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US oil output passes imports for first time since 1995

Oil production in the United States surpassed its oil imports for the first time in nearly two decades in October, the government said Wednesday. Helped mainly by production from newly-tapped shale-based reserves, domestic output hit 7.7 million barrels a day last month, a 24-year high. Oil imports, long seen as a strategic and economic vulnerability for America, sank well below that figure to a 17-year low, according to the Energy Information Agency.

French government scrambles to contain ecotax revolt

The French government scrambled Tuesday to contain anger over a proposed environmental tax as protesters continued to destroy radars set up to help collect the levy, in a revolt that shows no sign of abating. Protests over the new "ecotax" on trucks, which aims to encourage environmentally friendly commercial transport, kicked off in earnest last month in the northwestern region of Brittany and eventually forced the government to backtrack and suspend the levy.

Peak trash spells danger for world's environment: researcher

Forget about peak oil. An Ontario researcher says the real concern facing the planet should be peak trash. "Solid waste is an incredibly useful proxy for total global impact," said Daniel Hoornweg of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, who published a commentary on the issue in Wednesday's edition of the science journal Nature. "This paper is basically saying that we're on track to triple the impact — the global damage — to the planet. Arguably, the planet's having a pretty hard time today dealing with the damage that we're inflicting on it."

France to suspend 'ecotax' on road transport after protests

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Tuesday that France was suspending a new "ecotax" on road transport due to take effect on January 1, after violent protests. In the latest government backdown on a controversial tax hike, Ayrault said the application of the tax had been put off across the country so the government can listen to opponents. "Courage is not obstinance, it is listening, understanding," Ayrault told reporters after urgent government talks that followed clashes between police and anti-tax protesters in Brittany on Saturday.

French PM suspends 'ecotax' on trucks after protests

PARIS (Reuters) - France's Socialist government made its second climbdown on tax policy in a week on Tuesday amid rising protests against the fiscal burden and opinion polls showing its approval rating at an all-time low. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced the suspension of a planned environmental tax on trucks after protests in the western Brittany region, but denied his administration was on the run over what his finance minister has called "tax saturation".

Antisocial genesis of the social cost of carbon

By Susan E. Dudley, Brian F. Manix and Sofie E. Miller The day after his 2009 inauguration, President Barack Obama committed to "creating an unprecedented level of openness in government." He vowed to build on "transparency promotes accountability by providing the public with information about what the government is doing," "participation allows members of the public to contribute ideas and expertise," and "collaboration actively engages Americans in the work of their government."

Mexico government ready to dilute tax overhaul plan

By Dave Graham and Miguel Gutierrez MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's government is primed to water down parts of a proposed tax overhaul that aims to boost the country's slender tax take, the head of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) said on Wednesday. President Enrique Pena Nieto aims to raise Mexico's anemic tax take by around $35 billion by 2018, but political opposition and intense lobbying by business groups mean sections of his reform will be sacrificed to push it through Congress.

Onetime Harper adviser resurfaces, vows to continue work on sustainability

OTTAWA - A onetime senior adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been named to a top environmental position at the University of Waterloo, where he'll continue the work he says the government shut down because he was too focused on climate change. "The roundtable lives," David McLaughlin, the former CEO of the government's National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, told The Canadian Press on Monday. The appointment ends "a bit of a tough row in the last little while," added McLaughlin, a leading public policy expert.

China to invest 80 billion yuan in oil and gas exploration this year

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will invest 80 billion yuan ($13.07 billion) in oil and gas exploration in 2013, state media said on Sunday, as it tries to boost energy supplies reduce its dependence on energy imports. Oil and gas investment in China has risen from 19 billion yuan in 2002 to 67.3 billion yuan in 2011, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing Ministry of Land and Resources figures.

Mexico aims to gradually cut Pemex tax burden, set royalty

By Luis Rojas, Ana Isabel Martinez and Alexandra Alper MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico aims to gradually reduce a crippling tax burden on state oil monopoly Pemex, replacing a high levy it currently pays with a royalty and a more flexible taxation scheme, a senior finance ministry official said on Monday. The plan details an energy reform proposal Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto presented earlier this month, which aims to wean Mexico's government off its dependence on Pemex's aging oil fields for its tax revenue.
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