June 29, 2020
The fossil fuel producer BP has sold its petrochemicals business to Ineos in a $5 billion deal that will boost the oil company's stressed balance sheet. The sale comes as a historic decline in oil prices, triggered in part by the coronavirus pandemic, has damaged the finances of oil producers around the world, accelerating BP's need to cut costs and restructure.
Climate scientists don't fully understand why Connecticut and the other Northeast states have warmed so dramatically. But the region hosts about half a dozen of the nation's hot spots where warming has already exceeded 2 degrees Celsius. Connecticut is one of the fastest-warming states in the contiguous United States, one analysis shows.
The Energy Department on Friday announced that it is investing $122 million to help create new uses for coal and develop new methods to extract critical minerals from it, arguing the move will benefit both coal-producing states and the overall economy. Opponents of the plan say that money should be used to move the economy away from the fossil fuel industry, which has been in decline for decades.
President Trump on Friday nominated William Perry Pendley, who has controversially served as the acting head of the Bureau of Land Management for months, to lead the agency. Pendley has faced backlash over what opponents say is a conflict of interest at the agency, and his nomination comes amid a lawsuit that argues the repeated temporary extensions of Pendley's role was illegal.
Living in Paradise, California, Holly Ratliff had been through wildfires before. She always expected to come home after each evacuation. "You kind of get desensitized to it," she said. This is part of our American Climate series documenting how climate change is impacting people across the country.
Heavy flooding triggered by monsoon rains has forced more than a million people to flee their homes in the northeast Indian state of Assam, authorities said on Monday, warning that the crisis was becoming more critical by the hour. The Brahmaputra River, one of the largest rivers in the world, which flows from Tibet into India and then into Bangladesh, burst its banks in Assam over the weekend.
June 26, 2020
Still reeling from the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, airlines are asking a U.N. agency to alter an agreement that would offset international aviation emissions beyond 2020. Climate advocates say the change could cost the scheme years of valuable time.
Researchers are collecting data around the world as the coronavirus pandemic leads to reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The data will inform science and policy for years to come. "This is a giant, global environmental experiment that has been done in a very controlled way," one atmospheric scientist said.
Since early in the Trump administration, the U.S. Interior Department has sought to open new areas of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska to drilling, including the area around Teshekpuk Lake, a region that has long been considered too ecologically sensitive for drilling.
A Pennsylvania investigative grand jury has concluded that the state's environmental and health agencies have systematically failed to protect the state's citizens from the risks of fracking. The report alleges insufficient oversight by Democratic and Republican administrations alike.
A new study from UCLA researchers found that people living in "disadvantaged communities" within Los Angeles County use less electricity and natural gas than wealthier neighborhoods, and are less likely to have electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids or rooftop solar. This is important as California works to implement climate policies that provide equitable benefits.
By the year 2035, more than half the trucks sold in California will have to be zero-emissions due to a new rule the state adopted this week. Currently, transportation accounts for 40 percent of California's emissions and is a significant contributor to smog.
Two Louisiana environmental activists have been arrested after leaving a box of plastic waste on the front porch of an oil and gas lobbyist's home. The activists are being charged with terrorizing the man and face 15 years in prison.
Louisiana's Department of Environmental Quality issued health alerts as Saharan dust reached the state on Thursday. People who have respiratory issues like asthma or allergies are at a greater risk of adverse health effects, with air quality expected to worsen on Friday, NOLA.com reports.
June 25, 2020
Three fossil fuel entities violated Minnesota's Consumer Fraud Act by issuing misleading statements about global warming, and engaged in a 30-year campaign of climate change deception, a lawsuit filed Wednesday by the state's attorney general claims.
Trump is Headlining Fireworks at Mount Rushmore. Experts Worry Two Things Could Spread: Virus and Wildfire.
The National Park Service has banned fireworks at Mount Rushmore National Monument, which is surrounded by 1,200 acres of forest, since 2010. However, President Trump is planning a fireworks display on July 3 for 7,500 people with no social distancing requirements.
Dig deep into the cost savings of fueling an EV, a big set of proposals in Minnesota to boost the economy with clean energy and Tesla's quest to revitalize its rooftop solar business, all in the latest edition of Inside Clean Energy by Dan Gearino.
The president of the National Farmers Union said in a Senate meeting that the EPA is the main obstacle to "a lot of additional success that we can have in the reduction of greenhouse gases in ethanol technology." Ethanol is a tricky issue for the Trump administration which puts two key groups in his base at odds: the oil industry and farmers.
A new EPA rule may allow polluters of PFAS (known as "forever chemicals") to bypass reporting requirements if the chemical is released in low enough concentrations, The Guardian reports. Several environmental organizations oppose the rule.
While visiting rural parts of Asia in the 1970s, Kirk Smith detected an enormous threat to human health—indoor air pollution. As one of the first scientists to address the dangers of indoor cooking in developing countries, he discovered that cookstoves release an amount of smoke equivalent to 400 cigarettes per hour.
June 24, 2020
Whistleblower Says DOJ Investigation Into California Auto Emissions Standard Was Politically Motivated
A Department of Justice investigation into California's efforts to reduce vehicle emissions appeared to be politically motivated, a DOJ whistleblower wrote in testimony to lawmakers that was released Tuesday. The DOJ career employee said the investigation into California's emissions agreements with four automakers was initiated the day after President Trump complained about the deal on Twitter.
Climate change is posing a new and growing threat to Wyoming's mule deer, new research warns, as droughts across the American West continue to change the region's landscape and wildlife habitats. "Climate change is drastically affecting their food supply during migration," the study's lead author said.
When it comes to energy bills, Black renters in the U.S. paid $273 more per year and Black homeowners paid $408 more per year than their white counterparts between 2010 and 2017, a new University of California, Berkeley analysis found. Researchers say the study not only shows that communities of color disproportionately bear the brunt of pollution, but also the cost of energy.
Tuesday's Democratic primary in Kentucky spotlighted Charles Booker, a 35-year-old from Louisville, who grew up in the polluted neighborhood of Rubbertown. We talk to ICN reporter James Bruggers about Booker's campaign and the long history of environmental activism in Louisville as the city sees renewed calls for action against police violence and the disproportionate impacts of pollution on minorities.
Last year, Facebook partnered with an organization, Science Feedback, that would bring in teams of climate scientists to evaluate the accuracy of viral content. But now Facebook has reportedly decided to allow its staffers to overrule the climate scientists and make any climate disinformation ineligible for fact-checking by deeming it "opinion," Heated reports.
For First Time Ever, Majority of Shareholders Push Oil Giant Chevron to Align With Paris Climate Pact
For the first time in company history, a majority of shareholders at Chevron have voted for a climate-related resolution, highlighting a rapidly growing acceptance among financial players to take action against global warming. The resolution seeks a commitment from the oil giant to align its climate-policy lobbying activities with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
House Democratic leadership announced they will vote on a landmark conservation bill by the end of July, blaming the delay on a handful of Republicans who oppose it. The Great American Outdoors Act, which would dedicate $900 million a year in revenue garnered from oil and gas leases to conservation efforts, was overwhelmingly passed by the Senate last week.
Americans remain divided along partisan lines on the causes and effects of climate change, but two-thirds agree the government should be doing more to combat it, according to new data from Pew Research Center. Majorities of both Republicans and Democrats support a range of initiatives to reduce the climate-related impacts, including implementing carbon pricing and new fuel efficiency standards.
June 23, 2020
Millions of ordinary Americans are facing rising and unaffordable bills for running water, and risk being disconnected or losing their homes if they cannot pay, according to an investigation by The Guardian. Looking at 12 U.S. cities, the report found the combined price of water and sewage rose by an average of 80 percent between 2010 and 2018, with many residents unable to afford the bills.
As scientists continue to struggle with environmental rollbacks, stay-at-home orders and funding cuts to research and pollution monitoring, citizens are helping to fill in the gaps. In the last few months, online citizen science platforms have seen a boom in participation. "Citizen science is more crucial than ever," one retired science teacher said.