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In 2020, satellites detected tens of thousands of fires burning in Brazil’s Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland. Farmers and ranchers intentionally started many of the blazes, an act that fell in line with far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s agricultural expansion plans, clearing more land for planting and pastures in an ecosystem dried to tinder by the worst drought it had endured in almost 50 years. Even before the fires started to wane, the devastation was palpable. Millions of animals were dead, once-lush trees were left bare. The people living there—many of them from traditional communities that strive to work the land sustainably—felt the heat, too.

Plus, ExxonMobil is proposing to create an entirely new industry to capture carbon and inject it beneath the Gulf of Mexico, all so that energy companies can keep on pumping and burning oil and gas. Last year, Exxon proposed a herculean industrial effort for the Houston area that would allow the region’s fossil fuel infrastructure to continue operating at full throttle for decades while steadily lowering its climate-warming emissions.The $100 billion mega-project would tie together dozens of facilities owned by 12 of the world’s biggest corporate polluters.

In Brazil, the World’s Largest Tropical Wetland Has Been Overwhelmed With Unprecedented Fires and Clouds of Propaganda
BY JILL LANGLOIS
Under President Bolsonaro, climate-driven droughts and burns to clear land spawned more wildfire than ever in the Pantanal, devastating subsistence farmers, small ranchers and fishers.
Exxon’s Long-Shot Embrace of Carbon Capture in the Houston Area Just Got Massive Support from Congress
BY NICHOLAS KUSNETZ
But many analysts and environmentalists remain deeply skeptical, maintaining that capturing carbon emissions as a climate change fix is at best a sideshow.
A Legal Pot Problem That’s Now Plaguing the Streets of America: Plastic Litter
BY JAMES BRUGGERS
“We're going to have this entire new universe of plastic waste of the worst kind,” says one environmental activist. .
Western Forests, Snowpack and Wildfires Appear Trapped in a Vicious Climate Cycle
BY BOB BERWYN
A new study probes how extreme 2020 wildfires affected the water cycle in key mountain forests that store water in the form late-melting snow.
Billions in USDA Conservation Funding Went to Farmers for Programs that Were Not ‘Climate-Smart,’ a New Study Finds
BY GEORGINA GUSTIN
The Environmental Working Group urges retrofitting two conservation programs to help counter climate change, with nearly $12 billion in new funding coming from the Inflation Reduction Act.
Feeling Overwhelmed About Going All-Electric at Home? Here’s How to Get Started
BY DAN GEARINO
You can’t completely banish fossil fuels from your home in one fell swoop, but some achievable plays are within reach.
The Choice for Rural Officials: Oppose Solar Power or Face Revolt
BY DAN GEARINO
In a largely one-sided debate in Williamsport, Ohio, local elected officials have found it makes sense to fall in line.
Texas Is Now the Nation’s Biggest Emitter of Toxic Substances Into Streams, Rivers and Lakes
BY DYLAN BADDOUR
A new report puts Texas above the Great Lakes states for industrial discharges into waterways for the first time since the analysis began in 2009.
At a Global Conference on Clean Energy, Granholm Announces Billions in Federal Aid for Carbon Capture and Emerging Technology
BY KATIE SURMA
Outside the meeting in Pittsburgh, environmental activists denounced the technique for capturing carbon emissions from smokestacks, calling it an expensive diversion that would promote the continued extraction of oil and gas.
A Petroleum PR Blitz in New Mexico
BY JERRY REDFERN, CAPITAL & MAIN
Oil and gas money papers the state with industry messages.
A Plan To Share the Pain of Water Scarcity Divides Farmers in This Rural Nevada Community
BY KALEB ROEDEL, MOUNTAIN WEST NEWS BUREAU
As groundwater supplies decline, Western water law lets those with the oldest rights use their entire allocations while junior users absorb all of the reductions. Diamond Valley is trying to divide the cuts more equitably.
In Pivotal Climate Case, UN Panel Says Australia Violated Islanders’ Human Rights
BY KATIE SURMA
Committee asks the Canberra government to compensate Torres Strait Islanders for harm from rising seas and to take steps to protect them.
The Plastics Industry Searches for a ‘Circular’ Way to Cut Plastic Waste and Make More Plastics
BY JAMES BRUGGERS
Environmentalists smell a ruse, saying the industry’s talk of “advanced recycling” is nothing more than a fancy approach to a dirty business, incinerating plastics.
Feds Will Spend Billions to Boost Drought-Stricken Colorado River System
BY ALEX HAGER, KUNC
Money from the Inflation Reduction Act will fund “short-term conservation” measures including removing water-intensive lawns around cities and improvements to make infrastructure less leaky.
Toxic Releases From Industrial Facilities Compound Maryland’s Water Woes, a New Report Found
BY AMAN AZHAR
The EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory data for 2020 shows that industrial plants dumped tons of chemical waste and “forever chemicals” into Maryland’s waterways, slowing efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay and endangering public health.
TikTok Just Became a Go-To Source for Real-Time Videos of Hurricane Ian
BY DELANEY DRYFOOS & KATELYN WEISBROD
Move over CNN, the video hosting platform frequented by Gen Z has had over 1.7 billion views on #HurricaneIan. Also, planetary health “prescriptions,” blue lakes turning green and the landfill next door.
ICYMI
In California, a Race to Save the World’s Largest Trees From Megafires
BY TWILIGHT GREENAWAY
Wildfires killed up to a fifth of the world’s giant sequoias in just two years, but stopping the devastation requires lighting even more fires in their groves.
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TODAY'S CLIMATE
Our twice-a-week dive into the most pressing news related to our rapidly warming world. Written by Kristoffer Tigue.
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