July 16, 2020

Shutdown of Dakota Access Pipeline Has Been Temporarily Halted

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.

Former Military Leaders Push to Extend Ban on Offshore Drilling in Florida Gulf

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 Methane Emissions Reach a Record High

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.

New Data Show an ‘Extraordinary’ Rise in U.S. Coastal Flooding

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.

Biden’s $2 Trillion Climate Plan Promotes Union Jobs, Electric Cars and Carbon-Free Power

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.

Trump to Weaken Environmental Rules to Speed Infrastructure Permits

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.

Governments Put ‘Green Recovery’ on the Backburner

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.

More Than a Dozen States Unite to Boost Electric Truck Sales

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

G.A.O.: Trump Boosts Deregulation by Undervaluing Cost of Climate Change

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.

EPA Declines to Tighten Smog Standards Amid Pressure From Green Groups

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.

Joe Biden Plots Energy Path With Eye on Left Flank, Swing-State Jobs

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 Punishes 53 Companies Over Climate Inaction

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.

Russian Mining Giant Reports Another Fuel Spill in Arctic

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.

EU Budget Plan Falls Far Short on Climate Goals, Researchers Say

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

Heat Wave Drives People Inside in Covid’s Hottest Hot Spots

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, Knocked Down Trees

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 Wood Pellet Business is Booming. Scientists Say That’s Not Good for the Climate.

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.

Fracking Firms Fail, Rewarding Executives and Raising Climate Fears

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.

What Antarctica’s ‘Doomsday Glacier’ Means for the Planet

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

Smooth Handfish Becomes First Modern-Day Marine Fish Declared Extinct

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.

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