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Today's Climate

October 29, 2014

(Columbus Dispatch (sub. req'd))
A pipeline carrying condensate, a toxic substance produced during natural gas and oil processing, caught fire in eastern Ohio early this morning. It burned several acres of Monroe County woodland before the pipeline pressure dropped low enough for the fire to burn itself out. No one was injured, and no residents had to leave their homes, said Phillip Keevert, Monroe County's Emergency Management Agency director.
(Bloomberg)
Bangladesh, Sierra Leone and South Sudan led a ranking of countries facing extreme risks as a result of climate change, exacerbating the chances of civil conflict, according to a study by U.K. researcher Maplecroft.
(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
Australia's government secured crucial support from crossbench lawmaker and mining billionaire Clive Palmer for legislation establishing a A$2.5 billion (US$2.2 billion) fund to cut greenhouse-gas emissions, which critics say could struggle to replace a carbon-price scheme dumped three months ago.
(The Hill)
The nation's first-ever regulations on the storage and disposal of coal ash have been sent to the White House for final review.The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent its proposal on coal ash residues from coal-fired power plants used for electric generation to the White House Office of Management and Budget on Monday. 
(Texas Tribune)
Texas regulators on Tuesday tightened rules for wells that dispose of oilfield waste, a response to the spate of earthquakes that have rattled North Texas.
(The Canadian Press)
A new report being released by environmental groups questions whether the proposed Energy East pipeline is necessary to supplant Eastern Canada's oil imports from the foreign suppliers frequently mentioned by TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP), the company proposing the $12-billion project.
(The Globe and Mail)
For the past few years, British Columbia's Moricetown Indian Band has mulled whether to join 15 other First Nation groups who have teamed up to get a stake in the Kitimat LNG Project and pipe-line. A large plant and export terminal, spearheaded by California-based Chevron, would ship up to 10 million tons a year of liquefied natural gas from Bish Cove, near Kitimat, on the province's northwest coast. The band is weighing the environmental and cultural risks against the prospect of jobs, training and millions of dollars worth of other benefits for its 2,000 members.
(Washington Post)
It's no secret that certain political worldviews prevent people from accepting the science of global warming. And it's not just that conservative and pro-free market beliefs are strongly correlated with dismissal of climate science.
(Mother Jones)
The day after Superstorm Sandy devastated much of the East Coast, Al Gore issued a statement linking the storm to climate change. That's when Fox News went on the attack.
(Grist)
First, the good news: Young people care more about reducing carbon emissions than older Americans. And now, the bad: They are also much less likely to show up at the voting booth. D'oh!
(Los Angeles Times)
California's stubborn drought helped push a $7.5-billion water bond through the Legislature and onto the November ballot. But even if voters approve Proposition 1, it won't provide relief any time soon.
(Fuel Fix)
In a ruling that could affect oil and gas development in Colorado and Utah, the Fish and Wildlife Service has decided whether to give the gunnison sage-grouse protected status under the Endangered Species Act. But only a small circle of people know the verdict now.

October 28, 2014

(AP)
The European Union's environment agency says the bloc's greenhouse gas emissions dropped by nearly 2 percent last year, putting the E.U. very close to reaching its emissions target for 2020. That goal is to reduce emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases by 20 percent compared to 1990 levels.
(Mother Jones)
We all saw the images of oil-coated birds and shorelines in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill. These were the most visible impacts of the catastrophe, but much of the oil that gushed from the busted Macondo wellhead 5,000 feet underwater never made it to the surface. Of the estimated 5 million barrels that spilled, approximately 2 million stayed trapped in the deep ocean. And up to 31 percent of that oil is now lying on the ocean floor, according to a new study.
(New York Times)
BP said on Tuesday that earnings for the third quarter fell by about 18 percent amid lower oil prices and declining profit from its stake in Rosneft, the Russian state oil company. Despite the fall in income, the company said it would increase its dividend by 5.3 percent from a year earlier, to 10 cents a share, payable in December.
(Reuters)
A town in southwest Japan became the first to approve the restart of a nuclear power station on Tuesday, a step forward in Japan's fraught process of reviving an industry left idled by the Fukushima catastrophe in 2011.
(Guardian)
The Australian government's multimillion dollar plan to halt the worrying decline of the Great Barrier Reef does nothing to address the leading threat of climate change and is likely to prove largely ineffectual, scientists have warned. In its formal response to the Reef 2050 long-term sustainability plan, which was drawn up by the Australian and Queensland governments, the Australian Academy of Science states the strategy is "inadequate to achieve the goal of restoring or even maintaining the diminished outstanding universal value of the reef."
(Fuel Fix)
Shell is asking the Obama administration for an extra five years to hunt for oil in Arctic waters near Alaska, saying legal disputes, seasonal drilling restrictions and other challenges justify the additional time. Without the extension, Shell's oil and gas leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas will begin expiring in 2017.
(Los Angeles Times)
North Dakota has a $450-million budget surplus and the nation's lowest unemployment rate, but only about 725,000 people to enjoy it—less than one-fifth the population of Los Angeles.
(Chicago Tribune)
Wayne Woolsey, an oilman since 1958, says he has core samples pulled from deep below the shale rock here that "look awful promising," comparable to what has been found elsewhere in the country where fracking has brought plentiful jobs and enriched land owners and energy companies.
(National Journal)
Proponents of the project have long argued that even if Keystone XL, a proposed cross-border pipeline to link Canada's oil sands with Gulf Coast refineries, is not built, oil-sands crude will get to market via rail transport or other means. Environmentalists, on the other hand, contend that if Keystone XL fails to get off the ground, a lack of pipeline infrastructure could slow oil-sands development and extraction.
(Think Progress)
A new 124-mile natural gas pipeline could soon be running from Pennsylvania to New York, after a federal agency found the project won't have a major impact on the environment.
(Politico)
The green movement has grown into a formidable political force, launching a broad and sophisticated operation this election cycle that rivals many of the most established groups.
(Bloomberg)
A majority of Canadians view environmental protection as being more important than energy prices and expect businesses to carry the burden of a carbon tax, according to a recent poll. Sixty-two percent of those surveyed said protecting the environment is more important to them than the price of energy, according to a survey conducted by polling company Nanos Research for the Thousands Islands Energy Research Forum. Twenty-eight percent said energy prices were more important, while 10 percent were unsure.

October 27, 2014

(Bloomberg)
A dispute about how to link greenhouse-gas emissions cuts to a promise from the wealthiest nations for $100 billion a year in climate aid emerged as a major stumbling block at U.N. talks on global warming. After a week of discussions that ended today in Bonn, envoys from some 190 nations were deadlocked about the formula countries will use to set out their commitments on reducing fossil-fuel pollution in time for the deal they plan to sign in Paris in 2015.
(The Independent)
The world is on the brink of enlisting market forces in the fight against climate change on a truly global scale for the first time, United Nations officials have claimed.
(The Hill)
A senior Arctic official for the U.S. unveiled the nation's priorities this week as it readies to take over the chairmanship of the Arctic Council next year, and climate change is on top. Julie Gourley laid out Secretary of State John Kerry's priorities, which put climate change in the top three objectives for the U.S.
(Reuters)
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli ordered a temporary shutdown of factories to ensure air quality during a meeting of Asia-Pacific leaders in Beijing next month, the official Xinhua news agency reported late on Friday. It is the strongest measure yet to curb pollution for the Nov. 7-11 meeting in the capital, which has been enveloped by heavy smog over the past few days.
(New York Times)
"All of this was hit pretty hard," said Kai-Uwe Bergmann, sweeping his arm from the East River toward the looming sprawl of the Baruch Houses, a public housing complex that sits along the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive on the Lower East Side. "If another storm hits here in the future, it will be just as bad, probably worse."
(Christian Science Monitor)
She's as green as they come. Shenna Bellows, the Democrat running for Senate in Maine, proudly touts her environmental credentials. She rails against emissions-intensive oil sands from Canada, would tighten EPA regulations on greenhouse gases, and wants more investment in renewable energy.