October 20, 2020

Colorado's Record-breaking Wildfires Show ‘Climate Change is Here and Now’

The Cameron Peak fire has become the biggest in Colorado history, burning over 200,000 acres near Fort Collins. This is the second fire in 2020 to hold the title—the Pine Gulch fire near Grand Junction was the state's largest, at 139,000 acres, for only seven weeks. Wildfire experts say that 2020 has made it clear that climate change has arrived in the West. 

October 19, 2020

October 16, 2020

Trump Administration Rejects California’s Request for Wildfire Relief

The Trump administration has rejected California's request for disaster relief aid for six recent fires that have scorched more than 1.8 million acres in land, destroyed thousands of structures and caused at least three deaths last month, the New York Times reports. President Trump has repeatedly blamed poor forest management, not climate change, for the state's wildfire crisis.

Nearly Half of the U.S. Is in Drought. It May Get Worse.

Nearly half of the continental United States is gripped by drought, government forecasters said Thursday, and conditions are expected to worsen this winter across much of the Southwest and South. It's the most widespread drought the Lower 48 states have faced since 2013, said one official, as a lack of late-summer rain expanded dry conditions from Colorado to the Pacific Coast.

October 15, 2020

What Germany Can Teach the US About Quitting Coal

Germany will no longer use coal to generate electricity starting in 2038, a hard-won compromise between environmental advocates and coal workers. But how did the country get there, and what could the U.S. stand to learn from its experience? This is the third installment of our Power Switch series, exploring the lessons the United States can learn from Germany's energy transition.

Shuffle of EPA's Science Advisers Elevates Those With Industry Ties

The EPA's Science Advisory Board is meant to serve as an independent board of some of the nation's top scientific experts to weigh in on the agency's policy proposals. But under the Trump administration, the board will add at least one adviser with strong industry ties and who has a history of working to discredit science on matters such as the health risks associated with tobacco.

PG&E to Cut Power to 159,000 Californians as Fire Risk Returns

Pacific Gas & Electric, California's largest utility, said it will cut power to about 53,000 customers, or 159,000 people, in northern parts of the state to reduce the chances of its power lines starting fires as the parched region braces for another round of high winds. The utility's equipment was blamed for causing some of California's worst blazes, forcing the company into bankruptcy last year.

October 14, 2020

Under Trump, Criminal Prosecutions for Pollution Dropped Sharply

Prosecutions of environmental crimes have "plummeted" during the Trump administration, according to a new report from the University of Michigan law school. The first two years of the Trump administration had a 70 percent decrease in criminal prosecutions under the Clean Water Act and a decrease of more than 50 percent under the Clean Air Act.

Maui Has Begun the Process of Managed Retreat. It Wants Big Oil to Pay the Cost of Sea Level Rise.

With nearly 300 miles of coastline, the Hawaiian islands that make up Maui County face the threat of sea level rise from all sides. It's that assault that has formed the foundation of a lawsuit Maui filed this week against 20 fossil fuel companies seeking compensation for the rising costs of climate change. It's just the latest in a growing number of similar suits against Big Oil.

Targeted Ecosystem Restoration Can Protect Climate, Biodiversity

There is no single silver bullet, like planting a trillion trees, to stop what scientists have identified as the twin threats of extreme climate disruption and biodiversity loss, but new research published today in the journal Nature shows that a holistic, global approach to healing ecosystems would be a big step in the right direction.

Global Warming Killed Half the Corals on the Great Barrier Reef, New Study Says

Half the corals on Australia's Great Barrier Reef have died over the past 25 years, a new study found, warning that climate change is irreversibly destroying the World Heritage-listed underwater ecosystem. The study found an alarming rate of decline across all sizes of corals on the reef since the mid-1990s, but larger species, such as branching and table-shaped corals, have been worst affected.

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