April 22, 2019
Virginia regulators have voted to join the regional carbon cap-and-trade program RGGI, a move that could lead to cutting carbon emissions from the state's largest power plants by 30 percent. But Republican lawmakers are trying to use the state budget to effectively prevent that from happening.
Colorado’s Unannounced Air-Pollution Inspections at Oil and Gas Sites are Showing Results, Yet Emissions Are Up
State health inspectors with infrared cameras dropped in on about 2,000 oil and gas operations across Colorado last year and found leaks of heat-trapping methane and volatile organic gas at 13 percent of them — half the frequency found five years ago. But while individual sites are emitting less air pollution, there's a lot more production.
China's green light to build more coal-fired power plants probably won't usher in a flurry of new construction as most policies and investments in the top energy user will tilt toward renewable sources, Morningstar analysts say.
More than 80 percent of parents in the U.S. support the teaching of climate change in school, according to a new NPR/Ipsos poll. Read more from ICN on what a national teachers group says about efforts to prevent climate education.
April 19, 2019
New York City has set an ambitious new standard for combating greenhouse gas emissions, approving a package of climate policies designed to slash energy use in big buildings, the top emitters in the nation's biggest city. Supporters it represents one of the largest emissions cuts adopted by any city worldwide and offer a template others can follow.
Scott Pruitt, the former EPA administrator who resigned amid scandals, has registered as a lobbyist with Indiana regulators. His fillings identify him as a self-employed consultant and list lobbying topics include "energy" and "natural resources." The Indianapolis Star says his client appears to be a coal producer.
A jump in natural gas consumption was one of the chief reasons Americans burned a record amount of energy in 2018, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Overall consumption was up 4 percent from the prior year, the largest such increase in eight years.
Duke Energy is halting plans to build a natural gas-fired power plant for use during peak demand. The utility says it will wait 15 years to reassess whether the plant is needed. The move follows a push by people in the Asheville area for renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements instead.
An increasing number of states and local governments are including climate change in their list of risks investors should consider when buying bonds. BlackRock Inc., the world's largest asset manager, says that within a decade, more than 15 percent of debt in one leading municipal bond index will come from regions at risk of losses from climate change.
New Jersey utility regulators have voted to award the state's largest utility subsidies worth up to $300 million per year for three years to keep the state's three remaining nuclear reactors operating. This is follows the legislature's approval last year of hotly contested measures that allowed for the subsidies as part of a package that also increased requirements for renewable energy.
Among 18 declared candidates, there is no broad consensus on taxing polluters on carbon emissions or on building new nuclear power plants or adding federal regulations. The New York Times sent the Democrats a list of questions and describes their responses.
A majority of Americans see at least some effect of climate change where they live. This is one of the findings from polling about U.S. attitudes about climate change, broken down by age, partisan affiliation and other factors.
April 18, 2019
A group including 30 central banks is calling for measures to better assess the risks from higher global temperatures. The move, led by central banks in China, France and the United Kingdom, draws the group deeper into advocating funding for alternatives to fossil fuels.
Canada's tar sands province has elected a combative, conservative leader who came out swinging on the side of the country's struggling oil industry. He promised to cancel Alberta's carbon tax, lift a cap on emissions from the tar sands and create a "war room" to combat the oil industry's opponents. But there may be little he can do to change the tar sands' fortunes.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry is planning to leave the Trump administration and working on the terms and timing of his departure, according to two people familiar with the plans. Perry has been preparing his top deputy, Dan Brouillette, for the transition, sources said. An Energy Department spokeswoman rejected the idea that Perry would be leaving any time soon.
A new study largely confirms the accuracy of the high-profile NASA temperature data set. Researchers used satellite data to estimate the level of warming, confirming what was previously known and finding some places where warming is happening slightly faster than previously known.
Fourteen states, including New York and California, said the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to replace an Obama-era water regulation would end federal protection for half of wetlands and 15 percent of streams across the country.
Montana lawmakers rejected legislation that would have allowed a utility to purchase more energy from the coal-fired Colstrip plant in an effort to save the struggling plant. Lawmakers "finally figured out that this bill was toxic. It was anti-consumer and anti-constituent. It was going to raise utility bills," said Anne Hedges of Montana Environmental Information Center.
After the 2011 nuclear plant meltdown in Japan, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission directed operators of U.S. nuclear power plants to evaluate their flood risk using the latest weather modeling technology and accounting for climate change. The process revealed gaps, and NRC's new leadership under the Trump administration hasn't done much to address them.
Severe turbulence is becoming more frequent and intense. It isn't just nauseating or scary — it's dangerous, writes the head of the Association of Flight Attendants. She cites research indicating that rising CO2 levels cause disruptions to the jet streams and create dangerous wind shear.
April 17, 2019
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the latest major presidential candidate to promise to halt all new leases for fossil fuel development on federal lands—including offshore—if she's elected. But it wouldn't change things overnight. Here's why.
A host of global climate models developed for the United Nations' next major assessment of global warming are showing a puzzling but undeniable trend: They're running hotter than in the past, suggesting the world could soon be, too.
Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has a new job with a gold-mining firm that's pursuing project approvals involving the federal agency that Zinke left fewer than four months ago. Zinke says it isn't lobbying, but U.S. Gold's CEO cited Zinke's "excellent relationship" with the Bureau of Land Management and Interior in explaining his hiring.
A federal court has struck down the Trump Interior Department's repeal of an Obama-era policy aimed at boosting revenue for taxpayers by changing how energy companies value sales of coal, oil and gas extracted from federal and tribal land.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed a major overhaul of state oil and gas rules, turning the focus from encouraging production to making public safety and the environment top priorities. The law also gives local governments new authority to restrict the location of wells, which could limit or prohibit drilling in some areas near homes and schools.
A plan for a power line that would transmit wind energy from the Great Plains to markets in and beyond Missouri could be in jeopardy. The state House gave initial approval to a measure that would forbid the project's developer from using eminent domain to construct the line.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she wants a faster plan to decommission Enbridge's Line 5 oil pipeline, but she is not ruling out the option of allowing the company to put a replacement in a tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac.
With hurricane season just six weeks away and the planet warming, the country needs better prediction systems to warn coastal areas about what to expect from bigger, wetter and faster-strengthening hurricanes. Accurate prediction requires increasingly sophisticated models that combine atmospheric measurements with monitoring of regional hot spots.
As North America's glaciers shrink, the melting is disrupting habitats for everything from bacteria to fish. A photo essay from Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.
April 16, 2019
The Interior Department's internal watchdog has opened an investigation into ethics complaints against the agency's newly installed secretary, David Bernhardt, a former oil industry and agribusiness lobbyist. It said the investigation stems from "a wide assortment of complainants alleging various conflicts of interest and other violations."