May 15, 2019
Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables senior analyst Tom Heggarty told a conference in Phoenix this week: "By 2023, we think solar's going to be cheaper than gas almost everywhere around the world."
Teachers are finding that when they set out to teach about climate change, many of the resources presented as educational are actually junk. The Climate Change Literacy and Energy Awareness Network reviewed more than 30,000 free online resources and found only 700 acceptable for schools.
May 14, 2019
Warmer winters in Yellowstone National Park have fueled the devastation of a key food source for grizzly bears. The bears are increasingly wandering out of the region's high-altitude forests and dying in greater numbers.
Germany may bow to pressure from European peers, including France and Sweden, who are calling for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, Chancellor Angela Merkel said. Germany, Europe's biggest emitter of CO2, is struggling to meet its current emissions targets.
Mercedes-Benz pledged to make its new passenger car fleet carbon-neutral within two decades, a goal built on electric vehicles and renewable energy. The German manufacturer aims to have all-electric models and hybrids make up more than half of its total car sales by 2030 and all of its car sales by 2039.
The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission voted unanimously Friday to decide whether Colorado should adopt stricter vehicle emissions that would require auto manufacturers to make electric vehicles nearly 5% of their vehicles for sale in Colorado by 2023, with higher rates in following years. Auto manufacturers want the targets to be voluntary.
Following an expert's report on climate risk and intensifying debate over the future of its petroleum industry, Norway, western Europe's biggest oil and gas producer, plans to stress-test its public finances with different price scenarios to better understand risks related to climate change.
Climate change and shipping's contribution to it will be high on the agenda as the marine environmental protection committee of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) meets this week in London. The UN agency regulates global marine transport and has a target to halve shipping emissions by 2050.
May 13, 2019
The Interior Department worked with West Virginia officials to evade coal mining restrictions that protect endangered crayfish, new documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show. The Center for Biological Diversity and other groups are preparing to sue the department for failing to protect the crustaceans.
Almost every country in the world, except the United States, agreed to an international deal on Friday that would treat plastics as hazardous waste and sharply reduce the amount of it being washed into the world's oceans. Read more from ICN on investors pressuring oil giants to reduce plastics pollution.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Sunday that countries were not living up to their commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement and that the political will to fight climate change seems to be fading just as things are getting worse for those feeling the effects.
Indigenous Australians from islands in the Torres Strait argue that the government, by failing to act on climate change, has violated their fundamental right to maintain their culture. In a landmark claim to be submitted to the United Nations, they call on the country to help fund protective infrastructure and to meet its emissions targets.
The Pacific Northwest is experiencing surging spring heat that is prompting red-flag warnings for fire risks in southwest Washington. With statewide snowpack only 58 percent of the median, state officials are preparing for summer drought, which can raise the potential for wildfires, reduce irrigation flows to farmers and make life difficult for salmon.
Environmental groups and progressive Democrats are attacking a "middle ground" approach to climate change by 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden. The yet-to-be-released plan would reinstate many Obama era policies including support for natural gas, an approach critics say is insufficient.
Coal giant Cloud Peak Energy has filed for bankruptcy amid mounting debt and declining demand. The company said its mining operations would continue as it moves through the bankruptcy process. The filing represents the latest concerning episode for coal in Wyoming.
A plan by California's biggest utility to cut power on high-wind days during wildfire season could plunge millions of residents into darkness. While the plan may help avoid sparking wildfires, it creates another problem as Californians seek ways to deal with what some fear could be days of blackouts.
The Energy Department has proposed new regulations for light bulbs that would eliminate efficiency standards for half the bulbs on the market. The move has prompted a backlash from a bipartisan mix of state attorneys general and governors who say it is harmful to the planet and may be illegal.
Climate change is emerging as a direct driver of biodiversity loss and is exacerbating the impact of other drivers, with accelerating effects, last week's IPBES report shows. "We would, it seems, be well advised to shift course, if only for our own, species-centric reasons," Elizabeth Kolbert writes.
Vernon Loeb, an award-winning editor who has worked for the Houston Chronicle, The Atlantic, The Washington Post and other major news organizations, is joining InsideClimate News as senior editor of investigations, enterprise and innovations.
May 3, 2019
Democrats on Thursday passed the Climate Action Now resolution, seeking to keep the United States in the Paris climate accord, but their restive progressives want far bolder action. Republicans, meanwhile, want to support President Donald Trump's plan to withdraw from the international agreement, but some of them sense political peril in maintaining a do-nothing climate stance.
The Trump administration has weakened offshore drilling safety rules put in place after a 2010 explosion on the BP Deepwater Horizon oil platform triggered the largest ocean spill in U.S. history. Officials say the revised Well Control Rule is in line with President Trump's stance on "facilitating energy dominance" by increasing oil and gas production.
The Trump administration tried to remove references to climate change from an international statement on Arctic policy, leading to tense negotiations over how much to emphasize the issue. It tried something similar when the Arctic Council met in 2017.
The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council has approved a resolution that South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is no longer welcome on the Pine Ridge Reservation because of her support for legislation aimed at pipeline protesters that would allow the state to sue and person or group for "riot boosting." Read more from ICN about the protest crackdown bills.
An Ohio House panel has amended a bill to help the state's two nuclear power plants and voted along party lines to recommend the new version. The Republican-sponsored measure maintains the provisions of eliminating existing mandates for renewable energy and energy efficiency. Meanwhile, minority Democrats have introduced a plan that would set a target that utilities get 50 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2050.
To the dismay of environmental groups, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed a new state budget, choosing not to veto language aimed at blocking the state from joining a carbon cap-and-trade program that would ultimately reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions.
Duke Energy reached a compromise with lawmakers on a South Carolina bill that will remove the cap on net metering in the state and maintain existing "one to one" net metering policy for another two years.
Vermont's Green Mountain Power has released a proposal to use Tesla battery storage systems as meters. The plan uses the existing metering capability of battery storage systems to replace traditional electricity meters, which the utility hopes will reduce costs.
New York isn't able to take full advantage of wind power because there is not enough transmission line capacity to carry to electricity from the windy parts of the state to power-hungry downstate where it's needed.
May 2, 2019
Nearly two-thirds of the climate-related shareholder resolutions filed with publicly held energy and utility companies this year have been contested before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. And the SEC, now dominated by Trump appointees, is siding more often with the companies.