Environmental winner documents the impact of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on the ecosystem — the human ecosystem. Full Frame Festival: A Springtime Cornucopia of Documentaries With the first weekend of April in the rearview mirror, so is, for Durhamites and aficionados of documentary film, the 2014 edition of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, reportedly the…

Energy use increased in the United States in 2013 as a fourth consecutive year of economic growth exerted its influence, but the longer-term trend shows the country operating with greater efficiency while also revealing the small but growing role of renewable sources like solar and wind. The font for these insights is the Lawrence Livermore…

California enacted its Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32) in 2006. Since then, an entire network of interacting, mutually-reinforcing legislation  has evolved in the state,  historic in how the different measures support one another. A solar roof mandate (one million by 2020)  augments  an electric vehicle mandate (also one million in 2020), while both bolster  a…

In a newly issued document, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has shifted position on biofuels, for the first time acknowledging that they may have negative impacts that take away from their value in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Working Group II contribution to the IPCC’s report, Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability ,…

British Columbia finds itself at the forefront of the global debate on natural gas, and its role in the future of energy. Some 15 energy company consortiums are vying to build massive export terminals on the Pacific coastline of Canada’s westernmost province, with an eye to shipping gas to energy-hungry Asia. British Columbia, in other…

Alternative energy company KiOR, which aimed to lead the nation into a future in which fuel manufactured from wood chips, grasses and other plant materials would replace petroleum, now faces dire financial difficulties that may threaten the company’s future. (See earlier story on KiOR: “Beyond Ethanol: “Drop-In Biofuels Squeeze Gasoline From Plants.”) In a March…

On March 25, I was honored to participate in a roundtable discussion convened by National Geographic as part of its Great Energy Challenge initiative. Along with a group of academics, government officials, and representatives of industry and nongovernmental organizations, we tackled key questions about the role of natural gas in a low-carbon future. What became…

Accidental pollution? Sure, stuff happens. But what about intentional pollution? When we think of electric power plants and pollution, we often think of air pollution and climate change, and especially when it comes to coal-fired power plants. But power plants are also huge polluters of our waterways — our streams, rivers and lakes. In fact the…

Almost all of the climate-affecting methane leaks from the oil and gas infrastructure could be reduced at relatively little expense, often by simply tightening bolts or replacing worn seals, suggests a new study by the Boston-based Clean Air Task Force released today. (See related story: “Green Fracking? 5 Technologies for Cleaner Shale Energy.”) The report…

The escalating tension between Iraq’s semi-autonomous northern Kurdish region and the central government in Baghdad is reaching a critical point. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), in defying Baghdad’s authority over oil drilling and exports from the Kurdish region, has been challenging the central government’s authority and legitimacy since 2007. The completion last December of an…