Marianne Lavelle, energy editor for National Geographic Digital Media, has spent more than two decades covering environment, business, climate and policy in Washington, D.C. Previously, she spearheaded a project tracking climate change lobbying for the nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism organization The Center for Public Integrity. Before that, she was a senior writer at U.S. News and World Report magazine, where she wrote the Beyond the Barrel blog. Before joining U.S. News, she created a beat on federal regulation for The National Law Journal, and led a team of reporters in a series on environmental justice, “Unequal Protection," winner of the George Polk Award and numerous other honors.

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…

Istanbul, the only city in the world that spans two continents, is a perfect setting for a close look at the energy and sustainability challenges of our increasingly urban planet. With 14 million people, Istanbul is the largest city in Europe. But energy demand here and across Turkey is growing at a rate more typical…

In his call Tuesday for boosting the fuel economy of heavy-duty trucks, President Barack Obama is taking aim at one of the world’s fastest growing engines of oil demand and greenhouse gas emissions. But one of the most popular ideas for reducing oil demand in trucking—switching to natural gas—may not help on climate change. A…

Emissions of the potent heat-trapping gas, methane, the main component of natural gas, are likely 50 percent higher than U.S. government has estimated in its official greenhouse gas inventory, says a new study that is the most comprehensive effort yet to assess the problem. But the team of scientists, after reviewing more than 200 earlier…

Oil has begun flowing on the southern segment of North America’s most controversial pipeline project: the Keystone XL. TransCanada announced Wednesday that it had begun operations to send crude from the congested pipeline and storage hub of Cushing, Oklahoma to the refining center of the U.S. Gulf Coast. (See related Interactive: Mapping the Flow of…

U.S. officials are weighing a wide range of actions to address what they view as the increasing public risk due to oil trains. Thanks to the booming oil production in North Dakota’s Bakken shale, and the ramp-up of ethanol production throughout the Midwest, U.S. railways now are carrying an unprecedented volume of flammable liquid—and the…

A new study challenges our understanding of natural gas as a clean fuel, and raises new questions about the U.S. energy boom. Sure, natural gas (or methane, its main component) burns with less pollution than coal, but release it directly to the atmosphere and it is a highly potent greenhouse gas–at least 25 times worse…

At climate change talks in Warsaw this week, just as in the previous 18 annual rounds of negotiations, delegates never were able to overcome the divide between rich and poor nations. We map the starkly different views of the climate crisis that have led to stalemate in our newly revised interactive, Four Ways to Look…

For the first time in the history of its program to promote biofuel as a replacement for petroleum-based fuels, the U.S. government proposed Friday to reduce the amount of ethanol that is required to be added to the nation’s gasoline supply. The move by the world’s No. 1 producer and consumer of biofuel reflects profound…

In last night’s episode of the NBC post-apocalyptic drama, Revolution, each of the characters faced the consequences of the risky alliances they made in their struggle to survive in a world without electricity. That world—complete with water-borne disease, warlords, and refugee camps—is a reality for many of the 1.2 billion people who live each day…

The last effort in the U.S. Congress to tackle climate change head-on died in 2010, amid ferocious lobbying by interests who argued it would wreck the economy. That bill would have cut carbon dioxide emissions 3 percent below their 2005 level by 2012. The actual 2012 figures are now out and in fact, the United…

The International Energy Agency made headlines nearly one year ago with its bold forecast that the United States was on track to being the world’s top oil and natural gas producer by 2017. (See related, “U.S. to Overtake Saudi Arabia, Russia as World’s Top Energy Producer.”) It turns out that the United States is fracking…

The United Kingdom may not be an Arctic nation, but it has a unique perch on the front line of the dramatic change reshaping the polar north. The U.K. government now is preparing to unveil an Arctic policy framework, its own version of the strategy documents  put forth by nations in the thick of decision-making…

The Obama administration on Friday unveiled the first-ever national limits for carbon emissions from new power plants in the United States–a step that seeks to reshape the debate on climate change in the inevitable political and legal battles that lie ahead. (See related, “Four Ways to Look at Global Carbon Footprints.”) “We must meet our…

When student engineers set out to design fuel-efficient cars, some choose to rely on high-tech tools like computer simulation, while others go back to basics, with lightweight, low-impact materials like wood and rattan.  Both approaches earned honors this summer in Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2013’s off-track awards. The actual road race, scheduled for early July in…

Q What Breakthroughs Do Biofuels Need? Check out the ideas from our panelists and rate them below. What inventions and technical innovations are needed for biofuels to become a true challenge and sustainable alternative to petroleum-based transportation? This is one of the questions we put before two dozen experts from industry, universities, and environmental groups…

When President Obama unveiled his long-awaited climate change strategy this week, he never mentioned biofuels. (See “Obama Unveils Climate Strategy.”) But with nearly a third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions due to burning petroleum for transportation, a key and controversial question is what role plant-based alternatives can play in cutting the nation’s carbon emissions. As…

For several years running, French engineering students from two neighboring Loire Valley schools, Polytech Nantes and La Joliverie, have shared engineering and effort to build rocket-shaped vehicles that captured top prizes at Shell Eco-marathon Europe fuel efficiency race. But the students began to feel there was something lacking in their cars’ perennially award-winning profile. “It…

A hot pink wind turbine turned above one paddock at Shell Eco-marathon Europe this year; it was the stall of the team from Inholland University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. The students, all studying aeronautical engineering, have designed a vehicle with a detachable rear end that can be changed in few minutes and converted…

Kağan Meijer of Celal Bayar University in Turkey explains the changes made to the vehicle to conform to new rules for Shell Eco-marathon Europe 2013. Celal Bayar’s car last year, Tarzan, had large over-hanging solar panels, but this year, the  solar panels needed to be smaller to be integrated into the body of the vehicle.…

Hungary’s Kecskemét College had an amazing second-place run in last year’s Shell Eco-marathon Europe, and the team was determined to kick up its performance this year. The gasoline-powered engine is now 45 cubic centimeters, about a third larger than last year’s engine for the car, nicknamed Megameter, which achieved a performance of 2,695.5 kilometers per liter…

What if you could pack and assemble a car like Ikea furniture? Students at Aston University aimed for lightweight portability and sustainability in the wood car they designed and built for Shell Eco-marathon Europe. Their project manager, Christian Mclening, explains the innovative plywood composite chassis and “flat-pack” design in the video below. In addition to…

More than 3,000 high school and college students from 24 countries are gathered in the port city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, this weekend for a race for fuel efficiency. More than 180 cars are entered in Shell Eco-marathon Europe 2013, where students design and build super-low-mileage vehicles, and then prove them on a 10-mile (16.3-kilometer)…

The effort to go green in building materials added to the challenges for the Loyola Marymount Senior Mechanical Engineers team at Shell Eco-marathon Americans 2013. Senior Van Weller explained that the team chose lightweight bamboo for the body of its gasoline-powered prototype vehicle, the Gen 5, and spiffed it up with gold paint. Unfortunately, the…

Zack Lapetina of Purdue University explains how the Purdue Solar Racing team uses high-efficiency photovoltaic panels, and then adds intensifiers to increase the amount of sunlight the cars capture for energy in Shell Eco-marathon Americas student design competition. You can also read their blog about their journey here: Lighter and Sleeker for This Year’s Race.…