October 16, 2018
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he is considering using "some of our naval facilities" on the West Coast as coal export terminals, an idea that drew a quick backlash from political leaders in the region. Some states there have rejected private-sector coal export facilities over air pollution and safety concerns.
Drillers have long pumped the wastewater that comes up with oil into underground wells. But with concern growing that the Permian Basin is reaching capacity for disposal wells, the Trump administration is considering loosening decades-old federal clean water regulations to allow for wastewater to be directly discharged into rivers and streams.
A lawsuit from a group of American kids suing the federal government over climate change can proceed, a judge ruled in rejecting several arguments from the Trump administration. The suit, brought by 21 young people, accuses the federal government of violating their rights by failing to act on climate change.
Compared to Trump, Obama is regarded as an environmental champion, the Center for Public Integrity writes. But both took steps to increase the U.S. exports of fossil fuels to other countries. When Ernest Moniz became Obama's Energy Secretary in 2013, among his top priorities was fast-tracking approvals for natural gas exports.
Britain's banks and insurers must come up with credible plans for protecting themselves against risks from climate change, the UK's central bank said Monday. Some banks have already been disclosing information on risks related to climate change, and it could become mandatory in the future.
Pacific Gas & Electric cut off electricity service to nearly 60,000 people on Sunday in an attempt to prevent wildfires in Northern California. The area was under a Red Flag Warning from the National Weather Service for heightened wildfire risks due to low humidity and high winds.
Across huge swaths of the world, scientists simply don't have the data that they need—especially the kind of in-depth, long-term observations that can place current weather in context—to make predictions about what the future of climate change will look like, The Atlantic reports.
October 15, 2018
GM and other U.S. automakers say they're headed for an all-electric future and they want fuel economy standards, but their assembly lines tell a different story. The Big Three agreed to fuel efficiency improvements as part of the 2009 economic bailout. But as gas prices fell, they ramped up production of gas guzzlers again.
A report on power grid reliability commissioned by the Energy Department failed to reach conclusions favoring the Trump administration's efforts to prop up coal and nuclear power, Bloomberg reports. Six months after submission, the findings haven't been released.
In a "60 Minutes" interview Sunday night, President Trump said that he now believes climate is changing, but he says he doesn't know if it's caused by humans. The New York Times fact-checked those remarks and other climate comments previously made by the president.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who is not seeking re-election, broke with many of his Republican colleagues by saying that the GOP should act on climate change following an alarming IPCC report. "I think Republicans need to be at the forefront if we want to keep our place and keep our seats," Flake said.
Some scientists say that an IPCC report on climate change wasn't strong enough and that it downplayed the full extent of the real threat posed by global warming.
An EPA's proposal to ease methane pollution standards for oil and natural gas drillers was published today in the Federal Register, opening a public comment period that will last until mid-December. Read more from ICN on the proposal and its potential impact.
Historically, many corporations have contributed to the world's climate problem. But to a greater extent than ever before, the best interest of many businesses and those of the planet are aligned, The Washington Post reports.
October 12, 2018
Jeffrey Bossert Clark represented BP in lawsuits over the nation's largest oil spill and has repeatedly challenged the science of climate change. Now, he's going to serve as the nation's top environmental lawyer—a key position for the defense of President Trump's regulatory rollback.
Global investments in solar and wind total approximately $250 billion per year today. The IPCC says trillions—not billions—of dollars need to be spent on clean energy each year, but is that feasible? It is if the world shifts its investments away from fossil fuels and into renewable energy.
To keep the planet from warming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, it's not enough to just cut emissions, a new UN climate science report says. We'll also have to figure out how to remove some of the carbon dioxide that's already been emitted. Of the options considered, the solution the IPCC found most promising involves soil.
A panel responsible advising EPA leadership on soot in the atmosphere is being disbanded, and the agency declined to say why. The panel has been responsible for helping the agency decide what levels of pollutants are safe to breathe. The decision comes as the EPA considers weakening air quality standards.
Hurricane Michael's trail of devastation now stretches from the Florida Panhandle to the Carolinas. At least six people have died as a result of the storm, and North Carolina is dealing with flooding again. The storm's strength may reflect the effects of climate change, as CNN reports.
Republican lawmakers are largely shrugging off the climate change warnings spelled out in a new IPCC report, The Hill reports. Few indicated they had read it, and some with strong ties to the fossil fuel industry said they were skeptical about the conclusions.
The owner of the Fukushima nuclear plant, destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami more than seven years ago, said water treated at the site still contains radioactive materials that for years it has insisted had been removed.
October 11, 2018
Unlike Hurricane Florence, which idled over the Atlantic Ocean as a powerful storm for days, Michael spun through the stages of hurricane formation quickly. It became a tropical storm on Sunday afternoon. By Tuesday, it was a major hurricane that kept intensifying.
The world's population could reach 9 or 10 billion people by midcentury. Creating a sustainable food system that doesn't ravage the environment is going to require dramatic reforms, including a radical change in dietary habits, a new study says.
For the second major election in a row, Washington voters will decide on a ballot initiative that would put a price on carbon emissions, among other things. The first such ballot initiative, in 2016, failed.
When Justin Trudeau swept into power in 2015, he pledged to make fighting climate change a top priority. Years later, the prime minister hasn't accomplished as much as some hoped. Provinces have pulled out of a federal climate plan, and next year brings a new election.
Datong, a major coal-producing city in northern China's Shanxi province, will establish "no-coal zones" in urban districts as part of its efforts to curb pollution, the provincial government said on Thursday. The restrictions would cover 39 square miles and include bans on the storage, sale and direct combustion of coal.
Scientists are increasingly confident of the links between global warming and hurricanes. In a warming world, hurricanes will be stronger because warmer water provides more energy that feeds them. They will bring more rain because warmer air holds more moisture. And storm surges will be worse because sea level is rising.
October 10, 2018
The second hurricane in a month threatens to wipe out crops across a swath of North and South Carolina still recovering from Hurricane Florence. Hurricane Michael, a "potentially catastrophic" Category 4, was headed for the Florida coast on a path expected to bring heavy rain to Georgia and the Carolinas right as farmers are harvesting several important crops.
Nearly 40 percent of daily crude oil production was lost from offshore U.S. Gulf of Mexico wells on Tuesday because of platform evacuations and shut-ins ahead of Hurricane Michael. Oil producers began evacuating workers on Monday.
A move by the Trump administration to allow for more ethanol to be sold, including during summer months when smog pollution levels are highest, is receiving pushback from some environmental groups and the oil industry. The groups have different reasons for opposing the plan.