March 6, 2019
Rather than run for president, Mike Bloomberg says he's expanding support for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign "so we can retire every single coal-fired power plant over the next 11 years. That's not a pipe dream. We can do it," he said. He's also planning a "Beyond Carbon" campaign.
After years of sowing doubt about climate change, a number of Republicans are now scrambling to confront the science they once rejected. "It's just not worth the fight anymore," Rep. John Shimkus, a Republican from southern Illinois, said when asked about his changing stance on climate change. "Let's just see what we can do to address it and not hurt the economy."
Former President Barack Obama called on global leaders to pay attention to the ways the world is rapidly transforming and urged action on climate change and wealth inequality in speeches in Calgary, home to several oil and gas companies. The same engineering prowess that's been used to tap tough-to-access oil can be directed toward finding cleaner sources, he said.
Small businesses argued before the California Supreme Court that Southern California Gas Co. should be held accountable for ruinous losses they suffered in the wake of the most catastrophic gas leak in state history. The class action case has the potential to upend tort law and the concept of duty of care.
Seals and whales in the Arctic are shifting their feeding patterns as climate change alters their habitats, and the way they do so may determine whether they survive, a new study says. It looked at how two species that traditionally hunt for food in areas with sea ice are adapting to changes.
The nation's two largest oil companies said Tuesday they plan to significantly hike their activity in West Texas' Permian Basin and dominate the region, spending even more money while others cut back. Exxon would quadruple its output, and Chevron's would nearly triple, the Houston Chronicle reports.
March 5, 2019
In the past 30 years, the number of marine heat wave days each year has increased by over 54 percent, a new study shows. The scientists found these periods of exceptionally high water temperature were consistent with declines in ocean life.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz proposed a plan on Monday to make Minnesota's electricity providers generate all their energy from clean sources by 2050. Xcel Energy, the state's largest power provider, has already set its own goal of going carbon-free by 2050.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announced bills aimed at future protests against Keystone XL pipeline construction. The proposed legislation would allow the state to file lawsuits against out-of-state entities that fund pipeline protests and create a fund to pay for state and county costs of responding to pipeline opposition. The ACLU of South Dakota opposes the legislation.
An energy bill passed by the Wyoming Legislature and awaiting the governor's signature would only allow utilities to recover the costs of building new power plants to replace retiring coal generators if they first make "a good faith effort" to sell the closing facilities. If a buyer can be found, the bill would direct utilities to purchase power from the plants back from the purchaser.
Extreme weather, including erratic rainfall and summer droughts that mirror climate change predictions, have been the "main driver" of an olive harvest collapse, the head of the Euro-Mediterranean Center for Climate Change warned. The worst harvest in 25 years helped spark protests by thousands of Italian farmers in Rome earlier this year.
BP's chief economist, Spencer Dale, made a business case for swift action on climate change, saying the longer the world waits to address rising emissions, the more "draconian" the changes in the global economy will have to be. However, BP also spent more than any other company last year to defeat a carbon-fee ballot initiative designed to reduce emissions in Washington state.
The Bearing Sea off Alaska is experiencing its second consecutive winter of extremely low sea ice. Open water has replaced sea ice in much of the region, leaving villages vulnerable to powerful winter storms.
March 4, 2019
An analysis of water monitoring reports found unsafe levels of toxic substances like arsenic near hundreds of coal ash sites nationwide. Nine out of every 10 coal-fired power plants reporting groundwater monitoring data had unsafe levels of toxic contaminants, the review found. A map shows where.
Congress is in uncharted territory on climate policy. For the first time, lawmakers face competing approaches to reviving U.S. climate action: on one side the Green New Deal; on the other, carbon taxes. Despite hostility from the White House, each has significant support and could shape the 2020 elections.
After leveling off 20 years ago, the concentration of methane in the atmosphere started rising again in 2007, and it has increased over the last four years. The cause is puzzling climate scientists and could jeopardize efforts to limit warming under the Paris climate agreement
The U.S. is Making an Effort to End the Longest Oil Spill in History. This Company is Fighting Against It in Court.
Nearly 15 years after oil started leaking from a deepwater oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, the federal government is preparing to contain the oil and cap a leak that is releasing hundreds of barrels of oil per day. But Taylor Energy, the company responsible for the spill, has gone to court to stop the government's efforts.
Senate Democrats are preparing to make combating climate change a central issue of their 2020 campaigns — a striking shift on an issue they have shied away from for the past decade. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer is planning daily floor speeches attacking inaction and plans to propose a special Senate committee focused on the issue.
Finland, which will take over the EU's rotating presidency in the second half of 2019, wants the European Union to agree to achieve a net-zero carbon footprint by 2050. The idea is backed by countries like Sweden, France and the Netherlands but opposed by other EU states, including Germany and Poland, that want to protect car manufacturing and coal mining.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk's announcement last week that the electric vehicle maker would close "many" of its stores around the world to sell cars online-only also removes the only retail outlet for the company's solar sales since Musk pulled the plug on a partnership with Home Depot last year.
The man who popularized the term "global warming" and first described the critical role oceans play on climate had a message for the world's top climate scientists shortly before his death: It's time to seriously study more extreme solutions to the climate crisis, including geoengineering.
March 1, 2019
Warming oceans have already taken a toll on the world's fisheries, and it will get worse if emissions continue at their current pace, according to two studies published this week. One found that the maximum sustainable catch had declined as oceans warmed over the past century. The other found limiting further global warming to the Paris climate agreement goal would help protect millions of tons of future catches, worth billions of dollars.
The Senate has confirmed Andrew Wheeler as administrator of the EPA, turning oversight of the nation's air and water over to a former coal lobbyist. The 52-47 vote was largely along party lines, with Sen. Susan Collins of the Maine the only Republican to vote against Wheeler. Read more from ICN on six key ways Wheeler can reshape climate policy.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee jumped into the crowded field of 2020 Democratic contenders for president today. In a video announcing his campaign, he made climate change central to his message as a candidate.
Rep. Garret Graves of Louisiana will be the lead Republican on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. He is a moderate who has worked on coastal issues and has said ignoring climate change and sea level rise is a mistake, but he also got a zero out of 100 score from the League of Conservation Voters' analysis of environmental votes.
Maine Gov. Janet Mills outlined an extensive climate agenda on Thursday, calling for a sharp reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and announcing that she has joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, a group of governors who support the principles of the Paris climate agreement.
Republicans are fighting against the Green New Deal by arguing that the resolution would take away hamburgers. Green New Deal supporters respond that there is no meat on the bone of the criticism because the resolution does not mention beef, burgers and anything similar.
The students striking from schools to demand climate action have issued an open letter saying, "We are going to change the fate of humanity, whether you like it or not." There are already hundreds of events scheduled for March 15 tied to the group's planned strike.
February 28, 2019
Rising seas have eroded coastal property values from Maine to Mississippi by billions of dollars over the past decade as buyers pay less for homes in neighborhoods where high-tide flooding is creeping in, a new report shows. This is a serious concern for cities, eating away at the property tax base that provides the main revenue source for flood walls and repairs.
Andrew Wheeler is moving toward likely confirmation as EPA administrator, but he will do so with less support than he had last year when he was confirmed as the agency's No. 2 official. Two moderate senators voted against advancing his nomination Wednesday, saying his record at EPA is lacking.