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Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

The Top Energy News Stories of 2014

These stories were chosen by the editors of Green Energy Times as the top twenty of 2014:

January 11 – A look at peer-reviewed articles on climate change in scientific journals, from Nov. 12, 2012 through December 31, 2013, found 2,258 articles written by a total of 9,136 authors. Only one article, by a single author, rejected man-made global warming. [CleanTechnica]

January 16 – Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of Connecticut analyzed more than 122,000 home sales near 26 wind facilities in densely populated Massachusetts, yet was unable to find any impacts to nearby home property values. [Windpower Engineering]

February 11 – Decommissioning Sellafield nuclear power station in the UK will cost taxpayers at least £70 billion ($106 billion) as costs hit “astonishing levels,” senior MPs said yesterday. “What’s worse is that the cost is likely to continue to rise.” [Morning Star Online]

March 7 – China’s Premier Li Keqiang has declared war on pollution, outlining significant steps the Chinese government will take to improve air quality. China has suffered from truly epic smog over the last two winters. [EconoMonitor]

March 19 – Available evidence does not support the notion that wind farms cause adverse health effects, according the Australian Medical Association. They say health effects blamed on wind turbines are instead a placebo effect caused by anti-wind activists. [Energy Matters]

March 25 – In new estimates released today, WHO reports that in 2012 around 7 million people died – one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest environmental health risk. [India.Com Health]

May 3 – According to the International Monetary Fund, when you factor in implicit subsidies from the failure to charge for pollution, climate change and other externalities, the post-tax cost of support for fossil fuels comes in at close to $2 trillion each year. [CleanTechnica]

June 10 – A decision by parties to an obscure convention has huge implications for Europe’s ageing nuclear reactors. License extensions for nuclear reactors have environmental impact assessments comparing impacts to those of renewable alternatives. [The Ecologist]

June 26 – The use of executive powers to regulate greenhouse gas emissions has been reaffirmed by the US Supreme Court in a ruling issued on Monday. This suggests President Obama’s climate policy has solid legal foundations. [Carbon Brief]

July 7 – On July 5 and  July 6 in Oklahoma, there were seven earthquakes. As of last month, Oklahoma had surpassed California in the number of earthquakes. It’s possible that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, could have played a role in causing them. [CNN]

July 29 – The American Wind Energy Association has just come out with some facts and figures about the so-called hidden cost of wind power. According the AWEA calculations the “hidden cost” for conventional power plants in Texas is 17 times more than wind. [CleanTechnica]

August 19 – A Department of Energy and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory report pegs utility-scale wind power-purchase agreement pricing as averaging $25 per MWh for projects that negotiated contracts in 2013. That makes wind the lowest cost power source. [Greentech Media]

August 28 – Renewable energy sources accounted for 14.3% of net US electrical generation in the first half of the year, according to a new report by the EIA. Last year, the EIA forecast that the US would reach the 14% renewable mark in 2040. [pv magazine]

August 31 – One of the most important pieces of news of the summer made virtually no headlines and seemed to only appear on the website of the US Energy Information Administration. 127 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies are running out of cash. [Resilience]

September 7 – The transition to a global renewable energy economy could save $71 trillion by the year 2050, according to an IEA report. Put another way, $44 trillion in investment by the year 2050 would translate to about $115 trillion in energy savings. [CleanTechnica]

September 14 – After a seven-year-long investigation, scientists at the National Audubon Society issued a grim report finding that more than half of the 650 or so bird species in North America may be threatened by global warming. [Canada News]

September 19 – Ahead of a UN climate summit, institutional investors managing £15 trillion of assets are calling on governments to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels, which are estimated at £370 billion per year world wide, five times the subsidies for renewables. [The Guardian]

November 12 – The presidents of the US and China agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in both countries. The US would cut its carbon emissions by 26-28% before 2025. China would start to cut carbon emissions and be 20% carbon free by 2030. [CNN]

December 1 – EON, the world’s largest investor-owned utility, will break itself up, spinning off fossil fuel power plants into a separate company so it can focus on renewable energy. EON will write down the value of assets by €4.5 billion. [Businessweek]

December 30 – The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant stopped sending electricity to the grid Monday after producing total of 171 billion kWh over its 42-year lifetime. The shutdown came just after noon as the plant completed its 30th operating cycle. [Washington Times]

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