June 24, 2019
How do the Democratic presidential hopefuls compare on their climate actions and promises to solve the crisis? With the first debates coming this week, the InsideClimate News team analyzed the climate records of the most prominent candidates and others showing the spectrum of climate policy choices.
After learning about a series of EPA air quality violations involving giant petroleum storage tanks in their city, residents in South Portland, Maine, decided to take matters into their own hands.
The White House has issued draft guidance saying federal agencies no longer have to take projects' long-term climate impacts into account when assessing how they will affect the environment, including activities ranging from coal mining to pipelines and oil drilling.
The Trump administration has refused to publicize dozens of government-funded studies that warn about the effects of climate change. The studies include a discovery that rice loses vitamins in a carbon-rich environment, findings that climate change can exacerbate allergies and warnings for farmers about the reduction in quality of grasses that feed livestock.
Fossil fuel industry giants have an outsized presence at global climate talks and are working to undermine international consensus and slow policy progress, according to a new report by an environmental monitoring organization.
A spending bill passed by the Democratic-controlled U.S. House would block offshore drilling along most U.S. shores, taking development of all of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts off the table.
General Electric says it plans to demolish a large natural-gas-fired power plant it owns in California after only one-third of its useful life because the plant is no longer economically viable in a state where wind and solar supply a growing share of inexpensive electricity.
Plans for a $1.6 billion wind farm about 15 miles off the coast of Atlantic City has won the backing of state regulators. The 1,110-megawatt offshore wind farm is expected to produce enough electricity to power more than half a million New Jersey homes.
June 21, 2019
European Union leaders failed to reach an agreement Thursday on a proposal to reduce their net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. Leaders agreed on a compromise resolution to study ways to make the EU "climate neutral" without setting a target date.
After Republican senators fled the state to avoid voting on a cap-and-trade climate bill, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown called the state police to compel them to come back. "They need to return and do the jobs they were elected to do," Brown said. The Republicans said that boycotting the vote was the only way to advocate for the voters who put them in office.
The operator of the Dakota Access pipeline is planning to nearly double its capacity, from more than 500,000 barrels per day to as much as 1.1 million barrels. Energy Transfer Partners said the expansion would let it meet growing demand without additional pipelines or rail shipments.
Building seawalls to protect against rising seas could cost communities in the United States $416 billion over the next 20 years, according to a new report from the Center for Climate Integrity. "I don't think anybody's thought about the magnitude of this one small portion of overall adaptation costs and it's a huge number," said Richard Wiles, executive director of the center.
Rhode Island regulators on Thursday rejected approval of a proposal to build a $1 billion fossil-fuel burning power plant that would be among New England's largest. Opponents of the project described it as "reckless" at a time of global warming and said the decision, which the board said was based on a lack of need for the plant, vindicates their arguments.
A longtime former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staffer is accusing Administrator Andrew Wheeler of lying in a letter he wrote to Congress Tuesday that denied agency staff were shut out as EPA developed a controversial rollback of Obama-era fuel standards.
Early this morning at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining Complex, a fire broke out in a vat of butane, turning the sky bright orange and yellow and awakening startled residents with explosions that shook homes. The 150-year-old refinery complex is the largest on the Eastern Seaboard, producing 335,000 barrels of crude oil daily.
Sydney, Australia, acutely vulnerable to global warming, moved to declare a climate emergency, joining hundreds of local governments around the world in calling for urgent steps to combat the crisis. Them mayor said it was important that the city raise its voice in a global demand for action, especially in the absence of climate leadership from the Australian government.
June 20, 2019
U.S. spy satellites that secretly kept watch over the Himalayas during the Cold War are now helping researchers piece together the most detailed view yet of the region's accelerating ice loss. Scientists say the results, which could help communities plan for changes ahead, are consistent with global warming.
New York lawmakers approved one of the most aggressive climate policies in the world on Thursday, requiring net zero emissions for all sectors of the state's economy by mid-century. It's drawing widespread praise, but also raising concerns about support for disadvantaged communities.
Kelly Knight Craft, President Donald Trump's pick for United Nations ambassador, said Wednesday that humans have contributed to climate change, posing "real risks to our planet." However Craft, who has invested millions in fossil fuels and is married to the CEO of coal-producer Alliance Resource Partners, defended Trump's withdrawal from the Paris accord.
Two of the world's largest coal producers have announced plans to combine mining operations in Wyoming and Colorado in an attempt to improve their competitiveness against natural gas and renewable energy sources. The companies say the deal, which requires approval from regulators, could save about $120 million annually over 10 years.
Leaders from all 28 countries of the European Union are in Brussels this week to decide whether the EU will set a target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The proposal would have to receive unanimous approval. Several EU countries, including Britain, Sweden, Finland and Norway, have their own emissions goals.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee has launched an investigation into petroleum companies' involvement in a Trump administration rollback of Obama-era fuel economy standards for vehicles. In letters to Marathon Petroleum and the American Fuel and Petrochemicals Manufacturers, Democrats described "covert lobbying and social media campaign."
Planting prairie grasses and flowers beneath and around solar panels is becoming more common in Minnesota, providing a habitat for bee and butterfly populations and boosting soil health. The practice may even boost solar energy output on warm days if the thicker vegetation creates a cooler microclimate. Researchers are testing that hypothesis.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer unveiled his idea of a plan for the environment, focused on innovation and eliminating Canada's federal carbon taxes. He said his plan would meet Canada's emissions reduction targets, a claim that drew criticism from the current environment minister.
June 19, 2019
The Trump administration on Wednesday executed its long-anticipated retreat from the Obama administration's signature plan to tackle climate change by cutting emissions from coal-fired power plants. The EPA concedes it would be only a tiny fraction cleaner than having no regulation at all.
Democrats mounted a challenge in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday against what they call a raid by the natural gas and plastics industries on a pot of federal money created to help finance innovations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks said they were astounded by how quickly they observed permafrost thawing in the Canadian Arctic. Thawing is happening 70 years earlier than predicted, the researchers found, after a series of unusually hot summers destabilized the upper layers of permafrost.
Targeting corporations like Facebook, Netflix, PayPal and Tesla, a consortium of investors is urging companies to spell out their plans for dealing with climate change. The group of nearly 90 banks, pension funds and financial managers are calling out 700 corporations — including some fossil fuel companies that formerly disclosed their environmental impact but stopped doing so.
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has given the green light for a second time to a $5.5 billion pipeline expansion that has attracted strong opposition from environmentalists and some indigenous groups.
Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro released the second portion of his housing plan. It includes $200 billion for environmentally sustainable housing and other green infrastructure including public transportation, energy efficient buildings and electric vehicle charging stations.