June 23, 2020
Rather than benefiting the environment, large-scale tree planting may do the opposite and isn't a simple climate solution, two new studies warn. One paper says that financial incentives to plant trees can backfire and reduce biodiversity with little impact on carbon emissions. A separate project found that the amount of carbon that new forests can absorb may be overestimated.
Nevada's governor said on Monday his state plans to adopt California's zero emission vehicle mandate and tailpipe emissions rules, even as the Trump administration has moved to strip states of the right to implement such requirements. It follows Washington, Minnesota and New Mexico, which all made similar announcements over the last year.
A coalition of environmental groups sued the Trump administration Monday, challenging a rollback of Obama-era protections for the nation's waterways. The Navigable Waters Protection Rule finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency in January limits federal protections for smaller bodies of water, a move critics say risks contamination of larger ones used for drinking water.
Coronavirus stimulus packages may be helping electric vehicle charging stations get the needed investment to spur more EV adoption worldwide. In the past few weeks, Germany included chargers in its multi-billion dollar relief proposal. And the European Union announced that it's aiming to have 1 million public chargers by 2025.
June 22, 2020
Alarming heat scorched Siberia on Saturday as the small Russian town of Verkhoyansk reached 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, 32 degrees above the normal high temperature, CBS reports. If verified, this is likely the hottest temperature ever recorded in Siberia and also the hottest temperature ever recorded north of the Arctic Circle.
In Louisville, Kentucky, where you live helps determine how long you live. New research shows a life expectancy disparity between the city's poor and largely black neighborhoods and affluent white ones further away from pollution sources. And as protests continue, demands for racial justice in policing and environmental justice have quickly merged.
When Chevron tweeted "black lives matter" earlier this month, it evoked a visceral reaction from many climate activists who see the energy giant's core business—fossil fuels—as incompatible with environmental justice. "You should be ashamed of yourself for killing, poisoning and ruining the health and lives of Black people all over the world," one activist said.
Even before the pandemic blindsided the world and upended the food delivery system, dairy farmers were in trouble. More than half the nation's dairies have disappeared in the last 15 years as low prices and high production cost compounded on droughts, wildfires and other extreme weather. Still, this California dairy farmer has a plan: He's going all out in making his farm sustainable.
American Climate Video: A Pastor Taught His Church to See a Blessing in the Devastation of Hurricane Michael
Pastor Chester Davis's community had been hit by hurricanes before. But Hurricane Michael's Category 5 winds and storm surge blindsided his neighborhood, which was already suffering from a shortage of jobs and housing. This is part of our American Climate series documenting how climate change is impacting people across the country.
Canada's indigenous leaders have said an unprecedented push for clean energy in the United States is inadvertently causing long-term environmental damage to the traditional hunting grounds on their public lands, The Guardian reports. Officials said proposed dams will disrupt the hydrologic cycle underpinning the ecosystem, and increase exposure to a toxin associated with dam reservoirs.
Danish lawmakers have struck a climate agreement to ensure their country can live up to a goal of cutting carbon emissions by 70 percent from 1990 levels over the coming decade. The deal means Denmark will commit to cutting carbon emissions by 3.4 million metric tons, putting it on a more ambitious path than the rest of the European Union.
June 19, 2020
House Democrats unveiled a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan Thursday that they described as the biggest legislative effort to fight climate change. The bill earmarks billions of dollars for things like drinking water, broadband, clean energy projects, public housing and $500 billion for clean transportation. The bill would also require states to account for global warming before undertaking any projects.
An apologetic Texas court just ruled against Exxon in a lawsuit between the oil giant and several California governments that want to hold the industry accountable for the economic impacts of climate change. Under the ruling, California officials involved in the suit won't have to hand over documents sought by the company.
Robert Bullard is often called "The Father of Environmental Justice" for his decades of fighting against pollution in black and brown communities. In 1978, Bullard helped his wife sue the city of Houston, pointing to how all five of the city's public landfills and six of the city's eight incinerators were in black neighborhoods. We talk to Bullard about his work and where he sees the movement today.
Following a May that tied for the hottest on record, the United States is heading into a potentially blistering summer, with hotter than normal temperatures expected across almost the entire country into September, government researchers said on Thursday. That means drought conditions, already felt by nearly one-fourth of the country, will persist through the summer, they said.
California's aging oilfields increasingly require ever more energy-intensive drilling methods, spurring environmental concerns and boosting fuel prices under a decade-old state program, Bloomberg reports. One field has been emitting almost four times more carbon per barrel produced than the average of all crude used in California's refineries, and also more than the oil from Canada's notorious oil sands.
Environmental lawyer Zhang Jingjing has been called the Erin Brockovitch of China. In recent years, she has traveled to over 20 countries—from the bauxite mines of Guinea to a court in Ecuador—to help protect local communities from pollution related to Chinese projects and force companies to uphold human rights.
Up and down the coastline, rising seas and climate change are transforming America's classic 30-year mortgage, The New York Times reports. Home buyers are increasingly seeking contracts that make it easier to walk away after flooding, banks are asking for larger down payment percentages and financiers are selling their mortgages to government-backed buyers like Fannie Mae.
New research shows dogs are affected by warming global temperatures in ways remarkably similar to humans. In 2016—the hottest year globally—at least 395 dogs in the UK received veterinary care for heat-related illnesses and 56 of those died, according to a study that ranks the vulnerability of dog breeds to heat.
June 18, 2020
Pregnant women exposed to high temperatures or air pollution are more likely to have children who are premature, underweight or stillborn, according to a sweeping new study, and the effects hurt African American mothers and babies the most. It's the latest in a growing body of evidence showing that minorities bear a disproportionate share of the danger from pollution and global warming.
World leaders have an unprecedented opportunity to shift the climate change narrative by dedicating $1 trillion each year for the next three years to decarbonize polluting sectors as governments work out recovery plans from the coronavirus pandemic, a weighty new International Energy Agency report says. Doing so could reduce global CO2 emissions by 4.5 billion metric tons by 2023, it says.
The Trump administration this week declared a victory over air pollution in Sheboygan, Wisconsin—a timely win given recent polls showing that voters view environmental protection to be President Trump's greatest vulnerability. But by excluding certain data, the announcement is a test case for the administration's plan to put a green veneer on Trump's relentless rollbacks of environmental safeguards.
A federal judge is once again ordering Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to release the full $8 billion in stimulus funding Congress set aside for Native American tribes. The judge had recently blocked the Trump administration from distributing half of that amount to Alaska Native Corporations after several tribes sued, arguing the funds are meant for tribal governments, not private businesses.
Eyes are on the House after the Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed the Great American Outdoors Act, a major conservation bill that would provide $900 million annually for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The legislation, which has strong bipartisan support, would pull the funding from royalties paid by offshore oil and gas drilling operations.
Rooftop solar as we know it is under threat from a case before federal regulators. Indiana utilities are planning to close coal plants and adopt more renewables. And a look at some of the folks attempting to make the clean energy sector more equitable. That's all in the latest Inside Clean Energy from Dan Gearino.
A Republican senator from West Virginia will be a key vote in opposing President Trump's controversial nominee to lead the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said she'll oppose Nancy Beck's nomination over Beck's record on regulating PFAS, a class of chemicals linked to causing cancer.
Unlike most seasonal ice surrounding Antarctica, the Weddell Sea, east of the Antarctic Peninsula, retains much of its ice from year to year because of cold winds and a gyre that keeps the ice from drifting into warmer waters. But from 2016 to 2017, the Weddell had a sharp drop in sea ice coverage compared to the previous summer. So what happened?
June 17, 2020
Maleta "Queen" Kimmons has witnessed gentrification force people of color out of some Minneapolis neighborhoods, only to find their new homes saddled by polluting industries. In Reserve, Louisiana, Robert Taylor watched neighbors grow sick just as oil development sprung up all around him. All across the U.S., environmental and racial disparities have long overlapped—these five stories show how.
A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the suspension of the last two remaining oil and gas leases near Glacier National Park in Montana. Oil and gas development in the Badger-Two Medicine region just outside the park—an area that is sacred to the Blackfeet Tribe—has been tied up in lawsuits for years, with many other oil and gas companies abandoning plans to drill in the area.
The world's oil demand could climb at its fastest rate in the history of the market next year, and may reach pre-crisis levels within years, unless new green policies are adopted, according to a new forecast from the International Energy Agency. The global energy watchdog expects the world's daily oil demand to climb by 5.7 million barrels next year, the fastest annual climb on record.