Mason Inman

Mason Inman is a journalist who specializes in reporting climate change and energy. His work has appeared in National Geographic News, Science, Scientific American, Nature Climate Change and New Scientist, and he has reported from England, Switzerland, Bangladesh and Pakistan. His homepage is Failing Gracefully (http://failinggracefully.com).

The energy industry may be increasing the risk of earthquakes  by pumping fluids underground, says a new federal scientific study. But the biggest danger is not due to extraction of fuel, but disposal of waste, said the report published Friday by the National Academies of Science. Hydraulic fracturing of shale formations to unlock gas has…

Despite sluggish growth in most developed countries and the on-going debt crisis in Europe, renewable energy investment showed solid growth of 17 percent in 2011 over the year before, says a new status report on renewable energy. In 2011, renewable energy investment hit a new record of $257 billion, according to “Global Trends in Renewable…

Under a new rule from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, new oil and gas wells that are hydraulically fractured—or “fracked”—will have to use new equipment to capture the gases that escape, rather than releasing them into the air or burning them off. Hydraulic fracturing has been in use since the 1950s, but in the past…

After public pressure, Chicago will shut two aging coal-fired power plants, and the owner of one of the power plants, Midwest Generation, may shut its other four coal plants in Illinois. Since the start of 2010, more than 100 coal plants have been slated for early retirement. A major reason for coal plants shutting has been public opposition to…

In a major speech on energy at the University of Miami, President Obama said rising gasoline prices are a “painful reminder” of the need for alternatives. He was on the offensive, trying to counter criticisms of the GOP presidential candidates—including Newt Gingrich, who promised he’d get gasoline down to $2.50 a gallon. Countering calls to “drill, baby,…

A top climate researcher—Peter Gleick, head of the Pacific Institute—admitted he lied to obtain documents from the Heartland Institute, which he then leaked to media and revealed the organization’s plans to challenge the scientific consensus on climate change. Gleick resigned from the board of the National Center on Science Education, and stepped down as chairman of the American Geophysical Union’s…

Maldives leader Mohamed Nasheed, called the “world’s most environmentally outspoken president” because of his calls for drastically cutting greenhouse gas emissions, was forced to resign—at gunpoint, he claimed. He had used stunts such as an underwater cabinet meeting to highlight his island nation’s vulnerability to sea-level rise. His resignation followed weeks of protests and was apparently motivated by internal politics unrelated to…

Following on last week’s State of the Union address that supported hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” in shale gas deposits, President Obama called the U.S. “the Saudi Arabia of natural gas” and unveiled a new proposal to provide tax breaks to boost the use of natural gas as a fuel for trucks. But the market has…

Average prices of oil and gasoline at the pump reached an all-time high in 2011, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data. Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, averaged $111 a barrel—the first time it broke $100 for a whole year. In some ways, these records snuck up on Americans, since there was no extreme…

In November, the Obama administration decided to delay a decision on whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline to bring tar sands from Canada to the United States. But in December, Republicans attached a provision to a tax bill, which President Obama signed, that urges the administration to decide on the pipeline within 60 days,…

Prices in Europe’s carbon emissions trading scheme have collapsed this year, in part because there were too many allowances in the system starting off, threatening the future of the whole market. “Without intervention … Europe’s climate policy is over,” one analyst said. Some of Europe’s biggest energy and manufacturing firms also wrote a letter to…

In a surprise turnaround, the United Nations climate talks managed to produce a new deal to eventually curb global emissions moving forward. In a press release announcing the agreement, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) called it a “breakthrough.” The new agreement marks a break from the Kyoto Protocol, which divided the…

GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman expressed skepticism about the science on climate change, so now all GOP candidates are on the record as doubting either that the planet is clearly warming, or that people are responsible for most of the warming. Of all the GOP candidates, Huntsman had been the most supportive of action on…

In Durban, South Africa, the latest round of United Nations climate negotiations opened with a plea from South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, for countries to look beyond national interests. So far, however, the talks have been marked by many of the same divisions that plagued earlier meets. A coalition of environmental groups—including the Natural Resources…

The Obama administration delayed deciding whether to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which has been proposed to carry tar sands from Canada to Texas’s Gulf Coast. The administration said it should consider alternate routes and wait until early 2013 to decide. Industry officials in Canada thought the delay may derail the pipeline, and threaten…

The world population reached seven billion people around October 31, according to United Nations estimates. The actual date is a bit fuzzy, but the milestone has nonetheless had great symbolic power, triggering a stream of articles on population issues. Nicholas Kristof, in the New York Times, argued family planning is the solution to many of…

After a unanimous vote by the California Air Resources Board, the state adopted the most comprehensive cap-and-trade system in the country, a key part of a 2006 global warming law that had yet to be implemented. The system will cover 85 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the state, and allows businesses to counterbalance up…

A group of 285 large investors, representing more than $20 trillion in assets, urged world governments to forge a binding treaty at upcoming climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa, and said global spending has not been nearly enough to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius. The call came from a coalition of four green investment…

Although Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard had promised before to not enact a carbon tax, floods, bush fires, heat waves, and drought reawakened discussion about putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions. This week, Australia’s House of Representatives narrowly passed a carbon tax, sending the bill to the country’s Senate, where observers say it is…

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which could carry a diluted form of tar sands from Canada to Texas, has attracted the ire of many environmentalists, including Bill McKibben, who spearheaded protests in front of the White House last month. This week, McKibben argued the Obama administration is practicing “crony capitalism” and that e-mails obtained through…

A major study modeled after goal-setting reports from the Departments of Defense and State, the first Quadrennial Technology Review by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), called for a shift in energy research and development priorities to reduce America’s dependence on oil. “Reliance on oil is the greatest immediate threat to U.S. economic and national…

A leaked World Bank document, due to be presented at the G20 meeting in November, proposes that rich countries eliminate their fossil fuel subsidies and instead contribute the money to climate aid for poor countries to help with green energy and adaptation measures. The paper also said donor countries are unlikely to come up with…

President Obama unveiled a new job creation plan in a major speech to Congress last week and follow-up speeches this week, in which he called for an end to tax breaks for oil and gas companies to bring in an additional $32 billion over 10 years to pay for increased government spending. Earlier this year,…

Solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, which recently filed for bankruptcy, got special treatment from the Obama administration, some have alleged, since the company’s $535 million in federally guaranteed loans had much lower interest rates than those of other green energy companies, according to an investigative report. The FBI raided Solyndra’s Fremont, Calif., offices Thursday, although it…

Hundreds of protesters—including famed climate researcher James Hansen—have been arrested in protests in front of the White House over the past two weeks, in an attempt to stop the construction of a pipeline from Canada to Texas to carry diluted tar sands to Gulf Coast refineries, mainly over concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and risks…