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Today's Climate

October 1, 2014

(The Hill)
A group of Senate Democrats called for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on Friday to issue the "strongest possible" safety standards for fracking operations on public lands.
(Climate Central)
Just like last year, Texas is king of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., while Vermont remains the greenest state in terms of pollution that causes climate change. New U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program data released Tuesday show that nationwide, greenhouse gas emissions from industrial sources in 2013 rose 0.6 percent over 2012, an increase of about 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, totaling 3.18 billion metric tons overall.
Exxon Mobil issued a report Tuesday that acknowledges the environmental risks of hydraulic fracturing but also defends the practice as being better for the environment than other types of energy production and generation.
Britain's first round of shale gas licensing in six years is attracting solid interest from investors, according to business and energy minister Matt Hancock, who says the country has a duty to use fracking to secure its future energy supply.
(Financial Times)
The U.S. is overtaking Saudi Arabia to become the world's largest producer of liquid petroleum, in a sign of how its booming oil production has reshaped the energy sector.
(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
The state Department of Environmental Protection might have used incomplete and inaccurate test information to decide whether chemicals leaking from a Marcellus Shale wastewater impoundment and a drill cuttings pit contaminated a water well and springs in Washington County.
(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
A tanker of crude oil departed Alaska for South Korea last week, the first such export from the state in a decade. The tanker left the Valdez export terminal Friday headed for Yeosu, South Korea, according to energy data service Genscape. Yeosu is home to the world's fourth-largest refinery.
(Al Jazeera America)
Looking high into the treetops, Sebastian Ramirez searched for familiar faces. For the past year, he's been following a group of spider monkeys. Each day, he and his team track one of them and take notes.

September 30, 2014

(Huffington Post)
First there was a pickup truck. Then there was an ark. The vehicle of choice for drawing attention to the NextGen Climate Action Committee has been, well, vehicles. The climate change super PAC, funded by billionaire investor Tom Steyer, recently rolled a truck filled with fake oil barrels into New Hampshire to chide Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown. A few days later, the group begantouring Florida with an ark to taunt climate change hedging by Gov. Rick Scott (R).
(The Hill)
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says a passable climate change bill would be  a "top priority" if Democrats gain control of the House.
(Climate Central)
As the planet's temperature steadily rises thanks to the burning of fossil fuels that pumps greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, that warming is having a discernible impact on some of the world's weather, particularly to heat waves across the globe.
Canada’s reputation as climate bad-boy was invented in Manhattan in 2008. Months before TransCanada Corp. applied for a permit for Keystone XL and the pipeline battles that followed, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund convened a gathering of environmental groups to discuss a strategy for taking down Canada's tar-sands industry. The vast deposits of bitumen in northern Alberta were not necessarily seen in the league of Chinese coal as a carbon offender.
(National Journal)
A large oil and natural-gas company is parting ways with the American Legislative Exchange Council. Occidental Petroleum sent a letter Friday to an investment-management company indicating its intention to sever ties with ALEC, a conservative coalition of state legislators and major corporations that actively opposes environmental regulations.
(Houston Chronicle (sub. req'd))
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says it plans to add a new air monitor in the heart of the Eagle Ford Shale play to measure the impact of pollution from oil and gas sites that are spreading across South Texas.
(Salt Lake Tribune)
Built to move coal from trucks to trains, three Carbon County terminals instead began transferring crude oil this year—a switch yet to receive final approval from state environmental regulators. At least 50 tanker trucks a day are rumbling over U.S. Highway 191 to the new rail connections, marking the rise of oil and the decline of coal in Utah's energy picture.
(Great Falls Tribune)
Four West Coast senators are asking the federal government to expand a recent order for railroads to notify state emergency responders of crude oil shipments. The letter, sent Monday to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, says railroads should supply states with advanced notification of all high-hazard flammable liquid transports—including crude from outside the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana, as well as ethanol and 71 other liquids.
(Democrat & Chronicle)
The New York League of Conservation Voters and state Sen. Ted O'Brien, D-Irondequoit, announced a series of proposals Monday to rein in the handling and disposal of gas and oil drilling waste in New York. At a news conference, O'Brien and the league president, Marcia Bystryn, said legislation would be introduced in Albany that would bar the disposal of drilling wastes in New York landfills and restrict the treatment of liquid wastes from drilling in municipal wastewater plants.
(New York Times)
The savage heat waves that struck Australia last year were almost certainly a direct consequence of greenhouse gases released by human activity, researchers said Monday. It is perhaps the most definitive statement climate scientists have made tying a specific weather event to global warming. Five groups of researchers, using distinct methods, analyzed the heat that baked Australia for much of 2013 and continued into 2014, briefly shutting down the Australian Open tennis tournament in January when the temperature climbed to 111 degrees Fahrenheit.
(Los Angeles Times)
Global warming contributed to extreme heat waves in many parts of the world last year, but cannot be definitively linked to the California drought, according to a report released Monday.
(Yale 360)
The United Nations Climate Summit in New York last week passed with many promises, but no firm pledges. Most notably, China's vice-premier Zhang Gaoli promised his country would peak its carbon dioxide emissions "as soon as possible," and President Obama said that next year he would publish a plan to cut U.S. emissions after 2020. On the fringes, major corporations trading in agricultural commodities grown on former rainforest land joined with governments in signing a declaration promising to halve net deforestation by 2020 and end it by 2030. 

September 29, 2014

(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
The energy industry's top trade group called on U.S. oil producers to do more frequent and better testing of crude oil before loading it on to trains in the wake of several high-profile accidents.
(Lincoln Journal Star)
Art and Helen Tanderup gazed with amazed smiles at the thousands of cars parked on the stubble of their recently harvested cornfield on Saturday, at the stage set up in their rye field and at the ocean of people standing in front of it. "It's unbelievable. It's absolutely amazing this is happening," said Art just before the start of Harvest the Hope.
(Think Progress)
An operator in charge of storing petroleum coke, a dirty byproduct of tar sands refining, has announced it's leaving the city of Chicago, and taking the black, dusty piles with it. Beemsterboer Slag Corp., which has been storing petcoke at a storage facility by the Calumet River, has closed the facility after facing increasing pressure from city officials and residents.
A federal judge has refused to block the release of oil and gas leases in Nevada that critics say will be used for hydraulic fracturing that could harm sage grouse and cause more environmental damage than the Bureau of Land Management admits.
Fracking will take place below Britons' homes without their permission after ministers rejected 40,000 objections to controversial changes to trespass laws. The U.K. government argued that the current ability for people to block shale gas development under their property would lead to significant delays and that the legal process by which companies can force fracking plans through was costly, time-consuming and disproportionate.
(Toronto Star)
From his many-windowed fifth-floor office at city hall, Mayor Al McDonald points to the Laurentian escarpment to the north, then to the shimmering blue waters of Trout Lake to the east. Vast Lake Nipissing is visible to the west, though you have to crane your neck to see it. Below are the Victorian buildings and tree-lined streets of the downtown.
(Houston Chronicle (sub. req'd))
Texas is building a case that the Environmental Protection Agency's state-specific targets for curbing climate-altering emissions from power plants can't be achieved, if at all, without affecting electric service reliability and driving up prices.
President Michelle Bachelet of Chile enacted new environmental tax legislation on Friday making the country the first in South America to tax carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Part of a broad tax reform, Chile's carbon tax will target the power sector, particularly generators operating thermal plants with installed capacity equal or larger than 50 megawatts (MW).
It has been nearly two years since Hurricane Sandy crashed ashore in New Jersey, devastating cities throughout the region. As cities and towns along the coast consider how to prepare for future weather patterns, and avert the kind of damage that happened in 2012, a two-pronged response has emerged—a kind of municipal fight-or-flight response.
(Financial Times)
Russia's top crude oil producer Rosneft confirmed on Saturday that it has made an oil discovery with ExxonMobil at their controversial joint well in the Arctic.