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Texas vs. EPA climate rules

Texas statehouseWith Republicans in control of the House of Representatives, powerful Texans such as Rep. Joe L. Barton of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have vowed to check the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to use its existing authority to curtail greenhouse gases.

An even more ambitious challenge is coming directly from the Texas state government and leading Texas politicians. State Attorney General Greg Abbott, with the support of Republican Gov. Rick Perry, has filed seven lawsuits against the EPA in the last nine months.

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Dead Coral Found Near Site of Oil Spill

Dead Coral Found Near Site of Oil SpillA survey of the seafloor near BP’s blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico has turned up dead and dying coral reefs that were probably damaged by the oil spill, scientists said Friday. The coral sites lie seven miles southwest of the well, at a depth of about 4,500 feet, in an area where large plumes of dispersed oil were discovered drifting through the deep ocean last spring in the weeks after the spill.

The large areas of darkened coral and other damaged marine organisms were almost certainly dying from exposure to toxic substances, scientists said.

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BP Embraces Deepwater Risk as Dudley Rebuilds After $40 Billion Gulf Spill

BP oil spil costs $40bnBP Plc Chief Executive Officer Robert Dudley expects to drill in the U.S. Gulf for 20 years as the company exploits its experience searching for oil miles below the sea.

“Companies like BP, one of the roles they play in the industry is working in riskier areas,” Dudley, 55, said in an interview at BP’s worldwide London headquarters yesterday. BP “is now going to become incredibly focused on managing the risks, for example, of deep-water. It’s not going to shy away from the risk, it’s going to get even better at it.”

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Historic deal aims to halt mass extinctions

Nagoya dealA historic deal to halt the mass extinction of species was finally agreed last night in what conservationists see as the most important international treaty aimed at preventing the collapse of the world's wildlife.

Delegates from more than 190 countries meeting in Nagoya, Japan, agreed at the 11th hour on an ambitious conservation programme to protect global biodiversity and the natural habitats that support the most threatened animals and plants.

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One fifth of animal and plant species are under the threat of extinction

One fith of plants and animals under threat of extinctionScientists who compiled the Red List of Threatened Species say the proportion of species facing wipeout is rising. But they say intensive conservation work has already pulled some species back from the brink of oblivion.

The report is being launched at the UN Biodiversity Summit in Japan, where governments are discussing how to better protect the natural world. Launched at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting, the report says that amphibians remain the most threatened category of animals, with 41% of species at risk, while only 13% of birds qualify for Red-Listing.

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Obama sets first fuel standards for big trucks

Obama to toughen truck emission standardsLarge trucks in the U.S. must cut emissions as much as 20 percent by 2018 under the first standards proposed for work vehicles, the Obama administration said today.

Tractor-trailer trucks have to meet the 20 percent target, while heavy-duty pickups and vans must reduce emissions 10 percent for gas vehicles and 15 percent for diesel-powered models, the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement. Buses, motor homes and garbage trucks must cut emissions 10 percent.

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NOAA: Warming Arctic unlikely to return to how it was

Warming ArcticNew observations this year about snow, ice and temperatures support the conclusion that the Arctic is unlikely to return to the conditions known in the 20th century — and that's likely to affect the weather in the lower 48 United States.

That was this year's key message in the annual update of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Arctic report card, released Thursday. The key points, a video and links to scientific reports by 69 scientists from eight countries are available from NOAA online.

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