September 11, 2019
NOAA Publicly Releases Internal Memo Criticizing 'Political' Influence on Hurricane Dorian Controversy
NOAA has released an internal email sent by the agency's acting chief scientist announcing that he will investigate why the agency's officials publicly backed President Donald Trump's false claim that Hurricane Dorian was likely to hit Alabama.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed a ban on oil and gas drilling in the state's coastal waters on Tuesday, adding to the number of states taking steps in response to the Trump administration plan to open new areas for exploration.
California lawmakers are set to vote this week on a bill that would require state agencies to preserve federal standards on the environment, public health and worker safety that were in place before President Donald Trump took office, Bloomberg reports.
Amnesty International Canada says critics of Alberta's oil and gas industry face threats, intimidation and violations of their human rights under Premier Jason Kenney's plan to go after alleged foreign funding environmental groups. The government has launched a public inquiry, and the premier joked about Russia imprisoning activists during an oil conference this week.
A former top administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency was arrested after a federal investigation determined the official took bribes from the president of a company that secured $1.8 billion in federal contracts to repair Puerto Rico's electrical grid after Hurricane Maria.
Canada is taking a different tack when it comes to helping its residents deal with the damage from flooding—telling them to move, the New York Times reports. The situation highlights the hurdles countries face as climate change continues escalating the cost of disaster aid.
Big ocean-faring ships aren't moving fast enough toward energy transition, contributing to rising carbon emissions and undermining efforts to make the industry carbon-neutral by the end of the century, Bloomberg reports.
September 10, 2019
Publicly, the oil giant BP supported carbon pricing. Behind the scenes, it was extracting concessions from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, then it dropped its support of a carbon pricing plan last minute, internal emails obtained by ICN show. It's a case study and cautionary tale about the political challenges facing the drive for climate policies.
The Global Commission on Adaptation, with Bill Gates and World Bank Chief Executive Kristalina Georgieva as its co-chairs, calls in a new report for a drastic increase in climate adaptation investments. It says the benefits outweigh the costs nearly four-to-one.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross threatened to fire employees at NOAA last Friday after the National Weather Service in Birmingham publicly shared facts contradicting President Trump's false claim that Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama, The New York Times reports.
Climate change could lead to greater income inequality among U.S. retail workers, Bloomberg reports. A recent study published by the Federal Reserve found that retail employees whose pay or hours are tied to sales could find their work affected by volatile weather patterns.
Natural gas-fired power plants are on a path to being undercut by renewable power and emerging battery technology, Bloomberg reports. By 2035, one study found, it will be pricier to run 90 percent of gas plants being proposed in the U.S. than building new renewable energy infrastructure.
A lawmaker in Kentucky is making another attempt at legislation that would make it a felony to participate in certain types of protests against natural gas pipelines. A similar measure died in the Senate last session. The new measure, from GOP Rep. Jim Gooch, is the latest state effort to target pipeline protests.
Time is running out for European automakers as they face ambitious EU emissions-reduction targets and the potential for billions in fines if they fail to meet them, Reuters reports.
September 9, 2019
After Hurricane Dorian's devastation in the Bahamas, the U.S. coast was largely spared, but even a wobble in the storm's track could have brought very different results. It may have even influenced the Gulf Stream, contributing to coastal flooding.
Former top officials of NOAA are lambasting the agency's leaders for undermining weather forecasters and defending President Donald Trump's inaccurate claims regarding Hurricane Dorian and Alabama. They say the move risked the agency's credibility and may even risk lives.
After State Rejects Gas Pipeline Permit, Utility Pushes Back. One Result: New Buildings Go Electric.
UK-based National Grid, already under scrutiny at home, is now tangling with New York's governor over plans for a pipeline under Lower New York Bay. After the state turned down a permit for the pipeline, the utility refused all new gas service. Now, some new buildings are going all-electric as a result.
The Justice Department has opened an antitrust investigation into the four major automakers that struck a deal with California this year to reduce automobile emissions, escalating tensions over one of the president's most significant rollbacks of climate regulations.
A new White House directive laying out next year's spending priorities for federal research agencies describes a U.S. science enterprise imperiled by internal problems and foreign governments. The memo contains a detailed discussion of the predictability of Earth systems, "from individual thunderstorms to long-term global change."
Utilities and energy companies are continuing to invest heavily in carbon-polluting natural gas with as many as 177 natural gas power plants set to open, under construction or being planned, USA Today reports. Read more from ICN on how fossil fuel projects threaten to derail the Paris climate goals.
Heat waves in June and July caused about 1,500 more deaths than usual in France over that period, the country's health minister said. The June heat wave was called one of the most intense in the country's history and had climate change fingerprints all over it.
Oklahoma has seen a surge in seismic activity with its oil and gas fracking boom. But even as the state institutes new regulations, the quakes continue. Two recent studies suggest the effects of wastewater disposal can persist for years after injection rates slow or stop.
The Progressive Policy Institute, a centrist Democratic think tank born from the party's pro-business wing in the 1980s and '90s, received $50,000 from Exxon in 2018 via the company's parent organization, The Intercept reports.
September 6, 2019
The U.S. senator and former California attorney general claimed during the 2020 presidential candidates' town hall on climate change that she had sued the world's biggest private-sector oil company, Exxon Mobil. ICN fact checked that claim—here's what we found.
The world's leading oil companies increasingly have argued that they must be part of the world's transition to a low-carbon future. But a new report shows that despite their rhetoric, they continue to spend their money as if that transition may never come.
Renewable energy capacity quadrupled worldwide over the past 10 years, with an estimated $2.6 trillion invested in its growth, a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme shows. But the speed of that growth still falls far short of what researchers say is needed to keep global warming in check.
President Donald Trump is strongly considering a plan to revoke California's legal authority to set state auto pollution standards that are stricter than federal regulations, The New York Times reports. It's the latest effort by the administration to roll back Obama-era rules aimed at curbing global warming.
Since Thursday, Hurricane Dorian has flooded parts of the Carolinas and spawned a number of tornadoes and also lashed Virginia with winds and rain. More than 415,000 people were without electricity in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. North Carolina's two-day rainfall totals could reach 15 inches.
The Trump administration is sitting on tens of billions of dollars in unspent recovery money meant to help Americans recover from natural disasters, leaving cities and states less able to rebound from the effects of Hurricane Dorian and other storms, The New York Times reports.
A group opposed to Ohio's nuclear and coal bailout plan has started collecting petition signatures for a referendum to overturn the controversial law, which charges consumers extra fees to keep uneconomical power plants operating. Now, the utility that benefits from that plan has sued to try to block the effort.