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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…

Reach of BP Oil Spill Still Strong Two Years Later

BP has made headlines again, two years after the Gulf oil spill. For the spill, the company stands to pay billions of dollars in environmental fines under the Clean Water Act; a new study indicates thousands of jobs could be created along the coast if those funds were used for coastal restoration. Specifically, if $1.5 billion per…

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…

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…

“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…

Japan, Germany Struggle With Nuclear Power Slowdown

With a large share of their nuclear power plants down at the moment, both Japan and Germany are scrambling to meet energy demand and figure out how to get by without nuclear in the future. Two-thirds of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors are currently down, most of them for maintenance and testing. To cope with the…

Australia’s Ambitious Scheme Sets World’s Highest Price on Emissions

Australia, with the highest per capita greenhouse emissions of any large developed country, will soon take on one of the most ambitious schemes to tackle climate change, with a new carbon-trading system. The planned carbon tax will start in 2012 and apply first to the 500 worst polluting companies responsible for about 60 percent of the country’s emissions,…

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…

OPEC Discord May Be “the Beginning of the End” of the Oil Cartel

With oil prices high, the International Energy Agency (IEA) last month made a rare plea for the world to produce more oil. So the latest meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), where they set their production quotas, was closely watched. After a rancorous meeting, most member countries refused to raise quotas. Before the…