September 17, 2020
Alabama voters have a clear choice in the Senate race. Republican Tommy Tuberville says only God controls the climate. Doug Jones, a Democrat, calls ignoring global warming "malpractice." 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.
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
Hurricane Sally is going into the record books—and it only just made landfall. The National Hurricane Center says "historic and catastrophic flooding is unfolding" from just west of Tallahassee, Florida to Mobile Bay. Scientists say the kind of slow-moving storms that bring intense rainfall like Sally, or Dorian last year, are becoming more common because of climate change, our reporting found.
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.
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.
Thousands of migrating birds, including flycatchers, swallows and warblers have inexplicably died in the southwestern region of the United States in what ornithologists have described as a national tragedy that is likely to be related to the climate crisis, The Guardian reports. Birders in California began reporting an absence of birds around the state last week, our reporting found.
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.
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.
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
Connecticut and Delaware have joined a growing list of states, cities and counties that have filed climate change lawsuits against the fossil fuel industry, claiming oil and gas companies knew their products caused sea level rise and stronger hurricanes but willfully misled the public about those and other dangers related to global warming.
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 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.
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.
A new study mapping salt concentrations in the world's oceans confirms what physics and climate models have long suggested: Global warming is intensifying Earth's water cycle, worsening droughts and increasing extreme rainstorms and flooding. The study paints a much clearer picture of how much, and where, that water cycle is changing.
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.
Three U.S. cities—Portland, Oregon, Seattle and Los Angeles—are currently among the top 10 worldwide with the worst air quality as dozens of large-scale wildfires across the American West continue to rage, according to rankings compiled by air quality tracker IQAir.
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
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 1910, hundreds of wildfires exploded over an area the size of Connecticut in the Bitterroot Mountains of Idaho and Montana. The blazes changed how the nation approached wildfires, helping to develop the U.S. Forest Service. Could the current fires raging on the West Coast prompt the country to rethink its wildfire policies once again?
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.
North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis used to deny climate science. But as he seeks his second term in office, Tillis acknowledges human-driven climate change, and says he favors "market-based solutions." 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.
When President Trump flies to California on Monday to assess the state's raging forest fires, he will come face to face with the reality of the climate crisis, which he has stubbornly refused to accept while pursuing policies that exacerbate it. Battling for a second term, Trump is doubling down on his anti-climate agenda and continuing to blame the wildfires on forest management.
A new whistleblower's complaint says Ken Cuccinelli, the No. 2 official at the Department of Homeland Security, sought to downplay the threat of white supremacists. A decade ago, the former Virginia Attorney General was downplaying the threat of global warming as he pursued an extraordinary legal campaign against one of the nation's top climate scientists.
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 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
As many Westerners awoke this week to a sky so muted by smoke from raging wildfires that it looked like night, backyard bird watchers noticed something else: Silence at their bird feeders. Or worse yet, dead birds. Now some watchers are scrambling to find out what happened to bird populations in the region, which are already in major decline.
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 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
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.