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Observations

Google’s Cars Sniff Out Natural Gas Leaks to Deliver Cleaner Air

google-street-view-car

Of all the things to be leaking methane on Staten Island in New York City—corroded gas pipes, sewers, the Fresh Kills dump—who would have suspected the mail truck? But as I circled a Staten Island neighborhood in a specially equipped Google car, it was a parked mail truck that proved to be sending the biggest [...]

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Observations

Keystone Pipeline Will Impact Climate Change, State Department Reports

oil-sands-refinery

How much can one oil pipeline affect global climate change? That’s one of the fundamental questions probed by a new, final environmental impact assessment released January 31 by the U.S. State Department. At issue is the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry 730,000 barrels a day of oil from western Canada, mostly from Alberta’s tar [...]

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Observations

Who Is Fooling Whom When It Comes to Combating Climate Change?

obama-and-xi

400 PPM: What’s Next for a Warming Planet Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached this level for the first time in millions of years. What does this portend? » Here’s the scam. A Chinese company manufactures hydrofluorocarbons, the refrigerant gases partially responsible for climate change. The gases can efficiently be turned into cash, [...]

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Observations

What Will It Take to Solve Climate Change?

australia-weather-map-with-new-high-temp-color

Australia had to add a new color to its weather maps this week. Meteorologists used royal purple to denote an off-the-charts high temperature of 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), part of an unprecedented heat wave and ongoing wildfires occurring down under this month. On the other side of the globe, 2012 proved the hottest [...]

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Observations

All-of-the-Above Energy Strategy Trumps Climate Action

obama-enters-press-conference-november-14

“I am a firm believer that climate change is real, that it is impacted by human behavior and carbon emissions. And, as a consequence, I think we’ve got an obligation to future generations to do something about it.” So spoke newly re-elected President Barack Obama at a press conference on November 14 when questioned by [...]

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Observations

Deny This: Contested Himalayan Glaciers Really Are Melting, and Doing So at a Rapid Pace–Kind of Like Climate Change

tibetan-plateau

Remember when climate change contrarians professed outrage over a few errors in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s last report? One of their favorite such mistakes involved an overestimation of the pace at which glaciers would melt at the “Third Pole,” where the Indian subcontinent crashes into Asia. Some contrarians back in 2010 proceeded [...]

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Observations

What Really Happened in Durban–and Will It Be Enough to Combat Climate Change?

COP-17-negotiations-plenary

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”—Dickens’s phrase might serve to sum up the reactions to what is now officially called the “Durban Platform for Enhanced Action” on climate change. This two-page document, reminiscent in its brevity of the Copenhagen Accord from 2007, purports to set the global community on [...]

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Observations

Carbon Onset: CO2 Debt of Climate Conferences Grows and Grows and Grows

Solar panel at climate talks in Durban, South Africa

DURBAN, South Africa—When roughly 25,000 people descend on a city to talk climate change, you can expect at least two things: mountains of waste and copious emissions of the greenhouse gases that they’ve come to talk about so seriously. To offset the hundreds of thousands of tons of these lightweight gases emitted in the pursuit [...]

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Observations

Are the Durban Climate Talks—or Climate Talks in General—Doomed?

durban-delegates

After more than 15 years of international climate negotiations, it has become ever more clear that all the carbon dioxide emitted to shuttle diplomats from city to city to hash out a regime to curb climate change has been largely wasted. The success of harried diplomacy in Kyoto in 1997 has given way to Japan [...]

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Observations

U.S. Starts National CO2 Permits, Cap and Trade Works, and Other Surprises

thomas-c-ferguson-power plant

The U.S. has begun to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants—quietly, with little fanfare and starting in Texas. The Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant in Llano County is being modernized with the installation of a combined cycle natural gas-fired turbine for improved efficiency at generating electricity. The refurbished “peaker” plant—so-called because it is fired [...]

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Plugged In

California’s Second Carbon Auction Today: An Explainer on Cap-and-Trade

Photo courtesy of California Air Resources Board

At the beginning of this year, the Golden State officially launched its long-discussed market-based system to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. California’s GHG cap-and-trade program is not the first of its type. Carbon trading schemes are popping up around the world. But, it’s only the second program to takeoff in the U.S. The first, the [...]

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