September 17, 2020

EPA Postpones Environmental Justice Training After White House Memo

The Environmental Protection Agency is postponing training on environmental inequity faced by communities of color and low-income communities following a White House order calling for agencies to stop training involving what it described as "anti-American propaganda," The Hill reports. The agency said it's putting the training "on hold" until it receives further instruction.

September 16, 2020

California Fires Are Emitting Record Amounts of Carbon Dioxide

Giant fires are releasing unprecedented amounts of carbon dioxide and particulate-matter pollution into the atmosphere in California and Oregon, leading to the first increase in wildfire emissions in the U.S. since 2015, Bloomberg reports. In some spots, the intensity of fires this year has been up to hundreds of times higher than the average from 2003 to 2019.

A Most ‘Sustainable’ Vineyard in a ‘Completely Unsustainable’ Year

California's Napa and Sonoma Valleys have faced an unrelenting barrage of climate-related disasters in recent years, including increasingly devastating drought and wildfire. Now winery owners dedicated to being earth-friendly and sustainable feel cheated as their livelihood goes up in smoke. "We're paying the price for everybody else getting cheap energy in the last few decades," one owner said.

In a Dry State, Farmers Use Oil Wastewater to Irrigate Their Fields, but is it Safe?

Faced with ongoing drought, water shortages and regulations limiting groundwater use, California farmers are increasingly using oilfield wastewater—a byproduct of oil and gas extraction—to irrigate their crops. The water can contain harmful materials such as boron, arsenic and radioactive elements, but at safe levels for humans, one study found. Still, some experts worry about what's being overlooked.

In Montana, Big Sky Country, Climate Change is Playing a Role in a Crucial Toss-Up Race

Pollsters are calling the Montana Senate race between Republican incumbent Sen. Steve Daines and Democratic challenger Steve Bullock a tossup, and the future of the nation's climate policy could be on the line. This story is part of our Senate 2020 series, which focuses on the climate records of candidates in 11 key races in the November elections that will determine the future of U.S. climate policy.

In Kansas, a Democratic Climate Hawk Closes in on a Republican Climate Skeptic

Is the GOP losing its grip on deep-red Kansas? The result of this tight race between Sen. Barbara Bollier and Rep. Roger Marshall could reveal the answer, as well as how their views on climate change played a role. This story is part of our Senate 2020 series, which focuses on the climate records of candidates in 11 key races in the November elections that will determine the future of U.S. climate policy.

September 15, 2020

A ‘Crossroads’ for Humanity: Earth’s Biodiversity Is Still Collapsing

The world is failing to address a catastrophic biodiversity collapse that not only threatens to wipe out beloved species and invaluable genetic diversity, but endangers humanity's food supply, health and security, according to a sweeping new United Nations report. Despite commitments made a decade ago to protect and restore nature, nations continue to exacerbate the crisis, it says.

Hurricane Sally Is Bringing 'History-Making' Rains To Gulf Coast, Forecasters Say

Hurricane Sally weakened a bit overnight, but the storm brings a perilous threat of floods to areas along the northern Gulf Coast, forecasters say. The hurricane is crawling along at just 2 mph, giving its heavy rains even more potential impact. Many communities in Sally's path will be drenched by 10 to 20 inches of rain, with some areas possibly seeing up to 30 inches.

Biden Puts Climate Change at Center of Presidential Campaign, Calling Trump a ‘Climate Arsonist’

With the West ablaze and a hurricane bearing down on the Gulf Coast, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden assailed President Donald Trump for science denial Monday in an unprecedented move by a candidate to shift a U.S. presidential campaign's focus to global warming. "From the ravages of climate change, it's clear we're not safe in Donald Trump's America," Biden said at a recent campaign rally.

New Break in Greenland’s Largest Ice Shelf Signals Rapid Melting

As the summer melt season reaches its peak, the largest Arctic ice shelf has jettisoned a piece of ice twice the size of Manhattan. The Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland reported on Monday that the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream has lost more than 19 square miles for the second year in a row. A separate study published Monday found the region had entered a new climate period.

Northern Hemisphere Sees Its Hottest Summer on Record

The Northern Hemisphere had its hottest summer on record this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday. The three-month season from June through August broke a record that had been set in 2016 and tied in 2019, with August 1.69 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average of 60.1 degrees, the agency reported.

September 14, 2020

A Secret Recording Reveals Oil Executives’ Private Views on Climate Change

Last summer, oil and gas-industry groups were lobbying to overturn federal rules on leaks of natural gas, a major contributor to climate change, arguing that companies had emissions under control. But privately, at a discussion convened last year by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, the groups expressed concern that the industry was flaring too much gas, the New York Times reports.

In South Carolina, a Political Newcomer Gives Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham a Run for His Money

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham has long portrayed himself as a climate champion, but his ardent support for a president who has dismantled climate policy has environmentalists determined to unseat him. This story is part of our Senate 2020 series, which focuses on the climate records of candidates in 11 key races in the November elections that will determine the future of U.S. climate policy.

Longtime Climate Science Denier Hired At NOAA

David Legates, a University of Delaware professor of climatology who has spent much of his career questioning basic tenets of climate science, has been hired for a top position at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NPR reports. He will work as the agency's deputy assistant secretary of commerce for observation and prediction.

Federal and California Officials Set to Unveil Daimler Diesel Emissions Settlement

Federal and California officials will on Monday disclose the terms of Daimler AG's $1.5 billion settlement to resolve a long-running government investigation into its use of software to cheat diesel emissions tests, Reuters reports. The German automaker disclosed last month that it had reached a settlement in principle resolving civil and environmental claims tied to 250,000 U.S. diesel cars and vans.

September 11, 2020

La Niña May Worsen Southwest Drought This Winter

Climate forecasters said Thursday that the world had entered La Niña, the opposite phase of the climate pattern that also brings El Niño and affects weather across the globe. Among other impacts, La Niña has the potential this winter to worsen what are already severe drought conditions in the American Southwest.

Senate 2020: Georgia is Dealing With Droughts, Storms and Rising Seas, but Will it Matter to Voters?

In Georgia, Sen. David Perdue, and his record of supporting fossil fuels, is being challenged by Jon Ossoff, who wants to rebuild a cleaner economy for the state in the wake of Covid-19. This story is part of our Senate 2020 series, which focuses on the climate records of candidates in 11 key races in the November elections that will determine the future of U.S. climate policy.

Delaware Sues Major Oil Companies Over Climate Change

Delaware on Thursday became the latest state to sue major oil and gas companies over climate change, arguing they knew about the issue for decades but participated in a "campaign of deception" to help sell their products. Named in the lawsuit are ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and Shell, as well American Petroleum Institute, a major lobbying group.

September 10, 2020

Animal Populations Fell by 68 Percent in 50 Years and It’s Getting Worse

The world's animal populations shrunk an average of 68 percent between 1970 and 2016, a major study released this week found, spanning communities of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish. The loss in biodiversity stems largely from how humans are using land to produce food, the authors say, and threatens the security and benefits those ecosystems have long provided humankind. 

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