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Today's Climate

August 7, 2014

(Columbus Business First)
Ohio is about to drill well No. 1,000 since the start of the Utica shale boom. So far, 997 horizontal wells have been drilled, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, out of 1,428 fracking permits.
(New York Times)
Remember the population explosion? When population was growing at its fastest rate in human history in the decades after World War II, the sense that overpopulation was stunting economic development and stoking political instability took hold from New Delhi to the United Nations’ headquarters in New York, sending policy makers on an urgent quest to stop it.
(E&E Publishing)
President Obama's appeal for greater U.S. investment on the African continent was not major news in this booming East African capital where economic progress can be measured by glassy new office towers built for Chinese energy firms and the recent opening of Kampala's upscale Acacia Mall, where the main imprint of U.S. culture and business is a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.
A Chinese coal company has been operating illegal open-pit mines in alpine meadows on the far-western Qinghai plateau, potentially endangering one of the country's largest rivers, a new investigation has found.

August 6, 2014

(The Plain Dealer)
The owner of a Youngstown oil-and-gas-drilling company was sentenced Tuesday to 28 months in prison for ordering employees to dump tens of thousands of gallons of fracking waste into a tributary of the Mahoning River. U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent also fined Benedict Lupo, 64, of suburban Poland $25,000. Nugent rejected defense attorney Roger Synenberg's request for home detention and a harsh fine.
This morning, a group of protesters drove through the farm country of Kitchener, Ontario. They pulled up at a dirt-and-gravel-paved job site occupied by a security guard.
(CBS Denver)
Governor John Hickenlooper earned the headlines and praise he received this week after the compromise he crafted ended the fracking battle on the 2014 Colorado ballot. Hickenlooper could have turned back many times, but he finally brought together the very motley crew of odd bedfellows that was required to craft this 11th hour compromise.
(Dallas Morning News)
Two months after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed slashing carbon dioxide emissions from the nation's power plants, Texas officials are still scrambling to figure out how to respond. Teams of lawyers have been hired to determine the impact on the state's power utilities, natural gas producers, coal mines and solar and wind farm developers. EPA modeling suggests that by 2030 coal generation would be cut in half, to be replaced by new natural gas plants and a 150 percent increase in electricity generated from the sun and wind.
(Vancouver Observer)
"Thousands of British Columbians depend on the Pacific Ocean for their livelihood," Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau told hundreds of supporters gathered for a Liberal Party barbecue at Douglas Park in Vancouver. "Those Canadians have not been assured that a catastrophic spill would be prevented...That's why, if I'm given the honour of becoming Prime Minister in 2015, I will work to make sure Northern Gateway does not happen."
(Climate Central)
Days with more tornadoes have become more common over the past 60 years, a trend that new research says could have a climate change connection. Understanding the connection between climate change and tornadoes, if any, is one of the most fraught areas of research. But a study released Wednesday posits that changes in heat and moisture content in the atmosphere, brought on by a warming world, could be playing a role in making tornado outbreaks more common and severe in the U.S.
(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
Sand prices are rising and companies are racing to build new mines in South Dakota and other locations as demand intensifies for the silica crystals that energy companies use to frack oil and gas wells.
(Oil Price)
Oil and gas companies are taking on more debt to continue drilling, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Companies' revenues are now flattening out, as global oil prices have plateaued.
(Fuel Fix)
Oil companies and environmentalists can find common ground, Noble Energy Inc. CEO Chuck Davidson said Tuesday, pointing to first-of-their-kind regulations in Colorado aimed at corralling methane emissions from drilling.
Europe's energy dilemma—burning the dirtiest coal while meeting pollution targets—is crystallizing in opposition to a plan that would uproot 700-year-old villages and dig two pits the size of Manhattan. PGE SA and Vattenfall AB, the Warsaw- and Stockholm-based utilities, want to tap Europe's richest lignite deposit, along the German-Polish border.
(New York Times)
Mexico's Congress approved on Tuesday a sweeping overhaul of the energy industry that cleared the way for international giants to tap Mexico's rich reserves of oil and gas. The new legislation is the centerpiece of President Enrique Peña Nieto's plan to jump-start economic growth by allowing competition in one of Mexico's most stagnant sectors.
(Washington Post)
The Ebola outbreak is "out of control" in parts of West Africa, says the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Could climate change hasten the spread of the deadly virus? Perhaps, but the linkages are complicated, according to limited scientific literature on the topic.

August 5, 2014

The U.S. Agency for International Development and the Rockefeller Foundation are starting a $100 million project to prepare vulnerable communities for climate-caused humanitarian disasters before they happen. The initiative, which will start in Africa's Sahel region and be announced today at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, is aimed at the droughts, typhoons and wildfires that devastate vulnerable communities around the world.
Americans living in fear of—and dealing with the aftermath from—deadly wildfires are suffering the effects of climate change, the Obama administration said Tuesday in the newest iteration of the White House push to discuss climate change as a clear and present danger rather than a future threat.
An unprecedented gathering of African leaders opened in Washington, D.C. The U.S.-Africa Leader's Summit is covering topics including food security, climate change, regional stability and expanded business opportunities between the U.S. and Africa.
(International Business Times)
The winding drive from Enniskillen, the most westerly town in the United Kingdom, to the sleepy border village of Belcoo 12 miles away serves up some spectacular scenery. In recent years, however, the lush green landscape has arguably taken a backseat. Your attention is more likely to be captured by the plethora of posters and banners jutting inconspicuously out of hedgerows and pinned to telegraph polls.
(StateImpact Pennsylvania)
Alisa Lykens has been with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for 24 years and says she's never seen such a big response to a project so early on in the process. Lykens was at Millersville University in Lancaster County Monday night. It was the first in a series of four meetings hosted by FERC to take public comments on a proposed interstate natural gas pipeline that would go through ten Pennsylvania counties.
(The Globe and Mail)
Canadian National Railway Co. says it is still negotiating with the Gitxsan First Nation, as the deadline passed to vacate land along the Skeena River in northwestern B.C. that is claimed by the Gitxsan. "CN has a long-standing co-operative relationship with the Gitxsan hereditary and elected chiefs, and the company is currently in discussions with them about this matter," CN spokesman Patrick Waldron said Monday. "We have no further comment beyond that."
(Minneapolis Star Tribune)
Just as more of North Dakota's oil bounty travels along Minnesota railroads from the west, Canada is sending more of its crude south on tracks through the northern part of the state. Canadian National Railway, the largest railroad in Canada, reported an 82 percent increase in crude oil shipments in three months ending in June. Many of the oil tank cars are traveling on rails that pass through Warroad and Baudette and cross the Rainy River near Voyageurs National Park on their way to Superior, Wis.
(Bismarck Tribune)
Byron Richard's pickup bounces up and down over the washboard gravel road. He clutches the wheel with one hand and points with the other as he passes dozens of oil wells on land where once crops grew and cattle grazed. A few of the wells are decades old; most are new or under construction. Oil field vehicles of assorted shapes and sizes clog the road in places and kick up thick clouds of dust.
Some of the world's top PR companies have for the first time publicly ruled out working with climate change deniers, marking a fundamental shift in the multi-billion dollar industry that has grown up around the issue of global warming. Public relations firms have played a critical role over the years in framing the debate on climate change and its solutions – as well as the extensive disinformation campaigns launched to block those initiatives.
(The Hill)
Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) introduced a bill that would direct the Department of Energy to approve the building of at least 10 carbon capture facilities in the next 10 years.
(New York Times)
Billions of baby oysters in the Pacific inlets here are dying and Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington is busy spreading the bad news.
(Columbus Dispatch)
As Toledo lifted the ban on its drinking water yesterday, some lawmakers, environmentalists and farmers called for tighter restrictions on the agriculture industry, which scientists say probably caused the algae toxins that made the city's water unsafe for about 500,000 people. But other agencies argued that existing laws might be enough to protect people from the algal blooms that have plagued Ohio's beaches and lakes for years.
The source of northern Ohio's water the scarcity comes from further north: the green slick covering Lake Erie. It may look no more pernicious than a wheat-grass smoothie, but this bloom of green-blue algae, or cyanobacteria, is toxic enough that it can damage humans livers and other organs and sometimes kill pets. Since some half-a million people in Toldeo and elsewhere in northwest Ohio get their drinking water from Lake Erie, the state government declared the water unsafe to drink (or bathe in and cook with, for that matter).

August 4, 2014

(Los Angeles Times)
The mayor of Toledo, Ohio, says new tests show that toxins are still in the city's water supply.