Climate Change

A feed of recent articles relating to Climate Change from The Daily Climate.

19 April 2018. Brazilian state prosecutor opposes Total drill plan at mouth of Amazon

The public prosecutor's office in the northern state of Amapá recommended on Wednesday that Brazil’s environmental regulator Ibama deny French major Total a license to drill for oil near the mouth of the Amazon.

19 April 2018. Drought in eastern Victoria forcing farmers to sell off half their herds as dams run dry

Many farmers in East Gippsland are selling half their herds as they continue to battle extreme dry conditions.

19 April 2018. Report finds offshore wind turbines not as dangerous for seabirds as thought

The risk of seabirds colliding with offshore wind turbines is less than half what was previously thought, according to a landmark new report.

19 April 2018. Jacinda Ardern: The Commonwealth can kickstart a global offensive on climate change

The task ahead is immense, but New Zealanders know it can be achieved. We have a proud history of this kind of leadership, says New Zealand's prime minister Jacinda Ardern.

19 April 2018. As climate costs grow, some see a moneymaking opportunity

Extreme weather cost Americans over $300 billion last year. Scientists say climate change will bring more of that. Entrepreneurs and businesses see a new market in gauging risk.

19 April 2018. George Skelton: Governor’s potential successors don’t share his Delta tunnel vision

Candidates seek alternatives to Jerry Brown's plans to send water to Southern California

19 April 2018. WHITE HOUSE: Pruitt's climate debate just got more likely

The departure of President Trump's top energy aide might boost Scott Pruitt's prospects for a climate science debate.

19 April 2018. Winds ease but deadly wildfires endure in Southwest US

Frazzled residents in a part of rural northwestern Oklahoma paralyzed by days of wind-whipped wildfires expressed fear a blaze could overrun their home Wednesday, as firefighters battling the deadly fires there and in Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico found some relief at the promise of easing of dangerous weather conditions.

19 April 2018. In a packed courtroom, Kinder Morgan pipeline protestors face charges

About 100 defendants appeared in B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday, to face charges for protesting within a court-imposed exclusion zone at the Trans Mountain pipeline construction site in Burnaby.

19 April 2018. High-ranking federal officials sped up Trans Mountain review after phone call from Kinder Morgan's Ian Anderson

High-ranking bureaucrats in the federal government discussed speeding up the review of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion project in 2016 following a phone call from the company’s chief executive, Ian Anderson, that left officials warning that the pipeline might be “abandoned,” reveal newly-released internal documents.

19 April 2018. Chevron Canada should pay for pollution in Ecuador, Ontario court told

A group of Indigenous people from the Amazon argued Wednesday that they should be able to seize shares of Chevron Canada to pay for the pollution its U.S. parent company allegedly left behind in their homeland.

19 April 2018. Trump's EPA quietly revamps rules for air pollution

The Trump administration has quietly reshaped enforcement of air pollution standards in recent months through a series of regulatory memos.

19 April 2018. Bayou Bridge Pipeline owners had 527 hazardous incidents over 16 years, environmental groups say

They cite data compiled by federal and state regulators.

19 April 2018. Louisiana is second-worst in environmental friendliness: report

The state received poor marks in recycling, water and air quality and energy use in WalletHub report.

19 April 2018. With primary weeks away, Blankenship seeks to have conviction thrown out

Less than three weeks before West Virginia’s primary election, former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship on Wednesday asked a federal judge to throw out his criminal mine safety conviction.

19 April 2018. Low-carbon investment is moving too slowly to rein in warming, U.N. warns

Growing recognition of climate change’s economic threat has not stymied fossil fuel investments

19 April 2018. The UK may commit to net-zero carbon emissions. That’s a big deal.

It would be the first G7 nation to formally commit to zero.

19 April 2018. Mulvaney, House panel ramp up pressure on Pruitt

"I’m not interested in covering for anybody else," Mulvaney told the House Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee.

19 April 2018. Puerto Rico suffers a complete power outage

Almost seven months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is experiencing a complete power outage.

19 April 2018. The Trump vs. California environmental fight nobody's talking about

The Trump administration says it wants to build more solar and wind farms in the California desert. Environmentalists aren't buying it.

19 April 2018. US counties get mixed grades in ‘State of the Air’ pollution report

The American Lung Association’s annual report on pollution levels in the United States warns that 2 in 5 Americans live in counties with too much ozone or particulate pollution.

19 April 2018. Global warming has changed the Great Barrier Reef ‘forever,’ scientists say

"Unprecedented.” “Radical.” “Catastrophic.” The damage to the Great Barrier Reef is even worse than experts thought.

19 April 2018. Labor and civil rights organizations call for EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s ouster

The NAACP wants the EPA administrator to resign or be fired.

19 April 2018. The staggering environmental footprint of all the food that we just throw in the trash

Americans waste about a quarter of the food they buy, and the environmental consequences are enormous.

19 April 2018. Total, with energy industry in flux, makes $1.7 billion bet on a utility

The deal fits what appears to be an accelerating trend, as oil and gas companies invest in a wide range of activities, particularly in cleaner energy.

19 April 2018. Climate lawsuits, once limited to the coasts, jump inland

Local governments in California and New York City have sued oil and gas giants. Now Boulder and two Colorado counties have joined the fight.

18 April 2018. Cropping, population boost carbon sinks

Research into the effect of wildfires on global warming has delivered a "good news/bad news/good news" result.

18 April 2018. A remedy for broken science, or an attempt to undercut it?

A report from the National Association of Scholars takes on the reproducibility crisis in science. Not everyone views the group's motives as pure.

18 April 2018. A remedy for broken science, or an attempt to undercut it?

A report from the National Association of Scholars takes on the reproducibility crisis in science. Not everyone views the group's motives as pure.

18 April 2018. Pittsburgh scores all F’s on the American Lung Association’s air quality report card

Pittsburgh's air quality is not only among the worst in the nation, but has actually declined in recent years, according to a new report from the American Lung Association.

The organization's annual "State of the Air" report for 2018 , which uses a report card-style grading system, gave Allegheny County F grades for ozone, daily particulate matter levels and long-term particulate matter levels. It was one of just 10 counties in the nation to score F grades in all three categories.

While the region saw a slight decrease in unhealthy days for ozone, there was an increase in particulate matter pollution, which causes higher rates of asthma and cancer, decreased lung function in children, and increased hospital admissions and premature death due to heart attacks and respiratory illness. This marks the 19th year that the "State of the Air" report has been issued, and the 19th time Allegheny County has received an F grade for particle pollution.

The report, which looked at data from 2014-2016 for the Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton, Penn.-Ohio-W. Virginiametro area, found that on both measures for particle pollution, Allegheny County did worse this year than last year: The region fell from the 17th worst-ranked county in the nation for daily particle pollution levels to the 10th worst, and Pittsburgh was one of just six regions in the country where year-round particulate pollution increased instead of decreasing since the last report. (The others were Los Angeles; Las Vegas; Birmingham, Ala.; Harrisburg-York-Lebanon, Penn.; and Lancaster, Penn.)

Allegheny County was also the only county in the state to experience an increase in unhealthy air days for particulate pollution—from an average of 6 to 8.5 unhealthy days per year.

Credit: American Lung Association

"One bad air day can be one day too many, especially for people with asthma, children, senior citizens and others who are more vulnerable to suffer from poor air quality," Kevin Stewart, director of Environmental Health for the Mid-Atlantic American Lung Association, told EHN. "The health impact could just be a day where people experience pain when breathing deeply and can't carry out their normal activities and have to stay home from school or work. But we also know that being exposed to high levels of ozone or fine particle pollution can kill people."

Stewart highlighted that Allegheny was the only county outside of California to receive F grades in all three air quality categories, which he said is likely due to industrial sources.

"We know in California there are certain meteorological and topographical elements that lead to concentrations of air pollutants at the ground level," he explained. "They have a drier environment, so they have a larger component of atmospheric dust than there is in the East, for example. In Allegheny County, the problem is more likely related to industrial sources of air pollution."

An earlier report from PennEnvironment indicates that 70 percent of Pittsburgh's air pollution comes from just 10 industrial sources.

"These Fs represent a failure on the part of local leaders and regulators to prioritize air quality and treat it as the significant public health threat that it is," Rachel Filippini, executive director of Pittsburgh's Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), said in a statement.

When it comes to ozone, the Pittsburgh metro area is improving, despite still receiving an F grade. For the third year in a row, the region experienced fewer unhealthy days of high ozone than in it had in previous reports.

"We certainly applaud the progress made in the U.S. and in Southwestern Pennsylvania with respect to air pollution in the past," Stewart said. "But there are a lot of potential risks now—from potential new industrial development as a consequence of the national gas and ethane boom, to what's happening at the national level with the EPA's weakened ability to enforce the Clean Air Act. We have to take care of these things for ourselves and for our children."