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Fri, 2014-07-11 13:48Justin Mikulka
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Leaked Trade Deal Document Shows EU Pressuring U.S. to Lift Crude Oil Export Ban

Oil tanker

A secret document regarding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations leaked this week shows that oil companies have just as much influence over the governments of the European Union as they do over the government of the U.S. 

In the two-page document, the EU makes several arguments about why the TTIP should require the lifting of the U.S. ban on exporting crude oil, including pushing to add a “strong and comprehensive” chapter that would “combine our support for procompetitive regulation while also lifting bilateral restrictions on gas and crude oil, will show our common resolve to increase security and stability through open markets.”

In a revealing statement to the Washington Post, U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s vice president for Europe Peter Chase cut to the chase about what was really happening in these negotiations and who was calling the shots.

“Because U.S. and European companies, including energy companies, have invested heavily on both sides of the Atlantic, U.S. and EU negotiators are essentially representing the same company interests,” Chase said.

When both sides of a negotiation want the same thing, it is easy to see what the outcome will be.

Thu, 2014-01-30 05:00Russell Blinch
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Two Big Reasons Why Solar Power is Under Siege

Forget the U.S. war on coal, that’s not going so well for the team in the charcoal jerseys. The real shooting war has opened up against renewable energy, particularly solar, because of its potentially disruptive nature to vested interests.

Solar power is the go-to source for new generating capacity in the U.S. Some 930 megawatts of photovoltaic solar power was installed in the third quarter of 2013, a jump of 35 percent over last year, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. And 2013 will go down as the year the United States surpassed uber leader Germany in new solar installations.

And the momentum shows no signs of slowing this year because home owners and companies are rapidly embracing the idea of harnessing power from the sun rather than from expensive and increasingly brittle power grids.

Solar panels are the new granite countertops in home building – an amenity that’s becoming a standard in residential housing, according to Bloomberg in a report.  At least six of the 10 largest American homebuilders include panels in new housing construction today.

And what is a movement without stock market darlings? Companies such as Elon Musk’s SolarCity and SunEdison, to name just two, are often hot stocks on a daily basis.

Sun, 2012-10-28 05:00Farron Cousins
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Why Is North America Behind The Curve On Climate Change and Energy?

Just three short years ago, it appeared that North America was on the verge of finally kicking that nasty dirty energy addiction that was crippling our economies and our energy independence.  The United States had elected a president (Barack Obama) who set incredibly lofty goals for renewable energy targets, and green energy investments across the continent were higher than anywhere else in the world.

Sat, 2011-07-09 07:45TJ Scolnick
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A Pan-European Approach To Banning Unconventional Gas?

A German member in the European parliament (MEP) is proposing a straightforward way to prevent (or outlaw) exploration and drilling for unconventional gas in the European Union (EU). His plan, bypass national strife and instead build consensus for a European-wide ban.

Jo Leinen, chair of the committee on the environment, public health and food safety, is considered one of the most influential MEP’s. He recently told The Guardian that he wants to work on a new energy quality directive that is expected to focus on penalizing and/or banning the extraction, import and use of fuels which are environmentally destructive – namely unconventional gas and even tar sands oil.

Fri, 2007-09-28 11:42Bill Miller
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Bush tries new spin on global warming, but retains bias for growth over emission controls

President Bush is trying hard to polish his image on global warming, but buried in his fancy talk about setting long-term goals for reducing emissions by mid- 2008, the U.S. president’s core message is still the same – don’t dare mess with economic growth.

Instead of binding limits on greenhouse-gas emissions, favored by the United Nations and many countries, he’s still pushing a voluntary approach on climate change and lobbying some of the world’s biggest polluters to rally behind him.

Fri, 2007-07-13 12:02Bill Miller
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India leads world in climate-change concern, study finds

The surprise finding, announced by HSBC, the world’s fourth-largest corporation, showed India leading both the developed and developing worlds – far ahead of the UK, France, Germany and the US. HSBC said it shatters the widely held myth of the industrialized world leading the pack on global warming.

Sun, 2007-06-17 13:02Bill Miller
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Carbon ranching pushes rainforest preservation in global-warming battle

Carbon ranching is a way to protect rainforests, which inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen to help cool the planet. At present, these woodlands are threatened by logging, mining, cattle production and, increasingly, sugar and palm oil plantations to fuel growing demand for ethanol. In fact, destruction of the world’s tropical forests now contributes more to global warming than China’s well-publicized industrial-pollution surge.

A pledge to help poorer nations reduce carbon emissions caused by slashing and burning their forests was in the final communiqué issued at the Group of 8 summit in Germany. The Bush administration has financed some tropical forest conservation projects in the past. Now, as Congress energetically debates new climate-change legislation, greater incentives for carbon ranching are advocated. As usual, the solution is simple economics.

Thu, 2007-06-07 11:06Bill Miller
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Bush Administration derails Germany’s climate-change initiative at G-8 summit

Global warming has taken center stage at the meeting – whose theme is “growth and responsibility in the global economy” – and Bush risks alienating his German counterpart , a former physicist who has made climate change her signature issue.

Mon, 2007-04-30 14:08Kevin Grandia
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Germany's last glacier gone by 2025

CNN has a story today on the melting of Zugspitze, the last glacier in Germany. Economic losses are already resulting, despite the efforts of locals to slow down the melting by creating an anti-glare shield to reflect sunlight away from the glacier.  

Fri, 2007-03-16 11:51Bill Miller
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G8 to gauge cost of species loss from climate change

Environment Ministers from the G8 have agreed to study the world economic impact of species being driven to extinction by global warming. The ministers have agreed to conduct the review along the lines of last year’s report by economist Sir Nicholas Stern.

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