On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new rules for reporting greenhouse gas emissions that will apply to the oil and gas sector, part of EPA’s plan to institute a comprehensive strategy for dealing with methane in oil and gas production. The proposed rules would alter the greenhouse emissions reporting program first mandated by Congress in 2008.
Specifically, the new rules will change the calculation methods for oil and gas emissions by changing the units of measurement, altering the equations used for collecting and reporting data, and requiring separate reports for methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide rather than a single category for “carbon dioxide equivalent.” Additionally, the new rules would alter the equations for global warming potential and require oil and gas operators to calculate individual emissions in metric tons.
Pennsylvania’s Democratic senator is criticizing President Barack Obama’s proposed climate change rules, urging revisions to a plan that he says imposes unfair costs and burdens on the state.
In a 22-page letter sent Thursday to the Environmental Protection Agency, Sen. Bob Casey makes clear he supports broad goals of combating global warming and agrees an EPA plan is necessary. But Casey said the carbon emissions target for the state is unreasonably high and could lead to higher electricity prices.
“Our Commonwealth powers the electricity needs of states across the mid-Atlantic. We should be treated sensibly and fairly,” said Casey, the state’s senior senator.
Historic. Such is the ubiquitous description of the climate agreement recently announced in Beijing between Barack Obama and Xi Jinping in which China promised for the first time to cap carbon emissions.
If this were a real breakthrough, I’d be an enthusiastic supporter. I have long advocated for a tangible global agreement to curb carbon. I do remain skeptical about the arrogant, ignorant claim that climate science is “settled,” that it can predict with accuracy future “global warming” effects and that therefore we must cut emissions radically, immediately and unilaterally if necessary, even at potentially ruinous economic and social cost.
The U.S. government’s National Climate Assessment report and the UN IPCC both claim that human carbon dioxide emissions are “intensifying” the greenhouse effect and causing global warming. Let’s review claims relative to observed data.
We begin with a very simplified review of what the greenhouse effect is. Solar radiation, mostly short-wave radiation, passes through the atmosphere and warms the surface. In turn, the heated surface re-radiates energy as long-wave infrared radiation back to the atmosphere and eventually, back to space.
Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere intercept some of the long-wave infrared radiation and transfer some of the energy to excite other molecules in the atmosphere, some of the radiation goes back to the surface (this is called down-welling infrared radiation), and some of the radiation is radiated into space (this is called out-going long-wave radiation).
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop criticises US president Barack Obama for a speech in Brisbane last weekend in which he claimed climate change threatened the Great Barrier Reef. It is highly unusual for an Australian foreign minister to openly criticise a US president. Ms Bishop also said Australia currently had no intention of committing extra forces or resources to the mission against Islamic State, even though the White House had discussed it with the Abbott Government. --Radio Australia, 20 November 2014
Why did the Southern Beaufort polar bear population survey stop in 2010? It’s clear that the recently-published and widely-hyped new study stopped before the population rebound from a known decline was complete. The researchers of the recently-published paper knew before starting their mark-recapture study in 2007 that the population decline had taken place. They also knew why the numbers dropped and that previous declines, caused by similar conditions, had been followed by a full recovery. In fact, a US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) fall survey of Southern Beaufort polar bears in 2012 found numbers were higher than they had been in a decade. --Susan Crockford, Polar Bear Science, 19 November 2014
Earlier this week, the Guardian newspaper ran a headline claiming that the ‘polar bear population in frozen sea north of Alaska falls 40% in 10 years’ – a claim repeated today by the AFP news agency.
Dr Susan Crockford, a Canadian zoologist and professor with more than 35 years experience, has been highly critical of these stories, claiming that they are misleading the public.
"I'm shocked. Shocked! Well, not that shocked."Senate Democrats filibustered the Keystone XL pipeline on Tuesday, in a vote that reverberated from Louisiana, where a key senator's career is now likely doomed, to the broader national Democratic Party, where environmentalists have emerged triumphant in a divisive internal battle with labor unions.
The Keystone vote took on symbolism far beyond the small impact on American crude supplies and the slight effect expected on gas prices. Environmentalists drew lines and dared moderate and conservative Democrats to cross it. In the end, most were unwilling to defy the ascendant movement, and it marked a key moment in the climate change debate.
"It's time to make this turn. And there's no better moment to make this turn than on this pipeline that would bring the filthiest fuel in the planet into circulation," said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat.
The vote fell one shy of the 60 needed to overcome the filibuster, with 14 Democrats joining all 45 Republicans in backing the project.