August 10, 2018

August 9, 2018

Puerto Rico Raises Hurricane Death Toll to 1,427 in Report to Congress

Puerto Rico is now estimating that Hurricane Maria killed more than 1,400 people, far more than the official death toll of 64, in a report to Congress seeking billions to help the island recover from the devastating storm. The territory's government said the additional deaths resulted from the effects of a storm that led to a "cascading failures" in infrastructure.

Trump Officials Helped Edit ‘Bomb Cyclone’ Report to Boost Coal

Newly disclosed emails show Trump administration officials pushed to promote coal power in a report on the "bomb cyclone" winter storm that hit the eastern U.S. in January. Administration officials urged the report's authors to highlight reliability issues with natural gas power and to discuss coal plant closures as part of the analysis.

Black Widow Spiders Creep Northward

The northern black widow spider is being spotted further north than ever before, likely because of climate change. Scientists are working to track this dangerous development by asking for the public to send photos when they spit the spiders.

August 8, 2018

Climate Change Denialists Never Had It So Good. So Why the Angst?

Climate science deniers and fossil fuel evangelists have every reason to celebrate the influence they have in the Trump administration, but instead they see reasons for dread. With carbon tax proposals being discussed, climate lawsuits advancing and corporations embracing the need for action, many of those at the Heartland Institute's "America First" conference grappled with the reality that a fossil-reliant future is not secure.

U.S. Energy Panel Stacked with Fossil Fuel Interests, Lawsuit Says

A lawsuit argues that fossil fuel interests have been given an inappropriately prominent role in an Interior Department panel that is looking at changes to royalty payments for extracting fossil fuels on public lands. The Western Organization of Resource Councils is asking a federal judge to disband the Royalty Policy Committee and strike down its recommendations. 

How British Columbia's Natural Gas Helps Fuel Alberta’s Oil Sands

There is an irony in Canada's internal battle over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, meant to carry tar sands oil from landlocked Alberta to the British Columbia coast, a resource policy analyst writes. Oil production in Alberta's oil sands is powered in part by a glut of cheap natural gas, created in part by gas producers in British Columbia, the province fighting the pipeline expansion.

Climate Change Is Pushing Birds Out of the Mojave Desert

New research suggests that increasingly dry conditions in the Mojave Desert over the last century have cut the region's bird population in half. Scientists say the main cause is decreasing rain and snow that has left less surface water available, and that new species aren't replacing those that have moved on.

August 7, 2018

Domino Effect of Climate Events Could Push Earth into a ‘Hothouse’ State

A group of leading climate scientists are warning of a domino-like cascade of events that could shift the Earth into a "hothouse" state in which human efforts to reduce emissions would largely be futile. The authors of the study, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, say their findings are not conclusive but should serve as another warning that the commitments of the Paris agreement may not be enough to keep the planet's temperature at a stable level.

Delay Puts $3.7 Billion Shale Gas Pipeline at Risk of Overhaul

The Mountain Valley pipeline may need to be rerouted after federal energy regulators ordered all work to stop, leading to additional delays for an already troubled project. The order requires federal agencies to take a closer look at the environmental ramifications of the project. The lead developer, EQT Corp., says it is confident that agencies will restore the permits with minimal delays.

Climate Change Threatens Midwest's Wild Rice, a Staple For Native Americans

Climate change is bringing severe rains and warmer temperatures to the Upper Midwest, damaging rice beds. Northern wild rice is a staple food for Ojibwe communities and is used in traditional ceremonies. Yields have been erratic in recent years, leading to fears that climate change is leading to a permanent shift in the crop's availability.

August 6, 2018

SEC Drops Investigation into Exxon Climate Change Response

The Securities and Exchange Commission has dropped a two-year investigation into how Exxon Mobil Corp. uses climate-change regulations in its calculations of asset values. The company said it was notified by the SEC that the agency is not recommending any penalty against the company at this time. (Read more on the background of the SEC's investigation from ICN, SEC Involvement Sharpens #ExxonKnew Focus on What Its Accountants Knew.)

U.S. Halts Construction on Mountain Valley Gas Pipeline

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has ordered an immediate stop to construction of the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to Virginia. The commission's action follows a July 27 order from a federal appeals court that vacated decisions by federal agencies to allow construction across federal lands.

In Waiting for Answers, Automakers Stick to Obama-Era Rules

Automakers say they will not immediately change plans because of the Trump administration's move to freeze fuel economy standards, meaning they will stick to the Obama-era rules. The companies are waiting to act because of legal challenges against the Trump plan, and some see improvements in efficiency and development of zero-emissions vehicles as necessary to be able to compete in markets worldwide.

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