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White House Announces New Climate Change Initiatives

The White House on Wednesday announced executive actions to help states and communities build their resilience to more intense storms, high heat, sea level rise, and other effects of climate change. The actions, which involve several federal agencies, were among the recommendations by the president’s State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. “…Climate…

Senate Clears Way for Keystone XL Pipeline

The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 12 to 10 on a bill Wednesday approving the long-debated Keystone XL oil pipeline. The pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast, requires presidential approval as it crosses international boundaries. Without a commitment from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring it to a vote…

EPA Releases Proposed Rule for Existing Power Plants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week announced a proposed rule to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel–fired power plants 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. This first-of-its-kind proposal uses an infrequently exercised provision of the Clean Air Act to set state-specific reduction targets for carbon dioxide and to allow states to devise individual or…

Watch: Sun Unleashes First Big Flare of 2014, May Create Colorful Aurora Light Show

The new year has started off with a bang, with a powerful solar flare being hurled off the surface of the sun on Tuesday. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and STEREO spacecrafts managed to capture the eruption of a massive X-class flare—the largest type on the Richter scale of solar explosions—as it occurred above a group of sunspots directly…

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…

Sun About To Magnetically Flip

As the sun reaches a crescendo in its 11 year activity cycle this year, it’s also getting ready to go topsy-turvy.  The sun’s global magnetic field is about to reverse—flipping its orientation so that north becomes south and south becomes north. Astronomers estimate that we may be only three or four months away from this mysterious…

U.N. Climate Talks Pick Back Up in Bonn

The next round of U.N. climate change talks began in Bonn, Germany—the final round of midyear negotiations before the 19th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in November. The talks are, in part, focused on defining elements of a universal climate agreement by 2015, an agreement that would be enforced by 2020.…

Looming Sequester Has Implications for National Weather Forecasting, Energy

Unless Congress reaches a deal by Friday, a set of automatic spending cuts—known as the sequester—will take effect. According to the Obama Administration, this trigger, for $85 billion worth of across-the-board federal spending cuts, is expected to have significant implications for climate and energy. Newly released estimates by the White House detail how the cuts are projected to impact programs in each state. Decreases in environmental…

A Wind Tax Credit, Indefinitely?

In last week’s State of the Union address, President Barack Obama called for doubling research and development funding for renewable energy. A policy document released by the White House following the State of the Union proposes making the wind production tax credit—which was renewed in January for one year as part of the deal to avert the fiscal cliff—permanent. “To once…

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…

Harnessing Sun, Wave Power for Energy

Oceans, which cover more than two-thirds of the planet, hold a large amount of energy. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates ocean wave and tidal currents have the potential to account for 15 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2030. While technologies harnessing energy from tides and currents have been domestically discussed for decades, the…

North Carolina Legislature Mulls Ban on Sea Level Rise Projections

The link between climate change and sea level rise, already well established, has been reinforced by recent studies. But sea level rise also made headlines in a more unusual way recently after some North Carolina legislators introduced a bill that would call into question some of the scientific projections related to sea level rise in the state. Specifically, their draft legislation would…

The Evolution of Solar Technology

(View infographic larger.) By Priyeshu Garg In a world where most energy production comes from non-renewable resources, people are trying to find efficient and price-effective ways to use renewable energy. One of the great leaps in renewable technology has been the solar panel, which is composed of several solar cells that convert light into electricity.…

More than 100 Coal Plants Shutting—But How Much Difference Will It Make?

After public pressure, Chicago will shut two aging coal-fired power plants, and the owner of one of the power plants, Midwest Generation, may shut its other four coal plants in Illinois. Since the start of 2010, more than 100 coal plants have been slated for early retirement. A major reason for coal plants shutting has been public opposition to…

U.S. Rejects Tar Sands Pipeline from Canada—For Now

Under pressure from Congress to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, planned to connect Canada’s tar sands region with the U.S. Gulf Coast, the Obama administration has decided to reject the pipeline proposal. “This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline” that did not…