July 3, 2019

Nuclear Power Threatened by Heat Waves

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's Energy Consumption 'Equals that of Switzerland'

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. 

July 2, 2019

Mayors Urge Congress: Put a Price on Carbon

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.

Prisoners Feeling the Effects of U.S. Climate Crisis

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.

Major Insurer Bans Coverage for Coal, a U.S. First

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.

French Protesters Block Amazon Sites Over Climate, Jobs

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

Michigan AG Nessel Moves to Shut Down Enbridge Line 5

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. 

Europe's Heatwave Consistent with Climate Change, More to Come, WMO Says

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. 

WTO's New Headache for the Green New Deal

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.

June 27, 2019

Wehrum Resigns from EPA, Leaving Climate Rule Rollbacks in His Wake

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.

California, Canada Sign Memorandum to Advance Cleaner Vehicles and Fuels

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 Declares a Climate Emergency

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

Algae Blooms Fed by Farm Flooding Add to Midwest's Climate Woes

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.

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