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Energy in the News: Friday, July 1

Here’s what your July 4 road trip means for the climate

Climate Central, feat. John DeCicco

When an expected record-breaking 36 million Americans take their holiday road trips this Fourth of July weekend, they’ll be part of what is quickly becoming our nation’s biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions — transportation.

This winter, for the first time since 1979, carbon dioxide emissions from cars, trucks and SUVs surpassed the carbon pollution from electric power plants, which have been America’s chief climate polluter for more than 35 years, U.S. Energy Information Administration data released this week show.

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Judge strikes down Obama attempt to tighten fracking rules

Financial Times, feat. Barry Rabe

President Barack Obama’s efforts to leave a robust legacy of environmental protection have suffered another blow as a federal judge struck down an attempt to tighten fracking rules on public land.

A district court judge ruled that measures intended to prevent pollution from fracking were unlawful, the latest setback for the Obama administration as it seeks to act on the environment via regulation rather than legislation in Congress.

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Data centers are no longer the energy hogs they once were

Fortune

Efforts by some of the world’s largest Internet companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon to reduce the amount of energy their data centers consume is now bearing fruit.

According to a new report released on Monday from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the number of data centers has grown rapidly over the past several years to power our connected devices and always-on lifestyles. But the energy needed to support that growth has actually been flat.

That’s a big deal because it means that data centers don’t need to be as power-hungry as they once were. An analysis in 2008 also conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley Lab found that the amount of energy that data centers consumed was doubling every five years.

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Three Amigos Summit 2016: 5 ways to achieve the North American Clean Energy Agreement

International Business Times

The leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico pledged Wednesday to generate half of North America’s electricity from zero-carbon sources within the next 10 years.

U.S. President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto — the trio at the so-called Three Amigos summit in Ottawa, Canada — said they would work to build more wind, solar, hydroelectric and nuclear power in their backyards, and develop carbon capture and storage projects and other energy-efficiency measures.

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Hole in ozone layer is closing and will be ‘healed’ by 2050, scientists say

The Telegraph

The hole in the Antarctic ozone layer is beginning to close, scientists have discovered.

Researchers from the University of Leeds and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, have confirmed the first signs of an increase of ozone, which shields life on Earth from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.

New findings, published today in the journal Science, show that the average size of the ozone hole each September has shrunk by more than 1.7 million square miles since 2000 – about 18 times the area of the United Kingdom.

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Will Trump’s focus on coal hurt him outside Appalachia?

Morning Consult

Donald Trump is backing himself into a corner on energy issues by focusing heavily on coal-industry jobs at the expense of cleaner forms of energy, according to right-leaning campaign operatives.

Republican candidates generally have to thread a needle on energy issues to win in swing states, but Trump isn’t taking a very nuanced approach, said Rob Collins, a Republican campaign consultant who previously was executive director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. To win in swing states, Republicans generally have to support domestic production of affordable energy sources but also come across as forward-looking on clean energy, he said.

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Good jobs and clean energy are not mutually exclusive

The Hill

If you’ve been reading newspaper headlines in recent weeks, you may think environmentalists and unions are clashing with each other over clean energy policy. In fact, infrastructure unions such as LIUNA and climate advocates around the world share the same goal of fighting climate change. Where we differ passionately is in our strategy and approach to reaching that goal. It’s time to put to rest the false choice between jobs and the environment and have a rational discussion about a common-sense path to a clean energy future.

Just as our country’s energy mix is complex, so is the solution to climate change. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, about 37 percent of nation’s overall energy usage is from petroleum and about 16 percent is from coal. Carbon-free nuclear power provides about 8 percent of our energy, but, a number of plants are slated for closure and new capacity is unlikely. That means more than half of our current energy sources face an uncertain future. A growing fossil fuel sector – natural gas – now accounts for nearly a third of our energy.

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