September 28, 2018
In two letters, thousands of scientists criticized what would be the most sweeping overhaul in decades of the rules implementing the 1973 Endangered Species Act. They made clear that they believe the Trump administration is trying to erode the landmark legislation in favor of commercial interests.
For a few days a year, leaders of small countries share the podium with the presidents and prime ministers of major world powers. The leader of Seychelles told the U.N. General Assembly his country is already dealing with the effects of climate change on a daily basis. Other leaders spoke out, too.
September 27, 2018
Governors hold the power to advance clean energy or put the brakes on it. Of the 17 gubernatorial races considered close this election cycle, all but one are either considered toss-ups or leaning democratic, and several of the Democratic contenders are on the record supporting climate-friendly policies.
The world's governments are "nowhere near on track" to meet their commitment to avoid global warming of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, the author of an upcoming UN report told The Guardian.
A state taskforce has released a plan to address climate change in Alaska. The plan includes the possibility that the state could lend support to national carbon pricing legislation or implement a state carbon tax. It will be up to state agencies and elected officials to see the plan through.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told world leaders gathered in New York that unless current greenhouse gas emissions trends are reversed by 2020, it will be impossible to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. "Why is climate change faster than we are?" he asked. "The only possible answer is that we still lack strong leadership."
The owners of the last nuclear power plant still under construction in the U.S. agreed Wednesday to continue the project, which is years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget. Oglethorpe Power had wanted a spending cap, arguing it was needed to protect consumers. The agreement instead includes Georgia Power paying a higher share of future overage costs.
Sea level rise brought on by climate change is threatening heritage sites in Scotland's Orkney archipelago. "Heritage is falling into the sea," Jane Downes, a professor and archaeologist, says. "It's a very dramatic and obvious sign of sea level rise and increased storminess."
September 26, 2018
Hurricane Florence was the nation's second-wettest storm of the past 70 years, behind only last year's Hurricane Harvey, according to a preliminary analysis by a NOAA/North Carolina State University meteorologist. Scientists say climate change likely boosted rainfall totals for both storms.
Rising global temperatures can destabilize rocky mountainsides as permafrost thaws and glaciers recede. Add severe storms, and some areas are facing an increasing risk of rock falls and landslides. In fjords, that can also lead to a threat of tsunamis.
In his speech to the UN General Assembly, French President Emmanuel Macron suggested that future trade deals should be contingent on participation in the Paris climate agreement. It was widely seen as a reference to President Trump's plan to withdraw the U.S. from the pact. (Watch video of the remarks, with English translation.)
Former and current EPA employees worry that the Trump administration will use a reorganization of regional offices to further shrink the agency. The effort could also allow political leadership more control over decision-making in the regions. Read more from ICN on what such a move could mean for projects like pipelines and mining.
The EPA has placed the head of its Office of Children's Health Protection on administrative leave in an unusual move that several observers said appeared to reflect an effort to minimize the role of the office. Agency officials are mum on an official reason for the leave.
Warning that the world has a bad case of "trust deficit disorder" and risks "runaway climate change," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged global leaders on Tuesday to reinvigorate cooperation as the only way to tackle the challenges of increasingly chaotic times.
Google is starting to use its hoard of geographic information to estimate greenhouse gas emissions for individual cities. So far, only five city estimates have been released, but the company says it's working on more. Also to be released: estimates of annual driving, biking and transit ridership, generated from information collected by its popular mapping apps.
Scientists are attempting to stop the decline of coral reefs by creating "nurseries" in which young populations can be raised in controlled conditions before being planted on denuded reefs. So far in 2018, more than 18,000 corals have been planted on to reefs.
September 25, 2018
The first country-by-country estimates of the social cost of carbon suggest that the U.S. has been underestimating how much it benefits from reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and that it has more to gain from international climate agreements than the Trump administration is willing to admit.
Scientists have new evidence for something long suspected: warming in the Southern Ocean is due to human influence. A new study ruled out natural variability as a major source of warming and pinpointed greenhouse gas emissions and ozone depletion as the drivers of warming.
At a federal hearing on Monday, California officials demanded the Trump administration back off a plan to weaken national fuel economy standards, saying the proposed rollback would damage people's health and exacerbate climate change.
Scientists have been puzzling over a dramatic spike in atmospheric methane levels. Research suggests that Arctic lakes could significantly increase it as temperatures rise. Some of those lakes, like the one Washington Post reporter Chris Mooney visited with scientists, are bubbling with gas.
A Dallas Morning News investigation has found that more than two dozen homes in Texas have been damaged by explosions since 2006 because of leaking natural gas. All of the incidents involved the pipelines of Atmos Energy.
Members of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, a group that Exxon and Chevron recently joined, pledged on Monday to cut methane emissions by a fifth by 2025 to an intensity of 0.25 percent of the group's total fossil fuel production. EDF says the group needs to adopt more transparent ways of measuring methane emissions to meet the target.
After gaining approval from the U.S. State Department, developers plan to begin construction on the Keystone XL oil pipeline next year, CBS News reports. The pipeline will stretch across parts of Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. Read more from ICN about the fight over the pipeline.
The Trump administration has repealed a mandate that would have required trains carrying crude oil to use special brakes. With increased oil train traffic have come major crashes and explosions in recent years, including one that killed 47 people in Quebec and others in North Dakota and Oregon.
Imagining the landscape of Antarctica, the first picture that comes to mind might be one of icy, white landscapes, but there are places on the continent with considerable vegetation. In East Antarctica, scientists have found that a drier climate is threatening moss beds.
September 24, 2018
A congressional race in North Carolina pits a solar energy entrepreneur against a former pastor who has balked at climate science. In a congressional district damaged by two hurricanes in three years, what effect will Hurricane Florence—and beliefs about climate change—have?
An increasing number of refugees are fleeing their homes because of climate change. Humanitarian groups say the number of people displaced by climate could be as high as 20 million a year, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Cleveland, the former home of Standard Oil, plans to get 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2050. The city has a long way to go to reach the goal. One concern of observers: there are no details about how the city will work with its local utilities to implement the plan.
In North Carolina, rising water breached a dam and flooded a coal ash reservoir. The energy company responsible for storing the coal ash says their water tests show no cause for concern, but state officials say they'll need more time to assess impact. State officials and Duke Energy both say the reservoir is "structurally sound," The News & Observer reports.
Following a judge's order last month, the State Department conducted an environmental review of the new Keystone XL pipeline route through Nebraska. Similar to its previous reviews, it says implementing the revised route would have "no significant direct, indirect or cumulative effects on the quality of the natural or human environments."