Policy

Australian PM introduces bill to repeal carbon tax

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Prime Minister Tony Abbott reintroduced legislation to the Australian Parliament on Monday that would repeal a carbon tax that the nation's worst greenhouse gas polluters have to pay.

The opposition center-left Labor Party and minor Greens party used their Senate majority in March to block the bills that would remove the 24.15 Australian dollar ($22.79) tax per metric ton of carbon dioxide that was introduced by a Labor government in July 2012. The bills were defeated 33 votes to 29.

But with new senators to take their seats on July 7 for the first time since Abbott's conservative coalition government took power in an election in September, the bills are expected to be passed by a narrow margin. Coal mining magnate and carbon tax critic Clive Palmer leads four new senators who have promised their allegiance to his influential Palmer United Party.

US mayors to vote on climate change resolution

DALLAS (AP) — U.S. mayors gathered in Texas will decide whether to endorse a call for cities to use nature to fight the effects of climate change.

Attendees of the U.S. Conference of Mayors are set to vote Monday on a resolution encouraging cities to use natural solutions to "protect freshwater supplies, defend the nation's coastlines, maintain a healthy tree cover and protect air quality," sometimes by partnering with nonprofit organizations.

The measure is backed by Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.

Oil drilling threatens solitude of national park

THEODORE ROOSEVELT NATIONAL PARK, N.D. (AP) — After the last hints of sunset dip behind the hills, the North Dakota horizon comes alive with flickering orange flames of a different kind — natural gas flares.

These tiny tongues of fire burn bright against the dark prairie just beyond the boundaries of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the Badlands, where the man who later became the nation's 26th president sought solace after his wife and mother both died unexpectedly on the same day in 1884 in his native New York.

Today, the resurgent American oil industry is tapping into this rugged landscape, so the vistas that soothed Roosevelt's grief and helped instill his zeal for conservation now include oil rigs and flares used to burn off natural gas that comes to the surface.

France agrees to buy 20% stake in Alstom

PARIS (AP) — The final obstacle to General Electric's $17 billion takeover of Alstom's power division was overcome Sunday after the French government agreed to terms with the French engineering company's main shareholder.

Economy minister Arnaud Montebourg said on French television that the government will buy a 20-percent stake in Alstom from construction giant Bouygues SA.

The move fulfills his pledge to ensure that the French government would retain a say in jobs and decision-making at the company, which builds power plants and France's famed high-speed TGV trains. He did not comment on the final price of the stake to be bought from Bouygues.

House Energy and Commerce Committee

GOP makes summer energy appeals with drilling, LNG export bills

While the Senate remains tied up in partisan knots over energy bills, the Republican-led House is set this week to take up legislation highlighting their support for expanded oil drilling, natural gas exports and the Keystone XL pipeline.

The GOP push comes as lawmakers from both chambers head home Friday to face voters during a weeklong July 4th recess, and as national average gasoline prices hover near $3.70 a gallon. That relatively high price has prompted Republicans to intensify their appeals to voters on domestic energy.

McCarthy, Moniz address U.S. Conference of Mayors

Dallas, June 22, 2014, 9:00 am

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz address climate issues at U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting. 

House Rules Committee business meeting on LNG, energy infrastructure bills

Washington, June 23, 2014, 5:00 pm

House Rules Committee meets to set floor debate on H.R. 6, the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act, H.R. 3301, the North American Energy Infrastructure Act.

Chinese envoy reports ‘progress’ in Iran nuclear talks

Source: 
The Wall Street Journal

With a month to go until the deadline for reaching a nuclear deal, Chinese diplomats said Friday that Iran and major powers are making progress, having agreed on a possible framework, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Berkeley pursues gas-pump warning labels

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco Bay Area city of Berkeley is moving forward with plans to put climate-change warning labels on gas pumps in what could be the first such requirement of its kind in the nation.

The city's community environmental advisory commission called on the city manager last week to draft an ordinance for the labels. The city council is expected to vote on the ordinance in the fall, the Oakland Tribune reported on Friday.

A draft of the possible sign posted by the San Francisco Chronicle informs drivers that burning gas releases carbon dioxide and the state has determined that carbon dioxide emissions cause global warming. It says global warming caused by carbon dioxide emissions poses a serious threat to the state's economic well-being, public health, natural resources and environment.

New US sanctions against Ukraine rebels, more possible against Russia

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. issued new sanctions Friday on a slew of Ukraine separatists, including self-proclaimed rebel mayors, governors and commanders in chief of cities under siege, for refusing to cede to the central government in Kiev. The economic penalties served as a warning from Washington as Russian troops return to its border with Ukraine in what a senior U.S. official described as a new attempt to escalate the already tense environment.

The senior U.S. official said the West is still prepared to slap tougher sanctions on Russia's economic sectors to punish it for stoking unrest in Ukraine since a new government pushed out the country's pro-Moscow president in February. U.S. and European officials will discuss the possibility of additional sanctions at series of meetings next week.

So far, the U.S. has imposed sanctions against 71 individuals and entities, including in Russia, for their actions to destabilize Ukraine.

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