Selected category: Climate

New study confirms (again): New Mexico’s methane hot spot largely tied to oil and gas pollution

In 2014, NASA scientists published their discovery of a methane “hot spot” hovering over New Mexico’s San Juan Basin. The 2,500-square-mile methane cloud is the largest area of elevated methane concentration ever measured in the U.S., and is so big scientists can spot it from space.

While some have tried to debate the cause of the hot spot, it is more than mere coincidence that the San Juan Basin is one of the most productive natural gas fields in North America, and that oil and gas development is the leading industrial cause of methane emissions nationally.

Manmade methane emissions  are an urgent concern for scientists and policy makers since they are responsible for about a quarter of current global warming, which is why Scientists from NASA and NOAA embarked on a series of studies to try to pinpoint the source of New Mexico’s methane cloud. Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed

Trump budget breakdown: Time to defend the clean energy economy and American innovation

This post was updated on June 5, 2017.

My first week on the job at Environmental Defense Fund was also the week the Trump administration released its full federal budget proposal. I joined the EDF+Business team after working at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), implementing technology-to-market innovation partnerships for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The proposal slashes EERE and related offices and programs that have been at the forefront of successful public-private partnerships. At a time when the U.S. is backing out of the Paris Climate Agreement and federal clean energy technology investments are critically and urgently needed, this budget threatens American innovation.

Funding that nurtures new businesses without requiring their owners to give up any stake in their companies can be make-or-break for the early-stage startups that drive innovation. When government, well-positioned to make this kind of unique investment, puts forth tax-payer dollars, it encourages the private sector to buy-in as well—oftentimes with a multiplying effect. DOE has created opportunities like these that reduce risks for both entrepreneurs and investors. It is through this public-private collaboration that meaningful partnerships and lasting progress are possible for clean energy and our nation’s economy. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Innovation, Renewable Energy| Comments are closed

Recent California decision indicates utility’s willingness to address climate pollution

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently approved a settlement requiring Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to address environmental, as well as safety, factors when fixing natural gas leaks.

This comes on the heels of a similar settlement issued by the New York Public Service Commission in December. Together these decisions are ringing in a trend in which the environmental impacts of methane leaking from pipelines are being recognized.

Methane – the main component of natural gas — is responsible for about a quarter of current global warming, and awareness about the magnitude of methane that leaks from local pipelines has been mounting. Read More »

Also posted in California, Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed

A cheat sheet for preventing catastrophe at gas storage sites

Today, the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and the Ground Water Protection Council published a new report entitled “Underground Gas Storage Regulatory Considerations: A Guide for State and Federal Regulatory Agencies.” Like the title says, the report helps regulators make decisions that will ultimately make gas storage facilities across the country safer and more secure.

Gas storage reached many Americans’ attention in the aftermath of the major leak at the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility, which forced thousands of families to evacuate their homes after a massive leak caused more than 100,000 tons of methane to escape into the air.

Read More »

Also posted in Aliso Canyon, California, Energy Storage, Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed

How a digital dashboard could make cities’ power, water smarter

By: Jori Mendel, AT&T Smart Cities, and Chandana Vangapalli, former Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Fellow

Technology revolutionizes the way people interact with the world. From video chats to securing homes from thousands of miles away, digital connections bring us closer to what matters most.

This same connectivity can play a critical role in helping cities around the world in the fight against climate change – a fight that will only accelerate in the coming years, with cities and municipalities on the front lines.

Nearly 60 percent of the world’s population will live in cities by 2030. These urban areas already account for 60-80 percent of energy consumption and 75 percent of carbon emissions, and their impacts will worsen with expansion. Because of their population density, cities are also the most likely to be heavily impacted by water shortages, natural disasters, and heatwaves as climate change progresses.

Smart cities

Understanding how to mitigate these environmental impacts is vital, and the technology that enables cities to be “smart” is a big part of that. Technology can help communities around the world become cleaner, safer, and stronger through connectivity solutions that unlock environmental, social, and economic benefits. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Data Access, Energy Efficiency, Energy Innovation, Energy-Water Nexus| Comments are closed

States to Trump: We’re not backing down on climate, clean air

Last week the California Air Resources Board unanimously voted to finalize new regulations to reduce oil and gas methane emissions. This is the first major environmental regulation that has been issued since the new Administration took office, and sends a clear message that states aren’t going to take the new administrations attacks on the environment lying down.

Every signal from the Trump Administration – from pledging to kill the Clean Power Plan, to the recent executive orders that order EPA to begin reversing important climate protections, to the massive proposed budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency– indicate that the United States government is keen to undo some of the fundamental environmental protections that are critical to our health and prosperity. And yet, through these signals, California is moving forward with sensible policies that will hold oil and gas companies accountable for their operations, and their pollution. Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, California, Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed
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