Climate

Continental Europe set for warmer than normal December

22 Nov 2017   Climate, Europe

Continental Europe is set for warmer-than-normal weather in December and through the winter, the Weather Company — formerly WSI — said in an update Tuesday, which would have a bearish impact on gas demand and prices if the forecast were to prove accurate. Weather Company sees no colder conditions in main energy centers Low rainfall in southern Europe to impact low hydro levels Warmer temperatures to limit upside to gas demand The closely watched forecasts predict temperatures across the northern and southern European mainland to be above the seasonal norms in December and into January and February. The UK, however, is set for colder than normal conditions in December and January. The Weather Company’s chief meteorologist Todd Crawford said the evolution of the North Atlantic blocking pattern so far had suggested nothing “to get us excited about a fundamentally colder winter this year in the major energy demand centers.” […]

Energy Majors Hit Hard By Climate Regulations

21 Nov 2017   Climate

The first news came out of Siemens, a Munich-based industrial conglomerate somewhat akin to the troubled General Electric. After last week’s disastrous news from GE—a 50 percent dividend cut and plans for a complete corporate makeover—we shouldn’t have been surprised. GE’s difficulties weren’t just due to poor business conditions. There has also been too much financial engineering and a history of overpaying for acquisitions. But Siemens made a purely business announcement: It was laying off 6,900 workers due to weak demand for gas turbine electric generators. The industry has the capacity to produce 400 big units per year worldwide, but is producing only 100, and Siemens doesn’t expect demand to bounce back. You can find Leonard Hyman’s lastest book ‘Electricity Acts’ on Amazon Understand that the gas turbine is the most efficient and economic fossil fuel generator. And replacement of old coal-fired generation by gas turbines made a major […]

At least 15 states join global alliance to phase out coal by 2030

17 Nov 2017   Climate, Coal

At least 15 countries have joined an international alliance to phase out coal from power generation before 2030, delegates at U.N. climate talks in Bonn said on Thursday. Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, New Zealand, Ethiopia, Chile, Mexico and the Marshall Islands have joined the Powering Past Coal Alliance, delegates said. Sponsored The alliance aims to have 50 members by the next U.N. climate summit in 2018 to be held in Poland’s Katowice, one of Europe’s most polluted cities. But some of the world’s biggest coal users, such as China, the United States, Germany and Russia, have not signed up. Powering Past Coal comes just days after U.S. administration officials, along with […]

China ready to deliver promises in full: top climate envoy

17 Nov 2017   China, Climate

China’s special representative on climate change affairs Xie Zhenhua delivers a speech during a high-level meeting of UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany , on Nov. 16, 2017. China’s special representative on climate change affairs Xie Zhenhua pledged that China will deliver its promises in full, and will continue contributing “Chinese wisdom” and “Chinese proposals” to the global fight against climate change, while addressing a high-level meeting of UN climate talks held here on Thursday. (Xinhua/Shan Yuqi) BONN, Germany , Nov. 16 (Xinhua) — China’s special representative on climate change affairs, Xie Zhenhua, pledged that China will deliver its promises in full, and will continue contributing “Chinese wisdom” and “Chinese proposals” to the global fight against climate change, while addressing a high-level meeting of UN climate talks held here on Thursday. “While restructuring economy domestically, China will deliver its promises in full, and will demonstrate the country’s readiness to […]

In Bonn, Trump’s Answer to Global Warming? Drill, Baby, Drill!

17 Nov 2017   Climate, USA

Every year around this time, negotiators from across the globe meet in one city or another—Montreal, Marrakech, Copenhagen, Paris—to resolve that the world really ought come up with a plan to do something about climate change. This year’s Conference of the Parties, the twenty-third such gathering, is taking place in Bonn, and in addition to the usual impediments to progress—mistrust, inequality, bad faith—there’s now the Trump Administration to contend with. On Monday, the U.S. delegation used its sole official appearance at COP23 to tout fossil fuels. “Promoting coal at a climate summit is like promoting tobacco at a cancer summit,” the former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was in Bonn for the COP , observed. Protesters at the event sang songs and then walked out, leaving the hall half empty. Also on Monday, a group of scientists reported that global carbon emissions, which had been flat for […]

Natural Gas has no Climate Benefit and May Make Things Worse

16 Nov 2017   Climate

The evidence is overwhelming that natural gas has no net climate benefit in any timescale that matters to humanity. In fact, a shocking new study concludes that just the methane emissions escaping from New Mexico’s gas and oil industry are “equivalent to the climate impact of approximately 12 coal-fired power plants.” If the goal is to avoid catastrophic levels of warming, a recent report by U.K. climate researchers finds “categorically no role” to play for new natural gas production. Sadly, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has just published a “ Commentary ” on “the environmental case for natural gas,” that ignores or downplays key reasons that greater use of natural gas is bad for the climate. In the real world, natural gas is not a “bridge” fuel to a carbon-free economy for two key reasons. First, natural gas is mostly methane (CH4), a super-potent greenhouse gas, which traps 86 […]

How Companies Are Pushing Ahead on Climate-Change Targets

16 Nov 2017   Climate

A recent survey found 89% of just over 1,000 companies planned to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. More of the world’s biggest corporations are taking the fight against climate change into their own hands, aiming to cut their energy costs, pre-empt regulation or burnish their reputations with investors and customers. Apple Inc. has draped its new California campus with solar panels. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. cut the energy consumption of its refrigerators. Steelmaker Thyssenkrupp AG streamlined trucking routes, Dell Inc. made its servers less power-hungry and Microsoft Corp. pledged Tuesday to slash its carbon output. Among just over 1,000 of the world’s biggest publicly listed companies, accounting for about 12% of total greenhouse-gas emissions, 89% have plans to cut those emissions, according to a survey from the CDP, a nonprofit platform for corporate environmental disclosures. That is a 16 percentage-point increase since 2011, […]

U.S. committed to Paris deal even if Trump isn’t, parties say

14 Nov 2017   Climate, USA

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said non-federal funds were displacing the U.S. government’s with the effort to address climate change. “The American government may have pulled out of the Paris agreement, but the American people are committed to its goals,” the former mayor said at a climate conference in Bonn, Germany, during the weekend. “And there is nothing Washington can do to stop us.” Bloomberg took the podium during the weekend to say it was private funds and non-federal efforts that would reflect U.S. interests in addressing the threats from climate change. Through the so-called America’s Pledge, Bloomberg, Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown and U.N. delegates reported that 20 U.S. states, 110 cities and more than 1,400 […]

Thousands of scientists issue bleak ‘second notice’ to humanity

14 Nov 2017   Climate

Planet Earth (NASA) In late 1992, 1,700 scientists from around the world issued a dire “ warning to humanity .” They said humans had pushed Earth’s ecosystems to their breaking point and were well on the way to ruining the planet. The letter listed environmental impacts like they were biblical plagues — stratospheric ozone depletion, air and water pollution, the collapse of fisheries and loss of soil productivity, deforestation, species loss and catastrophic global climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels. “If not checked,” wrote the scientists, led by particle physicist and Union of Concerned Scientists co-founder Henry Kendall , “many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know.” But things were […]

China recovery pushes greenhouse emissions to global record

13 Nov 2017   China, Climate

Stronger Chinese economic growth will push global greenhouse gas emissions to a record high in 2017 after remaining flat for three years, dashing tentative hopes of a turning point in the world’s efforts to curb climate change. A new report by the Global Carbon Project, an international research consortium, predicts that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry will rise 2 percent this year. The report was released at the UN climate change meeting in Bonn on Monday. The increase — which is largely caused by China and developing countries — suggests the world is straying further from the course set at the landmark UN conference in Paris two years ago. Countries agreed at the time to limit the rise in global temperatures to no more than 2ºC from the pre-industrial era. But scientists warn that the emission reduction pledges made by individual governments since then do not go far enough to secure that overarching goal. “Emissions are following what countries have pledged — but what countries have pledged is nowhere near enough to meet the Paris objective,” said Glen Peters, co-author of the report and research director at the Center for International Climate Research in Oslo. This year’s rise is especially disappointing as it follows three years of almost no growth in emissions despite a world economy expanding at a steady clip. In 2016, emissions were flat even though the world economy grew 3.2 per cent. One explanation for the uptick is that China’s economic slowdown in the middle part of this decade was more pronounced than official figures suggested.

Vehicle emissions per driver on the rise, study finds

11 Nov 2017   Climate, USA

 The average emissions emitted per individual driver in the United States is getting worse, a report Friday from the University of Michigan found. The Transportation Resource Institute at the university said its eco-driving index, which measures the amount of greenhouse gas emissions per individual driver, is getting worse. “The EDI indicates that the average new-vehicle driver produced 18 percent lower emissions in August 2017 than in October 2007, but 4 percent higher emissions than the record low reached in November 2013,” the emailed report read. According to the International Energy Agency, about a quarter of the total global greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector. U.S. refineries switch late in the year to a winter-blend of gasoline, which is less […]

European energy groups push EU for tougher climate change goals

6 Nov 2017   Climate, Europe

Some of Europe’s largest energy companies have accused the EU of lacking ambition in the fight against climate change and urged more aggressive targets for growth in renewable power. The declaration, by companies including Iberdrola of Spain, Enel of Italy and SSE of the UK, came as negotiators gathered in Bonn for the latest round of international talks on tackling global warming. A proposed target for renewables to meet 27 per cent of EU energy consumption by 2030, up from 16.7 per cent in 2015, “lacks ambition and would slow down the current rate of renewables deployment” in Europe, the companies said. Their intervention shows the extent to which the energy industry — once seen as a roadblock to action against climate change — is embracing the transition away from fossil fuels.

Most big western European utilities have, to varying degrees, been reducing dependence on coal and gas-fired power generation in favour of wind and solar power in response to subsidies and other political measures to promote green energy. But in some cases, companies are now moving more aggressively than policymakers as the falling cost of wind and solar increases economic incentives for the switch.

The statement, by companies also including EnBW of Germany, EDP of Portugal and Orsted, the Danish group previously known as Dong Energy, called for an EU-wide binding target for 35 per cent renewable energy by 2030. Such a target was needed, the companies said, to “restore the EU’s global leadership” in green energy and to preserve efficiency gains, which had made renewables “the most competitive option for new power generation in Europe”.

Trump administration releases report finding ‘no convincing alternative explanation’ for climate change

4 Nov 2017   Climate, USA

The Trump administration released a dire scientific report Friday calling human activity the dominant driver of global warming, a conclusion at odds with White House decisions to withdraw from a key international climate accord, champion fossil fuels and reverse Obama-era climate policies. To the surprise of some scientists, the White House did not seek to prevent the release of the government’s National Climate Assessment, which is mandated by law. The report affirms that climate change is driven almost entirely by human action, warns of potential sea-level rise as high as eight feet by the year 2100, and details climate-related damage across the United States that is already unfolding as a result of 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit of global warming since 1900. “It is extremely likely that human influence […]

U.S. Report Says Humans Cause Climate Change, Contradicting Top Trump Officials

4 Nov 2017   Climate

Directly contradicting much of the Trump administration’s position on climate change, 13 federal agencies unveiled an exhaustive scientific report on Friday that says humans are the dominant cause of the global temperature rise that has occurred since the start of the 20th century, creating the warmest period in the history of civilization. Over the past 115 years global average temperatures have increased 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, leading to record-breaking weather events and temperature extremes, the report says. The global, long-term warming trend is “unambiguous,” it says, and there is “no convincing alternative explanation” that anything other than humans — the cars we drive, the power plants we operate, the forests we destroy — are to blame. […]

Quarter of oil refineries risk closure under climate goals: report

2 Nov 2017   Climate, Refining

A quarter of the world’s oil refineries risk closure by 2035 if governments meet targets to limit fossil fuel burning in the fight against global warming, a report released on Thursday said. A surge in electric vehicle sales and higher efficiency in internal combustion and jet engines are expected to slow demand growth for fuels such as gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel in the coming decades, potentially putting pressure on refining profits. At the same time, governments around the world are set to introduce legislation in the coming years to limit emissions of heat-capturing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in order to meet targets set at a U.N-backed Paris conference in 2015. As a result, companies such as Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, France’ Total and China’s largest refiner Sinopec could see profits from refining drop by 70 percent or more over the period, according to the […]

An Alaska Senator Wants to Fight Climate Change and Drill for Oil, Too

2 Nov 2017   Climate, USA

Senator Lisa Murkowski was unequivocal when asked recently about rising global temperatures. “Climate change is real,” the Alaska Republican told an audience in Anchorage. Yet her stance on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is just as clear. Senator Murkowski, who heads the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee , has long argued that it must happen, for the economic prosperity of her state and the security of the country. Her views — contradictory to some, a pragmatic balance for others — will take center stage on Thursday when the committee holds a hearing on opening part of the refuge to drilling, an effort to raise revenue for the federal government as part of a planned tax overhaul. For supporters of drilling in the […]

Utility Touts Electrification to Meet California Climate Goals

Southern California Edison, an operating unit of Edison International , plans Tuesday to release its vision for how the state can comply with a new law that requires greenhouse gas emissions to be cut 40% by 2030 . In an interview, Pedro Pizarro, president and chief executive officer of Edison International, said the most “efficient and affordable” path involves increased electrification of the economy, through a “robust, modern electric grid”. That would mean more investment by Southern California Edison, paid for by its 15 million customers, as well as California’s other regulated utilities. “It is certainly technologically achievable,” Mr. Pizarro said, adding, “This is a big task and we have to get going now.” There were other paths to cutting emissions , but Southern California Edison said increased reliance on electricity was […]

Record surge in atmospheric CO2 seen in 2016

31 Oct 2017   Climate

Emissions from human activities have levelled off but concentrations in the atmosphere continue to grow Concentrations of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere surged to a record high in 2016, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Last year’s increase was 50% higher than the average of the past 10 years. Researchers say a combination of human activities and the El Niño weather phenomenon drove CO2 to a level not seen in 800,000 years. Scientists say this risks making global temperature targets largely unattainable. This year’s greenhouse gas bulletin produced by the WMO, is based on measurements taken in 51 countries. Research stations dotted around the globe measure concentrations of warming gases including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. The figures published by the WMO are what’s left in the atmosphere after significant amounts are absorbed by the Earth’s “sinks”, which include the oceans and the biosphere. Climate change: a […]

Climate change fueling disasters, disease in ‘potentially irreversible’ ways, report warns

31 Oct 2017   Climate

Climate change significantly imperils public health globally, according to a new report that chronicles the many hazards and symptoms already being seen. The authors describe its manifestations as “unequivocal and potentially irreversible.” Heat waves are striking more people, disease-carrying mosquitoes are spreading and weather disasters are becoming more common, the authors note in the report published Monday by the British medical journal the Lancet. Climate change is a “threat multiplier,” they write, and its blows hit hardest in the most vulnerable communities, where people are suffering from poverty, water scarcity, inadequate housing or other crises. “We’ve been quite shocked and surprised by some of the results,” said Nick Watts, a fellow at University College London’s Institute for Global Health and executive director of the Lancet Countdown , a project aimed at […]

WMO reports GHG concentrations at highest in 800K years

31 Oct 2017   Climate

Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surged at a record-breaking speed in 2016 to the highest level in 800,000 years, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s Greenhouse Gas Bulletin . Globally averaged concentrations of CO 2 reached 403.3 parts per million in 2016, up from 400.00 ppm in 2015 because of a combination of human activities and a strong El Niño event. Concentrations of CO 2 are now 145% of pre-industrial (before 1750) levels, according to the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin . Population growth, intensified agricultural practices, increases in land use and deforestation, industrialization and associated energy use from fossil fuel sources have all contributed to increases in concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere since the industrial era, beginning in 1750. Since 1990, there has been a […]

Fitch: U.S. decision on Paris doesn’t matter for renewable growth

28 Oct 2017   Climate

Renewable energy is gaining traction in the global market to the extent that the U.S. position on the Paris climate agreement doesn’t matter, Fitch Ratings said.  The U.S. plan to withdraw from the multilateral Paris climate agreement doesn’t matter for the pace of growth for renewables globally, Fitch Ratings said. Fitch Ratings said in a report published late Thursday that power generation from renewable resources has nearly quadrupled in the last decade and expanded more than six times to 770 gigawatts at the end of last year. Germany has one of the greener economies in the world and European Union members bloc-wide could spend as much as $225 billion on climate measures over a six-year period, which started in 2014. European officials said the effort to advance a low-carbon economy had considerable economic support. A framework through 2020 calls for […]

Big Oil Sinks $1 Billion Into Climate Fund

The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI)—the voluntary alliance of some of the biggest oil companies in the world— said on Friday that it had made its first three investments in supporting the low-carbon industry and more efficient engine technology, in its first specific action aimed at supporting the growth of low-carbon technologies. In November last year, OGCI—which includes BP, Shell, Saudi Aramco, Total, Eni, Statoil, Repsol, CNPC, Pemex, and Reliance Industries—said it would allocate US$1 billion for fighting climate change over the next ten years. The investment vehicle, Climate Investments, pledged to focus on investing in carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS); reducing methane emissions; reducing transport emissions; and improving energy efficiency in industry. Today, the fund announced its first three investments, without giving details on how much money it is putting in the ventures. One is in U.S. cement and concrete maker Solidia Technologies, whose patented technology […]

What we’ve learned from largest methane gas leak in the U.S.

25 Oct 2017   Air Quality, Climate

Invisible disaster: Infrared images from the Environmental Defense Fund show a huge plume spewing from the ground. Two years ago today, the largest U.S. methane leak was discovered. The leak in northwest Los Angeles County focused attention on the state’s aging gas wells. Disaster snapshot The leaky well was one of 115 wells connected to a subsurface storage reservoir in the Aliso Canyon gas field. The field has been used for natural gas storage since 1973 and is the fourth largest facility of its kind in the U.S. 8,000 Approximate home evacuations to date 112 Days since gas leak was reported until it was stopped 48 Number of Aliso Canyon wells drilled before 1953 109,000 metric tons Estimated number of tons of methane leaked. Considered a large environmental disaster due to harmful emissions. Very small The risk of health effects to those exposed to the gas leak, according to […]

GAO finds big U.S. costs from climate change

25 Oct 2017   Climate, USA

A report from the non-partisan U.S. Government Accountability Office finds the U.S. may be facing significant economic strains due to climate change.  A U.S. report found the costs associated with damage attributed to climate change could run up to $35 billion per year by 2050. “The federal government has not undertaken strategic government-wide planning to manage climate risks by using information on the potential economic effects of climate change to identify significant risks and craft appropriate federal responses,” a report published by the U.S. Government Accountability Office said. An annual report from the World Health Organization and UNICEF said global hunger is on the rise, affecting 11 percent of the world’s population, in part because of climate change. Speaking from Harvard University earlier this month , International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde added that cooperation on climate change […]

E.P.A. Cancels Talk on Climate Change by Agency Scientists

23 Oct 2017   Climate

The Narragansett Bay Estuary Program is funded through the E.P.A.’s approximately $26 million National Estuary Program. WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency has canceled the speaking appearance of three agency scientists who were scheduled to discuss climate change at a conference on Monday in Rhode Island, according to the agency and several people involved. John Konkus, an E.P.A. spokesman and a former Trump campaign operative in Florida, confirmed that agency scientists would not speak at the State of the Narragansett Bay and Watershed program in Providence. He provided no further explanation. Scientists involved in the program said that much of the discussion at the event centers on climate change. Many said they were surprised by the E.P.A.’s last-minute cancellation, particularly since the agency helps to fund the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program , which is hosting the conference. The scientists who have been barred from speaking contributed substantial material to […]

EPA yanks scientists’ conference presentations, including on climate change

23 Oct 2017   Climate

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has questioned whether human activity ranks as a main driver of global warming. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP) The Environmental Protection Agency has instructed two of its scientists and one contractor not to speak as planned at a scientific conference Monday in Providence, R.I., sparking criticism from some academics and congressional Democrats. EPA officials confirmed Sunday that its researchers would not present at the State of Narragansett Bay and Its Watershed program but did not offer an explanation for the decision. “EPA scientists are attending, they simply are not presenting, it is not an EPA conference,” EPA spokesman John Konkus said in an email. The New York Times first reported the cancellations. The conference marks the culmination of a three-year report on the status of Narragansett Bay, New England’s largest estuary, and the challenges it faces. Climate change features as a significant factor in the 500-page report […]

Greening Apocalypse California

23 Oct 2017   Climate

This is one of those essays that if read 100 years from now will be seen as either amazingly prophetic or yet another example of the misguided apocalyptic literature emerging in the early 21st century — the way flying cars and armies of rocketmen did in the same part of the 20th. Our thesis is simple. What is occurred in October 2017 in California and the Iberian Peninsula of Europe was a process of reshaping continental climates as we left behind the late Holocene and passed into the early Anthropocene. This H-A boundary condition may last not centuries or millennia like the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary (~22000 years) or the Permian–Triassic boundary (10 million years) but could be bridged in decades owing to the magnitude, scope and speed of the triggering mechanisms. Courtesy of California Department of Water Resources — Florence Low Inveterate party-goers, we two-legged naked apes heedlessly withdrew 250 […]

London’s £10 daily “T-charge” for most polluting vehicles now in effect; partnership with Turing Institute

London’s £10 daily “ T-Charge ” (toxicity), aimed at the oldest, most polluting vehicles on London roads, is now in effect. The T Charge applies mainly to diesel and gasoline vehicles registered before 2006. The T-Charge (officially known as the Emissions Surcharge) operates on top of (and during the same operating times as) the Congestion Charge (Monday to Friday 7am-6pm), so it will cost £21.50 to drive in the zone if a vehicle is affected. Drivers can check the status of their vehicles online. The minimum emissions standards for avoiding the T-Charge are Euro 4/IV for both gasoline and diesel vehicles and Euro 3 for motorized tricycles and quadricycles. A small number of vehicles manufactured […]

A 27-year study found the amount of insects flying in the air has declined 75%

23 Oct 2017   Climate

75% of the flying insects on protected lands in Germany seem to have died over the past 27 years. Researchers aren’t sure what’s responsible for the decline, but say climate change probably isn’t to blame. Bird populations are now also on the decline. Bug researchers in Germany are puzzled. New data suggests the total population of flying insects there has declined a whopping 75% in the past 27 years. And no one knows why. A study released Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE details a longitudinal study by German researchers to measure “flying insect biomass” — the weight of all flying bugs — in 63 protected spots around the country. The scientists surveyed places like dunes, grasslands, and forests, using trapping tents to collect over 118 pounds of bugs over the 27 year period. They were expecting to find some population decreases, but this extreme decline, they said, is […]

Another warm winter forecast for swath of US

20 Oct 2017   Climate

Much of the U.S. should expect another warm winter, but not quite as toasty as the last two years, forecasters said. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday forecast a warmer winter from California through the Midwest to Maine. A colder than normal winter is predicted for southern Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Tier states. Normal temperatures are forecast for a thin swath of states from Indiana to Idaho. The big driver in the forecast is a La Nina weather event that is likely to develop next month. La Nina, the flip side of El Nino, is the periodic cooling of the central Pacific Ocean that affects weather patterns around the globe. There was a La Nina for the early part of last winter. The 2015-2016 winter was record warm, about 4.55 degrees hotter than normal. Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate […]

California Winds Are Fueling Fires. It May Be Getting Worse.

12 Oct 2017   Climate

Wildfires, fanned by high winds, threatened homes in Tustin, Calif., this week. Powerful, hot and dry winds like those that have fanned the deadly wildfires now raging in California are a common occurrence in the state, a result of regional atmospheric patterns that develop in the fall. The impact of climate change on the winds is uncertain, although some scientists think that global warming may at least be making the winds drier. “That is a pretty key parameter for fire risk,” said Alex Hall , a climate researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles. The winds, known as Diablo winds in Northern California and Santa Ana winds further south, have their origin in the high desert of the Great Basin of Nevada and parts of Utah. High-pressure air that builds over that region flows toward lower-pressure air over California and the coast. Along the way the air descends […]

U.N.: Cheaper to invest in climate change fight than to rebuild after a disaster

11 Oct 2017   Climate

It may cost less to invest in efforts to address climate change than to rebuild after major storms like Hurricane Maria, U.N. leaders write from Tehran. Photo by A1C Nicholas Dutton/U.S. Air Force/UPI Oct. 10 (UPI) — Investments necessary to reduce climate change risks may be less than what’s needed to rebuild after related disasters, U.N. leaders said from Tehran. Achim Steiner , the administrator at the U.N. Development Program, Patricia Espinosa, the climate chief at the United Nations, and Robert Glasser, the head of the U.N.’s office for disaster risk reduction, wrote for the U.N. Information Center in Tehran that climate risks would linger even if the measures outlined in the multilateral Paris climate agreement hold. “While carbon emissions are expected to drop as countries meet their self-declared targets, the impacts of climate change may be felt for some time, leaving the world with little choice but to […]

Power Companies to Stick With Plans Despite EPA’s Emissions Repeal

11 Oct 2017   Climate

Some of the biggest U.S. power companies said they are pushing ahead with investments in renewable and gas-fired electricity and are including climate change as a part of their corporate strategy, regardless of the Trump administration’s plans to roll back Obama-era environmental rules. President Donald Trump has pledged to boost the energy industry by cutting regulation, and on Tuesday his administration took one of its biggest steps yet toward that goal. The head of the Environmental Protection Agency signed a proposal to repeal the first federal limits on carbon emissions at power plants, which would vacate the Obama administration’s cornerstone plan to slow global warming. Some sizable power companies, such as American Electric Power Co. , NRG Energy Inc. and Southern […]

EPA chief to sign rule on Clean Power Plan exit on Tuesday

10 Oct 2017   Climate

The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Monday he would sign a proposed rule on Tuesday to begin withdrawing from the Clean Power Plan, former President Barack Obama’s centerpiece regulation to fight climate change. “Here’s the president’s message: The war on coal is over,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told a gathering in the Kentucky coal-country town of Hazard. “Tomorrow in Washington, D.C., I’ll be signing a proposed rule to withdraw the so-called Clean Power Plan of the past administration and thus begin the effort to withdraw that rule,” he said. The Obama administration created the rule in an effort to reduce pollution from power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The utilities […]

E.P.A. Announces Repeal of Major Obama-Era Carbon Emissions Rule

10 Oct 2017   Climate, Coal

The Trump administration announced Monday that it would take formal steps to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, setting up a bitter fight over the future of America’s efforts to tackle global warming. At an event in eastern Kentucky, Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said that his predecessors had departed from regulatory norms in crafting the Clean Power Plan, which was finalized in 2015 and would have pushed states to move away from coal in favor of sources of electricity that produce fewer carbon emissions. “The war on coal is over,” Mr. Pruitt said. “Tomorrow in Washington, D.C., I will be signing a proposed rule to roll back the Clean Power Plan. No better place to make that announcement than Hazard, Kentucky.” The repeal […]

Every economy at risk from climate change, IMF says

7 Oct 2017   Climate

The consequences of a changing climate pose a threat to every single economy in the world, the head of the International Monetary Fund said from Massachusetts. An annual report from the World Health Organization and UNICEF said global hunger is on the rise, affecting 11 percent of the world’s population, in part because of climate change. The report found a link between conflict and climate-related shocks because of demand strains brought on by extreme weather events. Some of the nations with the highest level of malnourished children, meanwhile, are the most war-torn. More than 7 million people faced food security risks in Syria last year. Speaking at Harvard University, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said cooperation on […]

Puerto Rico’s Power Restoration Slowed by Miles of Downed Lines

7 Oct 2017   Climate, USA

The view from a helicopter flying over an area of eastern Puerto Rico on Oct. 5, 2017 where the power grid was severely damaged. “It looks like dental floss laying across the trees,” Sgt. First Class Gregory Ganser of the New York Army National Guard, which operated the flight, said over the radio. The wreckage offered a glimpse of the monumental task Puerto Rico faces in rebuilding a power grid decimated by back-to-back hurricanes that knocked out electricity to the entire island. More than two weeks after Maria, only about 11% of customers have had electricity restored. Compounding the challenge are the antiquated conditions of the grid and the financial straits of the government-owned utility that runs it—the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or Prepa, declared a form of bankruptcy in July. More than 85% of the grid was destroyed, and total damage from Maria is estimated at more […]

U.S. Gulf oil producers curtail output ahead of Tropical Storm Nate

6 Oct 2017   Climate, Oil Supply, USA

Oil and natural gas operators began evacuating staff and halting production at U.S. Gulf of Mexico platforms on Thursday ahead of Tropical Storm Nate, the second storm in as many months to rattle the Gulf Coast energy corridor. Nate, which has killed at least 10 people in Costa Rica and Nicaragua and caused intense rainfall, is forecast to scrape Honduras and Mexico, enter the Gulf and strengthen into a hurricane before making landfall this weekend in Louisiana, near several major refineries. That path takes it through an area populated by offshore oil and natural gas platforms, which pump more than 1.6 million barrels of crude per day (bpd), about 17 percent of U.S. output, according to government data. About 14.6 percent of U.S. Gulf oil production equaling 254,607 bpd was offline on Thursday, the U.S. Department of […]

Tropical Storm Nate Threatens Oil Rigs as It Targets U.S. Gulf

6 Oct 2017   Climate, USA

Tropical Storm Nate has formed off of Nicaragua, threatening to inundate Central America, shut oil and gas rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and damage cotton and citrus crops across the U.S. South. (Bloomberg) — Tropical Storm Nate has formed off of Nicaragua, threatening to inundate Central America, shut oil and gas rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and damage cotton and citrus crops across the U.S. South. Nate was about 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, with top winds of 40 miles per hour, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said an advisory at 8 a.m. New York time. The storm’s forecast track has it scraping the eastern edge of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula before becoming a hurricane south of Louisiana on Sunday. Nate could come ashore anywhere from Louisiana to Florida’s Panhandle. “Little change in strength is expected today as the center of Nate moves across […]

Tropical depression forms, could hit Gulf Coast as a hurricane

5 Oct 2017   Climate, USA

A tropical depression formed in the southern Caribbean Wednesday, with another Florida hurricane possible by the weekend. In their latest advisory, National Hurricane Center forecasters said the storm will move over warm waters and encounter light wind shear, allowing quick intensification. It’s possible sustained winds could reach 80 mph by Saturday, marking it a weak Category 1 storm as it approaches the U.S. coast. At 11 a.m., the depression was located 25 miles south-southwest of San Andres Island off the coast of Nicaragua with sustained winds of 35 mph, National Hurricane Center forecasters said. If it continues to intensify to a tropical storm and hurricane, it will be named Nate. A hurricane hunter plane is scheduled to investigate the storm later today. It’s too soon to say what impacts the storm may have on the U.S. coast, but the latest computer models take it north across the Gulf, with […]

Late-September Heat Wave Leaves Climate Experts Stunned

2 Oct 2017   Climate, USA

Century-old records across the Midwest and East Coast are being shattered by a monster late-September heat wave — the kind of extreme weather we can expect to get much worse thanks to President Donald Trump’s policies to undermine domestic and global climate action. “There has never been a heat wave of this duration and magnitude this late in the season in Chicago,” the National Weather Service reported Tuesday evening. “Summer in some regions of the world will become one long heatwave even if global average temperatures rise only 2°C [3.6ºF] above pre-industrial levels,” finds a study published Monday in Nature Scientific Reports . The Paris climate agreement, which Trump has decided to pull out of, seeks to limit global warming to “well below” 3.6ºF. On Wednesday, another study showed the connection between deadly heat waves and climate change. Scientists with World Weather Attribution (WWA) released an analysis of Europe’s […]

San Francisco Becomes First Major US City to Sue Fossil Fuel Industry Over Costs of Climate Change

26 Sep 2017   Climate

San Francisco and Oakland are suing Chevron , ConocoPhillips , ExxonMobil , BP and Royal Dutch Shell —the five biggest investor-owned fossil fuel producers in the world—over the costs of climate change . The two Californian cities join the counties of Marin, San Mateo and San Diego and the city of Imperial Beach that have taken similar legal action in recent months, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera and Oakland city attorney Barbara J. Parker filed separate lawsuits on Tuesday in the superior courts of San Francisco and Alameda County on behalf of their respective cities. They seek to hold the companies responsible “for the costs of sea walls and other infrastructure necessary to protect San Francisco and Oakland from ongoing and future consequences of climate change and sea level rise caused by the companies’ production of massive amounts of fossil fuels,” according to […]

PJM real-time prices jump above $200/MWh with summer-like weather

26 Sep 2017   Climate, USA

Real-time electricity prices across the PJM Interconnection footprint Monday jumped to triple-digit territory as hot weather fueled power demand. Real-time power prices on the western side of PJM in the Commonwealth Edison region around Chicago reached about $200/MWh around 3:15 pm EDT. At about the same time, real-time prices on the eastern side of PJM in the Baltimore Gas and Electric region rose near $228/MWh. Also, in the American Transmission System Inc. region around Cleveland real-time prices jumped to about $250/MWh. Article continues below… Platts Megawatt Daily provides you with timely and relevant North American electric power information. This market report is a valuable asset for any player in electric power and will provide clarity in this dynamic market. Platts Megawatt Daily is the only publication that delivers fundamental data, thorough news and analysis and Platts benchmark prices to participants in the North American electric power markets. Try Platts […]

Over $2 Billion In US Fire Suppression Costs From This Year’s Wildfire Season

23 Sep 2017   Climate, USA

There has been more than $2 billion spent on fire suppression efforts so far this budget year in the US (the budget year runs from October 1 through September 30), according to the US Forest Service. Image by Daria Devyatkina (some rights reserved) That figure represents a substantial increase from the previous record year of 2015, which saw the agency spend $1.7 billion on fire suppression efforts. To be clear here, these figures relate solely to US Forest Service costs and don’t include figures from federal, state, or local firefighting agencies. Altogether, 2017 has been an unprecedented year in the US (and in many other parts of the world as well) with regard to forest fires. At this point, it should be clear that the predictions that wildfires will become increasingly common and severe over the course of the century as a result of anthropogenic climate change have something […]

Norway’s Statoil says it reached emissions goals early

23 Sep 2017   Climate, Norway

After reaching its climate targets ahead of schedule, Norwegian energy company Statoil said it was raising the bar for cutting its emissions. The Norwegian energy company, one of the more robust producers in the world, said it reached its target of cutting 1.2 million tons worth of emissions of carbon dioxide from its portfolio three years ahead of schedule. “We aim to reduce CO2 emissions from the NCS by another 2 million ton by 2030,” Arne Sigve Nylund, an executive vice president for development and production, said in a statement . “This work starts now.” In 2015, the company joined nine of the world’s largest oil and gas companies in pledging to play a constructive role in reducing the intensity of global […]

Is Big Oil Going Green?

Oil supermajors rank among the biggest polluters in the world—a hardly surprising fact. In recent years, however, Big Oil has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions, in what may come as a surprising fact about the dirtiest industry globally. The world’s five largest oil firms—ExxonMobil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, and Total—cut their combined emissions by 13 percent, starting from 2010 and ending in 2015, the latest year with available comprehensive data, a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) released this week showed. BP cut its pollution the most, by 25.5 percent, while the largest polluter among listed companies—Exxon—reduced its emissions by 14 percent. The oil supermajors—excluding Chevron, which only started reporting emissions in 2012—reduced their combined greenhouse gas emissions by 56.7 million tons between 2010 and 2015, according to the BNEF report. The emissions reduction this decade is in stark contrast with the trends in previous decades, when […]

California cities sue big oil firms over climate change

California cities San Francisco and Oakland filed separate lawsuits against five oil companies on Wednesday seeking billions of dollars to protect against rising sea levels they blamed on climate change, according to public documents. The lawsuits, filed in state courts in San Francisco and Alameda Counties, alleged Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, BP, and Royal Dutch Shell, created a public nuisance and asked for funds to finance infrastructure to deal with rising sea levels. According to a press release by San Francisco city officials, the lawsuits mirror 1980s-era lawsuits against tobacco companies. They allege the oil giants “knowingly and recklessly created an ongoing public nuisance that is causing harm now and in the future risks catastrophic harm to human life and property.” “Chevron […]

Hurricane Maria seen strengthening into major hurricane in next two days

18 Sep 2017   Climate, USA

A second powerful storm in as many weeks was bearing down on a string of battered Caribbean islands on Sunday, with forecasters saying Maria would strengthen rapidly into a major hurricane in the next two days and rip into the Leeward Islands on Monday night. Maria’s strength was building as it approached the Lesser Antilles, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said, estimating its winds at near 85 miles per hour (140 kph). ”Maria is expected to become a major hurricane as it moves through the Leeward Islands,” the forecaster said. Maria is approaching the eastern Caribbean less than two weeks after Irma hammered the region before overrunning Florida. That storm, one of the most powerful ever recorded in the Atlantic with winds up to 185 miles per hour (298 kph), killed at least 84 people, more than half of them in the Caribbean. Hurricane conditions were expected […]

Tillerson says U.S. could stay in Paris climate accord

18 Sep 2017   Climate, USA

The United States could remain in the Paris climate accord under the right conditions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Sunday. President Donald Trump was willing to work with partners in the Paris agreement if the United States could construct a set of terms that are fair and balanced for Americans, Tillerson said on the CBS “Face The Nation” program. “The president said he is open to finding those conditions where we can remain engaged with others on what we all agree is still a challenging issue,” Tillerson said. Trump administration officials said the United States would not pull out of the agreement and had offered to re-engage in the deal, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday. U.S. officials attended a meeting on Saturday of ministers from more than 30 of the nations that signed the climate-change agreement. Trump announced in June that he […]

Trump Administration to Brief Officials on Emissions Goals

18 Sep 2017   Climate, USA

President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser is expected to outline the administration’s proposals to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions while restating that its stance on the Paris climate accord has not changed, White House officials said, following signals over the weekend that the U.S. was exploring ways to remain in the 2015 pact. White House economic chief Gary Cohn’s planned breakfast discussion on energy and climate matters in New York follows a similar meeting led by Canada, China and the European Union in Montreal on Saturday, when U.S. officials broached revising Washington’s goals under the Paris accord to avoid pulling out of it, according to officials at the event. Mr. Cohn, who is leading the White House’s stance toward the 197-party accord, is set to discuss how the U.S. can continue to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions without sacrificing its re-emergence as a leading energy producer, […]