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Is Sending Wyoming Coal to China Smart Economics?

Controversy growing over plans to build docks in the Pacific Northwest to export Western-mined coal to China

By Stacy Feldman

Nov 18, 2010

China has roared into clean technology markets to lead the global race to make green energy. Its manufacturing dominance has distressed many in the U. S. government, but not enough to upend longstanding energy priorities that favor fossil fuels.

Now some observers are warning that as Beijing clings to more coal to construct its new economy, America may become a key provider of the fuel source—at its own economic peril.

"What's China going to do with [U.S.] coal?" said K.C. Golden, policy director of , a Seattle-based nonprofit group. "They're going to burn it to make the steel that we don't make anymore. They’re going to manufacture the things we don't make anymore."

"Is this a good jobs strategy to become the resource colony for the development of the Asian economy?" he asked.

Halliburton Winning Battle in Pennsylvania to Keep Its Fracking Secrets

Of the nine companies EPA has asked for full disclosure of the chemicals used in gas drilling, only Halliburton has refused

by Marie C. Baca,

Nov 18, 2010

On Nov. 9, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that Halliburton had refused to give the agency a complete list of the chemicals it uses for gas drilling, resulting in a subpoena for the energy giant. But the battle to keep much of this information confidential is one that Halliburton is winning in Pennsylvania.

Halliburton did not respond to requests for comment on this article, but a company spokeswoman that the EPA had approached Halliburton with "unreasonable demands" and that the company was working to supply the agency with the information it needs to complete its study of the relationship between water contamination and the controversial drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Of the nine companies the EPA asked to supply the information, only Halliburton -- the largest North American provider of hydraulic fracturing services -- refused.

National High Speed Rail Plan Unveiled, Despite Political Roadblocks

A transportation option established in Europe and booming in China faces regional challenges in the U.S.

by Kevin Murphy

Nov 17, 2010

The US High Speed Rail Association unveiled its vision Monday for a 17,000-mile network of rail service that would criss-cross the United States by 2030 with electric trains traveling up to 220 mph,  despite opposition from some newly-elected governors who want billions in available federal money for highways instead.

The association sponsored a three-day conference in New York that included a series of endorsements for high-speed rail from U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and other current and former transportation leaders.

The Obama administration has awarded $10.4 billion in economic stimulus money for proposed high-speed rail projects since last year, including $2.4 billion to 23 states announced in late October. Obama has praised high-speed rail as a clean energy option and has lamented how the United States has fallen behind China and Europe in high-speed rail.

Lame Duck Effort to Stall Clean Air Act Is Quietly Quacking

Bill's sponsor Jay Rockefeller fears that Republicans could gut the entire tenor of his proposal if it were introduced next year

By Elizabeth McGowan

Nov 17, 2010

WASHINGTON—Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s single-handed effort to stall the EPA’s newest initiative to curb heat-trapping gases could fade away if a vote isn’t shoehorned into an already jam-packed and topsy-turvy lame duck session that began Monday.

Months ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had promised the Democrat from coal-rich West Virginia that his proposal would gain floor time. But this week the Nevadan appeared to backpedal on that pledge.

“We are at a critical time here,” Reid told The Hill newspaper Tuesday, the same day he and Rockefeller were scheduled for a strategy meeting. “It is real hard just to say ‘yeah, we can do this,’ because we have limited time to go through all the procedural motions. But if there is a way we can do it, I will be happy to work with him.”

Understandably, the measure Rockefeller introduced in March has environmental organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council on edge.

U.S. Solar Industry Fights to Save Controversial Clean Energy Grants

End of federal clean energy grant program could mean renewable energy sector will shrink 56% next year, one study warns

By Stacy Feldman

Nov 16, 2010

The solar industry called on Congress on Tuesday to extend a contentious grant program in the lame-duck session that it says produced 20,000 solar jobs in a year and half and helped to jump-start the U.S. clean energy economy.

The U.S. Treasury's "Section 1603" , part of the $787 billion anti-recession stimulus of 2009, is slated to run out at year's end.

Increasing CO2 Means Added Misery for 30 Million Allergy Sufferers

Evidence is mounting that allergens like ragweed are growing bigger and for longer and producing more pollen

By Joan Oleck

Nov 15, 2010

The science of climate change arrived at the doctor’s office last week.

The setting was the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) in Phoenix. There, a packed symposium of allergists and immunologists heard Department of Agriculture researcher Lewis Ziska connect  increasing temperatures and CO2 levels in the environment with a longer, more intense pollen season in the U.S.

It’s a connection that promises added misery for 30 million allergy sufferers.

“Global warming is having an effect on people’s allergies,” Ziska, a Ph.D. plant physiologist with the USDA in Beltsville, Maryland, said in an interview following the CO2 symposium, which was funded by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Clean Energy May Backslide in Pennsylvania but Remains Intact in Colorado

In Colorado, a broad coalition keeps clean energy on track. But Republican gains in Pennsylvania threaten to derail legislation

By Elizabeth McGowan

Nov 15, 2010

WASHINGTON—It turns out there is more than one way to stir up the color purple on the post-midterm elections paint palette.

Look, for instance, to Colorado and Pennsylvania for variations on that hue.

While geographically distant, the two political battleground states share numerous characteristics. Both supply bountiful energy resources—Colorado with coal, oil, natural gas and uranium, Pennsylvania with coal and natural gas—and are split between urban progressives with a wide green streak and rural conservatives who tend to be more leery of environmental initiatives.

And until Election Day, both states had bold Democrats in their respective governor’s mansions who are disciples of renewable energy, clean technology and low-carbon economies. However, results from Nov. 2 indicate that while that legislative momentum likely remains intact in Colorado, it could backslide in Pennsylvania.

Many 'Low-Carbon' Chinese Cities in Name, But Only One in Fact

Energy researcher Jiang Kejun says that despite green claims, only one city is actually low-carbon

By Liu Jianqiang, for 

Nov 14, 2010

Jiang Kejun, senior researcher at the National Development and Reform Commission’s , was one of the first Chinese academics to study the concept of low-carbon cities. With his colleagues, he is currently producing a low-carbon program for Shenyang in north-east China. During the recent climate-change talks in Tianjin, Liu Jianqiang spoke to Jiang about low-carbon cities.

Is Mexico City's 'Plan Verde' a Model for Latin America?

As more than 2,000 city leaders gather, Marcelo Ebrard hopes his Plan Verde will inspire them to sign the Mexico City Pact

By Maria Gallucci

Nov 12, 2010

MEXICO CITY—Mayors of more than 2,000 cities worldwide will gather in this Latin American megalopolis next week for two summits where they will develop climate initiatives and pledge reductions in carbon emissions at the municipal level.

Mexico City’s Mayor Marcelo Ebrard aims to be more than just a good host. He wants to make an example of the ambitious climate policies he’s pushing to transform the sprawling, polluted capital city into a green urban leader.

At both the Third World Congress of (UCLG), a three-day event that kicks off Nov. 16, and the on Nov. 21, Ebrard is likely to reiterate a stance he has held throughout his four years in office: Cities need a stronger voice in global climate talks.

Scientist Must Wait Until 2011 to See His Photos of Glacier Fracturing

Jason Box is pretty certain his cameras captured the dramatic fracture of the Petermann Glacier in Greenland. He'll be able to retrieve them in 2011.

By Andrew Freeman, for

Nov 12, 2010

You’ll forgive for being a little impatient these days. After all, you would be too if you were in his position. As a geologist specializing in Greenland's glaciers and climate at Ohio State’s , in the summer of 2009 Box placed high resolution, wide-angle time-lapse cameras along the Petermann Glacier in northwestern Greenland, near where it flows into the sea.