February 20, 2018
Even as renewable energy grows cheaper and automakers churn out more efficient cars, many nations are struggling to hit the relatively modest goals of the Paris climate agreement. There are a variety of reasons.
In just eight days this month, nearly a third of the sea ice covering the Bering Sea off Alaska's west coast disappeared. The area of the Bering Sea covered by ice fell to 60 percent below its average from 1981 to 2010—and it's already affecting coastal communities' way of life.
The Interior Department's plan to complete infrastructure projects in national parks using money raised by drilling on public lands has raised concern among members of Congress. Critics say the plan is misleading since oil revenues increased last year because of a rise in prices, not policy changes, and the drilling money may be spoken for by other agencies.
Across the world, climate change is warming many lakes faster than it is warming the oceans and the air. Rising temperatures, drought and overuse of water are threatening habitats and cultures from China to Iran to East Africa.
A Republican senator has introduced a bill meant to give the EPA the power to implement the Kigali Amendment on planet-warming HFCs, following a court's decision last year that the Clean Air Act does not give the agency authority to do so. Read more from ICN on industry support for an HFC phase-out.
Singapore has announced details of its carbon tax plan, with a rate starting at S$5 (US$ 3.79) a ton for the first five years, starting in 2019. The tax is expected to affect about 40 companies in the power generation, petrochemical and semiconductor industries, which make up 80 percent of Singapore's emissions.
February 16, 2018
Leaks of climate-warming methane from oil and gas sites in Pennsylvania could be five times greater than companies reports to state regulators, a new Environmental Defense Fund analysis suggests. EDF estimates that nearly $68 million worth of energy resources are being wasted.
A federal judge in San Francisco ordered the Trump administration to end a year-long delay on Obama-era rules that tighten energy efficiency standards for items including portable air conditioners and air compressors. The judge ruled that the Energy Department must publish the rules within 28 days.
Members of the House and Senate energy committees are asking FERC to update them again on potential environmental safety risks related to construction of Ohio's Rover Pipeline. Read more from ICN about some of the pipeline's spills and leaks.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a rule Thursday designed to tear down barriers to batteries and other energy storage participating in wholesale energy markets.
February 15, 2018
Years of radar data show that bats are migrating about two weeks earlier in the spring than they did just two decades ago. Scientists say the changes in the bats' timing and seasonal cycles are linked with the way global warming is altering the food chain and weather patterns.
In a closed-door meeting with Congress members, President Trump pitched the idea of a 25-cent gas tax to help pay for infrastructure projects. Some congressional Republicans said it was a non-starter, but others support the idea. The tax hasn't been raised since 1993.
Former top science advisers for previous presidents are raising concerns that President Trump is heading into his second year without filling the position for his science adviser. He is the first president in four decades to not appoint one.
Rapid warming in Alaska is threatening the fishing industry, raising concerns about the credit ratings of coastal fishing towns where there is substantial economic risk as fishing processes and tourist activities are interrupted.
Many of the world's biggest banks, including Barclays and Goldman Sachs, aren't doing enough to curb climate change, according to a survey Boston Common Asset Management. Fewer than half have put in place climate risk assessments and 61 percent haven't restricted financing of coal.
There is a loophole in federal law that the Obama administration tried to close—and the Trump administration is championing—that allows trucks to have rebuilt diesel engines that do not have to comply with rules on modern emissions controls. Although automakers, businesses and environmentalists are calling to close it, the powerful Fitzgerald truck company has Trump's ear.
George David Banks, the Trump administration's lead policy expert on the Paris climate agreement, resigned after he was informed he would not receive permanent security clearance. Banks said he was told clearance would not be granted because he smoked marijuana in 2013.
In his latest budget proposal, President Trump is trying to block the next phase of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory satellite mission, which NASA uses to gather details about what is happening to the carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere.
Even with the pledges outlined in the Paris climate agreement, the world is likely to see "substantial and widespread increases in the probability of historically unprecedented extreme events," a new study suggests.
Climate change and industrial-scale fishing is threatening the krill population in Antarctic waters, which could have an impact on predators such as whales, penguins and leopard seals. Scientists warn that the penguin population could drop by almost a third by the end of the century.
February 14, 2018
The nation's intelligence agencies warned Congress again in their annual global threat assessment that climate change can fuel disasters and violent conflicts. Their frank confirmation of climate science was striking against the backdrop of Trump administration comments and actions.
Lawmakers in Utah and Wyoming introduced legislation this week to fund legal challenges to West Coast state policies that affect their coal production. One targets Washington state's denial of a coal export terminal permit, the other targets California's carbon cap-and-trade program.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has taken the first step on a slow path to loosen curbs on methane emissions from oil and gas operations on public land, after legal roadblocks stymied Trump administration efforts to quickly set aside Obama-era rules on the potent greenhouse gas.
To help pay for the environmental impacts of drilling, Colorado oil and gas regulators approved a plan to raise taxes on energy developers by charging 0.11 cents on every dollar of oil and gas produced, with a target of raising $4.8 million. The regulators also set new safety requirements for pipelines.
Arctic ringed seals must be protected under the Endangered Species Act because of their reliance on the sea ice, which is rapidly disappearing as the planet warms, a federal appeals court ruled. The oil industry and Alaska have been pushing back on the protections.
Texas communities hit by Hurricane Harvey can now apply for federal money to cover everything from buying out homes in flood-prone areas to building new seawalls. The state expects to get over $1 billion in hazard mitigation money from FEMA by late August, the one-year anniversary of the storm.
Three environmental groups have sued the Trump administration over an EPA Clean Water Act permit granted last year that allows oil companies to dump waste from drilling and fracking into the Gulf of Mexico.
Last year, Hurricane irma slammed the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda, destroying 95 percent of Barbuda's buildings and forcing an evacuation of the entire island. Gaston Browne, Antigua and Barbuda's prime minister, describes how the islands are rebuilding.
A group of five climate activists, called the Valve Turners because of their efforts to sabotage pipelines, have decided to fight global warming by doing whatever it takes—even going to prison.