July 6, 2020
A federal judge on Monday sided with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and ordered the "highly controversial" Dakota Access pipeline to shut down until more environmental review is done. The 1,172-mile oil pipeline was the subject of months of sometimes violent protests, during its construction near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation that straddles the North Dakota-South Dakota border.
The two energy companies behind the controversial 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Sunday abandoned their six-year bid to build it, saying the project has become too costly and the regulatory environment too uncertain to justify further investment. The natural gas pipeline would have tunneled under the Appalachian Trail on its way from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina.
Torrential rain hit Japan's southwestern island of Kyushu on Monday, with at least one more river bursting its banks, as the death toll from three days of floods and mudslides rose to 44, including 14 at an elderly housing facility. Japanese broadcasters said evacuation orders have been issued for more than half a million residents, with tens of thousands more under evacuation advisories.
William Perry Pendley, President Trump's controversial pick to lead the Bureau of Land Management, is expected to come under tough scrutiny during the Senate confirmation process, posing a test for vulnerable GOP senators. Pendley has been a lightning rod for criticism as acting director for the agency over his dismissal of climate science and his record of opposing public land ownership.
A new invasive species has arrived in the U.S. and has ravaged California's Central Valley over the past year. Nutria—large rodents native to South America—have now been found in 17 states, and as climate change shifts where invasive species live, it is creating challenges for scientists and farmers who are trying to manage them.
When floodwaters inundated Louis Byford's home for the fourth time in March 2019, he didn't care if people thought he was crazy for rebuilding. "I don't have any desire to be located anywhere else but right here," said Byford, who has lived in Corning, Missouri, for nearly 50 years. This is part of our American Climate series documenting how climate change is impacting people across the country.
Scientists in Italy are investigating the mysterious appearance of pink glacial ice, caused by algae that accelerate the effects of climate change, in the Alps. Normally ice reflects more than 80 percent of the sun's radiation back into the atmosphere, but as algae appear, they darken the ice so that it absorbs the heat and melts more quickly.
If the world continues to warm at its current pace, as many as 60 percent of the world's fish species could struggle to breed and reproduce by the end of the century, a new study warns. But the study, which examined nearly 700 species of freshwater and saltwater fish, added that that percentage could drop to as low as 10 percent if warming was limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the year 2100.
July 2, 2020
Two of the world's largest energy companies have sent their strongest signals yet that the coronavirus pandemic may accelerate a global transition away from oil, and that billions of dollars invested in fossil fuel assets could go to waste. Over the last two weeks, Royal Dutch Shell and BP have both said they would slash the value of their oil and gas assets by tens of billions of dollars.
House Democrats on Wednesday passed a $1.5 trillion green infrastructure plan that would surge funding to repair the nation's crumbling roads and bridges while setting aside funds for broadband, schools and hospitals. The legislation, which ties much of the funding to green measures such as reducing carbon emissions, has little chance of passing the GOP-led Senate.
Clean energy has made major headway in recent years, but more is needed to adequately address climate change, energy watchdogs warn. The International Energy Agency on Thursday said there's a "critical need" to rapidly accelerate clean energy innovation because global climate goals largely depend on technologies that have not yet reached the market.
Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette has written a buoyant op-ed in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Patriot-News about the bright future of coal. His argument—that coal needn't be phased out, just made cleaner—was soon amplified by the U.S. Department of Energy and the coal industry. Here's why four of Brouilette's claims are, at best, highly misleading.
For the past year, some of the most up-to-date computer models from the world's top climate modeling groups have been "running hot"—projecting that global warming may be even more extreme than earlier thought, and confounding scientists who have seen decades of consistent projections. Now a new international effort aims to provide insights into the mystery and what it may mean.
Energy Transfer, the developer of the controversial North Dakota Access Pipeline, is digging in its heels over its proposed expansion of the oil pipeline, despite plummeting fuel demand that has prompted some invested oil firms to consider backing out. Now Energy Transfer has taken the rare step to invoke a force majeure clause in the contract to prevent those firms from doing so.
Several North Dakota state leaders and a county commissioner sent federal regulators letters emphatically supporting the North Bakken Expansion Project, a 61.9-mile natural gas pipeline that has angered environmentalists and Native American nations alike. But the letters were exact replicas of a template provided by a subsidiary of the fossil fuel giant WBI Energy, a Guardian investigation found.
Pacific Gas & Electric, California's largest utility, emerged from bankruptcy on Wednesday and put $5.4 billion in cash and 22.19 percent of its stock into a trust for victims of wildfires caused by the utility's equipment, including in the deadly 2018 Camp Fire. The utility exits bankruptcy as a new company with a restructured board of directors and an interim chief executive officer, Bill Smith.
July 1, 2020
By the end of the summer, the Environmental Protection Agency will rescind its controversial policy allowing companies to skip monitoring their pollution, the agency announced. Under the policy, in place since March, the agency didn't penalize companies that fail to monitor their pollution emissions as dictated by numerous laws—a move widely condemned by environmentalists and health experts.
House Democrats unveiled a sweeping plan for climate action Tuesday that embraces much of the ambition of the Green New Deal, while avoiding the use of the name and steering clear of calls for abrupt bans on fossil fuel development. The plan sets a marker for what is possible if the Democrats gain control of the government next year.
As the U.S. faces a blisteringly hot summer, millions of people already reeling from the coronavirus's economic fallout are about to face sharp increases in their electric bills that may drive some to the brink of financial ruin, Bloomberg reports. Parts of the country will see their power bills increase by as much as 25 percent as more folks stuck at home rely on air conditioning to keep cool, a federal report warns.
A United Nations agency agreed on Tuesday to change a landmark agreement aimed at offsetting carbon emissions from international flights beyond the year 2020. Airlines, which have faced a historically terrible year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, say altering the scheme was necessary to their survival. Environmentalists argue it wastes valuable time and undermines trust in carbon markets.
Hotter temperatures, rain patterns out of whack and the potential loss of the state bird—the goldfinch. These are the consequences of climate change that New Jersey will likely face in the coming years and decades if rising carbon emissions aren't curtailed, according to a report released Tuesday by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
Swarms of locusts are devastating crops in parts of northern Kenya, including the country's poorest region, Tukana, putting millions of people at risk of food insecurity, Reuters reports. Numbers of locusts exploded in East Africa and the Red Sea region in late 2019, exacerbated by atypical weather patterns amplified by climate change. The insects have since been flying west and laying their eggs.
June 30, 2020
The nation's automakers would manufacture only electric cars. Utilities would have to stop producing pollution linked to climate change. And the federal government would double its investment in mass transit. All this and more is being proposed by House Democrats on Tuesday under a plan aimed at bringing the U.S. economy's greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.
Coal communities have unveiled a new plan to help save their economies as the pandemic accelerates the industry's demise. And while it doesn't mention the Green New Deal, the designers of the plan say it could in some ways serve as a template for that manifesto by incorporating struggling coal towns in the transition to a clean economy.
The South Pole warmed at three times the average global rate during the three decades leading up through 2018, a new study published in Nature Climate Change has found. Researchers attribute the disproportionate warming to the natural variability of the icy continent in tandem with the wider trend of global warming caused by human industrial activity.
Alaskan beavers are carving out a growing web of channels, dams and ponds in the frozen Arctic tundra of northwestern Alaska, helping to turn it into a soggy sponge that intensifies global warming, a new study warns. The number of new beaver dams and lakes continues to grow exponentially in the region, researchers say, destabilizing permafrost and triggering a cascade of effects.
George Washington University on Monday announced it will fully divest its endowments from fossil fuel holdings by 2025, becoming the latest U.S. school to make such a pledge as more students call for climate action. The University of California school system, Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania have also made full or partial divestment pledges.
Koalas in the Australian state of New South Wales could become extinct by 2050 unless the government immediately intervenes to protect them and their habitat, a year-long parliamentary inquiry determined. Land clearing for agriculture, urban development, mining and forestry have been the biggest factor in the fragmentation and loss of habitat for the animals in the region over several decades.
Since discovering oil in the 1960s, Norway has become Europe's largest producer of the fuel and now faces an opportunity to use that position of strength to help fight global climate change. In October, the country's lawmakers will decide whether to fund a $2.6 billion plan that would capture carbon emissions and bury them under the seabed off the nation's west coast.
June 29, 2020
Across much of the United States, the flood risk is far greater than government estimates show, new calculations suggest, exposing millions of people to a hidden threat—and one that will only grow as climate change worsens. Under the new calculation, 14.6 million properties are at risk from a 100-year flood as opposed to the 8.7 million properties federal government maps show.