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Los Angeles traffic. Luke Jones / Flickr

Why Transportation Is Now the Top Source of U.S. Pollution

With the holidays coming around, it may be a good time to note that the countless miles that Americans will drive, train or fly has a big planetary impact.

In fact, the transportation sector is now the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., unseating electricity production for the first time in four decades.

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A polar bear in Alaska's Beaufort Sea. World Wildlife Fund

Oil Exploration in Arctic Ocean Approved by Trump Administration as ANWR Drilling Bill Moves Forward

The fight against new Arctic drilling took a major setback on Tuesday. On the same day that the Senate Budget Committee passed a bill allowing oil and natural gas drilling in Alaska's pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Trump administration granted oil company Eni's request to explore for oil in nearby Alaska waters.

The Department of Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) issued the permit to Eni yesterday, allowing the oil giant to drill exploratory wells in the Beaufort Sea as early as next month.

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Energy
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The Federal Electric Vehicle Tax Credit Is a Bipartisan Success Story, Which House Republicans Want to Undo

By Ben Jervey

As the House and Senate develop their respective versions of a tax reform bill, the $7,500 federal electric vehicle (EV) tax credit is positioned to be a potential bargaining chip. The House's version of the bill, the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," includes a repeal of the EV tax credit. The Senate's newly introduced version, at the moment, doesn't kill the credit.

Current policy calls for an already-scheduled phase out of the credit over the two calendar quarters after each automaker surpasses 200,000 total plug-in vehicle sales. The new House proposal would eliminate the tax credit entirely at the end of this year—only EVs registered on or before Dec. 31 would qualify.

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Renewable Energy
Windorah's Solar Farm dishes taken from the roadside (Diamantina Developmental Road) on a hot summer day. Aaronazz / Wikimedia Commons

100% Renewable Electricity to Power the World by 2050? It's Happening, Study Says

By Alex Kirby

If you think a world powered by 100 percent renewable electricity—and significantly cheaper than today's—is an impossible dream, there's a surprise in store for you. A new study says it's already in the making.

A global transition to 100 percent renewable electricity, far from being a long-term vision, is happening now, the study says. It is the work of Finland's Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and the Energy Watch Group (EWG), and was published at the UN climate change conference, COP23, which is meeting here.

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[Left to Right] Thanu Yakupitiyage, 350.org; Katia Aviles-Vasquez, Organización Boricua & It Takes Roots; Varshini Prakash, SustainUS & Sunrise Movement; Dallas Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network & It Takes Roots; Kiran Ooman, youth plaintiff with Our Children's Trust; Dyanna Jaye, Sunrise Movement & ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability; Ellen Anderson, Energy Transition Lab & Climate Generation

U.S. People’s Delegation Takes on Trump Administration at COP23

Community and grassroots leaders from the U.S. on Tuesday announced their platform at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23). The "U.S. People's Delegation" is attending to counter the Trump administration's fossil fuel agenda and to hold U.S. states, cities, businesses and the public accountable to climate action commitments.

The platform includes youth, Indigenous peoples, frontline communities, advocates and policymakers who have come to Bonn, Germany with organizations from across the U.S. They have come together to show what climate leadership should look like.

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Here's the Dirt That Industry Won't Tell You About 'Clean' Natural Gas​

By Abigail Dillen

Most mornings, I fry an egg on a gas range that I view as essential to achieving sunny-side-up perfection. My mother was a great cook who loathed electric stoves, so I am programmed to believe in the superiority of gas—which is becoming awkward, because my job is all about advancing 100 percent clean energy.

Cooking with gas is not, by itself, a big problem for the climate, but it ties into a larger American romance with gas that could be our undoing. "Natural gas" has a clean and healthy ring to it. But burning gas to heat and power our homes and factories, let alone our vehicles, is no more compatible with slowing climate change and preserving a livable planet than burning "natural" coal or "natural" oil.

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Energy
LNG tanker. kees torn, CC BY-SA 2.0

GOP Senators, Fueled by Industry Cash, Propose Bill to Expedite Small Scale LNG Exports

By Steve Horn

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) have introduced a bill to fast-track the regulatory process for the export of small-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The bill, titled "Small Scale LNG Access Act," was introduced on Oct. 18 and calls for amending the "Natural Gas Act to expedite approval of exports of small volumes of natural gas." The proposed legislation follows in the footsteps of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) proposed rule which would assume that all U.S. small-scale exports of LNG, with the gas mostly obtained via hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"), is in the "public interest" as defined by the Natural Gas Act.

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Area 1002 of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain. Wikimedia Commons

GOP-Controlled Senate Paves Way for Oil Drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The Senate Republicans' narrow passage of the 2018 budget plan on Thursday opened the door for oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR).

But Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups criticized the GOP for sneaking the "backdoor drilling provision" through the budget process. Past proposals to drill in the refuge have consistently failed.

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Climate
Syncrude and Suncor oil sands bitumen processing facilities near Fort McMurray, Alberta. Andrew S. Wright

Canada Methane Emissions Far Worse Than Feared

The Canadian oil and gas industry could be emitting methane at rates 25 to 50 percent higher than official estimates, according to new research.

A study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Science & Technology compared measurements taken from airplane surveys of fossil fuel infrastructure in Alberta to emissions reported by industry—which is only required to report intentional emissions from flaring, and not estimate leaked emissions—and other figures.

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