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Today's Climate

April 2, 2014

(Globe and Mail)
Exxon Mobil Corp. sees little threat to its asset base from the growing fears about climate change, although critics accused the company of taking a remarkably rosy view given the dire warnings in the latest United Nations' climate report.
(New York Times)
As crop yields fall and populations rise, the alarming vision of Thomas Malthus might be proved right by climate change—two centuries after he first expressed it.
Following protests that resulted in clashes between demonstrators and police, officials in a city in southern China have said plans for a controversial petrochemical plant will not go ahead if the majority of the city's residents object. More than a thousand people took to the streets on Sunday in Maoming in Guangdong province in protest at plans for a paraxylene (PX) project which the Hong Kong based newspaper, the South China Morning Post said would be jointly run by the local government and Chinese state oil company Sinopec. It is the latest in a rising number of protests in China over large-scale industrial plants.

April 1, 2014

(E&E Publishing)
Utah physician Brian Moench is worried. There's only anecdotal evidence so far, but Moench maintains that oil and gas drilling in the Uinta Basin that straddles Utah and Colorado is almost certainly causing health problems for residents, including increased infant mortality.
(Houston Chronicle)
Chief financial officers of some of the largest energy companies are more pessimistic than the rest of the business community on earnings growth this year, according to a new survey released by the consulting firm Deloitte. Despite a U.S. energy boom, energy executives forecasted the second-lowest sales growth and domestic personnel growth of any industry in the study.
(McClatchy DC)
As rail shipments of crude oil have risen in Northern California, so has opposition in many communities along rail lines and near the refineries they supply. Concerned about the potential safety and environmental hazards of 100-car trains of oil rolling through population centers, leaders from Sacramento to San Jose say they're banding together to present a unified voice for "up-line" cities: communities that could bear some of the highest risks as California turns toward rail shipments to quench its thirst for fuel.
(San Francisco Chronicle)
Come April, customers of California's big utility companies will receive "climate credits," small payments of money raised from the state's cap-and-trade system for controlling greenhouse gas emissions.
(StateImpact Pennsylvania)
Over the past year the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has raised nearly $5.9 million by quietly leasing more than 1,400 acres of mineral rights to gas companies underneath publicly-owned waterways. The most recent lease agreement–signed just over two weeks ago–gives Chesapeake Energy the rights to extract gas from under 1,092 acres of the Susquehanna River in Wyoming and Bradford Counties for five years.
(Financial Times)
The U.S. energy revolution is putting unprecedented strain on roads, railways and housing in North Dakota, its governor says, as a surge in production has put the state at the heart of the country's oil and gas boom.
(StateImpact Texas)
In one of the hottest plays for natural gas drilling, Bob Patterson wonders if what the drilling industry leaves behind will come back to haunt the community. "It's just a ticking time bomb before we have major aquifer contamination," Patterson told StateImpact.
Andre Boulet, chief executive officer of Inventys Thermal Technologies Inc. in Burnaby, British Columbia, holds up a 6-inch piece of charcoal, showing how light passes through toothpick-sized air shafts. He says the crevices in this filter offer a cheap way to capture carbon dioxide before it ascends into the atmosphere and haunts future generations.
(The Hill)
A United Nations report that concludes climate change is negatively affecting every continent arrived with a predictable thud Monday in Washington. Democrats and the Obama administration saw the report as more evidence that leaders must take quick, decisive action on the issue, while skeptics, including much of the Republican Party, held fast in their position that the science is wrong.
One is home to some of the UK's best known commentators casting doubt on climate change science, while the other claims "climate change is on ice" and "huge uncertainties surround the science of climate change." But both the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail have now told MPs they believe climate change is happening and humans play a role in it.
A year and a half after Superstorm Sandy decimated New York City's coastline, a city-run program that was supposed to rebuild wrecked homes has only begun construction on three houses, and officials say they will need another $1 billion from the federal government in order to help every homeowner in need.
(Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism)
Perry Schmitt describes himself as pro-mining but blames the frac sand mine across the highway from his home for driving down the asking price by more than $25,000, to $189,000. His neighbors made out better. Kari Curran and her husband sold 130 acres for $1.5 million to a company affiliated with Unimin Mining Corp., operator of the mine. The property was previously valued at about $225,000. "It was kind of bittersweet," Curran said. "That was the house we raised our kids in."
People in Japan on Tuesday began their first homecomings in three years to a small area evacuated after the Fukushima disaster, but families are divided as worries about radiation and poor job prospects have kept many away. The reopening of the Miyakoji area of Tamura, a city 220 km (140 miles) northeast of Tokyo and inland from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear station, marks a tiny step for Japan as it attempts to recover from the 2011 disasters.

March 31, 2014

(The Hill)
The release of a United Nations report detailing the pervasive effects of climate change should serve as a call to action for the world's nations to curb the emission of greenhouse gases, Secretary of State John Kerry argued Sunday night. In a statement issued by the State Department, Kerry called denial of climate change science "malpractice" and warned the "costs of inaction are catastrophic."
Lawsuits challenging California's climate policies have yet to delay implementation of the programs, attorneys involved in the various cases said March 26. "The California Air Resources Board is batting about 1,000," Tom McHenry, a partner at Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher in Los Angeles, said during a presentation on the status of legal actions the state still faces eight years after enacting the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (A.B. 32).
(Minneapolis Star Tribune)
State lawmakers push for improved grade crossings and more track inspection. But new pipeline rules were dropped.
(Cincinnati Enquirer)
Domestic oil production, including that in Ohio, keeps growing. And with oil being produced in new areas that don't have pipelines, more crude is heading to refineries in rail cars. Yet neither federal nor state regulators track the shipments that are increasingly crisscrossing the country – potentially cutting through neighborhoods and business districts nationwide and in Greater Cincinnati.
(Philadelphia Inquirer)
The long, heated debate ended, the votes were cast, and a proposed natural gas pipeline through the environmentally sensitive Pinelands appeared dead. But pipeline advocates weren't ready to give up - and are now preparing a bipartisan counterattack in what some see as the Jersey equivalent of the national debate over the Keystone XL pipeline.
(Dallas Morning News)
For close to 18 months, Mike Heim watched the construction site outside Decatur where his company planned to build a natural gas processing plant sit idle. He was waiting for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to OK air pollution permits.
(Broomfield Enterprise)
Though Broomfield has resolved several court cases related to its controversial Nov. 5 election, the city anticipates legal action from the oil and gas industry after a judge in February upheld a ban on fracking.
Houston-based Hilcorp seeks to use a 1961 Pennsylvania law to drill under the property of four holdout landowners in New Bedford.
(Al Jazeera America)
One anti-fracking activist's life is about to get a little bit easier. A Pennsylvania judge on Friday loosened a court injunction restricting the movements of Vera Scroggins, who was banned from setting foot on property owned by or leased to Cabot Oil & Gas Co. in Susquehanna County—and therefore unable to shop at her favorite grocery store, go to the nearby hospital, or visit some of her friends.
(Los Angeles Times)
Regulators in North Carolina cited Duke Energy on Friday for a crack in an earthen dam holding back coal ash slurry at a retired coal-burning plant, where the utility was cited March 20 for illegally dumping coal ash waste into the Cape Fear River.
(Bismarck Tribune)
A company official who specializes in radioactive waste says North Dakota risks becoming a superfund clean up site unless it takes decisive steps to deal with radioactive waste from Bakken oil production. Joe Weismann, who heads up radiological operations for U.S. Ecology Inc., with sites in the U.S. and Canada, said North Dakota needs to get the situation under control before it's too late.
Entire island nations "rendered uninhabitable," millions of people to be displaced by floods and rising seas, uncertainties over global food supplies and severe impacts on human health across the world. The news from the United Nations on the likely impacts of climate change is dire, especially for the poorest people on the planet.

March 28, 2014

Climate change has already left its mark "on all continents and across the oceans," damaging food crops, spreading disease, and melting glaciers, according to the leaked text of a blockbuster UN climate science report due out on Monday. Government officials and scientists are gathered in Yokohama this week to wrangle over every line of a summary of the report before the final wording is released on Monday–the first update in seven years.
More oil than previously thought may have leaked into Lake Michigan this week from BP Plc's Indiana refinery, the company said on Thursday, after two U.S. Senators requested a meeting with the British oil major.