Global Warming News StoriesExcerpts of Key Global Warming News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of global warming news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
President Trump directed the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday to shelve aggressive vehicle fuel economy targets that have been a foundation for battles against climate change and harmful pollution in California and across the country. The regulations to be reviewed ... had set ambitious targets for vehicle mileage. The decision puts the White House on a path toward a direct and costly confrontation with California. State officials, pointing to California’s unique authority under the Clean Air Act, have made clear they will not waver from requiring passenger cars to average about 54 miles per gallon by 2025, up from an average of 36 miles per gallon today. Trump’s announcement comes amid a lobbying blitz from a coalition of the world’s largest vehicle makers, which complained in a letter to the new administration that the existing EPA rules place unreasonable and expensive demands on the industry. The ultimate fate of the regulations may now be decided in a legal brawl between California and the Trump administration. The state is already moving to defend the federal regulations in court. "Any weakening or delay of the national standards will result in increased harms to our natural resources, our economy, and our people,” reads a legal filing submitted Tuesday by the state. Under the Clean Air Act, the state can impose emissions standards stronger than those set by the federal government, and a dozen other states have embraced the California rules.
Note: Many believe that fuel efficiency is determined by marketplace demand for more efficient vehicles. As this article shows, this is not the case. Congress mandates the average mpg of vehicles sold, and industry must comply. For more, see this essay.
The UK’s carbon dioxide emissions have fallen to their lowest level since the 19th century as coal use continues to plummet, analysis suggests. Emissions of the major greenhouse gas fell almost 6% year on year in 2016, after the use of coal for electricity more than halved to record lows, according to the Carbon Brief website, which reports on climate science and energy policy. The assessment suggests carbon emissions in 2016 were about 381m tonnes, putting the UK’s carbon pollution at its lowest level ... since 1894. Carbon emissions in 2016 are about 36% below the reference year of 1990, against which legal targets to cut climate pollution are measured. Emissions of carbon dioxide from coal fell 50% in 2016 as use of the fossil fuel dropped by 52%, contributing to an overall drop in carbon output of 5.8% last year compared with 2015, Carbon Brief said. The assessment reveals that coal use has fallen by 74% in just a decade. UK coal demand is falling rapidly because of cheaper gas, a hike in carbon taxes on the highly polluting fuel, expansion of renewables, dropping demand for energy overall and the closure of Redcar steelworks in late 2015. While emissions from coal fell in 2016, carbon output from gas rose 12.5% because of increased use of the fuel to generate electricity – although use of gas remains well below highs seen in the 2000s. Gas use for home and business heating has been falling for a decade, thanks to more insulation and efficient boilers.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The oil giant Shell issued a stark warning of the catastrophic risks of climate change more than a quarter of century ago in a prescient 1991 film that has been rediscovered. Shell’s 28-minute film, called Climate of Concern ... warned of extreme weather, floods, famines and climate refugees as fossil fuel burning warmed the world. A separate 1986 report, marked “confidential” and also seen by the Guardian, notes: “The changes may be the greatest in recorded history.” The predictions in the 1991 film for temperature and sea level rises and their impacts were remarkably accurate. Shell was one of the first major oil companies to accept the reality and dangers of climate change. But, despite this early and clear-eyed view of the risks of global warming, Shell invested many billions of dollars in highly polluting tar sand operations and on exploration in the Arctic. It also cited fracking as a “future opportunity” in 2016, despite its own 1998 data showing exploitation of unconventional oil and gas was incompatible with climate goals. Shell ... is estimated to have spent $22m in 2015 lobbying against climate policies, [and] has also been a member of industry lobby groups that have fought climate action. Another oil giant, Exxon Mobil, is under investigation ... for allegedly misleading investors about the risks climate change posed to its business. In early 2016, a group of congressmen asked the Department of Justice to also “investigate whether Shell’s actions around climate change violated federal law”.
At this week’s Alaska Forum on the Environment, 17 EPA employees were no-shows – and not by choice. The agency had planned to send 34 staff members to the week-long conference. But after the White House transition team demanded cutbacks, the Environmental Protection Agency only allowed half to attend. The EPA’s announcement comes after months of criticism by President Trump and his advisors, and a paring-down of climate science on government websites. Regardless of the motives behind this particular action, it continues a years-long trend of cuts to government agencies’ travel funds. Scientific research, which involves a regular exchange of ideas and findings, has been hit especially hard. The federal government faced major pressure to curb travel spending in 2012, when an Inspector General’s report revealed that the General Services Administration had spent more than $820,000 on a lavish conference in Las Vegas. The Office of Management and Budget promptly issued a memo directing each federal agency to spend 30 percent less on travel than it had in 2010. This week’s Alaska Forum on the Environment wasn’t exclusively for scientists. In addition to federal agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it featured military personnel and representatives from Alaska’s state, local, and tribal governments. Its panels addressed topics such as climate change, oil spills, and hazardous waste, which have both science and public policy aspects.
Donald Trump’s administration has appeared to ban at least three Government agencies from speaking to journalists, providing documents to the public or even tweeting. Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Services and Environmental Protection Agency staff are all reportedly subject to gagging orders. As well as the prohibition of social media posts ... the EPA has been ordered to freeze all grants, contracts and other agreements until further notice. A memo sent to EPA staff said there should be no press releases sent to “external audiences” and that “no social media will be going out”. The letter ... also says that a digital strategist will be drafted in to oversee the agency’s social media and that “existing, individually controlled social-media accounts may become more centrally controlled”. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ... employees were told not to publish any new documents or correspondence in any public forum, including the Federal Register, and not to discuss any documents or rules with public officials until it is reviewed by the administration. Staff at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service received a memo on Monday telling them not to provide any documents to the public including press releases and social media. The email told employees, including about 2,000 staff scientists, that “starting immediately and until further notice”, they could not release any documents or post on social media.
Solar energy is now cheaper than traditional fossil fuels. Solar and wind is now either the same price or cheaper than new fossil fuel capacity in more than 30 countries, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum. The influential foundation has described the change as a "tipping point" that could make fighting climate change into a profitable form of business for energy companies. But investors and energy firms are still failing to put money into such green solutions despite the fact that they are cheaper than more traditional forms of electricity generation. “Renewable energy has reached a tipping point – it now constitutes the best chance to reverse global warming,” said Michael Drexler, Head of Long Term Investing, Infrastructure and Development at the World Economic Forum. Just ten years ago, generating electricity through solar cost about $600 per MWh, and it cost only $100 to generate the same amount of power through coal and natural gas. But ... today it only costs around $100 the generate the same amount of electricity through solar and $50 through wind. The cheap price of solar and wind energy is already encouraging companies to build more plants to harvest it. The US is adding about 125 solar panels every minute ... and investment in renewables in 2015 rose to $286 billion, up 5 per cent from the year before. Even despite that cheap price ... the worldwide investment is only 25 per cent of the $1 trillion goal set in the landmark Paris climate change accord.
Note: Why are most of the media in the US hardly reporting this inspiring news at all? Read more on this great news in this informative essay.
The latest batch of President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees are poised to reshape not only the nation, but also the planet. The man tapped to be America’s chief diplomat is a trusted friend of Russia, the nation’s longtime geopolitical rival. The man tapped to lead the Department of Energy has long pledged to kill it. Russia [awarded him] its Order of Friendship in 2013, one of the highest awards Moscow gives foreigners. The man nominated to shepherd the Labor Department opposes raising the minimum wage. And Trump’s nominees to run the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Interior and Energy are dubious about the science behind climate change. Trump tapped these men — most of his nominees are wealthy, white men — because they are top “deal-makers.” And while they may not be creatures of Washington, they are still part of the nation’s elite and a far cry from Trump’s campaign promise to “drain the swamp” of entrenched power-brokers. “It’s a cabinet of tycoons,” said Eleni Kounalakis, a San Francisco business executive who served as U.S. ambassador to Hungary from 2010 to 2013. “He believes business tycoons know what’s best. Like what’s best for Exxon is best for America.”
Law enforcement officials announced last spring that they were pursuing fraud investigations against the world’s largest oil company, ExxonMobil. “Fossil fuel companies ... deceived investors and consumers about the dangers of climate change,” [Attorney General Maura] Healey said at the time. Now those words are being used against Healey, in a lawsuit filed by ExxonMobil. In a stunning offense-is-the-best-defense legal strategy, the company is ... saying the Massachusetts Democrat’s investigation violates their free speech and other constitutional rights. In its legal battle to shut down her investigation, ExxonMobil has demanded that she testify about her efforts and provide documents from her office. Healey contends the corporate response is unprecedented: Not only is [ExxonMobil] refusing to comply, it is demanding an investigation of the investigating agency. “They took the tack of trying to shut down this investigation by suing us,” she said. When Healey issued subpoenas seeking ExxonMobil’s documents on climate change dating to the 1970s, she was “abusing the power of government to silence a speaker she disfavors,” lawyers for ExxonMobil wrote in their June lawsuit against her, alleging a violation of the company’s rights. And they criticized the stories that prompted the investigation: Reports published in 2015 ... suggested ExxonMobil had encouraged climate change confusion for years, despite its own research documenting the risks.
Johan Eliasch is finding himself in the news a lot these days. Just over a week ago it emerged that this Swedish-born tycoon ... had bought 400,000 acres of the Amazonian rainforest, an area the size of Greater London. He bought it, he said, to save it, to preserve its plants and wildlife - and, by preserving old-growth forest, to do his bit towards counteracting rising CO2 levels. Eliasch's response to the issue of global warming and the devastation of habitats is unusual, but it is not isolated. Paul van Klissingen, owner of Calor gas, has spent Ł15m on land in Africa. Kris McDivitt, former head of Patagonia clothing, and her husband Doug Tompkins, co-founder of the North Face, own 2m acres in Chile and Argentina. George Soros and Luciano Benetton own 1m and 2m acres of South America respectively. The idea is to step in where local governments, for whatever reason, have failed, or have more pressing issues to deal with, to buy up the land and lock it down by banning logging, sometimes establishing wildlife parks. Eliasch has been thinking about environmental issues for a long time, he says. When he was growing up in Stockholm he used to be able to walk out of his front door and ski from late October until April. "Today in Stockholm, you can't ski at all." I ask what [it feels] like to own so much rainforest? A slight laugh. "It's something very precious. It's a responsibility, at the same time." A pause. "It's not really a personal possession."
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
When it comes to global warming, we know that the real problem is not just fossil fuels – it is the logic of endless growth. If we don’t keep the global economy growing by at least 3% per year, it plunges into crisis. This ... makes little sense given the limits of our finite planet. Climate change is the most obvious symptom of this contradiction, but we’re also seeing it in the form of deforestation, desertification and mass extinction. Our economic system is incompatible with life on this planet. Debt is the reason the economy has to grow in the first place. Because debt always comes with interest, it grows exponentially. Without growth, debt piles up and eventually triggers an economic crisis. The global economic system runs on money that is itself debt. Instead of letting commercial banks create money by lending it into existence, we could have the state create the money and then spend it into existence. [In] the 1930s ... a group of economists in Chicago proposed [this] as a way of curbing the reckless lending that led to the Great Depression. The Chicago Plan, as it was called, made headlines again in 2012 when progressive IMF economists put it forward as a strategy for preventing the global financial crisis from recurring. This idea is already beginning to gain traction: in the UK, the campaigning group Positive Money has generated momentum around it. The idea has its enemies, of course. If we shift to a positive money system, big banks will no longer have the power to literally make money out of nothing.
Buried below the ice sheet that covers most of Greenland, there's an abandoned U.S. Army base. Camp Century had trucks, tunnels, even a nuclear reactor. It was also a test site for deploying nuclear missiles. The camp was abandoned almost 50 years ago. But serious pollutants were left behind. Now a team of scientists says that as climate warming melts the ice sheet, those pollutants could spread. [Researcher William Colgan] found unclassified records that described what was left behind there - for example, the nuclear reactor was removed, but low-level radioactive cooling water used in it was not. There were very likely PCBs, which are toxic compounds in electrical equipment. There's no record of how much remained. Colgan says the Army figured all of it would be entombed forever. "They thought it would snow in perpetuity," he says, "and the phrase they used was that the waste would be preserved for eternity by perpetually accumulating snow." Except now, the climate has changed. Greenland's ice sheet is melting. Computer models say the camp could be uncovered by the end of this century. Meltwater could easily end up in the buried camp and then carry contamination through under-ice channels to the ocean. Colgan says it's unclear who owns this waste. The Army built the camp under a treaty between the U.S. and Denmark, which had jurisdiction over Greenland. It's a legal dilemma that's likely to start cropping up more often.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing global warming news articles from reliable major media sources.
In April, the email in-boxes of energy executives filled with alerts from the nation’s top corporate law firms. The subject: the multistate investigation into whether Exxon Mobil committed fraud by publicly discounting the impact of fossil fuels on climate change. The investigations into whether their industry suppressed findings and misled investors, policymakers and the public about global warming not only raise the prospects of criminal charges, but add momentum to a legal campaign [comparable] to the decades-long battle against Big Tobacco. In April, a federal judge in Oregon ruled that a case against the U.S. government for inaction on climate change could proceed, explaining that “the alleged valuing of short term economic interest despite the cost to human life” required examination by the courts. Environmental lawyers have argued for years that governments and companies are legally obligated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They had little success, with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2011 that the federal government alone had the power to control carbon emissions. But the recent entry of state prosecutors into the legal battle opens up a new line of inquiry: Did fossil fuel companies mislead their investors and the public on their own views on climate change and the risk it posed to their business? The recent legal rush follows the revelation last year that Exxon had engaged in climate change research in the 1970s and ’80s, and was warned by its own scientists of the growing threat.
Note: Read about the recent New York Attorney General's investigation into Exxon's climate change lies. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing climate change news articles from reliable major media sources.
It's a case an attorney called "one of the most significant in our nation's history." Twenty-one young people (ages 8 to 19) are suing President Barack Obama and the federal government over making a mess of the planet for future generations. The government and fossil fuel groups had asked the court to toss out the federal case, but Judge Thomas Coffin on Friday denied those requests. "The nascent nature of these proceedings dictate further development of the record before the court can adjudicate whether any claims or parties should not survive for trial," Coffin wrote in the decision. "Accordingly, the court should deny the motions to dismiss." The climate kids' argument is multifaceted and nuanced, bringing in concepts of public trust doctrine as well as constitutional rights to life, liberty and property. But one of the oh-wow points they're making is this: Young people and unborn generations are being discriminated against when it comes to the U.S. propagation of climate change. They will live through an era of rising seas, heat waves, droughts, floods and extinctions that are without precedent. Yet they have little or no voice in the political system that, despite some bold steps in the right direction, continues to lease federal property for fossil fuel extraction and continues to subsidize pollution. Officials have continued to pursue harmful practices while knowing their actions would have dire future consequences. The youth plaintiffs want the feds to come up with a wholesale plan to fight climate change.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The Rockefeller Family Fund, a charity that supports causes related to the environment, economic justice and other issues, is liquidating its investments in fossil fuel companies, including Exxon Mobil. "While the global community works to eliminate the use of fossil fuels, it makes little sense - financially or ethically - to continue holding investments in these companies," the fund said. In announcing its decision, the Rockefeller fund attacked Exxon for what it called the company's "morally reprehensible conduct," alluding to allegations that the company has hidden evidence that fossil fuels contribute to climate change. "Evidence appears to suggest that the company worked since the 1980s to confuse the public about climate change's march, while simultaneously spending millions to fortify its own infrastructure against climate change's destructive consequences and track new exploration opportunities as the Arctic's ice receded," the fund said. New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is said to have launched an investigation last fall into whether Exxon misled the public and investors about ... climate risks. California Attorney General Kamala Harris is also reportedly looking into whether Exxon lied about climate change. The probes followed a report by InsideClimate News ... claiming that Exxon sought to undermine scientific evidence that pointed to the growing threat of climate change.
Note: The Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced its fossil fuel divestment in 2014. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on climate change and the corruption of science from reliable major media sources.
Newly published classified documents show the National Security Agency spied on a 2010 conversation between Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the two discussed ways to improve Israel’s relationship with the United States. The Italian-Israeli conversation is included in one of five NSA documents released Tuesday by WikiLeaks. Two of the documents focus on climate change, one relates to trade talks, and two report on Italian government communications. The intelligence reports date from 2007 through 2011, [and] provide additional details on U.S. efforts to spy on countries taking part in the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, which failed to reach an agreement. One ... contains details of a confidential discussion about climate change negotiations between U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the lead-up to the conference. The NSA report is stamped “U.N. diplomatic,” “German leadership,” and Top Secret Gamma, the “Gamma” indicating an extremely sensitive spying operation. The interception methods stated on the latest leaked intelligence reports are “Unconventional” and “SCS,” which stands for Special Collection Service. SCS involves joint NSA and CIA eavesdropping operations run covertly inside U.S. and allied foreign embassy buildings in foreign capitals.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing intelligence agency corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Power Pallet ... generates electricity from corn cobs, wood chips, coconut shells and other kinds of cheap, dense biomass. Although it costs $24,000 to $34,000, the Pallet can churn out electricity for less money than the diesel generators that power businesses across the developing world, while coughing up less pollution. And when used properly, the Pallet is “carbon negative,” pulling more heat-trapping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere than it pumps back in. Its very existence is almost an accident. Years ago, the tinkerers who would eventually found All Power were ... building flame-throwing robots for Burning Man. Berkeley officials objected and convinced Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to cut the power [to their property]. As a result, Jim Mason, All Power’s CEO, developed a keen interest in generating electricity off the grid. “We got shut off and decided to hack climate change,” Price said. Now All Power has morphed into one of the Bay Area’s unlikeliest exporters, installing 700 machines in more than 30 countries worldwide. Its 30 employees assemble one or two Pallets each week, all in Berkeley. And All Power is one of a handful of American companies displaying their products at this week’s international climate conference in Paris. The Pallet uses gasification, a process more than a century old, that subjects carbon-rich organic material to high heat. What’s left of the original material becomes biochar, which can be mixed into soil as fertilizer. That waste product - biochar - is how the Pallet achieves carbon-negative status.
The New York attorney general has begun an investigation of Exxon Mobil to determine whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how such risks might hurt the oil business. The investigation focuses on whether statements the company made to investors about climate risks as recently as this year were consistent with the company’s own long-running scientific research. The people said the inquiry would include a period of at least a decade during which Exxon Mobil funded outside groups that sought to undermine climate science, even as its in-house scientists were outlining the potential consequences — and uncertainties — to company executives. In a separate inquiry, Peabody Energy, the nation’s largest coal producer, [has] been under investigation by the attorney general for two years over whether it properly disclosed financial risks related to climate change. Some experts see the potential for a legal assault on fossil fuel companies similar to the lawsuits against tobacco companies [that] were found guilty of “a massive 50-year scheme to defraud the public.” Inside Climate News and The Los Angeles Times have reported that Exxon Mobil was well aware of the risks of climate change from its own scientific research, and used that research in its long-term planning for activities like drilling in the Arctic, even as it funded groups from the 1990s to the mid-2000s that denied serious climate risks.
Note: For those interested in the global warming debate, read this Forbes article and this one debunking it to see just how polarized and non-scientific both sides of the debate are. This CNN article states that Antarctica has been gaining ice at least since 1992. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing climate change news articles from reliable major media sources.
Rich western countries and the world’s leading developing nations are spending up to $200bn (Ł130bn) a year subsidising fossil fuels, according to a report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. The ... thinktank said its 34 members plus six of the biggest emerging economies – China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa – were spending money supporting the consumption and production of coal, oil and gas that should be used to tackle climate change. The OECD secretary general, Angel Gurría, [said] that governments were spending almost twice as much money subsidising fossil fuels as was needed to meet the climate-finance objectives set by the international community at climate change summits, which have set a target of mobilising $100bn a year by 2020. Although ... fossil fuel subsidies were on a downward trend since peaking in 2011-12, the thinktank said they remained high. “By distorting costs and prices, fossil-fuel subsidies create inefficiencies in the way we generate and use energy,” Gurría said. “But most importantly, fossil-fuel subsidies undermine efforts to make our economies less carbon-intensive while exacerbating the damage to human health caused by air pollution.”
Note: The International Monetary Fund recently estimated that fossil fuel companies globally receive $5.3 trillion in yearly subsidies. In the US, these subsidies are granted by politicians that receive significant campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.
Two movies on similar missions are opening within weeks of each other this season, “Racing Extinction” and “This Changes Everything,” both exploring the devastation humanity has wrought on the natural world. Yet rather than focusing only on what is dying and lost, both films offer messages of hope, profiling people who have helped stop ... the pillaging of wildlife and land. Naomi Klein, who adapted “This Changes Everything,” based on her book of the same name, said a film salesman ... told her that he would market the movie only if there was no reference to climate change in the marketing. If you beat people over the head with shame, guilt and despair ... people turn away and try to forget about it. Cognizant of such aversion, the teams behind each film ... developed similar plans: target the people most passionate about what’s at stake, and bank on them to draw in others. “We want to make sure we approach the core audience directly,” said Richard Abramowitz, whose company, Abramorama, is distributing both films. “Racing Extinction” got a head start with its message this summer when the director and his collaborators projected images of endangered animals onto the Empire State Building. “This Changes Everything”... focuses on grass-roots movements that thwarted oil companies and communities that embraced renewable energy. It’s all part of the effort to get people to see the movie and then take an action.
We could live in a country powered entirely by renewable energy, woven together by accessible public transit. Caring for one another and caring for the planet could be the economy’s fastest growing sectors. Many more people could have higher-wage jobs with fewer work hours. Canada is not this place today – but it can be. Climate scientists have told us this is the decade to take decisive action to prevent catastrophic global warming. That means small steps will no longer suffice. So we need to leap. There is no longer an excuse for building new infrastructure projects that lock us into increased extraction decades into the future. That applies equally to oil and gas pipelines; fracking in New Brunswick, Quebec and British Columbia; increased tanker traffic off our coasts; and to Canadian-owned mining projects the world over. Since this leap is beginning late, we need to invest in our decaying public infrastructure so it can withstand increasingly frequent extreme weather events. Moving to a far more localized and ecologically based agricultural system would reduce reliance on fossil fuels, capture carbon in the soil and absorb sudden shocks in the global supply – as well as produce healthier and more affordable food for everyone. “Austerity” – which has systematically attacked low-carbon sectors such as education and health care – is a fossilized form of thinking that has become a threat. One thing is clear: Public scarcity in times of unprecedented private wealth is a manufactured crisis, designed to extinguish our dreams.
Note: The esteemed authors of this essay are Naomi Klein, David Suzuki, Leonard Cohen, Donald Sutherland and Ellen Page. For more, read the complete essay, and see concise summaries of deeply revealing global warming news articles from reliable major media sources.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.