Right Second

Aging Infrastructure, Fracking Eyed in Massive Porter Ranch, California Methane Leak

It's been nearly three months since the Aliso Canyon gas leak in the upscale community of Porter Ranch, CA was first discovered — and, even as that gas continues to spew into the atmosphere, experts are calling attention to the risks that aging fossil fuel infrastructure poses nationwide.

Events of this size are rare, but major leakage across the oil and gas supply chain is not,” Director of Environmental Defense Fund’s California Oil & Gas Program Tim O’Connor said in a statement last month. “There are plenty of mini-Aliso Canyons that add up to a big climate problem — not just in California, but across the country.”

Emails: US Government Facilitated LNG Business Deals Before Terminals Got Required Federal Permits

Emails and documents obtained by DeSmog reveal that the U.S. International Trade Administration has actively promoted and facilitated  business deals for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry and export terminal owners, even before some of the terminals have the federal regulatory agency permits needed to open for business. 

This release of the documents coincides with the imminent opening of the first ever LNG export terminal in the U.S. hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) era, owned by Cheniere. 

The documents 
came via an open records request filed by DeSmog with the Port of Lake Charles. The request centered around the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) the Port signed with the Panama Canal Authority in January 2015.

Big Oil Argued for U.S. Crude Exports to Fend Off Iran, But First Exporter Vitol Group Also Exported Iran's Oil

The American Petroleum Institute (API) successfully lobbied for an end to the 40-year ban on exporting U.S.-produced crude oil in part by making a geopolitical argument: Iran and Russia have the ability to export their oil, so why not unleash America?

What API never mentioned — nor the politicians parroting its talking points — is that many of its member companies maintain ongoing business ties with both Russia and Iran.

And The Vitol Groupthe first company set to export U.S. crude after the lifting of the ban (in a tanker destined for Switzerland), has or had its own ties to both U.S. geopolitical rivals.

EPA Moves to Require Gas Processing Plants, for First Time, to Make Hazardous Emissions Public

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency announced plans to require natural gas processing plants to start complying with federal toxic chemical disclosure laws, in response to a lawsuit and petition filed by a collection of environmental and transparency advocates.

A record-setting 19 trillion cubic feet of gas was processed by these plants — over 550 of which dot the country — last year, representing a rise in volume of 32 percent over the past decade, according to the U.S. Energy Department. The EPA now estimates that over half of these plants release more than 10,000 pounds of toxic chemicals each year, making their pollution substantial enough to require federal attention.

Tackle Climate Change Now or Risk 720 Million People Sliding Back Into Extreme Poverty Report Warns

An astonishing 720 million people around the world face falling back into extreme poverty unless we tackle climate change immediately, warns a new report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

The report was published as world leaders gathered this week at the United Nations General Assembly and agreed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), among which is the eradication of extreme poverty by 2030.

This goal is achievable, according to the ODI, but not without a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions peak in 2030, and a fall to near zero by 2100. “Climate change increases the probability that those who emerge from extreme poverty will be at risk of falling back into it,” it concludes.

Man Who Broke Economy Says 'Trust Me Our Ecology Is Just Fine’

This DeSmog UK epic history post explains how neoliberalism almost broke capitalism (and what this might tell us about free markets and the environment).

Matt Ridley, as chairman of Northern Rock, was the canary in the coal mine when it came to the calamitous financial crisis of 2008 as he presided over the first run on the bank in Britain since the Victorian era.

He was made to answer for the 'reckless' policies of his bank and the roulette-wheel gambling of his less senior colleagues in Parliament. One man very clearly cannot be held responsible for an international economic collapse.

But, Ridley’s philosophy of ‘lukewarm’ neoliberalism was tested to absolute destruction in 2008 and the cost to millions of people around the entire world was both enormous and avoidable.

And yet, he retains his faith in neoliberal economics – and this remains the foundation of his climate ‘lukewarmism’. Where does this faith come from? And who was to blame for the 2008 crisis?

Australia’s War on Wind Energy is Shortsighted and Ideological, says Global Industry Group

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott isn’t much of a fan of wind power.

In an interview with Alan Jones, the country’s most popular radio shock jock, Abbott said he thought wind farms were “visually awful” and they “make a lot of noise.”

You know, like coal mines?

But the Abbott Government’s opposition to wind farms goes much further than dissing them for their looks.

Willie Soon And Friends In The Early Days Before Climate Science Denial

Willie Soon is gathering with his Heartland Institute friends this week in Washington, DC for their latest Denial-a-Palooza stunt designed to mimic a science conference.

The Coal Industry Is a Job Killer

The coal industry performs horribly on jobs. In fact, you could say that the modern coal industry is about as anti-jobs as it gets.

Take Virginia, for instance. Earlier this week, Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed legislation meant to extend a tax credit for coal producers because of how little it did to spur job creation. In fact, despite coal companies claiming more than $573 million in tax credits between 1988 and 2014, coal-mining jobs in the state fell by more than two-thirds in that time period.

Widely-Used Tool Can Lowball Methane Pollution Rates, Scientists Report, With Huge Implications for Climate Policy

An EPA-approved methane sampler widely used to measure gas leaks from oil and gas operations nationwide can dramatically under-report how much methane is leaking into the atmosphere, a team of researchers reported in a peer-reviewed paper published in March.

The researchers, one of whom first designed the underlying technology used by the sampler, warn that results from improperly calibrated machines could severely understate the amount of methane leaking from the country’s oil and gas wells, pipelines, and other infrastructure.

“It could be a big deal,” study co-author Amy Townsend-Small, a geology professor at the University of Cincinnati, told Inside Climate News, adding that it’s not yet clear how often the machine returned bad results, in part because figuring out whether there’s an error would have required using a different kind of device to independently test gas concentrations at the time levels were originally recorded.

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