September 3, 2020

Biden Presidency Could Decarbonize Power Sector by 2035, Trump Win Would Delay That Past 2050

The question of who wins the presidential election this fall likely won't determine whether the U.S. power sector transitions to carbon neutral energy sources, but it will determine when the industry achieves it, new research from financial firm Wood Mackenzie says. Joe Biden's $2 trillion climate plan could decarbonize the sector by 2035, while a Trump win could delay progress for decades.

House Democrats Demand Climate Be ‘Centerpiece’ Of 2020 Presidential Debates

Dozens of House Democrats are calling for the climate crisis to be a central focus of the upcoming presidential and vice presidential debates. In a letter Wednesday to the Commission on Presidential Debates, 70 lawmakers stressed that their constituents must hear from the candidates about how they plan to tackle "one of the most pressing and all-consuming issues currently facing our country."

Its Electric Grid Under Strain, California Turns to Batteries

Last month as a heat wave slammed California and the grid struggled to keep up with surging electricity demand, state regulators pleaded for help from people who managed thousands of batteries installed at utilities, businesses, government facilities and homes. It highlights what experts have predicted for years, that businesses and even homes could act as mini-power plants, running off solar.

September 2, 2020

September 1, 2020

Trump Administration Proposes Easing Oil and Gas Permitting in National Forests

The Trump administration on Monday issued a proposal that would make it easier to permit oil and gas drilling operations in national forests, angering environmental groups who said the move would harm wildlife and increase greenhouse gas emissions. The proposal, released by the U.S. Forest Service, aims to streamline approval for drilling leases, permits and other key processes.

EPA Relaxes Rules Limiting Toxic Waste From Coal Plants

The Trump administration on Monday relaxed strict Obama-era standards for how coal-fired power plants dispose of wastewater laced with dangerous pollutants like lead and arsenic, a move environmental groups said would leave rivers and streams vulnerable to toxic contamination. The new regulation scales back what technologies utilities must use to protect waterways.

President Donald Trump’s Climate Change Record Has Been a Boon for Oil Companies, and a Threat to the Planet

Legal experts and activists agree that President Trump, beginning with his decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, has done more to roll back and weaken environmental laws and regulations than any president in history. Trump has scaled back or eliminated over 150 environment measures, expanded Arctic drilling and denied climate science. We take a hard look at his record.

Storm Damages Continue to Hamper Gulf Coast Energy Operations

Catastrophic damage to power lines and communications outages on Monday weighed on the assessments of Gulf Coast refineries and on offshore oil and gas production in the wake of Hurricane Laura, Reuters reports. Offshore oil production was down by 53 percent of the region's daily output and natural gas was down by 41 percent.

The World Added More Solar, Wind Than Anything Else Last Year

For the first time ever, solar and wind made up the majority of new power generation in the world, marking a seismic shift in how nations get their electricity, Bloomberg reports. Solar additions last year totaled 119 gigawatts, representing 45 percent of all new capacity. Together, solar and wind accounted for more than two-thirds of the additions—up from less than a quarter in 2010.

California to Vote on Extending Lives of Aging Gas Plants

California, which imposed rolling blackouts on two days during an oppressive heat wave last month, will decide on Tuesday whether to extend the lives of four aging natural gas plants it has been seeking to retire for a decade. The vote by the State Water Resources Control Board follows a state analysis last year that identified a potential electricity capacity shortfall beginning in the summer of 2021.

August 31, 2020

What Has Trump Has Done to Alaska? Not as Much as He Wanted To

No part of Alaska has been immune to President Trump's agenda to push through extraction projects, such as drilling for oil. But so far, the damage from those efforts has been mostly symbolic. We looked at the six major projects in the state to see what Trump has actually accomplished, and what the courts or a possible Biden administration may undo.

Climate Change May Make Extreme Hurricane Rainfall Five Times More Likely, Study Says

Even if humanity manages to keep global warming to an average of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century, life threatening rainfall like the Carribean faced during Hurricane Laura will become up to 5 times more likely, a new study warns. The finding highlights the urgent need to tackle climate change even beyond current international climate goals.

Fire Crews Make Progress Containing Two Major California Blazes

Firefighters have made progress on containing at least two major fires ravaging California's Bay Area, as some residents have been allowed to return to their homes, The Mercury News reports. The LNU Complex and CZU Complex fires, which have burned hundreds of thousands of acres, are now at 41 percent and 33 percent containment, respectively.

Big Oil Is in Trouble. Its Plan: Flood Africa With Plastic.

Confronting a climate crisis that threatens the fossil fuel industry, oil companies are racing to make more plastic, but face markets already awash with plastics and countries reluctant to take on plastic waste. Now the industry is targeting African nations with new trade agreements to solve both of those problems, The New York Times reports.

A Texas Town Takes on Fracking as a Racial Justice Issue

In the wake of the police killing of George Floyd and amid ongoing racial justice protests, cities nationwide are passing resolutions aimed at tackling racial inequality. In Arlington, Texas, one such resolution, combined with mounting public pressure, has prompted lawmakers to reject a request to expand a fracked gas drilling site.

21 States Sue White House Over Rollback of Bedrock Environmental Law

A coalition of 21 states sued the Trump administration Friday for rolling back what they say is a "rule that is, at its heart, the gutting" of America's bedrock environmental law. The White House in July finalized a rollback of the National Environmental Policy Act, which for 50 years has required the government to weigh environmental and community concerns before approving major projects on federal lands.

August 28, 2020

As Arctic Ice Melts, Polluting Ships Stream Into Polar Waters

As melting sea ice opens the Arctic to navigation, more ships are plying the loosely regulated polar waters, bringing increasing amounts of climate-warming pollution, Reuters reports. Traffic through the icy region's busiest lane along the Siberian coast increased 58 percent between 2016 and 2019. Last year, ships made 2,694 voyages on the Northern Sea Route.

US Energy Exports Severely Disrupted by Hurricane Laura

Oil and gas exports from the United States have been severely disrupted by Hurricane Laura, with nearly a million barrels per day of crude exports likely reduced this week by closures of Gulf Coast terminals and disruptions at ports, Reuters reports. The hurricane also temporarily suspended operations at several liquefied natural gas facilities.

Minnesota's Boreal Forest Is a Climate Change Hot Spot

As climate change unfolds, scientists are learning that warming is uneven, with temperature records showing distinct hot spots. Now one of the fastest warming areas on the planet includes Minnesota's Iron Range, spanning the state's northern border with Canada, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

Court Finds EPA Skirted Air Laws With 'Pernicious Loophole'

A federal appeals court has sided with environmentalists, ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency used a "pernicious loophole" when it greenlighted laxer standards for Pennsylvania's coal-fired power plants. The Sierra Club sued the EPA and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection over a permit governing the state's air quality standards.

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