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Today's Climate

November 7, 2014

(AP)
Members of a state commission who oversaw public hearings on fracking are recommending that rules be revised to allow unannounced inspections of hydraulic fracturing operations, according to a report released Wednesday.
(Charlotte Business Journal)
Duke Energy has set aside a $3.4 billion obligation in its accounting requirements for the costs of cleaning up its 32 ash ponds in North Carolina. Duke had estimated the cleanup could cost between $2 billion and $10 billion. Chief Financial Officer Steve Young emphasized to analysts this week that the obligation could rise or fall, depending on what is required in the cleanup.
(StateImpact Texas)
The federal government says the oil and gas industry is the largest industrial source of pollution that creates smog. In coming months, Texas drillers could learn what the government plans to do about it. New pollution rules could mean that thousands of oil and gas wells in Texas will have to have their leaks fixed.
(The Times-Picayune)
A panel of federal appeals court judges in New Orleans has refused to reconsider a ruling that BP and Andarko Petroleum Corp. must pay federal fines related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil disaster. BP and Anadarko, co-owners of the failed Macondo oil well, had sought to avoid penalties by blaming another company's failed equipment.
(BusinessWeek)
Despite the concerns about wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, it can be difficult to keep track of where the drilling fluids end up. Now a team of researchers claims to have figured out how to trace leaks and spills of fracking fluids—and even detect their presence in treated water.
(Washington Post)
It's notoriously difficult to make people care about climate change. It's a big, slow moving, long term problem that can rarely compete with everyday concerns—and it certainly doesn't help matters that most people have a difficult time distinguishing between climate change and their everyday weather.

November 6, 2014

(Washington Post)
Sen. James M. Inhofe, an the Oklahoma Republican who once compared the Environmental Protection Agency to the Gestapo, is likely to lead the Environment and Public Works Committee when the GOP takes control of the Senate next year. If approved, Inhofe would replace Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), an avowed environmentalist, producing one of the most stark post-election changes in the Capitol. Committee assignments will not be made until Senate party caucuses meet in Washington after the election recess.
(Think Progress)
Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry (R), dubbed by Anti-Keystone XL pipeline group Bold Nebraska as the state's "top climate denier," will no longer represent the state, after being unseated by his Democratic challenger Tuesday. Brad Ashford (D) won Terry's congressional seat after a tight race, which Terry conceded Wednesday afternoon. The race was being closely watched by national Democrats—the Pro-Democrat House Majority PAC contributed ad money to help Ashford win, and the DCCC put Ashford in its "Red to Blue" program, which supports Democrats in certain close races.
(NPR)
On election night in a hotel ballroom in Anchorage, Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski picked up a chair and waved it over her head. "I am the chair-maaaaaaaaaaan!" she shouted.
(StateImpact Pennsylvania)
Now we know. Democrat Tom Wolf will indeed be taking the reins from Gov. Corbett in just over two months. For the first time since 1954, an incumbent Pennsylvania governor did not either win re-election or cede power to someone from their own party.
(Tampa Bay Times)
The biggest winner on the ballot Tuesday wasn't one of the candidates. It was Amendment 1, the proposal to set aside some $10 billion in tax money over the next 20 years, to be used for purchasing environmentally sensitive land and protecting wildlife and water resources.
(National Journal)
Environmental groups got few of the results they'd hoped for Tuesday night, losing big both on the national level and in governors' races. But there was one surprising winner from the races: The Northeast's multistate carbon-trading plan.
(Fuel Fix)
Voters in Denton by a wide margin—59 percent to 41 percent—approved a measure to ban hydrualic fracturing inside the city limits on Tuesday. It took until 8:57 a.m. Wednesday for the Texas Oil & Gas Association to file a petition in Denton County asking for the ban to be overturned.
(Chicago Tribune)
After more than two years of hearings, protests and public outcry, the fate of hydraulic fracturing in Illinois comes down to a meeting Thursday of an obscure, stodgy and largely unwatched committee called the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.
(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
OPEC would likely lower the ceiling on its collective production if oil prices fall to $70 a barrel, a level most of the group's members don't expect to see this year, according to several of the group's officials.
(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.
(AP)
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.
(AP)
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.
(Guardian)
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."
(BusinessWeek)
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.