September 25, 2018
The first country-by-country estimates of the social cost of carbon suggest that the U.S. has been underestimating how much it benefits from reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and that it has more to gain from international climate agreements than the Trump administration is willing to admit.
Scientists have new evidence for something long suspected: warming in the Southern Ocean is due to human influence. A new study ruled out natural variability as a major source of warming and pinpointed greenhouse gas emissions and ozone depletion as the drivers of warming.
At a federal hearing on Monday, California officials demanded the Trump administration back off a plan to weaken national fuel economy standards, saying the proposed rollback would damage people's health and exacerbate climate change.
Scientists have been puzzling over a dramatic spike in atmospheric methane levels. Research suggests that Arctic lakes could significantly increase it as temperatures rise. Some of those lakes, like the one Washington Post reporter Chris Mooney visited with scientists, are bubbling with gas.
A Dallas Morning News investigation has found that more than two dozen homes in Texas have been damaged by explosions since 2006 because of leaking natural gas. All of the incidents involved the pipelines of Atmos Energy.
Members of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, a group that Exxon and Chevron recently joined, pledged on Monday to cut methane emissions by a fifth by 2025 to an intensity of 0.25 percent of the group's total fossil fuel production. EDF says the group needs to adopt more transparent ways of measuring methane emissions to meet the target.
After gaining approval from the U.S. State Department, developers plan to begin construction on the Keystone XL oil pipeline next year, CBS News reports. The pipeline will stretch across parts of Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. Read more from ICN about the fight over the pipeline.
The Trump administration has repealed a mandate that would have required trains carrying crude oil to use special brakes. With increased oil train traffic have come major crashes and explosions in recent years, including one that killed 47 people in Quebec and others in North Dakota and Oregon.
Imagining the landscape of Antarctica, the first picture that comes to mind might be one of icy, white landscapes, but there are places on the continent with considerable vegetation. In East Antarctica, scientists have found that a drier climate is threatening moss beds.
September 24, 2018
A congressional race in North Carolina pits a solar energy entrepreneur against a former pastor who has balked at climate science. In a congressional district damaged by two hurricanes in three years, what effect will Hurricane Florence—and beliefs about climate change—have?
An increasing number of refugees are fleeing their homes because of climate change. Humanitarian groups say the number of people displaced by climate could be as high as 20 million a year, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Cleveland, the former home of Standard Oil, plans to get 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2050. The city has a long way to go to reach the goal. One concern of observers: there are no details about how the city will work with its local utilities to implement the plan.
In North Carolina, rising water breached a dam and flooded a coal ash reservoir. The energy company responsible for storing the coal ash says their water tests show no cause for concern, but state officials say they'll need more time to assess impact. State officials and Duke Energy both say the reservoir is "structurally sound," The News & Observer reports.
Warnings about the dangers of global warming are being watered down in the policymakers summary of a key UN climate report coming out next month, according to reviewers who have studied earlier versions of the report and summary. They say it's probably being done to make policy recommendations seem more palatable to certain countries.
Following a judge's order last month, the State Department conducted an environmental review of the new Keystone XL pipeline route through Nebraska. Similar to its previous reviews, it says implementing the revised route would have "no significant direct, indirect or cumulative effects on the quality of the natural or human environments."
September 21, 2018
Faced with Hurricane Florence's powerful winds and record rainfall, North Carolina's solar farms held up with only minimal damage while other parts of the electricity system failed, an outcome that solar advocates hope will help to steer the broader energy debate.
A top aide at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is being criticized by former officials from both parties who say his overtly partisan statements are compromising the agency's independence.
Two companies have dropped their bids to take over the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station in Arizona, making it likely the plant will close next year as planned. The plant can't compete with other energy sources on price, but groups with ties the coal industry wanted to find a buyer to keep it running.
Early estimates suggest it will cost up to $22 billion to repair the damage Florence has done across the Carolinas. Some residents will face difficult decisions about whether to rebuild their homes. As the risks of these disasters are rising, insurance companies are adapting, and consumer advocates fear low-income homeowners will bear the brunt of the costs.
Climate change has shifted from a future threat to a clear and present danger, spurring billions of dollars in annual spending as governments, companies and citizens work to adapt. With examples from New York to China to Bangladesh, this is happening all over the world.
Temperatures only slightly warmer than the planet is experiencing today were enough to melt a major part of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, including one stretch about 15,000 years ago when sea levels rose 20 to 30 feet higher than they are now. The findings are part of a study published in the journal Nature.
September 20, 2018
Throughout Puerto Rico, the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria's devastating wind and rain as the storm struck the islands as a Category 4 a year ago today still shapes daily life.
The new National Biodefense Strategy released Wednesday talks about preventing and mitigating disease outbreaks. But when it comes to vector-borne diseases, it fails to address the impact climate change has on disease-carriers like mosquitoes and ticks.
Flooding that followed Hurricane Florence is the latest reminder that low-income neighborhoods are often more likely to be prone to severe flooding. In North Carolina, some public housing complexes were inundated. Read more from ICN on how Norfolk, Virginia, is considering similar risks in its sea level rise planning.
As Hurricane Florence was downgraded from Category 4 to 1, some residents decided to stay put, contributing to a debate about whether the current system for classifying hurricanes is adequate for communicating the potential damage. The Saffir-Simpson scale doesn't capture threats other than wind.
Beach nourishment efforts may have saved one North Carolina neighborhood from Hurricane Florence, but these projects are getting more complicated than just finding funding to bring in more sand. Read more from ICN on beach nourishment and the challenges Nags Head faces as sea level rises.
Wyoming's largest coal mines would effectively be banned from self-bonding if proposed rules that passed an advisory board on Wednesday make it through one more round of public input and onto the governor's desk. The proposed rules are designed to avoid mines becoming a state liability, regulators say.
Some of Greenland's glaciers are disappearing more rapidly than others. Understanding why is a key goal of NASA's Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) mission.
September 19, 2018
The Trump administration has rolled back another environmental rule, and two states are suing over it. The rule reversed yesterday was put in place by the Obama administration to curb the venting of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, by the oil and natural gas industry.
Since August 2017, three hurricanes have set rainfall records for tropical weather systems in four states: Harvey dumped an unheard-of five feet of rain on parts of Texas last year; Lane bombarded Hawaii with more than 50 inches last month; and now Florence has broken records in North and South Carolina.