December 17, 2019
U.S. House Democratic lawmakers unveiled a bill that aims to zero out emissions from drilling, mining and other activities on federal land and waters by 2040, Reuters reports. The U.S. Geological Survey found in a 2018 report that a quarter of carbon emissions come from federal lands.
The stark reality of climate change is that even the cities that seem best defended against rising sea levels face the potential of catastrophic flooding. London is an example.
December 16, 2019
The UN climate talks that stuttered to a belated and inconclusive close on Sunday in Madrid were undone by a technical issue that turned into a fatal obstacle: What to do with old carbon credits created under the 1997 Kyoto protocol. Read more from ICN about the environmental justice concerns around carbon markets.
As southern cities explore renewable energy as a way to save money and reduce carbon emissions, a federally owned utility that serves a population of 10 million in seven southeastern states is pressuring its power providers to sign longer contracts. It would lock them in for decades with little flexibility for extra wind or solar.
With "youth" becoming synonymous with climate action, corporations and politicians are increasingly using young people to try to portray themselves as caring about climate change, The Intercept reports. That includes fossil fuel companies that activists say are "youth-washing" their appearance.
Presidential hopeful and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday unveiled a plan to move the country toward a 100 percent "clean-energy economy-wide future" by 2050, including slashing emissions by 50 percent by 2030.
Plans to shift Europe's coal plants to burn wood pellets instead could accelerate rather than combat climate crisis and lay waste to large swaths of forests, climate scientists warn. Read more from ICN about a push for more wood burning in the U.S. Northeast and its drawbacks.
The U.S. Forest Service is allowing a Canadian company to write a key environmental report on its proposed open-pit gold mines in central Idaho after the Trump administration became involved, the AP reports. The biological assessment would typically be written by the Forest Service or an independent contractor.
Tens of trillions of global investment dollars are pouring into companies that are touting environmental, social and governance credentials. Short-sellers are starting to smell an opportunity in shorting companies who valuations they believe are unduly inflated by ESG promises.
An activist group is increasing the pressure on five big U.S. and European oil companies—including Exxon and Chevron—with shareholder resolutions urging them to meet the Paris climate goals and cut carbon emissions, Reuters reports.
December 13, 2019
The Clean Grid Alliance, which includes renewable energy developers, environmental groups, turbine maker Vestas and Google, says transmission congestion in the Upper Midwest threatens to dramatically slow renewable energy development there.
With concerns about natural gas's impact on climate change rising, several Massachusetts cities and towns have started exploring outright bans on new natural gas hookups in commercial and residential buildings. But in Massachusetts, as Cambridge discovered, it might be harder—if not impossible—to do.
As nearly 200 nations wrap up climate talks in Madrid, a rift between industrial and developing nations about how to use carbon markets risks watering down a deal that could unlock hundreds of billions of dollars in aid for climate-related projects, Bloomberg reports. Read more from ICN on how environmental justice groups say carbon markets hurt the poor.
The world's meat production needs to begin declining from its peak within the next 10 years in order to keep climate change in check and avert catastrophe, scientists warned this week in a letter to The Lancet Planetary Health Journal.
In the remote wilderness of Alaska's North Slope, climate change is already wreaking havoc on the state's ecosystems. Yet a prosperous oil industry remains thriving with no end in sight.
Gulf of Maine states expressed strong support Thursday for offshore wind, setting the region up to become the next battleground over the resource as some members of the area's influential fishing industry voice objections, The Associated Press reports. Read more in ICN on how the gulf may soon host the nation's first floating wind farm.
In Colorado, climate activists tried to spread false information to the media on two separate occasions, Grist reports. One was a Sunrise Movement email claiming the mayor of Denver was going to apologize for an oil company sponsoring a sustainability conference he hosted. Another involved an Extinction Rebellion activist making a prank official announcement that the governor had declared a climate emergency.
December 12, 2019
Following other multinational companies in recent years, energy giant Chevron announced this week it was putting its Appalachian oil and gas business up for sale. The move comes as supply of cheap natural gas produced from U.S. shale fields continues to outpace demand.
The Government Accountability Office announced Wednesday that it will probe the Trump administration's decision to relocate Bureau of Land Management staff from Washington, D.C., to western states.
With less than 72 hours left to reach a deal on key measures in the fight against global warming, more than 100 activists led by representatives of indigenous peoples from Latin and North America staged an impromptu protest to vent frustration over the slow progress of the talks.
In less than five years, Africa's southern countries have seen electricity supply dwindle due to low water levels at hydropower dams as severe drought—exacerbated by climate change—sweeps through the region. Zambia officials said on Thursday that that shortage increased in November.
Vast amounts of methane are escaping from oil and gas sites nationwide, worsening global warming, even as the Trump administration weakens restrictions on offenders. Infrared cameras show the large-scale leaks that aren't visible to the naked eye.
Weather delays in U.S. air traffic have been trending higher the past four years, upending historical patterns and jumping to an 11-year high for this year's summer storm season, according to government data for the 30 biggest airports.
Greta Thunberg was named Time magazine's Person of the Year, its youngest ever, for becoming "the biggest voice on the biggest issue facing the planet."
December 11, 2019
In a major win for fossil fuel companies, a New York judge on Tuesday cleared Exxon of claims that it misled investors about its climate risks. Still, the ruling could impact future cases the oil giant faces. In his ruling, the judge also wrote: "nothing in this opinion is intended to absolve ExxonMobil from responsibility for contributing to climate change."
The European Commission unveiled a sweeping set of environmental initiatives today aimed at creating the world's first carbon-neutral continent by 2050, touching everything from state aid rules to a green industrial policy and a carbon border tax on imports.
As the Arctic warms roughly twice as fast as the rest of the planet, the effects are reverberating far beyond any single species. Massive systems—from the sea ice and permafrost to the jet stream—are beginning to behave in unexpected ways. The annual Arctic Report Card, released today, describes the changes underway.
A top Interior Department official broke a federal ethics rule by improperly meeting with his former employer, a conservative research organization, to discuss the rollback of endangered species protections that the group had been pushing, the Interior Department's inspector general said.
College Republicans across the country are calling on the GOP to back a conservative climate action plan, arguing that not doing so will hurt both the future of the earth and the Republican party, The Hill reports.
The total damage and economic loss from forest fires in Indonesia this year amounted to at least $5.2 billion, equal to a half percent of gross domestic product, the World Bank said in a report on Wednesday.