September 21, 2020
The death this weekend of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of women's rights and one of the Supreme Court's most liberal justices, could leave a lasting imprint on American environmental policy as the Trump administration scrambles to replace her. Known for her work on gender and sexual rights, her legacy also helped establish the nation's first-ever authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2016, Jacob Abel voted for Donald Trump, but he doesn't plan to this year. A determining factor in his 180-degree-turn? Climate change. Like Abel, a growing number of young Republicans are expressing frustration with the party's lackluster responses to the issue. If enough climate-concerned GOP youths don't vote for Trump, they could shift the party's environmental positions.
As oil prices plunge and concerns about climate change grow, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and other European energy companies are selling off oil fields, planning a sharp reduction in emissions and investing billions in renewable energy. That's not the case for American oil majors Chevron and ExxonMobil, which are doubling down on oil and natural gas investments, The New York Times reports.
Colorado voters concerned about the climate are siding with Democrat John Hickenlooper over GOP incumbent Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, seeing him as a better alternative to achieving stronger climate action. This story is part of our Senate 2020 series, which focuses on the climate records of candidates in 11 key races in the November elections that will determine the future of U.S. climate policy.
Maine Sen. Susan Collins has the strongest pro-environment voting record among Senate Republicans, but lacks support from big environmental groups, which disapprove of her votes supporting President Trump. This story is part of our Senate 2020 series, which focuses on the climate records of candidates in 11 key races in the November elections that will determine the future of U.S. climate policy.
We are most gratified to announce that the Society of Professional Journalists' Deadline Club in New York named ICN's Anna Belle Peevey, Neela Banerjee and Adrian Briscoe as the winners of its award for reporting by independent digital media for "American Climate," our documentary series exploring how people across the country are dealing with climate change.
European planemaker Airbus unveiled three designs it's studying to build hydrogen-powered aircraft as it races to bring a zero-carbon passenger plane into service by 2035, Bloomberg reports. Hydrogen gas, which doesn't produce greenhouse gases when burned, is becoming an increasing area of focus for Airbus as it evaluates technologies for emission-free air travel.
September 18, 2020
As wildfires leave the West with some of the worst air quality in the world, it poses a major threat to people with asthma and other underlying health conditions who face greater risk of serious Covid-19 complications, health experts say. "At the levels of air pollution we're seeing in the northwest now, it's a matter of concern for everyone," a spokesperson for the American Lung Association said.
A new study reaffirms that contrail clouds—those straight, wispy white markings of a plane's path through the sky—produce more global warming than carbon dioxide emitted by the flights. Activists hope the finding will help spur the aviation industry to act more urgently to reduce their emissions as governments work to rebuild their pandemic-hit economies.
A court has temporarily halted an Environmental Protection Agency rule that rescinded Obama-era standards for methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, preventing the rollback from taking effect for the time being. Federal judges issued a procedural pause on the rule while the court decides on further action, but said the order doesn't reflect a judgement on the rule's merits.
The world must get to net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century, and can make it happen at a price that is relatively small in global terms—$1 trillion to $2 trillion per year—according to a new report from a think tank that includes BP, Shell and other big businesses. While researchers have long called for net-zero emissions by mid-century, the message could be better received coming from oil majors.
Battered by heat all summer, Arizona voters may be poised to elect Democrat Mark Kelly for the Senate, if polls hold true. Kelly has pledged to fight climate change, while GOP incumbent Sen. Martha McSally hasn't. This story is part of our Senate 2020 series, which focuses on the climate records of candidates in 11 key races in the November elections that will determine the future of U.S. climate policy.
President Trump has made dismantling federal climate policies a centerpiece of his administration. A new analysis from the Rhodium Group looks at the cumulative effects of those rollbacks and found that they add up to a lot more planet-warming emissions, The New York Times reports.
September 17, 2020
Almost 600,000 homes and businesses were without power across the Deep South on Thursday as residents picked through the sodden destruction wrought by Hurricane Sally. The storm, now downgraded to a tropical depression, threatens to bring a foot of rain to parts of Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia as it moves north, authorities said.
Smoke from the wildfires in the West is spreading across the United States and has even reached Europe, according to the European Union's Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service. Satellite images show the smoke hovering above the United Kingdom and moving into Northern Europe, a nearly 5,000 mile journey. With it could come years of lasting health impacts, our reporting found.
Faced with the twin climate crises of historic wildfires and spiraling insurance costs, California on Wednesday laid out new rules to make insurance more affordable in fire-prone areas, The New York Times reports. But the changes could backfire, experts say—pushing insurers to stop offering insurance in those areas and further imperiling communities on the front lines of climate change.
Google has pledged to have zero carbon emissions 24/7 by 2030. What does that mean? California is accelerating its efforts to boost electric vehicle sales in the state. And Volkswagen has introduced the ID.3, the EV that could change the market. All that in the latest Inside Clean Energy by Dan Gearino.
Alabama voters have a clear choice in the Senate race. Republican Tommy Tuberville says only God controls the climate. Doug Jones, a Democrat, calls ignoring global warming "malpractice." This story is part of our Senate 2020 series, which focuses on the climate records of candidates in 11 key races in the November elections that will determine the future of U.S. climate policy.
The Environmental Protection Agency is postponing training on environmental inequity faced by communities of color and low-income communities following a White House order calling for agencies to stop training involving what it described as "anti-American propaganda," The Hill reports. The agency said it's putting the training "on hold" until it receives further instruction.
September 16, 2020
Hurricane Sally is going into the record books—and it only just made landfall. The National Hurricane Center says "historic and catastrophic flooding is unfolding" from just west of Tallahassee, Florida to Mobile Bay. Scientists say the kind of slow-moving storms that bring intense rainfall like Sally, or Dorian last year, are becoming more common because of climate change, our reporting found.
Giant fires are releasing unprecedented amounts of carbon dioxide and particulate-matter pollution into the atmosphere in California and Oregon, leading to the first increase in wildfire emissions in the U.S. since 2015, Bloomberg reports. In some spots, the intensity of fires this year has been up to hundreds of times higher than the average from 2003 to 2019.
California's Napa and Sonoma Valleys have faced an unrelenting barrage of climate-related disasters in recent years, including increasingly devastating drought and wildfire. Now winery owners dedicated to being earth-friendly and sustainable feel cheated as their livelihood goes up in smoke. "We're paying the price for everybody else getting cheap energy in the last few decades," one owner said.
Thousands of migrating birds, including flycatchers, swallows and warblers have inexplicably died in the southwestern region of the United States in what ornithologists have described as a national tragedy that is likely to be related to the climate crisis, The Guardian reports. Birders in California began reporting an absence of birds around the state last week, our reporting found.
Faced with ongoing drought, water shortages and regulations limiting groundwater use, California farmers are increasingly using oilfield wastewater—a byproduct of oil and gas extraction—to irrigate their crops. The water can contain harmful materials such as boron, arsenic and radioactive elements, but at safe levels for humans, one study found. Still, some experts worry about what's being overlooked.
Pollsters are calling the Montana Senate race between Republican incumbent Sen. Steve Daines and Democratic challenger Steve Bullock a tossup, and the future of the nation's climate policy could be on the line. This story is part of our Senate 2020 series, which focuses on the climate records of candidates in 11 key races in the November elections that will determine the future of U.S. climate policy.
Is the GOP losing its grip on deep-red Kansas? The result of this tight race between Sen. Barbara Bollier and Rep. Roger Marshall could reveal the answer, as well as how their views on climate change played a role. This story is part of our Senate 2020 series, which focuses on the climate records of candidates in 11 key races in the November elections that will determine the future of U.S. climate policy.
September 15, 2020
Connecticut and Delaware have joined a growing list of states, cities and counties that have filed climate change lawsuits against the fossil fuel industry, claiming oil and gas companies knew their products caused sea level rise and stronger hurricanes but willfully misled the public about those and other dangers related to global warming.
The world is failing to address a catastrophic biodiversity collapse that not only threatens to wipe out beloved species and invaluable genetic diversity, but endangers humanity's food supply, health and security, according to a sweeping new United Nations report. Despite commitments made a decade ago to protect and restore nature, nations continue to exacerbate the crisis, it says.
Hurricane Sally weakened a bit overnight, but the storm brings a perilous threat of floods to areas along the northern Gulf Coast, forecasters say. The hurricane is crawling along at just 2 mph, giving its heavy rains even more potential impact. Many communities in Sally's path will be drenched by 10 to 20 inches of rain, with some areas possibly seeing up to 30 inches.
With the West ablaze and a hurricane bearing down on the Gulf Coast, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden assailed President Donald Trump for science denial Monday in an unprecedented move by a candidate to shift a U.S. presidential campaign's focus to global warming. "From the ravages of climate change, it's clear we're not safe in Donald Trump's America," Biden said at a recent campaign rally.