May 25, 2011

As Drought Tightens Grip, Farmers' Losses Mount

Texas farmers and ranchers are coping with their eighth drought in the last 13 years, and this one has a chance of slamming producers with their biggest losses ever, officials said.

Investors Press Energy Firms on 'Fracking' Disclosure

As debate about the environmental impacts of gas drilling continues to swell, U.S. energy companies will be deciding this week whether to disclose more about the possible risks to shareholders.

China’s Utilities Cut Energy Production, Defying Beijing

A dispute spurred by rising coal prices indicates that China's unique marriage of market competition and government oversight may be starting to fray.

By Barcoding Trees, Liberia Looks to Save its Rainforests

The West African nation of Liberia has partnered with the EU on a novel system for protecting its remaining forests -- marking every harvestable tree so it can be traced to its final destination.

U.S. Smart Grid to Cost Billions, Save Trillions

A modernization of the national power grid will cost up to $476 billion over the next 20 years but will provide up to $2 trillion in customer benefits over that time, according to industry experts.

UK: Nuclear Power and Flood Defenses in Line for Green Investment Bank Cash

Flood defenses and nuclear power are expected to receive funding from the green investment bank, according to detailed plans for the new institution set out on Tuesday by Vince Cable, the business secretary.

Algae Machine to Reduce Australian Coal Plant CO2

Australia-based MBD Energy is installing an algae system from OriginOil at its coal power station in Tarong, Australia, both companies announced.

Japanese Billionaire Touted to Kick-Start Solar Plants in Tsunami-Hit Areas

Japan's richest man, the CEO of Japanese telecom company Softbank, wants to kick-start large solar power plants in tsunami-hit areas of eastern Japan, according to reports.

Pennsylvania's Solar-Energy Industry Suffering from Success

Spurred by hundreds of millions of dollars in federal and state incentives, Pennsylvania solar developers have built so many projects in recent years that they have created an oversupply of solar credits, the market instruments that provide the developers with a critical income stream.

Micronesia Mounts Unprecedented Legal Challenge Over Czech Power Station

Micronesia has mounted an unprecedented legal challenge against the Czech Republic's plans to expand a coal plant more than 7,000 miles away, claiming potential environmental damage could threaten the archipelago's survival.

Report Urges Combining and Scaling Up CCS with Enhanced Oil Recovery

A report from MIT and The University of Texas at Austin urges the U.S. to accelerate efforts to pursue CCS in combination with enhanced oil recovery, a practice that could increase domestic oil production while significantly curbing emissions of carbon dioxide.

Norway Plans Billion-Dollar Clean Energy Initiative for Poor

Norway wants to channel billions of dollars to renewable energies in developing nations, building on a scheme to protect tropical forests to which Oslo has been the biggest donor, officials said.

Transocean Talking with BP 'at CEO Level' on Spill

Transocean Ltd has had high-level talks with BP Plc about last year's Gulf of Mexico oil well disaster, for which it believes BP is responsible for the damages.

May 24, 2011

Most of Calif.'s Carbon Law Unaffected by Court Ruling; Trading Date Could Slip

California regulators still might be able to start their greenhouse gas trading program in January 2012, despite a court decision last week to stay the trading system.

La Nina Weather Pattern May Be Factor in More Tornadoes

La Nina, a weather pattern characterized by colder ocean temperatures in the eastern Pacific, may be playing a part in the number of tornadoes this spring, according to an AccuWeather meteorologist.

Japan's Tepco Confirms Meltdowns of 2 More Fukushima Reactors

Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, confirmed on Tuesday that there were meltdowns of fuel rods at three of the plant's reactors early in the crisis.

UK: MPs' Report Rejects Moratorium on Shale Gas Exploration

There should be no moratorium on prospecting for shale gas in the UK despite concerns about its negative environmental impacts, a report from an influential group of MPs has advised.

Upton: Dems’ Push to Link Pipeline to Kochs 'Outrageous'

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton bashed his Democratic counterparts for suggesting an oil sands pipeline that Republicans want to expedite is a gift to Koch Industries.

Heeding an Oil-Spill Lesson, 2 Agencies Team Up

From now on, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will draw on NOAA's expertise when making decisions on oil and gas drilling permits.

GOP Presidential Candidates May Be Weighed Down by Their Climate Change Pasts

The demise of cap and trade last Congress won't render climate a non-issue for GOP presidential primary voters, strategists said last week -- especially when so many candidates have a climate "past."

Pawlenty in Iowa: Phase Out Ethanol Subsidies

GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty said Monday he wants to phase out federal ethanol subsidies, which are considered a sacred cow in Iowa. 

Norway Raps Shell for Risking Oil Leak

Royal Dutch Shell has been rapped by Norway's Petroleum Safety Authority for a maintenance error on an oil well that had "major accident potential" and risked an oil leak.

Two Extreme Weather Plagues Hit Louisiana

Both flood and drought areas have been declared in parts of Louisiana on the banks of the Mississippi River as spring runoff from northern states inundates some spots and rain remains elusive.

ADB Invests in Climate Funds That Seek to Raise $700 Million

The Asian Development Bank is spending $60 million to help set up three venture capital funds developing climate-change technology in China and India, the Manila-based lender said.

Pakistan Approves First Draft of National Climate Policy

After being struck by the most severe flooding in its history, Pakistan has formally approved the first draft of a national policy on climate change.

UK Drops CO2 Offset Quality Program

The UK has canceled its program to assure the quality of carbon-dioxide offsetting, according to Carbon Retirement, a company that helps polluters cut emissions.

May 23, 2011

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