Thursday, June 14, 2018 - 17:29 • Sharon Kelly

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 Merrill 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.

Thursday, June 7, 2018 - 16:55 • Sharon Kelly
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.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018 - 17:03 • Guest
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.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018 - 08:28 • Chloe Farand
Read time: 8 mins

Thirty years ago, oil company Shell was warned in private that its own products were responsible for climate change which in turn could lead to large scale climate migration.

Yet over the following decade, the company publicly justified the ongoing need for fossil fuels as the only realistic way to achieve sustainable development and lift vulnerable communities out of poverty.

Shell has repeatedly used the arguments of population growth and increasing energy demand at the heart of its public pronouncements about its role in driving economic and sustainable development.  

But Shell also knew that burning fossil fuels would “alter the environment in such a way” that it would affect parts of the world’s “habitability” and could lead to new migration patterns.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018 - 13:41 • Guest
Read time: 6 mins

By Nicolas Gunkel, Boston University

Leadership in addressing climate change in the United States has shifted away from Washington, D.C. Cities across the country are organizing, networking and sharing resources to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and tackle related challenges ranging from air pollution to heat island effects.

But group photos at climate change summits typically feature big-city Democratic mayors rubbing shoulders. Republicans are rarer, with a few notable exceptions, such as Kevin Faulconer of San Diego and James Brainard of Carmel, Indiana.

Monday, June 4, 2018 - 07:04 • Chloe Farand
Read time: 7 mins

The UK has been accused of trying to “fudge” how much money it spends on subsidising coal mining and fossil fuel use despite its pledge to phase out environmentally harmful subsidies by 2020. 

The country ranked first on its commitment to end fossil fuel subsidies but last on transparency in a new study led by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) which ranks each G7 country on ending support for the production and use of oil, gas and coal ahead of a group meeting which starts in Canada on Friday.

The UK does not provide national reports on its fiscal support for fossil fuel production and consumption and the government has repeatedly denied providing fossil fuel subsidies. However, the report states that the UK is providing subsidies in the form of tax breaks for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea and the decommissioning of oil. 

Researchers also argue that the UK is using public finance through the UK Export Finance, a government agency which underwrites loans to boost British companies’ exports, to support fossil fuel projects abroad - a finance stream they say the government should be counting as a subsidy.

Sunday, June 3, 2018 - 23:38 • Guest
Read time: 6 mins

By 

One year on from Donald Trump’s announcement he would withdraw the U.S. from the UN climate pact, leading figures assess the “dire consequences”

On the first day of June last year, Trump ended months of speculation by siding with conservative aides who had urged him to remove the U.S. from the Paris deal.

That “reprehensible decision” has had “dire consequences,” Laurent Fabius, the former French prime minister who presided over the Paris talks in 2015, wrote on the Profiles of Paris website last week.

Friday, June 1, 2018 - 15:43 • Ashley Braun
Read time: 5 mins

Under the purported banner of national security, Energy Secretary Rick Perry appears again to have heeded the self-described “desperate” calls of coal baron Robert Murray in order to prop up dying coal and nuclear plants. This time, Perry is planning to resort to federal emergency measures typically employed during wartime or natural disasters, according to Bloomberg.

Thursday, May 31, 2018 - 13:43 • Guest
Read time: 3 mins

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup.

On Tuesday evening, The Washington Post announced that it has hired Mark Lasswell to be the paper’s associate op-ed editor. According to the post, Lasswell oversaw The Wall Street Journal’s opinion page from 2012 through 2016.

The Post’s hire continues the worrying trend of legitimate media bending over backwards to accommodate conservative opinions, like The New York Times’ hiring of the Journal’s climate bullshitter Bret Stephens. Or Bari Weiss, who formerly worked with Lasswell at The Wall Street Journal and now writes for The Times where she pens puff pieces for hate speechmisunderstands cultural appropriation, and criticizes the #MeToo movement.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 - 17:08 • Sharon Kelly
Read time: 10 mins

Today, one of New Mexico's largest oil and gas producers, Hilcorp Energy, dropped its recently filed request to increase the number of wells it can drill or frack in the San Juan Basin, already home to tens of thousands of gas wells. Hilcorp's proposal also would have shut the public out of the decision-making process by establishing an “administrative approval” process.

Back in 2014, this corner of northern New Mexico made international headlines when NASA researchers discovered a persistent methane plume the size of Delaware. Two years later, they pinned one of the main sources of this methane “hot spot” to natural gas wells, pipelines, storage tanks, and processing plants in the San Juan Basin. A second peer-reviewed study last year confirmed those findings.

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