August 8, 2019
A former oil executive who has voiced doubts about man-made global warming is the new top Environmental Protection Agency official in the South-Central United States. The area is a hub of the fossil fuel industry as well as the site of recent climate-driven disasters such as Hurricane Harvey.
Alaska just recorded its warmest July—and warmest month—on record, NOAA announced. The temperatures have soared as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit, seals and other animals are inexplicably dying, and the once-dependable sea ice is long gone from the shores.
Negotiators for the world's governments have signed off on a major new UN report that describes in alarming detail how agriculture, deforestation and other human impacts on lands are transforming the climate. The IPCC report shows the urgent need to overhaul the global food system to help control climate-warming emissions.
Power generators across the U.S. are touting the cost savings of retiring coal-fired power plants, despite the Trump administration's pro-coal efforts. "You know there was once a time when we had to make a sucker's choice between clean and expensive energy or the cheap and dirty stuff," said CMS Energy Corp. President and CEO Patricia Poppe. "That just isn't true anymore."
The Center for American Progress report found that there is a national shortage of 7 million homes for low-income renters, and this shortage disproportionately affects disabled people and minority communities that also have the fewest resources to recover from natural disasters linked to climate change.
Mercury levels are rising in popular fish like tuna, salmon and swordfish. Warmer waters from global warming may be partly responsible, according to a new study.
A new study detected jet stream changes, due to changing temperatures, that can have a significant influence on aviation. The relationship between climate change and increased clear-air turbulence is "well-established and entirely consistent with our understanding of the physics of turbulence generation," a study author said.
August 7, 2019
A group of German lawmakers is proposing raising taxes on meat to 19 percent, up from the 7 percent tax on most food. Scientists say the meat industry is one of the highest emitters of carbon dioxide, a key contributor to climate change.
Countries that are home a quarter of Earth's population face the increasingly urgent risk of running out of water, according to a new report from the World Resources Institute. Seventeen countries are using almost all the water they have, and several are relying heavily on groundwater instead of saving water for times of drought.
Industry officials say ethanol plants across the Midwest will sharply cut back on their production in the coming weeks, the result of bother oversupply and President Trump's trade dispute with China.
Since 2012, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the U.S. Postal Service for exposing about 900 employees across the country to the risks of extreme heat. Over the same years, at least five mail carriers have died from heat-related illnesses.
Fiji aims to reduce its emissions to net-zero by 2050, along with plans to tighten restrictions on the use of plastics and establish procedures to relocate communities at risk from the adverse effects of climate change. The country's said the plans would "make the case for more ambition on the part of the island states and our larger neighbors."
Over the course of a year, a pilot-photographer traveled along the east coast of the U.S., taking aerial pictures to document the potential risks of rising sea levels. He photographed homes, electric power lines, sewage treatment plants and airports, all vulnerable to rising waters.
August 6, 2019
Prosecutors in New York are accusing ExxonMobil of trying to discourage potential witnesses from testifying about whether the oil giant misled investors over the costs it may face from future climate regulations. They are asking a judge to block Exxon from making what they describe as "unreasonable" and extensive requests for documents from the witnesses.
Trump's EPA months ago rejected a fuel efficiency compromise that has since been agreed to by four major automakers and the state of California, new details show. "Looking back, it seems that they were never interested in negotiations or discussions," a spokesman for the California Air Resources Board said.
Meanwhile, EPA has sent the White House the final draft of its policy to roll back Obama-era vehicle emissions standards. The White House review is the policy's second-to-last step before the controversial rule is implemented.
Staffers and industry officials say President Trump and Neil Chatterjee, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, have politicized the independent agency usually known for nonpartisan rule-making. Under Chatterjee, a former Mitch McConnell aid, FERC has had a tough time retaining staff, filling a vacant commissioner post and issuing rulings.
FirstEnergy Solutions told a bankruptcy court it could not honor existing contracts with employee unions and that it intends to negotiate new bargaining agreements once it reorganizes. Ohio lawmakers recently approved a six-year, $1.1 billion bailout to be paid by power customers to help FirstEnergy Solutions' nuclear plants, and the company announced the money will also allow it to keep a "super-polluter" coal plant running.
Heading into late summer and fall, California faces an above-normal chance for large wildfires, according to a report by the National Interagency Fire Center. Heat, autumn winds and rain will all play into how perilous the 2019 wildfire season becomes.
Approvals for building new coal mines in China have surged in 2019, government documents show. Beijing expects coal consumption to rise in the coming years, despite pledges to address smog and greenhouse gas emissions.
A new report from a progressive think tank found that the United States lost 24 million acres of natural area between 2001 and 2017 due to agriculture, energy development, housing sprawl and other human factors. The loss of natural land makes the country more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, the report says.
August 5, 2019
Thirteen states are suing the Trump administration, saying it broke the law in cutting penalties for automakers that fail to meet Obama-era fuel efficiency standards. "Without strong penalties for violating these fuel efficiency standards consumers, our economy, and our environment all remain in danger," said New York Attorney General Letitia James.
Moody's Corporation has brought on board a data firm specializing in climate risks. It's a signal that rating agencies are paying more attention to global warming and its impact in the financial markets. "More and more, issuers and investors want to know how they are exposed to climate events," a Moody's official said.
A North Carolina administrative law judge has ruled that the state can order Duke Energy to excavate all of its coal ash pits by 2030 to prevent further pollution in waterways. Read more from ICN on a newly proposed EPA rule change that could let the companies responsible for toxic coal ash dump unlimited amounts of it at certain construction sites.
The head of Russia's meteorological service said global climate change is a factor behind the wildfires blazing in Siberia and the country's Far East. The fires have spread over 12,000 square miles. Russia's aerial forest protection service said it isn't fighting the blazes since they are too difficult to reach.
Lake Hopatcong, normally buzzing with swimmers and water skiers, is filled with cyanobacteria in quantities never before recorded. Climate change is a likely factor, scientists say, in an increase in blooms there and elsewhere.
Thousands of Pacific walruses have come to shore off the northwest coast of Alaska in their earliest appearance since sea ice has substantially receded. Sea ice allows young walruses to rest as their mothers dive for clams and snails. When the ice recedes, walruses are forced to beaches to rest in Alaska and Russia.
One of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's top climate change scientists says he is quitting in protest over the Trump administration's efforts to bury research into how rice loses nutrients due to rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Lew Ziska's departure follows several others who have said the administration is censoring climate science.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an agreement that will lead to a stretch of the far northern Canadian Arctic becoming a marine protected area, off-limits to mining, oil, gas and trawling. "Freezing any new human activities will help ensure the ice that never melts will remain true to its name," he said.
August 2, 2019
Two reports out today show that July's European heat wave was fueled by climate change, just like the one in June, and that Earth at least tied the record for its hottest July. Bob Berwyn reports from the Adriatic Sea on what that means for crops, fish and humans.