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Today's Climate

November 5, 2014

(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.
(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
As crude prices tumble, big oil companies are confronting what once would have been heresy: They need to shrink. Even before U.S. oil prices began their summer drop toward $80 a barrel, the three biggest Western oil companies had lower profit margins than a decade ago, when they sold oil and gas for half the price, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.
Oil's 25 percent slide since June will play a role in Alberta's new climate and carbon regulations, Premier Jim Prentice said. The Canadian province will make a decision by the end of December on whether to raise its levy of C$15 ($13.29) a metric ton for large carbon emitters, while revisions on a broader range of climate policies may come at the same time, Prentice said. The drop in the price of oil, which is probably here to stay for a while, means it's "time for caution," he said.
(Vancouver Observer)
The battle over Burnaby Mountain took an unusual turn Friday in a Vancouver courtroom where it was revealed that Kinder Morgan had served several residents with legal papers using hasty methods.    "I was served papers via Facebook," said Burnaby resident Adam Gold on Friday, outside the B.C. Supreme Court. 
(Fuel Fix)
The Obama administration is quadrupling its estimate of how much crude could be harvested from Arctic drilling leases it sold oil companies six years ago. The move—part of a draft environmental impact statement issued by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Friday—is designed to shield that disputed 2008 auction and the Chukchi Sea oil and gas leases sold during it from further legal scrutiny.
(New York Times)
International talks in Australia on establishing two marine reserve areas, each larger than Texas, in the waters around Antarctica ended in failure on Friday, with some delegates to the negotiations saying that China and Russia had resisted the proposals.
(Sydney Morning Herald)
Planned funding cuts by the Abbott government for climate change research will degrade Australia's ability to predict and respond to impacts and may see whole areas of study lose support, according to current and retired scientists.
(Al Jazeera America)
It is a point noted with some morbid curiosity year after year—climate change ranks low on the list of Americans' priorities. But this version of the story tends to exclude the concerns of those whose interests are often marginalized at the polls and left out of legislation: people of color. 
Denmark should ban coal use by 2025 to make the Nordic nation a leader in fighting global warming, adding to green measures ranging from wind energy to bicycle power, Denmark's climate minister said on Saturday.
Germany is turning against coal as a fuel for generating electricity, a move that will boost the nation's reliance on natural gas from Russia.
Nassau County this week joined Suffolk in banning the use and sale of liquid waste from hydraulic fracturing within its borders, effectively creating an islandwide ban of the substance.