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Mixing Oil and Water: Scenes From the Texas Oil Boom

By Monika Freyman, Manager, Water Program, Ceres This post is the first in a two-part series from Monika Freyman, Manager in Ceres’ water program on hydraulic fracturing, water supplies and energy development. Boarding a puddle jumper in Dallas, I picked up a copy of USA Today and opened to the headline“Wealth Rises in the USA’s Heartland.” It was a fitting…

Unique Alaskan Orcas Slip Toward Extinction

One spill-echoing artwork, a ceramic wall-mounted sculpture called “Eyak’s Jaw,” was made in remembrance of the 20th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Within a rich bed of intertidal life forms – sea start, kelps, and urchins, a viewer glimpses the jawbone and conical teeth of an orca. The actual jawbone of the male…

Oil Rig in Alaskan Critical Habitat Area

Kachemak Bay in Lower Cook Inlet lies 125 miles south of Anchorage. It’s been statistically documented as one of the world’s richest and most biologically diverse marine ecosystems, and has been properly called the “Jewel in Alaska’s Coastal Crown” because of its remarkably rich terrestrial and marine resources.     Yet since the expansion of…

As Eurozone Crisis Deepens, Fight to Save Emissions Trading Scheme Begins

Prices in Europe’s carbon emissions trading scheme have collapsed this year, in part because there were too many allowances in the system starting off, threatening the future of the whole market. “Without intervention … Europe’s climate policy is over,” one analyst said. Some of Europe’s biggest energy and manufacturing firms also wrote a letter to the…

“Crony Capitalism” Alleged Behind Tar Sands Pipeline Review

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which could carry a diluted form of tar sands from Canada to Texas, has attracted the ire of many environmentalists, including Bill McKibben, who spearheaded protests in front of the White House last month. This week, McKibben argued the Obama administration is practicing “crony capitalism” and that e-mails obtained through a Freedom of…

Libya’s Revolution Could Provide Stimulus through Cheaper Oil

After rebel forces swept into Libya’s capital, Tripoli, the country may be able to start to ramp oil production and exports again, which many analysts hope will bring down oil prices. Libya claims Africa’s largest proven oil reserves, and was producing about 1.6 million barrels a day when the production suddenly dropped to near zero in February. Many…

Scrambling to Head Off Power Outages Caused by Heat Waves, Rapid Growth, and Disaster

Texas has suffered through the worst drought and one of the worst heat waves on record, pushing electricity use to a record high in an attempt to cope. Texas is the state with the largest installed wind capacity, and recently installed wind farms came through to boost the state’s electricity generation just in time. However, even this jump was…

U.K.’s “Greenest Government Ever” Charges Ahead with Nuclear Power

Britain’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, has repeatedly pledged to create the “greenest government ever,” and now the country has adopted a new, ambitious goal for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, aiming by 2025 to slash them by half, compared with 1990. The goal, agreed to by Cabinet ministers in the ruling coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats,…

Natural Gas Fracking Under Increasing Pressure

The Oscar-nominated documentary “Gasland” featured dramatic clips of people whose tap water could be set on fire, apparently a side effect of “fracking,” a method of opening up fissures deep underground to unlock natural gas. A new Duke study backs up these residents’ woes, finding that drinking water near fracking sites had average methane levels…

Climate Certainties, Climate Confusion: Kim Cobb at PopTech

Scholars need to do a better job of distinguishing between what’s known (that fossil fuel use warms the planet) and what we’re still learning (what that means in terms of droughts, monsoons, big storms, and other consequences), says climate scientist Kim Cobb. By Ford Cochran Georgia Tech geochemist and climate scientist Kim Cobb is one…