March 22, 2016

Obama's Top Climate Envoy Stepping Down

U.S. climate negotiator Todd Stern is leaving the Obama administration.

"For seven years, Todd Stern has helped lead U.S. efforts to address one of the greatest challenges facing the world today, culminating in the historic global climate agreement reached at [the conference] in Paris last year," Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement on Monday.

March 21, 2016

March 18, 2016

Feds Seek to Expand, Tighten Natural Gas Pipeline Rules

The Department of Transportation proposed new regulations that would cover natural gas pipelines built before 1970, and pipelines in sparsely-populated areas. The agency said the change was prompted by lessons learned after a 2010 gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people in San Bruno, Calif.

March 17, 2016

Zika Could Reach New York and Los Angeles This Summer: Study

Scientists modeled the spread of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries the Zika virus, in the continental U.S. They found a 40 to 45 percent chance that this summer could be unusually warm, allowing the mosquito to spread as far north as New York City. A large outbreak in New York, however, is unlikely.

Rep. Lamar Smith Criticizes NOAA Climate Study at Hearing

During a hearing on Wednesday of the House Science Committee, chairman Lamar Smith (R.-Texas) continued his months-long fight against a federal study that refuted a theory about a "hiatus" in global warming. Kathy Sullivan, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, defended the research.

March 16, 2016

Obama's Nominee May Draw Attention for EPA Rulings

D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Merrick Garland has a record of generally supporting contested EPA regulations. In 2003, he wrote an opinion upholding the federal government's application of the Endangered Species Act, which opponents challenged on the ground that the act exceeded the bounds of the commerce clause. In several other cases, he voted to uphold EPA regulations on emissions.

Japan Signs Off on Climate Change Plan to Meet Paris Targets

The Japanese government approved on Tuesday multiple measures to cut greenhouse gases in a move to ensure the country meets its climate commitment made last December in Paris.

"The plan will map out the path to achieve the mid-term goal of a 26 percent reduction by 2030," Environment Minister Tamayo Marukawa said at a press event. "It also includes an 80 percent cut by 2050 as a long-term target."

U.K. Climate Committee to Scotland: Adopt Stronger Carbon Emissions Target

The U.K. Committee on Climate Change recently recommended that Scotland aim to slash its greenhouse gas emissions 61 percent by 2030.

"There is a lot of positive action already under way in Scotland, driven by both its vibrant renewable sector and its bold policy approaches. This must now be accelerated," said Lord Deben, chair of the advisory committee. The Scottish government has already vowed to reduce emissions by 42 percent by 2020.

California Water Cutbacks Draw Flood of Complaints as Reservoirs Rise

After California experienced heavy rainfall in December and January, some residents are demanding that the state end its mandatory water conservation measures.

"This whole concept of using less and paying more is a very hard pill to swallow," California resident Rick Williams said to Reuters. "We have plenty of water."

March 15, 2016

Zero Carbon Emissions Target to Be Enshrined in U.K. Law

The United Kingdom will convert to law its long-term goal of achieving zero carbon emissions, according to a recent announcement by energy minister Andrea Leadsom.

"The government believes that we will need to take the step of enshrining the Paris goal for net zero emissions in U.K. law," Leadsom told the U.K. parliament on Monday. "The question is not whether but how we do it."

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