Our Top 5: The Weekly Round-up, Environmental & Sustainability — May 18, 2011

1) As Gas Prices Rise, Obama Moves to Speed Up Oil, Gas Drilling 

President Obama, facing voter anger over high gasoline prices and complaints from Republicans and business leaders that his policies are restricting the development of domestic energy resources, announced that he was taking several steps to speed oil and gas drilling on public lands and waters. It was at least a partial concession to his critics at a time when consumers are paying near-record prices at the pump.

(Source: San Francisco Chronicle, 2011-05-15)  

2) National Research Council Sees Urgency in Reducing Emissions 

The nation’s scientific establishment issued a stark warning to the American public: Not only is global warming real, but the effects are already becoming serious and the need has become “pressing” for a strong national policy to limit emissions of heat-trapping gases. The report, by the National Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, did not endorse any specific legislative approach, but it did say that attaching some kind of price to emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, would ideally be an essential component of any plan.

(Source: The New York Times, 2011-05-12)

3) Report Claims Renewable Sources Could Supply 77% of Energy 

Solar power, wind and other forms of renewable energy may meet as much as 77 percent of global consumption by 2050, according to a United Nations report. Moving beyond fossil fuels such as oil and coal to develop geothermal, biomass, solar, wind, hydropower and electricity from the ocean’s waves and tides will require as much as $5.1 trillion in investment from 2011 through 2020 and an additional $7.2 trillion for the decade ending in 2030, according to the study by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Abu Dhabi. 

(Source: Bloomberg, 2011-05-09)

4) House OKs Legislation to Accelerate Offshore Oil Exploration 

Maneuvering on oil drilling, gas prices and industry profits intensified on Capitol Hill. House Republicans pushed through a bill to accelerate offshore oil and gas exploration as Democrats vowed action on measures to rescind billions of dollars in tax breaks for major oil and gas companies.

(Source: The New York Times, 2011-05-11)

5) Study Debunks Using Carbon Capturing to Curb Global Warming 

Technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to slow human-driven climate change won’t be economically feasible for decades, U.S. researchers say. The report by the American Physical Society analyzed technologies known as “Direct Air Capture,” using chemicals to absorb carbon dioxide from the open air, concentrating the carbon dioxide and then storing it safely underground.

(Source: United Press International, 2011-05-09)

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