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Today's Climate

05/14/2019

Climate Policy Foes Seize on New White House Rule to Challenge Endangerment Finding

Seizing a new opportunity they believe has been opened up by the White House, hard-line foes of climate action are asking the Trump Administration to reverse the landmark Obama-era finding that greenhouse gases are a danger to human health and the environment. They have a new weapon: a memo quietly issued by the Trump White House three weeks ago.

(InsideClimate News)

Yellowstone’s Grizzlies Are Wandering Farther from Home and Dying in Higher Numbers

Warmer winters in Yellowstone National Park have fueled the devastation of a key food source for grizzly bears. The bears are increasingly wandering out of the region's high-altitude forests and dying in greater numbers.

(InsideClimate News)

Florida County Landfill Takes in Coal Ash from Puerto Rico, Triggering Public Backlash

A Florida community with a large Puerto Rican population is upset about a decision to use a local landfill to dump thousands of tons of coal ash from a coal-fired power plant in Guayama, Puerto Rico, where a massive coal ash pile has been the subject of longstanding environmental concerns

(Orlando Sentinel)

Germany May Bow to European Pressure to Consider CO2 Neutrality by 2050

Germany may bow to pressure from European peers, including France and Sweden, who are calling for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, Chancellor Angela Merkel said. Germany, Europe's biggest emitter of CO2, is struggling to meet its current emissions targets. 

(Bloomberg)

Mercedes-Benz's New Climate Pledge: All Cars Carbon-Neutral by 2039

Mercedes-Benz pledged to make its new passenger car fleet carbon-neutral within two decades, a goal built on electric vehicles and renewable energy. The German manufacturer aims to have all-electric models and hybrids make up more than half of its total car sales by 2030 and all of its car sales by 2039.

(CNN)

A First Look at How Colorado Will Become a ZEV State: The Rule, the Cost, the Debate

The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission voted unanimously Friday to decide whether Colorado should adopt stricter vehicle emissions that would require auto manufacturers to make electric vehicles nearly 5% of their vehicles for sale in Colorado by 2023, with higher rates in following years. Auto manufacturers want the targets to be voluntary.

(Colorado Sun)

Oil-Rich Norway to Stress Test Its Finances Amid Climate Risk

Following an expert's report on climate risk and intensifying debate over the future of its petroleum industry, Norway, western Europe's biggest oil and gas producer, plans to stress-test its public finances with different price scenarios to better understand risks related to climate change.

(Bloomberg)

UN Agency Meets to Tackle Pollution and Emissions by Ships

Climate change and shipping's contribution to it will be high on the agenda as the marine environmental protection committee of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) meets this week in London. The UN agency regulates global marine transport and has a target to halve shipping emissions by 2050.

(The Guardian)

How West Virginia's Coal Industry Changed Federal Endangered Species Policy

The Interior Department worked with West Virginia officials to evade coal mining restrictions that protect endangered crayfish, new documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show. The Center for Biological Diversity and other groups are preparing to sue the department for failing to protect the crustaceans.

(Washington Post)

180 Countries — Except U.S. — Agree to Plastic Waste Reduction

Almost every country in the world, except the United States, agreed to an international deal on Friday that would treat plastics as hazardous waste and sharply reduce the amount of it being washed into the world's oceans. Read more from ICN on investors pressuring oil giants to reduce plastics pollution.

(Deutsche Welle)

UN Chief Says Countries Not Living Up to Paris Commitments

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Sunday that  countries were not living up to their commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement and that the political will to fight climate change seems to be fading just as things are getting worse for those feeling the effects.

(Sydney Morning Herald)

Their Islands Are Being Eroded. So Are Their Human Rights, They Say.

Indigenous Australians from islands in the Torres Strait argue that the government, by failing to act on climate change, has violated their fundamental right to maintain their culture. In a landmark claim to be submitted to the United Nations, they call on the country to help fund protective infrastructure and to meet its emissions targets.

(The New York Times)

May Heat Shrinks Washington Snowpack, Raising Risk for Tight Water Flows for Fish and Farmers

The Pacific Northwest is experiencing surging spring heat that is prompting red-flag warnings for fire risks in southwest Washington. With statewide snowpack only 58 percent of the median, state officials are preparing for summer drought, which can raise the potential for wildfires, reduce irrigation flows to farmers and make life difficult for salmon.

(Seattle Times)

Could Climate Change Submerge Joe Biden's Presidential Bid?

Environmental groups and progressive Democrats are attacking a "middle ground" approach to climate change by 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden. The yet-to-be-released plan would reinstate many Obama era policies including support for natural gas, an approach critics say is insufficient. 

(The Guardian)

Wyoming Coal Giant Cloud Peak Files for Bankruptcy

Coal giant Cloud Peak Energy has filed for bankruptcy amid mounting debt and declining demand. The company said its mining operations would continue as it moves through the bankruptcy process. The filing represents the latest concerning episode for coal in Wyoming.

(Casper Star Tribune)

Parts of California May Go Dark During Wildfires This Summer, and They Aren't Ready

A plan by California's biggest utility to cut power on high-wind days during wildfire season could plunge millions of residents into darkness. While the plan may help avoid sparking wildfires, it creates another problem as Californians seek ways to deal with what some fear could be days of blackouts.

(Bloomberg)

States Fight Trump Rollback of Obama Light Bulb Rules

The Energy Department has proposed new regulations for light bulbs that would eliminate efficiency standards for half the bulbs on the market. The move has prompted a backlash from a bipartisan mix of state attorneys general and governors who say it is harmful to the planet and may be illegal.

(The Hill)

Climate Change and the New Age of Extinction

Climate change is emerging as a direct driver of biodiversity loss and is exacerbating the impact of other drivers, with accelerating effects, last week's IPBES report shows. "We would, it seems, be well advised to shift course, if only for our own, species-centric reasons," Elizabeth Kolbert writes.

(The New Yorker)

Vernon Loeb Joins InsideClimate News as Senior Editor of Investigations, Enterprise and Innovations

Vernon Loeb, an award-winning editor who has worked for the Houston Chronicle, The Atlantic, The Washington Post and other major news organizations, is joining InsideClimate News as senior editor of investigations, enterprise and innovations.

(InsideClimate News)

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