November 30, 2018
President Trump and his allies in the climate denial community are trying to discredit the National Climate Assessment, but a fact-check shows the problems with their attacks. The evidence and warnings in the report are a high-stakes challenge for Trump's fossil fuel-friendly agenda, in politics and in the courts.
Advances in science and technology will only go so far in helping agriculture deal with increasingly erratic weather, the new U.S. climate report says. It says the effects of climate change on American farms and ranches will likely outpace technological fixes within decades, even with the present pace of agricultural innovation.
Texas is seeing an oil infrastructure boom, helped by fossil fuel-friendly policies. But those industries also pump out greenhouse gases that are warming the planet and increasing the risk of powerful storms, like Hurricane Harvey, that endanger everything around them.
The surge in coal prices in the past three years and muted power prices are cutting into the profitability of power stations that burn the fuel, according to Carbon Tracker. About 42 percent of the world's coal generation capacity is losing money, it says.
The nation's coal power capacity has decreased during President Trump's time in office, and his second year brought an even bigger decrease than the first. Higher costs, aging plants, future regulatory uncertainty and public sentiment around the fuel were all cited by utilities as reasons for closures.
The EPA's inspector general has closed two probes into former Administrator Scott Pruitt's conduct without reaching any conclusions because he resigned before he could be interviewed. The investigations focused on his alleged use of staff members for personal purposes and a condo rental deal he made with a lobbyist.
The Trump administration has slowed plans begun during the previous administration to install solar panels at military installations, a McClatchy analysis finds. The goals of the solar projects were twofold, meant to both enhance national security and combat global warming.
A new national poll conducted by Monmouth University found that 64 percent of Republicans say they believe Earth's climate is changing, up from 49 percent in 2015. Fifty-four percent of all Americans surveyed said they believe climate change is a "very serious" problem.
New Hampshire is one step closer to a home energy-storage pilot project that would offer subsidized home batteries in exchange for letting Liberty Utilities use those batteries to counter peaks in electricity demand. The results could help gauge the effectiveness of home energy storage in reducing power grid costs.
November 29, 2018
International health experts says climate change has ushered in a global health crisis that will worsen as temperatures rise and stress health care systems. Of all the climate-related health impacts, heat waves and infectious diseases currently pose the greatest immediate risks to public health.
Worsening greenhouse gas emissions are creating a double whammy for Atlantic and polar cod populations, with global warming and more acidic water projected to undercut their reproduction by nearly two-thirds in some areas and alter their habitats dramatically, new research shows.
Three years after the global climate deal in Paris, world leaders are gathering to agree on the fine print. Top of the agenda will be finalizing the so-called Paris rulebook, which determines how countries have to count their greenhouse gas emissions, transparently report them to the rest of the world and reveal what they are doing to reduce them.
President Trump didn't like the results of the most recent National Climate Assessment, saying that he didn't believe the dire warnings. His EPA chief, Andrew Wheeler, says Trump might seek greater influence in future climate reports.
This year is expected to be the fourth warmest year on record, with average temperatures around the world about 1°C above pre-industrial levels. The past four years have been the hottest on record, and the 20 warmest have occurred in the past 22 years.
European Union leadership says its members could reduce emissions to net zero by 2050, but it would take significant commitment from member states. Germany is worried that further cuts would threaten its industries, and others such as Poland are still reliant on coal and would object to more stringent fossil fuel restrictions.
November 28, 2018
At least seven state governments are poised at the brink of putting a price on climate-warming carbon emissions within the next year, and a new national plan was also just floated in Congress. Overall, the midterm election results increased the state plans' odds for success, say activists and analysts.
The gap between the goals of the Paris climate agreement and what countries have committed to do to achieve them is widening, a new United Nations report warns, posing a significant challenge to political leaders as they head into international climate negotiations next week.
As the Trump administration leases more public lands for oil and gas drilling, investors are getting cheap deals. They don't always know if they'll be able to drill on the land, but with prices so low, investors of all sizes are willing to willing to pony up the cash to explore the fossil fuel potential.
As Energy Transfer LP and its Sunoco pipeline subsidiary raced to build two natural gas pipelines, they racked up more than 800 state and federal permit violations on the projects, Reuters found. In its wake are community leaders and regulators who are now wary about future pipeline construction.
Despite intensifying protests, French President Emmanuel Macron says his government won't be reversing course on a gasoline tax that's designed to help the country transition away from fossil fuels.
Following the election of Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil has abandoned plans to host crucial UN climate talks scheduled for 2019. The Guardian reports the move is in line with the "anti-globalist rhetoric" of the president-elect. The Associated Press has more on warnings from scientists that Bolsonaro's policies could push the Amazon rainforest past its tipping point.
The city council in Washington, D.C., gave preliminary approval to legislation that would move the District's power grid to entirely renewable energy sources by 2032. While the council voted unanimously to advance the bill, it still faces some hurdles.
November 27, 2018
Drilling on public lands contributes nearly a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., according to a new U.S. Geological Survey report. The USGS found emissions from fossil fuels produced on federal lands and offshore areas represent about 24 percent of the country's carbon emissions.
During his time in office, President Trump has repeatedly denied the scientific reality of climate change and taken steps that will increase emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. The New York Times looks at ways his actions will lead to increased emissions, worsening climate change.
Thousands of U.S. properties have repeatedly flooded and been rebuilt — some dozens of times — with help from the National Flood Insurance Program, FEMA records show. The costs are contributing to the program's rocky financial footing. Read more from ICN about how FEMA's maps underlying flood insurance decisions ignore climate change.
There's a lot of work to be done before China can launch its nationwide carbon emissions system, an official tells Reuters. The system was supposed to be rolled out in 2017, replacing several regional carbon trading pilot programs.
The new U.S. climate report does more than just issue dire warning about climate change. It also signals ways the country will need to adapt. From rethinking farming to retreating from the coast, here's what the report indicates we should do.
NorthWestern Energy, Montana's largest utility, is required by state law to invest in renewable energy sources but has been given a waiver from the requirement for each of the past five years by regulators. Now environmentalists are suing both.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has been cleared by his agency's inspector general in one of the ethics investigations against him. This one centered on allegations that Zinke redrew the boundaries of a national monument to benefit a political ally.
Bernard McNamee's nomination to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is moving forward, despite opposition after a video emerged showing McNamee calling for a "unified campaign" to support fossil fuels. In the video, he also criticized renewable energy and environmental groups.