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Ozone Focus of EPA’s Latest Rulemaking

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule that sets domestic production consumption limits for hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)—eventually phasing them out completely by 2020. The rule aims to reduce emissions from leakage and stockpiles of four HCFCs, a class of refrigerant linked to ozone depletion and climate change. “This rule finalizes allowed amounts of HCFC…

The Cost of Fixing Climate Change

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions could boost the economy rather than slow it, according to a new study by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. Better Growth, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy Report finds that roughly $90 trillion will be spent in the next 15 years on new infrastructure around the world. Adopting rules that redirect that…

Obama Promises Strong Action on Climate Change, Energy Independence in State of the Union Address

In his 2014 State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama took just 5 minutes of the 65-minute speech to cover energy and environment issues. He declared climate change “a fact,” stating “when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with…

U.N. Agency Says Global Temperatures Hottest Since Meteorological Measurement Began

The United Nations agency charged with understanding weather and climate released new findings indicating the world experienced above average temperatures from 2001 to 2010. In fact, the first decade of the 21st century was the warmest since modern meteorological measurement began in 1850. “Rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are changing our climate, with far-reaching implications for our environment and our…

Obama Shares Plan for Action on Climate Change

In a speech at Georgetown University Tuesday, President Barack Obama outlined a long-awaited executive strategy—comprised mostly of initiatives already underway—to curb greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. “As a president, as a father and as an American, I’m here to say, ‘We need to act,’” Obama said. “I refuse to condemn your generation and future generations to a planet…

Obama Could Unveil Climate Strategy with Clean Air Act Tie Soon

The Obama administration could soon make an announcement detailing plans to address climate change, even in the face of continuing political barriers to progress on the issue. Unnamed administration officials pointed to July for the rollout, while an Administration aide was more vague. “In the coming weeks and months, you can expect to hear more from the president on this…

Rising Oil, Gasoline Prices Push Politicians and Reporters to Utter “Nonsense”

In a major speech on energy at the University of Miami, President Obama said rising gasoline prices are a “painful reminder” of the need for alternatives. He was on the offensive, trying to counter criticisms of the GOP presidential candidates—including Newt Gingrich, who promised he’d get gasoline down to $2.50 a gallon. Countering calls to “drill, baby,…

Maldives President and Climate Advocate Forced at Gunpoint to Step Down

Maldives leader Mohamed Nasheed, called the “world’s most environmentally outspoken president” because of his calls for drastically cutting greenhouse gas emissions, was forced to resign—at gunpoint, he claimed. He had used stunts such as an underwater cabinet meeting to highlight his island nation’s vulnerability to sea-level rise. His resignation followed weeks of protests and was apparently motivated by internal politics unrelated to…

U.S. Rejects Tar Sands Pipeline from Canada—For Now

Under pressure from Congress to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, planned to connect Canada’s tar sands region with the U.S. Gulf Coast, the Obama administration has decided to reject the pipeline proposal. “This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline” that did not…

Oil, Gasoline Prices Hit All-Time Highs in 2011—and May Continue Rising

Average prices of oil and gasoline at the pump reached an all-time high in 2011, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data. Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, averaged $111 a barrel—the first time it broke $100 for a whole year. In some ways, these records snuck up on Americans, since there was no extreme…

Surprise Deal Emerges at United Nations Climate Talks

In a surprise turnaround, the United Nations climate talks managed to produce a new deal to eventually curb global emissions moving forward. In a press release announcing the agreement, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) called it a “breakthrough.” The new agreement marks a break from the Kyoto Protocol, which divided the world…

Now All GOP Presidential Candidates Express Climate Skepticism

GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman expressed skepticism about the science on climate change, so now all GOP candidates are on the record as doubting either that the planet is clearly warming, or that people are responsible for most of the warming. Of all the GOP candidates, Huntsman had been the most supportive of action on climate…

As Population Tops 7 Billion, Time to Revisit Climate Approaches

The world population reached seven billion people around October 31, according to United Nations estimates. The actual date is a bit fuzzy, but the milestone has nonetheless had great symbolic power, triggering a stream of articles on population issues. Nicholas Kristof, in the New York Times, argued family planning is the solution to many of the world’s ills,…

Tar Sands Pipeline Gets Green Light in Environmental Review

Hundreds of protesters—including famed climate researcher James Hansen—have been arrested in protests in front of the White House over the past two weeks, in an attempt to stop the construction of a pipeline from Canada to Texas to carry diluted tar sands to Gulf Coast refineries, mainly over concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and risks of…

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…