June 17, 2019
Faced with growing calls for action on the climate crisis, aerospace companies gathering for the Paris air show next week are turning their thoughts to a future run on electricity rather than fossil fuels.
June 13, 2019
Worsening climate change will increase the risk of future violent conflict within countries, according to a group of top researchers. The United States military and intelligence agencies have long considered climate change to be a "threat multiplier," the factor that could tip into violence those states already staggering under the weight of other problems.
Fifteen Democratic presidential candidates, more than 50 Democratic National Committee (DNC) member organizations, and a slew of progressive organizations, some armed with petitions bearing over 200,000 signatures, all are now calling for the DNC to hold a separate climate-focused debate.
For the first time, U.S. power plants can produce more energy from renewable sources than coal, according to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission report. Coal consumption in the U.S. recently hit its lowest level in 40 years. "It's got nowhere to go but extinction," said one clean energy investment adviser.
The U.S. Trade Representative announced that it will grant a tariff exemption for bifacial solar panels, which can generate power on both sides. Analysts expect U.S. solar farm developers to largely switch over to the two-sided panels.
Adani Enterprises received approval to start construction of a controversial coal mine in Australia, but a recent drop in prices for low grade thermal coal has raised doubts about whether the mine will be financially worthwhile. "Government approval does not mean they have a marketable product," said Professor Peter Newman from Curtin University's Sustainability Institute.
Indigo AG, a Boston-based startup, is aiming to help farmers offset their carbon emissions using carbon capture technology and a credit system. The idea has received mixed reviews from scientists, some questioning the feasibility and efficacy of the plan, and other worrying that focusing on carbon in soil will direct focus away from minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.
Former California Gov. Jerry Brown is planning to leave retirement to direct a new academic institute that will work with Chinese researchers to combat global warming. Brown has called China the world's "great hope" on climate change in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump's rollback of environmental agreements and policies.
June 12, 2019
Four former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrators, including three who served under Republican presidents, urged Congress to ramp up its oversight of the Trump EPA. They expressed distress at the agency's attempts to mislead the public on the risks of climate change and brush aside science.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May committed Britain to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, making it the first major economy to set that target. Environmental groups welcomed the move, but some said allowing the UK to reach the goal in part through international carbon credits would "shift the burden to developing nations."
Rostin Behnam, a Trump appointee to the federal Commodities Futures Trading Commission, which oversees major financial markets including grain futures and oil trading, warns that the financial risks of climate change are on par with circumstances that led to the 2008 financial crisis.
The Government Accountability Office re-affirmed the risk of climate change to the federal budget, particularly for disaster aid, insurance for crops and property, and the costs of managing federal land. "Climate change is playing a role in the increasing frequency of some types of extreme weather that lead to the billion-dollar disasters," the report says.
Carbon emissions from the global energy industry last year rose at the fastest rate in almost a decade after extreme weather and surprise swings in global temperatures stoked extra demand for fossil fuels, BP's annual global energy report says.
President Trump's trade war with China is driving down oil prices internationally, with some indicators hitting the lowest point in years, according to Morgan Stanley. "China has slowed faster than people expected and the trade war is still having a significant impact," one trading adviser said.
For every degree Celsius that the world's oceans warm, the total mass of sea animals is projected to drop by 5%, according to a new study by an international team of marine biologists. As a result, the world's oceans could lose about one-sixth of their fish and other marine life by the end of the century if climate change continues on its current path.
A coalition of environmental groups on Tuesday filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Interior Department's rollbacks of safety measures put in place by the Obama administration in the aftermath of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
June 11, 2019
Almost every state has been weighing changes to how homes with solar are compensated for electricity they send to the grid. As technology changes, so do the options. Which way are states going now and which ones are innovating? The results will impact solar growth.
The destructive 2016 wildfire near Fort McMurray, in the heart of the Canadian tar sands region, was as much as six times more likely because of climate change, new research shows. And the 2017 record-breaking fire season in British Columbia was seven to 11 times more likely because of climate change, another study finds.
The Environmental Protection Agency issued guidance that critics say seeks to limit states' influence over controversial pipeline projects. It follows President Trump's executive orders this spring to speed pipeline approvals by limiting state environmental reviews.
New Jersey released a draft energy plan on Monday that provides an initial blueprint for the total conversion of the state's energy profile to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. It joins several other states that have set similar goals.
On the West Coast, millions of people have been under a heat advisories or excessive heat warnings this week, with temperatures in California reaching record highs for June. The heat, forecast to affect the Pacific Northwest next, has been making life uncomfortable, especially in coastal cities that rely on nature's air conditioning.
The devastating flooding that has submerged large parts of the Midwest and South this spring has also brought barge traffic on many of the regions' rivers to a near standstill. The water is too high and too fast to navigate, and shipments of grains, fertilizers and construction supplies are stranded.
Contamination of private well water in southwest Iowa from human and natural causes is a problem even in dry times. But in this year of prolonged flooding, well owners have heightened concerns and are keeping county health officials busy testing water for contaminants such as coliform and E. coli bacteria, nitrates and arsenic.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government will ban single-use plastics — which could include plastic bags, straws and cutlery — in Canada starting in 2021 at the earliest, following the European Union's model. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said it lacked detail about impact on the economy.
Climate change is poised to increase the spread of dengue fever, which is common in parts of the world with warmer climates like Brazil and India, a new study warns.
India is sweating through what some are calling its worst heat wave ever, with four cities, including Delhi, hitting 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees Fahrenheit) or above, a record high for June.
June 10, 2019
The city of South Portland was blindsided when the EPA filed a consent decree with a company that operates industrial storage tanks: The amount of volatile organic compounds being emitted was reportedly more than double what was permitted, and the problem had gone unabated for years. ICN reporter Sabrina Shankman tells her story as a South Portland resident and mom.
The White House tried to stop a senior intelligence analyst from discussing climate science in congressional testimony, according to internal documents. Although the analyst was ultimately allowed to speak, the White House refused to sign off on his written testimony for the Congressional Record because it didn't match the Trump administration's political view.
The world's largest reinsurer wants policymakers in Europe to set a fivefold increase on the cost of emitting carbon. The chief executive of Munich Re said more action is necessary to hit targets set in the Paris climate agreement. "This can be either done by emissions trading or by a tax on carbon," he said.
Construction of a manufacturing plant, which promises 150 jobs, is being met with pushback in Jefferson County, West Virginia. Those opposed to the plant say the jobs aren't worth burning 84 tons of coal a day, and that pollution from the plant poses risks to health, soil, water and the local economy.