Monday October 21, 2019
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New York Turn Down Natural Gas Pipeline

The denial of the Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) project came as Washington state and Los Angeles also turned their backs on natural gas

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A jogger runs past the Scattergood power plant, Feb. 12, 2019, in Los Angeles. Los Angeles will abandon a plan to spend billions rebuilding three natural gas power plants as the city moves toward renewable energy, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday.

 bid to build a controversial pipeline to boost New York’s natural gas supply was rejected Wednesday by authorities, the latest manifestation of a nationwide divide over the United States’ energy future.

The denial of the Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) project, whose plans included about 23 miles (37 km) of submarine pipeline off New York City’s coast, came as Washington state and Los Angeles also turned their backs on natural gas.

The nearly $1 billion plan by energy infrastructure firm Williams was denied by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, which cited concerns over water quality and aquatic life.

“Construction of the proposed project would result in significant water quality impacts from the re-suspension of sediments and other contaminants, including mercury and copper,” it said in a statement.

Washington state and Los Angeles

The decision comes a week after Washington state Governor Jay Inslee opposed two natural gas projects in his state, and three months after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city would phase out natural gas operations at three power plants.

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A bid to build a controversial pipeline to boost New York’s natural gas supply was rejected Wednesday. Pixabay

In a statement, Williams lamented the decision and said it would resubmit an application to obtain the permits.

“The Department of Environmental Conservation raised a minor technical issue with our application for water quality certification,” said Chris Stockton, a Williams spokesman.

Natural gas use grows

Natural gas consumption has been growing steadily across the United States, totaling nearly 30,000 billion cubic feet last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The NESE project would have added 0.4 billion cubic feet a day. It takes 1 billion cubic feet to supply about 5 million U.S. homes for a day.

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Though natural gas emits less planet-warming carbon dioxide than other fossil fuels, the pipeline would have been “a step in the wrong direction,” locking the country into a high-carbon future, said Robert Howarth, a professor at Cornell University.

A landmark United Nations report on climate change said last year that to keep the Earth’s temperature rise to a 1.5 degrees C (2.7 F) target would require that renewable energy supply 70% to 85% of electricity by 2050, compared with about 25% now.

“New York should be a leader toward that transition” to renewables, Howarth said. (VOA)

Next Story

World Leaders Gathering in New York for United Nations Summit on Climate Change

U.S. President Donald Trump will not be among those attending the summit

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In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani reviews an honor guard at the Mehrabad airport while leaving Tehran, Iran, for New York to attend UN General Assembly, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. VOA

World leaders are gathering Monday in New York for a United Nations summit on climate change as scientists warn much more ambitious action must be taken to meet targets to mitigate the effects.

Some 60 presidents and prime ministers are due to address the day-long event on topics including shifting away from coal toward renewable energy sources, preventing and responding to disasters, and climate finance.

U.S. President Donald Trump will not be among those attending the summit.  He is spending Monday attending a meeting about the persecution of religious minorities, particularly Christians, before holding separate talks with leaders from Pakistan, Poland, New Zealand, Singapore, Egypt and South Korea.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has sought to highlight the importance of the climate summit and challenged leaders to “come with concrete plans” and not just “beautiful speeches.”

World, Leaders, New York, United Nations
Some 60 presidents and prime ministers are due to address the day-long event on topics including shifting away from coal toward renewable energy sources. Pixabay

Ahead of Monday’s event, the U.N. released a report compiled by the World Meteorological Organization showing there has been an acceleration in carbon pollution, sea-level rise, warming global temperatures, and shrinking ice sheets.

The report says the average global temperature for the period of 2015 through the end of 2019 is on pace to be the “warmest of any equivalent period on record” at 1.1 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, which has been ratified by 186 nations, calls for actions to prevent global temperatures from surpassing 2 degrees, and ideally remain within 1.5 degrees by cutting greenhouse gas emissions.  One of the world’s biggest emitters – the United States – announced under President Trump that it would leave the pact. The U.S. decision has not stopped climate action at the state, local and private sector levels.

The report warns that in order to achieve the 2 degree target, “the level of ambition needs to be tripled.”

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Other global issues such as tensions between the United States and Iran; conflicts in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, and Kashmir; rising in equality and intolerance all figure to be themes as the U.N. General Assembly session begins Tuesday. (VOA)