June 13, 2019
Indigo AG, a Boston-based startup, is aiming to help farmers offset their carbon emissions using carbon capture technology and a credit system. The idea has received mixed reviews from scientists, some questioning the feasibility and efficacy of the plan, and other worrying that focusing on carbon in soil will direct focus away from minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.
Former California Gov. Jerry Brown is planning to leave retirement to direct a new academic institute that will work with Chinese researchers to combat global warming. Brown has called China the world's "great hope" on climate change in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump's rollback of environmental agreements and policies.
June 12, 2019
Four former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrators, including three who served under Republican presidents, urged Congress to ramp up its oversight of the Trump EPA. They expressed distress at the agency's attempts to mislead the public on the risks of climate change and brush aside science.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May committed Britain to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, making it the first major economy to set that target. Environmental groups welcomed the move, but some said allowing the UK to reach the goal in part through international carbon credits would "shift the burden to developing nations."
Rostin Behnam, a Trump appointee to the federal Commodities Futures Trading Commission, which oversees major financial markets including grain futures and oil trading, warns that the financial risks of climate change are on par with circumstances that led to the 2008 financial crisis.
The Government Accountability Office re-affirmed the risk of climate change to the federal budget, particularly for disaster aid, insurance for crops and property, and the costs of managing federal land. "Climate change is playing a role in the increasing frequency of some types of extreme weather that lead to the billion-dollar disasters," the report says.
Carbon emissions from the global energy industry last year rose at the fastest rate in almost a decade after extreme weather and surprise swings in global temperatures stoked extra demand for fossil fuels, BP's annual global energy report says.
President Trump's trade war with China is driving down oil prices internationally, with some indicators hitting the lowest point in years, according to Morgan Stanley. "China has slowed faster than people expected and the trade war is still having a significant impact," one trading adviser said.
For every degree Celsius that the world's oceans warm, the total mass of sea animals is projected to drop by 5%, according to a new study by an international team of marine biologists. As a result, the world's oceans could lose about one-sixth of their fish and other marine life by the end of the century if climate change continues on its current path.
A coalition of environmental groups on Tuesday filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Interior Department's rollbacks of safety measures put in place by the Obama administration in the aftermath of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
June 11, 2019
Almost every state has been weighing changes to how homes with solar are compensated for electricity they send to the grid. As technology changes, so do the options. Which way are states going now and which ones are innovating? The results will impact solar growth.
The destructive 2016 wildfire near Fort McMurray, in the heart of the Canadian tar sands region, was as much as six times more likely because of climate change, new research shows. And the 2017 record-breaking fire season in British Columbia was seven to 11 times more likely because of climate change, another study finds.
The Environmental Protection Agency issued guidance that critics say seeks to limit states' influence over controversial pipeline projects. It follows President Trump's executive orders this spring to speed pipeline approvals by limiting state environmental reviews.
New Jersey released a draft energy plan on Monday that provides an initial blueprint for the total conversion of the state's energy profile to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. It joins several other states that have set similar goals.
The devastating flooding that has submerged large parts of the Midwest and South this spring has also brought barge traffic on many of the regions' rivers to a near standstill. The water is too high and too fast to navigate, and shipments of grains, fertilizers and construction supplies are stranded.
On the West Coast, millions of people have been under a heat advisories or excessive heat warnings this week, with temperatures in California reaching record highs for June. The heat, forecast to affect the Pacific Northwest next, has been making life uncomfortable, especially in coastal cities that rely on nature's air conditioning.
Contamination of private well water in southwest Iowa from human and natural causes is a problem even in dry times. But in this year of prolonged flooding, well owners have heightened concerns and are keeping county health officials busy testing water for contaminants such as coliform and E. coli bacteria, nitrates and arsenic.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government will ban single-use plastics — which could include plastic bags, straws and cutlery — in Canada starting in 2021 at the earliest, following the European Union's model. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said it lacked detail about impact on the economy.
Climate change is poised to increase the spread of dengue fever, which is common in parts of the world with warmer climates like Brazil and India, a new study warns.
India is sweating through what some are calling its worst heat wave ever, with four cities, including Delhi, hitting 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees Fahrenheit) or above, a record high for June.
June 10, 2019
The city of South Portland was blindsided when the EPA filed a consent decree with a company that operates industrial storage tanks: The amount of volatile organic compounds being emitted was reportedly more than double what was permitted, and the problem had gone unabated for years. ICN reporter Sabrina Shankman tells her story as a South Portland resident and mom.
The White House tried to stop a senior intelligence analyst from discussing climate science in congressional testimony, according to internal documents. Although the analyst was ultimately allowed to speak, the White House refused to sign off on his written testimony for the Congressional Record because it didn't match the Trump administration's political view.
The world's largest reinsurer wants policymakers in Europe to set a fivefold increase on the cost of emitting carbon. The chief executive of Munich Re said more action is necessary to hit targets set in the Paris climate agreement. "This can be either done by emissions trading or by a tax on carbon," he said.
Construction of a manufacturing plant, which promises 150 jobs, is being met with pushback in Jefferson County, West Virginia. Those opposed to the plant say the jobs aren't worth burning 84 tons of coal a day, and that pollution from the plant poses risks to health, soil, water and the local economy.
Philadelphia introduced a new fleet of electric buses, putting the city ahead of others in converting to a less carbon-intensive transportation system. The effort is one of the largest zero-emission bus fleet on the East Coast so far, but not the only one. New York City is aiming to go all-electric by 2040.
A recent report from the American Wind Energy Association found that the industry supported 114,000 full-time-equivalent jobs, roughly 8,500 added last year alone. But association executives worry that tariffs on Chinese imports may stifle some of that headway.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said holding a presidential debate just on climate change solutions is "not practical," responding to criticism from activists. He added that "once you have one single issue debate, then every debate leads to become a single issue debate in order to address the concerns."
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo downplayed climate change as a longstanding trend, suggesting that that modern societies could adapt to a changing environment, possibly with people moving to different places. (Here's what the GAO told the State Department earlier this year about climate-change-fueled migration.)
June 7, 2019
A federal appeals court on Thursday threw out a lower court decision to halt construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. But several major obstacles remain to the controversial project's progress, ensuring that the much-delayed Keystone XL will likely not be built soon.
A global conference on plastics this week showed that the industry is starting to feel the pressure as the world wakes up to the growing problem of plastics waste, particularly in the oceans. Industry leaders talked openly about it, with people representing businesses all along the supply and packaging chain suggesting a range of risks and responses.