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Next Stop on Road to a Climate Agreement in Paris: Geneva

The latest round of climate talks began Feb. 8 in Geneva, where representatives of 190 or so countries have their work cut out for them: streamlining a 37-page draft text of an international agreement covering more than 100 issues, each with multiple options and sub-options, so that a full negotiating text is ready by May…

Obama Addresses Climate Change with Proposed 2016 Budget

In an effort to increase energy security and resilience to climate change, President Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget proposes a 7 percent increase in funding for clean energy and a new $4 billion Clean Power State Initiative Fund aimed at encouraging U.S. states to make faster and deeper cuts in power plant emissions. The proposed $4…

Obama Tackles Climate Change in State of the Union Address

“No challenge — no challenge — poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change,” said President Obama in his 2014 State of the Union address. “The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate,” he said, “and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans,…

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…

EPA Delays Release of Carbon Emissions Rules for Power Plants

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is delaying the release of carbon emissions rules for all power plants and will publish them for new as well as existing plants at the same time mid-summer. “It’s become clear to us … that there are cross-cutting topics that affect the standards for new sources, for modified sources and…

Senate Clears Way for Keystone XL Pipeline

The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 12 to 10 on a bill Wednesday approving the long-debated Keystone XL oil pipeline. The pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast, requires presidential approval as it crosses international boundaries. Without a commitment from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring it to a vote…

Upcoming EPA Power Plant Rule Stirs Speculation

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is just days away from the release of its first-ever proposed rule regulating greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. The rule will push states to cut pollution primarily from coal-fired generators. As many await details of the rule, The New York Times reports that sources familiar with proposal suggest that it will call for…

Study Deals Blow for Biofuels as EPA Lowers 2013 Mandate

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday retroactively lowered the quantity of cellulosic biofuel required for blending in traditional fuels for 2013. In January the EPA agreed to reconsider the mandate “due to the reduced estimate of anticipated cellulosic biofuel production in 2013 that was announced shortly after EPA signed its final rule by one of two companies…

Supreme Court Divided After Hearing on EPA Authority

In a hearing Monday, the Supreme Court questioned whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is correct in its interpretation that regulating greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles triggers the requirement to also implement permitting requirements for large stationary sources. At issue is the legality of EPA’s interpretation of the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) regulations. Industry groups argue that the PSD…

Tougher Efficiency Standards Ordered for Large Trucks

President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced his administration will begin developing tougher fuel standards for the nation’s fleet of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The new standards will build on a 2011 regulation that set the first-ever fuel standards for model years 2014–18. The next phase—for models beyond 2018—will be proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Transportation Department’s…

Keystone XL Assessment Report Finds No Significant Environmental Objections

The State Department issued its final environmental impact statement on the Keystone XL pipeline, which echoed findings in previous analyses that the pipeline would lead to no substantial increase in greenhouse gas emissions. It found that approximately 147-168 million metric tons of carbon dioxide would be created by producing, refining and burning the pipeline’s oil. The report’s release kicks off a 30-day…

Water Issues Ripple Through Obama Climate Change Speech

President Obama’s climate change speech on Tuesday from Georgetown University was full of references to climate change impacts on water availability, flooding, and drought.  He dealt head on with key issues of changing water cycle intensity, and in particular, with the increasing frequency of hydrologic extremes.  From the outset, the President invoked the Blue Marble…

With Oklahoma Tornado, Questions Swirl about Climate Change Link

Hours after a powerful tornado tore through an Oklahoma suburb, killing dozens, some renewed speculation about such storms’ connection to climate change. In recent years, researchers have been working to assess what causes these storms and whether manmade global warming could be affecting them. Plain geography is a factor. Moore, Oklahoma, is in the middle of what is known as Tornado Alley—an area where cold,…

EPA Proposes Clean Air Measures for Gasoline, Finalizes MATS Rules

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday announced its proposed Tier 3 rules, which would reduce allowable amounts of sulfur in gasoline and help automobiles’ catalytic converters capture more pollutants. The new measures would reduce sulfur in gasoline by more than 60 percent—from the present average of 30 parts per million to 10 parts per million by 2017—an environmental benefit comparable to taking 33 million…

Climate Change Resurfaces in President’s Second Inaugural Address

In his remarks at the 57th presidential inauguration, President Barack Obama discussed a topic Americans hadn’t heard much about since his November victory speech—climate change. In the nationally televised speech following his oath of office, Obama elevated the issue of climate change into the top tier of his second-term priorities, alongside gun control and immigration reform. “We will respond to the…