News

Wary of Biden win, drillers rush for permits

Source: By Heather Richards, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Drillers in the largest onshore U.S. oil and gas field are rushing to secure permits ahead of a potential Joe Biden presidency, analysts say, reflecting industry uncertainty about the November election. The Democratic presidential nominee and former vice president has proposed to effectively retire oil and gas development on federally managed lands over time, appealing to a climate-conscious left flank calling for an end to fossil fuel use.

The Solar-Powered Future Is Being Assembled in China

Source: By Bloomberg News • Posted: Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

On a recent morning in central China, workers in blue jumpsuits and white masks placed clamps around a bar of shiny metal and fed it into a powerful cutting machine. The bar was an ingot made of polysilicon, a heavily refined cousin of the same material that makes up sand. Inside the cutter, it was sliced into thousands of small squares slightly larger than a CD case and thinner than a thumbnail. These wafers would then be shipped on to other factories to be infused with conductive elements such as phosphorous and boron, then wired into cells and assembled into panels—the base unit of solar energy generation.

As Trump Again Rejects Science, Biden Calls Him a ‘Climate Arsonist’

Source: By Peter Baker, Lisa Friedman and Thomas Kaplan, New York Times • Posted: Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

With wildfires raging across the West, climate change took center stage in the race for the White House on Monday as former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. called President Trump a “climate arsonist” while the president said that “I don’t think science knows” what is actually happening. A day of dueling appearances laid out the stark differences between the two candidates, an incumbent president who has long scorned climate change as a hoax and rolled back environmental regulations and a challenger who has called for an aggressive campaign to curb the greenhouse gases blamed for increasingly extreme weather.

Google aims to run on carbon-free energy by 2030

Source: By Paresh Dave, Reuters • Posted: Monday, September 14th, 2020

Alphabet Inc’s Google aims to power its data centers and offices 24-7 using solely carbon-free electricity by 2030, its chief executive told Reuters, building on its previous goal of matching its energy use with 100% renewable energy.

The “stretch goal,” as CEO Sundar Pichai described it, will force Google to move beyond the tech industry norm of offseting carbon emissions from electricity use and require technological and political breakthroughs to achieve.

GOP-led Minnesota Senate ousts a second Walz commissioner

Source: By Briana Bierschbach, Minneapolis Star Tribune • Posted: Monday, September 14th, 2020

Senate Republicans ousted Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley on Friday, the second agency head in two months to get the boot in an intensifying power struggle between GOP leaders and Gov. Tim Walz during a series of pandemic-triggered special sessions. Kelley, appointed by Walz in 2019, was rejected on a narrow 33-31 vote after taking heat from Republicans for his agency’s role in legal challenges to Line 3, Enbridge Energy’s project to replace a deteriorating pipeline in northern Minnesota.

New Research Shows Disproportionate Rate of Coronavirus Deaths in Polluted Areas

Source: By Lylla Younes, ProPublica, and Sara Sneath • Posted: Monday, September 14th, 2020

COVID-19 can be made more serious — and, in some cases, more deadly — by a specific type of industrial emission called hazardous air pollutants, or HAPs, according to new peer-reviewed research by ProPublica and researchers at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. The study, published Friday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, found this association in both rural counties in Louisiana and highly populated communities in New York. The analysis examined air pollution and coronavirus deaths in the roughly 3,100 U.S. counties and found a close correlation between levels of hazardous pollutants and the per-capita death rate from COVID-19.

Offshore Wind Promised New Jobs and Economic Development. Where Are They?

Source: By TOM JOHNSON, NY Spotlight • Posted: Monday, September 14th, 2020

With New Jersey ramping up its efforts to develop a robust offshore wind program, new doubts have been raised over when and whether the projects will deliver the significant economic benefits and jobs touted by developers. The issue became public Wednesday when the state opened a second solicitation to build offshore wind farms off the Jersey coast and prominent legislators unexpectedly called on state regulators to immediately suspend its review of the first and only offshore wind project to be approved by the Board of Public Utilities.

BP Says the Era of Oil-Demand Growth Is Over

Source: By Rakteem Katakey, Bloomberg • Posted: Monday, September 14th, 2020

BP said the relentless growth of oil demand is over, becoming the first supermajor to call the end of an era many thought would last another decade or more. Oil consumption may never return to levels seen before the coronavirus crisis took hold, BP said in a report on Monday. Even its most bullish scenario sees demand no better than “broadly flat” for the next two decades as the energy transition shifts the world away from fossil fuels.

Judges consider Big Oil’s ‘efforts to mislead’ on climate

Source: By Jennifer Hijazi, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, September 14th, 2020

A panel of judges last week grilled an industry attorney about whether a Rhode Island lawsuit truly raises federal concerns as the bench grappled with another attempt by oil and gas companies to throw a climate damages case to federal court. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Friday in the case, which is one of multiple climate actions seeking to hold the oil and gas industry financially accountable for global warming effects like sea-level rise through state nuisance, trespass and product liability laws.

Wildfires force Biden and Trump to reckon with climate

Source: By Adam Aton, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, September 14th, 2020

Deadly wildfires in the western United States have nudged climate change back into the arena of the 2020 presidential election. The fires have killed more than two dozen people, forced tens of thousands to flee and painted the sky an ominous shade of orange. The carnage prompted President Trump to schedule a visit to California today. Democratic nominee Joe Biden will also speak about the wildfires this afternoon from Delaware, and he is expected to use the blazes and other extreme weather events to press the case for his climate agenda.