the worst U.S. offshore oil spill. A rupture of BP's Macondo well and the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 workers.
(Columbus Dispatch (sub. req'd))
About 40 percent of Ohio's natural treasures—its state parks, forests and wildlife and nature preserves—could be undermined in the quest to remove valuable coal, oil, natural gas and other minerals.
(Climate Central)
Burning crude oil as gasoline in vehicles is already one of the world's biggest sources of carbon dioxide emissions, and one of the United States' largest sources of crude oil is the Bakken shale in North Dakota. NASA satellite images showing bright lights in the Bakken fields illustrate a side effect of crude oil production there that is also problematic for the climate. All the light coming from those fields are thousands of flames burning off, or flaring, natural gas.
(StateImpact Pennsylvania)
A bill approved by the state House and Senate would change the way drillers report gas production figures. The measure now awaits Governor Corbett's signature. Under current state law, gas companies have to file reports twice a year with the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). House Bill 2278 would require monthly production reports—a common practice among other major gas-producing states.
(Guardian)
The deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon has accelerated rapidly in the past two months, underscoring the shortcomings of the government's environmental policies. Satellite data indicates a 190 percent surge in land clearance in August and September compared with the same period last year as loggers and farmers exploit loopholes in regulations that are designed to protect the world's largest forest.
(E&E Publishing)
The Obama administration is pushing to make climate change a focal point as the United States becomes the new leader of the international Arctic Council, a move that is winning praise from environmentalists, even though it's unclear how it may translate into action. This week, senior Arctic officials from multiple countries will meet in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, to hear the United States present its agenda for its two-year chairmanship starting next year. The council is a forum for nations bordering on the Arctic.

October 20, 2014

(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Three widely cited state studies of air emissions at Marcellus Shale gas development sites in Pennsylvania omit measurements of key air toxics and calculate the health risks of just two of more than two dozen pollutants. State regulators and the shale gas drilling industry over the past four years have repeatedly used the regional studies to support their positions that air emissions from drilling, fracking wastewater impoundments and compressor stations don't pose a public health risk.
(The Sydney Morning Herald)
Pressure for the nation's leading universities to join the Australian National University and dump investments in fossil fuels will continue to mount despite the condemnation of such moves by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey.
(Reuters)
EU leaders are likely to agree a new decade of climate and energy policy next week despite the "legitimate concerns" of several nations, Europe's climate boss said on Thursday. European Union leaders have set themselves a deadline of the end of October to agree on green energy goals for 2030 to follow on from 2020 policy.
(New York Times)
The prospects for building new nuclear reactors may be sharply limited, but the owners of seven old ones, in Pennsylvania, Virginia and South Carolina, are preparing to ask for permission to run them until they are 80 years old.