May 1, 2019
Global warming has been fueling droughts since the early 20th Century, when soils started drying out at the same time across parts of North and Central America, Eurasia, Australia and the Mediterranean, new research shows. The researchers say the surprising early-century findings provide the clearest signal yet that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are changing the hydroclimate in ways that can devastate agriculture, health and livelihoods.
The United Kingdom's official adviser on climate change is preparing to recommend the country set a target of net zero fossil fuel emissions by 2050. If adopted, it would be the tightest emissions rules of any of the leading economies.
The admiral nominated to be the Navy's next top officer, Adm. Bill Moran, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that climate change is "going to be a problem" for the military branch, adding that the service is working on a plan to prepare bases for challenges such as rising waters. Marines Corps Gen. David Berger, nominated to be the service's next commandant, said he agreed with that assessment.
The idea of a carbon tax is increasingly out of favor with left-wing climate activists who are behind the push for a Green New Deal. They say that simply charging a tax on those who emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases would be too little, too late.
Scientists say warming ocean water is melting part of Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf 10 times faster than the overall average, much faster than scientists previous thought. The ice shelf plays a critical role in slowing the flow of giant glaciers that can raise sea level.
An energy watchdog group says companies are betting more than a trillion dollars on risky gas pipeline projects. Global Energy Monitor says the long payback periods of the projects, along with the need to quickly reduce fossil fuel use to slow climate change, mean these pipelines are at a high risk of never recouping their costs.
The transition to clean energy has likely reached a milestone. The Energy Information Administration estimates that the renewable energy sector was on pace to generate more electricity than coal during April, the first month it would have happened. While this is just one month during a season of low electricity demand, it is a sign of a broader shift in the energy economy.
Federal regulators have approved a license for the first pumped hydro storage project to be approved in decades in the Pacific Northwest. The 393 megawatt project would generate electricity by pumping water to a reservoir high on a hill, and then releasing the water over turbines to a lower reservoir.
April 30, 2019
A major Tennessee city is studying whether it can save money by leaving the federally owned Tennessee Valley Authority and possibly developing renewable energy instead. Activists see it as a beachhead in their fight to end TVA's reliance on fossil fuels.
Washington, D.C., is announcing a goal of retrofitting or removing all of its flood-prone buildings by 2050, the first major U.S. city to set such a policy. It's part of a broader plan to protect the District from climate change. One challenge may be the number of federal government buildings near floodplains in Washington.
The Interior Department is still processing applications for companies to conduct seismic testing in the Atlantic — a precursor to oil and gas drilling, a spokeswoman said. It's happening despite Interior Secretary David Bernhardt saying the agency's five-year plan for drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf would be sidelined indefinitely while a judge's ruling is appealed.
Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled a sweeping plan for a more sustainable Los Angeles on Monday, envisioning a city where, by the mid-2030s, 80 percent of the cars run on electricity or zero-emissions fuel, 80 percent of electricity is from renewable sources, and residents drive far less than they do now.
A new study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service suggests forests are falling behind in their ability to filter nitrate washed into streams from animal waste and nitrogen-based agriculture fertilizers, and heavy rains brought on by climate change are making it worse.
A growing number of Republicans are now openly discussing climate change and proposing what they call conservative solutions as polls show that voters in both parties — particularly younger Americans — are increasingly concerned about a warming planet and as the new Democratic majority in the House shines a spotlight on the issue.
In every region of the U.S., farmers are trying to adapt an array of crops to warmer temperatures, invasive pests, erratic weather and earlier growing seasons. The impact may not yet be obvious in grocery stores, but farmers, plant breeders and others in agriculture are scrambling to keep up with climate change.
April 29, 2019
The EPA published a 150-page document urging communities to start planning for the fact that climate change is going to make catastrophes worse. The report is the latest example of government experts continuing to sound the alarm as the White House tries to minimize or ignore climate science.
Five weeks after historic flooding began in the Midwest, waters still cover pasturelands, corn and soybean fields. The damage could cost the country more than $3 billion as farmers and ranchers tally the crops and livestock lost. Climate models predict more extreme weather in the Midwest over the coming decades.
Americans must assume more responsibility for protecting themselves from the rising toll of natural disasters, acting FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor said Friday. Five weeks until the start of hurricane season, Gaynor called on state and local officials to do more, including imposing tougher building codes.
Cyclone Kenneth dumped heavy rains in northern Mozambique, flooding parts of a provincial capital, prompting evacuations and complicating efforts by rescuers to reach remote areas. Many fear a repeat of the mass floods that killed some 600 people last month in central Mozambique.
President Trump's efforts to bolster the U.S. fossil fuel industry, from easing regulations on coal mining to opening more federal land to oil drillers, has continually faced legal defeats, siphoning time away from other priorities and jeopardizing the administration's ability to finalize regulatory reforms sought by industry.
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke called for $5 trillion to be spent over the next decade with a goal of neutralizing carbon emissions in the U.S. by mid-century, and added his support for ending new fossil fuel leasing on public lands. But some activists have criticized O'Rourke for what they perceive as closeness with the oil and gas industry.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker introduced what he's calling an "environmental justice plan" that includes calling for companies to pay for the pollution they cause and "safeguarding the basic human right of safe drinking water" by better enforcing the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Military officials from 29 countries — including the United States — will test whether energy efficient equipment and hybrid diesel-solar power systems can be easily integrated into their operations at an upcoming NATO exercise in Poland this June.
April 26, 2019
The Trump White House has launched another attempt to control the use of science in federal policymaking with a memo that appears aimed at putting into effect some long-sought goals of industry foes of environmental regulations. Here's how it would work.
Close Coal Plants, Save Money: That's an Indiana Utility's Plan. The Coal Industry Wants to Stop It.
Indiana's third-largest utility decided it was time for a big shift, from coal to renewwable energy, because its coal plants were too expensive to operate. Coal interests have fought this every step of the way, including hiring Scott Pruitt as a lobbyist to persuade the legislature to intervene. But the fight, so far, isn't going as the coal industry had hoped.
The Trump administration says a plan to open most of the nation's coastline for offshore oil drilling is on indefinite hold because of a recent court decision on drilling off Alaska. The administration's move means a pause in what was shaping up to be a controversial plan, opposed even by many Republican officials from coastal states.
Facing what it saw as a threat to its monopoly from a surging rooftop solar industry, Arizona's largest utility secretly funneled millions of dollars to back favored candidates for the state commission regulating it. The spending raises questions about whether a regulated monopoly should be allowed to contribute political causes that could adversely affect customers, and whether it should be permitted to keep such spending secret.
PacifiCorp says it is considering retiring one Wyoming coal-fired power plant and part of another. "The economics of coal is challenged to a significant degree by low-priced natural gas and increasingly inexpensive wind and solar," a company spokesman said. Read more on this trend and coal's pushback.
An executive for Tata Steel last year pledged to spend heavily to cut factory emissions on the condition that the Netherlands governments invest a similar amount. The proposal comes as governments and corporations wrangle over who should pay for countries to meet aggressive climate targets.
Large California utilities have filed requests with state and federal regulators to increase their customers' monthly electric bills, citing "extraordinary wildfire risk." This week, two of them also requested to raise their profits for shareholders, though the final numbers will be heavily negotiated.