December 21, 2018
A White Christmas could become a thing of the past for many cities later this century. Vox reports that in 67 U.S. cities, the average winter low temperature could cross a critical threshold by 2050: the freezing point of water.
December 20, 2018
Nine Eastern states have committed to cut transportation emissions in their region by designing a new cap-and-trade system. Details have yet to be worked out, but it's likely to follow California's example, with funds going to low-carbon choices like electric vehicles and public transit.
The gas rush in West Virginia is changing the face of the state. Land owners often don't own the natural gas beneath the surface, and long-standing property rights law says mineral owners may do whatever is "reasonably necessary" to extract natural gas from the ground, whether they own the affected land above or not.
ExxonMobil reported nearly $20 billion in earnings last year, but the EPA still granted a "hardship waiver" this year that temporarily frees its Montana refinery from U.S. biofuel laws, Reuters reports, citing three sources familiar with the matter. The waiver program was meant to help small fuel facilities.
A report on Amtrak's climate vulnerabilities shows that operations in Delaware and other parts of its Northeast Corridor route are immediately threatened by the effects of climate change. Flooding, rising seas and storm surge are identified as the biggest dangers.
Deep inside a lengthy report, the Congressional Budget Office claims that climate change poses little economic risk to the U.S. in the next decade, a statement that ignores the strong science-based warnings issued a few weeks ago by 13 federal agencies in the latest National Climate Assessment, as well as warnings from national intelligence agencies earlier this year.
Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) introduced a carbon pricing bill on Wednesday. The bill is a companion to legislation introduced by a bipartisan group in the House in November. Given the timing, it's unlikely to get attention this year, though, and Flake is leaving office in January.
Enbridge has been given the final go-ahead to replace its aging Line 5 pipelines with a tunnel, which will be drilled into the bedrock beneath the Straits of Mackinac. Opponents are concerned that it locks in more fossil fuels for decades to come.
The climate change committee that Democrats plan to establish will serve as an "recommendatory committee" for other committees, incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters. That means it wouldn't be able to issue subpoenas.
December 19, 2018
The notion that there was a pause in global warming from approximately 1998 to 2012 may be a common climate denial talking point, but it doesn't stand up to statistical testing. The "hiatus" has been debunked repeatedly. Two new studies show how it was fueled in part by a lack of data from the fast-warming Arctic.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, the subject of multiple ethics investigations, will step down at the end of the year. His deputy, former fossil fuel lobbyist David Bernhardt, has been running the department behind the scenes and his former clients have been seeing the policy changes they hoped for.
Climate change is ravaging the natural laboratory that inspired Charles Darwin. Not only do the Galápagos Islands sit at the intersection of three ocean currents, they are in the crosshairs of one of the world's most destructive weather patterns, El Niño, which scientists say is becoming more frequent and more intense due to climate change.
In low-lying Miami, much of the scarce high ground is occupied by low-income communities. Some residents in these areas say that rising seas are making their homes more valuable, leading to greater pressure from developers for them to sell and to gentrification of their neighborhoods.
The District of Columbia Council on Tuesday passed a landmark bill to transition the district to 100 percent renewable energy by 2032. The plan, expected to slash emissions 42 percent by that year, includes a variety of measures to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change. Utility companies supported the final version, WAMU reports.
European Union legislators agreed early today to end coal subsidies by mid-2025 (with a special clause for Poland) and to reform electricity market rules. In a controversial concession, Poland, which relies heavily on coal, will be allowed to grandfather in some contracts signed before the end of this year.
Negotiators from the European Parliament and the Council have agreed on a 37.5 percent cut in emissions from cars by 2030. Negotiators also agreed on incentive schemes for electric cars in countries where sales have been slight.
December 18, 2018
Major hurricanes, devastating wildfires, a drought and a series of extreme storms ran up the count of billion-dollar U.S. climate and weather disasters. The military alone suffered several billion dollars in damage, including about $5 billion to Tyndall Air Force Base.
Environmental groups are suing the Trump administration to challenge what would be the first oil production facility in Arctic federal waters. They claim the government analysis leading to its approval was faulty and cite a wide range of concerns, including the risk of oil spills and climate change. Read more from ICN on the company's troubling history of violations.
New Jersey officials have proposed an emissions cap as part of the process for rejoining RGGI, the East Coast's regional cap-and-trade program, six years after former Gov. Chris Christie made the controversial decision to exit the program. Under the program, power plants are required to purchase credits allowing them to release set amounts of greenhouse gases, with the cap declining over time.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledged to bring the state to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040. That plan likely will rely on nuclear power, which currently provides about a third of the state's electricity. Last week, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee committed his state to 100% clean energy by 2045.
At the center of major oil and gas operations, Houston is a major source of energy for the world. But some area leaders are worried that the clean energy transformation will see the city lose its stature. They're working to spur renewable energy developments in the city.
For decades, government regulators had evidence that miners were facing excessive and toxic mine dust exposures, but they failed to act, NPR reports. Now, thousands of former miners are dying of black lung disease. Read more from ICN on the difficulties coal miners with black lung face when trying to receive medical benefits.
December 17, 2018
The UN climate conference wrapped up in Poland on Saturday with progress on a rulebook for achieving the goals of the Paris climate agreement. The outcome included hints at the need for more ambitious climate pledges before 2020 as new research showed global emissions were going up, not down, Carbon Brief writes in an in-depth analysis.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke submitted his resignation over the weekend amid multiple ethics investigations, including one involving a land deal with the chairman of oil services giant Halliburton. As Interior secretary, Zinke championed the repeal of Obama-era environmental rules and worked to open up large areas of federal land for oil and gas prospecting.
Forty-four Republican lawmakers have written to President Trump, asking him to intervene to save the Keystone XL pipeline. Work on the pipeline was halted last month by a federal judge, who said in his ruling that officials had "simply discarded" climate change concerns related to the project.
Starting in 2029, mass transit agencies in California will only be allowed to buy buses that are fully electric under a rule adopted by the state's clean air agency. Municipal bus fleets could be fully electric by 2040, that agency predicts.
A new lawsuit by the environmental law firm Earthjustice says the state of Alaska has failed to submit a legally compliant plan to address the problem of particulate pollution caused by wood-burning stoves and other sources around Fairbanks.
Two pages about climate change and transportation appear to have been removed from the official website of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Several other federal agencies have made similar moves since President Trump took office.
At Amazon, more than a dozen employees who recently received stock grants filed shareholder petitions asking the company to release a comprehensive plan addressing climate change. Their filing appears to be the first time that tech employees have led their own shareholder proposal, according to activist investors.
December 14, 2018
As climate negotiators work to wrap up the COP24 talks, overnight drafts showed that diplomats had apparently reached key compromises, including on language recognizing the importance of a recent UN report finding the world would need to take "unprecedented" action by 2030 to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change.