October 18, 2018
Brazil's presidential election will likely have major ramifications for the Amazon, the world's largest tropical forest. Jair Bolsonaro, the front-runner for the presidency, has promised to open up more forest to agricultural production. That would have consequences for the entire planet.
October 17, 2018
The Trump administration has abruptly moved a political appointee from the HUD to serve as the acting inspector general for the Interior Department. The appointee will oversee four ongoing investigations into Secretary Ryan Zinke's conduct, including his involvement in a development deal backed by the chairman of oil-services company Halliburton.
The high-stakes fight over rooftop solar has spread to Michigan. A major utility is proposing to change how rooftop solar owners are compensated for electricity they sell to the grid. It's being called the most worrying attempt to undermine net-metering since Nevada nearly killed its solar market in 2015.
A coalition led by billionaire Bill Gates, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva has launched a new global initiative to help communities adapt to the effects of climate change.
Pipeline company Enbridge says a worst-case oil spill on its planned Line 3 replacement across northern Minnesota would cost up to $1.4 billion, assuming it could shut down the oil flow within 13 minutes. Minnesota regulators set some conditions for approval of the controversial project, including insurance coverage for spills.
Huge numbers of insects have been lost over the past 40 years in a pristine national forest in Puerto Rico, a study found, and the forest's insect-eating animals have gone missing, too. This adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests that insects and other invertebrates are in serious trouble because of climate change.
About 40 historic Mediterranean sites, representing cultures extending from the Phoenicians to the Venetians, are already at risk due to rising seas, research finds. Many of the sites are close to the sea, and in a world of rising sea levels, those risks will grow more severe.
The Permian Basin, in Texas and New Mexico, is six years into a boom sparked by advances in drilling methods that unlocked a sea of previously unattainable oil. But growth has begun to slow, throttled by shortages of pipelines, workers, power and roads.
Ruth Etzel, the suspended director of the EPA's Office of Children's Health Protection, said her role had been reduced during the Trump administration. Etzel says she used to have monthly meetings with the agency's director, but had not had one with a Trump-appointed agency head.
October 16, 2018
Energy Secretary Rick Perry has spent more than a year pushing plans that would invoke national security to help power companies keep their economically struggling coal plants running. But Politico reports, citing sources, that the White House has shelved the plans amid opposition from some of the president's own advisers.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he is considering using "some of our naval facilities" on the West Coast as coal export terminals, an idea that drew a quick backlash from political leaders in the region. Some states there have rejected private-sector coal export facilities over air pollution and safety concerns.
Drillers have long pumped the wastewater that comes up with oil into underground wells. But with concern growing that the Permian Basin is reaching capacity for disposal wells, the Trump administration is considering loosening decades-old federal clean water regulations to allow for wastewater to be directly discharged into rivers and streams.
A lawsuit from a group of American kids suing the federal government over climate change can proceed, a judge ruled in rejecting several arguments from the Trump administration. The suit, brought by 21 young people, accuses the federal government of violating their rights by failing to act on climate change.
Britain's banks and insurers must come up with credible plans for protecting themselves against risks from climate change, the UK's central bank said Monday. Some banks have already been disclosing information on risks related to climate change, and it could become mandatory in the future.
Compared to Trump, Obama is regarded as an environmental champion, the Center for Public Integrity writes. But both took steps to increase the U.S. exports of fossil fuels to other countries. When Ernest Moniz became Obama's Energy Secretary in 2013, among his top priorities was fast-tracking approvals for natural gas exports.
Pacific Gas & Electric cut off electricity service to nearly 60,000 people on Sunday in an attempt to prevent wildfires in Northern California. The area was under a Red Flag Warning from the National Weather Service for heightened wildfire risks due to low humidity and high winds.
Across huge swaths of the world, scientists simply don't have the data that they need—especially the kind of in-depth, long-term observations that can place current weather in context—to make predictions about what the future of climate change will look like, The Atlantic reports.
October 15, 2018
GM and other U.S. automakers say they're headed for an all-electric future and they want fuel economy standards, but their assembly lines tell a different story. The Big Three agreed to fuel efficiency improvements as part of the 2009 economic bailout. But as gas prices fell, they ramped up production of gas guzzlers again.
A report on power grid reliability commissioned by the Energy Department failed to reach conclusions favoring the Trump administration's efforts to prop up coal and nuclear power, Bloomberg reports. Six months after submission, the findings haven't been released.
In a "60 Minutes" interview Sunday night, President Trump said that he now believes climate is changing, but he says he doesn't know if it's caused by humans. The New York Times fact-checked those remarks and other climate comments previously made by the president.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who is not seeking re-election, broke with many of his Republican colleagues by saying that the GOP should act on climate change following an alarming IPCC report. "I think Republicans need to be at the forefront if we want to keep our place and keep our seats," Flake said.
Some scientists say that an IPCC report on climate change wasn't strong enough and that it downplayed the full extent of the real threat posed by global warming.
An EPA's proposal to ease methane pollution standards for oil and natural gas drillers was published today in the Federal Register, opening a public comment period that will last until mid-December. Read more from ICN on the proposal and its potential impact.
Historically, many corporations have contributed to the world's climate problem. But to a greater extent than ever before, the best interest of many businesses and those of the planet are aligned, The Washington Post reports.
October 12, 2018
Jeffrey Bossert Clark represented BP in lawsuits over the nation's largest oil spill and has repeatedly challenged the science of climate change. Now, he's going to serve as the nation's top environmental lawyer—a key position for the defense of President Trump's regulatory rollback.
To keep the planet from warming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, it's not enough to just cut emissions, a new UN climate science report says. We'll also have to figure out how to remove some of the carbon dioxide that's already been emitted. Of the options considered, the solution the IPCC found most promising involves soil.
Global investments in solar and wind total approximately $250 billion per year today. The IPCC says trillions—not billions—of dollars need to be spent on clean energy each year, but is that feasible? It is if the world shifts its investments away from fossil fuels and into renewable energy.
A panel responsible advising EPA leadership on soot in the atmosphere is being disbanded, and the agency declined to say why. The panel has been responsible for helping the agency decide what levels of pollutants are safe to breathe. The decision comes as the EPA considers weakening air quality standards.
Hurricane Michael's trail of devastation now stretches from the Florida Panhandle to the Carolinas. At least six people have died as a result of the storm, and North Carolina is dealing with flooding again. The storm's strength may reflect the effects of climate change, as CNN reports.
Republican lawmakers are largely shrugging off the climate change warnings spelled out in a new IPCC report, The Hill reports. Few indicated they had read it, and some with strong ties to the fossil fuel industry said they were skeptical about the conclusions.