March 19, 2019
Former Republican Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee, then chair of the House Budget Committee, urged former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt early in his tenure to undo EPA limits on "glider kits" that put new truck bodies on old, high-polluting engines and transmissions, Bloomberg reports.
Climate change is a high-profile national issue again, with the Green New Deal and Democratic presidential candidates listing it as a top priority. Meanwhile, a loose alliance of politicians, activists and organizations are mobilizing with a new set of strategies.
March 18, 2019
At a major energy conference in Houston, executives from some of the world's largest oil companies said the future is low-carbon, yet at the same time, their peers talked about a future where oil and gas demand would remain strong for decades.
A bill that passed Kentucky's General Assembly last week would allow utility regulators to determine the rate of net metering credits for rooftop solar owners who feed energy into the grid. Rooftop solar advocates fear the proposal would lower the rate of credits and stunt the growth of the state's rooftop solar industry.
A "bomb cyclone," a severe drop in air pressure that triggers extreme weather, combined with a harsh, late winter snow storm produced historic flooding in the Great Plains. As the planet warms, such extreme weather events are increasing.
The Trump administration has finalized a plan to loosen Obama-era protections on the habitat of the sage grouse, a ground-nesting bird that roams across fossil-fuel-rich Western states. The plan would strip away protections for the bird on nearly nine million acres. It is the latest move by the Trump administration to promote oil and gas drilling on public land.
A review by CQ Roll Call of the personal finances of all 15 members of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, a House panel created in January, found that a majority of the members have some personal investment in fossil fuel companies. One owns hundreds of oil and gas wells in North Dakota worth millions of dollars.
Major Japanese investors are seeking to back large-scale renewables projects across Asia, marking a "monumental" shift that energy market analysts say is the start of the end for thermal coal.
The nuclear power industry is pushing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to cut back on inspections at nuclear power plants and throttle back what it tells the public about plant problems. The agency, whose board is dominated by Trump appointees, is listening. Read more from ICN about efforts in Ohio to get more government help for nuclear power plants.
The United States and Saudi Arabia derailed a United Nations resolution requesting a report outlining research and planning related to carbon dioxide removal and geoengineering involving solar radiation. Ten nations originally asked the UN for guidance on possible future governance options and analysis of the implications of geoengineering.
March 15, 2019
Students are protesting in cities around the world today in a school strike for climate, demanding action on climate change from government leaders. These infographics lay out the risks their generation faces.
New science advisers at the EPA have launched a drive to force the agency to give greater weight to a handful of contrarian studies that dispute the harmful effects of soot, sweeping aside decades of research. This follows the Trump administration's push to put allies of regulated industries onto the agency's panels of science advisers.
Sen. Brian Schatz and Rep. Paul Tonko have introduced a measure to help prevent political interference with public science research, responding to what they say has been "President Trump's multi-agency assault." The bill from the two Democrats attempts to make it so that political considerations do not factor into scientific conclusions.
Gary Cohn, the former head of President Donald Trump's National Economic Council who left after losing a battle over steel tariffs, said he tried to sell Trump on solar jobs but seemingly failed as the administration eventually imposed tariffs on the industry.
The chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said Thursday that he is in talks to open a regional office in Houston as a way for the agency to tap region's expertise in all things energy, particularly natural gas exports.
California is drought-free for the first time in 376 weeks as a very wet winter winds down, experts said on Thursday. More than 93 percent of the state is free of drought, with only a few areas of abnormal dryness along the Oregon border and in parts of four southern counties.
A movement that began with a teenager distributing homemade fliers outside the Swedish parliament last year became a global phenomenon on Friday, as students worldwide skipped school and took to the streets to urgently demand that adults combat the perils of climate change. See ICN's graphics explaining why.
March 14, 2019
A new U.N. report says the earth is suffering as worsening environmental ills kill millions of people each year. The report's co-editors say it is not too late to act but the window is closing fast.
The Department of Energy may still bail out uneconomical coal and nuclear power plants at the behest of their industries, but Energy Secretary Rick Perry said states should create their own aid programs, too. Read more from ICN on the bailout Ohio is considering.
Brazil's government has ordered the environmental agency to stop responding to requests from the media, raising concerns that President Jair Bolsonaro is rolling back environmental protections. Activists fear the moves will drive up deforestation in the Amazon.
Senate Republicans say they will bring the Green New Deal resolution to the floor the week of March 25. Democrats say Republicans are trying to dodge a substantive discussion on climate change by forcing a quick vote. Read more from ICN on two climate policy ideas gaining traction: the Green New Deal and a carbon tax.
One student's protest calling for action on climate change has turned into a global movement, with school strikes planned in more than 100 countries on Friday. Here is how the protests spread and how leaders are responding.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is proposing to artificially extend the southern tip of Manhattan, creating a rising berm that would help to protect the island from rising seas and storms. This follows massive damage from Hurricane Sandy that underscored the high risks of extreme weather.
Potentially devastating temperature rises of up to 5 degrees Celsius in the Arctic are now inevitable even if the world cuts greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris agreement, research over the past few years has shown. A new UN report conveys the warnings in graphics.
Utility-scale solar power capacity is expected to grow by double digits globally in 2019 and 2020, driven by expansions in the United States, Europe, Middle East and China, U.S. bank Goldman Sachs said today.
Connecticut's solar industry is lobbying state lawmakers to reverse or delay a measure passed last year that changes how consumers are compensated for excess energy generated by rooftop solar panels. Without a change, the solar industry faces an existential crisis, industry officials say.
BP's CEO is encouraging the oil industry to engage with supporters of the Green New Deal. "We need to demonstrate that we share the common goal of a low-carbon future and that we are in action toward it," Dudley said at the CERAWeek conference by IHS Markit.
March 13, 2019
Royal Dutch Shell says the Trump administration should tighten restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas production, as opposed to the weakening them as the administration is planning. The comments are a break from the company's tradition of avoiding criticism of U.S. government policies.
Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon has signed a bill that seeks to keep coal-fired power plants open by requiring that owners try to sell the facility before decommissioning it. A key provision is that a utility that sells a coal plant would be required to buy electricity from the plant's new owner, even if less expensive options are available.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is expected to sign a bill that requires public utilities to have 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045 and reach interim targets along the way. The state would join Hawaii and California in passing laws to eliminate carbon emissions from their grids. About a dozen other states have proposed similar goals.