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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…

Obama Promises Strong Action on Climate Change, Energy Independence in State of the Union Address

In his 2014 State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama took just 5 minutes of the 65-minute speech to cover energy and environment issues. He declared climate change “a fact,” stating “when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with…

Study Says United States Tops List of Global Warming Offenders

A new study by Canadian researchers finds the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, and developing nations Brazil and India were responsible for more than 60 percent of global temperature changes between 1906 and 2005. The U.S. alone was responsible for 22 percent of the warning; China followed at 9 percent and Russia at 8 percent. Brazil…

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,…

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…

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…

Carbon Dioxide Milestone Revised by NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced last week that carbon dioxide concentrations at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii surpassed the milestone 400 parts per million for a sustained period. NOAA has since revised the figure—on the basis of computer analysis—saying its May 9 readings actually remained fractions of a point below the historic level, coming in at…

Moniz, McCarthy Face Questions at Senate Confirmation Hearings

Senate confirmation hearings for Ernest Moniz and Gina McCarthy—President Barack Obama’s appointees to oversee the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—began this week. For Moniz, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist, committee grilling started Tuesday. Natural gas exports were a popular topic throughout Moniz’s hearing—signaling his likely support for exports as a way to combat climate change. With…

Carbon Tax Is a Popular Topic in Washington

Since China announced it will hold off plans to introduce a carbon tax, the idea has generated some activity on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers on Tuesday proposed a draft bill that would charge the largest industrial polluters a fee for, or carbon tax on, their fossil-fuel emissions. The plan, proposed by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Rep. Earl…

In State of the Union Obama Targets Energy, Climate

Amid discussion of gun control, immigration reform and deficit reduction, President Barack Obama touched on his agenda for energy and climate in his State of the Union address Tuesday. Picking up where he left off in his second inaugural address, Obama took his focus on climate change one step further, calling on Congress to enact legislation to cut carbon pollution and increase clean energy production.…

Federal Court Tosses EPA’s ‘Good Neighbor’ Pollution Rule

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit this week threw out the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which set stricter limits on sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from coal-burning power plants in 28 states and the District of Columbia. In a 2–1 ruling, the panel held the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exceeded its authority under the…

August 19, 2012: Breaking World Records, Jamming to Rusted Root, and More

This week on “National Geographic Weekend,” join host Boyd Matson as we cycle around the world in 92 days, capture snow leopards in Afghanistan, meet Boyd’s radio doppelgangers, take the world’s temperature, send a touring jam band on their way, hike North America, sail across Melanesia navigating by the stars, and dig up China’s ethnically diverse history.

Crop Damage Sparks Fuel Versus Food Debate

Dry conditions that continue to grip Midwestern states, damaging crops and threatening to push up food prices, stirred new debate this week after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released crop yield projections capturing the severity of the drought. Though the U.S. is the largest producer of corn and soybeans, the report puts corn production at 10.8 billion bushels, down 13…

San Antonio’s Popular River Walk Relies on Recycled Water

  I love a good sewage treatment plant. The wastewater treatment plant of San Antonio, Texas, USA, resembles its sister plants around the world: a wide expanse of deep, in-ground concrete tanks filled with brown liquid. There’s a faint organic odor, not unpleasant, and noise from big pumps and motors that are moving city-size quantities…

Climate Change Concern Slipping as Scientists Ponder Link between Recent Events

A new poll says climate change is no longer first on Americans’ list of the most critical environmental problems. About three in 10 people, or 29 percent, believe water and air pollution to be the top issue. Meanwhile, 19 percent saw climate change as a threat, down from 33 percent in 2007. Even with the decline, three-quarters of those polled thought…