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Today's Climate

January 16, 2015

BP Plc (BP/) faces a maximum fine of $13.7 billion after a U.S. judge ruled that the company dumped 3.2 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010—about a quarter less than the U.S. had calculated.
(New York Times)
A team of scientists, in a groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources, has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them.
(Washington Post)
Pew Research Center is out with a new survey and, for the first time in years, it actually bodes well for those hoping climate change will finally become a policy priority in the United States.
(The Hill)
A majority of Americans support construction of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, according to a new CNN/ORC poll. It found that 57 percent of the 1,011 surveyed are in favor of building the $8 billion oil sands pipeline.
(CBC News)
The City of Longueuil could be facing legal action for the way it handled a major oil spill, a spokesman for Quebec's Urgence-Environment said.  Early Wednesday morning, equipment failure at a Longueuil waste water treatment centre caused 28,000 liters of diesel to spill into the St. Lawrence River.
When Gov.-elect Tom Wolf takes his oath of office on the Capitol steps during his inauguration, he may have to do so over the shouting of anti-fracking protesters.
(StateImpact Pennsylvania)
Climate change protesters gathered outside a meeting of national Republican leaders in Hershey today. GOP congressional members from the House and Senate are in town for a three-day conference. Typically each caucus meets separately, but for the first time in a decade they're holding holding a joint meeting.
Engaging with major fossil fuel companies on climate change has become futile, according to one of the U.K.'s most esteemed environmentalists who spent years working on sustainability projects with BP and Shell.
(Business Green)
How much does each ton of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere really cost us? Whether you're a corporate executive penciling out the costs of new emissions-reduction strategies or a government regulator evaluating the feasibility of a carbon tax, the idea of putting a concrete price on carbon permeates the field of sustainability.
European makers of equipment for coal-fired power plants should receive financial help to export it, an EU discussion paper seen by Reuters says, in a clash with the bloc's declared aim to lead the global fight against climate change.
(BBC News)
Pollution has soared to hazardous levels in Beijing, reaching 20 times the limit recommended by the World Health Organization.
(Columbus Dispatch)
After stalling last year, both the Ohio House and Senate appear ready to move on efforts to deal with the Lake Erie toxic-algae problem that last summer choked off Toledo's water supply.

January 15, 2015

Europe's attempt to revive its carbon market is being thwarted by a lack of pollution.
Believe it or not, more than 80 percent of Canada's economy will soon have a price on carbon.  That's because Ontario announced it will price carbon, joining Quebec and British Columbia. Ontario, where 40 percent of Canada's population lives, will release a strategy later this year, says its Energy Minister. Even Alberta, land of tar sands, has a small carbon tax of C$1.80 per ton (BC's is C$30 a ton).
(Globe and Mail)
Canada's Natural Resources Minster Greg Rickford was on Capitol Hill again Tuesday pitching Keystone XL, as Senate supporters of the controversial pipeline tried to round up sufficient votes to override U.S. President Barack Obama's threatened veto of any Congressional attempt to force approval of the project to ship Alberta oil sands crude to the Texas Gulf coast.
(National Journal)
The West Virginia Board of Education on Wednesday voted to reject a set of public-education standards that cast doubt on the existence of man-made climate change.
The world's oceans are now rising far faster than they did in the past, a new study says.
Fracking companies will be legally bound to reveal the chemicals used to blast gas out of every well they drill and to better monitor for groundwater pollution, under concessions made by the government in parliament. But the Labour party, which proposed the changes, said many flaws remained and ministers remain "zealously opposed" to the necessary regulation.
(The Daily Climate)
Two hazardous chemicals never before known as oil and gas industry pollutants—ammonium and iodide—are being released into Pennsylvania and West Virginia waterways from the booming energy operations of the Marcellus shale, a new study shows.
(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
North Dakota oil production rose to a record in November, even as energy companies drilled fewer wells and the rig count dropped to a near five-year low, state officials said.
(San Francisco Chronicle)
About 20 percent of California's oil and natural-gas production uses hydraulic fracturing—with almost all of it happening in one corner of the San Joaquin Valley—according to the most authoritative survey yet released of fracking in the Golden State.
Pope Francis waded into the global debate about climate change on Thursday, saying that he believed that man was primarily responsible and that he hoped this year's Paris conference would take a courageous stand to protect the environment.
Celebrities and campaigners including Matt Damon, Bill Gates, Jody Williams and Malala Yousafzai are joining forces to launch an international campaign to persuade the planet's leaders to make 2015 the defining year in the fight against world poverty and climate change.

January 14, 2015

(The Hill)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday he will allow the Senate to vote on an amendment asking if they agree that climate change is impacting the planet.
Senate Democrats are trying to force Republicans into an awkward vote on climate change before the GOP can push through a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
So, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was just named to be the chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness as Republicans take over the Senate. This subcommittee (which used to be just Space and Science but was recently renamed) is in charge of oversight of, among other things, NASA.
(Climate Central)
The new year has only just begun, but we've already recorded our first days with average carbon dioxide levels above 400 parts per million, potentially leading to many months in a row above this threshold, experts say.
Harvard has newly invested tens of millions of dollars in oil and gas companies, rebuffing campaigners' demands to sever the wealthy university's ties to the companies that cause climate change.
(National Journal)
Mike Boots, the acting chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, will leave the administration in March, according to a CEQ spokesperson.
(Boston Globe)
An unsuccessful Republican candidate for Congress who campaigned against government regulations, a former lobbyist for the region’s fossil fuel industry, and a senior executive at one of the state's largest power companies will oversee energy policy for Governor Charlie Baker, administration officials said Monday.