September 21, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Leaves a Long and Nuanced Legacy on Environmental Issues

The death this weekend of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of women's rights and one of the Supreme Court's most liberal justices, could leave a lasting imprint on American environmental policy as the Trump administration scrambles to replace her. Known for her work on gender and sexual rights, her legacy also helped establish the nation's first-ever authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Young Republican Climate Activists Split Over How to Get Their Voices Heard in November’s Election

In 2016, Jacob Abel voted for Donald Trump, but he doesn't plan to this year. A determining factor in his 180-degree-turn? Climate change. Like Abel, a growing number of young Republicans are expressing frustration with the party's lackluster responses to the issue. If enough climate-concerned GOP youths don't vote for Trump, they could shift the party's environmental positions.

U.S. and European Oil Giants Go Different Ways on Climate Change

As oil prices plunge and concerns about climate change grow, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and other European energy companies are selling off oil fields, planning a sharp reduction in emissions and investing billions in renewable energy. That's not the case for American oil majors Chevron and ExxonMobil, which are doubling down on oil and natural gas investments, The New York Times reports.

In Colorado, Where Climate Matters, Hickenlooper is Favored to Unseat Gardner

Colorado voters concerned about the climate are siding with Democrat John Hickenlooper over GOP incumbent Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, seeing him as a better alternative to achieving stronger climate action. This story is part of our Senate 2020 series, which focuses on the climate records of candidates in 11 key races in the November elections that will determine the future of U.S. climate policy.

In Maine, Collins’ Loyalty to Trump Has Dissolved Climate Activists’ Support

Maine Sen. Susan Collins has the strongest pro-environment voting record among Senate Republicans, but lacks support from big environmental groups, which disapprove of her votes supporting President Trump. This story is part of our Senate 2020 series, which focuses on the climate records of candidates in 11 key races in the November elections that will determine the future of U.S. climate policy.

Airbus Unveils Hydrogen Designs for Zero-Emission Flight

European planemaker Airbus unveiled three designs it's studying to build hydrogen-powered aircraft as it races to bring a zero-carbon passenger plane into service by 2035, Bloomberg reports. Hydrogen gas, which doesn't produce greenhouse gases when burned, is becoming an increasing area of focus for Airbus as it evaluates technologies for emission-free air travel.

September 18, 2020

As the West Faces Terrible Air Quality, Health Experts Are Again Warning About Covid-19

As wildfires leave the West with some of the worst air quality in the world, it poses a major threat to people with asthma and other underlying health conditions who face greater risk of serious Covid-19 complications, health experts say. "At the levels of air pollution we're seeing in the northwest now, it's a matter of concern for everyone," a spokesperson for the American Lung Association said.

Court Temporarily Pauses EPA Methane Emissions Rollback

A court has temporarily halted an Environmental Protection Agency rule that rescinded Obama-era standards for methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, preventing the rollback from taking effect for the time being. Federal judges issued a procedural pause on the rule while the court decides on further action, but said the order doesn't reflect a judgement on the rule's merits.

Get to Net-Zero by Mid-Century? Even Some Global Oil and Gas Giants Think it Can Be Done

The world must get to net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century, and can make it happen at a price that is relatively small in global terms—$1 trillion to $2 trillion per year—according to a new report from a think tank that includes BP, Shell and other big businesses. While researchers have long called for net-zero emissions by mid-century, the message could be better received coming from oil majors.

With Record Heat, Climate is a Big Deal in Arizona, but It May Not Sway Voters

Battered by heat all summer, Arizona voters may be poised to elect Democrat Mark Kelly for the Senate, if polls hold true. Kelly has pledged to fight climate change, while GOP incumbent Sen. Martha McSally hasn't. This story is part of our Senate 2020 series, which focuses on the climate records of candidates in 11 key races in the November elections that will determine the future of U.S. climate policy.

September 17, 2020

Smoke From Western Wildfires Has Reached Europe

Smoke from the wildfires in the West is spreading across the United States and has even reached Europe, according to the European Union's Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service. Satellite images show the smoke hovering above the United Kingdom and moving into Northern Europe, a nearly 5,000 mile journey. With it could come years of lasting health impacts, our reporting found.

As Wildfires Rage, California Presses Insurers to Cut Rates

Faced with the twin climate crises of historic wildfires and spiraling insurance costs, California on Wednesday laid out new rules to make insurance more affordable in fire-prone areas, The New York Times reports. But the changes could backfire, experts say—pushing insurers to stop offering insurance in those areas and further imperiling communities on the front lines of climate change.

EPA Postpones Environmental Justice Training After White House Memo

The Environmental Protection Agency is postponing training on environmental inequity faced by communities of color and low-income communities following a White House order calling for agencies to stop training involving what it described as "anti-American propaganda," The Hill reports. The agency said it's putting the training "on hold" until it receives further instruction.

September 16, 2020

California Fires Are Emitting Record Amounts of Carbon Dioxide

Giant fires are releasing unprecedented amounts of carbon dioxide and particulate-matter pollution into the atmosphere in California and Oregon, leading to the first increase in wildfire emissions in the U.S. since 2015, Bloomberg reports. In some spots, the intensity of fires this year has been up to hundreds of times higher than the average from 2003 to 2019.

A Most ‘Sustainable’ Vineyard in a ‘Completely Unsustainable’ Year

California's Napa and Sonoma Valleys have faced an unrelenting barrage of climate-related disasters in recent years, including increasingly devastating drought and wildfire. Now winery owners dedicated to being earth-friendly and sustainable feel cheated as their livelihood goes up in smoke. "We're paying the price for everybody else getting cheap energy in the last few decades," one owner said.

In a Dry State, Farmers Use Oil Wastewater to Irrigate Their Fields, but is it Safe?

Faced with ongoing drought, water shortages and regulations limiting groundwater use, California farmers are increasingly using oilfield wastewater—a byproduct of oil and gas extraction—to irrigate their crops. The water can contain harmful materials such as boron, arsenic and radioactive elements, but at safe levels for humans, one study found. Still, some experts worry about what's being overlooked.

In Montana, Big Sky Country, Climate Change is Playing a Role in a Crucial Toss-Up Race

Pollsters are calling the Montana Senate race between Republican incumbent Sen. Steve Daines and Democratic challenger Steve Bullock a tossup, and the future of the nation's climate policy could be on the line. This story is part of our Senate 2020 series, which focuses on the climate records of candidates in 11 key races in the November elections that will determine the future of U.S. climate policy.

In Kansas, a Democratic Climate Hawk Closes in on a Republican Climate Skeptic

Is the GOP losing its grip on deep-red Kansas? The result of this tight race between Sen. Barbara Bollier and Rep. Roger Marshall could reveal the answer, as well as how their views on climate change played a role. This story is part of our Senate 2020 series, which focuses on the climate records of candidates in 11 key races in the November elections that will determine the future of U.S. climate policy.

September 15, 2020

A ‘Crossroads’ for Humanity: Earth’s Biodiversity Is Still Collapsing

The world is failing to address a catastrophic biodiversity collapse that not only threatens to wipe out beloved species and invaluable genetic diversity, but endangers humanity's food supply, health and security, according to a sweeping new United Nations report. Despite commitments made a decade ago to protect and restore nature, nations continue to exacerbate the crisis, it says.

Hurricane Sally Is Bringing 'History-Making' Rains To Gulf Coast, Forecasters Say

Hurricane Sally weakened a bit overnight, but the storm brings a perilous threat of floods to areas along the northern Gulf Coast, forecasters say. The hurricane is crawling along at just 2 mph, giving its heavy rains even more potential impact. Many communities in Sally's path will be drenched by 10 to 20 inches of rain, with some areas possibly seeing up to 30 inches.

Biden Puts Climate Change at Center of Presidential Campaign, Calling Trump a ‘Climate Arsonist’

With the West ablaze and a hurricane bearing down on the Gulf Coast, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden assailed President Donald Trump for science denial Monday in an unprecedented move by a candidate to shift a U.S. presidential campaign's focus to global warming. "From the ravages of climate change, it's clear we're not safe in Donald Trump's America," Biden said at a recent campaign rally.

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