July 3, 2019
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has proposed a major expansion of voluntary public service programs like AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps and also wants to add new ones focused on combating climate change, treating mental health and addiction, and providing care for older people.
Climate Change Denialists Dubbed Automakers the ‘Opposition’ in Fight Over Trump’s Emissions Rollback
A coalition of groups that reject climate science have urged the Trump administration to further roll back auto emissions regulations, characterizing automakers themselves as their opponents to achieving that goal, government emails show. Automakers have balked at the Trump administration's plans to substantially weaken Obama-era standards.
The Democratic National Committee is considering two proposals that could allow a climate change-focused presidential debate. The committee will hold a vote on Aug. 23. The announcement follows pressure from activists who say last week's pair of debates, during which debaters spent 15 minutes of the four hour runtime on climate, proves the need for a conversation focused solely on climate.
An indigenous-led group plans to offer to buy a majority stake in the Trans Mountain oil pipeline from the Canadian government, a deal that could help Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mitigate criticism from environmentalists. The group said the investment will help to alleviate First Nations poverty.
More frequent heat waves and hotter average temperatures are making the waters near nuclear plants so warm that engineers are concerned they can no longer cool the plants. Incidents of unusually hot temperatures forcing nuclear plant owners to reduce the plants' electricity output have seen a sharp uptick over the past decade.
Bitcoin uses as much energy as Switzerland, according to a new online tool that plots cryptocurrency's energy usage. Yet Bitcoin, which uses an energy-intensive computerized process to complete financial transactions, accounts for a tiny fraction of the world's financial industry's overall transactions.
InsideClimate News is taking applications for our next regional environmental reporting workshop. The workshop, for journalists in the U.S. Southeast, will be held Sept. 16-17 in Nashville and focus on covering climate change and the clean energy economy in the region. It's part of ICN's National Environmental Reporting Network.
July 2, 2019
The mayors of hundreds of U.S. cities called on Congress yesterday to pass legislation to put a price on carbon emissions, citing the financial and social strains their communities are already experiencing because of climate change. They also voted in favor of the idea of the Green New Deal and on these other critical climate issues.
All the power plants, vehicles and other fossil fuel-burning infrastructure operating today will lock the world into 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, exceeding the Paris climate goals, unless the biggest polluters are shut down early or are retrofitted to capture their carbon emissions, a new study shows.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said she may use her executive power to enact climate legislation, after a Republican walkout derailed a vote on a cap-and-trade policy. Brown directed her staff to talk with rural communities and industries over the next few months to find points of compromise.
The liquefied natural (LNG) gas boom has led the energy industry to build dozens of export terminals, but a new report says those projects will be "unprofitable in the long term," likely derailed by dropping renewable energy costs and concerns over climate change.
The sea ice around Antarctica has shrunk to its lowest levels on record in the past few years after decades of expansion, a new study shows. Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, called the plummeting ice levels "a white-knuckle ride."
People in prisons are facing increasingly dangerous risks as global temperatures rise. In Texas, about 70 percent of the prison population lacks air conditioning, yet a recent bill in the legislature that would have set a maximum temperature of 85 degrees in prisons was replaced instead by a request for a study to assess the costs of maintaining such a temperature.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democratic presidential candidate, has joined the U.S. Climate Alliance and issued an executive order on climate change. "How we choose to respond to these changes and challenges offers really pivotal support to both safeguard our traditional strengths and diversify and grow new opportunities for our future," he said.
A Switzerland-based insurance company that does most of its business in the U.S. became the first of the big U.S. insurers to announce a ban on coverage for coal companies. Facing mounting pressure from environmental activists, Chubb said it wouldn't write new policies for coal-fired plants or companies that derive more than 30 percent of their revenues from thermal coal mining.
Environmental activists are disrupting Amazon sites in France, accusing the company of killing jobs in local businesses and exacerbating climate change because of the emissions used in transporting its huge volume of goods. Organizers oppose three new Amazon warehouses slated to open around France.
July 1, 2019
With 20 Democrats and limited time, the debates were heavy on sound bites, but offered some insights into candidates' ideas. Could a climate-only debate do better?
The walkout by Oregon legislators to prevent a vote on a carbon cap-and-trade plan is a deeply unfunny story about the power of corporate interests and a small group of ideologues to squash legislation more than a decade in the making, the Nation writes. The Hill reports on the final death of the bill, at least for this year.
A new study warns that the global heat-trapping effect of contrail clouds will triple by 2050 unless airlines and airplane builders dramatically reduce emissions or air traffic patterns change. Air travel is growing so fast that current efforts to curb the climate-harming effects of airplane pollution won't be able to keep up.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has filed a lawsuit that seeks to decommission an oil pipeline under the state's environmentally sensitive Straits of Mackinac in the Great Lakes. The suit, if successful, would block plans for a utility to dig beneath the straits, a plan Nessel says would be a public nuisance and violate the state's environmental protections.
At the G20 meeting this past week, leaders of the world's biggest economies resisted pressure from Donald Trump to water down commitments to fight climate change. The U.S. was understood to have been pressing states including Brazil, Turkey, Australia and Saudi Arabia to join him in keeping any reference to the Paris agreement out of the summit communique.
This year is on track to be among the hottest ever, making 2015-2019 the world's hottest five-year period yet, according to the World Meteorological Organization. The extreme temperatures are "absolutely consistent" with patterns linked to climate change fueled by the impact of greenhouse gas emissions, the agency said.
The World Trade Organization has ruled against seven U.S. states' renewable energy policies, as states attempt to take action in the absence of federal regulation. Biodiesel incentives in Montana, clean energy in Michigan and other plans from California to Delaware were targeted in a complaint by India.
A Kansas utility essentially runs its coal plants year-round, even during the winter months when it's not cost-effective, unnecessarily costing consumers millions of dollars a year. The practice, known as self-committing generation, has sparked an internal investigation by the utility's parent company.
June 27, 2019
William Wehrum, the fossil fuel industry attorney who came to the Trump administration and developed a highly tactical retreat from federal action on climate change, announced his resignation on Wednesday as an assistant administrator of the EPA. His abrupt departure comes as a congressional committee investigates his contacts with former clients.
During last night's Democratic presidential debate, the moderators dedicated seven minutes to climate change, a short portion of the two-hour debate, despite many of the 2020 candidates naming climate change as the nation's primary geopolitical threat. Read more from ICN about the candidates' climate change positions.
French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Japan for the G-20 summit threatening to block the final communique if it didn't include strong language on climate change. Reuters reports this morning that U.S. officials have been pushing to downgrade the climate language against European opposition.
Canada and California announced an agreement to advance cleaner vehicle standards, saying they will work together "to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission vehicles like electric cars." The move comes as the Trump administration has proposed barring California from regulating vehicle emissions or requiring an increasing number of zero-emission vehicles.
New York City just became the largest U.S. city to declare a climate emergency. The City Council voted Wednesday to approve the resolution, adding to a growing list of legislation aimed at cutting emissions there. The declaration is largely symbolic and doesn't require the mayor's signature.
June 26, 2019
The historic rains that flooded millions of acres of Midwestern cropland this spring delivered bad news for the climate, flushing fertilizer and manure into waterways, triggering a potentially unprecedented season of algae blooms. A "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico—a massive overgrowth of algae—could become the size of Massachusetts this summer.