May 30, 2019
The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank co-founded by Charles Koch, quietly shut down a program that for years sought to raise uncertainty about climate science. The move came after Pat Michaels, a climate scientist who rejects mainstream concerns about rising temperatures, left Cato earlier this year.
The Oregon Senate has approved a temporary ban on hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," for oil and gas. The Senate reduced the 10-year moratorium that had been in the House proposal to five years, and the bill now returns to the House to approve the change.
May 29, 2019
About 80 countries want to expand their pledges to address climate change, advancing their action under the Paris climate accord, according to the United Nations. "We are not talking about a small incremental approach," said Luis Alfonso de Alba, a Mexican diplomat and the UN secretary-general's envoy on climate change.
Neglecting to account for climate change will lead to problems for markets, hindering stability, according to the European Central Bank. Extreme weather events and transitions to a low-carbon economy must be taken into account, the ECB wrote in a new review.
The top 10 energy companies are planning some $1 trillion in investments by 2030, in everything from oil and gas exploration to new drilling equipment, Bloomberg reports. But analysts warn they could be creating stranded assets as more governments set targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
The biggest oil refinery in the U.S., located in Port Arthur, Texas, made a $111 billion profit last year. Meanwhile, neighbors were driven out of their homes by the storm. CNN reports on how climate change can widen wealth gaps.
When a Utah "coal-cleaning" plant flopped, its operators abandoned the facility, leaving behind 30 acres of coal waste. State and local authorities have been saddled with cleaning up the mess and with the task of recouping taxes and fines from the nonresponsive company.
Cities and states are taking the Green New Deal's charge upon themselves, boosting regulation of emissions in cars and buildings. At least seven states have proposed legislation that they have labeled part of the Green New Deal, giving the proposal new life outside of Washington.
In Australia, a surge in renewable energy at the state level and rooftop solar installations are contributing to lower prices that make gas and coal less competitive and could push Australia to the 50% renewable mark by 2030 even without additional federal energy policies, according to a new analysis.
May 28, 2019
The director of the U.S. Geological Survey, appointed by President Donald Trump's administration, has ordered that scientific climate assessments project future impacts only through 2040, rather than through the century's end. It's the latest attempt from the White House to cast doubt on the importance of taking action on climate change.
The Greens, a party coalition in the European Union focusing on environmental issues, gained ground in Sunday's parliamentary elections. The results were particularly pronounced in Germany, where the coalition won more than 20 percent of the vote, propelling them into second place nationwide.
The North Dakota oil industry has spent billions of dollars to catch up with state goals to limit the burning of natural gas at well heads. New rules were adopted five years ago, and regulators project that the industry is still two years away from hitting the targets.
Newly released emails show EPA scientists raised strong objections to a 2018 decision by then-Administrator Scott Pruitt to exempt most of southeastern Wisconsin from federal limits on smog. It came as then-Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, was campaigning for a third term and trying to bring a Foxconn factory to a part of the state where pollution levels already exceeded federal limits.
North Atlantic right whales' main food supply has shifted due to ocean warming, amplifying challenges for the endangered species, new research shows. Whale populations have moved to follow food their food supply, putting them closer to shipping and fishing operations that had been designed to avoid the usual feeding zones.
If the world is to win the fight against climate change, its leaders must stop profiting from fossil fuels that threaten the survival and well-being of the planet and its inhabitants, Pope Francis told a Vatican climate change conference for finance ministers yesterday. He said the current crisis is "caused by a confusion of our moral ledger with our financial ledger."
Malaysia, which became the world's main destination for plastic waste last year after China banned the imports, now says it will send as much as 3,000 tonnes of plastic waste back to the countries it came from. The Philippines president last week ordered his government to send 69 containers of garbage back to Canada and leave them within its territorial waters if it refuses to accept them. Read more from ICN on how Plastics are a climate problem, too.
May 24, 2019
Congressional Democrats are asking EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to turn over documents related to the agency's plan to weaken vehicle emissions standards, suggesting he has made misleading statements. House and Senate Democrats say the request is in response to comments by Wheeler that contradict data from the EPA's own experts.
The EPA plans to release a narrowed-down version of a proposal to reform the biofuel credit market. President Trump had instructed the agency to develop a plan to reform the market as a way to help the oil industry, which has been upset with the administration's push to promote ethanol.
Researchers have found that greenhouse gases and pollution have almost singlehandedly shaped 20th century climate. The findings show that other factors, such as earth's normal variations in ocean temperatures, were less of a factor than previously thought. Read more from ICN about research showing human influence on drought in early 1900s.
Wisconsin regulators on Thursday denied a request to reconsider approval of the state's first utility-scale solar farm, Chris Hubbuch reports. Utilities said the farm and a second being planned would increase the state's solar capacity five-fold and would replacing aging fossil fuel generators, saving customer an estimated $180 million compared to other alternatives.
Atlantic hurricane season is projected to be normal, with nine to 15 named storms and four to eight hurricanes, according to NOAA's latest forecast. A storm that formed this week near Bermuda—before the start of hurricane season—is raising questions about climate change's role and whether the official season should start sooner.
In recent months, several Republicans have rallied around a single idea when describing how o address climate change: innovation. But in a House vote this week, all but one Republican rejected a spending bill that included increased funding for government research into just this sort of innovation. Read more from ICN on Trump's proposed research funding cuts and the impact.
As Alaska's new governor shelves the state's climate plans, Southeast Alaska's largest tribe is among those stepping up, saying it wants its region to be part of the climate change discussion.
Concerns about climate change have led to protests across Europe for the past year, and are high on the agenda in this week's elections for the European Parliament. In Germany, the EU's most populous nation, polls show climate change has overtaken immigration as the issue voters are most concerned about.
Climate change has moved up in polls of Democratic priorities. Despite this, the only candidate making climate change the center of his campaign, Gov. Jay Inslee, has struggled to find support.
May 23, 2019
Officials from more than 75 businesses gathered on Capitol Hill to make the case for carbon pricing, the largest such effort in a decade. Did they find a single U.S. Senate Republican to take up their cause?
Amazon shareholders have voted down proposals to take a close look at the company's societal impact on climate change and facial recognition. The climate change initiative was unusual in that it was developed by Amazon employees, as opposed to activist investors.
There is a global appetite for programs that sell carbon offsets to allow people and companies an alternative to actually reducing fossil fuel use. But this hunger may have blinded some advocates of the programs to a mounting pile of evidence that they haven't deliver the climate benefit they promise.
Reporters Dan Gearino of InsideClimate News and Brett Chase of the Better Government Association talked with WBEZ about climate change in the Midwest and a 14-newsroom project published this week on climate challenges and solutions.