June 8, 2020

Army Corps of Engineers Outlines $4.6 Billion Plan to Protect Miami From Climate Impacts

The federal government is proposing a $4.6 billion plan to protect the low-lying Miami area from the effects of climate change, including the construction of miles of walls to protect the coast from sea level rise. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a draft plan Friday calling for walls tall enough to protect thousands of homes and businesses from flooding that could reach about 13 feet in height.

Amazon Rainforest Fire Season Starts With Outlook for Record Burn

The world's largest rainforest is set for another record year of burning, and an area 11 times the size of New York City could be set ablaze, a new report warns. The report comes as many Brazillian patrols that work to stop illegal logging have been sidelined or sickened by Covid-19. Every year, illegal loggers level huge swaths of jungle, then burn the land to make way for crops or cattle.

June 5, 2020

New Trump Air Rule Will Limit Future Pollution Regulations, Critics Say

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday announced a proposal critics say not only restricts the Clean Air Act but will undermine future administrations seeking to reduce air pollution. The proposal changes how the government justifies its own air pollution regulations, limiting how the EPA weighs its cost-benefit analyses when regulating carbon emissions and air pollutants.

Germany Just Unveiled the World’s Greenest Stimulus Plan

After 21 hours of intense negotiations, Germany unveiled on Wednesday what is so far the world's most ambitious economic recovery plan in terms of supporting environmental and climate initiatives, Bloomberg reports. The $145 billion plan focuses heavily on climate-friendly industries and technologies, and underscores Chancellor Angela Merkel's pledge to wean off fossil fuels.

June 4, 2020

Australia's Great Barrier Reef Suffers Most Extensive Coral Bleaching

Australia's Great Barrier Reef suffered its most extensive coral bleaching event in March, with scientists warning that under the current warming trajectory, the reef—which plays a vital role in preventing coastal erosion and maintaining biodiversity—faces certain destruction. February 2020 was the hottest month on record along the length of the reef.

Inside Clean Energy: Rooftop Solar Gets a Lifeline in Arkansas

Solar advocates in Arkansas are celebrating a recent decision that will continue to pay rooftop solar owners the full retail price for excess electricity they sell back to the grid. And in a larger debate over renewables, the city of Memphis is considering ending its contract with the nation's largest public utility. We cover that, and more, in the latest Inside Clean Energy by Dan Gearino.

House Democrats Roll Out $500 Billion Green Transportation Infrastructure Bill

House Democrats rolled out a nearly $500 billion infrastructure bill Wednesday aimed at updating America's aging transportation system while also addressing climate change. Besides repairing roads and bridges, the legislation focuses on funding green transportation development, such as rail travel and investments in electric vehicle charging stations.

Former Employees Critique EPA Under Trump in New Report

A group of former Environmental Protection Agency employees has released a report condemning the direction in which the agency has moved under President Trump. The group, called Save EPA, accuses the Trump administration of relentlessly rolling back public health and environmental protections, weakening enforcement and crippling the agency's capacity to address new and existing problems.

Big Oil Could End Up Even Bigger by the End of the Coronavirus Pandemic

The nation's biggest oil and gas companies could end up even bigger by the end of the coronavirus pandemic, The Washington Post reports. Analysts expect a coming wave of bankruptcies should the price of oil remain low. That could allow the largest petroleum industry players to buy out wells for cheap from small and mid-sized oil companies that are struggling amid the market turmoil.

June 3, 2020

Flooding Disproportionately Harms Black Neighborhoods

Flooding in the U.S. disproportionately harms African American neighborhoods, an analysis of federal flood insurance payments shows. Aging sewer infrastructure and less porous surfaces often make urban flooding more damaging, highlighting how climate change-related factors could exacerbate ongoing racial disparities in the country, E&E News reports.

Red Cross Warns of a ‘Staggering’ Drop in Blood Supplies

As protests and violence erupt in cities, the United States faces a new threat: The country is running out of blood, the New York Times reports. Several months of social distancing and stay-at-home orders have resulted in fewer people donating or needing blood. But as states reopen and hospitals resume elective surgeries, increasing the demand, the rate of blood donations has yet to bounce back.

'Gutted' Interior Agency Moves Out West With Top Posts Unfilled

The Interior Department is struggling to fill top positions at the Bureau of Land Management despite assurances from officials that the agency's relocation from Washington to Colorado is helping recruit top talent, according to an analysis by The Hill. Just a month before it plans to finish the relocation, BLM has yet to hire four of the agency's seven division directors.

Air Pollution in China Back to Pre-Covid Levels and Europe May Follow

Air pollution in China has climbed back to pre-pandemic levels, and scientists say Europe may follow suit, The Guardian reports. At the height of the country's coronavirus response in early March, nitrous oxide levels were down by 38 percent from 2019 and concentrations of fine soot pollution—or PM 2.5—were down by 34 percent. Both are now back to 2019 levels.

Brazil Police Arrest Dozens in Illegal Amazon Rainforest Logging Ring

Police stormed a dozen sawmills in Brazil's Amazon rainforest on Tuesday, arresting about 30 people accused of involvement in an illegal logging ring that was responsible for cutting down some 9,000 trees in a span of 10 months, Reuters reports. Deforestation hit an 11-year high in 2019, and about 99 percent of deforestation in Brazil last year was illegal.

Germany Sets New 2040 Targets for Offshore Wind Capacity

Germany's government has set a target to expand offshore wind power capacity by 2040 to 40 gigawatts from 15 gigawatts currently, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Wednesday. By 2030, the government aims to add 20 gigawatts in capacity as part of a wide-ranging climate package enacted last year. The revised targets could potentially help the ailing wind power sector.

June 2, 2020

U.S. Ruling Could Mean a Flood of New Claims Against Volkswagen

Volkswagen, the German automaker that paid more than $20 billion in federal criminal and civil penalties for cheating diesel emissions tests in the U.S. and elsewhere, could now face a "staggering" volume of claims from local governments after a federal appeals court ruled on Monday that counties in Florida and in Utah could impose local pollution laws on the manufacturer.

Warning of ‘Green Swan’ Risks, Climate Group and Bipartisan Supporters Unveil Plan for Markets

Climate group Ceres, along with a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, has laid out a plan that they say is necessary for financial markets and regulators to adequately cope with the threats of climate change. The U.S. has lost nearly $1.8 trillion from climate-related extreme weather events since 1980, and markets must focus on the climate moving beyond Covid-19 recovery efforts, the report says.

Australia’s Water Is Vanishing

The Murray-Darling Basin is supposed to be Australia's agricultural heartland, named for two of the continent's most important rivers. But over the last several years, the region has been engulfed in drought so severe, farmers have resorted to pulling out once-profitable crops and pumping illegally from depleted stocks, Bloomberg reports.

June 1, 2020

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