February 15, 2019
A federal judge dismissed a $1 billion lawsuit that the developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline filed against environmental groups and activists. Energy Transfer Partners tried to use federal racketeering law to claim the groups had engaged in a coordinated criminal enterprise to block the pipeline. Read more from ICN about the legal tactic the pipeline company tried to use.
Climate Disasters Cost World $650 Billion Over 3 Years, and Americans Are Bearing the Brunt, Morgan Stanley Says
Climate-related disasters have cost the world $650 billion over the last three years, and North America is shouldering most of the burden, according to a new report from Morgan Stanley.
Norway's Equinor and three joint ventures have each submitted proposals to build New York's first offshore wind farm. The state will choose the winning proposal in the spring, part of a larger plan to dramatically increase offshore wind power. At 800 megawatts, it would dwarf the country's only existing offshore wind farm.
Climate change could help companies that make vaccines and treatments for illnesses that are likely to rise in a warming world, but the risks to the companies outstrip any incremental gains. This outlook comes from risk assessment reports the companies filed with the nonprofit CDP.
February 14, 2019
The House Science Committee devoted its first hearing of the new Congress to climate change, a discussion that showed a subtle shift among some Republicans toward acknowledging that scientific research points to human-driven global warming.
Most of the black carbon that's helping warm and melt the Arctic is coming from the burning of fossil fuels in coal-fired power plants, vehicles and factories, rather than from wildfires, according to new research. The findings could help countries take more effective steps to control the climate pollutant.
Bill Wehrum, the EPA's top air policy official, stayed in close touch with employees at his former law firm, some of whom have business before the agency, according to newly disclosed emails. The emails are part of ongoing litigation with the Sierra Club. An official with that group says the messages show Wehrum continued to back the industries he had worked for.
Brock Long, the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator who was praised for his agency's response to Hurricane Harvey but sharply criticized for its handling of the devastation Hurricane Maria brought to Puerto Rico, announced Wednesday he would resign after two years.
Wall Street investors stand ready to finance key provisions of the Green New Deal, an eagerness that helps to answer one of the big questions about this ambitious policy agenda: Who will pay for it?
General Motors and Amazon are considering investments of $1 billion to $2 billion in a suburban Detroit-based start-up that has developed an all-electric pickup. Rivian made a splash at recent auto shows with plans to sell an all-electric pickup by 2020, making it an attractive candidate for investment by established tech and auto companies.
Minnesota's newly elected Gov. Tim Walz says he will continue where his predecessor Mark Dayton left off, moving forward with a legal challenge of a decision by state regulators to allow Enbridge to replace a fossil fuel pipeline. Walz, a Democrat like Dayton, has faced pressure from both industry and environmental groups.
February 13, 2019
A new study explains climate change by projecting what U.S. cities are expected to feel like in 60 years. It shows New York City in 2080 feeling like Arkansas today, and Miami feeling like southern Mexico. The study in the journal Nature Communications also has an interactive map.
Pipeline executives are lobbying President Trump to assert federal authority over interstate pipelines to prevent states from blocking projects. This push is one of the fronts in a legal and political fight as states block pipeline projects. Congress has been reluctant to get involved.
The Senate passed a public lands conservation bill that designates 1 million acres for environmental protection and reauthorizes a program to pay for conservation initiatives. The 92-8 vote was a rare moment of bipartisanship.
The oil industry could face stagnating demand within seven to 10 years, a London fund manager says, arguing that companies need to address how to avoid a crumbling of their finances. The outlook suggests the oil industry may be close to the end of ever-expanding demand that has sustained its business.
A federal judge ruled federal officials have not done enough to consider the climate effects of expanding a coal mine in Montana. The ruling recommends the Interior Department be given 240 days to re-analyze the plan. Environment advocates are frustrated that the judge didn't stop mining in the interim.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he'll put the Green New Deal resolution to a vote so Democrats, especially those running for president in 2020, will be forced to go on record. Sen. Ed Markey said McConnell's call for a vote before hearings on the Green New Deal was an attempt to sabotage it.
A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit challenging the EPA's policy of removing scientists with EPA grants from its advisory boards. Public health groups had argued that former EPA head Scott Pruitt violated ethics rules by forcing scientists to decide between receiving grants and being on boards.
A Swiss firm called Climeworks has been developing a system to remove carbon dioxide from the air to sell for commercial purposes. It's the first direct-air-capture business that seeks to sell carbon dioxide by the ton, and could be a step toward businesses finding ways to remove carbon from the air at relatively low cost.
February 12, 2019
The U.S. president has joined Kentucky's governor and senators in trying to pressure the Tennessee Valley Authority to keep a 49-year-old coal-fired power plant operating, even though the nation's largest public electric utility has concluded the plant is unreliable, no longer needed and too expensive to repair and operate. Their arguments are focused on the coal mining industry.
U.S. solar job numbers fell in 2018 as President Trump's tariffs on panel imports kicked in, but several states still saw significant growth — including across the Midwest. Dan Gearino explains what's driving the growth.
A bipartisan group of House lawmakers introduced legislation Monday that would ban oil and natural gas drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The bill would repeal a section of the 2017 GOP tax-cut law that, for the first time, opened part of the refuge for drilling.
Republican senators and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have urged Trump to back the Kigali Amendment on HFCs, saying it's in the nation's economic interest. So what's holding up ratification?
Wisconsin's new Democratic governor, Tony Evers, announced today that he's joining the U.S. Climate Alliance, a group of governors committed to combating climate change at the state level. He follows fellow Midwestern Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, who became the 20th member this month.
A retired high-ranking officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers played a significant role lobbying his former agency to push through the permitting process for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, documents show.
Los Angeles is abandoning a plan to rebuild three natural gas power plants along the coast, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday, in a move to get the city closer to its goal of 100% renewable energy and improve air quality in highly polluted communities. The mayor's decision marks an abrupt change of course for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
February 11, 2019
The nine Democrats named to the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis accepted more than $238,000 from sectors tied to the energy industry, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics. The majority was to Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), nearly $120,000, or about 6 percent of his total contributions.
More than 40 percent of the world's insect species are declining and the total mass of insects is falling by about 2.5 percent a year, according to a global review published in the journal Biological Conservation. The authors say intensive agriculture is the main driver of the decline, particularly the heavy use of pesticides, along with urbanization and climate change.
Republicans who want to combat climate change say their party should avoid the temptation to reject the progressive "Green New Deal" without proposing an alternative, as polls show Republicans growing more concerned about climate change. They suggest Republicans should fill in the lack of policy recommendations with their own prescriptions.
Dozens of House Democrats and one Republican, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, introduced non-binding legislation Friday meant to demonstrate congressional support for the Paris climate agreement.