Fossil fuel development companies have abandoned their leases on more than 1 million hectares of oil sands in northern Alberta. The areas have become less desirable (and less profitable) following the worldwide plunge in crude oil prices. Even the infamous Keystone XL pipeline — which President Trump approved almost as soon as he took office — now seems to lack the necessary support for its construction. What could replace it? Oh, maybe a little thing called solar power.
Just two weeks after France said it will no longer allow the sale of gas- and diesel-powered autos after 2040, the United Kingdom has followed suit. In addition, the UK announced it is also exploring ways to tax the dirtiest vehicles on the road as a way to lower current air pollution levels in the most-affected local areas. About half of all cars registered in the UK each year are diesel-powered; electric and hybrid vehicles, although a growing market, still represent a tiny fraction of all new cars sold there. Experts predict that should start to shift in the mid-2020s as prices become more competitive.
A stunning new report reveals that utilities knew about the potential dangers of climate change nearly 50 years ago. Scientists first warned the electric utility industry about CO2 emissions back in 1968, according to a report from the watchdog Energy & Policy Institute. Then, during the 1970s and 1980s, utilities actually sponsored what the watchdog agency calls “cutting edge” climate-change research. Knowing that this could cause a shift away from fossil fuels, some utilities started a disinformation campaign against climate change, something that some industry players continue to do today.
In a move to help the country meet its Paris Accord climate goals, France announced this week that it will ban the sale of gas- and diesel-powered automobiles by 2040. That will be a big shift, as only 1.1 percent of new cars sold in France are currently pure electric vehicles. Even with the pending ban it will still take a long time to get older cars off the road: French consumers currently keep their gas-powered cars running for an average of 8.5 years, well below the 11.6 years in the United States.
Less than three weeks after crude oil started flowing through the Dakota Access Pipeline, a judge has ruled that the pipeline’s environmental review was inadequate and did not address potential impacts to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s fishing and hunting rights, or on environmental justice. President Trump ordered an expedited approval process for the Dakota and Keystone XL pipelines this past January, following years of protests by environmental groups.