Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

October 9, 2014

Top Stories

Energy Policy. A new poll found that Canadian support for a joint energy policy with the United States has fallen from 78% to 75% from last year, due in large part to the delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline.  Support in the U.S. for an integrated energy policy has remained unchanged at 84%.  Bloomberg

EPA.  Yesterday, the EPA sent potential changes to the current standard for ground-level ozone to the White House Office of Management and Budget, although the agency has not yet indicated whether it will try to lower the current maximum limit of 75 parts per billion.   The White House — which was responsible for stopping the EPA’s attempt to set the level at 70 parts per billion three years ago — has 60 days to review the proposed regulations; the EPA is under court order to propose new regulation by December.  The Hill

OP-ED of the Day

Energy Outlook.  Michael Silver argues that environmental advocates frequently overlook the fundamental role mining plays in developing innovative green-energy technologies. Silver asserts that without mining more “exotic” elements, new technologies will continue to rely on fossil fuels that contribute to global warming and land and water pollution.  He also argues that bans on new mining in the U.S. will compromise our energy security through continued reliance on foreign powers for these critical materials.  WSJ

Fact of the Week

EIA.  Propane demand is expected to be an average of 100,000 barrels per day lower in 2014 than in 2013.  This is largely due to reduced demand from petrochemical plants in response to the higher propane prices accompanying last year’s harsh winter.  EIA

Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

October 8, 2014

Top Stories

Oil.  An outbound oil tanker was launched yesterday from a Texas port to South Korea, marking the first unrestricted export of American oil outside of North America in nearly four decades.  In light of this event — which many  industry experts view as a sign of the U.S.’ “inevitable emergence as an oil exporter” — the New York Times reviews the history of the U.S. ban on oil exports and key stakeholder arguments surrounding the ban’s removal.  NY Times

LNG.  A proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Texas was given a favorable environmental review today by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  The review will be factored into FERC’s final permit approval decision in coming months.  The Hill

Natural Gas.  While oil imports across the U.S. as a whole declined over the past decade amid the shale energy boom, California oil refiners have had to increasingly import expensive crude oil due to insufficient terminals to unload domestic oil from rail tank cars.  This obstacle is likely to wane in coming years, however, due to two key developments — permits were recently issued for the construction of the state’s largest oil-train terminal, and a state judge dismissed an environmental lawsuit challenging oil-train permits.  WSJ 

OP-ED of the Day

Climate Change.  Simon Zadek discusses the notion that there would be “no losers” in a unilateral fight against climate change and its consequences.  Zadek notes that while nearly all long-term self-interests are better off if action against climate change is taken, financing will remain inadequate for renewable energy development so long as financial actors profit from carbon-intensive industries in the short term.  Project Syndicate 

Report of the Week

Climate Change.  A new report from the Center for American Progress found that methane releases from energy production on federal lands have increased dramatically in recent years.  Methane emissions most commonly stem from inefficient venting and flaring throughout the natural gas production and refining process — and are known to be 20 times more potent with respect to global warming than carbon dioxide emissions.  The Hill

Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

October 7, 2014

Top Stories

EPA.  Federal District Judge John Gerrard of Nebraska dismissed a challenge to the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan on the grounds that it cannot be considered by a court until finalized. The proposed regulation — which seeks to establish limits on carbon dioxide pollution from newly built coal and natural gas plants based on their energy production — has been challenged in the courts by several states and at least one coal producer. The Hill

Energy Outlook. The New York Times reports that American consumers are likely to spend 5% less on energy costs this winter after the Energy Department’s forecast of a warmer winter season. While the lower price for energy is largely based in expectations of a warmer winter than last year, increased production of oil and natural gas within the United States are also likely to drive down prices. NY Times

OP-ED of the Day

Energy Outlook. Nick Butler asserts that new population forecasts pose “a direct challenge” to the energy industry’s business model, as the world’s energy supply is reliant on technologies that are unlikely to increase fuel supplies enough to meet the rising demand. He argues that the solution lies in developing a new form of energy technology that will deliver large volumes of low-cost energy on a continual basis. FT

Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

October 6, 2014

Top Stories

Natural Gas. Due to concern that pipelines will be unable to ship enough fuel during another harsh winter, current natural gas prices for January across the U.S. Northeast are at the highest level in more than a decade. Due to lack of delivery capacity and forecasts of another harsh winter, experts speculate that traders buying gas for the winter at current prices — which are nine times the price of gas consumed today — may be getting a “bargain”. Bloomberg

Oil. After Saudi Arabia unilaterally lowered its crude oil prices in attempts to maintain their global market share, other members of OPEC have cut prices to keep up with the competition. Amid recent turmoil across the Middle East and slowing demand for oil in Asia, global prices have been sharply lower than they were a year ago.  Industry experts question the future of OPEC given the current unfavorable market conditions. WSJ

OP-ED of the Day

Energy Policy. “The Editors” at Bloomberg View argue that, contrary to common concern, carbon taxes do not necessarily “feed the beast of bigger government” or impact the most vulnerable people the hardest. The Editors cite several country-specific examples to suggest that instead, carbon taxes put a downward pressure on government spending and can be designed to have a neutral impact on the poor. Bloomberg

Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

October 3, 2014

Top Stories

EPA. The EPA has proposed new regulations for steel manufacturers which would impose stricter emissions limits for the production of steel. According to the EPA, the proposed regulations reflect the latest advancements in science and will result in significant environmental improvements. The Hill

Natural Gas. The New York Times reports that Qatar Petroleum has requested permission to export American gas by converting an import terminal in Sabine Pass, Texas to an export terminal. The project would enable Qatar — which has abundant political and pricing power in the Middle East and Africa — to capitalize on the U.S. energy revolution and remain a dominant player in the growing global natural gas market.  NY Times

Oil. A group of oil refiners recently commissioned a study which found that they could in fact handle the additional volume of crude oil produced in the United States due to the recent oil boom. The finding contradicts a key argument made by domestic oil producers, who have been pushing for Congress to lift the four-decade-old ban on crude oil exports in part because domestic refineries “couldn’t accommodate” the increased oil output. The Hill

OP-ED of the Day

Climate Change. Jeffrey Ball of the Wall Street Journal argues that the “end goal question” is missing from the climate debate. Ball asserts that end goals could range from spurring domestic economic benefits through clean-energy production to “winning a clean-technology race” against other countries, or simply curbing carbon emissions by a specific amount within a specific time — but that each of these goals will create winners and losers differently, and result in different environmental outlooks. WSJ

Quote of the Week

“When it comes to climate change, certainty isn’t required to justify action. The risk is such that sane societies should, in effect, insure themselves against it. A moderate, gradually increasing tax on carbon is not a case of going to extraordinary lengths. It’s a prudent, low-risk, low-cost option.”

Source: The Editors at Bloomberg in an opinion piece about the need for a tax on greenhouse gases. (10.02.14)

 

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