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Supreme Court Reviews EPA’s Power Plant Mercury Rule; Decision Due in June

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in a challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) consideration of cost impacts when developing the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard, (MATS) which are set to go into effect next month. At issue in the case is whether the Clean Air Act requires the EPA…

McCarthy: States Must Comply with Clean Power Plan

On Tuesday, a lawyer hired by the world’s largest coal mining company told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power that proposed requirements to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants are reckless, and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, in an op-ed, said states should ignore them, but U.S. Environmental…

Climate Pledges May Not Be Enough

The European Union (EU) is now the second body to submit an official climate target to the United Nations ahead of talks to reach a global climate agreement in Paris later this year. One of the world’s top emitters, the EU intends to reduce its emissions 40 percent (relative to 1990 levels) by 2030. This…

First-Ever Direct Observation of Greenhouse Gas Increase

A new study in the journal Nature offers that for the first time scientists have directly observed an increase in one major greenhouse gas at Earth’s surface. “We see, for the first time in the field, the amplification of the greenhouse effect because there’s more CO2 [carbon dioxide] in the atmosphere to absorb what the…

First Rules for Arctic Drilling Released

The U.S. Department of the Interior unveiled the first draft rules for offshore oil and gas exploration in the Arctic. The rules would require energy companies to clear a number of safety hurdles before being approved for drilling. “The Arctic has substantial oil and gas potential, and the U.S. has a longstanding interest in the…

McCarthy: Clean Power Plan Targets May Change

The EPA Administrator this week, suggested (subscription) that interim goals for existing power plants to comply with the agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan could be softened before the rule is finalized this summer. The proposal unveiled last year calls for a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 and sets state-by-state…

Climate Change Risks, Impacts Focus of Reports

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Fifth Assessment Synthesis Report warning that greenhouse gas levels are at the highest they have been in 800,000 years. “We have little time before the window of opportunity to stay within the 2C of warming closes,” said IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri. “To keep a…

EPA Refines Pollution Rules

Last week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was told by a federal appeals court that it could move forward with implementing a program to curb air pollution that crosses state lines. The Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CASPR) would require 28 states to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide by power plants.…

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…

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…

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…

Studies Link Climate Change to Recent Extreme Weather Events

New research in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society finds that climate change influenced the majority of 16 extreme weather events in 2013. Specifically, it found evidence that climate change linked to human causes—particularly burning of fossil fuels—increased the odds of nine extreme events: amplifying temperature in China, Japan, Korea, Australia and Europe; intense rain in parts of the…

World Sees Some Tangible Outcomes from U.N. Climate Summit

World leaders gathered in New York this week for the United Nations Climate Summit, a meeting aimed at raising carbon reduction ambitions and mobilizing progress toward a global climate deal. In speeches at the summit, President Obama and other leaders recognized that countries across the world are feeling climate change effects, particularly extreme weather. “In America,…

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…

U.N. Report: Carbon Dioxide Levels at Record Highs

The concentration and the rate of carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere are spiking, according to new analysis from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Scientists believe the record levels are not only the result of emissions but also of plants and oceans’ inability to absorb the excess amounts of CO2. “We know without any doubt that our climate…