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Energy & Environment

The latest updates on energy and environment news, analysis and opinion covering energy policy and its impact on resources and climate.

This undated file photo shows a Qatari liquid natural gas (LNG) tanker ship being loaded up with LNG at Raslaffans Sea Port, northern Qatar. The tiny, energy-rich Arab nation of Qatar announced on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018 it would withdraw from OPEC, mixing its aspirations to increase production outside of the cartel's constraints with the politics of slighting the Saudi-dominated group amid the kingdom's boycott of Doha. (AP Photo, File)

Qatar will pull out of OPEC amid tension with Saudi Arabia

By Jon Gambrell - Associated Press

The tiny, energy-rich Arab nation of Qatar announced on Monday it will withdraw from OPEC in January, mixing its aspirations to increase production outside of the cartel's constraints with the politics of slighting the Saudi-dominated group amid the kingdom's boycott of Doha. Published December 3, 2018

Recent Stories

People wearing yellow vests demonstrate in Peyrorade, southwestern France, Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. French President Emmanuel Macron is calling for "calm" and "order" ahead of promised new protests by the broad yellow-vest movement after rioting in recent weeks.  (AP Photo/Bob Edme)

Tear gas in Paris, but fewer protesters and bigger demands

- Associated Press

A protest movement that has brought the French into the streets for five Saturdays in a row in a major challenge to President Emmanuel Macron lost momentum in its latest nationwide outcry, but the smaller crowds pushed fervently for one of their expanding demands, a citizen's referendum to help define policy.

Participants leave before the end of the final session of the COP24 summit on climate change in Katowice, Poland, Friday, Dec. 14, 2018.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Nations at U.N. climate talks back universal emissions rules

- Associated Press

After two weeks of bruising negotiations, officials from almost 200 countries agreed Saturday on universal, transparent rules that will govern efforts to cut emissions and curb global warming. Fierce disagreements on two other climate issues were kicked down the road for a year to help bridge a chasm of opinions on the best solutions.

When it comes to natural gas, U.S. 'open for business'

Last November, diplomats from Brazil to Japan joined oil and gas executives at the headquarters of Washington's largest lobbying group to christen a new partnership.

Participants in a U.N. climate conference walk by a screen showing high U.N. official for combatting climate change Patricia Espinoza, as she addresses the delegates in Katowice, Poland, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

U.N. chief returns as climate talks teeter closer to collapse

- Associated Press

The United Nations secretary-general flew back to global climate talks in Poland Wednesday to appeal to countries to reach an agreement, as some observers feared the meeting might end without a deal.

In this Nov. 11, 2018, file photo, a home burned down by a wildfire sits on a hilltop overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Malibu, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Insurance claims at $9 billion from California fires

- Associated Press

Insurance claims from last month's California wildfires already are at $9 billion and expected to increase, the state's insurance commissioner announced Wednesday.

Wintry storm ices roads across much of U.S. Southeast

Associated Press

A lingering storm keeps dumping immobilizing snow, sleet or freezing rain across five southern states, leaving dangerously icy roads and hundreds of thousands of people without electricity. Authorities urged people to stay home on Monday in areas where driving is dangerous.

Climate activists attend the March for Climate in a protest against global warming in Katowice, Poland, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, as the COP24 U.N. Climate Change Conference takes place in the city. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

Protesters disrupt U.S. fossil fuel event at U.N. climate talks

- Associated Press

Indigenous and youth groups disrupted a U.S. government event at the U.N. climate talks Monday, criticizing the Trump administration's policy of backing the extraction of fossil fuels, the burning of which increases global warming.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proposes to set a national price on carbon emissions of $7.5 a ton, rising to $37.50. (Associated Press/File)

Canadians clash over Trudeau's carbon emissions tax in months before election

Wading into treacherous political waters, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's plan to dramatically increase taxes on carbon emissions to combat climate change is dividing the country, pitting six of the country's provinces against Ottawa and setting the stage for a bitter and partisan federal election next year.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra speaks to reporters after a meeting with Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, to discuss GM's announcement it would stop making the Chevy Cruze at its Lordstown, Ohio, plant, part of a massive restructuring for the Detroit-based automaker, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. General Motors is fighting to retain a valuable tax credit for electric vehicles as the nation's largest automaker grapples with the political fallout triggered by its plans to shutter several U.S. factories and shed thousands of workers. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

GM fights government to retain tax credit for electric cars

- Associated Press

General Motors is fighting to retain a valuable tax credit for electric vehicles as the nation's largest automaker tries to deal with the political fallout triggered by its plans to shutter several U.S. factories and shed thousands of workers.

A bin is burning as school children demonstrate in Paris, Friday Dec.7, 2018. Footage showing the brutal arrest of high school students protesting outside Paris is causing a stir ahead of further anti-government protests this weekend. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Rioting engulfs Paris as anger grows over high French taxes

- Associated Press

The rumble of armored police trucks and the hiss of tear gas filled central Paris on Saturday, as French riot police fought to contain thousands of yellow-vested protesters venting their anger against the government in a movement that has grown more violent by the week.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., holds a news conference with Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 201816. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) ** FILE **

Sen. Chuck Schumer injects climate change fight into infrastructure deal

- The Washington Times

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Friday demanded that a deal for an infrastructure program include measures to combat climate change, throwing down the gauntlet on road and bridge projects that was one of the only areas of potential agreement between Capitol Hill Democrats and President Trump.

Guests arrive at the 'Spodek' multipurpose arena complex for the COP24 summit in Katowice , Poland, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Trump administration touts fossil fuels at U.N. climate summit

President Trump may be pulling the United States out of the global Paris Accord on global warming, but the administration is making a hard sell for its side of the story at the giant U.N. climate summit now underway in the heart of Poland's coal-producing region.

People stand in front of the headquarters of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, in Vienna, Austria, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

OPEC expected to cut oil production to support price

- Associated Press

OPEC countries were meeting Thursday to find a way to support the falling price of oil, with analysts predicting the cartel and some key allies, like Russia, would agree to cut production by at least 1 million barrels per day.

A bed rests outside Cypress Meadows Post-Acute, a nursing home leveled by the Camp Fire, on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, in Paradise, Calif. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Residents of California town leveled by fire can go home

- Associated Press

Some residents of a Northern California town devastated by a deadly wildfire will be allowed to return home Wednesday, nearly a month after the blaze swept through the parched Sierra Nevada foothills, authorities said.

Residents of New Caledonia's capital, Noumea, wait in line at a polling station dedicated to the natives of the Loyalty islands, before casting their vote as part of an independence referendum, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018. Voters in New Caledonia are deciding whether the French territory in the South Pacific should break free from the European country that claimed it in the mid-19th century. (AP Photo/Mathurin Derel) ** FILE **

Magnitude 7.5 quake strikes in Pacific near New Caledonia

- Associated Press

A powerful earthquake that struck in the southern Pacific Ocean on Wednesday sent jitters around the region after authorities warned of possible tsunamis, but there were no initial reports of destructive waves or major damage.

A demonstrator wearing a yellow vest waves a French flag as protesters open the toll gates on a motorway near Aix-en-Provence, southeastern France, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced a suspension of fuel tax hikes Tuesday, a major U-turn in an effort to appease a protest movement that has radicalized and plunged Paris into chaos last weekend. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

Political disconnect: Paris riots reveal public's unwillingness to accept a carbon tax

- The Washington Times

The turmoil sparked by French President Emmanuel Macron's proposal to boost gas taxes is just the latest example of an emerging political truism. While economists hail them as the best, most efficient and most effective way to limit greenhouse gas emissions, green taxes are proving a tough sell for politicians who have to work and win elections in the real world.

This photo provided by David Harper shows merchandise that fell off the shelves during an earthquake at a store in Anchorage, Alaska, on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Back-to-back earthquakes measuring 7.0 and 5.8 rocked buildings and buckled roads Friday morning in Anchorage, prompting people to run from their offices or seek shelter under office desks, while a tsunami warning had authorities urging people to seek higher ground. (David Harper via AP)

Powerful quakes buckle Alaska roads, trigger tsunami warning

- Associated Press

Back-to-back earthquakes measuring 7.0 and 5.8 rocked buildings and buckled roads Friday morning in Anchorage, prompting people to run from their offices or take cover under desks and triggering a warning to residents in Kodiak to flee to higher ground for fear of a tsunami.

Police from Roeland Park, Kan., watched as the driver of a van tried to a navigate a slick street Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, that hit the Kansas City area. A winter storm blanketed much of the central Midwest with snow on Sunday at the end of the Thanksgiving weekend, bringing blizzard-like conditions that grounded hundreds of flights and forced the closure of major highways on one of the busiest travel days of the year. (Tammy Ljungblad/The Kansas City Star via AP)

Slick roads, blowing snow delay air, road travel in Midwest

- Associated Press

A wintry storm brought blizzard-like conditions to parts of the Midwest early Monday, grounding hundreds of flights and causing slick roads for commuters as they returned to work after the Thanksgiving weekend.

Denise Chester, an evacuee of the Camp Fire, hugs her son Antonio Batres as she volunteers sorting clothes at a makeshift shelter in Chico, Calif., on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. Chester, who doesn't want to know yet whether her home survived, said "I want to help. I don't want to shut down." (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Fire death toll hits 63; sheriff says hundreds still missing

- Associated Press

At least 63 people are now dead from a Northern California wildfire, and officials say they have a missing persons list with 631 names on it in an ever-evolving accounting of the victims of the nation's deadliest wildfire in a century.

A search and rescue worker, looking for Camp Fire victims, carries Susie Q. to safety after the cadaver dog fell through rubble at the Holly Hills Mobile Estates on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, in Paradise, Calif. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Northern California fire death toll at 56; 130 missing

- Associated Press

As the scope of a deadly Northern California wildfire set in, the sheriff said more than 450 people had now been assigned to comb through the charred remains in search for more bodies. The blaze has killed at least 56 people and authorities say 130 are unaccounted for.

Protecting American Energy Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Benefitting from a diverse energy sector

President Trump and the administration have long vowed to revive America as the world's leading energy producer. To fulfill this promise — as well as unofficial campaign promises — the administration announced in June that it planned to bail out coal and nuclear power plants at risk of being shuttered under the guise of national security, claiming saving these plants would bolster "grid resilience" and promote American "energy dominance."

Trash piles up along the Anacostia River in the District on Thursday. D.C. Council member Tommy Wells has a proposal to charge shoppers 5 cents for each plastic and paper bag to help pay for cleanup. (Associated Press/File)

Protecting the critical waterways

Here in the nation's capital, we have the opportunity to set an example for the rest of the country about responsibly reducing the use of plastics and litter

Recent Opinion Columns

Illustration on the unknowns of environmental funding by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Dark green money

In his review of "Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right," environmental writer Bill McKibben condemns moguls such as the Koch brothers for hiding "their contributions through outfits like DonorsTrust." In other words, according to Mr. McKibben, DonorsTrust, which is "committed to the principles of limited government, personal responsibility and free enterprise," is a conservative dark money conduit.

Chart to accompany Moore article of June 18, 2018.

Fake support for a free market in energy

All of a sudden everyone on the left wants "free markets in energy policy." As someone who's advocated for that for, oh, about three decades (let's start by shutting down the Energy Department), this riff should be music to my ears. But is laissez faire energy policy really what liberals are seeking?

Russian Money Funneled to the Democrats Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Taking aim at the real polluters

Two of the world's biggest polluters are China and Russia. You would think that U.S. environmental groups would be major critics of these countries; yet, the reality is some take money from entities controlled by these governments and disseminate their propaganda.

Illustration on ethanol legislation by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

An outdated mandate that drives up gasoline prices

Only in Washington do we call expanding a program "reform" and more special-interest handouts "fixes." That's precisely what's happening with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) — an outdated ethanol mandate that drives up gasoline prices and puts refiners out of business.

Energy infrastructure: Ensuring reliability, resiliency

President Trump recently announced the framework for his infrastructure plan and I applaud him for not only recognizing the need to improve all facets of our nation's infrastructure but for also demonstrating the leadership needed to push forward this major initiative.

Making a historic investment in public lands infrastructure

World-class infrastructure is the pride of a prosperous nation. America is the greatest country this world has ever known — she deserves the greatest infrastructure. Unfortunately, our roads, bridges and tunnels have been neglected due to years of inaction. Our public lands have suffered a similar fate. As secretary of the Interior and chief steward of our public lands, I inherited a maintenance backlog of more than $11 billion in our national parks alone.

The International Energy Agency forecast that the U.S. would become the world's largest energy producer this year and that U.S. production could increase 25 percent by 2025, reaching 30 million barrels of oil and gas a day. (Associated Press/File)

Energy-dominant U.S. will transform global landscape

I had an argument recently with a woman in Moscow over American energy production. She simply did not believe that the United States has become the largest energy producer in the world -- which marks a real shock to the ordinary Russian's self-image.

In this Aug. 3, 2014, file photo, the water intake crib for the city of Toledo, Ohio, is surrounded by an algae bloom on Lake Erie, about 2.5 miles off the shore of Curtice, Ohio. Advocacy groups suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over toxic algae in Lake Erie, threatening drinking water in Ohio and Michigan, say the agency's response in court documents filed in October 2017 bolsters their argument that not enough is being done to protect the lake. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)

Burying 'sue and settle'

Whether you consider yourself pro-regulation, anti-regulation or something in between, chances are you're in favor of clear, open rules. Whatever the policy a particular government agency is following, it should be transparent to all, right?

Illustration on energy week by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Paving the path to U.S. energy dominance

This week, the Trump administration is hosting "Energy Week" to discuss with state, tribal, business and labor leaders how we can pave the path forward toward U.S. energy dominance.

In this May 4, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump talks to House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington after the House pushed through a health care bill. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

The promise to keep

President Trump usually prefers to blaze his own path through the thicket of global diplomacy — "globaloney" a wit once called it -- much to the dismay of the scented-handkerchief crowd. He softened his skepticism of NATO, and that's a good thing, and postponed a final decision on whether to keep his promise to withdraw the United States from the Paris treaty on global warming. He wanted to keep the good feelings intact at the G-7 summit.

Energy goals: Jobs, production, modern infrastructure -- and good environmental stewardship

American consumers deserve safe, secure and efficient energy that's affordable and meets the needs of the 21st century economy. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has already begun work on a pro-domestic energy policy that will improve our nation's energy infrastructure, create jobs and reduce energy bills, but much more needs to be done.

Trump's Coal Comeback Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

King Coal's big comeback

Buried in an otherwise humdrum jobs report for March was the jaw-dropping pronouncement by the Labor Department that mining jobs in America were up by 11,000 in March. Since the low point in October 2016 and following years of painful layoffs in the mining industry, the mining sector has added 35,000 jobs.

Unleashing American energy

President Trump has nullified many of Barack Obama's climate change fantasies and the sky is still up there. But judging by the uproar from voices in the climate change industry, only an unexpected miracle is keeping the firmament in place. As cooler heads keep an eye on the thermometer in the months and years to come, America can balance legitimate concerns about pollution against the necessity of exploiting affordable energy.

From The Vault

Protecting the Power Grid Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

A secure energy grid starts with copper

It's not hard to imagine the role that energy plays in our daily lives — in fact it becomes immediately apparent when we experience even a brief power outage in our home or workplace. Quite simply, it stops us in our tracks.

Gas-Guzzling SUVs Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

America's squandered oil wealth

Bismarck is reported to have said, "there is a providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America."

A vintage coal-fired steam engine pushes a passenger car up the Cog Railway on a 3.8-mile journey to the summit of 6,288-foot Mount Washington in New Hampshire, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. Tourists visiting the northeast's highest peak were rewarded with summer-like weather on the first weekend of autumn. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Warmed again by coal

Gentlemen, start your thermostats. Ladies, too. The Obama war on coal, which cost Hillary Clinton the vote in once-reliably Democratic West Virginia, is over. Maybe the war on nuclear energy, too. Americans might soon heat their homes without choosing between the warmth and food and medicine.