Coal miners in West Virginia and other parts of Appalachia are suffering from an advanced form of black lung at some of the highest rates in decades, according to new information released by federal health officials.
"Each of these cases is a tragedy and represents a failure among all those responsible for preventing this severe disease," states a letter about the research to a scientific journal.
The prevalence of "progressive massive fibrosis," a debilitating and lethal form of black lung, is at its highest rate since the early 1970s for miners in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia, according to new research. Experts with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a department under the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, summarized their study in a letter published Monday in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
"Excessive inhalation of coal mine dust is the sole cause of (progressive massive fibrosis) in working coal miners, so this increase can only be the result of overexposures and/or increased toxicity stemming from changes in dust composition," the study states.
Investments to help fight climate change can also spur economic growth, rather than slow it as widely feared, but time is running short for a trillion-dollar shift to transform cities and energy use, an international report said on Tuesday.
The study, by former heads of government, business leaders, economists and other experts, said the next 15 years were critical for a bigger shift to clean energies from fossil fuels to combat global warming and cut health bills from pollution.
"It is possible to tackle climate change and it is possible to have economic growth at the same time," Felipe Calderon, a former Mexican president and head of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, told a news conference.
Many governments and businesses wrongly fear that measures to slow climate change will undermine jobs and growth, he said. The report is meant to guide world leaders at a Sept. 23 climate summit hosted by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Almost 200 nations are working on a U.N. pact, due to be agreed in Paris in late 2015, to rein in rising greenhouse gas emissions. Progress to combat global warming has been slow despite two decades of work.
Texas Board of Education member David Bradley wants to set the record straight on global warming.
"Whether global warming is a myth or whether it's actually happening, that's very much up for debate," Bradley said. "Don't listen to anyone who tells you otherwise."
Bradley is not a climate scientist, but he's about to make big decisions governing what Texas students learn about climate change.
In November, Bradley and the rest of the state's 15-member board will vote to adopt new social-studies textbooks for public schools from kindergarten to 12th grade. When he does, he says that part of his mission will be to shield Lone Star schoolchildren from green propaganda.
Instead, Bradley plans to push for textbooks that teach climate-science doubt—presenting the link between greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity and global warming as an unsubstantiated and controversial theory.
Statewide oil production topped 1.1 million barrels per day in July, and the state met its first benchmark to reduce flaring.
Preliminary July numbers released Friday by the Department of Mineral Resources show production of 1,110,642 barrels per day—an increase of more than 18,000 over the June figure of 1,092,519 barrels per day.
Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms said July was the first time the state met a benchmark put in place to reduce flaring. He said flaring statewide dropped to 26 percent, down from 28 percent in June, but "industry's going to have to work very hard to maintain that."
Helms said short stretches of pipeline through federal land leading to two different processing plants are likely to be delayed, which could create problems with maintaining benchmarks over the winter.
New rules approved by the North Dakota Industrial Commission earlier this year set benchmarks for reducing flaring as a percentage. Under the first one, statewide flaring is supposed to be down to 26 percent by Oct. 1.
Denis Coderre, Montreal's mayor and head of the Montreal Metropolitan Community, says Enbridge has not met all 30 conditions set out to earn his approval on the controversial Line 9 pipeline project.
Enbridge wants to reverse the flow of Line 9, a 639-kilometer stretch of pipeline between Sarnia, Ont. and Montreal.
Right now, Line 9 runs from Montreal to Sarnia, but Enbridge wants to reverse the flow to bring Albertan crude oil to Montreal refineries.
Coderre, speaking as head of Montreal Metropolitan Community, said Enbridge has failed to meet two of the criteria outlined by the MMC's vigilance committee.
The MMC is a planning, coordinating and funding body that represents 82 communities in the greater Montreal region.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper won't be attending the United Nations climate summit in New York this month.
Harper is the latest among top leaders to reveal he will not be attending the day-long summit, which is meant to build momentum for the Paris 2015 talks where countries will work to sign a global pact on greenhouse gas emissions.
Harper will be attending a dinner hosted by the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon that evening, however, where climate change will be discussed, said Jason MacDonald, Harper's communications director.
Canada will be represented at the summit by Leona Aglukkaq, its minister of the environment, MacDonald said.
U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres says the absence of the Chinese and Indian leaders from a U.N. climate summit on September 23 will not affect its credibility or outcomes.
The rulers of the first and third largest carbon polluters on the planet, Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi, recently declined to attend the meeting, hosted by secretary general Ban Ki-moon.
U.S. president Barack Obama is scheduled to attend the gathering, as is U.K. prime minister David Cameron, who told NGOs of his intention to travel on Tuesday evening. Number 10 confirmed to RTCC Cameron is expected to be there.
And despite Modi and Xi's absence, the UN's top climate official believes the meeting can forge a new consensus on what a global carbon cutting deal could look like. She expects over 125 heads of state to turn up.
Atmospheric volumes of greenhouse hit a record in 2013 as carbon dioxide concentrations grew at the fastest rate since reliable global records began, the World Meteorological Organization said on Tuesday.
"We know without any doubt that our climate is changing and our weather is becoming more extreme due to human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels," said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud in a statement accompanying the WMO's annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.
"Past, present and future CO2 emissions will have a cumulative impact on both global warming and ocean acidification. The laws of physics are non-negotiable," Jarraud said. "We are running out of time."
Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter knew the law. He also understood the threats posed by climate change. So for days he grappled with what to do about the two environmental activists facing criminal charges for blocking a 40,000-ton coal shipment last year to the Brayton Point power plant in Somerset.
Just as the trial was about to begin Monday, Sutter decided to drop all charges.
Then, in a dramatic appearance at Fall River District Court, he said he empathized with the stance of Ken Ward and Jay O’Hara, who said they were acting to reduce harm to the planet when they used the lobster boat Henry David T. to block the shipment to the coal-burning plant.
"Because of my sympathy with their position, I was in a dilemma," Sutter said afterward. "I have a duty to go forward to some extent with this case and to follow the applicable case law, but they were looking for a forum to present their very compelling case about climate change."
As pressure grows from students who want to see their schools use financial clout to address environmental issues,'s investment office wrote to its money managers asking them to assess how investments could affect and suggesting they avoid companies that do not take sensible "steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
The letter, from David F. Swensen, Yale's chief investment officer, stopped short of asking managers to sell shares in companies with a "large greenhouse footprint." Instead, Yale asked them to "discuss with company managements the financial risks of climate change and the financial implications of current and prospective government policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."