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Energy Efficiency and Technology Squeeze the Carbon Bubble

June 24, 2018 - 9:56am
Read time: 4 mins

The carbon bubble will burst with or without government action, according to a new study. That will hurt people who invest in fossil fuels.

As energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies improve and prices drop, global demand for fossil fuels will decline, “stranding” new fossil fuel ventures — likely before 2035, according to the study in Nature Climate Change, “Macroeconomic impact of stranded fossil fuel assets.”

Tags: Paris Agreementstranded assetsfossil fuel investmentscarbon bubbleenergy efficiency

Oil Companies and Lobbyists Say They’re Ready To Solve Climate Change? Check The Fine Print

June 22, 2018 - 7:02pm
Read time: 8 mins

By David Halperin, crossposted from Republic Report

On Wednesday, former senators Trent Lott (R-MS) and John Breaux (D-LA) announced, with a big public relations blitz, a new campaign, Americans for Carbon Dividends, to address the threat of climate change. The effort is being heralded as a breakthrough by some because it is endorsed by big oil and gas companies Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, and Total, and it calls for a $40-a-ton carbon tax, incurred at the source of emissions, with revenues to be returned to citizens as dividends, perhaps $2000 a year for each American family of four.

Tags: Trent LottAmericans for Carbon DividendsExxonMobil

Methane Leaks from Oil and Gas 60% Higher Than EPA Estimates, New Study Finds

June 22, 2018 - 2:59am
Read time: 6 mins

Each year, oil and gas industry operations in the U.S. are leaking roughly 60 percent more methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, into our atmosphere than previous estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which relied heavily on self-reporting by the industry.

That's the conclusion of a study published today in the peer-reviewed journal Science and conducted with funding from the Department of Energy, NASA, and private foundations. The two dozen researchers involved found that the U.S. oil and gas supply chain releases between 11 and 15 million metric tons of methane per year. 

“This study confirms the growing body of peer-reviewed science indicating oil and gas extraction's methane pollution makes it as harmful to climate as coal burning's carbon dioxide pollution,” said Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, Cornell University professor emeritus of engineering and vice president of Earthwork's board of directors.

Tags: methanenatural gas pipelinesNatural Gas Bridge FuelAnthony IngraffeaTrump AdministrationU.S. Environmental Protection Agencyenvironmental defense fund

Scott Pruitt Is An Ethics Nightmare, But So Is Ryan Zinke

June 20, 2018 - 4:04pm
Read time: 10 mins

By David Halperin, crossposted from Republic Report

A Westerner appointed to President Trump’s cabinet, he’s drawn attention for his penchant for expensive travel, vanity perquisites of office, abuse of agency staff time, and cozy personal financial deals with business executives whose industries he oversees. Meanwhile, he has denied the dangers of climate change, met extensively with corporate lobbyists, and gutted the environmental protections implemented by prior administrations.

Yes, that’s entitled EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, whose record of seeking personal luxuries and advantages at taxpayer expense, while gearing policy to polluting industries, and punishing subordinates who object, is breathtakingly awful.

But it also pretty well describes Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.

Tags: Scott PruittRyan ZinkeTrump Administration

Poll by Former Koch Lobbyist Skews Public Support for Clean Cars, Electric Vehicles

June 20, 2018 - 2:02pm
Read time: 5 mins

The American Energy Alliance (AEA), a free market group with close ties to the Koch brothers, just released misleading results of a poll asking voter opinions on electric vehicles (EV) and car fuel efficiency standards.

Though the public opinion poll showed that Americans overwhelmingly view electric cars as better for the environment, and a majority believe in the necessity and value of fuel economy standards, the AEA is claiming that Americans don’t support EV-friendly policies.

Not surprisingly, most of the questions in this agenda-driven “push poll” were worded to influence the respondent’s choice, framing federal programs as anti-choice and taxpayer-subsidized.

Tags: tom pyleAmerican Energy Allianceinstitute for energy researchMWR StrategiesMike McKennakoch industrieskochvscleanThomas Pyle

Colorado Adopts California Clean Car Standards in Defiance of Trump Admin

June 20, 2018 - 1:38am
Read time: 4 mins

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper announced Tuesday that his state would join 13 states and the District of Columbia in adopting California’s clean car emissions standards.

“Colorado has a choice,” Gov. Hickenlooper said in a statement. “This executive order calls for the state to adopt air quality standards that will protect our quality of life in Colorado. Low emissions vehicles are increasingly popular with consumers and are better for our air. Every move we make to safeguard our environment is a move in the right direction.”

Tags: clean carsColoradoJohn HickenloopercaliforniaEPAcalifornia waiverUS Environmental Protection AgencyTrump Administration

30 Years Ago Global Warming Became Front-Page News – and Both Republicans and Democrats Took It Seriously

June 19, 2018 - 6:45pm
Read time: 8 mins

By Robert Brulle, Drexel University

June 23, 1988 marked the date on which climate change became a national issue.

In landmark testimony before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Dr. James Hansen, then director of NASA’s Institute for Space Studies, stated that “Global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause-and-effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and observed warming … In my opinion, the greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now.”

Tags: climate science denialrepublican party climate change#ExxonKnewclimate litigationjames hansen

These Auto Industry Companies Are Demanding Strong Clean Car Standards, Despite Trump

June 18, 2018 - 8:03pm
Read time: 4 mins

There’s a major sector of the automobile industry that is unwavering in its support of strong clean car standards: auto parts manufacturers.

Carmakers, through the powerful Auto Alliance trade group, have flip-flopped on fuel economy and emissions targets for cars and light duty trucks — claiming they aren’t for rollbacks even after lobbying for them. On the other hand, auto parts suppliers have consistently argued on behalf of strong national standards, going against the direction currently pursued by the Trump administration.

Tags: clean carscafe standardsborg warneroemauto parts suppliersauto allianceTrump Administration

Oil Giants Shell and Eni Face Trial in Milan over Bribery Allegations in Biggest Corruption Case Facing Sector in Years

June 18, 2018 - 7:01pm
Read time: 4 mins

One of the biggest corruption cases faced by the oil industry in recent years is due to resume in Milan on Wednesday as two of the world’s biggest oil companies Royal Dutch Shell and Italian firm Eni are facing trial.

Prosecutors are bringing criminal charges against Shell and Eni executives over allegations of corruption regarding a $1.3 billion oil deal in Nigeria.

This is the first time an oil company as large as Shell or senior executives of a major oil company have ever stood trial for bribery offences.

The case, which has been repeatedly delayed, involves the 2011 purchase by Shell and Eni of Nigeria’s OPL 245 offshore oilfield — one of Africa’s most valuable oil blocks.

Tags: Royal Dutch Shellshellenicorruption

Sea Level Rise Could Put 2.4 Million US Coastal Homes at Risk

June 18, 2018 - 3:30pm
Read time: 3 mins

By Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch. Crossposted with permission from EcoWatch.

More than 300,000 U.S. coastal homes could be uninhabitable due to sea level rise by 2045 if no meaningful action is taken to combat climate change, a Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) study published Monday found.

The study, Underwater: Rising Seas, Chronic Floods and the Implications for U.S. Coastal Real Estate, set out to calculate how many coastal properties in the lower 48 states would suffer from “chronic inundation,” non-storm flooding that occurs 26 times a year or more, under different climate change scenarios.

Tags: sea level riseGlobal Climate Change Impacts in the United Statescoastal communities

In-depth: BP’s Global Data for 2017 Shows Record Highs for Coal and Renewables

June 15, 2018 - 6:50pm
Read time: 10 mins

By Simon Evans, Carbon Brief. Originally posted on Carbon BriefCC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Renewable energy grew by the largest amount ever last year, while coal-fired electricity also reached a record high, according to new global data from oil giant BP.

However, set against continued rapid rises in energy demand fuelled by oil and gas, renewables were not enough to prevent global CO2 emissions rising significantly for the first time in four years, the figures show.

Tags: bpglobal energy productionChina coalrenewables

Pennsylvania Regulators OK Leaky 80-year-old Mariner East 1 Pipeline, Set Conditions for Restart of Mariner East 2

June 15, 2018 - 1:41am
Read time: 7 mins

By Dan Zegart, crossposted from Climate Investigations Center

In a split decision Thursday, Pennsylvania state regulators allowed the aging Mariner East 1 (ME1) pipeline to resume transporting highly explosive natural gas liquids (NGL), but continued an emergency shut-down of work on a section of a second NGL pipeline, the almost-complete Mariner East 2 (ME2).

Tags: Mariner EastEnergy Transfer PartnerspennsylvaniaMarcellus Shale basinSunoco PipelineMariner East 2

Why It Matters If Fracking Companies Are Overestimating Their ‘Proved’ Oil and Gas Reserves

June 14, 2018 - 8:29pm
Read time: 12 mins

Back in 2011, The New York Times first raised concerns about the reliability of America's proved shale gas reserves. Proved reserves are the estimates of supplies of oil and gas that drillers tell investors they will be able to tap. The Times suggested that a recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule change allowed drillers to potentially overbook their “proved” reserves of natural gas from shale formations, which horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) were rapidly opening up.

“Welcome back to Alice in Wonderland,” energy analyst John E. Olson told The Times, commenting on the reliability of these reserves after the rule change. Olson, a former Merril Lynch analyst, is best known for seeing the coming Enron scandal 10 years before the infamous energy company imploded in 2000.

Today, those same rules have allowed shale drillers to boost their reserves of oil, as well as natural gas. As a result, these “proved” reserves, which investors and pipeline companies are banking on, could potentially be much less proven than they appear.

And the unprecented degree to which this is happening in the shale industry casts a shadow of doubt on the purportedly bright future of America's booming oil and gas industry.

Tags: proved reservesshale gasnatural gasfrackingHalcón ResourcesChesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHKfracking financesPermian Basin Shale

Oil Pipeline CEO Tells Federal Energy Conference: 'It's a Great Time to Be in the Business'

June 13, 2018 - 8:10pm
Read time: 7 mins

As attendees of this year's annual Energy Information Administration (EIA) conference walked into the Washington, D.C., Hilton Hotel on June 4, there was a bit of confusion. The only conference sign in sight was for a meeting on the “Effects of Climate Change on the World’s Oceans.”  

Eventually, conference organizers remedied the problem, and the sign for the climate change conference would be the last time EIA meeting attendees would hear about the warming of the planet and its impacts.

Instead, the EIA conference, hosted by the federal agency that tracks energy industry trends and statistics, would focus on a decidedly different topic: the booming oil and gas industry.

Tags: EIA 2018 ConferenceEnergy Information Administration (EIA)Plains All American PipelineGreg Armstrongsunny day flooding

Following Spills and Sinkholes, Mariner East Pipeline Opponents Call on PA Governor Wolf to Stop Construction

June 11, 2018 - 3:45pm
Read time: 11 mins

By Dan Zegart and Sharon Kelly 

A rally in West Chester, Pennsylvania, on Saturday drew a crowd of roughly 200 opponents to Sunoco’s Mariner East projects, who cited a litany of concerns about the company’s plans to pipe natural gas liquids like propane, butane, and ethane from the Marcellus shale 350 miles across Pennsylvania for export.

“This project has made many of us in this community and across Pennsylvania unlikely pipeline activists,” said Ginny Marcille-Kerslake, a resident of West Whiteland Township who lived across the street from a Sunoco drill site. “Opposition to this project has brought together parents, grandparents, neighbors, legislators, emergency responders, business owners, school boards, Republicans, and Democrats alike.”

Tags: Mariner East IMariner East IIMariner East IIXMariner East II-XMariner East 2-X

EPA Staff Say the Trump Administration Is Changing Their Mission From Protecting Human Health and the Environment to Protecting Industry

June 10, 2018 - 11:39am
Read time: 7 mins

By Chris Sellers, Stony Brook University (The State University of New York); Lindsey Dillon, University of California, Santa Cruz, and Phil Brown, Northeastern University

The Environmental Protection Agency made news recently for excluding reporters from a “summit” meeting on chemical contamination in drinking water. Episodes like this are symptoms of a larger problem: an ongoing, broad-scale takeover of the agency by industries it regulates.

Tags: U.S. Environmental Protection AgencyScott PruittTrump AdministrationRegulatory Capture

Is the Trans Mountain Pipeline (and Other Fossil Fuel Investments) a Future Stranded Asset?

June 9, 2018 - 11:19am
Read time: 5 mins

By Martin Bush. Reposted with permission from ClimateZone.org

Several major economies, including the U.S. and Canada, rely heavily on fossil fuel production and exports. But the surging market penetration of renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency improvements, and climate emission policies are certain to substantially reduce the global demand for fossil fuels.

In a seminal paper published a week ago in Nature Climate Change, researchers present the results of sophisticated multi-dimensional modeling of the macro-economic impacts of future technology transformations and climate change policy, as the demand for fossil fuels declines and the price of oil falls.

Tags: Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipelineTrans Mountain Expansionstranded assetsoil and gas pipelines

Trump Skipping G7 Meeting on Climate, Clean Energy, Oceans

June 8, 2018 - 5:17pm
Read time: 3 mins

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

President Donald Trump headed for the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Canada on Friday but will be leaving before Saturday's meeting on climate changeclean energy and oceans. The White House said an aide will take Trump's place, CNN reported.

Tags: Donald TrumpG7Scott Pruittclimate politics

TransCanada's New 'Best-In-Class' Gas Pipeline Explodes in West Virginia, Causing Fiery Blast

June 7, 2018 - 7:55pm
Read time: 5 mins

This morning, residents of Marshall County, West Virginia, awoke at 4:15 a.m. to a major natural gas rupture and explosion on TransCanada's Leach XPress pipeline on Nixon Ridge — a quickly built pipeline only half a year old.

The fire was visible for miles, local TV news reported. Police warned anyone who could see the flames to evacuate — and the Emergency Management Agency director of neighboring Ohio County said officials had received dozens of 911 calls from locals able to see the fire, which was extinguished roughly four hours later. The blast was so powerful that one resident told a local CBS affiliate it felt like a tornado was passing through.

No one was injured, and no property damage was reported, TransCananda said in a statement released today, adding that the cause of the explosion was not yet determined.

The Leach XPress pipeline is just six months old, having been put into service on January 1, 2018.

Tags: TransCanadawest virginianatural gas pipelinespipeline safetyMarcellus shaleUtica Shale

Here’s Why Trump’s New Strategy to Keep Ailing Coal and Nuclear Plants Open Makes No Sense

June 6, 2018 - 8:03pm
Read time: 6 mins

By James Van Nostrand, West Virginia University

President Donald Trump recently ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to take “immediate steps” to stop the closure of coal and nuclear power plants.

And according to a draft memo that surfaced the same day, the federal government may establish a “Strategic Electric Generation Reserve” to purchase electricity from coal and nuclear plants for two years.

Both proposals, which have garnered little support, are premised on these power plants being essential to national security. If implemented, the government would be activating emergency powers rarely tapped before for any purpose.

Tags: america coalRick PerryTrump Administrationnuclear energy

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