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Carbon Markets Show Glimmers of Recovery in 2014

A year after the launch of its cap-and-trade program, California formally linked its emissions trading scheme with Quebec’s—enabling carbon allowances and offset credits to be exchanged between participants in the two jurisdictions. The linkage, which marks the first agreement in North America that allows for the trading of greenhouse gas emissions across borders, is designed to escalate…

EIA Releases Early Predictions from Annual Energy Outlook

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Monday released a 20-page preview of its Annual Energy Outlook 2014, which includes projections of U.S. energy supply, demand and prices through 2040. Although the full report won’t be released until spring 2014, the preview projects a spike of 800,000 barrels a day in domestic crude oil production in 2014. By 2016,…

Clean Air Rules Face Scrutiny as World’s Largest Emitter Develops Climate Plan

Oral arguments were held Tuesday to determine the legality of a rule that regulates air pollution crossing state lines. Before the U.S. Supreme Court was the issue of whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exceeded its authority by designing state limits for air pollution when it developed the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which was intended to take…

Report Warns of Sudden Climate Change Impacts

Hard-to-predict sudden changes to Earth’s environment are more worrisome than larger but more gradual impacts of climate change, according a panel of scientists advising the federal government. A 200-page report released Tuesday by the National Academy of Sciences repeatedly warns of potential climate “tipping points” beyond which “major and rapid changes occur.” And some of these changes—happening in years…

EPA Proposes Lower Biofuel Mandate

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday announced cuts to a federal mandate dictating how much ethanol must be blended into gasoline. The mandate—under the Renewable Fuel Standard—would have been scheduled to reach 18.15 billion gallons in 2014, up from 16.55 billion gallons this year. The EPA instead proposes to set the 2014 requirement at 15.21 billion gallons, equal…

U.N. Climate Conference Kicks Off Amid Reminders of Deal Urgency

The 12-day United Nations Climate Change Conference, which aims to forge an agreement to cut climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions, began in Warsaw, Poland, this week. The goal set by the U.N.: limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. Representatives from nearly 200 countries are debating an agreement that would take effect by 2020. Major breakthroughs are not expected at…

Report: Current Efforts to Slow Global Warming Not Sufficient

Days before world leaders meet in Warsaw, Poland, for the latest United Nations Climate Change Conference, a new report warns that the opportunity to limit global temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius compared with preindustrial levels is diminishing. The “Emissions Gap Report 2013,” compiled yearly by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), looks at how each nation is meeting its…

Impacts Far Reaching as U.S. Marks Sandy Anniversary

A year ago this week, Superstorm Sandy made a lasting mark on the northeast United States. Many areas continue to recover from the storm, the deadliest and most destructive of the 2012 hurricane season. The effects of Sandy’s destruction linger in many areas where it made landfall, but the storm has had wider-ranging impacts, including influencing how we predict and prepare for future…

EIA: Carbon Emissions Decline

In 2012, energy-related carbon emissions in the United States declined 3.8 percent even as global carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.4 percent, according the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The recorded 5.29 million metric tons of carbon dioxide amounted to the largest decline since 1994, continuing a downward trend that started in 2007. EIA attributed last year’s decrease to several factors, including a mild…

Supreme Court Will Hear Challenges to EPA Rule

The U.S. Supreme Court opted Tuesday to hear challenges raised by states and industry groups to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions rules issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act. Six of nine petitions were granted review. The specific issue in the case deals with the GHG permitting program that the EPA implemented in January 2011 (commonly…

Australia and Pakistan: A Neglected Relationship?

How stronger ties are both politically expedient and economically advantageous for both countries.  In this article I partner with Sydney-based Australian writer Danielle Gehrmann who has visited Pakistan several times.  We collectively consider how to use ecological and economic incentives to build an unusual dyad of international relations between our two lands. Danielle Gehrmann and…

Leadership Change in the White House

Heather Zichal, President Barack Obama’s top energy and climate adviser, announced plans this week to step down. Zichal has advised the president since 2008 and assisted in the creation of his Climate Action Plan, unveiled in June, to cut carbon emissions from U.S. power plants and other sources. Although a replacement has not been named, some news outlets reported that Dan…

Energy, Climate Programs Affected by Federal Government Shutdown

Washington braced for a prolonged shutdown, the first in 17 years, this week after members of Congress failed to pass a budget. The closure has affected the workforce of many climate and energy programs. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for one, lost more than 90 percent of its employees, disrupting monitoring of air and water quality as well as potentially setting back efforts to…

EPA Issues New Source Rules, Separates Requirements for Coal and Gas-Fired Plants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a long-awaited revised proposal for Clean Air Act standards to curb carbon pollution from new power plants. The rule sets separate standards for new gas-fired and coal-fired plants. It would require future coal-fired plants to limit emissions of carbon dioxide to 1,100 pounds per megawatt hour (MWh). The average U.S. coal-fired plant currently emits nearly…

Proposed Rules to Limit Power Plant Emissions Expected This Week

In a move initiated by the Obama administration to address global changes in climate, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected this week to release a proposal for regulations to reduce carbon emissions from new power plants. Although details about the regulations remain confidential, the New York Times reports the proposal could contain standards different for coal…