July 16, 2020
President Trump continued his three-and-a-half-year attack on the nation's environmental laws on Wednesday by seeking to reign in the National Environmental Policy Act, a bedrock environmental statute that requires federal agencies to assess the environmental consequences of their actions. The move could be seen as a response to Joe Biden's climate plan, revealed this week.
The world's richest countries account for an overly large portion of food-related greenhouse gas emissions and need to radically overhaul their diets to meet global health and climate targets, researchers warned this week in two new reports. And as more research links government nutrition advice to climate change, the U.S. guidelines are again coming under fire.
The oil industry has come under unprecedented assault over climate change, and in response, companies have announced plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions. But while the pledges sound impressive, many are misleading and misrepresent how much the oil giants are changing. In fact, no company has committed to shrink its oil output this decade.
Siberia's recent record-breaking temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit was the latest spike in a decade of historic heat waves across the Arctic, a trend that researchers warn will certainly bring about global consequences. A new study shows how those conditions wouldn't be possible without human-caused global warming.
This utility in the heart of America's coal country wants to cut coal. Clean energy jobs are rebounding slightly after big drops due to Covid-19. And how do we avoid a mountain of solar power waste later on? It's all in the latest Inside Clean Energy by Dan Gearino.
A lower court last week ordered the temporary shutdown of the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, saying the initial environmental review was inadequate and that operation must stop until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed another assessment. But an appeals court on Tuesday stalled that order, in a win for the project, saying it needs more time to consider a motion to prevent the shutdown.
A coalition of former military officials is urging lawmakers to extend a ban of drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, arguing a lapse in the moratorium will hurt military preparedness. The letter comes as Florida lawmakers are seeking to extend the moratorium, which expires in June 2022, as Congress grapples with the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act, a bill that sets military policy for the year.
July 15, 2020
Global emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, soared to a record high in 2017, the most recent year for which worldwide data are available, two new studies warn. Driven by fossil fuel leaks and agriculture, that rise will likely continue despite the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic, throwing up hurdles in front of efforts to curb global warming.
Parts of the United States saw record levels of high-tide flooding last year as rising seas brought water further into coastal homes and infrastructure, government scientists reported Tuesday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that high-tide flooding along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts since 2000 has risen "extraordinarily," with flooding in some cities growing fivefold.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden unveiled a $2 trillion clean economy jobs program Tuesday that marked a significant expansion in his plan for tackling climate change, with jobs-creation and environmental justice as its pillars. The plan is seen by many as a way that Biden can win over young and progressive voters. But it's also a way for his campaign to reach out to blue-collar workers.
President Trump on Wednesday is set to unilaterally weaken one of the nation's bedrock conservation laws, the National Environmental Policy Act, limiting public review of federal infrastructure projects to speed up the permitting of freeways, power plants and pipelines. Critics say the move will undo 50 years of requiring the federal government to act as an environmental steward, as our own reporting shows.
When the White House undercut top disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, it was deja vu for climate scientists who have faced harassment and threats for their work. Political pressure and harassment have been part of the job for climate scientists for years. Here's their advice for public health experts, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, who are under fire in the era of the coronavirus.
Governments are spending vastly more in support of fossil fuels than on low-carbon energy in rescue packages triggered by the coronavirus crisis, despite rhetoric from many countries in support of a "green recovery," a new international research effort revealed. G20 countries have spent at least $151 billion in bailout funds to support fossil fuels, the report said.
A weather observing station in Death Valley, California, reached a scorching 128 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday—the hottest temperature on the planet since 2017 and a degree below what experts say is likely the hottest day on record. It highlights a brutal heat wave baking the Southwest and lower Plains states, where more extreme heat days are being forecast this week.
Fifteen states and Washington, D.C. are teaming up to boost sales of pickup trucks, school buses and big rigs that run entirely on electricity and do not pump climate-warming pollution into the air. The agreement, while nonbinding, aims to ensure every new medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sold within the borders of the participating states is fully electric by 2050.
July 14, 2020
The Trump administration set a rock-bottom price on the damages done by greenhouse gas emissions, enabling the government to justify the costs of repealing or weakening dozens of climate change regulations, according to a Government Accountability Office report that's expected to be released Tuesday. Critics accuse the administration of deliberately turning a blind eye to global warming.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday did not propose more ambitious standards for reducing smog despite pressure from environmental groups and even some courts that had urged the agency to set more restrictive regulations on the pollutant. Monday's proposal would retain the 70 part per billion standard for ozone, commonly referred to as smog, set under the Obama administration.
With forecasters pointing to more extremely hot days ahead, utility bills are on the rise. Already, thousands of people are struggling to pay them amid a pandemic that wreaked havoc on the economy. This week meteorologists are predicting temperatures over 100 degrees and widespread dry conditions for the middle of the country that could last into August.
Joe Biden on Tuesday will unveil clean-energy and infrastructure plans that seek to balance progressives' demands for bold action on climate against protecting swing-state jobs in a coronavirus-altered economy, Bloomberg reports. The plan includes $2 trillion in spending over four years and sets the goal of a 100-percent clean-energy standard by 2035.
BlackRock has punished more than 50 companies from U.S. oil major ExxonMobil to Swedish carmaker Volvo over their lack of progress on tackling global warming, six months after it warned of huge investment risks from climate change. The global investment giant has faced repeated accusations of not taking meaningful action on global warming.
A Russian mining giant reported another fuel spill in the Arctic on Sunday as the company faces an ongoing dispute with authorities over an oil spill from earlier this year. MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC reported a pipeline leak in the area of Tukhard, saying in a statement that about 44.5 tons of fuel had spilled. A Russian watchdog reported that the spill from earlier this year caused $2.1 billion in damage.
A European Commission proposal for the European Union's long-term budget and recovery fund risks leaving a huge shortfall in the "green" investment needed to meet Europe's climate goals, researchers said on Tuesday. Leaders from the bloc's 27 countries will meet on Friday to discuss the budget as revenue streams struggle under the pandemic.
July 13, 2020
An oppressive heat wave is intersecting with a spike of Covid-19 cases in some of the pandemic's hardest-hit U.S. cities, Bloomberg reports, including Houston and Phoenix, where temperatures on Friday climbed upwards of 110 degrees Farhenheit. It's posing another obstacle for officials and health experts who must decide what's riskier: indoor transmission or dangerous temperatures.
Tropical Storm Fay flooded streets, closed roads and knocked down trees Friday in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware. The storm made landfall Friday evening near Atlantic City, New Jersey, and was downgraded overnight as it moved over land. The storm also caused President Donald Trump to cancel a rally he had planned for Saturday in New Hampshire.
The Trump administration is preparing to unveil a new rule that labels, for the first time, the burning of wood as a carbon-neutral energy source. Biomass fuel has become a booming industry in the American South, where wood pellets are being shipped off to Europe to produce electricity. But some scientists say the new EPA rule would put the climate, as well as forest ecosystems, at further risk.
Oil and gas companies in the United States are hurtling toward bankruptcy at a pace not seen in years, driven under by a global price war and a pandemic that has slashed demand. And amid the economic carnage looms a potential environmental disaster: unprofitable wells that will likely be abandoned or left unattended, even as they leak climate-warming methane.
Shawna Wood had spent nearly 50 years celebrating Christmas in Mexico Beach, Florida, where her family owned a hotel. But Hurricane Michael destroyed the building, along with their tradition. This is part of our American Climate series documenting how climate change is impacting people across the country.
Scientists are racing to learn how a quickly-melting glacier the size of Great Britain located in one of the harshest environments on earth is changing, and what that means for sea-level rise. Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier, dubbed the "doomsday glacier," holds crucial clues to the future of the planet, researchers say.
July 10, 2020
A Supreme Court ruling yesterday declaring that nearly half of Oklahoma remains Native American reservation land is worrying oil executives who fear the change will bring increased federal regulation. In a 5-4 decision, the high court found that 19 million acres of land in the state are part of the Muscogee (Creek), Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Seminole Nations' reservations.
Australia's smooth handfish has officially become the first modern-day fish to be declared extinct—the latest evidence that the ocean is not too vast for humans to cause it serious harm. Scientists, who declared the fish extinct in March, are unsure exactly what finished off the species, but others in the region are threatened by trawl fishing, pollution and climate change.