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Today's Climate

October 26, 2014

(Living on Earth)
Oil and gas fracking produces huge volumes of dirty, difficult to handle wastewater. Now businesses are developing technologies to clean it up. But Reid Frazier of the Allegheny Front reports profits can be elusive.
(CBC News)
New warnings are being raised over proposed drilling at the Old Harry reservoir beneath the Gulf of St. Lawrence, with research that suggests an oil spill at the site could affect coastlines in Atlantic Canada.
(The Times-Picayune)
Louisiana shrimp was safe to eat following the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a new study concluded, reaffirming previous federal and state studies. The new research focused on the Vietnamese-American community in eastern New Orleans, and said that even among frequent shrimp eaters, there are "no acute health risks or excess cancer risk."
The risk of severe winters in Europe and northern Asia has been doubled by global warming, according to new research. The counter-intuitive finding is the result of climate change melting the Arctic ice cap and causing new wind patterns that push freezing air and snow southwards.

October 23, 2014

The U.S. and European Union are pushing for a stronger explanation about the dangers of climate change and the consequences of failing to stem fossil-fuel emissions in the UN's most extensive report on global warming.
U.S. tribes told Canadian regulators on Wednesday they're opposed to a proposed pipeline expansion project in Canada that could dramatically increase the number of oil tankers plying West Coast waters. Kinder Morgan Canada has proposed a $5.4 billion expansion of its existing Trans Mountain pipeline, which links oil from Alberta's tar sands to the Vancouver, British Columbia-area. The project could increase by seven-fold the number of oil tankers that transit Washington state waters.
(Al Jazeera America)
The streets are quiet in Lipo Chanthanasak's neighborhood on the outer edge of this city's downtown core. Each of the small houses is painted a variation of beige and separated from the road by a neatly kept lawn, as if to highlight the scene's utter normalcy. But half a mile west are the BNSF Railway tracks and the Kinder Morgan rail facility, which quietly began receiving trains of Bakken crude last year.
(Washington Post)
An air of permanence has settled over the supposedly temporary Seabreeze shopping arcade. The Karasuya restaurant, serving big bowls of steaming noodle soup at the entrance to the arcade, is well established as a lunch spot for construction workers and a snack-and-homework joint for children from the neighboring school.
(Detroit Free Press)
A Wayne County hazardous waste landfill, under scrutiny for taking other state's low-activity radioactive wastes from oil and gas fracking, has withdrawn a request to state regulators to increase its allowed radiation limits tenfold. Wayne Disposal Inc., operated by USEcology in Van Buren Township, made the decision as Gov. Rick Snyder has convened a special panel looking at the state's regulations on disposing of technologically enhanced, naturally occurring radioactive materials, or TENORM.
(Science News (sub. req'd))
Fracking in Carroll County, the heart of Ohio's natural gas boom, hasn't contaminated groundwater, new research shows. The study is the first in the country to evaluate drinking water quality before and after the local onset of hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking.
(Calgary Herald)
A substantial majority of Albertans support the continued practice of hydraulic fracturing in the province, a new survey shows. But a smaller yet significant number of people remain "undecided," indicating policy-makers and industry groups who want to see continued development can’t afford to be complacent.
(StateImpact Pennsylvania)
Governor Corbett has signed two bills providing more transparency for people who have leased their property for natural gas drilling. A landowner advocacy group calls the measures "helpful" but says more action is needed.
(Climate Central)
The fog of uncertainty cast by rising seas is starting to lift from $25 billion worth of public projects planned in San Francisco. The City by the (rising) Bay, where bayfront shorelines will continue to experience worsening high tide flooding, where the nearby international airport is among the nation's most vulnerable to floods, and where Pacific Ocean shoreline erosion could be accelerated by sea level rise, has adopted a first-in-the-nation approach to assessing potential infrastructure risks posed by rising seas.
(Think Progress)
More than three times as many Californians are following news about the drought than are following news about the state's gubernatorial race. A new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California found that 62 percent of voters are following the drought very closely while only 18 percent are following the election very closely. About another 30 percent were following each "fairly closely."
(New York Times)
Rick S. Piltz, a climate policy analyst who resigned from the administration of George W. Bush in 2005, accusing it of distorting scientific findings for political reasons and then releasing internal White House documents to support his contention, died on Saturday in Washington. He was 71.

October 22, 2014

European Union leaders face heated negotiations today on a deal to toughen emission-reduction policies in the next decade and boost the security of energy supplies amid a natural-gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine.
(The Hill)
Peru could soon pledge a substantial amount of money to the United Nations climate fund aimed at helping poorer countries fight climate change.In an interview with Bloomberg News on Wednesday, Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal said the country is considering a pledge as a "political signal" and plans to decide before the Lima talks in December.
(Huffington Post)
When it comes to environmental pollutants, sometimes what's legal is what's most worrying. That's the conclusion of a new report on a major loophole in the regulations governing hydraulic fracturing. The report, released Wednesday by the Environmental Integrity Project, looks at what is known as the "Halliburton loophole"—an exemption from existing rules that allows companies to inject some petroleum-based chemicals into the ground without obtaining a permit.
(Lohud Journal News)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo turned a few heads at the WNED-TV studio when he appeared to set a deadline on the state's ongoing review of hydraulic fracturing, saying the state's long-running analysis of the technique should be completed "by the end of the year."
(StateImpact Pennsylvania)
The state Department of Environmental Protection has levied a $306,570 fine against a Texas pipeline company for multiple violations involving construction of two gas pipelines in 2012 and 2013. According to the DEP, the flawed work was performed by PVR Marcellus Gas Gathering LLC of Williamsport. That company was later acquired by Regency Marcellus Gas Gathering of San Antonio, Texas.
(Sun Sentinel)
Officials in the City of South Miami have passed a resolution in favor of splitting the state in half so South Florida would become the 51st state. Vice Mayor Walter Harris proposed the resolution and it passed with a 3-2 vote at the city commission meeting on Oct. 7.
(Washington Post)
Earlier this year, when a study came out suggesting global warming will increase the rates of violent crimes in the United States—producing "an additional 22,ooo murders, 180,000 cases of rape," and many other crime increases by the year 2099—it drew widespread criticism. "This ... is what people who are losing the argument look like," noted the conservative publication National Review.
Those feisty, litigious climate-hawk kids just won't go away. Back in 2011, we wrote about a group of witty whippersnappers that filed a lawsuit against the federal government. The premise: The government must take action to protect the atmosphere for future generations.
(Climate Central)
Bitter cold and a chill wind inevitably mean the heat gets cranked up inside. And as the polar vortex parked itself over Canada and the northeastern U.S. to end 2013, that's what people did.
(Think Progress)
Texas' chief toxicologist is arguing that the EPA shouldn't tighten ground-level ozone, or smog, rules because there will be little to no public health benefit. Dr. Michael Honeycutt heads the toxicology division of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the state agency tasked with protecting Texans from pollution.
(Wall Street Journal)
Drillers for Pennsylvania's natural gas are facing a growing threat—from their own productivity.
A study in a rural Ohio county where oil and gas drilling is booming found air pollution levels near well sites higher than those in downtown Chicago. A team from the University of Cincinnati and Oregon State University placed 25 monitors as close as one-tenth of a mile from gas wells in Carroll County, about 100 miles south of Cleveland. The monitoring occurred over a three-week period in February.
Narendra Modi has proven once again how important it is to be lucky in politics. In the spring, he was India's opposition leader, running for prime minister by focusing on the government's mismanagement of the economy. He had plenty of ammunition: The coalition led by the Congress Party had presided over years of corruption scandals and stalled reforms—and also had to contend with a growing budget deficit fueled by soaring prices for oil and other imported commodities.

October 20, 2014

The impact of Ban Ki-moon's New York summit on UN efforts to curb climate change faces its first test on Monday in Bonn, where envoys from over 190 countries meet for a week of negotiations.
One year after a pipeline rupture flooded a wheat field in northwestern North Dakota with more than 20,000 barrels of crude, Tesoro Corp. is still working around the clock cleaning up the oil spill—one of the largest to happen onshore in U.S. history.