February 1, 2019

How the Midwest's Utilities Survived the Polar Vortex

As temperatures plunged to well below zero in cities across the region, utilities drew on lessons from the last deep freeze and on new ways to manage power demand. Their performance this week is likely to be closely scrutinized as the Trump administration seeks support for its idea that coal and nuclear plants are essential for the country's energy security.

The Navy Wants to Build a Wall to Stave off Climate Change

The Navy is considering building a 14-foot flood wall around the Washington Navy Yard to protect the complex from rising sea levels, according to internal Department of Defense documents. The wall would cost up to $20 million. Read more from ICN on the growing sea level rise risks at the U.S. nuclear fleet's critical Norfolk Naval Shipyard.

January 31, 2019

U.S. Intelligence Officials Warn Climate Change Is a Worldwide Threat

The U.S. intelligence chiefs warned in their annual Worldwide Threat Assessment that climate change and other kinds of environmental degradation pose risks to global stability because they are "likely to fuel competition for resources, economic distress, and social discontent through 2019 and beyond." They add to a chorus of scientific and national security voices in pointing out the ways climate change fuels insecurity.

The Interior Department Is Running Mainly Without Senate-Confirmed Leaders. It Just Opted to Keep It that Way.

More than a half dozen major divisions at the Interior Department lack Senate-confirmed leaders, and the agency's acting secretary has now taken a step to keep it that way. This means that some of the most influential officials there will have never faced scrutiny from the Senate. The new order is an extension of one signed by now-departed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. 

Offshore Drilling Ban Poised to Pass Oregon Legislature

Oregon lawmakers are close to approving a permanent ban on offshore drilling that also bans any drilling infrastructure from crossing state waters. An Oregon Senate panel heard testimony on the measure that would make permanent an existing 10-year ban, which is about to expire. The bill appears to have little opposition.

January 30, 2019

Climate Change Letter Went through ‘Political Censoring’ at U.S. DOT, Senator Says

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) says U.S. Department of Transportation officials censored parts of a letter sent to him in response to his inquiry about how climate change may affect highways in his state. He says the letter, written by an agency staff member, was altered by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao's office for political reasons, omitting the terms "climate change" and changing "sea level rise" to "sea level variations."

Climate Change Could Hurt Babies' Hearts, Study Says

A new study in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that a larger number of babies will likely be born with congenital heart defects between 2025 and 2035 due to pregnant women's exposure to higher temperatures as the planet warms.

New Supersonic Airplanes Would Be Terrible for Environment, Study Warns

As at least three companies work to bring supersonic airplanes back to the market, environmental groups worry their return will lead to an increase in emissions. The issue is likely on the agenda next week when international regulators meet in Canada to discuss environmental and noise standards for supersonic transportation technologies.

January 29, 2019

Boston Aims to Be Carbon Free by 2050

The city of Boston aims to be carbon free by 2050, a target that a new report says will require substantial changes to its buildings, transportation, waste and energy sectors. 

January 28, 2019

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