After languishing in the darkness for ten years, a national climate policy in Canada could take shape during an anticipated first ministers meeting in Vancouver next month. The meeting fulfills a...
A letter submitted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the State Department gives new weight to concerns the proposed $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline, destined to carry crude from the Alberta oilsands to export facilities along the Gulf of Mexico, will have significant climate impacts.
The EPA letter suggests existing analyses – which downplay the importance of greenhouse gas emissions associated with the project – are out of date and require revision in light of low global oil prices.
Due to the plummeting of oil prices and related market changes “it is important to revisit [the] conclusions” of previous reports, EPA told the State Department.
“Given recent large declines in oil prices and the uncertainty of oil price projections, the additional low prices scenario in the (State report) should be given additional weight during decision making, due to the potential implications of lower oil prices on project impacts, especially greenhouse gas emissions.”
The State Department is due to release a revised analysis of the Keystone XL project and is currently gathering comments from the EPA and other agencies.
It has only been one month into the New Year and already so much has happened. We’ve scored some amazing achievements in the fight to clear the PR pollution clouding climate science.
So as we head into February – and incidentally the sixth month anniversary of DeSmog UK – we share here with you our January highlights and say thank you for your keen interest and loyal readership.
By far the most incredible moment has been climate denier Matt Ridley’s response in The Times to our #mattkingcoal investigation.
As of January 26, the California Department of Water Resources reported that snowpack statewide was at just 27% of its normal level, which is 15% of the average for April 1, the point at which snow is typically expected to stop accumulating and begin to melt.
Which means, of course, that California is in for another dry year. Melting snowpack provides water to streams and rivers and replenishes reservoirs that are used for drinking water and agriculture.
In a cruel irony, a dry year also means more fossil fuels will have to be burned for electricity to make up for the shortfall in hydropower generation. And burning more fossil fuels will, of course, pump even more greenhouse gases into our atmosphere, making global warming worse.
In addition to being the hottest year on record in California, 2014 was also the third year of extreme drought in the state, which scientists tell us is a telltale sign that global warming is already impacting our lives right here and right now.
Simon Bullock, senior campaigner at Friends of the Earth, asks: How should governments react to the drop in oil price?
This month, a powerful article in Nature highlighted yet again that most of the world’s oil, coal and gas needs to stay in the ground, if we want to prevent dangerous climate change. This is the “unburnable carbon” analysis that President Obama and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney have both made mainstream in recent months.
Related, over the last 6 months the world oil price has crashed, catching almost all economists and analysts by surprise. As well as profound economic effects, this crash affects “unburnable carbon” in two broad and opposite ways.
Meaningful action to mitigate the impacts of climate change have been slow to materialize in the United States, and that lag in leadership is allowing the threat to grow much worse for future generations of Americans.
But political inaction has led to citizen action, particularly among the generations that will face the consequences of inaction. And they are making the case, literally, that the government needs to take action.
Teenagers Kelsey Juliana and Olivia Chernaik have filed a lawsuit against Democratic Oregon governor John Kitzhaber and the entire state government of Oregon, alleging that they are not doing enough to address the threats of climate change.
In his State of the Union address earlier this week, President Obama made the case for Congress granting him fast track authority to negotiate free trade deals.
“I’m asking both parties to give me trade promotion authority to protect American workers, with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren’t just free, but fair.”
Obama is specifically seeking special authority to negotiate the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a so-called free trade agreement his administration is in the midst of negotiating with Canada, Mexico and 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region like Australia, Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam—countries that, together, constitute 40% of the world’s GDP and 26% of global trade, according to the Washington Post.
Despite opposition from his own party, Obama has been on the stump for “trade promotion authority,” also known as “fast track authority,” which Congress would have to grant, essentially waiving its Constitutional right to give “advice and consent” on any international agreements negotiated by the president
On January 8, several Democrat members of Congress went so far as to join with union leaders and environmental and consumer advocates to hold a press conference on their opposition to fast track authority for the TPP.
In a letter to Congress sent the day after the State of the Union speech, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and 42 other environmental groups urged the rejection of forthcoming legislation that would grant Obama fast track authority and “enable the president to push through flawed international trade agreements at the expense of the environment, public health, and communities.”
Heather Zichal, former top climate and energy aide to President Barack Obama his top aide in crafting his 2008 presidential campaign energy platform, has joined the industry-funded Atlantic Council as a fellow at its Global Energy Center.
President Barack Obama could not have signaled more clearly in his 2015 State of the Union address that he intends to fight for his legacy on climate change in the face of a hostile, anti-science GOP-led House and Senate.
But it was what the President didn’t mention that could negate his climate legacy: free trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership that undermine local efforts to lower emissions, projects like Keystone XL that lock us into decades of continued dirty energy use, and the exporting of American-made coal, crude oil and natural gas to overseas markets.
Which is not to say that every policy position Obama laid out regarding energy and the environment entirely matched his lofty rhetoric about climate change.