Inside Climate News
The U.S. government is weighing in as an ally of fossil fuel companies, just ahead of a critical hearing to to determine the fate of two climate lawsuits in California. Justice Department lawyers filed a brief last week supporting the companies, which are asking a judge to dismiss the suits. Read more from ICN about the wave of climate accountability cases.
National Parks Report on Sea Level Rise and Flooding Released, This Time With Mentions of Climate Change
The National Park Service on Friday quietly released a long-delayed final report charting the risks to national parks from sea level rise and storms, this time restoring references to human-caused climate change. Drafts of the report obtained by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting showed that park service officials had deleted every mention of climate change.Read original story
Following through on a veto threat, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has rejected a bill that would have expedited approved of an Enbridge oil pipeline by taking authority away from utility regulators. Supporters of the bill have said regulators are taking too long, which they say is delaying the economic benefits of Enbridge Line 3. Dayton said regulators are best equipped to deal with complex pipeline proposals. Read more from ICN about the controversy over this pipeline.
The Canadian government says it would cover costs of delays in building a controversial tar sands pipeline, which raises the possibility that the government could be propping up a project that hardly anyone wants. The Trans Mountain pipeline has been stalled because of political opposition in British Columbia, and developer Kinder Morgan is considering abandoning the plan. This leaves Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a difficult position.Read original story
Reps. Steve Scalise and Bob Bishop are working on a compromise measure that would allow oil drilling off of the eastern Gulf of Mexico. If the military and the federal government agree to the plan, the next step would be to overcome opposition from Florida lawmakers. Among the key issues is the extent to which drilling would be allowed in shallow waters, with state officials raising concerns that the sight of drilling would be bad for tourism.Read original story
A recent former energy advisor to President Trump is leading a new campaign that seeks to push back against shareholder resolutions urging companies to take action on climate change. George David Banks will argue that large asset managers are yielding too much power in the shareholder resolution process. The resolutions are non-binding but symbolically important.Read original story
A new study shows a potential connection between living in a warm climate and acquiring a drug-resistant infection. The study also shows the people living in densely populated areas are more likely to experience drug resistance. The findings help to broaden researchers' understanding of factors that are increasingly affecting human health.
This Navy town is in desperate need of solutions as seas rise and flooding worsens. City leaders are now working on innovative policies to pair climate adaptation with economic development, as they hope to prepare the city for what's to come and also lift people out of poverty. What's clear: Some neighborhoods likely cannot be saved.Read original story
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is running up against other parts of the federal bureaucracy as he tries to erase regulations on industry. His office has steadily introduced plans to change regulations but is finding that some of those requests have a difficult time standing up to the scrutiny of the government's review process. One problem is that EPA is citing evidence that turns out to not meet the standards required for use in a rulemaking process. Read more at ICN on Pruitt's deregulatory hurdles.Read original story
President Trump has replaced an executive order by former President Obama that asked federal agencies to reduce buildings' energy use by 2.5 percent per year, among other efficiency goals and guidelines. The new order asks agencies to set their own goals and track their progress.Read original story
An industry coalition, made up of some of the country's largest energy companies, want to change a tax credit for capturing carbon emissions to allow its members to receive the credit without needing to be monitored by EPA to see if captured carbon stays underground.Read original story
A federal court has invalidated a permit for the Atlantic Coast pipeline, a move that gives civil rights advocates more time to build their case against the project. The pipeline, which would carry natural gas from West Virginia to North Carolina, would have a disproportionate negative impact on people of color living on its route, opponents say.Read original story
Del Mar, California leaders are considering a policy that would allow for the removal of structures that are threatened by rising water. The idea is controversial in this wealthy coastal community. Some property owners would like to see other options exhausted before even considering a plan that could allow for the taking of houses without the owners' approval.Read original story
The Federal Energy Regulatory Agency has begun a review of a 1978 law that has been used as the basis for clean energy investment in much of the country. The panel is reviewing the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act, or PURPA, a process that is raising concerns about possible changes that could harm clean energy policy. Some utility companies are among those who support the review, saying that competitors are gaming the system to gain unfair benefits.Read original story
The survival odds of tens of thousands of species would vastly improve if nations increased their ambitions for fighting climate change. A new study shows the potential alarming effects on plants and animals if global temperatures rise 2 degrees Celsius, as opposed to the more ambitious goal of holding warming to 1.5 degrees. Insects would be especially harmed, and this study is one of the first to explore the effects on insects at this level of detail.Read original story
The New York Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing new rules that would set strict limits on emissions from existing power plants, a plan that likely would lead to the closing or modification of the state's two coal-fired plants covered by this rule. The proposal is tied to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's pledge to phase out coal energy by 2020. The two affected power plants have several options, including switching to a different fuel or adding renewables.Read original story
The EU would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2020, according to a plan still being developed. Miguel Arias Cañete, head of climate policy for the EU, announced the goal in a blog post. The EU will be holding public consultations starting in the next few weeks. The policy would make the EU the largest emitter in the world to make this level of commitment.Read original story
Three weeks into the job as NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine said at a town hall meeting with employees that he agrees with the consensus that human activity plays a major role in climate change. His comments put him at odds with others in the Trump administration, and they represent a shift from some of his previously stated views.
A U.S. House hearing about climate change featured a scientist responding to Republicans' denialist assertions that the human role in global warming is being overstated. Among the comments, Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, suggested that erosion, including rocks falling into the ocean, may be to blame for rising sea levels. He also said Antarctic ice is growing, not shrinking. The scientist testifying disputed both of those points.Read original story
States across the Midwest are facing a flood-prone future. The region has seen an increase in both precipitation and, subsequently, flooding. Experts say climate change likely is to blame. "It's a huge amount of water being added," said Kenny Blumenfeld, a senior climatologist in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources State Climatology Office, "and a huge water-management problem."Read original story