December 30, 2010

Hundreds of Australians Evacuated in Queensland's Worst Floods for Decades

At least 1,000 people have been evacuated in Queensland, including the entire population of one town, as north-eastern Australia experiences its worst flooding in decades.

N. Ireland Holds Urgent Meeting on Water Crisis

N. Ireland's government will hold an emergency meeting to address the country's water crisis as thousands of people remained without water for a 9th day after a cold spell caused pipes to burst.

NOAA Reports 2010 Hottest Year on Record So Far

Following fast on the heels of NASA reporting the hottest January to November on record, NOAA has released data showing this was the second warmest November on record, after 2004.

Atlantic Coast Storms Signal Effects of Climate Change: Weather Expert

Weather experts say New Brunswick is already experiencing the punishing realities of climate change, particularly rising sea levels and damaging storm surges.

Canada: Feds Should Clean Up Energy Sector, Poll Says

A majority of Canadians believe the energy sector is one of the most important parts of the economy, and the feds should lead the way in "cleaning" it up by finding alternatives to oil, says a new report.

Ireland: Greens Foiled on Carbon 'Security Clause'

Green Party attempts in Ireland to allow ministers to be taken to court for failing to reduce carbon emissions were shot down by the government's legal adviser.

Indonesia Picks Borneo for Forest Preservation Plan

Indonesia has chosen its Borneo island to conduct a pilot project aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation, as part of a deal with Norway, an official said Thursday.


California Clean Truck Laws Cut Black Carbon in Half

California laws to clean up diesel vehicles over the last 20 years have managed to slash black carbon levels in half, according to new research.

Hutchison: EPA Climate Rules Like 'a New Gas Tax'

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) is calling on the EPA to delay plans to implement new greenhouse-gas standards on oil refineries, arguing the regulations would amount to "a new gas tax."

Utilities Seek Fresh Talent for Smart Grids

The power industry is spending billions to upgrade to a smart grid from the electric grid, and is hoping to lure a younger generation of potential employees.

BP's Spill Costs Look Manageable 8 Months Later

Cleanup, government fines, lawsuits, legal fees and damage claims will likely exceed the $40 billion that BP has publicly estimated. But they'll be far below the highest estimates made over the summer by Wall Street banks, such as Goldman Sachs, which said costs could near $200 billion.

December 29, 2010

Feds Eyeing More Wind Farms Off Mass. Coastline

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management began seeking proposals from developers that want to build wind farms off the Mass. coast, even before construction has begun on the Cape Wind project.

Key Republican: Delay EPA Climate Action Until after Courts Rule

Rep. Fred Upton said lawmakers should reach a "bipartisan compromise" to pass legislation that prevents the EPA from taking action until a number of lawsuits are revolved in the courts.

"Big Push" Could Be Over for California Solar

After record solar-plant approval in 2010, the California Energy Commission believes its "big push" in solar-thermal projects is over.

Australia: Pressure on PM Julia Gillard as Japan Stalls Plans for ETS

Japan's decision to postpone its plans for an ETS by 2013 has increased pressure on Julia Gillard over her goal of pricing carbon next year.

Bangladesh Sand to Help Keep the Maldives Afloat

After looking to buy land in other countries, Maldives is making a last-ditch effort to avoid its citizens becoming climate refugees, with plans to import sand from Bangladesh.

Rare Earths Shares Jump after China Quota Cut

Shares of rare earths prospectors soared on Wednesday after China cut export quotas, threatening to reduce already tight global supplies and a risking action from the United States at the World Trade Organization.

Environmental Damage Presents Costly Economic Bill

China said direct economic losses caused by water, air and solid waste pollution and environmental incidents exceeded 894 billion yuan in 2008, or 2.7 percent of the country's total economic output.

Former Shell Executive Raises the Specter of $5 Per Gallon Gas

Gas prices became a major topic of discussion this week after the former president of Shell said that the United States could see gas prices as high as $5 per gallon in 2012.

Oil Industry Cranks Up Spending

Worldwide spending on oil and natural gas exploration and development is projected to hit a record next year in a sign of the energy industry's confidence that high crude prices won't fall and may go higher.

Ohio and New York State Pensions Named Plaintiffs in BP Case

State pension funds in Ohio and New York were named lead plaintiffs in a shareholder suit against BP Plc that alleges losses due to the Gulf Coast oil spill, according to a U.S. district court ruling.

A Lower-Carbon Route to Replacing Oil

A San Francisco company is pursuing an alternative method of converting natural gas to an oil substitute that would also involve releasing less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Team Overcomes Major Obstacles To Cellulosic Biofuel Production

A newly engineered yeast strain can simultaneously consume two types of sugar from plants to produce ethanol, researchers report. The new strain reduces or eliminates several major inefficiencies associated with current biofuel production methods.

Farmers, Pecan Growers Say Coal Plant Kills Plants

The Fayette Power Project — a coal plant that has operated mostly without equipment designed to decrease emissions of sulfur dioxide — is being blamed for the swaths of plant devastation across Central Texas.

Morocco Preselects Four of 19 Groups for Solar Plant

Morocco has preselected four out of 19 consortia that presented bids to develop the first phase of a 500 megawatt solar energy project in the south of the country, the agency managing the project said.

December 28, 2010

Japan Shelves Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme

Japan postponed plans for an emissions trading scheme on Tuesday, bowing to powerful business groups that warned of job losses as they compete against overseas rivals facing fewer regulations.

China Cuts Rare Earth Export Quota

China's decision to sharply cut its rare earth export quotas for the first half of 2011 after cutting second-half export quotas this year will exacerbate concerns among global buyers of the materials.

Dem Senator Warns Lack of Funding Could Limit Progress on Improving Mine Safety

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) is raising questions about whether the federal agency charged with mining safety is adequately funded.

S.Korea Says to Spend $42.6 Billion on Power Plants by 2024

South Korea plans to invest $42.6 billion on power generation, including 14 nuclear power plants, by 2024 in a bid to meet growing power demand, the government said on Tuesday.

Flooding Prompts Evacuations in Australian Towns

Drenching rains pounded communities across northeastern Australia on Tuesday, flooding major highways and prompting hundreds of evacuations.

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