Candidates & Policies

Biden’s $2-Trillion Plan Points to Climate as Key Draw for Younger, First-Time Voters

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden unveiled a four-year, US$2-trillion climate strategy yesterday that represented a major acceleration from his previous plan. It was interpreted as a sign that his party sees climate change as an issue that will drive voters to the polls this fall, drawing crucial support from younger and first-time voters.

House Democrats’ Blueprint Aims for Net-Zero by 2050, Connects Racial Inequity with Rising Temperatures

A climate plan released this week by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives is receiving wide acknowledgement as a sweeping proposal that would bring the country’s greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, promote renewable energy, address environmental harms that fall disproportionately on poor and racialized communities, and implement much of the Green New Deal.

U.S. Democrats Debate Climate Policy, Introduce Green Infrastructure Measures as Fall Election Approaches

With the U.S. federal election just 131 days away, climate and clean energy are poised to take centre stage in the campaign, with Democrats debating climate policy and calling for US$70 billion in green infrastructure investment, renewables and storage industries pushing for a “majority renewables” electricity system by 2030, and even some Republicans trying to connect their fall campaign to green jobs.

U.S. Green Jobs Program Earns Cross-Party Support

The idea of a green jobs creation program is receiving bipartisan support in the United States as policy-makers grapple with the twin spectres of skyrocketing unemployment and escalating ecological breakdown—perfect timing, as recent high school graduates pile onto the ranks of millions of Americans desperate for work in a COVID-ravaged economy.

Biden Pledges to Cancel Keystone XL

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is promising to cancel the intensely controversial Keystone XL pipeline after he enters the White House in January.

Biden Names Ocasio-Cortez, Kerry to Co-Chair Climate Task Force

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden took a major step last week toward unifying his party for the fall election, appointing Green New Deal architect Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and former secretary of state John Kerry to co-chair what one analyst called “the Climate Dream Team of Democrats”.

Biden Pledges Tougher Climate Policy, Receives Key Endorsements After Nabbing Democratic Presidential Nomination

As presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden gears up for a fall campaign to defeat Donald Trump, he’s been moving to consolidate support from the less moderate wing of his party, promising to shore up his climate platform, and earning some high-profile endorsements in return.

Climate is Biden’s Big Chance to Woo Younger Voters, Both Democratic and Republican

Now that former U.S. vice president Joe Biden has clinched the 2020 Democratic nomination for president, climate change is emerging as the crucial vote-determining issue on which he can win over skeptical progressive voters who backed Sen. Bernie Sanders in the party primary—as well as the 10% of 2016 Donald Trump supporters who can be persuaded to change their votes this year.

11th Democratic Primary Debate has Biden, Sanders Talking Climate Strategy

Former U.S. vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders did something unusual when they met last Sunday evening for the eleventh televised debate of the Democratic Party’s presidential primary: they spent about 12 minutes talking about the climate crisis.

Biden, Sanders Climate Policies Come Into Focus as Primary Field Narrows

With the race for the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination narrowing to two main candidates, the New York Times and Foreign Policy magazine are each taking a look at what former U.S. vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders have been saying about climate and energy.

Redirect Military Spending to Climate Action, Sanders Argues During Democratic Debate

The back-and-forth among seven Democratic candidates during a high-stakes presidential primary debate in New Hampshire Friday evening veered into the connections between the climate crisis and the United States’ massive military budget and trade relations.

House Democrats Put Climate, Environment at Centre of $760-Billion Infrastructure Plan

Grid modernization, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, public transit, and incentives for sustainable aviation fuels are key components of a five-year, US$760-billion infrastructure framework introduced last week by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, with The Hill concluding the plan puts environment at centre stage.

‘Politics of Hope’ on Climate Could Also Turn the Tide Against Ultra-Right

A foreign policy specialist is arguing that progressive forces can drive down greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs, revive public faith in the possibility of a better world, and halt the rise of the ultra-right, all by zeroing in on self-styled populists’ utter failure to respond credibly to the climate crisis and contrasting that gap with the potential for a global Green New Deal.

Democrats Plan ‘Sweeping Legislation’ to Hit Net-Zero Emissions by 2050

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are developing what The Hill calls “sweeping climate legislation” to bring the country to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, while Utility Dive points to renewable energy advocates charting the “most effective” path to hit that target.

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. Fossils Stretching the Truth? Warren Has a Plan for That

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), for whom “I have a plan for that” has become a mantra in her campaign for her party’s 2020 presidential nomination, is proposing a “corporate perjury” law to crack down on corruption in industry and citing colossal fossil ExxonMobil as a poster child for why the measure is needed.

‘One-Upmanship’ Reigns as 2020 Democrats Debate Their Climate Plans

A marathon, seven-hour climate forum on CNN Wednesday evening gave 2020 Democrats a first opportunity to debate their climate strategies and try to differentiate themselves on an issue on which many of the leading candidates largely agree.

Sanders Unveils $16.3-Trillion Climate Plan as Inslee Withdraws from Presidential Race

A 2030 deadline to convert the United States electricity and transportation systems to 100% renewable energy is a centrepiece of a US$16.3-trillion Green New Deal platform released last Thursday in Paradise, California, site of last year’s devastating Camp Fire, by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

2020 Democrats Target U.S. Fossils as Nomination Campaign Heats Up

Fossil companies are emerging as a target of choice as Democratic candidates scramble to distinguish themselves in a crowded field for their party’s 2020 presidential nomination.

The Trump Effect

Canada, U.S. Pursue ‘Joint Interest’ in Getting Pipelines Built

Canada has opened discussions with the Trump administration to find a path forward for oil pipeline projects, Bloomberg News is reporting this week, citing a Globe and Mail interview with Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan.

Ohio Plans Repeal of Coal, Nuclear Bailout After Bribery Scandal Snares House Speaker

The outsized political power of U.S. utilities has come into sharp focus over the last 10 days, with bribery scandals in Ohio and Illinois reaching senior politicians in both states, including the speakers of both state houses.

Judge Quashes Trump’s Methane Regulation Rollback as Global Emissions Hit All-Time High

In a decision last week, a U.S. judge called a halt to the Trump administration’s bid to roll back methane regulations enacted by President Barack Obama, just a couple of days after scientists reported global methane emissions hitting record highs in 2017.

With U.S. Fossils ‘Hurtling Toward Bankruptcy’, Execs Get a Payout While Abandoned Wells Leak Methane

With U.S. fossils “hurtling toward bankruptcy at a pace not seen in years,” companies are already abandoning unprofitable oil and gas wells or leaving them untended, the New York Times reports, producing an immediate, new source of climate-busting methane and a longer-term environmental mess for taxpayers to clean up.

Dakota Access Pipeline Continues Accepting Oil After U.S. Judge Orders Shutdown

The company behind the intensely controversial Dakota Access Pipeline isn’t explicitly defying a court order. But nor was it reported to have taken any steps last week to comply with Judge James Boasberg’s ruling that the line must shut down within 30 days, after failing to meet environmental assessment requirements.

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Up to $6.7 Billion in U.S. Pandemic Relief Handed to 5,600 Fossil Companies

Environmentalists and accountability watchdogs are crying foul over revelations that more than 5,600 fossil companies have taken billions in federal coronavirus aid earmarked for small businesses.

Biden Can Be Swayed to Support Keystone XL, Kenney Claims

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden can be swayed into supporting the Keystone XL pipeline if he enters the White House in January, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said last week.

U.S. Policy-Makers Are ‘Easy Prey’ for Anti-Solar Lobbyists, Study Finds

Inoculating policy-makers against utility lobbying by helping them understand the benefits of community solar will be critical to realizing the promise of energy equity that lies in the technology. 

U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Opens Door for Atlantic Coast Gas Pipeline

The companies building the US$8-billion Atlantic Coast gas pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina and Virginia will be allowed to tunnel beneath the storied Appalachian Trail, following a 7-2 ruling Monday by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Trump Order to Speed Pipelines, Gut Environmental Protections is ‘Sitting Duck’ for Legal Challenges

Donald Trump signed an order last week to waive environmental safeguards on oil and gas pipeline projects that disproportionately harm minority communities already convulsed by the COVID-19 pandemic and racial injustice. But his administration may just be cruising for the latest in a string of court defeats in its effort to obliterate laws protecting air quality, drinking water, species, and habitats.

23 States File Suit Against Trump’s Fuel Economy Rollback

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have made good on their long-standing threat to file a lawsuit against Donald Trump’s bid to weaken vehicle fuel economy standards enacted by President Barack Obama.

Trump’s ‘Blitzkrieg Against the Environment’ Speeds Up as COVID Distracts, Election Nears

The COVID-19 pandemic has become the latest pretext for Donald Trump to shower his fossil industry benefactors with support, with the White House accelerating its rollback of environmental regulations, a key U.S. government agency foregoing royalties on oil and gas drilling on public lands, and fossil companies set to cash in from a coronavirus bond buyback program instituted by the Federal Reserve.

Court Quashes Trump Attempt to Roll Back Obama-Era HFC Controls

With one dissenting vote by a Trump-appointed judge, a federal court in Washington, DC has shot down a bid by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to suspend an Obama-era regulation to control hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), one of the most dangerous greenhouse gases known to humanity.

Trump Rolls Back Fuel Economy Standard Aimed at Cleansing the Air, Cutting Emissions

With his country in the grips of an out-of-control pandemic of respiratory disease, Donald Trump is pressing ahead with his long-standing plan to gut vehicle fuel efficiency standards designed to cleanse the air and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in what InsideClimate News describes as the country’s “largest anti-climate rollback ever”.

Trump Considers Fossil Bailout as Coronavirus, OPEC Price War Put Producers in Peril

Federal government assistance for the U.S. shale industry emerged as a strong possibility last week, after falling demand due to the coronavirus pandemic and an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia had some of the Trump administration’s closest allies demanding a bailout.

Polar Bear Dens at Risk as Fossils Eye Exploration in Alaska National Wildlife Refuge

The airborne imaging fossil companies use to help them avoid polar bear dens when they’re exploring in the Arctic actually detects the dens less than half the time, a new study shows. That means producers won’t be able to help killing mothers and cubs of an iconic and threatened Arctic species if they drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

Study Catches Denier Bots Generating One-Quarter of Climate Messages on Twitter

An “army of automated Twitter bots” is hijacking the conversation about climate change, generating one-quarter of the tweets on the topic on the average day, The Guardian reports, citing as-yet unpublished research by a team at Brown University.

New Trade Deal May Help U.S. Ship Coal to Asia Through Canadian, Mexican Ports

The Trump administration is looking for support from Canada and Mexico under the newly-signed U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA) to help it circumvent state-level bans on coal shipments to Asia from western U.S. states.

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Fracking Industry Driving Massive Boom in Plastic Production

Ignoring a shocking carbon footprint, a broken global recycling system, and ever-growing public outcry, the fossil and petrochemical industries are banking big on plastics, pouring billions into new production facilities as a hedge against the coming crash of the internal combustion engine.

Freeland Pushes for Quick Vote on Trade Deal with Big Concessions to Fossils

The Trudeau government is making it a top legislative priority to ratify a trade agreement with the United States and Mexico that is under fire in the U.S. for its concessions to oil and gas companies.

Emails Show Trump Appointees Using Wildfire Data to Justify Increased Logging

Obedient to Donald Trump’s inclination to prioritize industry over the public interest, political appointees in the U.S. Department of the Interior manipulated wildfire emissions data into a narrative that presented more logging—rather than climate action—as the best way to prevent future fires.

Emails Show Trump Justice Department Teaming Up with Fossils in Climate Liability Lawsuit

Donald Trump’s Department of Justice coordinated efforts with fossil companies trying to fight off a climate liability lawsuit from the cities of Oakland and San Francisco in early 2018, with one DOJ lawyer talking about working with industry lawyers as a “team”, according to 178 pages of emails obtained by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and shared with InsideClimate News.

‘Good News-Bad News’ Report Shows U.S. Emissions Down 2% in 2019

The United States saw its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions decline last year, according to new analysis last week by the New York-based Rhodium Group, with reductions in the electricity sector coming on strong and fast enough to offset increases in other parts of the economy.

Trump Middle East Strategy: Trade Blood for Oil

Long before an early January geopolitical crisis led to an errant missile attack on a civilian airliner, with 176 lives lost, Donald Trump was making it clear that his Middle East strategy amounted to trading blood for oil.

U.S. Fossils Launch PR Campaign to Protect Fracking, Continue Drilling on Public Lands

The American Petroleum Institute is launching a multi-million-dollar advertising blitz to counter plans by some Democrats to end new oil and gas drilling on public lands and introduce a national ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, Reuters reports.

New Trump Regulation Would Take Climate Out of the Discussion on New Infrastructure Projects

The Trump administration is planning revisions to the U.S. National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) to remove the requirement for federal agencies to take the climate crisis into account in their assessments of new pipelines, highways, and other infrastructure projects.

Europe Threatens Border Adjustment Tariff for Climate Laggards Like U.S.

In what Politico interprets as a lesson learned from Donald Trump’s trade wars, the European Union is threatening a carbon tariff on countries like the United States that refuse to step up and commit to getting their greenhouse gas emissions under control.

U.S. Declared ‘Climate Criminal’ as ‘Stalemated’ COP 25 Limps to a Close

Reporters on the ground described two weeks of stalemated United Nations climate negotiations limping to a close, a diplomat branded the United States a “climate criminal” for its stance on the crucial issue of loss and damage, and the hundreds of youth, Indigenous, and other community representatives onsite talked about the grassroot action back home that will continue to spur faster, more ambitious climate action, as COP 25 entered its final hours in Madrid.

Jonathan Wilkinson COP 25 climate Canada

Canada Pledges Net Zero by 2050 as Major Emitters Dig In to Block COP 25 Progress

Canada earned praise for promising to legislate a 2050 deadline for net-zero carbon emissions, but big emitters like Australia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, India, and China were called out for blocking progress, as COP 25 moved into a crucial round of high-level negotiations this week in Madrid.

U.S., Canadian Fossils to Lead $1.4 Trillion in New Oil and Gas Development Through 2024

Fossils in the United States and Canada are leading plans to invest another US$1.4 trillion in new oil and gas extraction projects over the next five years, even though the industry already has enough existing fields and mines to blow past a 1.5°C limit on average global warming and nearly exhaust the carbon budget for 2.0°C, according to an analysis released late last week by the Global Gas & Oil Network (GGON).

Alaska National Wildlife Refuge

Trump Administration Plans Massive Expansion for Alaska Oil Drilling

Continuing its assault on Obama-era environmental protections in the Arctic, the Trump administration released a draft proposal earlier this month to open as much as 81% of Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve—critical habitat for endangered caribou, grizzlies, wolves, and migratory birds—to exploratory drilling for oil.

Fossil fuel production planned and projected by countries

Fossil Production Plans, Subsidies Put Countries Far Beyond 1.5°C Paris Target

The world’s governments are on track to produce more than twice as much oil, gas, and coal as the amounts that would enable them to hold average global warming to 1.5°C, according to a first-ever production gap report produced by the United Nations Environment Programme and five senior environmental research NGOs.

World’s Biggest Fossils Must Cut Output 35% by 2040 to Hit 1.5°C Warming Target

The world’s seven biggest fossil companies, including ExxonMobil, BP, and Shell, must cut their oil and gas production 35% by 2040 to avoid driving average global warming above 1.5°C, according to a new analysis published last week by UK-based Carbon Tracker.

Trump White House Ignores Climate Crisis Driving Guatemalan Exodus to U.S.

The Trump White House ignored warnings from its own acting homeland security department that poverty and food scarcity, partly driven by climate change, had helped make Guatemala the single biggest contributor to undocumented migration to the southwestern border of the United States, NBC News reports.

Trump Says He Cancelled Light Bulb Efficiency Rule Because LEDs Make Him ‘Look Orange’

Donald Trump may or may not have been kidding around last week when he said he was rolling back a regulation that would save U.S. consumers 25 coal plants’ worth of greenhouse gas emissions and US$14 billion per year because LED light bulbs make him look orange.

Trump Moves to Roll Back Protections for World’s Largest Intact Temperate Rainforest

Donald Trump and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue are planning to roll back Bill Clinton-era logging restrictions in Alaska’s 16.7-million-acre/6.75-million-hectare Tongass National Forest, exposing more than half of the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest to logging, fossil, and mining projects.

Trump Methane Rollback Sows Divisions Among U.S. Fossils

The Trump administration drove a wedge into the U.S. fossil industry last week with a proposal to roll back Obama-era regulations to control climate-busting methane emissions from oil and gas wells, pipelines, and storage facilities.

Trump Officials Throw Roadblocks at Offshore Wind Project After Accelerating Fossil Development

The Trump administration is showing a distinct double standard in a series of decisions to deregulate fossil fuel development while slowing down the landmark Vineyard Wind offshore wind farm in Massachusetts.

Trump Officials Move to Weaken Endangered Species Act, Speed Up Pipeline Approvals Under Clean Water Act

The Trump administration has introduced two new deregulatory efforts over the last 10 days, aimed at weakening protections under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, making it more difficult to factor climate impacts into endangered species determinations, and fast-tracking pipeline development with amendments to the federal Clean Water Act.

Global Crisis, Local Impacts

Houston Flood Protection Funding Prioritizes Disadvantaged Neighbourhoods, Generates Status Quo Pushback

After years of being left without flood protection—with all support earmarked for the coastal properties of the wealthy—Houston’s low-lying neighbourhoods have found champions in policy-makers determined to prioritize the protection of those who would face a more difficult recovery. But not everyone appreciates this application of environmental justice.

Overheated U.S. Cities Face Misery as Pandemic Closes Summer Cooling Centres

Pandemic closures and fears are causing acute suffering for the millions of impoverished American households who, lacking air conditioning, typically escape summer heat in public buildings like libraries or cooling centres. Now, public health professionals and climate resilience experts are speaking up.

Plastics in America Are a ‘Story of Environmental Racism’

The story of plastics in America is a story of environmental racism, with Black and Indigenous communities both far more likely both to purchase and use plastics, lack access to recycling, and live in hot zones for waste incineration that exposes them to a slew of harms, writes urban sustainability campaigner Chante Harris in a guest post for Anti-Racism Daily.

Sea Level Rise Drives ‘Extraordinary’ Flooding on U.S. Atlantic, Gulf Coasts

The Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States have seen an “extraordinary” increase in high-tide flooding since 2000, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported earlier this week, a five-fold increase in frequency that is “damaging homes, imperiling the safety of drinking water, inundating roads, and otherwise hurting coastal communities,” the New York Times writes.

Chicago’s 1995 Heat Wave Predicted ‘Baked-In’ Racism in COVID-19 Deaths

In a bitter echo of the disproportionate suffering seen during Chicago’s killing heat wave of 1995, Black residents of the city are now facing a similar onslaught from the coronavirus pandemic, an injustice owing to “baked in” structural racism, says a former chief medical officer for the Windy City.

WMO Sees ‘Enormous Challenge’ to Hit Paris Targets as 1.5°C Warming Looms

There’s a one in five chance that average global warming will hit 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels in at least one of the next five years, and a 70% chance that at least one month will exceed that threshold, according to the latest in a series of annual climate updates released yesterday by the World Meteorological Organization.

Louisville, Kentucky Op Ed Declares Healthy Neighbourhoods a Human Right

As life expectancies in Louisville’s poorest—and largely Black—communities sink to war-zone levels, health officials and urban policy experts are excoriating the mayor of the Kentucky city for pinning the blame on lifestyle choices rather than environmental degradation and systemic racism.

Exxon Reports Second Straight Quarterly Loss, Plans U.S. Job Cuts

Colossal fossil Exxon-Mobil is reporting a second straight quarterly loss and preparing to fire up to 10% of its white collar work force in the United States, as the impact of crashing oil demand makes itself felt by the company that has most steadfastly denied that a shifting global economy could have any impact on its business.

Extreme Summer Weather Sweeps Southern U.S. States

Climate change is delivering a miserable—and dangerous—early summer to residents across the southern United States, including “staggering” heat in Miami and a trio of massive wildfires currently burning in the Santa Catalina mountains in southern Arizona.

Study Shows Energy Costing More for Black American Households

Black American households continue to pay substantially more for energy than whites, pointing to yet another injustice radiating outwards from generations of racial segregation and discriminatory housing policies and lending practices.

Global Oil Demand, CO2 Emissions Likely Peaked in 2019 as Fossil Analysts Predict More Stranded Assets

A small parade of analysts stepped out last week with projections that global oil demand and carbon dioxide emissions likely peaked last year, with consumers’ need for refined oil products hitting a turning point and more big fossil companies expected to declare “impairments” in their production assets in the not-too-distant future.

Heglar: Climate Crisis ‘Hurts Black People First and Worst’

Calls to “press pause” on climate action in order to fight racism more effectively simply further the whitewashing of a crisis that is systemically and inextricably linked to Black oppression, says writer and climate justice campaigner Mary Annaïse Heglar.

Heat, Pollution Put Black Mothers at Greater Risk of Poor Birth Outcomes

A sweeping review of birth outcomes in the U.S. since the early 2000s has found that exposure to extreme heat and air pollution during pregnancy brings increased risk of delivering pre-term, low weight, or stillborn babies. And Black mothers are suffering more from these effects than white mothers.

30% of U.S. Shale Drillers ‘Technically Insolvent’ as Analyst Places Economic Recovery Three to Five Years Away

Nearly one-third of shale oil and gas drillers in the United States are “technically insolvent” at today’s oil prices, as crashing demand drives the industry into a period of “great compression” that could last for years, according to an analysis released this week by management consulting firm Deloitte.

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Abandoned Wells Emerge as Massive, Largely Unmeasured Methane Risk

The United States is emerging as a focal point of one of the larger problems arising from oil and gas production: the leaky wells left behind when fossils abandon them rather than cleaning up the health and environmental mess they’ve created.

Standard Climate Models May Understate GHGs from Permafrost Melt by 14%

Standard climate models may be underestimating greenhouse gas emissions from thawing permafrost by missing one of the key pathways for carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere, according to new research published earlier this month in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Next Six Months Will Determine Success of Green Recovery, IEA Warns

The world’s governments can either spend the next three years and US$3 trillion entrenching the greenhouse gas emission cuts that accompanied the pandemic lockdown and creating a new narrative on climate change, or allow a record increase in oil demand next year that will push consumption back toward historic levels, the International Energy Agency warned this week.

Climate Models for Upcoming UN Report Show ‘Incredibly Alarming’ Risk of Runaway Warming

The climate community and the general public are in for some “incredibly alarming” worst-case scenarios as modelling for the United Nations’ next major climate risk assessment takes shape, with about a quarter of the new research showing a sharp increase in the amount of global warming that would be expect if atmospheric carbon levels doubled from pre-industrial levels.

Extreme Arctic Temperatures, Siberian Wildfires Driving Up CO2 Emissions

Last week’s 30°C temperatures in the Arctic Circle have observers fearing a repeat of 2019’s devastating summer of apocalyptic wildfires. 

Government Stimulus Packages Lock In Fossil Growth, Squander Opportunity for Green Recovery, Global Assessment Warns

Too many governments are squandering the opportunity to build a green recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, directing dollars to technologies that will lock in their dependence on fossil fuels, the Paris-based REN21 Secretariat warned yesterday with the release of its Renewables 2020 Global Status Report.

Climate Impacts of Hurricane Harvey Pegged at $67 Billion

In a finding that could radically alter future calculations of the social cost of carbon, researchers say new methods of event attribution have now pegged the share of damages from Hurricane Harvey that were caused by global warming at 74.4% of the US$90-billion-plus total—much higher than previous estimates of 22%.

Yeampierre: No Climate Justice Without Racial Justice

The exploitative calculus that drives climate change is a mirror to the rapaciousness of slavery—and climate activists who still can’t see the connection between climate justice and racial justice need to wake up, says long-time climate justice activist Elizabeth Yeampierre.

Cleantech Sector Still Falls Short on Diversity, Equity

Clean energy organizations across the U.S. are doing some soul-searching as protests roll across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis. And many are coming out of their self-analysis vowing to make good on long-standing promises to increase diversity, both in their ranks and within their reach.

No Way to Solve Climate without Anti-Racist Response, U.S. Marine Biologist Argues

Racism derails the effort to fight the climate emergency, and the only way for white people to maintain a habitable planet is to become anti-racist, marine biologist and Ocean Collectiv founder Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson argues in a widely-circulated article for the Washington Post.

417.1 ppm: Atmospheric CO2 Levels Reach Three-Million-Year High

Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have reached a three-million-year high, at 417.1 parts per million (ppm), despite the 17% drop in daily emissions brought about by the coronavirus lockdown, according to annual measurements at the atmospheric research lab at Mauna Loa, Hawaii.

2.0°C Would Shift Once-in-a-Century Storms to Once in Five Years, Canadian Study Concludes

Researchers at Environment and Climate Change Canada have established an unequivocal correlation between climate change and the increasing number of extreme rainfall events in North America—and the data suggests things will get worse if warming continues. 

200+ Groups Representing 40 Million Health Workers Call for Health, Climate Reform

Health workers around the world have joined together to deliver an open letter to G20 leaders urging them to implement post-pandemic recovery plans that prioritize human and environmental health—with key signatories representing more than 40 million individual medical professionals. 

New Study Reveals Shrinking Snow Mass Across North America

Across all the non-alpine regions of North America, more than 46 billion tonnes of snow has “gone missing” this decade—and the same has happened every decade since 1980, according to the latest, best estimate from climate researchers, posing serious problems for regional administrators seeking to manage reservoir levels.

U.S. Braces for Above-Average Hurricane Season on Top of Pandemic

The United States is likely facing an above-average hurricane season, with the prospect of unprecedented challenges if storms make landfall while officials are still scrambling to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported in its annual hurricane forecast released last week.

Bloated Military Budget Undercuts U.S. Ability to Fund Health, Address Climate

With an annual budget of US$700 billion-plus, and an outsized—and morally compromised—standing as the ultimate defender of the national interest, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has flourished at the expense of agencies far better positioned to protect the public, like those dedicated to preserving public health and solving the climate crisis.

Michigan Dam Failures Highlight Risks in Aging Infrastructure, Toxic Sites

Safety officials warn that last week’s double dam failure and resulting, massive flood in Michigan foreshadows a frightening future for aging dams throughout the United States—structures that were never intended to withstand the torrential rains that are arriving with climate change.

Retreating Alaskan Glacier Sets Stage for Devastating Tsunami

Glacial retreat high above an Alaskan fjord has put the area at imminent risk of a landslide-triggered tsunami—and researchers are calling for real-time monitoring to protect residents and recreationalists.

U.S. Lags in Preparing for a Just Transition to Decarbonization

The United States is failing coal and nuclear plant workers who are seeking a just transition to a decarbonized economy, while their counterparts in many European countries face much better odds. 

COVID-19 Wipes Out Nearly 600,000 U.S. Clean Energy Jobs

The COVID-19 pandemic has wiped out nearly 600,000 energy efficiency and renewable energy jobs in the United States, more than twice as many as the country has created since 2017, and the numbers are set to rise through the spring, according to an analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data released last week by Washington, DC-based Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) and the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE).

Fossils Expect Permanent Losses, Renewables Keep Growing as Pandemic Crashes Global Energy Demand

The permanent reductions in conventional energy demand wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic will change the oil and gas industry forever, leaving renewables as the only energy form resilient enough to keep growing, according to separate assessments released last week by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Europe’s biggest fossil, Royal Dutch Shell.

Doubling of Impacts by 2030 Points to Need for Flood Protection Investment

With the number of people around the world affected by flooding rivers, storm surges, and sea level rise set to double by 2030, aggressive investment in flood protection infrastructure could prove to be very cost-effective in the long term, the World Resources Institute (WRI) concludes in a recent blog post.

Emissions Holding at 92% of Pre-COVID Levels Prompt Calls for Systemic Change

The skies are largely plane-free, and streets across the globe are suddenly alive with pedestrians and void of cars—yet there will be a mere 8% drop in global emissions this year.  Analysts are taking that dissonance as a stark reminder than the climate crisis will only be solved by system-wide structural change, not individual best efforts.

Arctic Ocean Study Documents Rapid, Unprecedented Change

From melting ice to spiking acidity, from stagnating thermoclines to troubled food chains, frighteningly rapid changes are under way in the waters of the Arctic Ocean, while a lack of long-term data leaves scientists and Indigenous peoples uncertain about how to respond.

Guterres Urges Marshall Plan Moment to Save the Sick, Heal the Planet

With the COVID-19 pandemic presenting humanity with its biggest challenge since the Second World War, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres is calling for a six-point, Marshall Plan-style response to rebuilding the global economy—and building back in a way that slows climate change.

Texas Methane Emissions Hit All-Time High, Global Output Set to Rise as Pandemic Curtails Equipment Maintenance

Methane emissions from the massive Permian Basin shale fields in Texas and New Mexico are more than twice the U.S. government estimate, according to a paper published last week in the journal Science Advances, and experts say global emissions are on track to increase during the COVID-19 crisis as low oil prices push producers to save money on scheduled maintenance of pipelines and other infrastructure.

Renewables Agency Urges $110-Trillion Green Infrastructure Investment to Supercharge Recovery, Boost Resilience

Governments around the world can “supercharge their recovery, become more resilient to crises, and save trillions of dollars,” while setting sights on deep greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2050, by directing stimulus funding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to green infrastructure, Forbes magazine reports, citing a new release this week from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Without Net Zero Plans, Pandemic-Driven CO2 Decline a ‘Pit Stop’ to Climate Ruin

Forecasters are predicting that coronavirus disruptions will lead to the largest annual drop in carbon dioxide emissions ever recorded—but multiple data challenges make any such estimates extremely tentative, and without post-pandemic recovery efforts that prioritize and accelerate the zero-carbon shift, the plunge in emissions will prove nothing more than a brief pit stop on the road to climate ruin, analysts warn.

Falling Short of Paris Targets Will Cost $600 Trillion by 2100, New Study Shows

The world’s governments will miss out on US$600 trillion in economic activity by the end of the century if they stay on their present path for carbon emission reductions, rather than setting and meeting tougher targets consistent with the 2015 Paris agreement, according to a paper published this week in the journal Nature Communications.

NOAA Reports Fastest Growth in Methane Concentrations Since 2014

Atmospheric methane levels increased at the fastest rate in five years between 2018 and 2019, according to preliminary data released last week by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and scientists aren’t entirely sure why.

Post-Pandemic Employment Will Hinge on Green Energy as Fossil Jobs Slide

With projected oilfield job losses of 30% by the end of 2020, the fossil sector is likely to remain highly embattled after the threat of COVID-19 has abated, with little ability to create new jobs. But the job-intensive green energy sector could be set to flourish, particularly if policy-makers include some variant of a Green New Deal in their plans for secondary stimulus packages, a new analysis shows.

Child cycling with a mask

Air Pollution, Lack of Clean Water Increase Infection Risk for Poorer Communities

Chronic health problems—often owing to high levels of pollution—and poor access to clean water are putting poor, Indigenous, and non-white communities across the world at greater risk of infection and hospitalization in the face of COVID-19.

COVID Denial Mirrors Climate Attitudes Based on Demographics, Voting Preference

Older, right-leaning Canadian men are far more likely than their fellow citizens to consider the threat of COVID-19 to be exaggerated, and they’re proving more reluctant to practice recommended prevention measures like scrupulous handwashing and social distancing, according to recent research by the Angus Reid Institute.

AccuWeather Predicts Above-Average Atlantic Hurricane Season

Meteorologists at commercial weather service AccuWeather are forecasting the fifth straight above-average Atlantic hurricane season, with a projection of 14 to 18 tropical storms between June 1 and November 30, seven to nine of which will become hurricanes, and two to four of which will strengthen to major hurricanes.

U.S. Economic Stimulus Package Dumps $3-Billion Oil Buy But Rebuffs Renewables

A push to include solar and wind energy tax credits in the United States’ US$2-trillion emergency stimulus package to address the coronavirus pandemic stalled out this week, after Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) objected to including the relief measures in the bill.

Analysts Foresee Record Drop in Oil Demand as COVID-19 Crisis, Fossil Price War Deepen

With the fossil price collapse continuing, oil falling below US$30 per barrel, and Saudi Arabia vowing to continue forcing prices down through May, analysts are predicting a “low and slow” recovery for the industry.

Polar Ice Melt Sped Up Six-Fold from 1990s to 2010s

Polar ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica are melting six times faster than they were in the 1990s, putting them on track with the worst-case scenarios laid out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), according to new analysis led by the University of Leeds and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and published last week.

Florida to Require Sea Level Rise Studies for Coastal Construction

Florida may soon require sea level rise studies before approving publicly-funded construction projects in coastal areas, under legislation adopted unanimously last week by the state House of Representatives.

COVID-19 Pandemic Rekindles Discussion on Climate Change, Infectious Disease

From shifting disease patterns in a warming world, to shrinking animal habitats, to the impact of air pollution in making people more vulnerable to infection, news stories over the last several days have rekindled discussion on the various connections between the climate crisis and the spread of infectious disease, including new pathogens like the coronavirus.

Coronavirus Triggers OPEC+ Breakup, Drives Deepest Oil Price Dive in 29 Years

Driven by cratering economic activity due to the coronavirus pandemic, oil markets crashed 31% in a matter of seconds last week, after cooperation across a loosely-knit group of oil-producing countries collapsed and triggered an all-out price-war between fossil giants Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Oil War and COVID-19 Create Risk, Opportunity for Clean Energy

The end-to-end news coverage of the coronavirus emergency is producing a secondary wave of commentary and analysis on whether the global pandemic will derail the transition to fossil to renewable energy. The verdict so far: It depends.

Air Quality Gains Due to Coronavirus Slowdown Could Save More Lives than COVID-19 Claims

First in China, now in Italy, satellite data are pointing to a predictable but still dramatic connection between the coronavirus and climate emergencies—as countries curtail economic activity in a bid to slow the growth of a global pandemic, they’re also reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, at least temporarily.

Tropical Forests Lose One-Third of Carbon Storage Ability, Could Soon Become Carbon Source

Tropical forests have lost much of their ability to pull carbon dioxide out of the air, and could begin turning into net carbon sources in the next 10 to 15 years, according to an alarming new study published last week in the journal Nature.

Countries Are ‘Way Off Track’ from Meeting Climate Targets, Latest UN Assessment Warns

Ocean and surface temperatures last year were the highest on record, average global temperature was 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels, the Earth lost more ice than it gained for a 32nd year in a row, and sea levels hit an all-time high, prompting United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to declare humanity “way off track” from getting climate change under control in his foreword to the World Meteorological Organization’s latest annual climate assessment.

Climate Gentrification Threatens Miami Neighbourhood

The impoverished but vibrant neighbourhood of Little Haiti in Miami is falling prey to the forces of climate gentrification, as wealthy Floridians begin fleeing their beachfront homes in response to rising sea levels. Anxious to preserve the Haitian soul of their community and keep property values within reach, locals are fighting back.

Australia bushfires volunteer firefighter

Above-Average Heat, Drought-Fueled Fire Risk On Tap for 2020

Despite the absence of El Niño conditions this year, many parts of the world will still see above-average temperatures through 2020—proof that climate change caused by human activity is now as powerful as El Niño itself, says the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Coastal Cities Must Fight or Flee as Global Waters Rise

With global sea levels expected to rise an average of one to four feet by 2100, cities like San Francisco, Manila, and Boston are set to become case studies in how urban planning decisions will create varying impacts across economic classes in an increasingly watery world.

Once-Mighty Colorado River Loses 1.5 Billion Tonnes of Water Since 2000

A vanishing snowpack—courtesy of climate change—is shrinking the Colorado River, and with 40 million Americans and $1 trillion in economic activity in the balance, researchers are urging policy-makers to draft new usage agreements that take a vastly lower flow into account.

EU European Union

EU Considers Border Adjustment Charge to Penalize Carbon-Intensive Imports

The European Union is poised to fast-track some form of border adjustment to protect its domestic industries from international competitors in countries with less stringent carbon reduction policies.

Highly Toxic ‘Invisible Oil’ Made BP’s Deepwater Horizon Spill Even Worse

“Invisible oil” from BP’s horrific Deepwater Horizon catastrophe carried an even bigger, more damaging environmental footprint across the Gulf of Mexico than originally reported, according to new research published as the tenth anniversary of the epic oil spill approaches this April.

Delayed Coal Closures Harm Minority Communities’ Health, Indiana NAACP Warns

The state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is urging Indiana legislators to defeat a bill that would harm the health of low-income and minority communities by the extending the operating life of nearby coal plants.

Air Pollution Impacts Cost $8 Billion Per Day, Greenpeace Study Shows

The health impacts of air pollution cost countries US$8 billion per day, according to a study released this week by Greenpeace Southeast Asia and the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

Antarctic Research Station Temperature Reading Hits Record High of 18.3°C

An Argentine research station in Antarctica logged an ominous new temperature record last Thursday with a reading of 18.3°C/65°C—warmer that day than Orlando, Florida, balmy enough to walk around in a t-shirt, and less than a month after a British endurance swimmer and oceans advocate swam a glacier in a Speedo bathing suit.

Extreme Heat Drives North American, European Bumblebee Species Toward Extinction

Extreme heat waves brought on by climate change have already driven some North American and European bumblebee species to the edge of extinction, according to a new study published last week in the journal Science.

Radioactive Fossil Wastewater Still Flows, 40 Years After Damning Insider Report

Nearly 40 years after the American Petroleum Institute (API) warned industry officials that oil and gas wastewater is “significantly” radioactive, regulation remains non-existent, callously leaving largely unaware industry workers and the broader public exposed to life-threatening toxins.

Ocean Heat Wave Drove ‘Unprecedented’ Whale Entanglements Off California Coast

An ocean heat wave in the mid-2010s drove whales closer to the California coast, where an “unprecedented” number of them became entangled in fishing gear, according to a new study in the journal Nature Communications.

Researchers Predict Near-Record Annual Increase in Atmospheric CO2

Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are on track for one of their largest annual increases since record-keeping began in 1958, driven in part by the bushfire calamity sweeping Australia, the UK Met Office reported last week.

New Decade Opens with Cascade of U.S. Coal Plant Closures

The new decade is opening with a mounting cascade of plant closures in the United States coal industry, with investors abandoning ship, revenue being driven down by record-low gas and renewable energy prices, and communities asking increasingly tough questions about the economic, environmental, and health impacts of the coal-fired generating stations in their midst.

Trump Policies Hand Poor, Non-White Areas the ‘Brunt’ of Climate Impacts

Critics are warning that the Trump administration’s proposed changes to the environmental review process for pipeline and highway megaprojects will hit poor and minority Americans hardest.

2015-16 Ocean Heat Wave Drove Mass Starvation, Death for a Million North Pacific Seabirds

An ocean heat wave in 2015-16 produced the biggest-ever mass mortality event for an avian species, disrupting food supplies for common murres in the North Pacific and killing as many as 1.2 million of them.

Thunberg Demands Action, Fossils Tout Carbon Capture as Greenpeace Calls Out Fossil Investors at Davos Forum

The annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland was a study in contrasts yesterday, with #FridaysforFuture founder Greta Thunberg slamming the world’s governments and business elites for climate inaction while the fossil industry touted carbon capture and storage as the path to climate stability.

From Newfoundland Snowstorms to Australian Bushfires, Climate Means the ‘Exceptional Becoming Normalized’

From an epic snowstorm blanketing Newfoundland to devastating bushfires and flash floods in Australia, climate change is the common thread that is turning the exceptional into the “new normal”, a Calgary-based climatologist told CBC News this week.

Political Dysfunction, Economic Turmoil Exacerbate the Climate Crisis as Disease and Famine Spreads

Late 2019 saw the calamitous rise of both dengue fever in Honduras and hunger in Zimbabwe, events that demonstrated how government dysfunction, poverty, and political and economic turmoil leave both public officials and citizens unable to respond adequately to the accelerating impacts of the climate crisis.

Countries Can’t Turn Back Climate Refugees Whose Lives Are at Risk, UN Committee Rules

Countries can no longer send climate refugees back to nations of origin where the climate crisis might threaten their lives, according to a ruling by the United Nations Human Rights Committee earlier this month—even though the Kiribati resident who filed the original case lost his bid for relocation in New Zealand.

Scientists Declare 2010s the Hottest Decade, 2019 the Second-Warmest Year on Record

NASA and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have declared the 2010s the hottest 10 years on record, with 2019 the second-warmest ever, findings confirmed by climate-related devastation around the globe.

Global Business Leaders Cite Climate as Decade’s Biggest Risk

Global business and political leaders have declared climate change the decade’s biggest risk, in the latest edition of an annual survey issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Fracking Undercuts Colorado Coal Community’s Shift to Organic Farming, Renewables, Tourism

A rural Colorado community that turned to organic farming, renewable energy, and tourism to help it break its dependence on coal mining is now looking over its shoulder at oil and gas fracking projects that could undercut its hard-earned gains.

Canada, U.S. Report Rising Cost, Frequency of Climate-Fuelled Disasters

Canada and the United States are both beginning to count up the rising annual cost of climate-fuelled natural disasters, with Canada placing the tab at more than C$430 million and the U.S. reporting a doubling in the number of billion-dollar climate- and weather-related events in the last decade.

Climate Crisis Could Drive $20 Trillion in Losses, Trigger Global Financial Meltdown

Climate change is the next economic threat that could trigger a global financial meltdown by destroying up to US$20 trillion in market value, independent journalist Nick Cunningham writes for Oilprice.com.

U.S. Heat Waves Cause 25,000 More Premature Births Per Year

An estimated 25,000 babies per year were born prematurely in the United States over a 20-year span due to heat waves, according to a study last week in the journal Nature Climate Change.

82 Days of King Tide Flooding Becoming the New Normal for Florida Keys

Rising sea levels coupled with the impact of recent hurricanes on the Gulf Stream have left residents of the Florida Keys enduring massive “king tides” nearly three months in excess of the norm, and as much as 18 inches higher than customary, with one Key Largo neighbourhood reporting 82 days of flooding in a row.

Climate Change Makes the Most Destructive U.S. Hurricanes 330% More Frequent

The United States faces the most destructive hurricanes more than three times as often as it did a century ago, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that blames the shift “unequivocally” on climate change.

Climate Crisis Drives More Migrants Toward Incarceration by ‘Border-Industrial Complex’

The sprawling private prison system in the United States is a direct beneficiary of a climate crisis that is putting millions of people at the mercy of a growing “border-industrial complex”, author and journalist Todd Miller writes in a recent opinion piece for Al Jazeera.

U.S. House Democrats to Unveil Climate Displaced Persons Act

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are planning to introduce a Climate Displaced Persons Act that would see the country welcome at least 50,000 climate migrants per beginning in 2020.

Central Bank Office in San Francisco Traces Financial Risks of a Destabilized Climate

A destabilized climate could lead to a precipitous decline in property values, cutting communities off from the tax base they need to fund climate adaptation while banks stop lending in areas that experience repeated floods, according to an analysis released earlier this month by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Five Dead in Southeast Texas as Tropical Depression Imelda Dumps Up to 43 Inches of Rain

At least five people are dead in southeast Texas after Tropical Depression Imelda dropped up to 43 inches (1.1 metres) of rain on the region, becoming the seventh-wettest tropical cyclone in U.S. history.

The Community Pushes Back

Keystone XL Faces New Lawsuit Over Environmental Permitting Process

The Nebraska-based Bold Alliance launched yet another legal challenge to the Keystone XL pipeline last week, after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision to halt construction due to a faulty environmental permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Litigation Drives Global Policy Change on Climate, Study Shows

Recent high-profile legal cases have marked a sea change in climate litigation, showing that the courts are becoming an increasingly effective venue for driving international action on climate change. 

Three Projects, Three Wins: Flurry of Decisions Shows U.S. Pipelines Becoming ‘Unbuildable’

The last 48 hours have seen a dizzying series of announcements highlighting the increasingly shaky prospects for North American oil and gas pipelines, with the US$8-billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline cancelled, the U.S. Supreme Court rejecting a bid to immediately restart construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and a federal judge in Washington, D.C. ordering the Dakota Access Pipeline shut down for contravening U.S. environmental law.

U.S. Fossils Face New Lawsuits from Minnesota and Washington, DC

U.S. fossils are facing two more major legal challenges, after Minnesota and Washington, DC filed separate lawsuits alleging consumer fraud, deceptive trade practices, and false advertising.

U.S. Survey Shows Rising Concern Over Climate Health Risks

The past six years have left many more Americans believing the climate crisis brings increasing risk of physical harm from severe storms, flooding, heat waves, wildfire, pollution, allergies, and insect-borne disease. And far more Americans are also becoming more aware of the toll climate change is taking on mental health.

U.S. Academics #ShutDownSTEM to Fight Ivory Tower Racism

It took George Floyd eight minutes and 46 seconds to asphyxiate at the hands of a violent police officer. Now Black environmental justice groups, along with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) scientists of all races, are banding together to fight the slower but no less murderous suffocations being delivered by systemic racism.

Major U.S. Television Media Silent on Race-Based Risks of Extreme Weather

Major broadcast news outlets in the United States are consistently failing to tell a crucially important story about a wide range of epic disasters, from hurricanes to the pandemic—that people living in poor, non-white communities are at far greater risk of grievous harm.

Climate Justice Requires Racial Justice, Expert Panel Says

The roiling traumas of racial injustice, coronavirus, and climate change are a “veritable witch’s brew of community risk,” according to a panel of five environmental justice leaders recently brought together by Grist. The antidote? To make sure that “normal” is never the same again. 

Climate Community Steps Up as Anti-Racism Protests Sweep U.S. Cities

With protests escalating in dozens of cities across the United States following the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, by a Minneapolis police officer, climate organizations across the United States have been adding their voices to the fight against racism, social inequity, and environmental injustice.

Courts Rule Against Fossils in California Climate Disclosure Case, Reject Montana Oil and Gas Leases Over Sage Grouse Protection

Five of the world’s most colossal fossils will have to face a pair of lawsuits from California cities and counties in state court, rather than trying for more favourable rulings from federal judges, after an appeals court ruled this week that the state level is the proper venue for the courts.

Landmark NY Pipeline Rejection a Turning Point for State Action

New York State’s recent rejection of a new gas pipeline to Long Island and New York City, based in part on its recent-enacted climate law, is emerging as a possible precedent for other jurisdictions across the U.S.. But legal counters are just as likely, particularly given the Trump administration’s predilection for challenging state authority when it comes to fossil fuel development.

OCI: ‘Transformational Moment’ Is Last, Best Chance to Break from Fossils

The slow emergence from pandemic lockdown is the “last, best chance to plan for the economy we need to stay within 1.5°C and avoid the worst chaos of global warming,” declares a recent five-point call to policy-makers to cooperate in a rapid worldwide phaseout out of fossil fuels. 

71% of Global Survey Respondents See Climate, COVID-19 Crises as Equally Important

More than 70% of citizens in 14 countries around the world believe climate change is as serious a crisis as the COVID-19 pandemic, and nearly two-thirds want post-pandemic recovery efforts to prioritize climate action, according to survey results released last week by the IPSOS opinion research agency.

Two Recent Court Rulings Bring Wins for the Green Economy

Springtime in the U.S. courts brought two pieces of good news for the green economy. A district court in Washington, DC ordered the Trump administration to more closely analyze the impacts of the Dakota Access pipeline, while the Kansas Supreme Court rejected utility efforts to charge high rates to ratepayers with home solar equipment.

BREAKING: U.S. Judge Rejects Essential Construction Permit for Keystone XL Pipeline

Construction along hundreds of water crossings along Keystone XL pipeline route was thrown into doubt late yesterday, after Montana District Court judge Brian Morris threw out a key permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Coastal Protection a ‘Forever Battle’ for Indigenous Long Islanders

The Shinnecock Indian Nation—the original inhabitants of Long Island—are using deep-rooted maritime and ecological knowledge to protect what remains of their ancestral lands from an escalating climate crisis.

Bank of Montreal, RBC, BlackRock Among the Backers for Alberta’s ‘Reckless’ Keystone XL Subsidy

The Bank of Montreal, the Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, and TD are among the banks that are being called out for funding the Alberta government’s “reckless” decision to back the contentious Keystone XL pipeline with nearly C$8 billion in financial aid.

Amazon Climate Strikers Now Demand Better Virus Protection

A group of Amazon employees, fresh from last year’s strikes for climate action, are now extending their fight to demand stronger COVID-19 protections for their fellow fulfilment centre and warehouse workers.

U.S. Judge Orders New Environmental Assessment for Dakota Access Pipeline

A U.S. federal judge has sent the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers back the drawing board in its review of the fiercely-contested Dakota Access pipeline, after agreeing with the Standing Rock Sioux of North and South Dakota that environmental assessments missed the full impact of the project.

Youth Climate Campaigners Show Empathy, Ingenuity in Face of Pandemic Crisis

As COVID-19 explodes around the world, youth climate activists are responding with empathy and ingenuity, moving en masse from the streets to the web, determined that the necessity of social distancing will not impede the equally urgent fight for carbon reductions.

Atkin: Pandemic Shows Responsibility of Elites, and Power of Individuals Acting Together

Last week was supposed to be a mental break. Instead, it was mental chaos—and not just because I was attempting to fly home from Spain after Trump’s European flight restrictions.

U.S. Poll Shows Bipartisan Support for Transit Funding, Fills Gap in Green New Deal

Americans of all political stripes are increasingly supportive of expanded public transit, and there is a growing conviction that there should be more restrictions on new road creation, according to a recent poll on behalf of Transportation for America (T4America). 

Baltimore Case against Big Oil to Proceed in State Court

Baltimore citizens seeking to hold Big Oil liable for the devastating consequences of its activities had cause to celebrate last week when an appeals court denied the industry’s bid to have the case moved to a more sympathetic federal court. The suit is one of several under way that target the “elaborate disinformation campaign” intended to suppress public knowledge about the climate-destroying impacts of fossil fuel burning. 

Peer Pressure Can Drive Down Emissions, Combat Climate Despair: Cornell Economist

Just as it helped drive the precipitous decline in America’s tobacco use over the past 30 years, peer pressure is a potentially powerful—and critically underused—weapon in the fight to draw down greenhouse gas emissions, according to Cornell University economists Robert H. Frank.

Calgary Pipeliner Left to Wait as U.S. Regulator Delays Decision on Oregon LNG Terminal

The Calgary-based pipeliner behind a proposed US$10-billion liquefied natural gas export terminal in Oregon is facing what the Financial Post calls a “surprise setback”, after the Trump-appointed Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) voted to delay its decision on the plan to send Canadian gas to Asian markets.

U.S. Fossil Pulls the Plug on 124-Mile Constitution Gas Pipeline

Climate campaigners are chalking up another win in New York State this week, after Tulsa, Oklahoma-based fossil giant Williams Companies pulled the plug on its proposed 124-mile Constitution gas pipeline and wrote off the US$345 million it had already spent on the project.

JPMorgan Chase Policy ‘Tweaks’ Cut Coal Investment, Ban New Arctic Oil and Gas Deals

Facing intense pressure from climate campaigners, the United States’ biggest bank, JP Morgan Chase, is making some tentative moves to scale back its investments in coal and eliminate new financing for Arctic oil and gas projects.

56% of Americans Cite Climate as Top Concern as Anxiety Crosses Party Lines

More than half of Americans see climate change as the most important issue facing society today, according to a December, 2019 Harris poll released this week by the American Psychological Association.

State and Local Progress Can’t Outweigh White House Hostility to Climate Action

While climate action by U.S. states and cities is paying off, with participating jurisdictions now representing nearly 70% of U.S. GDP and population and accounting for more than 50% of national emissions, even the biggest wins can’t make up for the lack of federal support under Donald Trump. 

But with a U-turn in national policy after next January’s presidential inauguration, there’s still a prospect that the United States could nearly halve its emissions by 2030, InsideClimate News reports.

U.S. Judges Toss Landmark Youth Climate Case, Send Plaintiffs Back to the Ballot Box

After a five-year push just to secure a trial date, the landmark Juliana v. United States youth climate justice case is hanging by a thread, after two out of three judges who heard the case before the federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that it didn’t belong in court.

Gwich’in Urge Major U.S. Banks to Refuse Future Arctic Oil and Gas Investment

The Gwich’in Steering Committee in Alaska is setting its sights on a small number of major U.S. banks that could ultimately determine whether fossil companies drill for oil in the exquisitely sensitive Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

Cars for sale

California to Stop Buying from Automakers that Back Trump’s Fuel Economy Rollback

California has declared it will stop doing business with automakers that support Donald Trump’s bid to roll back the state’s long-established right to set its own, tougher fuel economy standards.

California, 22 Other States Launch Latest Suit Against Trump Fuel Economy Rollback

Nearly two dozen U.S. states are taking Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the U.S. Court of Appeals to defend California’s long-standing right to set its own, tougher standards for vehicle fuel efficiency.

Turn Climate Fear, Frustration Into Votes, Ex-New York Times Reporter Urges

In an era of fires, floods, and power outages, “the most urgent imperative now is to turn our fear and frustration into votes,” ex-New York Times environment reporter Justin Gillis argues in an opinion piece for his former paper.

A Nation Steps Up

Transit in a Pandemic: Now Is the Time to Undo Neglect, Systemic Racism

As pandemic-weary Americans flee mass transit in droves and commuter-driven emissions begin to spike back up, a Black transit policy expert is urging city leaders to recognize the critical role that public transit plays in creating a world where Black lives do matter. 

Mayors Urge Recovery Based on Green Jobs, ‘15-Minute’ Cities

Green job creation, support for essential workers, investment in green industries, and funding for building retrofits, transit, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, and “resilient public services” are cornerstones of a green and just recovery program released Wednesday by C40 Cities.

BlackRock Calls Out 53 Climate Laggards, Falls Short on Key Shareholder Votes

Investment behemoth BlackRock is calling out 53 companies, including ExxonMobil, Volvo, and Daimler, for lagging in their response to climate change, in what campaigners are still calling “baby steps” on its promise to use its enormous financial clout to drive faster, deeper carbon cuts.

U.S. Utilities Skip Natural Gas ‘Bridge’, Shift Directly to Renewables as Coal Plants Close

A growing number of United States utilities are skipping the natural gas “bridge” and shifting directly to renewable energy as they phase out their aging coal plants. And at least one European Union country is looking to shift its decades-old gas infrastructure in the same direction.

U.S. Dominican Nuns Raise $130 Million for ‘Holistic’ Climate Solutions Fund

Five years after Pope Francis delivered his acclaimed encyclical calling for environmental and climate justice, 16 congregations of Dominican nuns in the United States are collaborating with Morgan Stanley to create their own US$130-million climate solutions fund.

Amazon Promises $2-Billion Climate Fund While Emissions Continue to Grow

Amazon.com is getting a decidedly mixed reaction for its plan to set up a US$2-billion climate investment fund, after the e-commerce giant’s latest sustainability report showed its greenhouse gas emissions continuing to rise.

Landmark Transgender Rights Case Could Affect U.S. Climate Law

A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision ruling that workplace discrimination laws also protect gay and transgender people is being welcomed by climate law experts as “potent ammunition” in the fight to regulate greenhouse gases, reports The New York Times.

New Jersey Unveils Plan to Become ‘Wind Turbine Capital’

Determined to be for wind energy what Texas is to fossil fuels, New Jersey has announced plans to become the go-to state for the production of offshore wind turbines, beginning with the construction of a giant port along the Delaware River.

Navajo, Pueblo Nations Stand Up Against Fracking Plans

As the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) contemplates expanding fracking operations in northern New Mexico, the Navajo and Pueblo peoples who have lived there for centuries are fighting back, fearing the destruction of sacred artifacts as well as serious public health risks to communities already ravaged by COVID-19.

U.S. Solar to Grow 1/3 This Year Despite Pandemic’s Drag on Home Installations

New solar installations in the United States are expected to rise by one-third this year, in spite of the slowdown brought about the coronavirus pandemic, while coal’s share of electricity generation falls by about 25%, according to data released last week.

New Study Shows Clean Power Supplying 90% of U.S. Electricity by 2035

Clean electricity could power 90% of the United States grid by 2035, at lower cost than non-renewable sources, according to a new study released this week by the University of California Berkeley and Berkeley-based GridLab that projects more than a 10% reduction in electricity costs if utilities can make the transition.

Minneapolis Climate Plan Fails to Serve Black, Low-Income Neighbourhoods

What was greeted seven years ago as a groundbreaking local climate action plan in Minneapolis is now being flagged as a source of racial division in the city where the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by a white police officer, sparked massive protests and renewed attention to police brutality across the United States.

Student Organizers Push Salt Lake City School Board to 100% Clean Energy by 2040

The district school board in Salt Lake City will shift to 100% clean electricity by 2030 and drop all fossil fuels for heating and transportation by 2040, after a campaign led by students from the community’s three major high schools.

Hundreds of Companies, Regional Governments Demand Green Recovery Post-Pandemic

The pressure on governments to make the post-pandemic economic stimulus a green recovery continues to intensify, with 155 multinational companies and more than 220 state and regional governments joining the call, and business analysts suggesting the right recovery package could make 2019 the year of peak carbon while delivering badly-needed job creation.

New York Mega-Utility Triples Energy Efficiency Budget to $1.5 Billion

New York state mega-utility Consolidated Edison is tripling its budget for energy efficiency to US$1.5 billion through 2025, in an aggressive program expansion that will include incentives for customers to install ground- and air-source heat pumps to reduce their dependence on natural gas.

Major Cities Urge Green, Resilient Recovery with ‘No Return to Business as Usual’

There’s no going back to “business as usual” after the COVID-19 pandemic when that previous path had the world on track for at least 3.0°C average global warming, the mayors of more than three dozen major cities declared in a statement of principles released earlier this month.

Google Pledges to Cut Off Artificial Intelligence Services for Fossil Extraction

Tech giant Google has announced it will no longer use its formidable artificial intelligence (AI) tools to help fossils do a better job of extracting oil and gas, after a Greenpeace USA report documented how Google, Microsoft, and Amazon were using AI and cloud computing to make it easier to find and develop deposits.

Webinar: New York State Looks to Energy Efficiency for Post-COVID Job Creation

With the COVID crisis shutting down the economy in one of the hardest-hit parts of the United States, New York state is in an all-out push to sustain its energy efficiency industry and the 120,000 jobs it creates, Janet Joseph, senior vice president with the state’s Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), told a webinar yesterday.

Major U.S. Transmission Projects Keep On Pushing to Bring Renewable Power to Market

After a tough decade of regulatory and public hurdles for new electricity transmission projects in the United States, Greentech Media is out with a profile of nine major lines that are at various stages of review and approval.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Subnational Leadership ‘Essential’ in Climate, COVID-19 Crises

Informed, cooperative, and compassionate bipartisan leadership at all governmental levels is helping U.S. citizens weather the pandemic, just as such subnational leadership has proven to be an essential agent in the climate crisis fight.

Renewables Delivered Nearly 75% of New Electricity Last Year, But Investment Must Double by 2030

Solar, wind, and other forms of renewable power supplied nearly three-quarters of the new electricity generating capacity installed in 2019, but annual investments will still have to double by 2030 to keep pace with the climate emergency, according to a new report issued this week by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

California Looks to Double Green Energy Capacity, Cut Emissions by 2030

New solar and storage facilities—and no new gas plant approvals—are the cornerstones of California’s recently-released plan to drastically reduce emissions to just 46 megatonnes by 2030, and hit a 100% renewable energy target by 2045.

Margolin: After Coronavirus Response, Older Generations Must Step Up for Youth

With younger generations willingly adopting the tough constraints required to #FlattenTheCurve on the coronavirus, a Gen Z climate campaigner from the United States says it’ll soon be time for older generations to make the equal and opposite sacrifices to get the climate crisis under control.

COVID-19 Produces Lessons Learned on Climate, Biodiversity

While the direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic receives the lion’s share of public and media attention, there’s been a steady drumbeat of news and analysis on the similarities between the coronavirus and the climate crisis—and the lessons from today’s crisis that will be applicable when the focus shifts back to climate.

IEA Chief Sees ‘Historic Opportunity’ for Climate Action Through Economic Stimulus

The coronavirus pandemic presents a momentous opportunity for governments and financial leaders to build climate action into the economic stimulus packages they introduce to stabilize their faltering economies, International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol said last week.

NYC Billy ‘Idle’ Campaign Dodges Root Causes of Air Pollution

New York City’s recent announcement of a US$1-million anti-idling campaign featuring British glam rocker Billy Idol may be witty, but what the community really needs is the political will to take more cars off city streets—an unlikely prospect, given Mayor Bill de Blasio’s penchant for governing “from a windshield perspective,” writes Grist.

Virginia Legislation Enshrines 100% RE Target, Limits Utility Charges for Early Fossil Closures

The latest session of the Virginia state legislature ended with a flurry of activity on renewable energy, climate change, and grid renewal, including a 100% renewable energy target, one of the most ambitious energy storage targets in the United States, a carbon cap-and-trade program compatible with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and a bill aimed at putting ratepayers first as mammoth utility Dominion Energy moves to shut down high-emitting coal- and gas-fired power plants.

Michigan Utility Becomes First in U.S. to Declare 2040 Net-Zero Goal

Michigan’s Consumers Energy has become the first United States power utility to set a 2040 deadline for bringing its greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero.

New U.S. Energy Legislation Backs Solar, Wind and Storage, Misses Out on Efficiency, Pushes Fracked Gas Exports

A massive, bipartisan energy bill could come up for a vote in the U.S. Senate as soon as this week, with billions of dollars directed to solar, wind, and storage, but no explicit climate targets, major gaps on energy efficiency, no tax credits for electric vehicles or renewables, and continuing support for fossil fuels.

Wisconsin Utility Plans 1 GW New Solar by 2023

A power utility in Wisconsin is planning to install a gigawatt of new solar capacity through 2023.

U.S. Solar Jobs Bounce Back Despite Trump Tariffs

Solar energy jobs in many parts of the United States have been bouncing back over the last year, with falling costs and a rush of new installations before federal tax credits expire offsetting the past impact of Donald Trump’s punishing tariffs on imported panels, according to new data from The Solar Foundation.

Mammoth U.S. Utility Increases Solar Share by 44%

Making good on its pledge to expand into clean energy while shrinking its reliance on coal, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is increasing its share of solar generation by a whopping 44% with new contracts announced earlier this month. 

Democrats Propose Three-Year Ban on New U.S. Plastics Plants

Democrats in the House of Representatives are calling for a three-year moratorium on new plastics plants across the United States, while the National Academy of Sciences studies the health and climate impacts of a massive buildout in the country’s plastic manufacturing capacity.

Bezos Pledges $10 Billion for Climate Action, Takes Heat for Amazon’s Carbon Footprint

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has been receiving a megatonne of advice since forming his Bezos Earth Fund last week and pledging to donate US$10 billion of his own considerable wealth to help scientists and activists fight the climate crisis. Some of the most pointed comments have suggested he take a more look at his own company’s carbon footprint.

New U.S. Efficiency Bill Would Massively Cut Energy Waste, Save $51 Billion

U.S. households stand to massively cut energy waste and save $51 billion if a bipartisan group of legislators in both the House and the Senate can push through a package of measures to increase energy efficiency in homes and commercial, industrial, and federal government buildings, Utility Dive reports.

100-MW Municipal Solar Farm in Cincinnati Will Be Biggest in U.S.

Cincinnati is taking a victory lap after a two-year effort to build the biggest municipally-run solar farm in the United States.

PepsiCo Set to Hit 100% Renewable Electricity This Year

Corporate Renewables Procurements Surge, But 24/7 Reliability is Essential

Daimler’s late January signing of a 100% renewable power purchase agreement (PPA) with Norwegian hydropower firm Statkraft offered momentum and a cautionary tale to the renewable electricity sector: corporate clients are going to come knocking, but only for generating capacity that is flexible enough to offer 24/7 reliability.

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Iowa Caucus Participants Cite Climate as Second-Most Important Vote-Determining Issue

Before Iowa Democrats could even declare the winner in their app-plagued presidential primary Monday night, the Washington Post was calling the race in a different way, with the climate crisis emerging as a top concern for caucus participants.

U.S. Agency Sees Renewables Surging But GHG Emissions Nearly Unchanged Through 2050

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is changing its tune on the rise of renewable energy, projecting for the first time in its Annual Energy Outlook that renewable energy will double its share of total generation and dash past natural gas as the country’s leading electricity source before 2050. But the agency paints a deeply troubling picture for the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, with carbon pollution dipping briefly this decade, increasing in the 2030s, and falling only 4% overall by 2050, The Hill reports.

Simplified Application Process Sends Solar Uptake through the Roof

A few simple changes in the local application process led to a 3,000% increase in the issuance of solar panel permits in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg. The municipality made the changes with guidance from SolSmart, a solar power recognition program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

San Francisco Declares Market Street a Car-Free Zone

San Francisco has gone through with a plan to ban cars along Market Street, one of the busiest and most hazardous thoroughfares in the city’s bustling downtown—and has earned what a leading urban affairs newsletter calls a “remarkable level of local support” for doing so.

JP Morgan Chase tower divest

Shunning Big Banks Could Change the Game for Climate Action

As the window for addressing the climate crisis narrows, Americans must stop parking their money in banks that prop up fossil fuels, 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben and Hip Hop Caucus President Lennox Yearwood argue in a recent opinion piece for the New York Times.

357 Amazon Employees Break Company Policy, Speak Out Online for Faster Climate Action

Cloud computing and online commerce behemoth Amazon is facing an unprecedented revolt by 357 employees participating in a public display of support for colleagues who were warned they could be dismissed for speaking out against the company’s climate practices.

Bellingham Washington

Bellingham, Washington Considers Natural Gas Heating Ban

The town of Bellingham, Washington has become the latest U.S. city to consider banning natural gas for home heating as a way to combat the climate crisis.

Utah State Capitol

Conservative U.S. States Take Tentative Steps, But Won’t Call it Climate Action

Across major swaths of the United States, legislators in some of the country’s most conservative enclaves are making tentative moves to take action on the climate crisis—though many of them are still unwilling to call that crisis by its proper name.

‘Words Make Worlds’: Holthaus Issues Call to Imagine, Create a Radically Positive Future

As the climate crisis deepens, we must be “radically imaginative,” telling ourselves and each other stories of fiercely visionary, loving, and productive collective actions that will help end the climate emergency, veteran meteorologist and climate hawk Eric Holthaus writes in The Correspondent.

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Microsoft Pledges $1 Billion to Become Carbon-Negative by 2030

Software giant Microsoft is embarking on a four-year, US$1-billion effort to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, aiming to remove more CO2 than it emits by 2030 and offset all its historic emissions by 2050.

London Eye UK England

London, New York Mayors Urge Major Cities to Dump Fossil Investments

London, UK Mayor Sadiq Kahn and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are urging every major municipality in the world to dump their fossil fuel investments, after C40 Cities released a toolkit to help them do just that.

14% of U.S. Voters Cite Climate, Environment as Top Issue

A new poll has found that 14% of U.S. voters list “addressing climate change and protecting the environment” as their top priority coming into this year’s federal election, compared with a range of 2.0 to 6.0% before the 2016 vote.

European Investment Bank divests oil gas coal

World’s Biggest Public Lender Announces End to Fossil Project Funding

In a blockbuster announcement yesterday, the European Investment Bank pledged to end most or all of its financing for fossil energy projects by the end of 2021 and devote future financing to “accelerate clean energy innovation, energy efficiency, and renewables,” a move it says will “unlock €1 trillion of climate action and environmental sustainable investment in the decade to 2030.”

U.S. Community Solar Comes of Age, Becomes ‘Something I’d Sign My Mom Up For’

With a proven product, a more flexible approach to contracts, and a different notion of customer service and communications, community solar in the United States is getting closer to offering a broadly accessible, scaled-up product for the 50 to 75% of households that don’t have the option of installing their own rooftop systems.

U.S. Polls Show Wide Support for Climate Action, Fossil Phaseout

The majority of Americans believe their government must do more to protect clean water, air quality, and biodiversity and reduce the effects of climate change, and voters in early primary states are largely supportive of phasing out oil production, according to two recent polls published in the second half of this month.

Solar Panels

Study Shows One in Three Americans in Communities with 100% RE Targets

With renewable energy generation nearly doubling in the United States since 2008, a new report from UCLA’s Luskin Center for Innovation lists 11 states plus Puerto Rico and Washington, DC, as well as more than 200 cities and counties. that have either committed to or already met 100% clean electricity targets.

U.S. Green Economy Produced 10 Times More Jobs Than Fossils in 2016

The U.S. green economy produced 9.5 million jobs in 2015-2016, more than 10 times as many as a lavishly-subsidized fossil fuel sector, and its US$1.3 trillion in output accounted for 7% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to analysis released this week by two researchers at University College London.

Corporate Renewable Energy Buys Could Set All-Time Record in 2019

Corporate renewable energy purchases are on track to set another all-time record in 2019, with the United States still driving a strong growth trend and China moving toward a more prominent role.

22 U.S. States, Seven Cities Challenge Trump Rollback of Obama Clean Power Plan

Twenty-two U.S. states and seven cities went to court last week, trying to block the Trump administration from rolling back Obama-era restrictions on coal-fired electricity under the Clean Power Plan.