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Today's Climate

December 1, 2014

A Texas hamlet shaken by its first recorded earthquake last year and hundreds since then is among communities now taking steps to challenge the oil and gas industry's traditional supremacy over the right to frack.
(St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Missouri environmental advocates who have fought for stricter oversight of coal ash waste are eagerly awaiting the mid-December release of new federal rules that will require, for the first time, detailed data. In Missouri, there's precious little of it, making it difficult to measure the scope and impact of the toxic waste.
As Ronald Reagan's secretary of state, George Shultz faced off against Muammar Qaddafi, the Soviet Union and Chinese communists. His latest cause, though, is one few fellow Republicans support: fighting climate change.

November 26, 2014

(New York Times)
The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear a major challenge to the limits set by the Obama administration on emissions of mercury and other toxic pollutants from coal-fired power plants.
(Huffington Post)
Buoyed by the recent United States-China climate deal, the top climate negotiator for the U.S. said Monday that he's optimistic heading into this year's meeting in Lima, Peru. "I think it will give momentum to the negotiations," said U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern in remarks at the Center for American Progress Monday. "I think it will spur countries to come forward with their own targets."
(Baltimore Sun)
Capping more than three years of study, the O'Malley administration declared Tuesday that hydraulic fracturing for natural gas can be done safely in Western Maryland, but only after regulations are tightened to reduce air and water pollution and protect residents from well contamination, noise and other disruptions associated with an anticipated drilling boom.
(Chicago Tribune)
A southern Illinois circuit judge Friday struck down a move that would have prevented the start of fracking in Illinois.
(Los Angeles Times)
Neighbors are pressing for an environmental study of oil drilling at a South Los Angeles location close to homes, arguing that the city should scrutinize fumes, noise and chemical usage before deciding whether to let the company drill wells at the site.
(Capital New York)
Governor Andrew Cuomo frequently sounds the alarm about the "new normal" of extreme weather. He's talked about it in the aftermath of Hurricanes Sandy, Irene and Lee as he toured flooded villages and destroyed homes and roads, and during last year's snowstorms and extended cold snap.
The oil boom underway in North Dakota has delivered jobs to local economies and helped bring the United States to the brink of being a net energy exporter for the first time in generations. But moving that oil to the few refineries with the capacity to process it is presenting a new danger to towns and cities nationwide—a danger many appear only dimly aware of and are ill-equipped to handle.
On Thanksgiving Day, what used to be the world's most powerful oil cartel will gather in Vienna to decide how much oil to produce. Right around the time that the Bears and Lions are getting underway at in Detroit, delegates of the 12-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will finish a closed-door meeting and announce to the world how much oil they intend to collectively pump over the next year.
(Washington Post)
A Democratic lawmaker this month accused federal investigators of suppressing concerns about the structural safety of BP's Atlantis offshore oil platform, a facility similar to the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded four years ago.
Money is flowing now to Gulf Coast states to remedy damage from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and subsequent spill. All kinds of projects are underway, from building boat ramps to shoring-up marshland. They're being paid for with a $1 billion down payment BP made toward its ultimate responsibility to make the Gulf Coast whole, a figure estimated to be up to $18 billion.
(Think Progress)
The North American anti-pipeline movement just received a significant injection of financial and psychological energy, and it started with a book award. On Sunday, 24-year-old Quebecois activist and author Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois donated a CA$25,000, or just over $22,000, literary prize to an anti-pipeline citizen's group.
(BBC News)
Schemes to tackle climate change could prove disastrous for billions of people, but might be required for the good of the planet, scientists say.

November 25, 2014

Fiscal incentives for carbon capture should be part of the global climate change agreement that replaces the Kyoto Protocol, 56 countries belonging to the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) said in a statement on Tuesday.
Of course you remember Fillmore. He's the resident hippie of Radiator Springs in the Pixar blockbuster Cars. Much to the chagrin of his neighbor, Sarge the Army Jeep, Fillmore greets each new day with Jimi Hendrix's Woodstock rendition of A Star Spangled Banner—"respect the classics, man"—and is quick with a conspiracy theory about why bio-fuels never stood a chance at America’s gas pumps. Perfectly voiced by the late, great George Carlin, Fillmore has a slight paranoiac edge, as if his intake of marijuana may exceed what's medically indicated.
(The Hill)
Republican lawmakers are calling on energy regulators to get more involved with the Obama administration's climate rule for power plants. Top energy legislators in the House and Senate said they're concerned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) hasn't done enough to protect electricity reliability in the proposed rule.
(Dallas Morning News)
The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday rejected parts of a key Texas clean-air plan, setting up a conflict with deep implications both for the state’s electricity mix and air quality across much of the country.
Germany is working on a new law to force energy companies to shut down several more coal-fired power plants as it tries to reach ambitious climate goals, a document seen by Reuters showed on Sunday.
A proposed oil terminal in Vancouver, Washington, would handle more crude transported by rail than any single facility in the U.S. when running at full capacity, according to an analysis by The Columbian newspaper. Vancouver Energy, a joint venture by Tesoro Corp. and Savage Cos., would handle an average of 360,000 barrels of oil per day, or up to four trains daily.
(New York Times)
In late June, as black and gold balloons bobbed above black and gold tables with oil-rig centerpieces, the theme song from "Dallas" warmed up the crowd for the "One Million Barrels, One Million Thanks" celebration.
(McClatchy Tribune)
The first permits for natural gas exploration in the state could be issued in the spring, and N.C. Department of Transportation officials are trying to assess how the state’s rural roads will be affected by thousands of truckloads of chemicals, water, sand and mechanical equipment associated with hydraulic fracturing or fracking.
(National Journal)
It was spring 2014 in Kansas, and conservatives were running riot. Republicans had one of their own in the governor's office and supermajorities in both chambers of the state Legislature. After enacting massive tax cuts and putting some of the nation's strongest abortion restrictions on the books, the GOP turned to energy policy. The target: a law demanding that power companies begin buying more energy from wind farms, solar plants, and other renewable-power sources.
(Los Angeles Times)
Think that people in upstate New York will more strongly believe climate change is upon us after an early November blizzard dumped 7 feet of snow, which then was turned to slush by spring-like temperatures? Think again.
(E&E Publishing)
In the winter of 2012, the Svalbard archipelago was hit with an extreme weather event of record-breaking heat and rain—a slush avalanche knocked out bridges and roads. Reindeer carcasses littered the landscape, as permafrost warmed and snow-dependent tourism took a major hit.
Groundbreaking 3D mapping of previously inaccessible areas of the Antarctic has found that the sea ice fringing the vast continent is thicker than previous thought. Two expeditions to Antarctica by scientists from the U.K., U.S. and Australia analysed an area of ice spanning 500,000 metres squared, using a robot known as SeaBed.
Brazil's Jaguari reservoir has fallen to its lowest level ever, laying bare measurement posts that jut from exposed earth like a line of dominoes. The nation's two biggest cities are fighting for what little water is left.

November 24, 2014

Some future impacts of climate change, such as more extremes of heat and sea level rise, are unavoidable even if governments act fast to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the World Bank said on Sunday.
(Think Progress)
International talks to deal with a particularly potent greenhouse gas took a cautious step forward on Wednesday, as India and a host of other countries agreed to "informal discussions."