January 8, 2020
EPA unionized employees have drafted a bill of rights, asking the agency to recognize the need for scientific integrity, research into climate science and the ability to enforce environmental laws without political interference. It follows years of complaints from those inside and outside of the EPA saying the agency has been sidelining the scientific advice of staff.
A permit needed to build a natural gas compressor station for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Virginia was thrown out Tuesday by a federal court that found the state failed to adequately consider the potential health effects on a historic African American community.
January 7, 2020
In an uncharacteristic move, the Trump administration on Monday took its first step toward tighter pollution controls on trucks. The EPA rule, which would pre-empt tougher state rules, is likely to reinvigorate Trump's long-running war with California over environmental regulations and states' rights.
The Trump administration's latest National Preparedness Report, which describes the greatest threats and hazards to the country, says nothing about climate change, drought or sea-level rise.
As Midwestern farm fields sat under record-breaking floodwaters in 2019, Congress began to discuss the role healthy soil plays in trapping carbon. Even in the Trump administration, top agriculture officials who have brushed off climate change warnings in the past began talking about farming as a potential climate solution.
More than 26,000 lives in the U.S. were saved over the course of a decade as a result of a drop in carbon emissions and other air pollution tied to burning coal, according to a study published in the journal Nature on Monday.
Record heat waves during the summer of 2019 in Europe resulted in almost 900 extra deaths in England, according to a new statistical analysis from Public Health England.
Jeffrey Byard, a top official at FEMA, resigned in December, four months after a background investigation derailed his nomination to lead the agency, NBC News reports. President Donald Trump nominated Byard to run the agency last February, but the White House withdrew his nomination in September.
January 6, 2020
For the fifth time in a month, protesters brought a coal train headed for one of New England's last big coal-fired power plants to a halt. They're drawing attention to the plant's impact on climate change and electric bills across the region.
Major U.S. utilities have made pledges this past year to cut their greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero, or close to it, by mid-century. But even a renewable energy leader like Minnesota-based Xcel, one of the first to pledge net zero emissions by mid-century, is finding it hard to end coal without adding natural gas.
Federal agencies would no longer have to take climate change into account when they assess the environmental impacts of highways, pipelines and other major infrastructure projects, according to a Trump administration plan that would weaken the nation's benchmark environmental law, The New York Times reports.
Australian officials took advantage of better weather on Monday to move some people to safety although thick smoke stalled rescue efforts and hundreds of people remained stranded. Wildfires have ravaged more than 19 million acres of land across the country, killing 25 people and forcing thousands to flee their homes.
When utilities around the country have wanted to build fossil-fuel plants, defeat energy-efficiency proposals or slow the growth of rooftop solar power, they have often turned for support to a surprisingly reliable ally: a local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Now the national office is pushing back.
A string of climate-related disasters that struck multiple U.S military bases in recent years has exposed the military's vulnerability to extreme weather, putting a spotlight on its failure to prepare and the consequences to national security. Yet the Defense Department, now facing a presidential administration that rejects science and ignores climate risks, has been slow to respond.
A cadre of states sought to keep alive U.S. efforts to fight climate change in 2019, in the face of the Trump administration's full-throttled retreat. They set ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and filed lawsuits to stop fossil fuel expansion. But without federal support, how successful have those efforts been?
Russia has published a plan to adapt its economy and population to climate change, aiming to mitigate damage but also "use the advantages" of warmer temperatures, including less sea ice in the Arctic. The plan is an indication the government officially recognizes the problem, even though Vladimir Putin denies human activity is the cause.
Former Energy Secretary Rick Perry was appointed to the board of the general partner that controls pipeline company Energy Transfer LP following his exit from the Trump administration, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
One of the world's oldest, most resilient species could be decimated soon by climate change. Their life cycles are driven by a search for optimal conditions and dependent on relatively consistent weather patterns. That consistency no longer exists.
January 3, 2020
Controversial BLM Chief's Tenure Extended Again Without Nomination, Despite Conservation Groups' Protests
Nearly 100 conservation groups called for William Perry Pendley to resign or be removed as temporary head of the Bureau of Land Management this week, saying he betrays the mission of the agency. But an order signed Thursday will keep him at the helm for another three months. It's raising questions about the legality of a Trump administration tactic that avoids confirmation hearings.
After years of mounting opposition to the increasing build-out of oil and gas infrastructure, 2020 is shaping up to be the year that pipeline opponents get their day in court. One case could help answer a major question: Can pipeline companies continue to justify taking private land as a public benefit?
Since bursting into the national conversation last year, the Green New Deal has emerged from an onslaught of criticism as an animating force in climate politics, with its advocates determined to make it the most important touchstone of the 2020 election. Here's how this "moon shot" federal program merging climate, jobs and economic security might look like.
Amazon employees say the company is threatening to fire workers for publicly pushing their employer to do more to combat climate change. Amazon Employees For Climate Justice, a climate change advocacy group founded by Amazon workers, said Thursday that the company sent letters to its members telling them that they could be fired if they continued to speak to the press.
As deadly wildfires continue to spread, authorities urged Australians on Friday to evacuate parts of the eastern states of Victoria and New South Wales to escape bushfires they fear are set to burn out of control this weekend.
Greenland’s Nearing a Climate Tipping Point. How Long Warming Lasts Will Decide Its Fate, Study Says
There's new evidence that, in past geologic eras, much of Greenland's ice melted when Earth's temperatures were only slightly warmer than today's, and that human-caused global warming will push the ice sheet past that tipping point in the next few decades.
Royal Dutch Shell is at risk of falling short on plans to invest up to $6 billion in green energy projects between 2016 and the end of 2020, The Guardian reports. Read more from ICN on what oil companies are promising to do about climate change while continuing to drill.
By year 2035, the Russian government intends to build at least 40 Arctic vessels, upgrade 4 regional airports, construct railways and seaports and facilitate a massive exploitation of Arctic natural resources, the Barents Observer reports.
A wind turbine backed by European energy companies and floating off the coast in northern Portugal began transmitting electricity to the grid, a crucial step for a technology that could vastly increase the potential for offshore wind power. Read more from ICN on how the U.S. is set to get its first floating wind farm off the coast of Maine.
January 2, 2020
The EPA's Science Advisory Board, with many members hand-selected by the Trump administration, said on Tuesday that three of President Trump's most far-reaching and scrutinized proposals to weaken major environmental regulations are at odds with established science.
The oil and gas industry seems to have entered a state of cognitive dissonance. Like never before, energy companies are publicly acknowledging the threat posed by climate change and the need for society to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, oil and gas production in the U.S. and globally continues to soar.
Thousands of people in Australia have been forced to flee their homes as wildfires spread, with some taking refuge on beaches after the flames blocked their escape routes. Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared last week that the past two months of deadly fires and heat waves won't alter his government's policy on climate change.