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Today's Climate

October 30, 2014

(Reuters)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday during a visit to Canada that he would like to make a decision soon on TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL crude oil pipeline. TransCanada has waited more than six years for the Obama administration to make a decision on the line, which would take as much as 830,000 barrels per day of Alberta tar sands crude to refineries on Texas' Gulf Coast.
(Omaha World-Bureau)
Nebraskans who have long worked to block the Keystone XL pipeline in their own state now get a chance to delay the project in South Dakota. The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission this week agreed to allow 43 individuals or groups to intervene on the commission's review of the pipeline route through South Dakota. About 15 are neighbors to the south who have vigorously fought the project at home.
(Think Progress)
The Weather Channel has released an official position statement on global warming, just two days after the channel's co-founder told Fox News' Megyn Kelly that climate change is based on "bad science" and does not exist.
(New York Times)
These are rough times for carbon taxes, aimed at mitigating climate change. Australia recently repealed its carbon tax. South Korea delayed a carbon-based tax on vehicle emissions. South Africa put off a planned carbon tax until 2016.
(Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (sub. req'd))
Exxon Mobil is seeking to try in secret a lawsuit over the Pegasus pipeline's rupture in Mayflower last year by declaring as confidential hundreds of thousands of pages of information about the maintenance and repair of the line, the plaintiffs in a federal class-action lawsuit argued this week.
(SNL)
The U.S. EPA scrapped a system to track facilities that have chronically polluted the air, water and soil and overhauled the way it handles alleged air polluters, according to previously unreleased documents obtained by SNL Energy.
(E&E Publishing)
It was first criticized by environmentalists. Then it was reined in by government officials. Now, China's coal-fueled synthetic natural gas industry faces another blow as a group of energy experts raise doubt over its economic viability.
(The Globe and Mail)
Everything about Alberta's oil sands is huge–from the sheer scale of the 170-billion-barrel resource in the ground, to the two-storey trucks that haul bitumen ore in the mines, to the $30-billion per year in capital investment to expand the flow of crude.
(VICE)
Take off from Aspen's tiny airport and head straight west, and you'll soon find yourself over an area known as the Thompson Divide - 221,500 acres of what Teddy Roosevelt described as "great, wild country... where the mountains crowded together in chain, peak, and tableland; all of the higher ones wrapped in a shroud of snow." This time of year, the leaves change from green to yellow to red.
(GlobalPost)
Underground disposal of wastewater from gas production likely triggered a moderate earthquake in Colorado in 2011, the U.S. Geological Survey said on Wednesday in a study that may fuel debate over the impact of the U.S. energy boom.
(The Hill)
A libertarian think tank is suing the White House science office over a video claiming that the polar vortex, a major cold front, is tied to climate change. In its lawsuit against the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) questions the science behind the video released last year.
(Climate Central)
The two years that have passed since Hurricane Sandy crashed into the New Jersey shoreline have not been enough time for scientists and researchers to make much headway on the hows and whys of the Northeast's epic storm. But that's not because they aren't trying.
(ProPublica, NPR)
In 2012, two massive storms pounded the United States, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless, hungry or without power for days and weeks. Americans did what they so often do after disasters. They sent hundreds of millions of dollars to the Red Cross, confident their money would ease the suffering left behind by Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Isaac. They believed the charity was up to the job.

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."