March 30, 2020
Japan has unveiled its latest plans to reduce its greenhouse gases ahead of the UN climate talks this year. But campaigners criticized the proposals, which kept emissions targets mostly unchanged from the country's 2015 pledges, over fears the COVID-19 crisis could prompt countries to water down their climate commitments.
March 27, 2020
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday announced a sweeping relaxation of environmental rules in response to the coronavirus pandemic, allowing power plants, factories and other facilities to determine for themselves if they are able to meet legal requirements on reporting air and water pollution.
California on Thursday adopted a new emissions target for its electric sector that would double the state's clean energy capacity over the next decade and end development of new natural gas plants. The new target aims to reduce power sector emissions 56 percent below 1990 levels, but green groups say that isn't aggressive enough.
The Trump administration's plan to purchase millions of barrels of oil is now in doubt after the Senate declined to provide funding for the purchase in its latest coronavirus stimulus package. The Energy Department withdrew its solicitation to buy oil for storage in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve on Wednesday.
President Trump has made rolling back environmental regulations a centerpiece of his administration. But all along, scientists and lawyers inside the federal government have embedded statistics and data in regulatory documents that make the rules vulnerable to legal challenges, The New York Times reports.
The Environmental Protection Agency's internal watchdog will review the agency's methods for regulating states' air pollution following threats by Administrator Andrew Wheeler to withhold highway funding from California if they did not update their plans.
The notorious Antarctic "ozone hole" that sparked worldwide concern after its discovery in the 1980s, combined with ever-rising levels of planet-warming CO2, are disrupting major weather patterns in the Southern Hemisphere, essentially playing "tug of war" with one another, a new study found.
The coronavirus outbreak could be hindering states' clean energy policies, Utility Dive reports. So far 24 states, plus the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam, have suspended or postponed their state legislative sessions in response to the epidemic, with several energy bills in some states now in flux.
March 26, 2020
There was hope among climate activists that the federal stimulus to address the economic downturn brought by COVID-19 might advance a transition to clean energy. But the $2 trillion package agreed upon Wednesday morning cut provisions to support a struggling renewable sector, including extending tax credits, as well as measures to reduce carbon emissions from aviation.
In a major victory for opponents of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday that prior environmental assessments failed to fully consider the impact of the project. The Army Corps of Engineers will now have to undertake a more thorough review.
As much of his government battles the coronavirus outbreak, President Trump is pushing ahead with a half-dozen major reversals of environmental regulations, including a restriction on scientific research that some doctors worry would complicate future pandemic controls, The New York Times reports.
Inside Clean Energy: At a Critical Moment, the Coronavirus Threatens to Bring Offshore Wind to a Halt
This was going to be the year that offshore wind energy made a giant leap in the United States. But like everything else, the coronavirus has complicated that. This, and more, in the latest Inside Clean Energy by Dan Gearino.
Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef has suffered its third mass coral bleaching in five years, according to early results of aerial surveys over the World Heritage site. 2019 was Australia's hottest, driest year, exacerbating bleaching and renewing calls for its government to do more to rein in climate change.
Global coal power plant development declined for the fourth year running in 2019, while a total of 13 gigawatts of capacity construction has been delayed so far this year due to the coronavirus, research by environmental organizations shows.
Although there have been no large-scale studies of how air pollution can complicate COVID-19, experts say that lung damage caused by poor air quality or smoking could make people particularly vulnerable, and that areas historically plagued by high pollution face a "double whammy." New research in Texas shows where those spots in the state could be.
March 25, 2020
As global population and demand for food climb, wild habitats will continue to shrink or disappear. That will likely lead to higher numbers of the species, such as bats and rats, that transmit deadly diseases like the novel coronavirus, researchers say.
Greta Thunberg, the 17-year-old Swedish climate activist, said on Tuesday that it was "extremely likely" that she had contracted COVID-19, but has since recovered. Thunberg, who said she only showed mild symptoms, reported her father also became ill and felt far worse. She used the announcement to urge young people to stay home to protect more vulnerable populations.
The world may soon run out of space to store its extra oil as Saudi Arabia prepares to increase its fossil fuel production even as global demand for energy continues to fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Guardian reports. On average, world storage levels have climbed to about three-quarters full since January, and some analysts predict oil falling as low as $10 a barrel this year.
The Trump administration is pushing ahead with drilling lease sales as oil prices plummet and conservation groups and others call to suspend business as usual during the coronavirus outbreak. The Bureau of Land Management held lease sales in Wyoming, Montana, Nevada and Colorado on Monday.
The world's wind power capacity grew by almost a fifth in 2019 after a year of record growth for offshore windfarms and a boom in onshore projects in the U.S. and China, a new report from an international industry group says.
Smoke from Australia's disastrous bushfires killed hundreds of people and sent thousands to hospitals and emergency rooms, according to a new study. Wildfire smoke killed at least 417 people and sent over 3,000 people to hospitals for cardiac and respiratory problems, it found.
Financial risk modelers are looking at the global response to COVID-19 as a test case for how climate shocks could roil markets and push governments to respond to existential threats. Seeing the impact of the pandemic has some modelers broadening their view of the social consequences of climate change.
As the coronavirus causes shut-downs across the U.S., a coalition of youth-led organizations that had planned massive marches for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day next month are now planning a three-day livestream event instead, organizers said Tuesday.
March 24, 2020
The Trump administration has moved to expand and fast-track a proposal to limit the use of human health science in environmental decision-making. But with the nation in a state of emergency over the coronavirus pandemic, researchers and environmentalists are calling the move "reckless" and "unconscionable."
Pacific Gas & Electric, California's largest utility, said Monday that it had agreed to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter in connection with the Camp Fire, the state's deadliest wildfire. State regulators determined last year that PG&E's equipment caused the fire that killed 85 people in 2018.
Clean energy and climate advocates say the huge stimulus bill Congress is negotiating should address not only the economy, but also climate change. But a split over that appears to have contributed to delays in passing the bill.
A federal appeals court sided with scientists Monday, forcing a lower court to reconsider a case challenging the EPA's decision to bar those who receive agency grants from sitting on its boards—such as its esteemed Science Advisory Board. Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt argued the move prevented conflicts of interest.
A Plant in Florida Emits Vast Quantities of a Greenhouse Gas Nearly 300 Times More Potent Than Carbon Dioxide
A chemical plant in north Florida, a climate killer hiding in plain site, is the largest point source of nitrous oxide emissions in the country, emitting the greenhouse gas equivalent of 2.1 million automobiles per year.
Scientists thought the Denman Glacier was less vulnerable than Antarctica's western coast, but it has receded almost three miles in two decades, according to NASA-led research published on Monday. The glacier contains enough water to eventually raise global sea levels by 5 feet.