June 23, 2020

Planting New Forests 'Can Do More Harm Than Good,' Says New Research

Rather than benefiting the environment, large-scale tree planting may do the opposite and isn't a simple climate solution, two new studies warn. One paper says that financial incentives to plant trees can backfire and reduce biodiversity with little impact on carbon emissions. A separate project found that the amount of carbon that new forests can absorb may be overestimated.

Green Groups Challenge Trump Water Rollback

A coalition of environmental groups sued the Trump administration Monday, challenging a rollback of Obama-era protections for the nation's waterways. The Navigable Waters Protection Rule finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency in January limits federal protections for smaller bodies of water, a move critics say risks contamination of larger ones used for drinking water.

Electric Car Charging Stations Are Finally About to Take Off

Coronavirus stimulus packages may be helping electric vehicle charging stations get the needed investment to spur more EV adoption worldwide. In the past few weeks, Germany included chargers in its multi-billion dollar relief proposal. And the European Union announced that it's aiming to have 1 million public chargers by 2025.

June 22, 2020

Arctic Records Its Hottest Temperature Ever

Alarming heat scorched Siberia on Saturday as the small Russian town of Verkhoyansk reached 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, 32 degrees above the normal high temperature, CBS reports. If verified, this is likely the hottest temperature ever recorded in Siberia and also the hottest temperature ever recorded north of the Arctic Circle.

A Proud California Dairy Farmer Battles for Survival in Wildly Uncertain Times

Even before the pandemic blindsided the world and upended the food delivery system, dairy farmers were in trouble. More than half the nation's dairies have disappeared in the last 15 years as low prices and high production cost compounded on droughts, wildfires and other extreme weather.  Still, this California dairy farmer has a plan: He's going all out in making his farm sustainable.

Denmark Strikes Historic Climate Deal to Slash Emissions

Danish lawmakers have struck a climate agreement to ensure their country can live up to a goal of cutting carbon emissions by 70 percent from 1990 levels over the coming decade. The deal means Denmark will commit to cutting carbon emissions by 3.4 million metric tons, putting it on a more ambitious path than the rest of the European Union.

June 19, 2020

Democrats Unveil $1.5 Trillion Green Infrastructure Plan

House Democrats unveiled a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan Thursday that they described as the biggest legislative effort to fight climate change. The bill earmarks billions of dollars for things like drinking water, broadband, clean energy projects, public housing and $500 billion for clean transportation. The bill would also require states to account for global warming before undertaking any projects.

Texas Justices Hand Exxon Setback in California Climate Cases

An apologetic Texas court just ruled against Exxon in a lawsuit between the oil giant and several California governments that want to hold the industry accountable for the economic impacts of climate change. Under the ruling, California officials involved in the suit won't have to hand over documents sought by the company.

Q&A: A Pioneer of Environmental Justice Explains Why He Sees Reason for Optimism

Robert Bullard is often called "The Father of Environmental Justice" for his decades of fighting against pollution in black and brown communities. In 1978, Bullard helped his wife sue the city of Houston, pointing to how all five of the city's public landfills and six of the city's eight incinerators were in black neighborhoods. We talk to Bullard about his work and where he sees the movement today.

Scientists Predict Scorching Temperatures to Last Through Summer

Following a May that tied for the hottest on record, the United States is heading into a potentially blistering summer, with hotter than normal temperatures expected across almost the entire country into September, government researchers said on Thursday. That means drought conditions, already felt by nearly one-fourth of the country, will persist through the summer, they said.

California’s Dirty Little Secret Is Threatening Its Climate Ambitions

California's aging oilfields increasingly require ever more energy-intensive drilling methods, spurring environmental concerns and boosting fuel prices under a decade-old state program, Bloomberg reports. One field has been emitting almost four times more carbon per barrel produced than the average of all crude used in California's refineries, and also more than the oil from Canada's notorious oil sands.

Rising Seas Threaten an American Institution: The 30-Year Mortgage

Up and down the coastline, rising seas and climate change are transforming America's classic 30-year mortgage, The New York Times reports. Home buyers are increasingly seeking contracts that make it easier to walk away after flooding, banks are asking for larger down payment percentages and financiers are selling their mortgages to government-backed buyers like Fannie Mae.

These Very Good Dogs Will Suffer Most From a Warming Climate

New research shows dogs are affected by warming global temperatures in ways remarkably similar to humans. In 2016—the hottest year globally—at least 395 dogs in the UK received veterinary care for heat-related illnesses and 56 of those died, according to a study that ranks the vulnerability of dog breeds to heat.

June 18, 2020

Climate Change Tied to Pregnancy Risks, Affecting Black Mothers Most

Pregnant women exposed to high temperatures or air pollution are more likely to have children who are premature, underweight or stillborn, according to a sweeping new study, and the effects hurt African American mothers and babies the most. It's the latest in a growing body of evidence showing that minorities bear a disproportionate share of the danger from pollution and global warming.

3 Years and $3 Trillion Could Shift the Climate Change Narrative

World leaders have an unprecedented opportunity to shift the climate change narrative by dedicating $1 trillion each year for the next three years to decarbonize polluting sectors as governments work out recovery plans from the coronavirus pandemic, a weighty new International Energy Agency report says. Doing so could reduce global CO2 emissions by 4.5 billion metric tons by 2023, it says.

Wheeler in Wisconsin: Putting a Green Veneer on the Actions of Trump’s EPA

The Trump administration this week declared a victory over air pollution in Sheboygan, Wisconsin—a timely win given recent polls showing that voters view environmental protection to be President Trump's greatest vulnerability. But by excluding certain data, the announcement is a test case for the administration's plan to put a green veneer on Trump's relentless rollbacks of environmental safeguards.

Focus Shifts to House After Senate Passes Major Public Lands Bill

Eyes are on the House after the Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed the Great American Outdoors Act, a major conservation bill that would provide $900 million annually for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The legislation, which has strong bipartisan support, would pull the funding from royalties paid by offshore oil and gas drilling operations.

Key Republican Jeopardizes Nomination of Trump Consumer Safety Pick

A Republican senator from West Virginia will be a key vote in opposing President Trump's controversial nominee to lead the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said she'll oppose Nancy Beck's nomination over Beck's record on regulating PFAS, a class of chemicals linked to causing cancer.

The Iciest Waters Around Antarctica Are Less Icy

Unlike most seasonal ice surrounding Antarctica, the Weddell Sea, east of the Antarctic Peninsula, retains much of its ice from year to year because of cold winds and a gyre that keeps the ice from drifting into warmer waters. But from 2016 to 2017, the Weddell had a sharp drop in sea ice coverage compared to the previous summer. So what happened?

June 17, 2020

Across America, Five Communities in Search of Environmental Justice

Maleta "Queen" Kimmons has witnessed gentrification force people of color out of some Minneapolis neighborhoods, only to find their new homes saddled by polluting industries. In Reserve, Louisiana, Robert Taylor watched neighbors grow sick just as oil development sprung up all around him. All across the U.S., environmental and racial disparities have long overlapped—these five stories show how.

Global Oil Demand Could Hit Record Growth Rate Next Year, IEA Warns

The world's oil demand could climb at its fastest rate in the history of the market next year, and may reach pre-crisis levels within years, unless new green policies are adopted, according to a new forecast from the International Energy Agency. The global energy watchdog expects the world's daily oil demand to climb by 5.7 million barrels next year, the fastest annual climb on record.

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