August 6, 2019
Prosecutors in New York are accusing ExxonMobil of trying to discourage potential witnesses from testifying about whether the oil giant misled investors over the costs it may face from future climate regulations. They are asking a judge to block Exxon from making what they describe as "unreasonable" and extensive requests for documents from the witnesses.
Trump's EPA months ago rejected a fuel efficiency compromise that has since been agreed to by four major automakers and the state of California, new details show. "Looking back, it seems that they were never interested in negotiations or discussions," a spokesman for the California Air Resources Board said.
Meanwhile, EPA has sent the White House the final draft of its policy to roll back Obama-era vehicle emissions standards. The White House review is the policy's second-to-last step before the controversial rule is implemented.
Staffers and industry officials say President Trump and Neil Chatterjee, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, have politicized the independent agency usually known for nonpartisan rule-making. Under Chatterjee, a former Mitch McConnell aid, FERC has had a tough time retaining staff, filling a vacant commissioner post and issuing rulings.
FirstEnergy Solutions told a bankruptcy court it could not honor existing contracts with employee unions and that it intends to negotiate new bargaining agreements once it reorganizes. Ohio lawmakers recently approved a six-year, $1.1 billion bailout to be paid by power customers to help FirstEnergy Solutions' nuclear plants, and the company announced the money will also allow it to keep a "super-polluter" coal plant running.
Heading into late summer and fall, California faces an above-normal chance for large wildfires, according to a report by the National Interagency Fire Center. Heat, autumn winds and rain will all play into how perilous the 2019 wildfire season becomes.
Approvals for building new coal mines in China have surged in 2019, government documents show. Beijing expects coal consumption to rise in the coming years, despite pledges to address smog and greenhouse gas emissions.
A new report from a progressive think tank found that the United States lost 24 million acres of natural area between 2001 and 2017 due to agriculture, energy development, housing sprawl and other human factors. The loss of natural land makes the country more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, the report says.
August 5, 2019
Thirteen states are suing the Trump administration, saying it broke the law in cutting penalties for automakers that fail to meet Obama-era fuel efficiency standards. "Without strong penalties for violating these fuel efficiency standards consumers, our economy, and our environment all remain in danger," said New York Attorney General Letitia James.
Moody's Corporation has brought on board a data firm specializing in climate risks. It's a signal that rating agencies are paying more attention to global warming and its impact in the financial markets. "More and more, issuers and investors want to know how they are exposed to climate events," a Moody's official said.
A North Carolina administrative law judge has ruled that the state can order Duke Energy to excavate all of its coal ash pits by 2030 to prevent further pollution in waterways. Read more from ICN on a newly proposed EPA rule change that could let the companies responsible for toxic coal ash dump unlimited amounts of it at certain construction sites.
The head of Russia's meteorological service said global climate change is a factor behind the wildfires blazing in Siberia and the country's Far East. The fires have spread over 12,000 square miles. Russia's aerial forest protection service said it isn't fighting the blazes since they are too difficult to reach.
Lake Hopatcong, normally buzzing with swimmers and water skiers, is filled with cyanobacteria in quantities never before recorded. Climate change is a likely factor, scientists say, in an increase in blooms there and elsewhere.
Thousands of Pacific walruses have come to shore off the northwest coast of Alaska in their earliest appearance since sea ice has substantially receded. Sea ice allows young walruses to rest as their mothers dive for clams and snails. When the ice recedes, walruses are forced to beaches to rest in Alaska and Russia.
One of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's top climate change scientists says he is quitting in protest over the Trump administration's efforts to bury research into how rice loses nutrients due to rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Lew Ziska's departure follows several others who have said the administration is censoring climate science.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an agreement that will lead to a stretch of the far northern Canadian Arctic becoming a marine protected area, off-limits to mining, oil, gas and trawling. "Freezing any new human activities will help ensure the ice that never melts will remain true to its name," he said.
August 2, 2019
Two reports out today show that July's European heat wave was fueled by climate change, just like the one in June, and that Earth at least tied the record for its hottest July. Bob Berwyn reports from the Adriatic Sea on what that means for crops, fish and humans.
For decades, science and engineering graduates have been natural recruits for the oil and gas industry, but that trend has been waning in recent years, raising questions for the industry. Members of the plastics industry have expressed similar concerns about recruiting Millennial workers.
Since the start of June, eight North Atlantic right whales — 2 percent of the global population — have been found dead in Canadian waters. The whales have a storied history of hunting and conservation, and scientists say the recent decline is linked to a change in the whales' migratory pattern, possibly as a result of warming waters.
Two bills recently introduced in the U.S. Senate would extend federal tax credits for offshore wind projects for another six to eight years. The move, supported by U.S. wind energy's main trade association, could give the young industry more time to find solid footing.
While Donald Trump has led the Republican Party far down the road of denying the scientific consensus of human-caused climate change, the growing concern among younger Republicans about their future that has caught the attention of Republican strategists.
A natural gas pipeline in Kentucky exploded, killing one person and hospitalizing five others. One nearby resident described the scene "like a tornado of fire."
August 1, 2019
In two nights of debates that seemed designed to highlight divisions among the candidates, the Democratic presidential hopefuls managed to display remarkable unity in their proclaimed commitment to aggressive action on climate change.
The ice sheet is in the midst of one of its most extreme melts on record, with worrying consequences for Greenland's people and the planet. Sabrina Shankman has the data and science on the current heat wave and talks with Greenlanders and glaciologists about what they're seeing on the ground.
Just as utilities have begun making costly plans to move toxic coal ash out of fragile storage ponds to protect waterways and aquifers, the Trump administration may be about to give them a cheaper alternative, and relax safeguards intended to prevent water contamination in the process.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warned businesses that those failing to adapt to climate change won't survive, but that others will profit from green investments. "(What) the capitalist system needs to do is to manage the risks around climate change, be ready for the different speeds of the adjustment," Carney said.
Alaska Natives and environmental groups are suing the Trump administration, saying it has concealed information about the effects of oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. "This case is about bringing transparency to what has been a rushed and secretive process to sell out a national treasure to the oil industry," said Patrick Lavin of Defenders of Wildlife.
A new report on the health impacts of climate change say it is already causing deaths, Climate change is "absolutely" already causing deaths and predicts climate-related stunting, malnutrition and lower IQ in children in the coming decades. The report cites heat stress, malnutrition, malaria and diarrhea as major concerns.
July 31, 2019
Florida's governor is expected to name the state's first chief resilience officer, to be in charge of adapting the most vulnerable state in the nation to climate change. The Miami Herald reports that the top candidate has a strong background in military and diplomacy issues but lacks obvious experience with climate change or resilience.
Russia declared a state of emergency in parts of Siberia after wildfires engulfed forest area almost the size of Belgium. The area is seeing record high temperatures as a result of climate change. Wildfires have become a problem across the boreal forests as heat waves dry out Alaska and the Arctic.