Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 15:03 • Sharon Kelly
Hand on a gas pump filling a car

It may be far cheaper than previously estimated for American car manufacturers to meet fuel efficiency standards — slashing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality, and helping drivers keep the cost of filling their gas tanks low — because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) might have overestimated the price tag on innovation by as much as 40 percent, a newly published report by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) concludes.

The report comes a week after President Donald Trump visited Detroit and his administration lauched efforts expected to roll back federal standards requiring automakers to make new cars far more fuel efficient by 2025. However, the federal government isn't the only regulator in the U.S. with the authority to set emissions standards for cars.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - 15:57 • Justin Mikulka
Derailed oil train cars still smoking after the fire in Mount Carbon, West Virginia
Derailed oil train cars still smoking after the fire in Mount Carbon, West Virginia

When President Donald Trump signed executive orders pushing for the approval and expedited review of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, an oil industry-funded think tank put out an interesting comment supporting the move in a press release:

I believe that Canada is the largest supplier of foreign oil to the United States,” said Christopher Essex at the University of Western Ontario, on behalf of the climate change–denying Heartland Institute. “It gets there in part via huge dirty dangerously flammable trains of oil-bearing tank cars.”  

But why was Heartland, which has received large amounts of funding from ExxonMobil, championing oil pipelines while highlighting the risks of oil trains? 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - 11:57 • Sharon Kelly
Student in front of a school
Student in front of a school

The fossil fuel industry's effort to “start winning hearts and minds” arrived at a Baptist church in North Carolina recently in the form of three $1,500 scholarships for local high school students and a talk by Hubbel Relat, a Fueling US Forward representative, at a summit hosted by the Roanoke Valley Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

The $1,500 scholarships, which local news reports said were aimed to help the students pursue careers in the energy industry, were a part of a broader effort by Fueling US Forward to tout the “positives” of fossil fuels and to bring that message specifically to black communities.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 13:31 • Julie Dermansky
Opponents of the Bayou Bridge pipeline hold signs and march to a permit hearing
Opponents of the Bayou Bridge pipeline hold signs and march to a permit hearing

On February 13 environmental advocates urged Louisiana agencies to deny permits for the Bayou Bridge pipeline at a press conference in front of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) office in Baton Rouge. 

Five days earlier, a Phillips 66 natural gas pipeline in Paradis, Louisiana, exploded, presumably killing one worker and injuring two. The explosion occurred one night after the Louisiana’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) held a public permit hearing for the Bayou Bridge oil pipeline at a community center in Napoleonville, Louisiana.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 08:46 • Sharon Kelly
Petrochemical plants in Texas
Petrochemical plants in Texas

On the heels of the shale gas rush that's swept the U.S. for the past decade, another wave of fossil fuel-based projects is coming — a plastic and petrochemical manufacturing rush that environmentalists warn could make smog worse in communities already breathing air pollution from fracking, sicken workers, and expand the plastic trash gyres in the world's oceans.

“Thanks to abundant supplies of natural gas, the U.S. chemical industry is investing in new facilities and expanded production capacity, which tends to attract downstream industries that rely on petrochemical products,” the American Chemistry Council's President and CEO, Cal Dooley, said in a January press release. “As of this month, 281 chemical industry projects valued at $170 billion have been announced, about half of which are completed or under construction.”

A new Food and Water Watch report, How Fracking Supports the Plastic Industry, calls attention to the dark side of those plans, warning of air and water pollution and the risk to people's health, especially for those taking jobs in the plastics industry.

Sunday, February 12, 2017 - 19:48 • Guest
Lego guy in gorilla suit
Lego guy in gorilla suit

By , George Mason University

A famous psychology experiment instructed participants to watch a short video, counting the number of times players in white shirts passed the ball. If you haven’t seen it before, I encourage you to give the following short video your full attention and follow the instructions:

Saturday, February 11, 2017 - 04:58 • Guest
Protesters hold a sign reading 'Deny Trump Not Climate'
Protesters hold a sign reading 'Deny Trump Not Climate'

This is a guest editorial by Richard Ottinger

Stopping the Trump climate-denying campaign and appointments is critical to the future of our children and grandchildren and of life on the planet. Furthermore, it makes no business sense nor does it comport with Republicans’ proclaimed conservatism. 

I congratulate DeSmog for revealing and taking on the prospective appointment of climate denier and oil lobbyist Mike Cantanzaro as chief energy adviser, to be joined by climate denier and oil lobbyist Scott Pruitt to head EPA.

As an experienced businessman, the President must know that, as a matter of sound business risk management, proclaimed uncertainty about a huge business risk such as that posed by climate change calls for action to protect against such a risk, not inaction ignoring the risk.

Friday, February 10, 2017 - 18:06 • Larry Buhl
Protesters rally against the reopening of the Aliso Canyon facility with signs
Protesters rally against the reopening of the Aliso Canyon facility with signs

It’s now a waiting game as California regulators decide whether to reopen the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility in Los Angeles County, the site of an October 2015 blowout that released an estimated 97,000 metric tons of methane over four months.

Thursday, February 9, 2017 - 17:07 • Graham Readfearn
Morrison holding up coal in parliamen
Morrison holding up coal in parliamen

Many Australians are in the middle of a scorching heat wave, with temperatures in parts of Sydney forecast to hit a mind-melting 44 degrees C, or 111 degrees Fahrenheit.

Some parts of the state of New South Wales could hit 48 C (118 F) in the shade in the coming days.

South Australia and southern parts of Queensland are also bracing themselves for the heat, with fears over power shortages, health impacts, and bushfires.

So a perfect time, then, for Australia’s Treasurer, Scott Morrison, to take a lump of coal into a parliamentary question time.

Thursday, February 9, 2017 - 04:10 • Mat Hope
Windfarm in Texas
Windfarm in Texas

It would be fair to assume a husky-hugging environmentalist from Oxfordshire and a farmer from Wyoming’s agricultural heartland possibly wouldn’t have a lot in common. But new polling suggests they may have one shared trait: they probably both quite like renewable energy.

That’s partly because most people in both the US and UK support renewable energy these days, irrespective of their voting habits.

But the percentage of Trump voters who support renewable energy is still surprisingly close to the number of UK voters that are keen on the technology — almost 75 percent, according to two new polls.

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