May 14, 2018
California wineries are trying to identify the ways that wildfires may be changing the flavor of certain grapes. This process is one of many ways winemakers are trying to adjust to the risk of wildfires as temperatures rise.
A former Trans Mountain pipeline engineer is among the people opposing a plan to expand a tar sands pipeline between Alberta and British Columbia. "We're in a climate crisis. Now is absolutely the wrong time to be investing in any more fossil fuel infrastructure," she says.
A new Gallup poll finds a majority of younger and older Americans are concerned about climate change, but younger respondents are much more likely to see a connection between climate change and human activities.
May 11, 2018
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt plans to radically revise how basic, health-based national air quality standards are set, giving more weight to the economic costs of achieving them and their impacts on energy development. That's not how they were designed, or what the Supreme Court has ruled in the past.
The Trump administration has quietly killed funding for NASA's Carbon Monitoring System, which helps analyze satellite observations and other data on Earth's greenhouse gas emissions, in part for verifying emissions reductions. A NASA spokesman says existing grants will be allowed to finish but no new research will be supported.
Expanding oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico would interfere with U.S. military testing, the U.S. Department of Defense said in a report to U.S. lawmakers this week. "Military flexibility in the region would be lost, and test and training activities would be severely affected" without mutually agreed restrictions, the report says, according to Reuters.
The U.S. may be facing another harrowing spate of hurricanes this year, with forecasts of an active 2018 season coming amid new research that shows powerful Atlantic storms are intensifying more rapidly than they did 30 years ago.
The UN General Assembly voted Thursday to take a first step toward establishing a Global Pact for the Environment. The world body voted 143-5 to approve a resolution asking UN officials to identify and assess possible gaps in international environmental law and related legal instruments. The U.S. voted against the resolution, along with Russia, Turkey, Syria and the Philippines.
Costa Rica's new president has vowed to turn his country into a global example of how to end the burning of fossil fuels. "We have before us the titanic and beautiful task of abolishing the use of fossil fuels in our economy, to open the way for the use of clean and renewable energy," Carlos Alvarado said as he took the oath of office this week.
Concerned about the threats to coastal areas as sea level rises, property insurer XL Catlin is developing "blue carbon resilience credits," a type of carbon offset that would focusing on protecting salt marshes, seagrass meadows, coral reefs and mangroves that help protect coastlines.
A new study finds that tourism accounts for about one-twelfth of the world's greenhouse gases, with much of that coming from air travel. Tourism is booming, so pollution related to the industry is a growing concern.
May 10, 2018
By 2020, most new houses and apartments in California will be required to have solar panels under to a new building code approved by the state energy commission. The code is a milestone for rooftop solar, and California is well-equipped to make it happen.
The Defense Department edited a report to remove or minimize references to the potential risks to military sites related to climate change. A prior draft, which was previously unreleased, shows the changes. Read more from ICN about the sea level rise risk to military sites.
King County, Washington, home to Seattle, is the latest local government to sue the major oil companies over the impacts of climate change. Read more from ICN on the timeline of city and county lawsuits in California, Colorado, New York and now Washington.
Indigenous Canadians encouraged Kinder Morgan shareholders to require the company to report on the environmental and cultural effects of its pipeline projects. Shareholders approved two climate reporting resolutions but voted down a methane resolution. Read more from ICN about other shareholder resolutions targeting oil and gas.
Spring allergy season has been brutal across the United States. Researchers say climate change is contributing to an increase in pollen counts and a regional shift in where severe allergies are happening, with the southwest being hit unusually hard.
UN climate negotiations in Bonn have gotten bogged down in technical issues as they work out a rulebook for carrying out the Paris Agreement. Participants have scheduled an extra week of talks for September to try to find compromises on contentious topics.
Almost two-thirds of California's freshwater originates in the Sierra Nevada, but the water content in the snowpack this year is down significantly. The Washington Post looks at the challenges in charts.
May 9, 2018
As temperatures at the North Pole approach the melting point in recent days and the Arctic ice thins toward the vanishing point, new research suggests that the extraordinary records being set year after year are a manifestation of manmade climate change. The ice loss in particular is worrying scientists.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's abrupt resignation after allegations surfaced that he had physically assaulted four women has complicated, but probably not derailed, a series of high-profile environmental investigations and lawsuits that his office spearheaded. Here's what legal experts and other state attorneys general have to say.
Internal EPA emails reveal details about the discussions around Scott Pruitt's controversial "red team, blue team" debate plan and how closely the conservative Heartland Institute was involved. Read more from ICN on Heartland and the climate misinformation campaign.
Auto industry officials are pushing back on a Trump administration plan to freeze auto emissions standards. They want to avoid a legal battle with California, and they say they support continued increases in mileage standards through 2025. Read more from ICN on why weakening auto standards could be Trump's most climate-damaging move yet.
California's new climate assessment lays out the risks and damage the state's residents are already facing, from heat waves to droughts, wildfires and sea level rise. It's part of the reason California is fighting for tougher auto emissions standards and considering requiring rooftop solar.
Water in the Colorado River, vital to the Southwest, is forecast to be well below normal after storms failed to produce much snow in the mountains that feed the waterway, forecasters said. The river is forecast to carry only 43 percent of the average amount of water into Lake Powell.
The Department of Energy, looking for ways to boost the coal industry, is seeking comment on plans to invest in the development of small-scale, modular coal plants that its officials are deeming the "power plants of the future."
Two new studies have troubling implications for the effects hurricanes have on society because of climate change: One links Hurricane Harvey's extreme rain to the amount of heat stored in the ocean, and the other shows an increasing trend in storms that are becoming really strong, really fast.
May 8, 2018
If Atlantic currents keep weakening, it could lead to much colder winters and hotter summers in Europe, changing rainfall in the topics and greater hurricane risks and warmer waters on the U.S. coast. Here's what's going on.
A federal plan for the Trump administration to undermine California's authority to set its own auto emissions rules reveals an approach that federal courts have already rejected — twice. It asserts that a 1975 law prohibits states from setting their own limits on greenhouse gas emissions.
The gradual process of repealing the Clean Power Plan is continuing at the EPA. How that process is handled will help determine how the agency fares in defending itself against legal challenges. One problem is the lack of a replacement plan.