May 3, 2018
In a study of climate inequality, scientists found that tropical countries are set to suffer disproportionately from climate change, even though they contributed little to the emissions that are causing the temperature fluctuations.
May 2, 2018
The Trump administration has exempted most of southeast Wisconsin from federal limits on smog pollution, a political win for Republican Gov. Scott Walker as he makes a new Foxconn factory a centerpiece of his campaign. The changes, which overruled EPA staff recommendations, will save Foxconn expensive investments to protect air quality. Other regions also saw changes.
A group of 17 states and the District of Columbia have asked a federal court to block the Trump administration's push to weaken vehicle emissions standards. The states represent 44 percent of the U.S. population, from Maine to Iowa to California.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is adding two states to its nine current members, and discussions are underway with others. This raises the question of whether the program could expand nationwide. Read more from ICN about what RGGI states are gaining in economic development.
EPA chief Scott Pruitt allowed a lobbyist friend to play an unusually influential role in planning his Morocco trip, including participating in meetings with Pruitt and industry there, The New York Times reports citing internal documents and interviews. It says the lobbyist, Richard Smotkin, was then hired by the Morocco government for $40,000 a month.
New research from the CDC shows illnesses from tick, mosquito and flea bites more than tripled from 2004 to 2016. Higher temperatures tied to climate change are leading to longer mosquito seasons in Florida, and increasing the risk of disease like Zika. Read more from ICN about the tick danger.
As coal use falls off, big coal producers are generating some of their highest income in years, a Bloomberg analysis shows. The reason: falling output and concern over tightening supply have revived prices.
Canada may be omitting an important source of pollution from its calculations of the impacts of a key climate change policy: land-use changes related to biofuels crops, according to a federal document. The methodology puts Canada at odds with policies in the U.S. and California.
Climate change is affecting the freeze-and-thaw cycles that are essential for making maple syrup. This is forcing Vermont, known for its maple syrup production, to adapt.
May 1, 2018
Under the Trump administration, the EPA has moved closer than at any point in its history to serving the needs of the entities it regulates rather than the agency's mission to serve the public, a new report in the American Journal of Public Health says.
Progress in reducing U.S. air pollution unexpectedly stalled in 2011, according to a new report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Scientists have found that the rate of decrease in nitrogen oxides was smaller than the EPA had estimated, largely because of shortcomings in the agency's methods.
"I worked in the industry for 36 years. I believe these companies have the technical skills, the financial scale, and the business savvy to successfully address climate change, if governments and investors step up as well," a former Exxon executive writes.
George Mason University, which has received millions of dollars from the Charles Koch Foundation, is reviewing how much influence the university gave the oil magnate over faculty hiring and evaluations. A former student's open-records request turned up agreements that the university president now says "raise questions concerning donor influence in academic matters."
Power grid operator PJM says it doesn't see any fuel vulnerabilities in the system today, even if three FirstEnergy nuclear plants close. But it plans a "fuel security" study because of increasing use of natural gas.
Albert "Kell" Kelly, a top aide to EPA chief Scott Pruitt, resigned today amid scrutiny of his financial dealings with Pruitt that also drew attention to his lifetime ban from banking. The Hill reports that Pruitt's controversial head of security, Nino Perrotta, also resigned, one day before he is to testify before a House committee.
The U.S. Supreme Court has chosen not to hear a case in which developers of a natural gas pipeline were challenging New York's denial of a water permit for their project. Backers of the Constitution Pipeline had appealed after losing in federal court.
Meet the woman who is challenging Sen. Joe Manchin in West Virginia's Democratic primary. Paula Jean Swearengin's longshot campaign is based in large part on a rejection of coal. "They've fed us this propaganda that coal miners should be enemies with environmental organizers," she says. "I am a proud coal miner's daughter, but I'm not going to worship that black rock."
At a meeting of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), oil-backed groups proposed a resolution opposing state efforts to subsidize electric vehicles. That sparked a battle with utilities, showing how utility interests are diverging from those of the oil and gas sector in an era of low-priced renewable energy and proliferating electric vehicles.
The Australian government has announced a spending plan to preserve the Great Barrier Reef following extensive damage from marine heat waves. The $379 million plan to improve water quality and expand reef restoration is the most the government has ever spent on the reef.
April 30, 2018
A draft plan suggests the Trump administration plans to freeze U.S. vehicle fuel efficiency rules in 2021 for five years, and it asserts that California does not have authority to set its own auto standards. Read more from ICN on how this could be Trump's most climate-damaging move yet.
The elbowing for advantage between ExxonMobil and the California cities and counties suing the oil giant for billions in climate change damages has spread to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Exxon supporters want the SEC to investigate the cities' bond disclosures. The cities are pushing back.
Pipeline owners such as Enbridge could be forced to refund as much as $18.5 billion in up-front payments the companies had charged customers before the Trump tax changes cut corporate rates. Among the questions for the companies: How quickly must they repay, and under what conditions?
The largest U.S.-British Antarctic mission in seven decades is headed to West Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier, a massive ice flow that currently drives about 4 percent of global sea level rise. Thwaites sits atop a seafloor "bump" that scientists fear is the last thing holding it in place.
The Trump administration wants to eliminate some of the changes to drilling safety rules made in response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Oil industry officials argue some of the rules are burdensome.
Big initiatives are rarely easy, as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seeing in the ongoing battles over a tar sands pipeline through British Columbia and a push for a carbon-pricing system.
PBS talked with residents in Guayama, home to Puerto Rico's only coal-burning power plant and a giant coal ash dump. They worry about respiratory diseases and other illness from the ash. Read more from ICN about the EPA's proposal to weaken coal ash regulations.
Following a disappointing quarter, coal producer Cloud Peak Energy said it has high hopes about the possibility of exports to Asia. The Wyoming company is one of several businesses that have a major interest in a proposed export terminal in Washington state, a project that faces many obstacles.
A Hawaiian Island Got About 50 inches of Rain in 24 Hours. Scientists Warn It's a Sign of the Future
A deluge dumped nearly 50 inches of rain on Kauai in 24 hours, sending rivers through homes and cutting off access to some communities with rockslides that may take months to clear. "Just recognize that we're moving into a new climate, and our communities are scaled and built for a climate that no longer exists," University of Hawaii scientist Chip Fletcher said.
April 27, 2018
West Virginia's headlong race into natural gas is taking the state down the same path it's been on for generations with coal. Elected officials have sided with fossil fuel companies on tax proposals and property rights legislation, and lobbyists have convinced regulators to soften new rules aimed at protecting communities from damage.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt testified before two congressional committees on Thursday in what turned out to be a daylong grilling over allegations of ethical infractions and lavish spending.