President Obama's deal with China to dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions may go down as one of his lasting legacies once everything is said and done with his Administration. The deal, which was announced at a joint press conference, set far reaching goals of reducing carbon emissions that surprised most everyone over how much the two countries agreed to cut.
For the last six years, the Obama administration has been mulling a controversial plan to open up the Atlantic coast for oil and gas exploration. It seemed inevitable that some sort of drilling would eventually occur in this previously untouched region.
For the last two years, global oil prices have been in free-fall, and no one seems to know when the bungee cord will catch. In June 2014, you had to plunk down $110 to purchase a barrel of Brent crude. By early 2015, that had dropped to $60. Today, it costs less than $30 to buy a barrel of oil — a level not seen since 2004. It's a breathtaking decline.
Oil fell briefly below $30 a barrel on Tuesday, extending a relentless selloff that has wiped almost 20 percent off prices this year amid deepening concerns about fragile Chinese demand and the absence of output restraint. The day's near 4 percent drop marks a seventh day of losses for oil. Traders have all but given up attempting to predict where the new-year rout will end, with momentum-driven dealing and overwhelmingly bearish sentiment engulfing the market. Some analysts warned of $20 a barrel; Standard Chartered said fund selling may not relent until it reaches $10.
Everyone is talking about President Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline proposal, but he’s not actually the hero of the story. The Keystone decision is the culmination of a startlingly successful grassroots activist campaign that defied the odds and convinced the Obama administration to change course against building a major piece of fossil fuel infrastructure. Here’s how it came together, as recounted by a few of the key players.
U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday rejected the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada in a victory for environmentalists who campaigned against the project for more than seven years. "The pipeline would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy," Obama told a press conference. He said it would not reduce gasoline prices, and shipping "dirtier" crude from Canada would not increase U.S. energy security.
In the fall of 2011, students in Katie Keranen’s seismology course at the University of Oklahoma buried portable seismograph stations around the campus, in anticipation of a football game between the Sooners and the Texas A. & M. Aggies. The plan was to see if the students could, by reading the instruments, detect the rumble of eighty-two thousand fans cheering for a touchdown. “To see if they can figure out if a signal is a passing train or a cheering crowd—that’s much more interesting for them than discussing data in theory,” Keranen, an assistant professor of geophysics, told me. Outside homes around Prague and nearby Meeker, Keranen and her students, along with Austin Holland, the head seismologist of the Oklahoma Geological Survey, buried their equipment.
Throughout the booms and busts of his Fort Worth oil empire and during his brother’s notorious murder trial, Kenneth W. Davis Jr. largely kept to himself. At 89, he still does. He puts in full workdays at his small downtown office, with drapes drawn against the North Texas sun. He usually dines at an exclusive club across the street, often alone, using distinctive silverware set aside just for him. Davis has long shut out politics, too. He remembers voting only three times – for Eisenhower, Goldwater and Reagan. Yet last year he thrust himself into the public eye by starting his own super PAC. His group, Vote2ReduceDebt, aimed to move the needle in eight key U.S. Senate races by energizing disengaged conservative voters.
Oil prices might have stabilized only temporarily because the global oil glut is worsening and U.S. production shows no sign of slowing, the International Energy Agency said on Friday. The West's energy watchdog said the United States may soon run out of spare capacity to store crude, which would put additional downward pressure on prices. That process would last at least until the second half of 2015, when growth in U.S. oil production is expected to start abating. Combined with an increase in global demand, the expected U.S. production slowdown would give some support to oil prices and respite to oil producers' group OPEC, the IEA said.
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