Obama officials face Congress climate change grilling

A summary of today’s top climate and clean energy stories.
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Pic: Flickr / Justin Sloan

US: The Obama administration asserted its authority to move forward on its climate change action plan on Wednesday – with or without new laws from Congress. (Guardian)

Australia: The Abbott government has abolished the Climate Commission, which had been established to provide public information on the effects of and potential solutions to global warming. (Sydney Morning Herald)

UK: One of the Conservative party’s biggest donors has launched an unprecedented attack on George Osborne, David Cameron and Ed Davey, accusing them of squandering an opportunity to create thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of revenues by scaring off desperately-needed investors in the UK offshore wind industry. (Independent)

US: House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy is making the case for mandating approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline in an agreement to raise the debt ceiling. An aide confirmed that the language in the debt-ceiling plan would outright approve TransCanada Corp.’s proposed pipeline, which remains under Obama administration review. (The Hill)

US: Floods that have devastated north-central Colorado, killing eight people and displacing thousands, have also dislodged storage tanks that hold drilling wastewater left over from  fracking, refocusing attention on the environmental risks surrounding America’s fracking boom. (Reuters)

Ecuador: In a dispute stemming from a lengthy legal battle over Amazon rain forest pollution, arbitrators ruled that Chevron had already settled claims for damages in agreements with Ecuador despite a $19 billion award against the oil company. (Reuters)

EU: Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic have voiced their opposition to setting EU emissions reduction targets for 2030 before nations reach a global climate change agreement in 2015.  They said that the EU should wait until other large emitting countries have also committed to a global climate agreement before setting ambitious carbon reduction goals beyond 2020. (Argus)

UN: More than 100 prominent women’s rights leaders and activists from more than 35 countries will gather to build international momentum for increased attention, funding and action on the issue of climate change and to craft a Women’s Climate Action Agenda to be presented to the United Nations as the international body’s general debate gets underway next week. (Trust)

Research: A study published in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society argues that conventional conclusions on climate sensitivity – the extent to which global temperatures respond to greenhouse gas emissions – underestimate the role of some amplifying feedbacks that may intensify climate impacts in ways that many models tend to overlook. (Guardian)


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