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U.S., China Reach Climate Deal

Two nations that account for more than one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions reached a climate deal. The United States will accelerate the pace of its net greenhouse gas emissions reductions from 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 to 26–28 percent by 2025. China will increase the non-fossil fuel share of all its energy…

U.S., Military to Plan More Strategically for Climate Change

Climate change is a “threat multiplier” and worse than many of the challenges the U.S. military is already grappling with, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The New York Times indicated that the report marks a departure from the DoD’s previous focus on preparing bases to adapt to climate…

U.N. Climate Conference Kicks Off Amid Reminders of Deal Urgency

The 12-day United Nations Climate Change Conference, which aims to forge an agreement to cut climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions, began in Warsaw, Poland, this week. The goal set by the U.N.: limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. Representatives from nearly 200 countries are debating an agreement that would take effect by 2020. Major breakthroughs are not expected at…

Hurricane Isaac Disrupts Energy Production, Stirs Old Wounds

While Hurricane Isaac managed to leave Gulf oil platforms largely untouched, New Orleans’ strengthened levees were put to the test as the storm made landfall on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. More than 90 percent of all oil production and roughly 66 percent of all gas output was shut down as a precautionary measure as Isaac approached the Louisiana coast Tuesday. As…

U.S. Energy Department: Peak Travel Season Could Cost Drivers 6% More

Gasoline prices have edged off the pedal in recent days, but the Energy Information Administration this week released new data showing motorists will pay about a quarter more per gallon during peak travel season—April through September. Prices will top out at $4.01, on average, in May. The last time gasoline spiked to such levels was…

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,…

Climate Researcher Lied to Get Documents, Triggering Ethics Debate

A top climate researcher—Peter Gleick, head of the Pacific Institute—admitted he lied to obtain documents from the Heartland Institute, which he then leaked to media and revealed the organization’s plans to challenge the scientific consensus on climate change. Gleick resigned from the board of the National Center on Science Education, and stepped down as chairman of the American Geophysical Union’s…

Obama Calls for “All of the Above” Energy Strategy for America

In President Obama’s third State of the Union address, he devoted more time than before to covering energy issues, calling for an “all-out, all-of-the-above” approach to boosting production of every kind of domestic energy, fossil as well as renewable. Obama also asked the country to imagine “a future where we’re in control of our own…

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…

Pleas, Hard Lines, and Accusations of Bad Faith Negotiations at Climate Talks

In Durban, South Africa, the latest round of United Nations climate negotiations opened with a plea from South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, for countries to look beyond national interests. So far, however, the talks have been marked by many of the same divisions that plagued earlier meets. A coalition of environmental groups—including the Natural Resources Defense…

Only Five Years Left to Make Transition to Low-Carbon Infrastructure

The infrastructure built over the next five years could “lock in” enough emissions to push the world past its target for limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest annual update of energy trends, World Energy Outlook. The Agency is “increasingly pessimistic” about the prospect for dealing with climate change, said deputy…

Ending Oil Tax Breaks Could Pay For New Jobs—and Some May Be Green

President Obama unveiled a new job creation plan in a major speech to Congress last week and follow-up speeches this week, in which he called for an end to tax breaks for oil and gas companies to bring in an additional $32 billion over 10 years to pay for increased government spending. Earlier this year, Obama called…

Debt Ceiling Impasse Could Hit Clean Energy Hard

Clean energy could be among the hardest-hit sectors if the U.S. government does not raise the debt ceiling and then defaults on the national debt. If there is a default, it could hurt in direct ways, by stopping payments for cash grants and loan guarantees that support many renewables projects. It could also hit innovation, by putting the Department…

Ailing Economies Push Richer Countries to Tap Emergency Oil Reserves

In a move that caught many by surprise, the world’s richer oil-importing countries will soon tap into emergency oil reserves, the International Energy Agency (IEA) announced, arguing: “Greater tightness in the oil market threatens to undermine the fragile global economic recovery.” In total, over the next 30 days, IEA member countries plan to release 60 million barrels…