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Federal Climate Assessment Report Pegs Climate Change as Culprit for Rising Temperatures, Seas

A new federal scientific report, out Tuesday, concluded that global warming is affecting the United States in profound ways and that human activity, namely the burning of fossil fuels, is the primary cause of warming over the past 50 years. Mandated by Congress and written by a federal advisory panel, the more than 800-page National Climate Assessment further says that the…

Cross State Air Pollution Rule Reinstated by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court, in a 6-2 ruling, upheld the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s rule to regulate pollution from coal-fired power plants that drifts across state lines. The Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CASPR), which applies to 28 states, aims to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which can lead to soot and smog. The rule was invalidated…

Study Deals Blow for Biofuels as EPA Lowers 2013 Mandate

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday retroactively lowered the quantity of cellulosic biofuel required for blending in traditional fuels for 2013. In January the EPA agreed to reconsider the mandate “due to the reduced estimate of anticipated cellulosic biofuel production in 2013 that was announced shortly after EPA signed its final rule by one of two companies…

Federal Appeals Court Upholds EPA Mercury Rule

A federal appeals court upheld the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) requiring power plants install technology to cut emissions of mercury and other air pollutants. MATS was challenged by industry and several states that argued the EPA should have considered costs when determining whether it was “appropriate and necessary” to go forward with the standards. The…

Climate Change, EPA Rules Focus of McCabe Confirmation Hearing

Climate change, extreme weather and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants were the focus of a confirmation hearing for Janet McCabe, President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. In the hearing—at which lawmakers took jabs at one another on the…

IPCC Report Shares Dire News, Some Adaptation Measures

Climate change risks dramatically increase the more Earth warms, but reducing greenhouse gas emissions lowers the risk of the most unwelcome consequences, according to the latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). “We have assessed impacts as they are happening on the natural and human systems on all continents,” said IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri. “In…

Air Pollution Now Top Environmental Health Risk

New analysis from the World Health Organization (WHO) links exposure to air pollution to roughly 7 million deaths annually. The report confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest environmental health risk. It estimates 4.3 million people died in 2012—mainly due to cooking inside with coal or wood stoves. Another 3.7 million died from outdoor pollution, including…

Reports, Website Document Effects of and Need for Dialogue on Climate Change

Last year, carbon dioxide briefly passed the 400 parts per million milestone. Now, says Ralph Keeling of the Scripps Institution for Oceanography, we’re on track to “see values dwelling over 400 in April and May. It’s just a matter of time before it stays over 400 forever.” This pronouncement comes the same week the American Association for the…

All-Night Senate Session Focuses on Climate Change

In the last 100 years, senators have held all-night sessions 35 times on everything from the Civil Rights Act to the Iraq War. This week, climate change made the list as number 36. The more than 14-hour session, which began Monday night, was organized by the Climate Action Task Force. Dubbed an avenue to voice concerns over the issue that has…

Budget Provides Blueprint for Climate, Energy Goals

President Barack Obama unveiled his 2015 budget proposal Tuesday, outlining his spending and policy priorities for the upcoming year. In it, President Obama earmarked funding for both his Climate Action Plan and Climate Resiliency Fund. The budget for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—the agency that released stricter fuel standards this week—represented a $309 million decrease from the current fiscal year budget. The nearly $8 billion…

Expert Voices: Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC

How megacities are becoming central players in the fight against climate change In November 2012, superstorm Sandy slammed into the East Coast, claiming dozens of lives and causing billions in damages to the US economy. Lower Manhattan at night, otherwise a hub of around the clock activity, was dark, silent, and flooded. That image, reminiscent…

Supreme Court Divided After Hearing on EPA Authority

In a hearing Monday, the Supreme Court questioned whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is correct in its interpretation that regulating greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles triggers the requirement to also implement permitting requirements for large stationary sources. At issue is the legality of EPA’s interpretation of the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) regulations. Industry groups argue that the PSD…

Tougher Efficiency Standards Ordered for Large Trucks

President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced his administration will begin developing tougher fuel standards for the nation’s fleet of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The new standards will build on a 2011 regulation that set the first-ever fuel standards for model years 2014–18. The next phase—for models beyond 2018—will be proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Transportation Department’s…

Guidelines Issued for Diesel Fuel Used in Hydraulic Fracturing

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued guidelines on the use of diesel fuel in oil and gas hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a method that involves pumping water containing chemicals into shale formations to unlock trapped energy resources. The EPA defines five substances as diesel variations and outlines guidelines and “technical recommendations” for their use.…

Keystone XL Assessment Report Finds No Significant Environmental Objections

The State Department issued its final environmental impact statement on the Keystone XL pipeline, which echoed findings in previous analyses that the pipeline would lead to no substantial increase in greenhouse gas emissions. It found that approximately 147-168 million metric tons of carbon dioxide would be created by producing, refining and burning the pipeline’s oil. The report’s release kicks off a 30-day…