January 15, 2019
Antarctic glaciers have been melting at an accelerating pace over the past four decades, an alarming trend that could mean sea levels rise more quickly than predicted, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The Trump administration is expected to give BP and other big oil companies more power to self-regulate their offshore drilling operations. The anticipated rule change comes as the White House seeks to open more of the U.S. coasts to offshore oil and gas drilling.
Barclays says in a new policy statement that it is unlikely to finance oil and gas drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the future. It did not say if it would pull out of current financing, and its statement drew some criticism from activist groups. Other big UK banks announced climate policies last year.
A federal judge is ordering a Tennessee Valley Authority contractor into mediation with cleanup workers who were sickened after unprotected long-term exposure to coal ash from the massive Kingston Fossil Plant ash spill a decade ago.
U.S. census tracts that are over 50 percent black or Hispanic have "significantly less" rooftop solar installations than census tracts with no majority or that are majority white, according to a new report published in the journal Nature Sustainability.
January 14, 2019
Western governors have called for a suite of policies to reduce wildfire damage, including cuts in greenhouse gases linked to climate change. The president has focused instead on expanding timber sales, including quietly issuing an executive order to significantly expand logging on public land.
The federal shutdown — now the longest in U.S. government history — has stalled projects on hurricanes, wildfires and algae, among other scientific and climate work. "We can't do any research and development for the next hurricane season," one forecaster said.
California's largest power company intends to file for bankruptcy as it faces tens of billions of dollars in potential liability following massive wildfires, according a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. PG&E cited the need for extensive rebuilding and "the significant increase in wildfire risk resulting from climate change."
Republicans are increasingly concerned that President Trump's threat to build a border wall by declaring a national emergency might be repeated by a future president who sees climate change as an existential danger to the United States.
Despite the government shutdown, the Interior Department continues processing oil permits and applications, and it is moving forward with meetings for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Similar meetings planned for an offshore wind farm project were canceled.
The closure of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management during the federal government shutdown could delay construction of Vineyard Wind, an 800-megawatt wind farm off Massachusetts that developers hope to begin building this year.
The Canadian government, two territories and several First Nations are expressing concerns to the United States over plans to open the calving grounds of a large cross-border caribou herd to energy drilling, despite international agreements to protect it.
More U.S. coal-fired power plants closed during President Trump's first two years than during President Obama's entire first term: 23,400 megawatts in 2017-2018 compared to 14,900 MW in 2009-2012, a Reuters analysis shows.
December 21, 2018
For more than three decades, the Farm Bureau has aligned agriculture closely with the fossil fuel agenda. While big oil and gas companies provided the cash for anti-regulation campaigns, the farm lobby offered up a sympathetic face: the American farmer.
Nine state attorneys general have joined a lawsuit filed by conservationists seeking to block the Trump administration from allowing seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean. They worry about harm to wildlife and about the oil and natural gas drilling it could usher in.
The Trump administration is one step closer to bringing oil drilling to the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Interior Department released a draft environmental review for a planned lease sale that acknowledges an impact on native communities, caribou herds and migratory birds that depend on the refuge.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has quietly folded its Climate and Health Program into a branch that studies asthma. The former head of the program has also been reassigned to a waterborne diseases unit and was the subject of a dismissal notice that was retracted after a nonprofit said it was considering a whistleblower lawsuit, The New York Times reports.
An Italian construction company just sold its lease to develop a wind farm in waters off the New Jersey coast for $215 million, about 21,000 percent more than it paid only three years ago. Interest in U.S. offshore wind has surged since 2016, when the nation's first, and thus far only, offshore wind project was completed off Rhode Island.
A group of Florida residents is suing a utility, claiming that two of its coal plants are linked to an uptick in occurrences of rare cancer diagnoses. The coal plants started up in 1987 and 1996.
Among the varied effects of climate change, there's this: increasing rat populations. In New York City, officials are reporting increasing number of calls from residents complaining about rats. Milder winters are giving the rats more time to breed, officials say.
Monarch butterfly migration numbers have been falling off, and studies have pointed to droughts and the quantity and quality of milkweed the caterpillers eat. New research also suggests climate change is shaping the butterflies more directly: One study found their wing span had increased nearly 5 percent over the past century and a half, possibly because they have to travel farther as temperatures warm.
A White Christmas could become a thing of the past for many cities later this century. Vox reports that in 67 U.S. cities, the average winter low temperature could cross a critical threshold by 2050: the freezing point of water.
December 20, 2018
Nine Eastern states have committed to cut transportation emissions in their region by designing a new cap-and-trade system. Details have yet to be worked out, but it's likely to follow California's example, with funds going to low-carbon choices like electric vehicles and public transit.
The gas rush in West Virginia is changing the face of the state. Land owners often don't own the natural gas beneath the surface, and long-standing property rights law says mineral owners may do whatever is "reasonably necessary" to extract natural gas from the ground, whether they own the affected land above or not.
ExxonMobil reported nearly $20 billion in earnings last year, but the EPA still granted a "hardship waiver" this year that temporarily frees its Montana refinery from U.S. biofuel laws, Reuters reports, citing three sources familiar with the matter. The waiver program was meant to help small fuel facilities.
A report on Amtrak's climate vulnerabilities shows that operations in Delaware and other parts of its Northeast Corridor route are immediately threatened by the effects of climate change. Flooding, rising seas and storm surge are identified as the biggest dangers.
Deep inside a lengthy report, the Congressional Budget Office claims that climate change poses little economic risk to the U.S. in the next decade, a statement that ignores the strong science-based warnings issued a few weeks ago by 13 federal agencies in the latest National Climate Assessment, as well as warnings from national intelligence agencies earlier this year.
Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) introduced a carbon pricing bill on Wednesday. The bill is a companion to legislation introduced by a bipartisan group in the House in November. Given the timing, it's unlikely to get attention this year, though, and Flake is leaving office in January.
Enbridge has been given the final go-ahead to replace its aging Line 5 pipelines with a tunnel, which will be drilled into the bedrock beneath the Straits of Mackinac. Opponents are concerned that it locks in more fossil fuels for decades to come.
The climate change committee that Democrats plan to establish will serve as an "recommendatory committee" for other committees, incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters. That means it wouldn't be able to issue subpoenas.