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The Environment

  • Big Oil Going On The Offensive

    Carbon Counterattack:  How Big Oil Is Responding to the Anti-Carbon Moment Around the world, carbon-based fuels are under attack. Increasingly grim economic pressures, growing popular resistance, and the efforts of government regulators have all shocked the energy industry. Oil prices are falling, colleges and universities are divesting from their carbon stocks, voters are instituting curbs on hydro-fracking, and delegates at the U.N. climate conference in Peru have agreed to impose substantial restrictions on global carbon emissions at a conference in Paris later in the year. All this has been accompanied by what might be viewed as a moral assault on…

  • What If The World Can’t Cut Its Carbon Emissions?

    Many people, including more than a few prominent politicians, accept that global warming must be limited to no more than two degrees C above the pre-industrial mean, or a little more than one degree C above where we are now, to avoid dangerous interference with the Earth’s climate. Let’s assume these people are right, that the 2C threshold really does represent the climatic equivalent of a cliff and that bad things will happen if we drive off it. So how do we apply the brakes? According to the IPCC by limiting cumulative future global carbon emissions to no more than…

  • Poor Countries Don’t Care About Climate Change

    The Lima climate talks have just ended. Predictably, no substantive agreement was reached. The nations of the world agreed for the umpteenth time that climate change needs to be fixed but remained completely unable to agree as to who should pay for fixing it. For the umpteenth time the rich developed nations said it’s a global problem and everyone should pitch in. For the umpteenth time the poor developing nations said no, you rich guys caused it and should therefore pay to fix it, and besides there’s a clause in the original 1992 UNFCCC agreement that lets us off the…

  • The $17.6 Trillion Solution To Climate Change

    This week, the world's leaders are gathering in Lima, Peru for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, where they hope to put together a plan for cutting global emissions that will slow the inexorable warming of the planet. The convention follows a deal reached last month by the United States and China - the globe's top two polluters - to cut their emissions. For China, this means capping its emissions at whatever rate they hit in 2030, while the U.S. pledges to reduce its emissions by 26 to 28 percent of its 2005 levels by 2025. Before we all…

  • Latest IPCC Findings Undermine Climate Change Claims

    Working Group 2 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently released the final version of its contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. The WG2 report contains 1,731 pages of text, figures, boxes, footnotes and references, the first 832 of which list every negative impact climate change is having or could conceivably have on the Earth, its physical state, its ecosystems and the people who populate it. I doubt that anyone has ever read it from beginning to end. I certainly haven’t. But the report’s mind-numbing length hasn’t stopped people from interpreting…

  • China’s Emissions Could Negate Global Efforts Against Climate Change

    Which contributes more GHG to the atmosphere, red or white? Image credit: Greg Baker for the NY Times, In yet another global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction development – of which there have been several in the last few weeks and months – US President Barack Obama and China President Xi Jinping came together over some white and red wine, respectively, to set another arbitrary goal with few accountability measures in place. (Obama, perhaps still reeling from his post-midterm-election headache, apparently wants to avoid the tannins if he can.) But back to the US-China climate accord. The “How-Big-a-Percentage-Reduction-By-When” game went…

  • China And US Agree Ambitious New Emissions Deal

    Credit: AP Photo / Andy WongU.S. President Barack Obama, right, with Chinese President Xi Jinping, during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on Wednesday, November 12, 2014. The United States and China, the world’s two biggest contributors to climate change, have struck a new, more ambitious deal to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping jointly announced the deal Wednesday morning, the New York Times reported. The agreement marked the culmination of nine months of quiet dialogue between the two countries, capped off in recent days by Obama’s…

  • Who Stands To Benefit From Climate Change?

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their synthesis report Sunday, Nov. 2nd. The report combines the Panel’s past work and reiterates the near unanimity in the scientific community regarding the man-made role in global climate change. Still, public and political perception is very much divided and the report aims to lay the foundation for a new global treaty on climate change by the end of next year. Stark in their assessment, the IPCC posits a grim future in the absence of any meaningful mitigation. Not all change is bad however, and, when examining the energy implications, global climate…

  • EU Weakens Climate Deal To Keep UK, Poland On Board

    European Union leaders have agreed to a landmark deal to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 15 years. The agreement, reached Oct. 24, calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. European Council chair Herman Van Rompuy called the deal the “world’s most ambitious, cost-effective, fair climate energy policy (ever) agreed.” It also sets a target for the 28-member bloc to obtain 27 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, as well as make a 27 percent improvement in energy efficiency over a business-as-usual scenario. EU Commission President Jose Manuel…

  • Massive Methane ‘Hotspot’ Confirmed in Southwest U.S.

    From 2002 to 2012, European satellite data consistently showed a “hotspot” of methane being emitted in the U.S. Southwest, but the amount was so large that scientists thought it was a phantom discovery and didn’t rush to explore the area.“We didn’t focus on it because we weren’t sure if it was a true signal or an instrument error,” Christian Frankenberg from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said.The European Space Agency’s Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Chartography consistently showed a bright red patch in the Four Corners region of the country, where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet.Related: How An…