June 18, 2019
Democrats, including many presidential candidates, are calling for measures that would require companies to disclose risks they face from global warming. "They don't need to be climate warriors, but they should be warriors for shareholders understanding the risk associated with their investments," Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz said.
Melting of the Greenland ice sheet is already several weeks ahead of normal, according to scientists from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. The combined effects of a high-pressure zone driving high temperatures and cloudless conditions have contributed to the melting.
In a motion that describes climate change as a "real and urgent crisis, driven by human activity," Canada's House of Commons declared a national climate emergency. The motion, which was opposed by the Conservative party, also supports the country's decision to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
Climate Change Remains a Divisive Issue in Utah Legislature. So Why Did Lawmakers Put Away $200K to Study It?
As Utah lawmakers publicly shied away from a state representative's resolution that linked global warming to human activity, they quietly put away $200,000 to study the issue further. A study conducted by the University of Utah this summer will look at climate change and air quality in the state.
In Michigan, net metering offered solar installers a credit for excess energy they put onto the grid, equal to the rate they paid to use their utility's electricity. A new distributed generation scheme slashes those credits up to nearly two-thirds, and complicates calculations, as credit varies by individuals' energy usage and the time of day.
June 17, 2019
A President Trump touted the benefits of "clean" ethanol, he touched on a central and controversial question in an ongoing battle between two of his key constituencies—Big Oil, which wants less ethanol in fuel tanks, and Big Ag, which wants more: Does corn-based ethanol really deliver benefits for the climate?
A judge has prohibited Exxon from using the claim that it became a target of prosecutors because its position on climate change did not align with that of the attorney general's. Exxon is accused of engaging in a scheme to deceive investors by providing false or misleading assurances that it was managing economic risks posed by climate change.
Newly disclosed emails show a Trump adviser known for climate denial and a Heartland Institute analyst pressed NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine to "systematically sidestep" scientifically established rises in sea levels and temperatures under climate change. The pair were seemingly troubled that Bridenstine, a former skeptic, had come to better understand the science.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the European Union to ramp up its commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to a 55% reduction — up from 40% — by 2030. "I am counting on you, once again, to demonstrate the leadership of the European Union," Guterres wrote.
Oregon is poised to follow California in adopting a carbon cap-and-trade program, a market-based approach to lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Supporters say it helps transition the economy and infrastructure to prepare for more intense weather as climate change worsens.
Some major oil producers pledged to support "economically meaningful" carbon pricing regimes after a personal appeal from Pope Francis to avoid "perpetrating a brutal act of injustice" against the poor and future generations. They issued a joint statement at the end of a Vatican climate summit.
The recent controlled implosion of a long-retired coal plant on the banks of the Ohio River symbolizes the broader decline of coal in both generating capacity and the production of electricity.
Faced with growing calls for action on the climate crisis, aerospace companies gathering for the Paris air show next week are turning their thoughts to a future run on electricity rather than fossil fuels.
June 13, 2019
Worsening climate change will increase the risk of future violent conflict within countries, according to a group of top researchers. The United States military and intelligence agencies have long considered climate change to be a "threat multiplier," the factor that could tip into violence those states already staggering under the weight of other problems.
Fifteen Democratic presidential candidates, more than 50 Democratic National Committee (DNC) member organizations, and a slew of progressive organizations, some armed with petitions bearing over 200,000 signatures, all are now calling for the DNC to hold a separate climate-focused debate.
For the first time, U.S. power plants can produce more energy from renewable sources than coal, according to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission report. Coal consumption in the U.S. recently hit its lowest level in 40 years. "It's got nowhere to go but extinction," said one clean energy investment adviser.
The U.S. Trade Representative announced that it will grant a tariff exemption for bifacial solar panels, which can generate power on both sides. Analysts expect U.S. solar farm developers to largely switch over to the two-sided panels.
Adani Enterprises received approval to start construction of a controversial coal mine in Australia, but a recent drop in prices for low grade thermal coal has raised doubts about whether the mine will be financially worthwhile. "Government approval does not mean they have a marketable product," said Professor Peter Newman from Curtin University's Sustainability Institute.
Indigo AG, a Boston-based startup, is aiming to help farmers offset their carbon emissions using carbon capture technology and a credit system. The idea has received mixed reviews from scientists, some questioning the feasibility and efficacy of the plan, and other worrying that focusing on carbon in soil will direct focus away from minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.
Former California Gov. Jerry Brown is planning to leave retirement to direct a new academic institute that will work with Chinese researchers to combat global warming. Brown has called China the world's "great hope" on climate change in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump's rollback of environmental agreements and policies.
June 12, 2019
Four former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrators, including three who served under Republican presidents, urged Congress to ramp up its oversight of the Trump EPA. They expressed distress at the agency's attempts to mislead the public on the risks of climate change and brush aside science.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May committed Britain to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, making it the first major economy to set that target. Environmental groups welcomed the move, but some said allowing the UK to reach the goal in part through international carbon credits would "shift the burden to developing nations."
Rostin Behnam, a Trump appointee to the federal Commodities Futures Trading Commission, which oversees major financial markets including grain futures and oil trading, warns that the financial risks of climate change are on par with circumstances that led to the 2008 financial crisis.
The Government Accountability Office re-affirmed the risk of climate change to the federal budget, particularly for disaster aid, insurance for crops and property, and the costs of managing federal land. "Climate change is playing a role in the increasing frequency of some types of extreme weather that lead to the billion-dollar disasters," the report says.
Carbon emissions from the global energy industry last year rose at the fastest rate in almost a decade after extreme weather and surprise swings in global temperatures stoked extra demand for fossil fuels, BP's annual global energy report says.
President Trump's trade war with China is driving down oil prices internationally, with some indicators hitting the lowest point in years, according to Morgan Stanley. "China has slowed faster than people expected and the trade war is still having a significant impact," one trading adviser said.
For every degree Celsius that the world's oceans warm, the total mass of sea animals is projected to drop by 5%, according to a new study by an international team of marine biologists. As a result, the world's oceans could lose about one-sixth of their fish and other marine life by the end of the century if climate change continues on its current path.
A coalition of environmental groups on Tuesday filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Interior Department's rollbacks of safety measures put in place by the Obama administration in the aftermath of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
June 11, 2019
Almost every state has been weighing changes to how homes with solar are compensated for electricity they send to the grid. As technology changes, so do the options. Which way are states going now and which ones are innovating? The results will impact solar growth.
The destructive 2016 wildfire near Fort McMurray, in the heart of the Canadian tar sands region, was as much as six times more likely because of climate change, new research shows. And the 2017 record-breaking fire season in British Columbia was seven to 11 times more likely because of climate change, another study finds.