July 1 Energy News

July 1, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ Global warming is a clear and present danger, and the people who deny it are putting us and future generations at risk. But these deniers are losing one argument after the other. Earlier this week, data showed how quickly the oceans are warming. Now, new data shows that the small discrepancies between satellite and ground data are actually not there. [IFLScience]

Earth from the ISS (Reid Wiseman | NASA image)

World:

¶ German Chancellor Angela Merkel, one of the most influential and respected leaders in the world, has issued a shot across the bow of Donald Trump’s nascent US leadership in advance of next week’s G20 summit next week, raising the specter of a public and contentious clash over several issues, including the stance on climate change. [CleanTechnica]

¶ As part of the Mayor of London’s ongoing efforts to reduce the city’s growing air pollution problems, a new retrofit program has been announced that will result in around 5,000 buses being upgraded so as to meet the Euro VI emissions standard. The program is reportedly expected to cut the emissions of the buses by up to 95%. [CleanTechnica]

London buses (Photo: Chris Sampson, some rights reserved)

¶ China appointed a new environment minister, Li Ganjie. On his first day in that job, he told staff to take environmental protection to “a new level” and wage a “protracted battle” to clean up the nation’s notoriously polluted air, water and soil. He takes over the job from Chen Jining, who was appointed acting mayor of Beijing. [Thomson Reuters Foundation]

¶ Philippine environment groups filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to stop the government from approving more coal-fired power plants that contribute to harmful air pollution in the country. The group took two government departments to task for allegedly neglecting their duty and respective mandates on fossil fuels. [Business Mirror]

Coal pollution (Business Mirror file photo)

US:

¶ A natural-gas-infrastructure project slated for southern New England came to a screeching halt June 29, when Houston-based Spectra Energy Partners announced that the controversial Access Northeast project is being suspended. The Algonquin natural-gas pipeline included a series of extensions between New York and Massachusetts. [ecoRI news]

¶ Hawaiian Electric Companies submitted a draft of its plan to modernize the power grids on the five Islands it serves to bring more renewable resources online. The plan shows how the gird modernization will help achieve a consolidated renewable portfolio standard of 48% by 2020. The state mandated RPS calls for 30% by 2020. [Pacific Business News]

Rooftop solar in Hawaii (Photo Risource Energy)

¶ The White House is planning on using military concepts to conduct an “at-length evaluation of US climate science.” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is pushing an initiative that will use so-called “red team, blue team” tactics, developed within the military to try to find vulnerabilities in ideas for field operations, to discuss climate science. [The Independent]

¶  A landmark lawsuit by a group of children against the Trump administration over climate change is headed to trial. The plaintiffs include 21 children and young adults who originally sued in 2015, arguing that the federal government encourages use of fossil fuels despite knowing about the dangers of climate change. [Scientific American]

Protesting climate change (Credit: Bill Wechter | Getty Images)

¶ A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine said premature deaths resulting from air pollution are occurring in areas where levels are within National Ambient Air Quality Standards. It said that even a modest reduction in PM2.5 pollution particles could prevent about 12,000 premature deaths annually. [Yale Environment 360]

¶ Lately, crude oil hasn’t looked like a great investment. The Keystone XL pipeline’s operator, TransCanada, is struggling to track down oil producers and refiners who want to invest in transporting crude oil from Canada to the United States. When it proposed the pipeline extension in 2008, a barrel of crude cost $130. Now it’s down to $45. [Grist]

Keystone XL site in Nebraska (Photo: Shannon Ramos)

¶ The science division of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy was unstaffed as of Friday as the three remaining employees departed this week, sources told CBS News. The departures from the division highlight the different commitment to scientific research under Presidents Obama and Trump. [CBS News]

¶ The Edmonds, Washington, City Council has approved a resolution establishing a goal for the city to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2025. According to the Sierra Club, Edmonds represents the first municipality in Washington state, and the 37th city in the US, to commit to 100% renewable energy. [North American Windpower]

Renewable energy

¶ The Public Utility Commission of Oregon has approved community solar rules that will help to enable all citizens in the state to directly participate in, and benefit from, local solar projects. The new rules will enable state citizens to benefit from state projects without having to install solar panels on their own roofs. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

¶ The US government warned industrial firms this week about a hacking campaign targeting the nuclear and energy sectors, the latest event to highlight the power industry’s vulnerability to cyber attacks. Since at least May, hackers used tainted “phishing” emails to “harvest credentials” so they could gain access to networks. [Al-Arabiya]

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