Climate Change

United Nations photo.

Figueres says U.S. taking steps toward Paris climate deal

The head of the United Nations climate group on Sunday praised the Obama administration's plan to curb U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, in advance of talks next year that are to yield a new post-2020 international climate change accord.

Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, pointed to the Environmental Protection Agency's planned regulations on carbon emissions from existing power plants as a positive step. 

"They're actually doing quite well," she said of the administration on the weekly Platts Energy Week television program. Noting the power plant limits, she added, "the U.S. is doing a very good job in preparing what all of the other countries are currently preparing," in terms of national commitments toward a new deal.

EPA photo

EU's new carbon plan shows Obama is right, McCarthy says

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on Friday praised the new European Union carbon reduction target, calling it an indication that the Obama administration's climate plan is prompting more ambitious international action on climate change.

Still, she gave no hint about whether the U.S. will make a similarly aggressive pledge in the run-up to a planned new global climate pact next year.

Microbe releasing methane as Arctic melts: Scientists

The Washington Post

A microbe that eats carbon and releases methane in its place – Methanoflorens stordalenmirensis – is multiplying in the Arctic melt and accelerating the global warming process, according to scientists writing in the journal Nature this week, The Washington Post reports.

Associated Press

Polar vortex pushed coal, higher CO2 emissions: EIA

Last year's frigid winter blast worsened propane shortages and threatened the electricity grid. Now it has the distinction of driving up U.S. energy-related carbon emissions for only the fourth time since 1990.

The Energy Department on Tuesday said greater heating demand boosted energy-related carbon emissions by 2.5 percent in 2013, to just under 5.4 billion metric tons.

The big contributor to those extra carbon emissions was coal, according to an annual report by the department's data wing, the Energy Information Administration.

Businesses moving on GHG plans on economics, UN uncertainty


Businesses like IKEA and Microsoft tell Reuters they plan to forge their own paths on green energy and greenhouse gas emissions reductions without domestic or international laws, citing a lack of certainty in next year's UN summit and new economic opportunities.

Public Domain Photos

Environmentalists see uncertainty in new US approach to climate deal

The environmental movement responded cautiously Wednesday to State Department envoy Todd Stern's roadmap for clinching a new United Nations climate deal that would avoid binding carbon reduction targets in favor of voluntary limits.

Representatives from two environmental groups stressed Stern's approach was expected and may succeed in securing a deal in Paris late next year. But they questioned whether enough will be done after 2020 by the international community to reduce emissions and avoid catastrophic global warming.

Study: Natural gas surge won't slow global warming

WASHINGTON (AP) — Cheap and plentiful natural gas isn't quite a bridge to a brighter energy future as claimed and won't slow global warming, a new study projects.

Abundant natural gas in the United States has been displacing coal, which produces more of the chief global warming gas carbon dioxide.

State Department Photo

Stern: U.S. won't seek binding carbon cuts in climate talks

The U.S. wants a new United Nations climate deal next year that allows countries to set their own climate emissions cuts, State Department climate envoy Todd Stern said Tuesday, in his most expansive comments yet on the upcoming negotiations.

Stern's speech at Yale University largely confirmed reports that the Obama administration will back the so-called "name and shame" plan suggested by New Zealand that stresses voluntary commitments, combined with mandatory reporting and transparency.

Such a plan would also take the administration off the hook to submit a final deal to the Senate, where it would face substantial opposition.

With their mark on Earth, humans may name era, too

WASHINGTON (AP) — People are changing Earth so much, warming and polluting it, that many scientists are turning to a new way to describe the time we live in. They're calling it the Anthropocene — the age of humans.

Though most non-experts don't realize it, science calls the past 12,000 years the Holocene, Greek for "entirely recent." But the way humans and their industries are altering the planet, especially its climate, has caused an increasing number of scientists to use the word Anthropocene to better describe when and where we are.

Ryan: Humans might not be cause of climate change

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — The planet has faced climate change forever and humans' pollution might not be to blame for shifts, Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan said Monday during a debate against his Democratic challenger.

Ryan, favored to win re-election to his seat representing GOP-leaning southern Wisconsin, faced off against businessman Rob Zerban for an hourlong forum that touched on world events, domestic politics and the economy. One of the sharpest differences came when the moderator asked each candidate if he thought human activity is to blame for changes to the planet's climate.


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