October 23, 2018
Julia Olson is a lawyer working to help a group of children and young adults sue the federal government over climate change. If all goes as planned, she will deliver her opening argument on Monday in the landmark lawsuit against the federal government on behalf of 21 plaintiffs, ages 11 to 22, who are demanding that the government fight climate change.
Massive flooding of Pangea millions of years ago led to mass extinction and allowed for dinosaurs to rapidly diversify and spread around the world. The climate event was kicked off by warming of only about 4–7 degrees Celsius—roughly the same magnitude predicted for our own world if carbon emissions continue at a high rate.
October 22, 2018
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday temporarily blocked a climate change lawsuit brought by young activists who accuse the federal government of violating their constitutional rights with policies that exacerbate climate change. Chief Justice John Roberts asked the plaintiffs to respond by Wednesday to the federal government's latest attempt to get the case thrown out. The Supreme Court had refused to toss the case in July.
Between 300 and 700 barrels of oil per day have been spewing from a site 12 miles off the Louisiana coast since 2004. Federal officials estimate the spill could continue through this century. With no fix in sight, the spill could soon overtake BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster as the largest ever.
Virginia Regulators Grant Key Approvals to Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Clearing the Way for Construction
Virginia regulators say they have cleared the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline to begin construction on its 300-mile track across the state with the approval of three crucial environmental protection plans. Dominion Energy said it will now seek final federal approval.
There's an overwhelming consensus among experts that global warming is being influenced by humans. But surveys have found that only about 15 percent of Americans are aware that the expert climate consensus exceeds 90 percent. It's 97 percent in peer-reviewed scientific papers.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine bucked President Trump this week, saying that he sees no reason to reject the findings of a major climate change report from the IPCC. The former GOP congressman from Oklahoma, appointed by Trump, previously said he was skeptical that human activity was the main cause of global warming but has since endorsed the scientific consensus.
Workers are testifying that they were misled about the toxicity of coal ash when cleaning up the December 2008 massive coal ash spill at the TVA Fossil Fuel Power Plant near Kingston, Tennessee. Workers say they were not provided dusk masks or respirators.
The UN-backed Green Climate Fund has approved more than $1 billion for 19 new projects to help developing countries tackle climate change. President Trump's decision to withhold $2 billion of the $3 billion pledged by the U.S. has contributed to a shortfall in its projected assets.
October 19, 2018
In a win for local environmentalists, Kinder Morgan has abandoned a plan to reverse and repurpose an old pipeline to carry natural gas liquids across six states. Pipeline safety advocates consider natural gas liquids more dangerous than natural gas because they not only carry an explosion risk, but can pollute ground or surface water supplies. The fight is not over: The company will instead seek to ship fracked natural gas through the line.
The Trump administration has asked the Supreme Court stop a landmark lawsuit by children and teenagers that argues the federal government has violated their constitutional rights by failing to act on climate change. The administration is seeking to head off a trial that's set to start Oct. 29 in federal court in Oregon.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has unveiled a plan to transform the city's waterfront to protect the low-lying city from climate change and rising sea levels. A 2016 city report projected sea levels around Boston could rise 36 inches by 2070.
The EPA is marching steadily towards weakening the economic justification for a rule limiting toxic mercury pollution from coal plants. Critics of the rule say Obama's EPA shouldn't have counted health improvements that would have come from eliminating other kinds of pollution from coal plants, including soot and nitrogen oxide, in it's cost analysis.
Greenhouse gas emissions from the largest U.S. industrial plants fell 2.7 percent in 2017, the EPA said, as coal plants shut amid competition from natural gas and solar and wind power. That's a steeper drop than in 2016, when emissions fell 2 percent, the EPA said.
Climate change has been delaying snowfalls in New England's winters. That's good news for ticks, which have more time to breed and to feed. But it's bad news for their hosts, such as the region's moose population. Some moose are being fatally swamped with tick infestations, and are sometimes carrying tens of thousands of the parasites before succumbing to anemia.
October 18, 2018
The Trump administration has indicated that it won't finalize for another year a highly controversial proposal to limit the use of science when EPA writes new anti-pollution rules. Read more from ICN on what EPA's "secret science" proposal would do and the backlash.
Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis are both courting the environment vote in the Florida governor's race, but they go in opposite directions on climate change. Here's what the candidates are saying, and why the environment is a big election issue this year in Florida.
The American Meteorological Society, in a letter to President Trump, is pushing back forcefully on his comments on "60 Minutes" about climate change and his denigration of scientists, calling his statements "misleading and very damaging."
Iowa Regulators Question Whether Dakota Access Pipeline Has Enough Insurance to Protect Against an Oil Spill
State regulators in Iowa are questioning whether the builder of the Dakota Access pipeline has adequate insurance coverage to protect Iowans from potential oil spills. The crude oil pipeline spans four states, and regulators worry that a catastrophic incident could exhaust its insurance coverage.
Companies are buying more renewable energy. As of August, non-utility buyers had announced contracts for more than 3.5 gigawatts of renewable energy projects in 2018, setting a new single-year record in the U.S., Greentech Media reports. A lot of the growth is coming from first-time buyers.
Brazil's presidential election will likely have major ramifications for the Amazon, the world's largest tropical forest. Jair Bolsonaro, the front-runner for the presidency, has promised to open up more forest to agricultural production. That would have consequences for the entire planet.
October 17, 2018
The Trump administration has abruptly moved a political appointee from the HUD to serve as the acting inspector general for the Interior Department. The appointee will oversee four ongoing investigations into Secretary Ryan Zinke's conduct, including his involvement in a development deal backed by the chairman of oil-services company Halliburton.
The high-stakes fight over rooftop solar has spread to Michigan. A major utility is proposing to change how rooftop solar owners are compensated for electricity they sell to the grid. It's being called the most worrying attempt to undermine net-metering since Nevada nearly killed its solar market in 2015.
A coalition led by billionaire Bill Gates, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva has launched a new global initiative to help communities adapt to the effects of climate change.
Pipeline company Enbridge says a worst-case oil spill on its planned Line 3 replacement across northern Minnesota would cost up to $1.4 billion, assuming it could shut down the oil flow within 13 minutes. Minnesota regulators set some conditions for approval of the controversial project, including insurance coverage for spills.
Huge numbers of insects have been lost over the past 40 years in a pristine national forest in Puerto Rico, a study found, and the forest's insect-eating animals have gone missing, too. This adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests that insects and other invertebrates are in serious trouble because of climate change.
About 40 historic Mediterranean sites, representing cultures extending from the Phoenicians to the Venetians, are already at risk due to rising seas, research finds. Many of the sites are close to the sea, and in a world of rising sea levels, those risks will grow more severe.
The Permian Basin, in Texas and New Mexico, is six years into a boom sparked by advances in drilling methods that unlocked a sea of previously unattainable oil. But growth has begun to slow, throttled by shortages of pipelines, workers, power and roads.
Ruth Etzel, the suspended director of the EPA's Office of Children's Health Protection, said her role had been reduced during the Trump administration. Etzel says she used to have monthly meetings with the agency's director, but had not had one with a Trump-appointed agency head.
October 16, 2018
Energy Secretary Rick Perry has spent more than a year pushing plans that would invoke national security to help power companies keep their economically struggling coal plants running. But Politico reports, citing sources, that the White House has shelved the plans amid opposition from some of the president's own advisers.