April 26, 2019
The Trump White House has launched another attempt to control the use of science in federal policymaking with a memo that appears aimed at putting into effect some long-sought goals of industry foes of environmental regulations. Here's how it would work.
Close Coal Plants, Save Money: That's an Indiana Utility's Plan. The Coal Industry Wants to Stop It.
Indiana's third-largest utility decided it was time for a big shift, from coal to renewwable energy, because its coal plants were too expensive to operate. Coal interests have fought this every step of the way, including hiring Scott Pruitt as a lobbyist to persuade the legislature to intervene. But the fight, so far, isn't going as the coal industry had hoped.
The Trump administration says a plan to open most of the nation's coastline for offshore oil drilling is on indefinite hold because of a recent court decision on drilling off Alaska. The administration's move means a pause in what was shaping up to be a controversial plan, opposed even by many Republican officials from coastal states.
Facing what it saw as a threat to its monopoly from a surging rooftop solar industry, Arizona's largest utility secretly funneled millions of dollars to back favored candidates for the state commission regulating it. The spending raises questions about whether a regulated monopoly should be allowed to contribute political causes that could adversely affect customers, and whether it should be permitted to keep such spending secret.
PacifiCorp says it is considering retiring one Wyoming coal-fired power plant and part of another. "The economics of coal is challenged to a significant degree by low-priced natural gas and increasingly inexpensive wind and solar," a company spokesman said. Read more on this trend and coal's pushback.
An executive for Tata Steel last year pledged to spend heavily to cut factory emissions on the condition that the Netherlands governments invest a similar amount. The proposal comes as governments and corporations wrangle over who should pay for countries to meet aggressive climate targets.
Large California utilities have filed requests with state and federal regulators to increase their customers' monthly electric bills, citing "extraordinary wildfire risk." This week, two of them also requested to raise their profits for shareholders, though the final numbers will be heavily negotiated.
Improving maps of severe weather and natural disasters give us a better idea than ever of where these events are most likely to happen. It turns out that there is nowhere in the country that is insulated from all threats.
April 25, 2019
Fish, lobster and other sea creatures are much more vulnerable to global warming than land animals, with local populations disappearing at a much faster rate, new research shows. "We're heading into uncharted territories. We're already seeing species disappear from places they've been for generations and longer," said ocean scientist Malin Pinsky.
The world's forests continue to disappear at an alarming rate, threatening a resource that scientists say is a crucial "natural solution" for controlling climate change. The losses, calculated in a new report, have continued even as more corporations and countries make commitments to preserve forests.
A powerful tropical cyclone is expected to make landfall by early Friday in northern Mozambique, one of the world's poorest countries, just six weeks after Cyclone Idai wiped out crops there on the eve of the country's harvest.
Emperor penguins need sea ice that remains solid for most of the year while they find mates, breed and raise their chicks. This requirement has become a problem for their second-largest colony, where breeding pairs have failed to raise almost any new chicks in three years.
The Norwegian oil and gas company Equinor announced that it will revise its climate targets next year and assess its investments against UN-backed goals following talks with major investors. But its board recommended against approving a shareholder resolution that includes emissions reduction targets for use of its products.
More than half of the world's new oil and gas pipelines are located in North America, and a boom in U.S. oil and gas drilling is set to deliver a major blow to efforts to slow climate change, according to a new Global Energy Monitor report.
In Germany's most conservative state, government officials have agreed to implement one of Europe's most progressive laws on protecting nature and restoring biodiversity, primarily through changing industrial farming practices. Read more from ICN on how industrial farming practices drive climate change.
Most trees can migrate only as fast as their seeds disperse, and if current warming trends hold, the climate will change 10 times faster than many tree species can move, according to one estimate. Foresters are starting to experiment with ways humans can help forests adapt.
Thousands of Extinction Rebellion activists have been unleashing strategic disorder in London over the past 10 days to draw attention to the accelerating climate crisis. "We do not do this lightly," the group wrote. "We only do this because this is an emergency."
April 24, 2019
Unusually warm water in the eastern Pacific, along with a weak El Nino, have supercharged storms across the United States, flooding farm fields and infrastructure, including Offutt Air Force Base. Climate change is making things worse because the heat puts more energy into the atmosphere and allows it to hold more moisture.
More American are breathing air that's polluted enough to make them sick, according to the new edition of the American Lung Association's annual report. The country had been making progress, but it has been backsliding under the Trump administration's deregulation agenda, the report says.
President Trump is considering waiving the requirement that only U.S. flagged vessels can move goods between ports within the U.S., which would allow for more liquefied natural gas to be delivered to Puerto Rico and parts of the Northeast.
The Interior Department's inspector general has started a new investigation into political appointees at the agency in response to a complaint alleging senior political appointees in the department violated ethics rules by offering former employers or lobbying clients agency access.
In numerous states, companies with large investments in nuclear energy, like FirstEnergy in Ohio, have lobbied states to reconfigure their clean-power incentives to subsidize existing nuclear plants, rather than the emergent technologies that the laws were intended for. The result is a stream of subsidies to nuclear power plants.
Courts are playing an increasing role in climate change action in countries around the world, marking a shift to what was once widely seen as a political issue. More than 1,300 climate change-related lawsuits, many targeting governments or corporations, have been filed worldwide since the 1980s, with a surge in recent years, the Washington Post reports.
The cooling towers of a now-closed coastal Massachusetts coal-fired power plant are being demolished this month to make way a new energy project: a staging area for offshore wind turbines to be assembled before they're shipped out to sea.
A growing number of scientists and activists are taking dramatic steps to decrease their personal carbon footprint. But stopping the activities that make the greatest difference, including flying and driving, is challenging.
April 23, 2019
A few countries in cold climates, including Canada, Norway and Russia, likely benefited economically from global warming in recent decades, while poorer countries closer to the equator suffered economic losses, a new study says. What that looks like going forward is less clear.
Arctic warming will cost trillions of dollars to the global economy over time as the permafrost thaws and the sea ice melts—how many trillions depends on how much the climate warms, and even a half a degree makes a difference, according to a new study.
Greenland has lost ice at an accelerating pace over the past several decades, a nearly sixfold increase that could contribute to future sea level rise, according to a new study based on nearly a half-century of data.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed a bill Monday that sets a goal of getting all of the Silver State's power from carbon-free sources by 2050 and requires 50 percent of its supply to come from renewables by 2030. It joins California, Hawaii, New Mexico and Puerto Rico in committing to 100 percent clean energy.
The Washington State Legislature passed legislation on Monday that would eliminate coal power by 2025 and transition the state to 100 percent clean and renewable electricity by 2045. The bill heads to Gov. Jay Inslee, who is expected to sign it.