May 26, 2020

Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Attempting to Halt Federal Coal Leases

A federal judge on Friday threw out a lawsuit attempting to reinstate a moratorium on leasing federal land to coal producers, saying the Trump administration was now complying with environmental laws. The judge initially ruled against the administration when it first attempted in 2017 to end the Obama-era ban on new coal leasing on public lands.

Trump’s Anti-Regulation Push Will Likely End Up in Court

An executive order signed by President Trump directing agencies to slash regulations in order to boost the economy is likely to lead to a number of court challenges. Last week's order directs agency heads to "identify regulatory standards that may inhibit economic recovery." But experts say speeding up the regulatory process or nixing public comment periods would likely be slammed in court.

May 25, 2020

May 22, 2020

In Michigan, Dams Plus Climate Change Equals a Disastrous Mix

Two dam failures in Michigan are underscoring warnings by scientists that global warming is causing heavier and more frequent rainstorms in many parts of the country, including the upper Midwest. When paired with the nation's aging infrastructure, which wasn't designed to handle the warming climate, safety officials say it makes for a dangerous combination.

New York’s Use of Landmark Climate Law Could Resound in Other States

New York's decision to deny a key permit to the Williams Pipeline, in part because of the state's climate law, is turning heads in the legal community over what they say is a turning point for the state's energy economy, with potentially broader implications nationwide. Already, some activists are trying to use the decision to stop other pipelines in New York from moving forward.

BLM Wants Oil and Gas Operators to Set Their Own Royalty Rates for Public Lands Drilling

A top official at the Bureau of Land Management instructed state offices to allow oil and gas operators to set their own rates for the royalties they pay the government when they lease public lands for drilling, according to an internal email obtained by High Country News. The directive is the latest evidence of the Trump administration using the pandemic to justify bolstering the industry.

China Drops Key Environmental Target as Coronavirus Hits Growth

Citing the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, China is dropping plans to maintain a key measurement on energy conservation that is used to mark the country's progress in the fight against climate change, Bloomberg reports. The measurement of energy consumption per unit of GDP has guided China's climate policy since 2014.

May 21, 2020

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Plunge in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

After growing at the rate of 1 percent per year in the last decade, daily emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide suddenly plunged by as much as 17 percent globally in early April as the world responded to the Covid-19 pandemic, a new study shows. It's the biggest single annual decline since World War II, but remains a drop in the bucket in the grander scheme of climate change, scientists warn.

The Groups Urging States to Reopen Have Historic Ties to Fossil Fuel Industry

Dozens of individuals and groups urging states to reopen amid the Covid-19 pandemic have historical financial ties to fossil fuel companies and conservative billionaires who have invested in climate disinformation, The Guardian reports. Those bankrolling campaigns criticizing stay-at-home orders include Murray Energy, Exxon, as well as the Koch and Mercer family foundations.

World’s Greenest Coronavirus Recovery Package Arriving in Europe

The European Union is poised to announce the world's greenest recovery package next week, as it seeks to curb pollution and save its economy from the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg reports. The drafted stimulus plan shows the European Commission committing over 100 billion euros to green initiatives, including increasing electric vehicle sales and spurring renewable energy development.

May 20, 2020

EPA’s ‘Secret Science’ Rule Meets with an Outpouring of Protest on Last Day for Public Comment

Nearly 40 top scientific organizations and academic institutions jointly submitted a letter to the EPA opposing the controversial "secret science" rule, claiming it would severely limit the use of science in setting health and environmental policy. The comments came on the last day for public comment for the rule change, and included a submission from the world's largest scientific society.

Court Rules That EPA Must Protect States From Upwind Air Pollution

A federal appeals court on Tuesday ruled that the EPA violated the law when it denied a request from Maryland and Delaware to tighten air pollution controls at power plants in upwind neighboring states. The decision could force the agency to impose new curbs on some coal-fired power plants, even as the Trump administration seeks to help the industry through hastened deregulation.

100-Year Drought Hits Poor European Region Already Reeling from Virus

The worst drought Eastern Europe has seen in at least a century, coupled with the coronavirus pandemic, has poor villagers across parts of Romania, Poland and the Czech Republic fighting "a double war," Bloomberg reports. The drought is devastating harvests and exacerbating the region's economic woes as government leaders scramble for medicine and protective gear to fight the virus.

Climate Change Is Turning Antarctica's Snow Green

Warming temperatures due to climate change are spurring the spread of algae that is tinting Antarctica's white snow green, a phenomenon becoming so prolific in some places that it's even visible from space, new research says. The study used two years of satellite data and is the first to shed light on the extent of the algae's presence.

Coronavirus Fallout to Slow Global Growth in Renewable Energy

The global growth of renewable energy will slow for the first time in 20 years due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, a new report from the International Energy Agency predicts. The group warned that 2020 will see 13 percent less new wind and solar capacity built compared to the record roll out seen last year. But a rebound is possible in 2021, the group noted.

May 19, 2020

New Studies Show Global Warming Increasing Frequency of the Most-Destructive Tropical Storms

Climate change is driving up the frequency of the most powerful tropical cyclones, and the biggest increases are in already hard-hit areas like the American Southeast, the Caribbean and some coastal Asian countries, recent federal research shows. The findings come as residents watch Tropical Storm Arthur spin toward the Carolina coast ahead of the official start of the hurricane season.

India, Bangladesh Brace for One of the Biggest Tropical Storms in a Decade

Officials in India and Bangladesh were scrambling on Tuesday to move tens of thousands of villagers away from coasts expected to suffer widespread damage from a massive cyclone, a task complicated by efforts to fight coronavirus. Super Cyclone Amphan, which is one of the biggest storms the countries have faced in about a decade, is expected to hit India's coast on Wednesday.

Americans See Climate as a Concern, Even Amid Coronavirus Crisis

Americans' positions on climate change have remained largely unshaken by the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis, according to a new national survey that showed acceptance of the reality of global warming at record highs in some categories. The findings surprised researchers, who expected coronavirus worries to displace ones about global warming.

ICYMI: The Largest Arctic Science Expedition in History Finds Itself on Increasingly Thin Ice

With nearly 600 specialists from 20 nations, the MOSAiC expedition is the most expensive Arctic expedition in history. Modeled after Fridtjof Nansen's journey 127 years ago, researchers drifted toward the North Pole in an icebreaker to study everything from fish below the ice to the clouds above it. But the warming climate they went to study—and now the coronavirus—threaten to end their mission.

PG&E Says Wildfire Victims Back Settlement in Bankruptcy

Pacific Gas & Electric said Monday that thousands of homeowners and businesses had overwhelmingly approved a $13.5 billion settlement for wildfires caused by the utility's equipment, one of the last major hurdles in its effort to resolve its bankruptcy. The deal requires the utility to begin compensating, as early as August, the roughly 70,000 victims who lost homes or other property to the fires.

Biden White House Would Yank Keystone XL Permit, Campaign Says

If elected president, Joe Biden would rescind the permit allowing the Keystone XL oil pipeline to cross the border into the U.S., a move that would effectively kill the controversial project, his campaign told POLITICO. President Trump last year signed a cross-border construction permit for the stalled project, which would carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil from Canada to the U.S.

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