December 13, 2018
In Congress, on Facebook and in statehouses nationwide, the oil industry has been running a stealth campaign to roll back auto emissions standards, the New York Times reports.
Congress has passed an $867 billion Farm Bill that maintains $50 million in annual funding for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The program provides grants and other assistance to farmers to buy, install and build renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements.
The day after the bill hit his desk, Michigan Gov. Rick Synder signed legislation that will allow plans for a new pipeline tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac to move forward. Snyder, a Republican, is about to be replaced by Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, who has voiced opposition to the pipeline.
While the Trump White House promotes fossil fuels at the UN climate talks in Poland, another group of U.S. leaders is ready to take action on climate change. A coalition of U.S. governors and mayors is meeting with foreign officials and says it's committed to reducing greenhouse gases even if the federal government is not.
Concerned that disagreements could derail progress at the global climate talks in Poland, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged compromise and sacrifice from participating countries. The summit is scheduled to wrap up this week.
The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources has released a comprehensive plan for how to advance the state's climate goals. The plan calls for aggressive technology-based conservation, energy efficiency and peak demand reduction, as well as rapid electrification of transportation, more use of air-source heat pumps, and other efforts.
Technology investments and falling prices are expected to help the wind industry add more than 680 gigawatts of capacity worldwide in the next decade, more than doubling the total global installed capacity at the end of 2017, according to new forecasts from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.
December 10, 2018
Four top oil-producing countries—the U.S., Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait—refused during international climate talks over the weekend to endorse the findings of a landmark report on the global warming from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
As solar and heat pump prices fall, these highly energy-efficient homes are paying for themselves faster. Here's how they work and why they're spreading northward.
Investors managing $32 trillion in assets are urging cuts in carbon emissions and the phasing out of all coal burning. They warn failure to act could lead to a financial crash several times worse than the 2008 crisis. The investors sounding the alarm include some of the world's biggest pension funds, insurers and asset managers.
Democrats who captured gubernatorial seats in the midterm elections are planning for environmental action as the White House continues its environmental policy rollbacks. The governors' plans include cap-and-trade systems, new state climate agencies and encouraging clean energy development.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's carbon tax push is facing significant opposition, including strong dissent from several provinces. In the background of discussions are an election next fall and the violent protests in France.
Putting a price on carbon has been an idea with some amount of bipartisan support in Washington for decades. But taxes on greenhouse gases are proving a hard sell with the public, even as time to head off disastrous climate change shrinks.
Construction on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline could be delayed for months after a federal court ordered work stopped on the 600-mile interstate natural gas project. The court is reviewing federal permits which had cleared the way for pipeline construction in sensitive habitats that are home to four endangered species.
December 7, 2018
From wind power maintenance to energy efficiency upgrades, clean energy job opportunities outnumber fossil fuel work in much of the rural Midwest, a new report shows. The numbers reflect the importance of clean energy to rural employment and underscore the need for government policies that are supportive of clean energy, the authors say.
A plan approved by the Cincinnati City Council this week makes it the 100th city in the U.S. to commit to getting all of its electricity from renewable sources, PV Magazine reports. The city of approximately 300,000 will aim to be completely transitioned by 2035. Read more from ICN about a similar move this year by Cleveland.
A group of leading economists and engineers write in the journal Science that the Trump administration's proposal to roll back fuel economy standards relies on an error-ridden and misleading analysis that overestimates the costs and understates the benefits of tighter regulations.
The Trump administration announced plans to strip protections for the sage grouse in a move to open 9 million acres to drilling and mining. Oil companies have fought protections for the imperiled ground-nesting bird, which they saw as an obstacle to exploiting rich resources in the West.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer writes in an op-ed in the Washington Post that any infrastructure bill will have to address climate change. The list he's sending to the president includes investments in renewable energy infrastructure and ensuring new electric grid, water and wastewater infrastructure investments are climate-resilient.
As climate talks proceed in Poland, some areas of negotiation have been more difficult than others. Among the points of contention: how much flexibility developing countries will have when it comes to reporting their emissions and how much aid rich countries will provide to them.
Taken together, the emissions produced by the United States and China account for more than 40 percent of the global total. But tension between the two countries threatens to slow global action on climate change at a time when the risks are accelerating, The New York Times writes.
The Senate voted 50-49 to confirm Bernard McNamee to serve on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Democrats say he should recuse himself from coal and nuclear matters because of his work on a bailout proposal for both while working in Trump's Department of Energy.
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is a leading contender to be the top Democrat on the Senate Energy Committee, which is deeply involved in climate-related policy. While Manchin doesn't deny that climate science is happening, his pro-coal positions and campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry are raising concerns among Democrats.
During his presidential campaign, Jair Bolsonaro pledged to open more of the Amazon to mining and agriculture, alarming environmentalists. But as he assembles his cabinet, competing philosophies of key appointees make the incoming administration's actions on climate and other policy areas harder to predict.
December 6, 2018
Melting on Greenland's ice sheet has gone into "overdrive," with meltwater runoff increasing 50 percent since the start of the industrial era and continuing to accelerate, new research shows. As more water runs off the ice sheet, it drives sea level rise, putting new pressure on coastal communities around the world.
Alberta, home of Canada's tar sands, announced it would temporarily cut oil production next year to boost prices in the face of limited pipeline capacity. It's an effort to buy time, but it may be a sign of lasting troubles for the industry.
Between 2014 and 2016, emissions remained largely flat, leading to hopes that the world was beginning to turn a corner. But in 2017, global emissions grew 1.6 percent. The rise in 2018 is projected to be 2.7 percent.
China is the world's biggest carbon polluter and it burns half the world's coal. But it's also a leader in renewable energy and gets a quarter of its electricity from renewable sources. That makes it a key country to watch in climate talks.
Taylor Energy, which has been ordered by the Coast Guard to fix a 14-year oil leak, says oil seeping from the seafloor is producing the large sheen near the site of the company's damaged MC-20 Saratoga oil platform. Coast Guard officials say that can't explain the large amount of oil.
New Zealand considers climate change to be the greatest threat to its security, a defense memo shows. While there are clear physical threats from climate change, the memo notes that countries could use assistance on climate change to boost their influence in the region.