Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 12:11 • Ashley Braun
Todd Stern

BONN, GERMANY – Even if Donald Trump successfully withdraws the U.S. from the Paris climate accord in the next three years, Todd Stern, former climate envoy under Obama, doesn’t think the country will be gone from the agreement for good.

I just firmly believe the U.S. will be back in,” he told attendees of the United Nations climate talks in Bonn, Germany. “I don't know exactly when that will be, obviously, but we're gonna be back in.”

Friday, November 10, 2017 - 03:57 • Justin Mikulka
A Caterpillar D9 bulldozer pushes a mountain of coal at a rail/barge terminal on the Tennessee River. Calvert City, September 2010.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry recently ordered the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to fast-track a rule that purports to make the energy grid more resilient but which in reality will force utility customers to buy more expensive electricity from coal and nuclear plants. A new report by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) casts this proposal as a thinly veiled bailout for two industries that are no longer competitive in the electricity generation markets.

According to federal data compiled by EWG, without this bailout, utilities plan to close 75 coal and nuclear plants in the next three years.

Thursday, November 9, 2017 - 21:58 • Steve Horn
Rep. Lamar Smith

Geoengineering, hailed in some circles as a potential technofix to the climate change crisis, has taken a step closer to going mainstream.  

The U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a rare joint subcommittee hearing on November 8, only the second ever congressional hearing of its kind on the topic (the first was held in 2009). The committee invited expert witnesses to discuss the status of geoengineering research and development. Geoengineering is a broad term encompassing sophisticated scientific techniques meant to reverse the impacts of climate change or pull greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. 

Ironically, the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology is chaired by U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith — a climate science denier who has received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from ExxonMobil throughout his political career. In fact, Smith actually mentioned “climate change” in his opening remarks for the hearing, in discussing his interest in geoengineering.

Thursday, November 9, 2017 - 11:59 • Justin Mikulka
national academy of sciences sign in Washington, D.C.

A new study by the National Academy of Sciences concludes that the rail industry should do more to improve the safety of transporting oil and ethanol by rail, which includes addressing track safety and rail tank cars. Both of these are well-known safety issues.

However, the study, “Safely Transporting Hazardous Liquids and Gases in a Changing U.S. Energy Landscape,” also cites a separate NAS study “A Review of the Department of Transportation Plan for Analyzing and Testing Electronically Controlled Pneumatic Brakes” and notes that after reviewing available data, the researchers were unable to “make a conclusive statement” on the safety technology known as electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes.* This is where things get interesting.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 10:08 • Guest

By David Pomerantz, crossposted from Energy and Policy Institute

Virginia’s top corporate political contributor, Dominion Energy, had a rough night last night, as at least 14 candidates who pledged not to accept money from the monopoly utility won seats in a surprise wave election for Democrats.

Depending on official counts that may take days or weeks, Democrats will likely tie Republicans with a 50-50 split in Virginia’s House of Delegates, leading to a share of power, though they may still control the chamber outright depending on the results of recounts.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 10:05 • Graham Readfearn
United Nations climate negotiators

We’re at that time of year when delegations from countries around the world gather for the latest round of United Nations climate negotiations — this time in Bonn, Germany.

For climate science deniers, this is also the time of year to polish up their dodgy climate science talking points and those mythical conspiracy theories about the UN, new world orders, secretive global government plans, and other such illuminati activities.

One recurring feature of these efforts is what's known as quote mining, where lines are taken out of context to try and discredit people associated with climate science or the UN. If that doesn't work, then just make up words that people never said.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 - 17:30 • Guest
Mike Buckwalter holds a water sample collected in the creek where his cattle used to drink

Cross-Posted from Public Herald

By Melissa A. Troutman

Over the past seven months, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General has received an influx of phone calls from residents alleging that officials at the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have ignored or covered up drinking water contamination, illness, animal deaths, and other impacts they relate to oil and gas operations.

According to agents within the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), the calls began pouring in after a Public Herald report in February revealed over 100 cases of official misconduct were committed by DEP oil and gas staff during investigations of citizen water complaints since 2004.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 - 17:23 • Farron Cousins
Gavel

This week the federal government is once again being sued for its decision to ignore the growing threat of climate change. And, just like an earlier lawsuit on this issue, it is being brought by the group that stands to suffer the most from climate inaction: Children.

Two Pennsylvania youth are taking on the Trump administration for what they are calling a “reckless and deliberate indifference” to the issue of climate change. The environmental organization Clean Air Council is bringing the suit on behalf of the children in this case.

Monday, November 6, 2017 - 19:35 • Guest
Vancouver, Washington railroad

By Stephen Quirke

An election in southern Washington could decide the fate of the country's largest proposed crude-by-rail terminal, and has recently come under heavy scrutiny as a rush of oil money has flowed into the campaign treasury of Port of Vancouver candidate Kris Greene. Greene’s campaign has ties to a GOP lobbying and PR firm that did crisis communications for the Dakota Access pipeline and created fake grassroots groups supporting the tobacco industry.

Monday, November 6, 2017 - 14:10 • Guest

By Kert Davies, crossposted from Climate Investivations Center

On November 9th, the climate change denying Heartland Institute is holding an energy conference in Houston to applaud the Trump Administration’s repeal of environmental protections and clean energy policy. According to its website, the conference will celebrate “this remarkable moment in history” referring to the statement that “Trump has already turned back years of Obama’s anti-energy policies”.

According to Heartland, the “country’s best energy policy experts” will be speaking at the event. In reality, there are rather few “energy policy experts” on the agenda. The lineup includes career climate change deniers such as Myron Ebell, Steve MilloyH. Sterling Burnett, Paul DriessenCraig Idso, and Fred Palmer.

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