World faces narrow window to cut carbon emissions — study

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

Humans have only a small window to zero out carbon dioxide emissions that could lead to changes affecting the globe for tens of thousands of years, according to new research published today. The study in the journal Nature Climate Change warned that the climate change debate has focused on time frames that are too short, largely ignoring long-term changes to the ecology and geology of the world.

Obama’s spending blueprint aims for ‘green’ legacy

Source: George Cahlink, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

President Obama will deliver his final budget proposal today, which will seek to cement his environmental legacy with billions of dollars in clean energy investments and by building on the global climate deal struck in Paris. “My budget is going to double our investment in clean energy research and development by the end of the decade,” Obama said Friday during a short White House press conference. “That’s going to help businesses create more jobs faster, it’s going to lower the cost of clean energy faster, it’s going to help renewable power compete with dirty fuels across America in a more effective way.”

White House details massive clean-tech spending plan

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

The White House outlined a sweeping plan this weekend to double clean energy research spending over five years as part of a global effort to fight climate change. The massive proposal — which involves 12 federal agencies and envisions a 20 percent increase in energy research and development in the president’s coming budget — is meant to be the meat on the bones of the “Mission Innovation” initiative launched at last year’s climate talks in Paris.

Flint talks continue as clock ticks on Senate bill

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

The leaders of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee are working to keep their bipartisan energy package alive, while discussions continue on possible aid to help the residents of Flint, Mich., cope with their lead-contaminated drinking water. In a joint statement yesterday afternoon, Energy Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said they worked over the weekend to “clear a path” for the bill, which became bogged down last week over Democrats’ demands that aid for Flint be included.

Pope Francis ramps up environmental message

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, February 8th, 2016

Pope Francis today urged people to protect their “common home” from environmental degradation in a new video message. While not mentioning climate change specifically, the pope’s message in the video carries the same themes as his papal encyclical last year that discussed the scientific basis for climate change and called for urgent action to protect the planet.

U.S. reaches ‘turning point’ in low-carbon growth

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, February 8th, 2016

The United States has reached a watershed in efforts to decarbonize its energy economy, setting records in 2015 for natural gas and renewable energy production, alongside rising investment in energy efficiency and the continued retirement of dozens of older coal-fired power plants. Experts say the drivers behind the shifts, outlined in the “2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook,” stem from policy directives at the national and international levels, as well as technological revolutions in the gas industry and increasingly attractive economics for renewables such as wind and solar power.

FERC ruling seen as boon for Clean Power Plan

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, February 8th, 2016

The Supreme Court’s recent move to uphold a federal energy conservation rule bodes well for the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, environmental lawyers say. With U.S. EPA’s rule to cut power plants’ greenhouse gas emissions already mired in lawsuits and widely expected to wind up in the Supreme Court, lawyers on both sides are scouring the justices’ recent environmental decisions for clues about how they’ll handle the case.

Built Up by Oil Boom, North Dakota Now Has an Emptier Feeling

Source: By JACK HEALY, New York Times • Posted: Monday, February 8th, 2016

The “man camps” sprang up from the prairie, rows of trailers and modular steel boxes that housed thousands of workers chasing their fortunes in North Dakota’s oil fields. But these days, the man camps are missing something: men. Roughly eight years ago, at the peak of the last recession, oil drilling began to transform these remote corners of the plains into an economic beacon, attracting billions of dollars in new investments and thousands of workers in search of good-paying jobs and an escape from America’s economic pain. But now, as oil prices have skidded to $30 a barrel, new drilling has dried up here, and the flood of wealth and workers is ebbing.

States, industries make final pleas to Supreme Court

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, February 8th, 2016

Dozens of states, utilities and coal groups Friday made their final arguments in an attempt to urge the Supreme Court to block the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. The request to the court to step in and block the controversial rule as a lower court weighs the case is widely seen as an unusual legal maneuver, but that shouldn’t stop the court from taking action, a coalition of more than two dozen states led by West Virginia said in its filing to the justices.

Obama using final budget request to push for action against climate change

Source: By Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian • Posted: Monday, February 8th, 2016

Barack Obama called on Congress to double funding for clean energy research on Saturday, using his final budget request – and one of the last high-profile moments of his presidency – to push for action against climate change. The president said his final budget on Tuesday would propose doubling clean energy research spending from $6.4bn to $12.8bn by 2020.