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A SEA IN FLAMES

Though a bit imprecise, the time, approximately 9:50 p.m. on April 20, 2010, marks the end of knowing much precisely. A floating machinery system roughly the size of a forty-story hotel has for months been drilling into the sea floor in the Gulf of Mexico. Its creators have named the drilling rig “Deepwater Horizon.” Oil…

Court Hears Arguments Surrounding EPA Power Plant Rule

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard arguments Thursday in a set of cases (Murray Energy v. EPA andWest Virginia v. EPA) challenging the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to limit greenhouse gases from existing power plants under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. There was skepticism from at…

Obama Releases Report, Other Initiatives Directed at Tackling Climate Change Impacts

President Barack Obama announced a series of steps that aim to tackle the effects of climate change on the health of Americans. These 150 health-focused actions to boost climate change preparedness expand on the Climate Data Initiative launched a year. “The sooner we act, the more we can do to protect the health of our…

UN Conferences Are a “Fantastic Agenda for International Sustainability”

Marina Grossi is the President of the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development. In this interview she discusses the role of business in Brazil in helping prepare the agenda for two United Nations conferences later this year critical for bringing Earth back to a sustainable balance: the Summit for the Adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, in…

United States, Europe Announce Emissions Reductions Pledges

“Ambitious and achievable” is how the White House described its formal emissions reduction pledge—a cut of 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025—to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in preparation for negotiation of a binding climate agreement in Paris in December. Opinion about the aptness of the two adjectives…

Supreme Court Reviews EPA’s Power Plant Mercury Rule; Decision Due in June

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in a challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) consideration of cost impacts when developing the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard, (MATS) which are set to go into effect next month. At issue in the case is whether the Clean Air Act requires the EPA…

McCarthy: States Must Comply with Clean Power Plan

On Tuesday, a lawyer hired by the world’s largest coal mining company told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power that proposed requirements to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants are reckless, and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, in an op-ed, said states should ignore them, but U.S. Environmental…

Climate Pledges May Not Be Enough

The European Union (EU) is now the second body to submit an official climate target to the United Nations ahead of talks to reach a global climate agreement in Paris later this year. One of the world’s top emitters, the EU intends to reduce its emissions 40 percent (relative to 1990 levels) by 2030. This…

First-Ever Direct Observation of Greenhouse Gas Increase

A new study in the journal Nature offers that for the first time scientists have directly observed an increase in one major greenhouse gas at Earth’s surface. “We see, for the first time in the field, the amplification of the greenhouse effect because there’s more CO2 [carbon dioxide] in the atmosphere to absorb what the…

First Rules for Arctic Drilling Released

The U.S. Department of the Interior unveiled the first draft rules for offshore oil and gas exploration in the Arctic. The rules would require energy companies to clear a number of safety hurdles before being approved for drilling. “The Arctic has substantial oil and gas potential, and the U.S. has a longstanding interest in the…

McCarthy: Clean Power Plan Targets May Change

The EPA Administrator this week, suggested (subscription) that interim goals for existing power plants to comply with the agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan could be softened before the rule is finalized this summer. The proposal unveiled last year calls for a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 and sets state-by-state…

First Stop: Bruderheim

Standing on the outskirts of Edmonton and looking northeast, a cluster of twinkling lights amid tall silvery smokestacks puffing out steam and smoke rises up out of the horizon. Driving northeast towards those lights, following along the North Saskatchewan River, you will pass through the industrial city of Fort Saskatchewan, where petrochemical processing plants and…

Following the Oil Trail: From Alberta to British Columbia

VANCOUVER, BC – It’s nearing the end of January, and I am close to four months into my storytelling project, documenting the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline that will carry oil from the Athabasca oil sands in northern Alberta to the British Columbia coast. From the oil boom town of Fort McMurray, where the oil is…

House and Senate Votes, Court Decision Shorten Road to Keystone Decision

On Monday the Senate passed a bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline in a procedural vote just shy of the 67 votes needed to override a veto, setting up what could be an extensive debate on energy policy and climate in next year’s presidential election. The move followed a bipartisan vote in which the House…

Pakistan’s Polarized Polity May Find Convergence in 2015

I heralded the start of 2015, seated together with family around a bonfire, on a mildly foggy night in Lahore, Pakistan. The mist that surrounded us was metaphoric of the uncertainty that enshrouds my land of origin. During a three-week visit, I had witnessed the national horror of a terrorist attack against promising adolescents and…