DeSmogBlog

Subscribe to DeSmogBlog feed
Updated: 21 hours 7 min ago

30 Years Ago Global Warming Became Front-Page News – and Both Republicans and Democrats Took It Seriously

June 19, 2018 - 6:45pm
Read time: 8 mins

By Robert Brulle, Drexel University

June 23, 1988 marked the date on which climate change became a national issue.

In landmark testimony before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Dr. James Hansen, then director of NASA’s Institute for Space Studies, stated that “Global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause-and-effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and observed warming … In my opinion, the greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now.”

Tags: climate science denialrepublican party climate change#ExxonKnewclimate litigationjames hansen

These Auto Industry Companies Are Demanding Strong Clean Car Standards, Despite Trump

June 18, 2018 - 8:03pm
Read time: 4 mins

There’s a major sector of the automobile industry that is unwavering in its support of strong clean car standards: auto parts manufacturers.

Carmakers, through the powerful Auto Alliance trade group, have flip-flopped on fuel economy and emissions targets for cars and light duty trucks — claiming they aren’t for rollbacks even after lobbying for them. On the other hand, auto parts suppliers have consistently argued on behalf of strong national standards, going against the direction currently pursued by the Trump administration.

Tags: clean carscafe standardsborg warneroemauto parts suppliersauto allianceTrump Administration

Oil Giants Shell and Eni Face Trial in Milan over Bribery Allegations in Biggest Corruption Case Facing Sector in Years

June 18, 2018 - 7:01pm
Read time: 4 mins

One of the biggest corruption cases faced by the oil industry in recent years is due to resume in Milan on Wednesday as two of the world’s biggest oil companies Royal Dutch Shell and Italian firm Eni are facing trial.

Prosecutors are bringing criminal charges against Shell and Eni executives over allegations of corruption regarding a $1.3 billion oil deal in Nigeria.

This is the first time an oil company as large as Shell or senior executives of a major oil company have ever stood trial for bribery offences.

The case, which has been repeatedly delayed, involves the 2011 purchase by Shell and Eni of Nigeria’s OPL 245 offshore oilfield — one of Africa’s most valuable oil blocks.

Tags: Royal Dutch Shellshellenicorruption

Sea Level Rise Could Put 2.4 Million US Coastal Homes at Risk

June 18, 2018 - 3:30pm
Read time: 3 mins

By Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch. Crossposted with permission from EcoWatch.

More than 300,000 U.S. coastal homes could be uninhabitable due to sea level rise by 2045 if no meaningful action is taken to combat climate change, a Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) study published Monday found.

The study, Underwater: Rising Seas, Chronic Floods and the Implications for U.S. Coastal Real Estate, set out to calculate how many coastal properties in the lower 48 states would suffer from “chronic inundation,” non-storm flooding that occurs 26 times a year or more, under different climate change scenarios.

Tags: sea level riseGlobal Climate Change Impacts in the United Statescoastal communities

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

June 15, 2018 - 6:50pm
Read time: 10 mins

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

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

June 15, 2018 - 1:41am
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 (ME1) pipeline to resume transporting highly explosive natural gas liquids (NGL), but continued an emergency shut-down of work on a section of a second NGL pipeline, the almost-complete Mariner East 2 (ME2).

Tags: Mariner EastEnergy Transfer PartnerspennsylvaniaMarcellus Shale basinSunoco PipelineMariner East 2

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

June 14, 2018 - 8:29pm
Read time: 12 mins

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

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

June 13, 2018 - 8:10pm
Read time: 7 mins

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

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

June 11, 2018 - 3:45pm
Read time: 11 mins

By Dan Zegart and Sharon Kelly 

A rally in West Chester, Pennsylvania, 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

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

June 10, 2018 - 11:39am
Read time: 7 mins

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

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

June 9, 2018 - 11:19am
Read time: 5 mins

By Martin Bush. Reposted with permission from ClimateZone.org

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

Trump Skipping G7 Meeting on Climate, Clean Energy, Oceans

June 8, 2018 - 5:17pm
Read time: 3 mins

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

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

June 7, 2018 - 7:55pm
Read time: 5 mins

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

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

June 6, 2018 - 8:03pm
Read time: 6 mins

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

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

June 6, 2018 - 5:00pm
Read time: 8 mins

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

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

June 6, 2018 - 11:28am
Read time: 8 mins

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

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

June 5, 2018 - 4:41pm
Read time: 6 mins

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

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

June 4, 2018 - 10:04am
Read time: 7 mins

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

Trump Has Damaged the Paris Agreement, Say its Architects

June 4, 2018 - 2:38am
Read time: 6 mins

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

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

June 1, 2018 - 6:43pm

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

Pages