August 28, 2020
The United States on Thursday officially joined a global program that aims to plant 1 trillion trees worldwide, something that Republicans, including President Trump, have latched onto as a way to combat climate change. But experts say such programs could have unexpected consequences, and that cutting fossil fuel emissions is far more important, our own reporting found.
August 27, 2020
Record setting conflagrations in California and Colorado have smothered residents of the two states with choking, stinging smoke. But the impact of that smoke is also being felt hundreds, even thousands, of miles away, and the health impacts—including increased risk of heart and lung disease—may last for years after the flames subside.
Hurricane Laura Slams Louisiana, Killing at Least One. Forecaster Warns of 'Unsurvivable' Wall of Water
Hurricane Laura made landfall early on Thursday in southwestern Louisiana as one of the most powerful storms to hit the state, with forecasters warning it could push a massive "unsurvivable" wall of water 40 miles inland from the sea. Research shows climate change is increasing the frequency of the most destructive hurricanes, our own reporting found.
For years, policymakers stuck to the belief that relocating entire communities away from flood-vulnerable areas was simply too extreme to consider, but the number of destructive storms to hit U.S. coasts in recent years is changing that approach. The Federal Emergency Management Agency this month detailed a new $500 million program designed to pay for large-scale relocation nationwide.
Even though scientists have warned that climate change is fueling increasingly extreme weather, the Federal Emergency Management Agency—which is tasked with coordinating disaster responses—is spending far more money on counter-terrorism efforts than on ones for natural disasters, Bloomberg reports.
The Republican National Convention, so far, has completely ignored the climate crisis. That move has some conservatives worried that the party is turning away potential voters—particularly younger conservatives who want to see more government action to address climate change—ahead of November's election.
Meltwater could undermine the walls of ice holding back Antarctica's glaciers, a new study warns, a finding that underscores concern about the potential for significant sea level rise. Scientists found that about 60 percent of the ice shelf area is vulnerable to a process called hydrofracturing, in which meltwater seeps into crevasses, triggering glaciers to collapse.
August 26, 2020
Hurricane Laura grew into a Category 3 major hurricane Wednesday morning—the first major hurricane of the season—and is expected to reach Category 4 wind strength before making landfall between Louisiana and Texas Thursday morning. More than half a million people were ordered Tuesday to evacuate the Gulf Coast along the Texas-Louisiana state line.
A little over a decade ago, ExxonMobil was perched atop the corporate pyramid as one of the most profitable companies on the planet, with a market value of more than $500 billion. This week, the oil giant tumbled off the Dow Jones Industrial Average stock index, the latest sign from Wall Street that oil and gas companies are in deep trouble.
Half of Houston-area residents have wrestled with powerful or severe emotional distress since Hurricane Harvey deluged the city in 2017, a new survey found, the latest example that climate change-fueled natural disasters are driving a mental health crisis across the nation. Health experts worry the psychological toll—as disasters become more intense and frequent—could be unprecedented.
Senate Democrats on Tuesday released a massive climate plan that they're billing as a roadmap for what they'll do if they can take back the majority after this year's election. The report, at more than 200 pages, includes increasing federal spending on climate action to 2 percent of gross domestic product each year and calls for significant investments to boost low-income communities of color.
Climate change, which is fueling extreme weather, is adding on to the hazards already faced by some of the country's poorest, most neglected laborers, The New York Times reports. The threats of wildfires, heat waves and a pandemic are compounding on the states' agricultural workers, who are already being hit hardest by the virus, our own reporting found.
Caribbean islands already reeling from the economic impact of Covid-19 started recovering on Tuesday from the damage wrought by Tropical Storm Laura, which left at least 24 dead and damaged thousands of homes and electricity infrastructure. Laura, now a Category 3 hurricane, caused the most damage in Haiti, which is particularly vulnerable to flooding and landslides during heavy rains.
A coalition of 87 House lawmakers is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw its latest rules rescinding standards for methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, calling the move "anti-science" and warning the agency of the consequences of allowing the potent greenhouse gas to be released into the atmosphere.
August 25, 2020
The costs related to natural disasters, growing increasingly intense and frequent because of climate change, have quadrupled since 1980, a new report says. In the U.S. alone, natural disasters, including fires, tropical storms, floods, droughts and crop freezes, have cost the country an estimated $1.77 trillion in those 40 years, with expenses expected to grow steeper as the planet warms.
The number of Americans who feel passionately about climate change is rising sharply, and the issue appears likely to play a more important role in this year's election than ever before, a new survey shows. Furthermore, support for action to curb climate change has not diminished despite the turmoil caused by overlapping economic and health crises worldwide, it found.
More than a dozen environmental groups and one representing northeast Alaskan tribal villages sued the Trump administration on Monday over its plan to open the sensitive Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. In two lawsuits filed in federal court in Alaska, the groups said the plan would cause irreparable damage to a pristine tundra ecosystem that is vital to wildlife.
The tropical storm Laura has strengthened to a hurricane and is expected to grow stronger before making landfall in upper Texas and on the southwest coasts of Louisiana later this week, according to new forecasts. The update comes just a day after Marco—another named storm swirling through the Gulf—was downgraded to a Tropical Depression that is expected to disappear Tuesday.
The largest solar array of its kind—stretching about a quarter mile in length—has been installed and is now operating atop a former Pittsburgh steel mill that houses several tech companies, NPR affiliate WESA reports. The $5 million project, which was built by bridge workers, is an example of the city's efforts to transition to a greener economy while paying homage to its past.
Bucking tradition, a group of climate activists has won three seats in an election to an important governing body at Harvard University, the Board of Overseers, the university announced Friday. The slate of candidates ran on a platform that included calls for the university to drop fossil fuel investments from its portfolio, part of a broader decades-long divestment movement on college campuses.
In what may have been her most famous speech, Greta Thunberg said in New York, "I should be in school." Now, nearly 12 months since that speech, the Swedish activist that has embodied and galvanized the youth climate movement is finally returning to class after taking a year-long break to pressure world leaders into taking action on climate change.
The gas and nuclear industries have ramped up lobbying to secure last-ditch changes to European rules defining which investments are sustainable, fearing that exclusion from a new "green" list could deprive them of billions of dollars of funding. The industries were excluded from a March draft of the list, which is due to be finalized this year.
August 24, 2020
Wildfires this year from Australia to Siberia are not just larger, hotter and faster, but burning in areas and seasons where they were previously rare. It's the same for the blazes in California and Colorado, with clear signs of climate change.
Two storms heading for the Louisiana coast will not make history as the first simultaneous hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, but coastal residents are still preparing for heavy rains and storm surge. Marco has weakened to a tropical storm, but Laura is forecast to become a hurricane and make landfall near the Louisiana-Texas border by late Wednesday or early Thursday.
A massive trash incinerator in Baltimore has become the target of environmental activists who want to see the aging facility shut down and hope to end what they say is the state's bizarre policy preference for burning garbage to make electricity instead of recycling or composting it.
Redlined districts in Richmond, Virginia, show a nationwide trend of poorer neighborhoods with more residents of color experiencing hotter temperatures than richer, whiter neighborhoods. Hotter neighborhoods have fewer trees, more concrete and less access to sufficient air conditioning.
After high profile Republicans spoke out against a controversial gold and copper mine in Alaska, the Trump administration reportedly will not grant a permit for the Pebble Mine until its environmental impact is addressed. The mine could degrade streams, wetlands and fisheries.
As fires burn across California, farmworkers—already disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic—continue to pick strawberries and harvest lettuce while breathing polluted air. Many are without masks to protect from smoke inhalation as the pandemic has driven up demand for N95 masks.
More than 3,000 waivers to bypass environmental monitoring were granted during the coronavirus pandemic, an AP investigation found. Nearly all requests cited safety for workers or the public as justification to halt compliance.
August 21, 2020
As California battles both wildfires and the pandemic, resources have been "stretched totally thin," according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). Nearly 150 firefighters from Cal Fire are currently in quarantine because of Covid-19 infection or exposure, while Cal Fire's total number of inmate crews, who help contain fires, have been nearly halved, from 99 to 45 crews.