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Bill banning fracking in Calif. passes first committee

fracking ban californiaA bill that would temporarily ban fracking in California was approved at its first state legislative committee hearing on Tuesday.

Fracking, which is known more formally as hydraulic fracturing, uses pressured water, and in some cases chemicals, to break up rock deep under ground so that oil and natural gas can be pumped out.

The bill, SB 1132, was introduced by Sen. Holly Mitchell, a Democrat from South Los Angeles.

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Responding to Investor Pressure, ExxonMobil Agrees to Disclose Fracking Risks

Fracking report from EXXONExxonMobil, the nation's largest oil and gas company, will begin disclosing risks associated with shale drilling and fracking to investors, in response to a long-running campaign by a coalition of shareholders.

In February, the groups of investors in a handful of major oil and gas companies including Exxon, Chevron and EOG Resources,  demandedfor the fifth year in a row more information from companies about the risks associated with fracking. The motion won the support of over 30 percent of Exxon shareholders — an unusually strong showing for a shareholder resolution.

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Four years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, wildlife still struggling

deepwater horizon spillRoughly four years after BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, spilling 200 million gallons of oil -- the biggest oil spill in U.S. history -- wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico continue to struggle.

According to a new report by the National Wildlife Federation, bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles and other animals continue to die at heightened rates, and many Gulf Coast ecosystems remain slow to recover.

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Company pulls out of Alaska's controversial Pebble Mine

Pebble MineGlobal mining giant Rio Tinto is pulling out of the Pebble Mine project in Alaska, the latest blow to the controversial plan to build an open pit mine in the best wild salmon stronghold in the world.

Rio Tinto said Monday that it will donate its 19 percent share in the project to a pair of Alaskan charities, the Alaska Community Foundation and the Bristol Bay Native Corporation Education Foundation.

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Three-Quarters Of World Bank-Backed Projects Still Don't Evaluate Climate Risks: Report

World Bank GroupThe World Bank is still failing to take climate change into account as it makes decisions about the projects it finances, according to a new report from the nonprofit World Resources Institute. The impacts of climate change were only taken into consideration in a quarter of all projects the bank approved between January 2012 and June 2013.

World Resources Institute looked at a selection of projects that would reasonably be expected to undergo some sort of climate impact assessment. The World Bank has in recent years put a greater emphasis on climate change under its new president, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, and argued in a landmark 2013 report that climate change "could seriously undermine poverty alleviation in many regions." But as WRI's report finds, 75 percent of projects still include no assessment of climate risks.

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Climate meeting to discuss future of fossil fuels

fissil fuelsAfter concluding that global warming almost certainly is man-made and poses a grave threat to humanity, the U.N.-sponsored expert panel on climate change is moving on to the next phase: what to do about it.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, will meet next week in Berlin to chart ways in which the world can curb the greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are overheating the planet.

It is also trying to give estimates on what it would cost.

In the third report of a landmark climate assessment, the IPCC is expected to say that to keep warming in check, the world needs a major shift in investments from fossil fuels - the principal source of man-made carbon emissions - to renewable energy.

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Coast Guard says Shell reckless in rig grounding off Alaska coast

Alaskan oil rigA disregard for the risk, possible negligence, inexperience and equipment problems led to the grounding of a Shell drilling rig in a winter storm off the Alaska coast, according to the Coast Guard.

The 2012 grounding was among a series of mistakes and problems that have blocked Shell’s efforts to explore for oil in the Arctic waters off Alaska. The drilling rig Kulluk grounded during a disastrous attempt to tow it more than 1,700 nautical miles across the Gulf of Alaska to a Seattle shipyard for maintenance.

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