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Today's Climate

November 6, 2014

(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
The state Department of Environmental Protection has revised a rule it proposed in April to limit emissions from coal-fired power plants that was widely panned by environmental groups and deemed "too lax" by federal environmental regulators. The new proposed final rule, announced by the DEP Wednesday, requires the state's more than two dozen power plants to install and operate Reasonably Available Control Technology to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds.
(New York Times)
The Natural Resources Defense Council has presented research that attempts to take on the Herculean task of quantifying the environmental, social and economic toll of China’s reliance on coal.
Federal regulators shut down the commercial fishing season for northern shrimp in the Gulf of Maine for a second straight yearWednesday, citing concerns about the declining population and warmer ocean temperatures. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Northern Shrimp Section voted to cancel the upcoming season, a year after the section closed this year's season for the first time in more than 30 years. A technical committee that advises the section recommended extending the moratorium for another year.
(Climate Central)
Book it: This year will go down as the hottest in California's history. With just two months left in the year, there's a better than 99 percent chance that 2014 will be the warmest year on record for California, according to National Weather Service meteorologists.

November 5, 2014

(National Journal)
$74 million worth of campaign funding was enough to make Tom Steyer the 2014 elections' single biggest public spender, but the green billionaire's dollars weren't enough to net wins for his favored candidates in key Senate races.
Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday the U.S. and China must work together to stave off a global catastrophe from climate change. He appealed for greater cooperation between the two world powers despite strains between them over cyber theft and maritime security.
(The Japan Times)
The government has adopted a plan to offer Indonesia energy-saving technology in a trade for greenhouse-gas emission rights, the Environment Ministry said Tuesday. It is the first project under the so-called Bilateral Offset Credit Mechanism to come to fruition.
The government has cut almost half a billion dollars from research into carbon capture and storage–which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) deems crucial for continued use of coal–despite the prime minister insisting coal is the "foundation of our prosperity."
A science advocacy group is pressuring Royal Dutch Shell to cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a political organization that has long worked against policies to address climate change.
(South China Morning Post)
Smog caused by coal consumption killed an estimated 670,000 people in China in 2012, according to a study by researchers that tries to put a price tag on the environmental and social costs of the heavy reliance on the fuel.
(Climate Central)
If the race to warm the planet were a children's allegory, carbon dioxide would be considered the tortoise, while soot and methane would play the role of the hare. In reality, as in fairy tales,  the tortoise is going to win. Recent focus on targeting methane, soot and other short-term pollutants to combat climate change is not going to keep global warming in check if CO2 is not also slashed to stop its long-term impact, a new study says.
(The Hill)
Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe (Okla.) easily defeated Democrat Matt Silverstein on Tuesday, winning a fifth term in the Senate.
(Think Progress)
We take to Facebook to share, and to vent. A pre-election analysis of more than 20 million Facebook users posts, comments, and other messages about today's election by the company reveals what people were discussing district by district since July. The social media company analyzed the data, broke it down into categories and shared it with The Wall Street Journal.
(The Canadian Press)
Alberta's energy regulator is investigating reports of waterfowl landing in tailings ponds in the oilsands area. The agency says it's not known how many birds or which companies are involved.
(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
A major energy company will soon sell U.S. oil abroad without explicit permission from the government, another sign that the decades-old federal ban on crude exports is crumbling.
(Washington Post)
Residents in coastal communities use far less water than their inland counterparts, but still find ways to cut back even more, residential per-capita water use figures released for the first time Tuesday show. The State Water Resources Control Board is collecting per-capita data to better target conservation efforts as farms go fallow and reservoirs dry up. Gov. Jerry Brown called on Californians to reduce water use by 20 percent when he declared a drought emergency in January.

November 4, 2014

(Rapid City Journal)
If the sentiment among Native Americans who attended a get-out-the-vote rally in Rapid City on Sunday is any indicator, Tuesday's election features several measures that have sparked interest among the state's tribes. Among them: a proposal to rename Shannon County, within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, to Oglala Lakota County; a measure to allow more table games in Deadwood; and a measure to raise the minimum wage.
(Inside Energy)
One third of the oil produced in North Dakota comes from the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, home to the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribes. Since the first oil well was drilled in 2007, oil money has erased $125 million in debt and slashed a 70 percent unemployment rate to two percent today. But it has also industrialized much of the reservation and brought traffic, crime and drugs.
The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, says he will launch an investigation into reports that Britain spied on other governments at two successive global climate summits, snooping on other delegations' kit, passes and membership lists. A government document released by Edward Snowden showed that an officer from GCHQ, the government's eavesdropping agency, had been embedded in the official British delegation to the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009 and at Cancun in Mexico.
(The Hill)
Climate chief for the United Nations Christiana Figueres thinks parts of the global climate change accord need to be binding.During an interview with Platts "Energy Week" on Sunday, Figureres said the agreement that over 180 countries are working to craft by next year's talks in Paris "needs to be binding in some respects."
A bid by environmentalists to confront world leaders with a digital billboard highlighting climate change has been thwarted by Brisbane airport authorities who deemed the message too political.
(The Globe and Mail)
The oil industry is starting to achieve its goal of shipping Alberta crude to new markets in Europe and Asia, even if the routes are not as direct as it would like. Just ask the Swiss.
(Climate Central)
Fugitives are escaping oil and gas fields across the country. It's well known who the fugitives are, but exactly where they come from and how many there are has long been murky.
Oil prices are down than more than 25 percent since June and are staying low for now. Drivers may appreciate that, but for oil companies, it's making some of the most controversial methods of producing oil less profitable—and in a few cases, unprofitable.
(Christian Science Monitor)
When the campaign trail runs through coal country, the refrain is usually the same: Proposed coal-killing environmental rules must be stopped. But in coal-dependent states from Colorado to Georgia, regulators are quietly preparing for a low-carbon future.
(The Jersey Journal)
Jersey City is planning to embark on a $2 billion coastal defense plan along its eastern waterfront, one that would that radically alter the city's so-called Gold Coast and, city officials hope, protect it from the kind of massive flooding it experienced during Hurricane Sandy.
(Toledo Blade)
Conventional wisdom says western Lake Erie's toxic algae is supported by commercial farm runoff, animal manure, sewage spills, faulty septic tanks, and other major sources of nutrients responsible for putting much of the excessive phosphorus and nitrogen in the water. But that's not the whole story.

November 3, 2014

(The Hill)
The Obama administration released thousands of pages on Friday documenting federal agencies' vulnerabilities to climate change and what those agencies plan to do about it.In all, 38 agencies released climate change adaptation reports and sustainability plans to address climate threats and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the federal government. 
(The Shreveport Times)
Oil is flowing once again through a 1,000-mile pipeline that almost four weeks ago spilled thousands of barrels of crude onto acres of private land and into a bayou, stopping just short of a major body of water.
(The Times-Picayune)
A federal judge on Friday (Oct. 31) dismissed two Houston-based oil companies  from a wetlands damage suit filed against dozens of similar companies by the east bank levee authority, a day after the companies and the authority announced they had entered into a $50,000 settlement.