September 10, 2020

Iowa Farmers Are Feeling the Effects of Climate Change. That Could Make Things Harder for Joni Ernst

The candidates for the Iowa Senate race share some similarities. Both are "farm kids." Both support biofuels. But on climate change, they're far, far apart. Could that affect the vote? This story is part of our Senate 2020 series, which focuses on the climate records of candidates in 11 key races in the November elections that will determine the future of U.S. climate policy.

Oil Giant BP Takes $1.1 Billion Stake in Offshore Wind Farms in Equinor Deal

Oil giant BP has taken its first major step into the offshore wind industry with the purchase of a $1.1 billion stake in two U.S. offshore wind projects being developed by Norwegian state oil company Equinor. The oil companies will also team up to develop more wind farms off the U.S. coast after agreeing a strategic partnership to help corner the fast-growing market for offshore wind.

15 States Sue Trump Administration Over Plan to Open Arctic Refuge to Drilling

Fifteen states are suing the Trump administration over its plan for opening up nearly 1.6 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas development—the latest legal challenge to say the plan threatens habitats and could worsen climate change. Two other lawsuits over the drilling plan, on behalf of indigenous and environmental groups, have already been announced.

September 9, 2020

Greenhouse Gas Concentrations Hit New Record Despite Lockdowns, UN Report Finds

Despite Covid-related lockdowns, concentrations of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere hit a record high of 414.38 parts per million this year, with global temperatures having reached 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a new United Nations report says. It shows how close the world already is to failing to meet international goals meant to prevent the worst of the climate crisis by 2100.

A Siege of 80 Large, Uncontained Wildfires Sweeps the Hot, Dry West

Over Labor Day weekend, the fire storms that plagued California and Colorado in August blew up into an unprecedented siege of wildfires across half a dozen western states. Fire scientists and incident commanders warn that a series of almost unheard of events over the weekend—including mass helicopter evacuations—may become commonplace as the West warms.

The Climate Crisis Could Displace 1.2 Billion People by 2050, A New Report Warns

More than a billion people face being displaced within 30 years as the climate crisis and rapid population growth drive an increase in migration, with "huge impacts" for both the developing and developed worlds, a new analysis warns. The report found 19 countries facing significant ecological threats, including water and food shortages and greater exposure to natural disasters.

Illegal Devices That Bypass Vehicle Emissions Controls Are Spreading Across the Country

A lucrative cottage industry to install illegal devices that bypass or eliminate emission controls in vehicles has cropped up in recent years, despite being in violation of the Clean Air Act. Shops advertise that "delete kits" will improve mileage and extend the lifespan of expensive car parts, and federal regulators estimate more than 500,000 diesel pickup trucks have had the kits installed since 2009.

September 8, 2020

California Fires Rage Amid Planned Blackouts and Helicopter Rescue Attempts

New wildfires ravaged California during a scorching Labor Day weekend that saw a dramatic airlift of more than 200 people trapped by flames and ended with the state's largest utility turning off power to 172,000 customers to try to prevent its power lines and other equipment from sparking more fires. Unsafe conditions have complicated ongoing rescue operations as of Tuesday morning.

Trump Administration Proposes Timber Sale in Tongass National Forest

The Trump administration wants to allow logging across more than 6,000 acres of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, a move that critics say will exacerbate climate change and harm wildlife habitats. The land sale, proposed by the Forest Service on Friday, would include a large swath of "old growth" forest that's considered a vital carbon sink.

Video: As Covid-19 Hinders City Efforts to Protect Residents From the Heat, Community Groups Step In

Increasingly frequent extreme heat is compounding threats in areas already disproportionately impacted by Covid-19 and socioeconomic inequalities. In this Brooklyn neighborhood, where hundreds of trees were removed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and public spaces often used to keep residents cool are closed because of the pandemic, this community-led effort hopes to provide relief from the heat.

Heat Wave Roasts Southern California With Record of 121 Degrees

Scorching temperatures continued to bake Southern California on Sunday, with a record of 121 degrees Fahrenheit set in Los Angeles County and at least one death, a 41-year-old hiker, suspected to be related to the heat. A high-pressure system and an offshore flow that prevented the sea breeze from cooling the shore helped lock the region in the extreme heat.

Americans Back Tough Limits on Building in Fire and Flood Zones

Americans support far more aggressive government regulation to fight the effects of climate change than elected officials have been willing to pursue so far, new research shows, including outright bans on building in flood- or fire-prone areas. The findings suggest that the public's appetite for government action to prepare for global warming is shifting as natural disasters worsen.

One in Eight Deaths in Europe Linked to Pollution, Environment, EU Says

Environmental factors such as air pollution and heat waves, exacerbated by climate change, contribute to around 13 percent of all deaths in Europe, according to a new European Environment Agency report. A total of 630,000 deaths in the European Union's 27 countries plus Britain were attributable to environmental factors in 2012, the latest year for which data are available, the report said.

September 4, 2020

Young Portuguese Activists Take 33 Countries to Court Over Climate Change

Six young Portuguese activists launched a European human rights case on Thursday against 33 countries in the latest legal effort to force governments to step up their fight against climate change. The claim asks the European Court of Human Rights to hold the countries, European Union members among them, accountable for not doing more to cut greenhouse gas emissions. 

EPA Sued Over Decision Not to Regulate Chemical Linked to Fetal Brain Damage

An advocacy group on Thursday sued the Environmental Protection Agency over its decision not to regulate a chemical commonly used in rocket fuel that has been linked to fetal and infant brain damage. The agency announced in June that it would not regulate perchlorate even though it estimates that up to 620,000 people could be drinking water contaminated with a concerning amount of the chemical. 

World’s Top Pork Producer Launches New Plan to Cut Emissions

Smithfield Foods, the world's biggest pork producer, has pledged to cut emissions from its own operations to zero, but fell short of making more ambitious targets for its supply chain, Bloomberg reports. Accounting for third-party operations has been an ongoing struggle for the meat industry, which faces growing pressure from investors and retailers to reduce its massive carbon footprint.

September 3, 2020

Worst-Ever Arctic Fires Released Record Amount of CO2

The Arctic has experienced the worst fire season on record for the second year in a row, with giant wildfires sending over one third more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than last year, Bloomberg reports. Fires raging across the Arctic Circle emitted 244 million tons of carbon dioxide for the first six months of the year, compared to 181 million tons for all of 2019.

A Climate Change Skeptic, Mike Pence Brought to the Vice Presidency Deep Ties to the Koch Brothers

Vice President Mike Pence's fight to block climate action began long before he became President Donald Trump's stalwart second-in-command. The former Indiana governor came into Trump's orbit with a reputation as a culture warrior against "the left," and he has described his defense of the fossil fueled-economy as part of that ideological battle. We take a deeper look at his climate record.

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