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Today's Climate

January 21, 2015

(New York Times)
Two charitable groups will spend $48 million over the next three years to help states figure out how to reduce emissions from electricity production, an effort to seize the possibilities that are opening up as the cost of clean power falls.
(Irish Times)
Three years behind schedule, after a myriad of consultations and drafts, the Government has finally published the State's first climate change Bill to a very mixed reaction. The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill 2015 was published on Monday afternoon by the Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly.
Pakistan has reinstated its ministry for climate change, suggesting the government plans to pay more attention to the issue as countries prepare a new international deal to curb global warming.
(Mother Jones)
Is Mitt Romney becoming a climate change crusader? During his 2012 presidential bid, Romney was dismissive about Democratic efforts to combat the effects of climate change, and he pushed for an expanded commitment to fossil fuels. But in a speech in California on Monday, Romney, who is considering a third run for president in 2016, signaled a shift on the issue.
(Washington Post)
With Republicans taking control of the Senate this month, two climate-change skeptics became heads of the subcommittees that oversee the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
(The Times-Picayune)
Motiva Enterprises LLC, which has refinery operations in Norco and Convent, and two other companies affiliated with Shell Oil Co. have agreed to pay $900,000 to settle Clean Air Act violations alleged by the Environmental Protection Agency, agency officials announced Tuesday.
(Fuel Fix)
A U.S. prosecutor said in court Tuesday that government experts will show BP is overstating how well it mitigated the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and that the company shouldn't get much of a break on  a potential $13.7 billion in fines merely for complying with the law. 
A few towns over from the chemical plant that leaked a coal-cleaning mixture into the drinking water of 300,000 West Virginians last year, a new company run by some of the same people is being cited for similar environmental violations.
(Climate Central)
Two steps forward, one-and-a-half steps back: That's been the story of the tenacious California drought lately.

January 20, 2015

(Washington Post)
Poll after poll has shown overwhelming support for building the Keystone XL oil pipeline. So when Congress passes a bill authorizing its construction, people want the White House to sign it immediately, right? Wrong.
(Financial Times)
Nordea Asset Management plans to blacklist up to 40 coal-mining companies from its investment universe. It joins a growing list of large investors that have decided to cut their exposure to fossil-fuel assets.
(The Hill)
A climate change and sea-level rise researcher with sit with first lady Michelle Obama during Tuesday night's State of the Union address.
Conservative distrust of Pope Francis, which has been building in the U.S. throughout his pontificate, is reaching a boiling point over his plan to urge action on climate change—and to do so through a document traditionally used for the most important papal teachings.
(Poughkeepsie Journal)
When Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last month that the state would soon ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing, those who had opposed the controversial method of extracting oil and gas rejoiced. But even as the anti-frackers gather in Albany this week for another celebration, uncertainty remains about whether the ban will be challenged in court, or perhaps undermined through legislative action in Congress.
(Lawrence Journal-World)
Kansas officials have been reluctant to link the mysterious earthquakes in south central Kansas to fracking, but last week they said for the first time the temblors are likely caused by disposal of the waste water that is a byproduct of the oil and gas extraction process. "We can say there is a strong correlation between the disposal of saltwater and the earthquakes," Rick Miller, geophysicist and senior scientist for the Kansas Geological Survey, told the Journal-World.
(Columbus Dispatch)
In the hours after an explosion at a Lima oil refinery on Jan. 10, government regulators, local emergency-management officials and the company that operates the refinery were quick to test the air for toxins.
(New York Times)
With oil prices plummeting by more than 50 percent since June, the gleeful mood of recent years has turned glum here in West Texas as the frenzy of shale oil drilling has come to a screeching halt.
(Lincoln Journal Star)
BNSF Railway more than tripled the number of trains it moved through Nebraska with a million gallons of oil or more aboard late last year and has changed its route to bypass Lincoln, at least for some trains.
Climate change threatens the genetic diversity of the world's food supply, and saving crops and animals at risk will be crucial for preserving yields and adapting to wild weather patterns, a U.N. policy paper said on Monday.

January 19, 2015

(Washington Post)
The State Department informed eight agencies Friday they have until Feb. 2 to comment on whether the Keystone XL pipeline would serve the national interest.
TransCanada Corp. (TRP) was sued by Nebraska landowners in a new bid to block the Keystone XL pipeline a week after the state's highest court rebuffed an attempt to void the approved path across the state, a leg that would complete the route from Alberta tar sands to Gulf Coast refineries.
(Lohud Journal News)
Final regulations for phasing out older freight-rail tank cars carrying crude oil and ethanol will be released May 12 instead of March 31 as originally planned, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The U.K. government's planned shale gas revolution has barely got out of the starting blocks with just 11 new exploratory wells for shale gas and oil due to be drilled this year even before the impact of plunging oil prices has fully begun to impact on the industry.
European politicians are expected this week to back by a narrow majority early action to bolster prices on the EU carbon market and sharpen a weapon against climate change that recession has blunted.
Standing on Boston's Long Wharf, John Barros, the city's chief of economic development, recalled what the site looked like in January 2014, when a nor'easter brought record high tides.
(San Antonio Express-News (sub. req'd))
The deaths of five oil field workers Thursday in a fiery four-vehicle crash is the latest accident linked to increased traffic from the Eagle Ford Shale drilling and fracking boom that has caused dangerous roads in South Texas.
(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
After its oil-well explosion in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, BP PLC caught one lucky break: Oil prices surged and boosted its cash flow, helping it to cover billions of dollars in legal and oil-spill cleanup costs.
(The Globe and Mail)
Energy economists say that a prolonged slump in oil prices will further slow two proposed pipelines already hamstrung by court challenges and community opposition in British Columbia.
(Denver Post)
The movement of large-scale oil and gas operations into Front Range suburbs is creating pressures not being addressed by state rules, Colorado's top oil and gas regulator said Thursday.
(Los Angeles Times)
California's drought crept in slowly, but it could end with a torrent of winter storms that stream across the Pacific, dumping much of the year's rain and snow in a few fast-moving and potentially catastrophic downpours.