November 11, 2019
After a devastating flood in Rochester, Minnesota, the city installed higher flood walls along the Zumbro River. But as climate change drives more frequent extreme rainfall, the walls may no longer offer adequate protection and were barely enough to contain high waters last year. ICN's Dan Gearino reports as part of our new Midwest project, Unfamiliar Ground.
Imagine Minnesota with almost no ice fishing. Missouri as hot as Texas. River communities with annual catastrophic floods. Midwest communities are struggling to adapt to climate change as it affects them in sometimes catastrophic ways. Newsrooms across the region joined forces to show how global warming is changing their communities. Here's what they found.
The Federal Reserve held its first-ever conference on climate change, where two policy makers for the central bank warned that global warming was a pressing threat to the economy. The meeting signals a Fed that is preparing to increasingly incorporate climate change into its economic policy making—a major shift for the institution.
An investigation by The Associated Press has found scores of dams nationwide in poor condition that, if they failed, could wreak havoc on entire communities. A review of federal data and reports obtained under state open records laws identified 1,688 high-hazard dams rated in poor or unsatisfactory condition as of last year in 44 states and Puerto Rico.
Australia is bracing for cataclysmic wildfires on Tuesday, as officials warned that strong winds, high temperatures and parched forests had created some of the worst fire conditions the country has ever seen. Powerful blazes already caused three deaths over the weekend.
More than 900 pages of Interior Department emails show the ethical tangle that has come from elevating lobbyist David Bernhardt to head a cabinet department that oversees the issues upon which he once lobbied, The New York Times reports.
Only six candidates turned out for the first ever presidential forum on environmental justice at South Carolina State University on Friday night, where Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker led the pack, the Guardian reports.
November 8, 2019
Lawyers for New York State and ExxonMobil wrapped up a landmark climate fraud trial on Thursday, shaping a tangle of testimony and evidence into competing narratives on whether the oil company misled investors about the risks it faces from climate regulation. The decision now falls to one man.
The Trump administration has changed a 25-year-old policy to make it easier for coastal communities to take sand from protected ecosystems to improve their beaches. The shift makes it cheaper for some of the wealthiest communities in the country to replenish their beachfronts, but critics say that comes at the expense of vulnerable coastal ecosystems.
President Donald Trump may be withdrawing the United States from the international Paris Agreement to fight global warming, but the U.S. is still sending a delegation to the world's largest climate change summit, being held in Madrid next month.
Money managers cannot ignore climate change, a senior official from the U.S. central bank warned on Thursday. "The U.S. economy has experienced more than $500 billion in direct losses over the last five years due to climate and weather-related events," the official told a risk forum in New York.
A judge has ordered a new vote regarding a proposed natural gas power plant that was approved by the New Orleans City Council last year, ruling that proponents had used illegal means to win approval. The struggle mirrors a trend across the country where environmentalists and states are pushing back against new fossil fuel projects.
When sea otters in Alaska were diagnosed with phocine distemper virus (PDV) in 2004, scientists were surprised. A new study shows climate change may be opening up new pathways for the disease to spread.
The massive Taku Glacier has grown for nearly 130 years, extending deep into fjords southeast of the Alaska capital. Now, measurements indicate the Taku has ended its defiance of Alaska's warming climate and become the last of the Juneau Icefield's dozens of glaciers to retreat.
The White House on Thursday sent its nomination—Dan Brouillette—to be outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry's replacement to the Senate. Brouillette currently serves as the deputy secretary at the Department of Energy.
When a flash flood ripped through historic Ellicott City, Maryland, residents thought it was a freak occurrence. Instead, it was a hint about the future. And adapting to that future has been painful. NPR has a photo and video essay on the risks and damage.
As the thirst for electricity to power drilling rigs in West Texas drives the state's energy needs to new highs, oil and gas companies are increasingly relying on wind and solar power to ensure that the shale boom continues, Reuters reports.
November 7, 2019
Most countries aren't cutting emissions fast enough, and their pledges for the next 10 years fall far short of what's needed to keep climate change in check, a new analysis warns. Nearly two-thirds of pledges under the Paris climate agreement are "totally insufficient" to meet critical climate targets, the report found.
Democrats seized control of the Virginia legislature in this week's election, flipping the state's leadership from red to blue. And in Kentucky, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin appears to have narrowly lost to Democrat Andy Beshear. Those results could determine the path both states take in terms of climate action and clean energy.
In a letter made public on Wednesday, the EPA's acting inspector general rebuked the agency's chief of staff for refusing to cooperate with an inquiry into whether he pressured a scientist to alter her congressional testimony, calling his actions a "flagrant problem" and referring the matter to Congress.
Over the course of three years, a NASA plane surveying California and carrying gas-imaging equipment discovered "super emitters" of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. The results were published in a report Wednesday, estimating that 10 percent of the places releasing methane are responsible for more than half of the state's total emissions.
The Senate's bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus aimed at crafting legislation that will significantly reduce U.S. carbon emissions, is already growing with the addition of six new members announced on Wednesday.
From next year, Italian school students in every grade will be required to study climate change and sustainability, in an attempt to position the country as a world leader in environmental education.
Brazil's government had high hopes that a huge auction held Wednesday to award offshore oil drilling rights would cement the country's status as an emerging giant in the sector. But only Brazil's state-run oil company, Petrobras, and a couple of Chinese firms submitted bids for an auction that the Brazilian government had billed as the largest oil auction in history.
America's climate adaptation plans "disproportionately benefit the wealthy and increase the vulnerability of poor and historically marginalized communities," according to new research published last week in the journal Ocean and Coastal Management.
New Zealand lawmakers on Thursday adopted a measure to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. The framework enshrines the target in law and makes it a legally binding objective.
November 6, 2019
Exxon's trial on allegations of defrauding investors by misleading them about the risks it faces over climate change is nearing its end, with closing arguments a few days away. Here's what the New York attorney general needs to prove and how Exxon is fighting the claims.
The Trump administration is making another attempt to prop up the sagging coal industry, this time by proposing to relax two Obama-era rules meant to curb water pollution from power plants and clean up the ponds utilities use to store toxic coal ash.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced Tuesday that he plans to sue oil giants like Chevron, Shell and ExxonMobil to force them to pay for climate change-related costs the state is facing. "They need to pay just like Big Tobacco needed to pay," he said.
Wall Street is putting more emphasis on how climate risks will affect U.S. profits and revenues and what companies are doing to address those risks. More than 70 firms discussed the potential financial impacts of climate change on their quarterly results, more than double the amount last year, Reuters reports. As a result, fund managers are taking a closer look.