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Details of New York State Study Demonstrate Why Fracking's Too Risky to Be Allowed

Over the years, we've talked a great deal about hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," on this blog. For instance, we've pointed out that  fracking contaminates water supplies, pollutes the air, uses huge amounts of (increasingly scarce) water, releases the potent greenhouse gas methane, contaminates the soil, destroys forests and wildlife habitats, and even triggers earthquakes. We've also pointed out the gap between the facts of fracking and the industry's "don't-worry-be-happy" propaganda, while noting the lack of oversight by federal and state authorities, and even cases where government outright did the fracking industry's bidding -- at the public's expense.

Topics: Clean Economy

Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (12/29/14)

Here are five recommended reads for today (12/29/14).

Scaling Green's Ten Top Cleantech Stories of 2014

The following are ten top cleantech stories we followed closely in 2014. Of course, this is not a comprehensive list, as there's so much happening in the vast world of cleantech. Still, we think the following are fascinating, important stories well worth noting as 2014 comes to a close.

Topics: Clean Economy

$2.3 Million Fine to ExxonMobil Subsidiary Amounts to Just Over 1/2 Hour of Company's Third Quarter Earnings

Back in 2012, Steve Coll's book, Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power chronicled how "ExxonMobil — the energy behemoth that recently displaced Wal-Mart atop the Fortune 500 list, with more than $450 billion in revenue — operates in failed states, keeping the oil flowing when no one else can, and how it handles hapless bureaucrats charged with regulating it, scientists challenging it, rival companies trying to outsmart it and activists bent on changing it." The picture was not a pretty one. For instance, here's a disturbing excerpt from the Washington Post review by Moises Naim:

New Research: The Best Things in Life Are Also the Most Energy Efficient?

Over the years, I've heard people (mostly those who make more money by selling more energy) argue that there's a positive correlation between human happiness and energy consumption. And while there may be some truth to that assertion, new research finds that there's actually a "surprising link between things that make us happy and things that save energy."

Topics: Clean Economy

Video: President Obama Succinctly Explains Why Keystone XL Makes No Sense

The following response by President Obama to a question by Washington Post reporter Juliet Eilperin is one of the most succinct explanations I've heard from a high-ranking U.S. political figure on why the Keystone XL pipeline makes no sense for our country. As David Roberts of Grist puts it: "Okay, this is the best Keystone answer I’ve ever heard from him. Not sure I could have written a better one." Key points by President Obama include:

Topics: Public Affairs

New Poll Finds Overwhelming Support Nationally for EPA Clean Power Plan

New polling by Harstad Strategic Research, Inc. finds strong support for the proposed EPA carbon pollution reduction standards (aka, the "Clean Power Plan"). That includes two thirds of voters in important states like Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, Louisiana and Virginia.  Support is across the board regionally (two thirds in both northern and southern states) and politically, with majorities of Republicans (53%), Independents (62%) and Democrats (87%) all on board.  So who's opposed to these pollution reduction standards, other than the fossil fuel industry? Despite all the money they spend to deny climate science and promote fossil fuels, it turns out that only a small minority of the U.S. electorate is with them. So sad.

Topics: Clean Economy

"Cromnibus" Budget Continues to Dole Out Taxpayer-Funded Corporate Welfare to the Fossil Fuel Industry

As part of our continuing series on taxpayer-funded corporate welfare to the fossil fuel industry, we saw this article on Climate Progress ("6 Of The Worst Environmental Provisions In The ‘Cromnibus’ Spending Bill") and thought it worth highlighting.  A few key points on how this "cromnibus" budget continues to coddle our fossil fuel welfare bum friends include:

Topics: Public Affairs

Sec. of State John Kerry: "Make a transition towards clean energy the only policy that you’ll accept"

The following excerpt from Secretary of State John Kerry's speech yesterday at the climate talks in Lima, Peru, explains very well that dealing with climate change is a "win-win" situation -- maintaining a habitable planet while stimulating enormous economic growth by switching from dirty to clean energy. As Secretary Kerry put it, it's time to "make a transition towards clean energy the only policy that you’ll accept." We couldn't agree more.

Topics: Clean Economy

Sen. Chuck Grassley: Wind Energy Opponents Ignore "many tax credits" Fossil Fuels Receive

We don't usually (or ever, come to think of it) link to the anti-environment, anti-clean-energy, pro-dirty-energy Daily Caller, but this op-ed by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is just too good to ignore.  According to Grassley:

Topics: Public Affairs

New Fact Sheet Illustrates Southeastern U.S.' Enormous Wind Power Potential

In 2013, the southeastern U.S. produced 1,171 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity. Of that, 67.7% was generated using health-and-environment-harming coal and natural gas, with another 25% produced by expensive nuclear power plants. Only 2.2% was generated by "other renewables," and almost none of that was solar or wind. Yet, according to this new fact sheet from the Southeastern Wind Coalition, the southeastern U.S. has the potential within just 5-10 years to produce 6,234 TWh/year -- more than five times the entire amount of electricity the southeastern U.S. generated in 2013.

Topics: Clean Economy

Climate Nexus Demolishes "WSJ's $21 Billion Subsidy Hypocrisy"

The following commentary, from Climate Nexus, is well worth passing along.

As Climate Negotiations Kick Off in Peru, Polls Show Americans Want to Limit Greenhouse Gases

As international climate negotiations kick off in Peru, the Washington Post reminds us of the broad support among the American public for moving to a clean energy economy.

Topics: Public Affairs

Even if Keystone Trade Talk Weren't "Empty Nonsense," Oil Industry Doesn't Need More Corporate Welfare

Over at Grist, David Roberts drives a sharp stake through the heart of the idea that President Obama "might use Keystone XL as a bargaining chip to trade in exchange for Republican support for … something else." According to Roberts, "There is nothing to this Keystone trade talk. It is vaporware." For good measure, Roberts adds that it is "empty nonsense." In sum: in his view, it's not happening.

Topics: Public Affairs

New Report Has Energy Policy Recommendations the States Should Enact Right Away

The following policy recommendations, which are applicable to every state in America, come from this new report ("Mitigating Natural Gas Use in the Electricity Sector: Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, and the Role of States in Implementing the Clean Power Plan").

Topics: Clean Economy