February 1, 2018
Parts of Siberia saw a temperature swing this past month from a frigid minus-88 to a relatively warm 38 degrees. That warmth displacing the usual cold air could mean a bitter chill is headed for the central and northeastern U.S.
Technologies to remove carbon from the atmosphere—which range from spraying sun-dimming chemicals high above the Earth to carbon capture and storage—to help stave off global warming "are certainly no silver bullet," and policymakers should make more effort to reduce emissions, scientists from the European Academies' Science Advisory Council wrote in a report.
Fossil records from the past 270 million years show that birds and mammals have outperformed amphibians and reptiles at adapting to new climate conditions and shifting their habitats, according to a new study. The researchers say the current rapid global warming may disproportionately affect these cold-blooded animals.
January 31, 2018
During his State of the Union address, President Trump talked about last year's "floods and fires and storms" without mentioning human-caused climate change, and repeatedly praised fossil fuel production and environmental regulation rollbacks.
The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors has approved a resolution opposing new offshore oil development leases in federal waters off the California coast. Read more from ICN about how states are pushing back against the Trump administration's offshore drilling plan.
Scott Pruitt Evades Key Senate Questions, Says He Can't Recall Saying Trump Would Abuse Constitution
At his first Senate oversight hearing, EPA chief Scott Pruitt insisted that his job was not to "put up fences" to prevent industries from exploiting natural resources. He evaded questions about the future of the endangerment finding, and said he didn't recall saying on radio in 2016 that Donald Trump would be "more abusive to the Constitution than Barack Obama."
Exxon said that by 2025, it would triple its oil and gas production in the shale field Permian Basin, which straddles West Texas and New Mexico, to 600,000 barrels a day. The oil giant cited the recent corporate tax rate reduction as a reason for the increase.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will "shut off" its mission that has provided more than 30 million gallons of potable water and almost 60 million meals in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria. About a third of residents in the U.S. territory still lack electricity and some lack running water.
As temperatures have increased over the past 100 years, the world's biggest beetles may have been shrinking—some have even downsized by as much as 20 percent in 45 years, according to a new study. Some ground beetles, like tiger beetles and beetles that eat millipedes, shrank by 1 percent of their body weight for every 1 degree Celsius temperature increase.
Massive peatland fires in Indonesia in 2015 caused the country to go from the sixth- to fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. The government is now pushing a controversial project to wet the drained peat swamps again, with an ambitious plan to restore 2.5 million hectares by 2020 that hinges on widespread use sustainable farming techniques.
January 30, 2018
Documents show that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt took a personal interest in and closely monitored the removal of information on the agency's website about the Clean Power Plan, which he planned to rescind. Environmental groups are now calling for him to recuse himself from decisions on the future of the CPP.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has rejected a permit to build the nation's largest oil-by-rail terminal on the Columbia River. The state's Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council unanimously voted last year to reject the project. Inslee noted several concerns, including the potential of earthquake damage to the facility and risk of an oil spill or explosion.
The U.S. coal industry is ramping up its lobbying to the Trump administration to win approval for West Coast coal export terminals that could provide it a lifeline to Asia markets. Coal producers have filed two lawsuits against Washington state and California to challenge local decisions that block port projects.
The Colorado Supreme Court will review a state Court of Appeals' ruling in favor of the young plaintiffs in the 2013 case, which argued that state oil and gas regulators must consider public health and the environment when issuing new drilling permits.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order Monday directing the state's environment agency and public utilities board to begin the process of having New Jersey rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the East Coast's carbon cap-and-trade system.
Four months after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, 450,000 of the island's 1.5 million electricity customers are still without power, and people who do have electricity suffer frequent blackouts. This photo story captures how people have been faring since the storm.
Acidifying seawater is causing problems for oyster farms along the West Coast, and with climate change, it's only expected to get worse. Bay Area oyster farmers are teaming up with scientists to figure out ways to adapt, like using seagrass to pull carbon out of the water, making it slightly less acidic.
January 29, 2018
As the Trump administration rolls back federal environmental regulations, states are moving forward with carbon cap-and-trade plans: a New Jersey legislative committee advanced a bill to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and Virginia is taking steps toward carbon trading, as well.
President Trump's proposed infrastructure plan, expected to be released this week, could scale back environmental protections in order to make it easier to construct roads, bridges, pipelines and other developments, as well as Trump's proposed border wall.
Kathleen Hartnett White, the former Texas regulator who has extolled the social benefits of carbon dioxide and asserted that coal helped end slavery, faces a difficult road to Senate confirmation as top White House environmental adviser, according to lobbyists and Capitol Hill sources.
The EPA's emission factors data, used to gauge air quality, are increasingly unreliable and in some cases based on poor accounting of emissions from aging equipment, according to a Center for Public Integrity report. The EPA rates about 62 percent of its more than 22,000 factors as "below average" or "poor."
President Trump claimed in a recent television interview that the world was both cooling and warming and ice caps aren't melting. Climate scientists say the president's comments were grossly inaccurate. Read more from ICN about how a warming Arctic can fuel cold snaps.
A rise in oil prices has led to a resurgence in U.S. oil production for the first time in three years. The U.S. is expected to surpass Saudi Arabia and rival Russia as the world's leading producer of oil this year while also becoming a major exporter of natural gas.
Carbon emissions dropped in 41 states from 2000 to 2015, according to a new report from the Energy Information Administration. Maine led with a 25 percent decrease. But nine states saw an increase in carbon emissions; Nebraska had the most significant increase at 22 percent.
Last year was the warmest year on record in the ocean, according to new research from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Human activities have driven the long-term warming trend, the researchers said, with the most warming occurring in the Atlantic and Antarctic Oceans.
Climate change is taking a toll on India's agricultural productivity and farmers' incomes, according to a new economic survey. About half of India's total land under agriculture is unirrigated and relies on rainfall; climate change effects could reduce those farmers' annual agricultural incomes by 20 to 25 percent.
January 26, 2018
Hurricane Harvey unleashed a tropical deluge probably unsurpassed in U.S. history and with a 1-in-1,000 chance of occuring, the National Hurricane Center says in a new in-depth analysis of the storm. By one estimate, it dumped more than 33 trillion gallons of water over Texas and the southern U.S.
Pollution in the form of tiny aerosol particles may be fueling thunderstorms and rainfall in pristine areas like the Amazon or the ocean, according to a new study. For years, researchers dismissed these small particles, believing they did not have a significant impact on cloud formation.
The EPA said it is getting rid of the "once in, always in" policy under the Clean Air Act, which has defined how major sources of air pollutants are regulated since 1995. The rule is opposed by fossil fuel companies; without it, major pollution sources like coal-fired power plants can be reclassified and subjected to different standards.
Geoengineering proposals to spray chemicals like sulfur in the atmosphere to provide planetary sunshade and slow global warming may be "economically, socially and institutionally infeasible," according to a new UN draft report. The researchers wrote that too little is known about the technology, which could disrupt global weather patterns.