March 18, 2020
A U.S. bankruptcy judge approved on Monday that utility giant Pacific Gas & Electric can move ahead with financing commitments of about $20 billion to help the company emerge from bankruptcy—a milestone the utility argued was "particularly important" given market volatility caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
A growing number of Democrats are voicing concern over the possibility that the White House might bailout the oil and gas industry amid sinking prices and the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, 20 Democrats argued in a letter to President Trump that the move would do nothing to stop the virus' spread or provide relief to those in need.
A number of Senate Democrats say any airline bailout package must include measures that limit carbon emissions from the industry. The airline industry on Monday asked for over $50 billion in assistance amid plummeting traffic due to COVID-19, and President Trump has said he intends to provide financial help.
Could investments in clean technology and infrastructure play a big role in helping the world economy recover from the financial devastation caused by the coronavirus outbreak? "We have a great opportunity now to transition more quickly," said Helen Mountford, vice president for climate and economics at the World Resources Institute.
Despite a fall in the share of coal in the country's energy mix, China's greenhouse gas emissions rose 2.6 percent in 2019, driven by a rise in energy consumption and greater use of oil and gas, a research group said on Wednesday.
March 17, 2020
Latitude, along with other temperature and climatological factors, could be enhancing the spread of COVID-19, according to a new study from the University of Maryland. The study points to the largest known outbreaks of COVID-19 taking place in a specific latitudinal zone, where a colder and drier air mass appears to be more conducive to the virus' spread.
The Department of Justice will no longer allow polluting companies to reduce their fines by footing the bill for environmental projects, putting an end to a 30-year-old practice that's been popular with both industry and government agencies.
Mandy Gunasekara, a former Environmental Protection Agency official who worked on controversial administration actions, returned to the agency on Monday as its chief of staff. Gunasekara helped write the replacement to Obama's Clean Power Plan and was involved in the U.S. departure from the Paris climate accord.
The spreading coronavirus is threatening project schedules in the booming U.S. solar industry following a year in which the sector topped natural gas as the nation's top new power source, according to a report published on Tuesday.
Texas-based Plains All American Pipeline, which owns the oil pipeline that spewed thousands of barrels of crude oil onto Southern California beaches in 2015—the worst spill in the state since 1969—will pay $60 million to settle allegations that it violated safety laws, the EPA announced Friday.
The wealthiest 10 percent of people in the world consume a disproportionately large amount of energy and fuel that contribute to climate change, a new University of Leeds study says. The study, which its authors say is the first of its kind, combined European Union and World Bank data for 86 countries to calculate how different income groups spend their money.
The organizers of a climate research expedition in the frozen Arctic Ocean have canceled a series of research flights after the Norwegian government imposed travel restrictions as part of its efforts to fight the coronavirus, The New York Times reports.
Add the European Union to the list of regions likely to struggle meeting climate goals as the coronavirus outbreak continues to wreak havoc on the global economy. The EU's goal to make Europe the first carbon-neutral continent will likely be overshadowed by the union's efforts to battle the virus and stem the financial crisis, Bloomberg reports.
March 16, 2020
Emissions in Italy have plummeted in the wake of extreme measures now being taken to mitigate the spread of coronavirus in the country, according to a new data analysis by The Washington Post. Read ICN's coverage on why the coronavirus, in many ways, can't solve the climate crisis.
The response to the coronavirus pandemic is stalling major government agendas worldwide meant to help advance plans to tackle climate change, including an EU-China climate summit due to take place at the end of the month, Bloomberg reports.
President Trump said Friday that the U.S. would purchase "large quantities" of crude oil in order to help the industry, which has been hit by sinking prices in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and a price war led by Saudi Arabia. The move was met with strong rebuke from Democrats and environmentalists.
A federal judge last week rejected an argument from the Trump administration that sought to invalidate the state's cap-and-trade program. In a lawsuit filed last fall, the Department of Justice argued California's program to reduce vehicle emissions, which collaborated with Quebec, was akin to an international treaty beyond the state's authority.
For six generations, the Pischels have run a family cattle ranch in Nebraska. But in all those years, no family members had witnessed the kind of flooding last spring that killed 59 calves when it inundated the ranch, along with much of the Midwest, said Clint Pischel.
Young climate activists in Asia are changing tactics, filing lawsuits and developing coordinated online protests, a shift that is accelerating as leaders urge people to avoid public gatherings because of the spread of the coronavirus, Bloomberg reports.
In their fight to win the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden duked it out at Sunday night's debate over who had the better plan to tackle climate change.
Five large financial firms from the United States and the United Kingdom, including Blackrock and HSBC, are bankrolling an oil boom in the western Amazon, says a new report from the environmental group Amazon Watch. The investments, in many cases, run contrary to recent climate pledges from the firms, the report concludes.
The number of new renewable energy projects applying for planning permission reached a four-year high in the U.K. last year as energy companies raced to meet the rising demand for clean electricity, The Guardian reports.
March 13, 2020
Heartland Launches Website of Contrarian Climate Science Amid Struggles With Funding and Controversy
The Heartland Institute—the conservative group that made its name spreading climate denial, including hiring the so-called "anti-Greta"—has a new website trying to influence public policy and discourse. It comes as the group faces new controversy and financial troubles.
A U.S. District Court judge in Alaska ruled against the Trump administration late Wednesday, sidelining its plans to open logging in more than 1.8 million acres of the state's Tongass National Forest over the next 15 years.
Virginia lawmakers last week passed a law that makes their state the first one in the South to set a target of producing fully carbon-free electricity by 2050. The Virginia Clean Economy Act, which passed narrowly in each chamber, also makes Virginia one of the leading states in the nation on clean-energy policy.
Millions of New Yorkers may soon need to separate food scraps into a separate garbage receptacle every time they take out their waste under a new proposal from New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. The proposal is part of a sweeping package of strategies to address climate change in the city.
Electric companies could see up to 40 percent of their workforce out sick as the coronavirus continues to spread, according to the trade group that represents investor-owned utilities. Now grid operators are taking steps to mitigate further outbreak, including teleconferencing and halting travel.
England's government has announced a review into the building of thousands of homes on land at the highest risk of flooding following the worst winter storms in years. The move has serious implications for the country's plans to ease a chronic housing shortage, as climate change fuels more erratic and intense weather.
A group of 30 high school students and young activists in South Korea are suing the government, claiming that parliament's recent revision to the nation's climate-change law doesn't go far enough to protect their future.
March 12, 2020
'Time Is Fast Running Out': World Meteorological Organization Warns Climate Efforts Are Falling Short
The world is significantly falling short when it comes to efforts to curb climate change, according to a new report released Tuesday by the World Meteorological Organization. The report found that land temperatures, ocean temperatures, greenhouse gas emissions, sea-level rise and melting ice all increased in 2019.