Senators from both parties are scrambling to save the bipartisan energy package from collapsing under the political weight of the Flint, Mich., drinking water crisis. With the Senate scheduled to move on to other business tomorrow morning, key senators huddled on the floor last night to talk strategy for providing federal assistance for Flint — a key demand of Democrats, who filibustered a pair of procedural motions for the underlying energy bill (S. 2012) last week to maintain leverage on the issue.
The European Union installed record wind-power capacity in 2015 as the technology leapfrogged hydropower to become the third-biggest source of electricity in the 28-nation bloc. Germany’s market led the growth, installing 47 percent of the 12.8-gigawatts of new wind power capacity across the region, the European Wind Energy Association said Tuesday in an e-mailed report. Record offshore installations canceled out a dip in new onshore machines. That pushed the total for 2015 above the 12.1 gigawatts registered in 2014.
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.
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.”
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.