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Today's Climate

June 18, 2014

(The Globe and Mail)
Cheers by some in China are set against a rising doubt that Canada's oil will even be needed on the other side of the Pacific.
(New York Times)
Around the world, the giant oil companies of the United States and Europe are putting the brakes on a decade-long spending spree focused on finding and developing offshore oil fields in ever-tougher environments. The reason: Soaring costs are outpacing foreseeable rises in energy prices.
North Dakota has joined the ranks of the few places in the world that produce more than a million barrels of oil per day, due in large part to the rich Bakken shale formation in the western part of the state.
(StateImpact Texas)
"In Texas, I don't think there's anybody else doing quite what we're doing," says research scientist Kevin Schug. What Schug is doing can be found in a two big kitchen refrigerators in a lab on the campus of the University of Texas at Arlington.
(Los Angeles Times)
When Austin Holland was being considered for his job as the sole seismologist at the Oklahoma Geological Survey in 2009, his interviewer posed a wry question: "Are you going to be able to entertain yourself as a seismologist in Oklahoma?"
(The Times-Picayune)
Federal prosecutors are asking a judge for additional time to decide whether they should appeal an order throwing out the conviction of a former BP engineer in connection with the 2010 Gulf oil spill investigation.

June 17, 2014

(Edmonton Journal)
For many average Canadians, the battle over new oil pipelines remains little more than a puzzling war of words, featuring B-list Hollywood celebs, aging rock stars, native groups and eco activists on one side, and Big Oil on the other.
(Washington Post)
Former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton declined in an interview published Sunday to take a position on the debate over whether the Keystone XL oil pipeline should be constructed or not. Don't expect her posture to change any time soon.
(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
The shale boom that has transformed the oil industry in the U.S. will spread beyond North America before the end of the decade, sooner than previously expected, the International Energy Agency said Tuesday, while at the same time warning of significant aboveground risks to conventional supply over the next five years.
The sweet tea served in the tidy kitchen of Joanne Thomas' antebellum home comes with an ominous warning. "It's made with bottled water," says Thomas, a spry 71-year-old. "But the ice comes from our well."
(Agence France-Presse)
The operator of Japan's battered Fukushima nuclear power plant has said it is having trouble with the early stages of an ice wall being built under broken reactors to contain radioactive water. Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) has begun digging the trenches for a huge network of pipes under the plant through which it intends to pass refrigerant.
(The Daily Beast)
The Koch brothers' financial network is planning on spending almost $300 million in the 2014 election, including a new anti-environment effort.
(The Canadian Press)
Alberta's energy regulator is mounting a two-week, around-the-clock compliance check near Peace River to ensure oil sands companies are following new rules on odor emissions. "We only have so many people in each field office across Alberta, so we've essentially saturated this area with staff to do a targeted sweep," Jeff Toering of the Alberta Energy Regulator said Monday.
(Sustainable Business)
United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express have been reducing emissions for years, and that's turned out to be important for their businesses because one of their big customers now requires it - the U.S. General Services Administration.In order to get a shipping contract with the GSA, companies not only have to compete on price and performance, they also have to meet annual targets for cutting emissions.
(Think Progress)
Our current models "grossly underestimate" the economic damage that will be wrought by climate change, according to British climate change economist Lord Nicholas Stern. So he and a colleague just published a new preliminary paper that makes a few key updates.
(Denver Post)
Two more ballot initiatives that could limit oil and gas drilling have been approved for gathering of petition signatures by the Colorado Supreme Court. Initiative 88 would require new oil and gas wells to be located at least 2,000 feet from the nearest occupied structure. Current state law establishes well setbacks at 500 feet.
Anson County residents are calling for action after Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law that would allow fracking permits to be issued as early as next year.Anson is one of 14 counties in North Carolina where fracking could occur. According to the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA, those counties include Rockingham, Yadkin, Davie, Granville, Durham, Wake, Anson, Montgomery, Chatham, Lee, Sanford, Union and Moore counties.
(StateImpact Texas)
Ever since a fertilizer plant blew up last year and killed 15 people in West, Texas, many Texans have wanted to know where dangerous chemicals are stored in their area. Until recently, it was pretty easy to find out. They could simply ask the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
(The Hill)
The Interior Department said it will give $102.7 million to East Coast communities to build infrastructure, wetlands and other natural areas to protect from major storms like 2012's Hurricane Sandy.

June 16, 2014

Four in 10 new oil and gas wells near national forests and fragile watersheds or otherwise identified as higher pollution risks escape federal inspection, unchecked by an agency struggling to keep pace with America's drilling boom, according to an Associated Press review that shows wide state-by-state disparities in safety checks. Roughly half or more of wells on federal and Indian lands weren't checked in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, despite potential harm that has led to efforts in some communities to ban new drilling.
U.N. climate negotiations made tentative progress on Saturday towards a text for a 2015 deal to bind all nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Negotiators and observers said signs of action from China and the United States, the world's top two emitters, had raised hopes but they warned the talks could break down unless rich nations pledged billions of dollars in aid to poorer states by the end of the year.
(Los Angeles Times)
President Obama was honored by Native American tribal singers and dancers on Friday afternoon, but on his first presidential visit to Indian country he also heard from activists who want him to reject the Keystone pipeline project that could pass nearby. One leader, calling the proposed oil pipeline a "death warrant for our people," urged Obama to turn down the TransCanada Corp. plan to run the pipeline from Canada, through Dakota lands and down to the Gulf Coast.
(The Globe and Mail)
The Harper government is set to announce a key decision on Enbridge Inc.'s politically-charged Northern Gateway project, having spent the past 18 months persuading the public that building an oil sands pipeline through British Columbia is in the national interest.
(The Daily Camera)
A trial date is expected to be set by the end of the week as the next step in the Sovereign oil and gas company's lawsuit against Broomfield's controversial, voter-approved five-year moratorium on fracking.
(Washington Post)
When the coal-fired power plant at the Bingham Canyon copper mine in Utah started up, Franklin D. Roosevelt was running for his fourth term as president. The top music hits were sung by Bing Crosby, Jimmy Dorsey and Dinah Shore. D-Day was still a couple of months away. People born that year are now collecting Social Security.
(Living on Earth)
Climate protection advocates have applauded the EPA's recent power plant regulations, but environmental lawyer Bill Snape says the new rules don't deal with methane, and that could be a serious problem for the climate.
Australia's chief trade-deals negotiator has labeled the bid by President Barack Obama to cut U.S. power-plant emissions as lacking substance. "There's no action associated with it," Trade Minister Andrew Robb said in a Sky News interview from Houston, Texas, where he was accompanying Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Giving the commencement address at the University of California at Irvine on Saturday, President Obama openly mocked the climate science and policy positions of many Republican lawmakers, without naming any names. This was the first time that Obama had launched such a frontal assault on those who are trying to stymie his efforts to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases that are causing global warming, such as carbon dioxide.
(Calgary Herald)
Environment Minister Robin Campbell says Alberta is busy revising its 2008 climate change plan, but the province won't alter its old targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
(Christian Science Monitor)
Brazil's state of Acre, preserving the Amazonian rain forest, expects demand for its carbon credits to increase because of new U.S. EPA limits on greenhouse gases. But any boost will be indirect.