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Studies Focus on Warming of Oceans

Oceans absorb carbon dioxide and 90 percent of the heat caused by human activity—making their warming a critical topic for climate research. Two new studies—one on the upper oceans and one on deeper ocean depths—share findings about climate change’s effect on these water bodies. The first study, in the journal Nature Climate Change, provides the first estimate of…

Greening Natural Gas Delivery – LNG versus Pipelines

The recent tension between Ukraine and Russia has highlighted the significance of energy infrastructure as a diplomatic tool. Ukraine’s dependence on Russian gas through pipelines has alerted Europe to the danger of such infrastructure dependence. However, it is still worth noting that despite all the saber-rattling, the gas is still flowing, and as some  analysts…

May 4, 2014: Driving to the World’s Coldest Cities and Cracking the Humor Code

The winter of 2014 was long and cold in many parts of North America. But even the most frigid midwestern temperatures would be considered mild to Oymyakon, Russia’s 472 residents. One of the candidates for the “Coldest Town in the World,” Felicity Aston visited the Siberian hamlet in the middle of winter to learn how its residents deal with sustained temperatures of -76 degrees Fahrenheit. On her 18,000 mile “Pole of Cold” drive from London to Europe and Asia’s coldest places, Aston learned that the residents love winter, because it often provides them with their livelihood, it connects them with nearby towns by letting them drive over frozen lakes and rivers. She also gives tips on how to get a car to start when the mercury dips nearly 100 degrees below freezing.

Cross State Air Pollution Rule Reinstated by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court, in a 6-2 ruling, upheld the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s rule to regulate pollution from coal-fired power plants that drifts across state lines. The Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CASPR), which applies to 28 states, aims to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which can lead to soot and smog. The rule was invalidated…

Climate Change, EPA Rules Focus of McCabe Confirmation Hearing

Climate change, extreme weather and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants were the focus of a confirmation hearing for Janet McCabe, President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. In the hearing—at which lawmakers took jabs at one another on the…

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…

Study Says United States Tops List of Global Warming Offenders

A new study by Canadian researchers finds the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, and developing nations Brazil and India were responsible for more than 60 percent of global temperature changes between 1906 and 2005. The U.S. alone was responsible for 22 percent of the warning; China followed at 9 percent and Russia at 8 percent. Brazil…

EIA Releases Early Predictions from Annual Energy Outlook

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Monday released a 20-page preview of its Annual Energy Outlook 2014, which includes projections of U.S. energy supply, demand and prices through 2040. Although the full report won’t be released until spring 2014, the preview projects a spike of 800,000 barrels a day in domestic crude oil production in 2014. By 2016,…

Report: Current Efforts to Slow Global Warming Not Sufficient

Days before world leaders meet in Warsaw, Poland, for the latest United Nations Climate Change Conference, a new report warns that the opportunity to limit global temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius compared with preindustrial levels is diminishing. The “Emissions Gap Report 2013,” compiled yearly by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), looks at how each nation is meeting its…

EPA Issues New Source Rules, Separates Requirements for Coal and Gas-Fired Plants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a long-awaited revised proposal for Clean Air Act standards to curb carbon pollution from new power plants. The rule sets separate standards for new gas-fired and coal-fired plants. It would require future coal-fired plants to limit emissions of carbon dioxide to 1,100 pounds per megawatt hour (MWh). The average U.S. coal-fired plant currently emits nearly…

Carbon Dioxide Milestone Revised by NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced last week that carbon dioxide concentrations at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii surpassed the milestone 400 parts per million for a sustained period. NOAA has since revised the figure—on the basis of computer analysis—saying its May 9 readings actually remained fractions of a point below the historic level, coming in at…

Moniz, McCarthy Face Questions at Senate Confirmation Hearings

Senate confirmation hearings for Ernest Moniz and Gina McCarthy—President Barack Obama’s appointees to oversee the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—began this week. For Moniz, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist, committee grilling started Tuesday. Natural gas exports were a popular topic throughout Moniz’s hearing—signaling his likely support for exports as a way to combat climate change. With…

Carbon Tax Is a Popular Topic in Washington

Since China announced it will hold off plans to introduce a carbon tax, the idea has generated some activity on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers on Tuesday proposed a draft bill that would charge the largest industrial polluters a fee for, or carbon tax on, their fossil-fuel emissions. The plan, proposed by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Rep. Earl…

In State of the Union Obama Targets Energy, Climate

Amid discussion of gun control, immigration reform and deficit reduction, President Barack Obama touched on his agenda for energy and climate in his State of the Union address Tuesday. Picking up where he left off in his second inaugural address, Obama took his focus on climate change one step further, calling on Congress to enact legislation to cut carbon pollution and increase clean energy production.…

Federal Court Tosses EPA’s ‘Good Neighbor’ Pollution Rule

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit this week threw out the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which set stricter limits on sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from coal-burning power plants in 28 states and the District of Columbia. In a 2–1 ruling, the panel held the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exceeded its authority under the…