Pulitzer winning climate news

InsideClimate News

Woe, California: Sierra Nevada Snowpack Hits a 500-Year Low

The epic drought reaches a low-water mark (literally) for the snows that provide much of the state’s water in the spring and summer.

Sep 14, 2015

The Sierra Nevada snowpack—the source of more than one-third of California's water supply—is the lowest it has been in 500 years.

Migrant Crisis: 'If We Don't Stop Climate Change...What We See Right Now Is Just the Beginning'

A Q&A with Frank Biermann, a Dutch researcher who led a controversial 2010 study on climate refugees, who fears crises like Europe's will only get worse.

By Phil McKenna

Sep 14, 2015

The surge of people fleeing to Europe from the Middle East highlights how quickly mass migrations can occur. It may also offer a glimpse of what's to come as climate change makes some regions around the world unlivable, according to a leading researcher on the human effects of climate change.

Climate Change's Worst-Case Scenario: 200 Feet of Sea Level Rise

Burning all of the world's known fossil fuel reserves has a scary result: submerging New York, Tokyo, Shanghai and other cities, new research shows.

Sep 11, 2015

If you ever wondered what the worst-case scenario for climate change would look like, a set of researchers shared your curiosity. Their answer, which they published Friday, is scary: sea levels nearly 200 feet higher than today—enough to submerge an 18-story building—putting some of the world's largest cities under water.

Trendsetting Manhattan Leads in Methane Leaks, Too

A study shows natural gas leaks spewing methane from more than 1,000 places in the borough, mostly from aging pipes.

By Phil McKenna

Sep 11, 2015

Methane is spewing from more than 1,000 natural gas leaks under Manhattan, giving it 10 times the number of leaks per mile in its aging natural gas pipelines as cities with more up-to-date infrastructure, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

University of California Springs Divestment Surprise

One of the nation’s largest university systems announced it has shed some of its fossil fuel investment from its endowment and pension funds.

Sep 10, 2015

The growing fossil fuel divestment movement snagged what its proponents consider a significant victory as the University of California announced Wednesday that it had successfully purged its $200 million in coal and oil sands holdings.

Schools Get a First-Hand Lesson in Climate Change, at Their Students’ Expense

Financially strapped school systems and their aging infrastructure are ill-equipped to adapt to more extreme weather like heat, floods and wildfires.

Sep 10, 2015

As the temperatures in Newton, Mass. soared into the mid-90s this week, third grade teacher Valerie Kelly tried desperately to keep her students at Lincoln-Eliot Elementary School cool. Kids stretched out on the tile floor to read while administrators delivered water to classrooms, and Kelly and her colleagues were told to discourage any physical activity.

West Texas Residents Raise a Fight Over Another Trans-National Pipeline

Residents have rallied to oppose the Trans-Pecos pipeline, which will transport Eagle Ford shale gas across one of Texas' last remaining pristine areas.

Sep 9, 2015

It was a late afternoon in July when James Spriggs, a West Texas rancher, was driving home and got a call from a representative of Energy Transfer Partners, a pipeline company based in Dallas. The man on the line issued him an ultimatum, Spriggs said: sign an agreement giving the company access to build a pipeline through his ranch in Marfa or face a court order in 48 hours.

"I said, 'Then send the court order and the sheriff,'" Spriggs recalled. "My last nerve had come to an end."

World's Leading Polluters Have Racked Up a $10 Trillion Carbon Debt

New study puts a staggering figure on the amount developed countries owe the world for carbon dioxide emissions since 1990.

By Phil McKenna

Sep 8, 2015

The countries most responsible for global warming owe the rest of the world a tremendous debt, with the author of a new study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change putting the figure at $10 trillion.

California Passes Bill to Divest Largest Pension Funds from Coal

In the least contentious of its climate-related bills, California Assembly votes to keep its state pensions out of the coal business.

Sep 3, 2015

California is one governor's signature away from becoming the first state to mandate its major public pension funds to at least partially divest from fossil fuel holdings, which could have ripple effects across the nation.

The California Assembly voted 47 to 30 on Wednesday to mandate the state's two largest pension funds divest from coal assets. It now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown's office for approval. The Senate voted in favor of the measure in June.

Changing Climate Could Even Oust the Oriole from Baltimore, Study Says

North American birds' habitats are being shrunk by warming temperatures, threatening their survival, a new climate model shows.

By Phil McKenna

Sep 3, 2015

More than half of North America's birds may lose most of their current home range by the end of the century due to climate change, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE.