A roundup of the news, views and ideas from the main stream press and the blogosphere.  Click on the headline link to see the full article.


China, the Climate and the Fate of the Planet

Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone Magazine
If the world’s biggest polluter doesn’t radically reduce the amount of coal it burns, nothing anyone does to stabilize the climate will matter. Inside the slow, frustrating — and maybe even hopeful — struggle to find a new way forward…


The Great Frack Forward

Jaeah Lee and James West, Mother Jones
ON A HAZY MORNING LAST SEPTEMBER, 144 American and Chinese government officials and high-ranking oil executives filed into a vaulted meeting room in a cloistered campus in south Xi’an, a city famous for its terra-cotta warriors and lethal smog. The Communist Party built this compound, called the Shaanxi Guesthouse, in 1958. It was part of the lead-up to Chairman Mao’s Great Leap Forward, in which, to surpass the industrial achievements of the West, the government built steelworks, coal mines, power stations, and cement factories—displacing hundreds of thousands and clearcutting a tenth of China’s forests in the process. Despite its quaint name, the guesthouse is a cluster of immense concrete structures jutting out of expansive, manicured lawns and man-made lakes dotted with stone bridges and pagodas. It also features a karaoke lounge, spa, tennis stadium, shopping center, and beauty salon.

The guests at the compound that week were gearing up for another great leap: a push to export the United States’ fracking boom to China’s vast shale fields—and beyond…

Further videos


How Hillary Clinton’s State Department Sold Fracking to the World

Mariah Blake, Mother Jones
A trove of secret documents details the US government’s global push for shale gas…


Behind the headlines: Fracking and water contamination

Simon Evans, Carbon Brief
There are fears that hydraulic fracturing used to extract shale gas could be behind water contamination in the US. These fears have been a touchstone of anti-fracking protests around the world.

New research that’s attracted a lot of media interest today seems to put paid to those concerns, finding faulty well casings are to blame instead.

But depending on which headline you read, you might have come away with a different impression. So what’s really going on?…


People Who Live Near Fracking More Likely To Become Sick, Study Finds

Emily Atkin, Climate Progress
People living close to natural gas wells in southwestern Pennsylvania are more than twice as likely to report respiratory illnesses and skin problems than those living farther away, according to a new study from Yale University…


Scientists Find ‘Direct Link’ Between Earthquakes And Process Used For Oil And Gas Drilling

Emily Atkin, Climate Progress
A team of scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey have found evidence “directly linking” the uptick in Colorado and New Mexico earthquakes since 2001 to wastewater injection, a process widely used in the controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and conventional drilling.

In a study to be published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America on Tuesday, the scientists presented “several lines of evidence [that] suggest the earthquakes in the area are directly related to the disposal of wastewater” deep underground, according to a BSSA press release. Fracking and conventional natural gas companies routinely dispose of large amounts of wastewater underground after drilling. During fracking, the water is mixed with chemicals and sand, to “fracture” underground shale rock formations and make gas easier to extract…


100% of power for Vermont city now renewable

Wilson Ring, AP via Boston Globe
Vermont’s largest city has a new success to add to its list of socially conscious achievements: 100 percent of its electricity now comes from renewable sources such as wind, water, and biomass.

With little fanfare, the Burlington Electric Department crossed the threshold this month with the purchase of the 7.4-megawatt Winooski 1 hydroelectric project on the Winooski River at the city’s edge…


Exxon to Shareholders: No Carbon Bubble Risk Here. Carbon Tracker to Exxon: Really?

Ben Jervey, DeSmogBlog
Still own some Exxon Mobil stock and been dithering about divestment? You’re leaving money on the table, and exposing your portfolio to severe risks that the company itself is underestimating. That’s according to a new report published by the Carbon Tracker Initiative, which finds that the stock’s recently sub-par performance can partially be explained by the company’s increasing dependence on tar sands…


Europe’s First 100% Renewable Grid is Online, Figuratively Speaking

Roy L Hales, EcoReport
Europe’s First 100% Renewable Grid is online, figuratively speaking. Philip Hiersemenzel of Younicos said there is no such thing as a Mecklenberg grid (the part of Germany in question), only a European continental grid that stretches from Poland to Portugal and from the northern tip of Denmark to Sicily/Greece. Mecklenburg is already 100% renewable on paper but, without storage, up until recently most of that electricity had to be exported. This changed four months ago when the 5 MWh battery pack at Schwerin started a “trial run.” Today – September 16, 2014 – it is officially “online.”…


Sun and Wind Alter Global Landscape, Leaving Utilities Behind

Justin Gillis, New York Times
Germany’s relentless push into renewable energy has implications far beyond its shores. By creating huge demand for wind turbines and especially for solar panels, it has helped lure big Chinese manufacturers into the market, and that combination is driving down costs faster than almost anyone thought possible just a few years ago. Electric utility executives all over the world are watching nervously as technologies they once dismissed as irrelevant begin to threaten their long-established business plans. Fights are erupting across the United States over the future rules for renewable power. Many poor countries, once intent on building coal-fired power plants to bring electricity to their people, are discussing whether they might leapfrog the fossil age and build clean grids from the outset. A reckoning is at hand, and nowhere is that clearer than in Germany. Even as the country sets records nearly every month for renewable power production, the changes have devastated its utility companies, whose profits from power generation have collapsed…


If Fixing Global Warming Is Free, What’s the Holdup?

Eric Holthaus, Slate
A new report released Tuesday said an ambitious global plan to rid the world of fossil fuels—and generate half of the world’s new energy from renewable sources in just 15 years—could produce more economic benefits than costs, considering the anticipated boost to public health. The report is timed to coincide with next week’s United Nations climate summit in New York and defies conventional wisdom, arguing that the act of decoupling the global economy from carbon emissions is not only necessary for the health of the planet, it’s also one of the best ways to generate widespread economic growth…


U.N. Report: Carbon Dioxide Levels at Record Highs

Tim Profeta, National Geographic
The concentration and the rate of carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere are spiking, according to new analysis from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Scientists believe the record levels are not only the result of emissions but also of plants and oceans’ inability to absorb the excess amounts of CO2…


Natural disasters displaced more people than war in 2013, study finds

Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian
Norwegian Refugee Council finds ‘mega disasters’ such as typhoons and hurricanes drove 22 million people from homes…

He said he hoped the findings would prod leaders meeting at a United Nations climate summit next week to work to protect populations from more disaster-prone future under climate change…


Sea Change: The Ecological Disaster That Nobody Sees

Richard Schiffman, Truthout
On September 21, in what is being advance-billed as the largest climate march in history, thousands of protesters will converge on New York City to focus public attention on the slow-motion train wreck of global warming. But while Americans are becoming increasingly aware that our industrial civilization is destabilizing the earth’s climate, fewer know about another environmental disaster-in-the-making: the crisis of the global oceans.

Experts warn that we are currently facing an extinction event in the oceans which may rival the "Great Death" of the Permian age 250 million years ago, when 95 percent of marine species died out due to a combination of warming, acidification, loss of oxygen and habitat – all conditions that are rife today…


One Way or Another, Everything Changes

Naomi Klein, Truthdig
The following is excerpted from “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate” by Naomi Klein…


The TTIP deal hands British sovereignty to multinationals

Owen Jones, The Guardian
Cameron’s and Ukip’s backing for a treaty that lets corporations devour public services exposes their duplicity…

“It’s a serious threat to British democracy from Brussels.” “Faceless EU bureaucrats threaten to impose laws without the consent of the British people.” Both these statements could succinctly, and accurately, describe the proposed transatlantic trade and investment partnership – TTIP – between the European Union and the United States. But David Cameron is not scuttling to Brussels to display his bulldog spirit as he vetoes an attack on our country’s sovereignty. Nor will you catch Ukip issuing chilling warnings about EU rule. On the contrary, the Ukip MEP Roger Helmer says: “We have no alternative but to support the deal.”

And don’t expect any front-page splashes from the Daily Mail – keen as it is to berate the EU over everything from regulations on the shape of bananas to imperial measurements – about the TTIP threat. In fact, there has been all too little media scrutiny of this menace, with the notable exception of my crusading colleague George Monbiot…


Commission opposes European Citizens’ Initiative against TTIP

Aline Robert, Euractiv
The European Citizens’ Initiative STOP TTIP has been dismissed by the European Commission. Its organisers now want to take the decision to the European courts.

Announced in July, the European citizens’ initiative STOP TTIP was officially supposed to begin at the end of September, but it will come to nothing: the Commission has blocked the project, planned by ATTAC in Germany, and supported by the Greens…


Biking or walking may be the secret to a happier life

Margaret Badore, Treeehugger
There are many anecdotes about the joys of trading in a car for a bike, and now researchers in England are backing this idea with data. A study from the University of East Anglia and the Centre for Diet and Activity Research finds that people who switch from commuting by car to biking or walking improved their overall well-being…

The study controlled for a number of factors that also impact well-being, like income, relationship changes and switching jobs…

News clippings image via shutterstock. Reproduced at Resilience.org with permission.