U.S. Ruling a Likely Landmark in Requiring Federal Agencies to Factor Climate Risk Into Policy Decisions FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Hill:A federal court faulted the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Friday for what it said were incorrect assumptions about the climate change impact of mining four coal tracts in Wyoming and the use of that coal.The BLM concluded in 2010 that if companies were not allowed to mine the coal on federal land in Wyoming, the demand for coal would still be so high that it would be mined somewhere else, so the carbon dioxide emissions would be the same whether the federal leases were approved or not.The Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled Friday that the BLM’s conclusion did not withstand scrutiny.“The BLM did not point to any information (other than its own unsupported statements) indicating that the national coal deficit of 230 million tons per year incurred under the no action alternative could be easily filled from elsewhere, or at a comparable price,” Judge Mary Beck Briscoe wrote in the ruling on behalf of the three-judge panel.“It did not refer to the nation’s stores of coal or the rates at which those stores may be extracted. Nor did the BLM analyze the specific difference in price between [Powder River Basin] coal and other sources; such a price difference would effect substitutability,” she said.The court did not invalidate the leases on three of the tracts of land. Instead, it asked the BLM to fix its environmental review to better account for the climate impact.The ruling is likely to be significant as a case that shows how far federal agencies must go to predict the environmental impacts of the decisions they make.Environmentalists have been working for years to build such a body of case law. Just last month, another federal court ruled that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission must account for the climate impacts of burning the natural gas that goes through pipelines that it approves.The ruling came months after the Trump administration overturned the Obama administration’s moratorium on issuing new leases to mine coal on federal land.The Obama administration had issued the moratorium so that it could do a more thorough analysis of the climate impacts of federal coal mining.Friday’s decision was joined by Judge Monroe McKay and Judge Bobby Ray Baldock.More: Court faults agency for climate analysis of coal mine
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Exxon Mobil Corp. will use renewable energy to produce oil in West Texas.Under 12-year agreements with Denmark’s Ørsted A/S, Exxon will buy 500 megawatts of wind and solar power in the Permian Basin, the fastest growing U.S. oil field. It is the largest ever renewable power contract signed by an oil company, according to Bloomberg NEF. Terms weren’t disclosed.Exxon, which was sued by investors who alleged the company downplayed risks of global warming, is turning to clean energy as it becomes cheap enough to compete with fossil fuels. The wind and solar farms are being built in a region where electricity demand is soaring as oil production grows.“We frequently evaluate opportunities to diversify our power supply and ensure competitive costs,” Julie King, a spokeswoman for the Irving, Texas-based oil producer, said in an email. The company denies misleading investors about climate change.Booming production in the Permian Basin is helping Exxon offset declining output elsewhere in the world. But output in the region has grown so fast that infrastructure including pipelines and power plants have struggled to keep up.Half the power Exxon will buy will come from the Sage Draw wind farm, which Ørsted plans to finish building in 2020, according to a slide from an investor presentation Wednesday. The rest will be from the Permian Solar farm, scheduled to be finished in 2021.More: Exxon will use wind, solar power to produce crude oil in Texas Exxon to buy 500MW of solar, wind to power Texas oil production
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Insurers and pension funds managing $2.3 trillion pledged on Monday to shift their portfolios away from carbon-heavy industries in the hope of triggering snowballing climate commitments from other big investors.German insurer Allianz, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), and Swedish pension fund Alecta were among the founders of the new “Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance” launched at a United Nations climate summit.As accelerating climate impacts become increasingly apparent via heatwaves, wildfires and receding coastlines, the financial sector is under growing pressure from activists, shareholders and regulators to respond.Members of the new grouping pledged to align their portfolios with a goal enshrined in the 2015 Paris Agreement to combat global warming to limit the increase in average temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Under current emissions pledges by governments, the Earth is on track for well over 3 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century — an outcome that scientists say could put the survival of modern industrial societies at risk.The pension funds and insurers said they would rebalance their portfolios to ensure their investments were carbon neutral by 2050, with intermediate targets set for 2025, 2030 and 2040. They also pledged to make regular public progress reports.The nucleus of founding members hope they will influence an ever-growing proportion of the world’s other big pension funds and insurers to push high-carbon companies towards more sustainable economic activities. The new coalition was organized by groups including the Geneva-based United Nations Environment Finance Initiative and Mission2020, a network to spur faster climate action led by Christiana Figueres, a former U.N. climate chief. Among the other founding members are PensionDanmark, Swedish pension manager AMF, Nordea Life & Pension, Norwegian insurer Storebrand, and Swiss RE.More: Pension funds and insurers pledge climate action at U.N. summit Insurers, pension funds ramp up efforts to shift assets away from fossil fuel industries
CDC Group, U.K.’s overseas development bank, to end fossil fuel financing FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:The UK government’s overseas development bank has bowed to calls to end fossil fuel financing abroad by promising to invest only in companies that align with the Paris climate agreement.The CDC Group revealed its new climate strategy, which will end support for the most polluting fossil fuel projects, including the production of oil and coal, and channel almost a third of its spending towards climate finance.The publicly owned investor, which supports job-creating sectors in Africa and south Asia, will end financing for coal mining, and oil and gas production, as well as new or existing power plants and refineries that use coal or heavy oil.The UK government is under growing pressure to end its support for overseas fossil fuel projects after campaigners revealed that more than £3bn in public money was used to support polluting projects abroad since the Paris climate agreement was signed.The CDC’s new climate strategy will place “a climate lens” over every sector in which it invests to make sure companies are reducing emissions, according to the development bank.The bank will allow only rare investments in gas power plants to support the UN’s sustainable development goals, and only in countries that can prove the project is aligned with a wider climate transition plan.[Jillian Ambrose]More: UK government development bank to end fossil fuel financing
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Energy Magazine:Final testing has begun on South Australia’s 150MW Hornsdale Power Reserve, the biggest lithium-ion battery in the world, which is owned by Neoen.The South Australian Government provided $15 million from its Grid Scale Storage Fund for the project.South Australian Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, said the start of testing is a key milestone for the Hornsdale Power Reserve, which will allow the huge battery to provide new grid support services at a scale unmatched in the world.Mr van Holst Pellekaan said that the additional storage power and capacity would result in a faster response to disturbances such as network faults, so that the Hornsdale Power Reserve could assist in stabilising the grid within milliseconds.“Independent modelling indicates that the Hornsdale Power Reserve has already delivered more than $150 million in savings to consumers in its first two years of operation. Upon successful completion of testing in the next few months, we expect these savings will continue to grow.”[Imogen Hartman]More: SA’s big battery hits final testing phase Final testing under way at expanded Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Recharge:Chinese state-owned power company China Three Gorges (CTG) has agreed to buy 13 Spanish solar plants with a total capacity of more than 500MW from Madrid-based renewables developer X-Elio.The PV arrays were constructed between 2019 and 2020, and are fully operational, X-Elio said, adding that the deal was signed last Friday. Spanish media reports said that CTG was paying around €500m ($596m) for the solar assets.“This represents a landmark transaction for CTG… our first direct investment in Spain,” CTG chairman Wu Shengliang said. “We believe Spain is the biggest solar market and… will consider future opportunities to grow our platforms.”CTG is one of China’s biggest renewables developers, with an increasing footprint in the offshore wind sector. It has grabbed more than 7GW in the huge offshore wind pipeline planned off China and is a pioneer in plans for floating wind off the nation’s coasts.Like other large Chinese groups, CTG is also eyeing international expansion, including through an unsuccessful takeover bid last year for full control of Portuguese utility EDP. CTG is EDP’s largest shareholder with a 23.3% stake.Research from industry body SolarPower Europe forecast the booming Spanish market might add up to 19.5GW of new PV by 2023 and is among the top seven PV markets globally, driven by supportive policies and opportunities for corporate renewable power-purchase agreements.[Christopher Hopson]More: State-owned China Three Gorges to buy more than 500MW of Spanish solar plants Chinese renewable energy developer CTG buys into booming Spanish solar market
Our weekly roundup of our favorite videos from around the web. This week, we are celebrating extreme Santas from across the internets:1. Santa Shreds DirtAnd so do his elves in this Christmas-themed video from bike manufacturer Mongoose.2. Santa Shreds SnowAnd so do a bunch of other Santas at Maine’s Sunday River ski resort.3. Santa Goes BASE FaceA few Santas BASE jumping to a rocking Jingle Bells soundtrack. Santa 2 definitely rolling down the windows on his jump.4. Santa Gets WetSanta running Great Falls of the Potomac River. 5. Santa Shreds ConcreteNow we know how he does it.Bonus: Santa Gets AngryAnd subsequently knocked out.
Today marks the last day for our online editor Jack Murray. For the past few years Jack has been an integral part to the BRO team, helping to develop the magazine’s online presence and social media following. An avid fly fisherman and mountain biker, Jack’s passion for the outdoors will be taking him from our base in Charlottesville, Va., to the cycling hub of Roanoke, Va. Although he will be missed, we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors. This video was taken from a recent fly fishing trip Jack and I took to Mossy Creek. Cheers man! You have some big shoes to fill. We can only hope that the next guy will be able to sing children’s songs half as well as you.Dear Jack, from Blue Ridge Outdoors on Vimeo.
Attention, paddlers! Make Columbia, South Carolina, your destination this weekend, October 18, for the ultimate endurance test.In its second year, the Romp to the Swamp sends racers down the long and challenging 51 mile stretch of the Congaree Blue River Trail for a day full of adventure.The river flows beside the Congaree National Park, which makes for some beautiful riverside scenery. Here’s the real kicker, though – 48 miles of the race course offer absolutely no public access from the bank.From the Cayce public boat landing, very early on in the race, boaters are in it for the long haul. Talk about commitment! But we guarantee that crossing the finish line after all those grueling hours will be worth it. Cash, swag bags, and a whole ton of pride await winners and racers at the end of the course.Both solo and tandem kayakers and canoers are eligible for the Romp the Swamp, as well as team kayakers. Rise to the occasion and tackle the Congaree!Divisions:Solo KayakTandem KayakSolo CanoeTandem CanoeTeam Kayak (Must finish together)Team CanoeRacer Requirements:At least one racer per team must be 18 years of age or older.Each racer must carry a fully charged cell phone.Each racer is required to have on personal flotation device. Children under 18 are required to wear it at all times.Each team member must carry a whistle for emergency use.Please bring adequate hydration and food for a 12-hour paddle.
This week in ‘The Dirt’—pipeline pressure in Virginia’s scenic Nelson County continues, the deets on a new craft brewery opening up in Morgantown, West Virginia, and controversy over a proposed gun range near Western North Carolina’s famed Linville Gorge Wilderness Area.Pipeline Pressure BuildsResidents in the Blue Ridge Mountain community of Nelson County, Virginia are up in arms after Dominion Power Company—one of the nation’s largest energy producers—proposed plans to build a 550 mile, 42 inch natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina. According to the Friends of Nelson County, “Dominion will have to seize private property through eminent domain, uproot farms and families, and disrupt businesses and lives in their attempt to complete the project.”Opposition to Dominion’s proposed pipe line project through picturesque Nelson County has been building since August of 2014. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) has expressed his support for the project, but on April 16, Virginia 5th District Representative Robert Hurt contacted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to request more time for public comment.Learn more here.New Beer for Morgantown Chestnut Brew Works started back in April of 2013 as a small operation based in the forests of southern Monongalioa County, West Virginia. This month they opened a new taproom in Morgantown. Head Brewer Bill Rittenour, who studied trees and fungi at WVU, named the brewery after the iconic American chestnut, which was obliterated from the East Coast by an invasive blight in the early 19th century.Check them out here.Linville Gorge Gun Range? A proposed shooting range at the gateway to Western North Carolina’s renowned Linville Gorge Wilderness is drawing scrutiny and protests from residents and the Burke County Tourism Development Authority. The BCTA worries that noise generated by firearms used at the range could distract and ultimately deter hikers from visiting The Gorge. The range would be located near Lake James about 70 miles northwest of Charlotte and would occupy 3 of the Linville Gorge’s 1,300 protected acres. According to a study commissioned by the state of North Carolina, the range could attract as many as 10,800 shooters a year.Beyond the Blue RidgeBritish Snowboarder, Billy Morgan, breaks world tecord with a Quad Cork 1800…“I’ve been thinking about this for so long, it’s such a relief to have it done,” Morgan told his sponsor Red Bull after pulling off the historic trick. “It could have been cleaner, but I’m still pumped.”