September 13, 2018
Dry weather on Australia's east coast will continue into 2019, the country's weather bureau says. This means a continuation of drought conditions that have hurt farm production and threatened the broader economy.
The League of Conservation voters is planning to spend $60 million to help Democrats in the 2018 election, breaking the record of $45 million set two years ago. Other environmental groups also say they plan to spend more money in this election cycle than they did in 2016.
September 12, 2018
In its latest retreat from federal action on climate change, the Trump administration proposed to lift rules on the leaking and uncontrolled release of the potent greenhouse gas methane from oil and gas operations. It would save the industry a relatively small amount of money, and EPA acknowledges it would come with costs.
Dozens of toxic coal ash piles across the Southeast are in the path of what is forecast to be days of torrential rains and flash flooding from Hurricane Florence. Environmental advocates are warning that the giant impoundments, often built beside waterways, are at risk of spills or collapsing. A map shows how widespread the problem could be.
The approach of Hurricane Florence is a reminder of how vulnerable North Carolina's coast is, particularly with sea level rise. Read more from ICN on the challenges Outer Banks communities have faced as they tried to deal with the rising risks.
Maryland has joined New York and California in announcing plans to phase out HFCs — powerful climate super-pollutants used in refrigeration and air-conditioning. They're stepping up as the Trump administration backs away from federal action.
Governors, mayors and business executives are meeting this week in San Francisco to discuss their strategy on climate policy. So far, their efforts have not been enough to counteract the Trump administration's retreat on climate. This meeting is a critical moment to show they can rise to the challenge.
A coalition of charitable groups and the government of Norway are pledging nearly $500 million over the next four years to prevent deforestation and recognize indigenous peoples' rights to manage forests. The announcement was made ahead of an international climate change summit in San Francisco.
Documents suggest the Trump administration diverted nearly $10 million in funding from FEMA, the agency that responds to disasters like hurricanes, to help pay for Trump's immigration detention policy that led to the separation of hundreds of children from their parents.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has asked officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies to pinpoint federal policies for wildlife on federal land that are more restrictive than the local state rules and to find ways to ease the policies. Critics say it could lead to a major rollback of wildlife protections.
Energy Transfer Partners has shut down part of its recently-completed Revolution Pipeline as officials investigate why a section of it exploded in a Pennslyvania neighborhood. Officials suspect heavy rains led to a landslide that caused the pipeline to break and explode.
Minnesota state utility regulators postponed a meeting about Enbridge's controversial new Line 3 pipeline project after protests broke out in the hearing room. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is looking at whether Enbridge has met conditions, like having insurance in the event of an oil spill, that came with the PUC's approval vote in June.
European Union governments are failing to comply with air quality rules that are already weaker than the World Health Organization's guidelines, EU auditors warned. As many as 23 of the 28 nations are not complying with existing limits on pollutants such as nitrogen oxide and particulate matter.
September 11, 2018
The Trump administration is preparing a proposal to weaken Obama-era requirements that oil and gas companies monitor and fix methane leaks. Read more from ICN on recent research that suggests far more methane is already leaking than EPA reports.
New York's governor has joined California in ordering a statewide phase-out of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, potent greenhouse gases used in air conditioners and refrigeration systems. The Trump administration announced this spring that it would no longer enforce federal HFCs rules.
Hurricane Florence is a large, powerful cyclone that's likely to bring a dangerous storm surge and high winds to coastal communities. Scientists say one of the biggest threats posed by Florence is rain.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called global leaders to work faster to deal with climate change and warned of grave risks of runaway global warming. Read more from ICN on clashes between wealthy and developing countries over the rules for carrying out the Paris Agreement.
Global hunger has reverted to levels last seen a decade ago, leaving one in nine people undernourished, and extreme weather is a leading cause, according to a United Nations report. Hunger afflicted 821 million people last year, the third increase since 2015.
In a new bid to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, two Native American communities are suing the Trump administration, saying it failed to adhere to historical treaty boundaries and circumvented environmental rules when it issued the permit. They want a federal judge to block construction.
In a joint op-ed on Monday, the Mayors of New York and London called on all cities to divest from fossil fuels. New data show that funds with more than $6 trillion, including almost 1,000 institutional investors, having pledged to divest. The removal of coal, oil and gas investments has been led by the insurance industry, The Guardian reports.
European Union lawmakers are backing a more ambitious carbon dioxide reduction target for fleets of cars and vans — 45 percent by 2030 — setting up a fight with national governments. The draft rules endorsed in the European Parliament's Environment Committee also set an interim goal of a 20 percent reduction by 2025.
Exxon is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block Massachusetts' attorney general from demanding certain information as part of an investigation over whether it misled the public on climate change. Massachusetts' highest court had ruled the oil giant had to comply with Attorney General Maura Healey's civil investigative demand.
September 10, 2018
California solidified its role as a world leader on climate action as Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation on Monday to shift the state to 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045. The legislation is one of his crowning environmental achievements and comes on the cusp of the Global Climate Action Summit he is hosting this week.
Climate negotiators are drafting rules for carrying out the Paris agreement, and there are growing complaints that the United States and other wealthy countries are trying to manipulate the rules to protect polluters and weaken their own commitments to climate finance.
The EPA lost 1,600 employees in the first 18 months of the Trump administration, including 260 scientists and 185 environmental protection specialists. Fewer than 400 people have been hired. A big question is what isn't getting done because of the brain drain.
In North Carolina, people were told to prepare to evacuate communities up and down a stretch of coastline already identified as particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels due to climate change.
The Venta Maersk is the first container ship to attempt the Northern Sea Route that runs from the edge of Alaska to the top of Scandinavia along Russia's Siberian coastline, a path made possible because of climate change. Read more from ICN on the funding challenges for the U.S. icebreaker program.
A California jury found Plains All American Pipeline company guilty of polluting state water and harming wildlife in a major oil spill three years ago along the Pacific shoreline. The U.S. Department of Transportation report concluded a year after the spill that numerous lapses in safety, judgment and planning had led to and worsened the disaster.
The 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline is currently set to end in North Carolina, but conservationists have concerns that the project could be extended to the South Carolina coast to be used for exporting natural gas. Dominion, one of the companies behind the pipeline, is working to expand gas exports, but the company says it has no plans at this time to extend the pipeline.
A powerful typhoon in Japan last week inundated a runway at Kansai International Airport, showing what could be a perilous future for low-lying airports as sea levels rise and extreme storms form. A quarter of the world's 100 busiest airports are less than 32 feet above sea level.