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Today's Climate

November 25, 2014

(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.
(Reuters)
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.
(AP)
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.
(Guardian)
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.
(Bloomberg)
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

(Reuters)
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."
(Financial Times)
Norway's largest pension fund has vowed to drop its holdings in coal miners, intensifying pressure on the coal industry from global investors. The NKr470bn ($70bn) KLP pension scheme, which manages the retirement assets of Norway's public sector workers, will blacklist companies that derive more than 50 per cent of their revenues from coal-based activities.
(Center for Public Integrity)
It was a brisk February morning, and the governors of Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia and North Carolina were seated around a ring of tables draped with pleated beige fabric in the ornate Nest Room of Washington, D.C.'s Willard InterContinental Hotel. Sitting across the tables was Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, whom the governors had invited so they could make their case for expanding offshore energy production.
(New York Times)
In early August 2013, Arlene Skurupey of Blacksburg, Va., got an animated call from the normally taciturn farmer who rents her family land in Billings County, N.D. There had been an accident at the Skurupey 1-9H oil well. "Oh, my gosh, the gold is blowing," she said he told her. "Bakken gold."
(Salt Lake Tribune)
State mining regulators have given "tentative" approval to a British energy company's plans to process oil shale in the Uinta Basin. The Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining last month signed off on TomCo Energy's proposal to use an unproven "underground capsule technology" to superheat eastern Utah's oil shale—one of three active proposals aimed at mining Utah’s bounty of an unconventional and yet-to-be-tapped resource.
(Columbus Dispatch (sub. req'd))
The way companies report the fracking chemicals they use in Ohio could change under a bill moving through the Statehouse.
(Guardian)
Hundreds of government-funded boreholes are set to be drilled across Britain to try to persuade the public that a looming shale gas boom can be developed safely, the Observer has learned. Sensors in the boreholes would detect possible water pollution or earthquakes caused by fracking and the information would be made public.
(AP)
A government report with significant implications for the U.S. energy industry says a struggling bird species needs a 3-mile buffer between its breeding grounds and oil and gas drilling, wind farms and solar projects. The study comes as the Obama administration weighs new protections for the greater sage grouse. The ground-dwelling, chicken-sized birds range across 11 western states and two Canadian provinces.
(Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd))
In this city of 1.8 million people near the Russian border, hulking factories are collecting dust and restaurants sit empty in a landscape of half-completed building projects, idled cranes and closed businesses.
Is the Indictment of CEO Don Blankenship a Turning Point in Coal Mine Safety?
(Christian Science Monitor)
The indictment of Don Blankenship, formerly one of America's biggest coal bosses, represents a potential turning point in making coal country safer. It signals that federal prosecutors are ready to go after the top ranks of coal executives when they uncover a pattern of safety violations. If successful, they would set new legal precedents.
(National Journal)
On September 4 of this year, John Podesta took the stage at the Mandalay Bay Casino on the Las Vegas strip. The wiry 65-year-old was there for Harry Reid's annual energy conference, where green-tech-industry players, environmentalists, and politicians gather to talk about the agenda they wish Washington would pursue.

November 21, 2014

(New York Times)
China plans to set a cap on coal consumption in 2020, an important step for the country in trying to achieve a recently announced goal of having carbon dioxide emissions peak by around 2030. The State Council, China's cabinet, released details of an energy strategy late Wednesday that includes capping coal consumption at 4.2 billion tons in 2020 and having coal be no more than 62 percent of the primary energy mix by that year.
(RTCC)
The Canadian government has revealed it will give U.S.$265 million (C$300 million) to a U.N. fund aimed at helping the world's poorest countries invest in clean energy technologies and cope with the effects of climate change.
(The Globe and Mail)
Ontario and Quebec are forging a common strategy on TransCanada Corp.'s $12-billion Energy East pipeline project to address its impact on greenhouse gas emissions and to ensure that their natural gas customers will not be disadvantaged. Kathleen Wynne and Philippe Couillard are meeting in Toronto on Friday for a joint cabinet session. Officials confirmed that Energy East will be on the agenda, and the premiers plan to release a joint statement on the project.
(StateImpact Texas)
Congress' attempts to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline have re-ignited debate over the project, which would allow more crude oil to flow from the tar sands of Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast. It's also re-ignited debate over what could happen to that oil once it gets to Texas.
(Reuters)
Irving Oil has told regulators that recent air quality testing it commissioned around its oil-by-rail terminal in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada's largest such facility, shows no cause for public health concern.
(Think Progress)
Three top environmental groups released a report on Thursday detailing how the federal government could cut the country's methane emissions almost in half.
(Texas Tribune)
Bradford Gilde, a Houston lawyer, stumbled across some unexpected evidence as he was preparing to sue Aruba Petroleum on behalf of a North Texas couple who believed fumes from the company's natural gas wells were making them sick.