Archive for September, 2013

Europe Whets Appetite for Coal as U.S. Eschews It

Climate Central: Natural gas is proving to be a significant challenger to the dominance of coal in the U.S., but not necessarily overseas, according to two new Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports. The EIA released the reports several days after the Environmental Protection Agency announced proposed regulations heavily capping carbon dioxide emissions on future coal-fired power plants in the U.S. Another set of rules is expected to follow next year, capping carbon emissions at existing coal-fired power...

House Democrats call for hearing oil, gas spills in Colorado floods

Al Jazeera: Two House Democrats are urging Congress to investigate oil and gas spills caused by massive flooding in Colorado – a state where the number of oil and gas wells has doubled since 2006, when horizontal drilling and fracking were introduced. Congressmen Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., in a letter sent Friday to the House Natural Resources Committee, called for a hearing on the spills. DeFazio is the committee's senior Democrat. “Not only have my constituents been dealing with...

Climate change study finds Australia suffers more than most G20 countries

Guardian: Australia's exposure to climate change has worsened more rapidly than in any other major economy in the past two years, with stresses on water supplies increasing and the cost of natural disasters running second only to China, a report has found. The study, compiled by HSBC, found that temperatures in Australia had risen faster than in any other G20 country over the past two years – up by 0.39C to 18.9C on a decade average basis. Deterioration in water resources is also a major issue, with Australia,...

United Kingdom: There are advantages to global warming, says minister

Guardian: The cabinet minister responsible for fighting the effects of climate change claimed there would be advantages to an increase in temperature predicted by the United Nations including fewer people dying of cold in winter and the growth of certain crops further north. Owen Paterson told a fringe meeting at the Conservative party conference on Sunday night that predictions by scientists – that there could be major increases in temperature resulting in melting ice caps and worldwide flooding – should...

United Kingdom: Chris Grayling: fracking is ’solution’ to high energy bills

Guardian: A Conservative cabinet minister has claimed drilling for shale gas could make the "single biggest difference to the cost of living" for people in Britain. Chris Grayling, the justice secretary, said he believes the controversial process known as fracking is the "solution" to the problem of high energy bills. He spoke out on the first day of the Conservative conference as the party comes under pressure to respond to Labour leader Ed Miliband's promise to freeze energy bills. Asked to name...

Australia: Tony Abbott’s rising tide of inconvenient truths

Age: As Tony Abbott said ad nauseam during the campaign, the 2013 federal election was about three things: the onerous level of public debt, stopping the boats and abolition of the carbon tax. Ignored until after the election was the question of whether the moderate level of debt was a major factor in Australia avoiding the recessionary consequences of the global financial crisis. Then the new government (and its media apologists) segued effortlessly and without explanation into arguing that the deficit...

Warning: Many watersheds in US failing ’stress test’

CNBC: Nearly 1 in 10 of the nation's watersheds--areas of land that contain runoff from rivers and streams--are stressed to the point to where demand for water exceeds the natural supply. "There is a lot of pressure on our water supply, especially In the western part of the country," said Kristen Averyt, associate director for science at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, and lead author of the report released this month. "As the population grows, so too does demand....

NC Fracking Commissioners Vow to Relax State Water Testing Standard

Charlotte Observer: RALEIGH North Carolina’s fracking commissioners said Friday that fracking is so inherently safe that they will recommend relaxing the standard by which operators will have to test local well water before they begin drilling for natural gas. The state’s current testing standard, the strictest in the nation, is designed to give residents a legal remedy against the threat of chemical contamination of wells and aquifers from natural gas drilling. Members of the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission said...

Tennessee Not Alone in Public Land Fracking Debate

Tennessean: Environmental activists chalked it up as a victory when the University of Tennessee failed this month to receive any bids for a natural gas drilling project on an 8,600-acre publicly owned research forest. The prospect of drilling for natural gas — and the controversial practice to extract it known as fracking — set off intense debate in the state about how best to use public land and resources, particularly in the university’s Cumberland Forest. But Tennessee residents aren’t alone in grappling...

United Kingdom: Warning over turbine applications near Dark Sky Park

BBC: Astronomers and land charities have warned that Britain's only Dark Sky Park is being threatened by applications for wind turbines. Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park secured its status in 2009. But the Astronomer Royal for Scotland, the John Muir Trust and the Scottish Wild Land Group have written to the Scottish government, asking it to rule out wind farms in the vicinity. There have been nine proposals for turbines near the park's observatory. These include plans from energy companies such...