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In-depth: BP’s Global Data for 2017 Shows Record Highs for Coal and Renewables

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 22:50
Read time: 10 minsPiles of coal and polluted water in India's Meghalaya State

By Simon Evans, Carbon Brief. Originally posted on Carbon BriefCC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Renewable energy grew by the largest amount ever last year, while coal-fired electricity also reached a record high, according to new global data from oil giant BP.

However, set against continued rapid rises in energy demand fuelled by oil and gas, renewables were not enough to prevent global CO2 emissions rising significantly for the first time in four years, the figures show.

Tags: bpglobal energy productionChina coalrenewables
Categories: News

Pennsylvania Regulators OK Leaky 80-year-old Mariner East 1 Pipeline, Set Conditions for Restart of Mariner East 2

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 05:41
Read time: 7 mins

By Dan Zegart, crossposted from Climate Investigations Center

In a split decision Thursday, Pennsylvania state regulators allowed the aging Mariner East 1 pipeline to resume transporting highly explosive natural gas liquids, but continued an emergency shut-down of work on a section of a second NGL pipeline, the almost-complete Mariner East 2.

Tags: Mariner EastEnergy Transfer Partnerspennsylvania
Categories: News

Why It Matters If Fracking Companies Are Overestimating Their ‘Proved’ Oil and Gas Reserves

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 00:29
Read time: 12 minsOil pumpjacks in silhouette

Back in 2011, The New York Times first raised concerns about the reliability of America's proved shale gas reserves. Proved reserves are the estimates of supplies of oil and gas that drillers tell investors they will be able to tap. The Times suggested that a recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule change allowed drillers to potentially overbook their “proved” reserves of natural gas from shale formations, which horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) were rapidly opening up.

“Welcome back to Alice in Wonderland,” energy analyst John E. Olson told The Times, commenting on the reliability of these reserves after the rule change. Olson, a former Merril Lynch analyst, is best known for seeing the coming Enron scandal 10 years before the infamous energy company imploded in 2000.

Today, those same rules have allowed shale drillers to boost their reserves of oil, as well as natural gas. As a result, these “proved” reserves, which investors and pipeline companies are banking on, could potentially be much less proven than they appear.

And the unprecented degree to which this is happening in the shale industry casts a shadow of doubt on the purportedly bright future of America's booming oil and gas industry.

Tags: proved reservesshale gasnatural gasfrackingHalcón ResourcesChesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHKfracking financesPermian Basin Shale
Categories: News

Oil Pipeline CEO Tells Federal Energy Conference: 'It's a Great Time to Be in the Business'

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 00:10
Read time: 7 minsGreg Armstrong

As attendees of this year's annual Energy Information Administration (EIA) conference walked into the Washington, D.C., Hilton Hotel on June 4, there was a bit of confusion. The only conference sign in sight was for a meeting on the “Effects of Climate Change on the World’s Oceans.”  

Eventually, conference organizers remedied the problem, and the sign for the climate change conference would be the last time EIA meeting attendees would hear about the warming of the planet and its impacts.

Instead, the EIA conference, hosted by the federal agency that tracks energy industry trends and statistics, would focus on a decidedly different topic: the booming oil and gas industry.

Tags: EIA 2018 ConferenceEnergy Information Administration (EIA)Plains All American PipelineGreg Armstrongsunny day flooding
Categories: News

Following Spills and Sinkholes, Mariner East Pipeline Opponents Call on PA Governor Wolf to Stop Construction

Mon, 06/11/2018 - 19:45
Read time: 11 mins

By Dan Zegart and Sharon Kelly 

A rally in West Chester, PA on Saturday drew a crowd of roughly 200 opponents to Sunoco’s Mariner East projects, who cited a litany of concerns about the company’s plans to pipe natural gas liquids like propane, butane and ethane from the Marcellus shale 350 miles across Pennsylvania for export.

“This project has made many of us in this community and across Pennsylvania unlikely pipeline activists,” said Ginny Marcille-Kerslake, a resident of West Whiteland Township who lived across the street from a Sunoco drill site. “Opposition to this project has brought together parents, grandparents, neighbors, legislators, emergency responders, business owners, school boards, Republicans and Democrats alike.”

Tags: Mariner East IMariner East IIMariner East IIXMariner East II-XMariner East 2-X
Categories: News

EPA Staff Say the Trump Administration Is Changing Their Mission From Protecting Human Health and the Environment to Protecting Industry

Sun, 06/10/2018 - 15:39
Read time: 7 minsProtesters at a rally against the current state of the EPA

By Chris Sellers, Stony Brook University (The State University of New York); Lindsey Dillon, University of California, Santa Cruz, and Phil Brown, Northeastern University

The Environmental Protection Agency made news recently for excluding reporters from a “summit” meeting on chemical contamination in drinking water. Episodes like this are symptoms of a larger problem: an ongoing, broad-scale takeover of the agency by industries it regulates.

Tags: U.S. Environmental Protection AgencyScott PruittTrump AdministrationRegulatory Capture
Categories: News

Is the Trans Mountain Pipeline (and Other Fossil Fuel Investments) a Future Stranded Asset?

Sat, 06/09/2018 - 15:19
Read time: 5 minsDakota Access pipeline under construction

By Martin Bush. Reposted with permission from

Several major economies, including the U.S. and Canada, rely heavily on fossil fuel production and exports. But the surging market penetration of renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency improvements, and climate emission policies are certain to substantially reduce the global demand for fossil fuels.

In a seminal paper published a week ago in Nature Climate Change, researchers present the results of sophisticated multi-dimensional modeling of the macro-economic impacts of future technology transformations and climate change policy, as the demand for fossil fuels declines and the price of oil falls.

Tags: Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipelineTrans Mountain Expansionstranded assetsoil and gas pipelines
Categories: News

Trump Skipping G7 Meeting on Climate, Clean Energy, Oceans

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 21:17
Read time: 3 minsJustin Trudeau greets Donald Trump at the G7 meeting

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

President Donald Trump headed for the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Canada on Friday but will be leaving before Saturday's meeting on climate changeclean energy and oceans. The White House said an aide will take Trump's place, CNN reported.

Tags: Donald TrumpG7Scott Pruittclimate politics
Categories: News

TransCanada's New 'Best-In-Class' Gas Pipeline Explodes in West Virginia, Causing Fiery Blast

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 23:55
Read time: 5 minsGas pipeline flames

This morning, residents of Marshall County, West Virginia, awoke at 4:15 a.m. to a major natural gas rupture and explosion on TransCanada's Leach XPress pipeline on Nixon Ridge — a quickly built pipeline only half a year old.

The fire was visible for miles, local TV news reported. Police warned anyone who could see the flames to evacuate — and the Emergency Management Agency director of neighboring Ohio County said officials had received dozens of 911 calls from locals able to see the fire, which was extinguished roughly four hours later. The blast was so powerful that one resident told a local CBS affiliate it felt like a tornado was passing through.

No one was injured, and no property damage was reported, TransCananda said in a statement released today, adding that the cause of the explosion was not yet determined.

The Leach XPress pipeline is just six months old, having been put into service on January 1, 2018.

Tags: TransCanadawest virginianatural gas pipelinespipeline safetyMarcellus shaleUtica Shale
Categories: News

Here’s Why Trump’s New Strategy to Keep Ailing Coal and Nuclear Plants Open Makes No Sense

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 00:03
Read time: 6 minsIndian Point nuclear power station in New York

By James Van Nostrand, West Virginia University

President Donald Trump recently ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to take “immediate steps” to stop the closure of coal and nuclear power plants.

And according to a draft memo that surfaced the same day, the federal government may establish a “Strategic Electric Generation Reserve” to purchase electricity from coal and nuclear plants for two years.

Both proposals, which have garnered little support, are premised on these power plants being essential to national security. If implemented, the government would be activating emergency powers rarely tapped before for any purpose.

Tags: america coalRick PerryTrump Administrationnuclear energy
Categories: News

Louisiana Homeowner Left to Hold Bayou Bridge Pipeline Accountable for Damaging her Home

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 21:00
Read time: 8 minsMelinda Tillies on her porch, in view of Bayou Bridge pipeline construction

Melinda Tillies learned about the controversial Bayou Bridge pipeline the day its construction began next to her home a couple months ago. As workers prepared the site for the pipeline, the activity made it feel like an earthquake had struck her home, she said, waking her family as their home shook on its foundation, cracking walls and dislodging tiles.

Tillies lives in Youngsville, Louisiana, a suburb of Lafayette. She purchased her dream house just over a year ago, but now she regrets buying it. “The pipeline is way too close to my house for comfort. If I had any idea there would be a pipeline built next to my house, I wouldn't have bought it,” she told me. 

Tags: Bayou Bridge pipelineLouisianafracking pipelinesDakota Access PipelineEnergy Transfer Partnerseminent domain
Categories: News

Shell Knew About Climate Migration 40 Years Ago. This is What it Told the Public

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 15:28
Read time: 8 minsShell on climate migration

Thirty years ago, oil company Shell was warned in private that its own products were responsible for climate change which in turn could lead to large scale climate migration.

Yet over the following decade, the company publicly justified the ongoing need for fossil fuels as the only realistic way to achieve sustainable development and lift vulnerable communities out of poverty.

Shell has repeatedly used the arguments of population growth and increasing energy demand at the heart of its public pronouncements about its role in driving economic and sustainable development.  

But Shell also knew that burning fossil fuels would “alter the environment in such a way” that it would affect parts of the world’s “habitability” and could lead to new migration patterns.

Tags: #ShellKnewmigrationclimate migrants
Categories: News

Many Republican Mayors Are Advancing Climate-Friendly Policies Without Saying so

Tue, 06/05/2018 - 20:41
Read time: 6 minsCalifornia Governor Jerry Brown and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer

By Nicolas Gunkel, Boston University

Leadership in addressing climate change in the United States has shifted away from Washington, D.C. Cities across the country are organizing, networking and sharing resources to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and tackle related challenges ranging from air pollution to heat island effects.

But group photos at climate change summits typically feature big-city Democratic mayors rubbing shoulders. Republicans are rarer, with a few notable exceptions, such as Kevin Faulconer of San Diego and James Brainard of Carmel, Indiana.

Tags: republicans global warmingCitiesclimate actionMayors
Categories: News

UK Worst of G7 Countries for ‘Hiding’ Fossil Fuel Subsidies — Report

Mon, 06/04/2018 - 14:04
Oil rig

The UK has been accused of trying to “fudge” how much money it spends on subsidising coal mining and fossil fuel use despite its pledge to phase out environmentally harmful subsidies by 2020. 

The country ranked first on its commitment to end fossil fuel subsidies but last on transparency in a new study led by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) which ranks each G7 country on ending support for the production and use of oil, gas and coal ahead of a group meeting which starts in Canada on Friday.

The UK does not provide national reports on its fiscal support for fossil fuel production and consumption and the government has repeatedly denied providing fossil fuel subsidies. However, the report states that the UK is providing subsidies in the form of tax breaks for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea and the decommissioning of oil. 

Researchers also argue that the UK is using public finance through the UK Export Finance, a government agency which underwrites loans to boost British companies’ exports, to support fossil fuel projects abroad - a finance stream they say the government should be counting as a subsidy.

Tags: Fossil Fuel SubsidiesG7Overseas Development Institute
Categories: News

Trump Has Damaged the Paris Agreement, Say its Architects

Mon, 06/04/2018 - 06:38
Trump announces the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement

By , Climate Home News

One year on from Donald Trump’s announcement he would withdraw the U.S. from the UN climate pact, leading figures assess the “dire consequences”

On the first day of June last year, Trump ended months of speculation by siding with conservative aides who had urged him to remove the U.S. from the Paris deal.

That “reprehensible decision” has had “dire consequences,” Laurent Fabius, the former French prime minister who presided over the Paris talks in 2015, wrote on the Profiles of Paris website last week.

Tags: Trump AdministrationParis AgreementTodd SternUNFCCCUN climate talks
Categories: News

Rick Perry Resorts to Subsidizing Coal With Measures Used in Wartime and Natural Disasters

Fri, 06/01/2018 - 22:43
Rick Perry and Ryan Zinke at 2018 CPAC

Under the purported banner of national security, Energy Secretary Rick Perry appears again to have heeded the self-described “desperate” calls of coal baron Robert Murray in order to prop up dying coal and nuclear plants. This time, Perry is planning to resort to federal emergency measures typically employed during wartime or natural disasters, according to Bloomberg.

Tags: Robert MurrayBob Murraymurray energyTrump AdministrationRick Perrycoal plantsU.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Categories: News

Will Washington Post's Hiring of Former WSJ Opinion Editor Bring Climate Deniers to its Pages?

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 20:43
Washington Post offices

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup.

On Tuesday evening, The Washington Post announced that it has hired Mark Lasswell to be the paper’s associate op-ed editor. According to the post, Lasswell oversaw The Wall Street Journal’s opinion page from 2012 through 2016.

The Post’s hire continues the worrying trend of legitimate media bending over backwards to accommodate conservative opinions, like The New York Times’ hiring of the Journal’s climate bullshitter Bret Stephens. Or Bari Weiss, who formerly worked with Lasswell at The Wall Street Journal and now writes for The Times where she pens puff pieces for hate speechmisunderstands cultural appropriation, and criticizes the #MeToo movement.

Tags: The Washington PostThe Wall Street Journalclimate science denialbret stephensMark Lasswell
Categories: News

Troubled Gas Firm Drops Request to Dodge Drilling Limits Near New Mexico's Methane Hot Spot

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 00:08
New Mexico resident Don Schreiber on his ranch next to oil and gas equipment

Today, one of New Mexico's largest oil and gas producers, Hilcorp Energy, dropped its recently filed request to increase the number of wells it can drill or frack in the San Juan Basin, already home to tens of thousands of gas wells. Hilcorp's proposal also would have shut the public out of the decision-making process by establishing an “administrative approval” process.

Back in 2014, this corner of northern New Mexico made international headlines when NASA researchers discovered a persistent methane plume the size of Delaware. Two years later, they pinned one of the main sources of this methane “hot spot” to natural gas wells, pipelines, storage tanks, and processing plants in the San Juan Basin. A second peer-reviewed study last year confirmed those findings.Tags: New MexicoHilcorp Energynatural gas drillingmethane leaksconocophillips

Categories: News

Justin Trudeau's Risky Gamble on the Trans Mountain Pipeline

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 20:51
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

By David Tindall, University of British Columbia

In the lead-up to the last federal election [in Canada], Justin Trudeau said: “Governments might grant permits, but only communities can grant permission.”

Vancouver and Burnaby did not grant permission to the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. Neither did a number of smaller Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

Nevertheless, Trudeau’s Liberal government approved the expansion. Then, this week, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced that the government was taking over the project from Kinder Morgan.

Tags: justin trudeauKinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipelineKinder Morganalberta tar sands
Categories: News

Emails Reveal Pruitt and EPA Coordinating with Climate-Denying Heartland Institute

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 18:44
Scott Pruitt

A lawsuit filed in March by the Southern Environmental Law Center and Environmental Defense Fund has revealed new levels of coordination between Scott Pruitt's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the climate science-denying think tank the Heartland Institute.

Tags: Heartland InstituteScott PruittEnvironmental Protection AgencyTim HuelskampJoseph Bast
Categories: News