Recent News

Compared to oil and gas, offshore wind is 125 times better for taxpayers

A new report finds per-acre revenue from offshore wind blows oil and gas out of the water

Not only is offshore wind power better for the planet compared to oil and gas, it’s also better for taxpayers. That’s according to a new analysis from the Center for American Progress, a nonpartisan policy research institute.

“Americans are getting significantly more return on investment from offshore wind energy lease sales than they are from oil and gas lease sales” per acre, said Michael Freeman, a conservation policy analyst for the Center and author of the report.

Offshore leases are essentially patches of publicly-owned waters rented out by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for energy production — a process governed by the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. The money made from these leases goes to the U.S. Treasury Department, and, through public program funding, back into the pockets of taxpayers. 09-23-22

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The Senate just approved an international climate treaty, with bipartisan support

The Kigali Amendment sets a timeline for the world to phase down the use of powerful greenhouse gases called hydrofluorocarbons.

Scott Heins/Getty Images

The Senate has historically been the place where climate policy goes to die. Most climate bills garner zero Republican support, and Democrats haven’t had the 60 votes required to pass legislation since 2010. The recent Inflation Reduction Act was a unique exception — the bill’s $369 billion in climate and energy spending was pushed through with 50 Democratic votes under an arcane process called “budget reconciliation.”

But on Wednesday, the Senate flipped the script and voted to approve an international agreement designed to drive down greenhouse gas emissions. Sixty-nine Senators, including 19 Republicans, voted in favor of ratifying the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which sets a timeline for the world to phase down the use of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs. (The Senate must approve international treaties by a two-thirds vote before the President can ratify them.)

“Ratifying the Kigali Amendment, along with passing the Inflation Reduction Act, is the strongest one-two punch against climate change any Congress has ever taken,” said Senator Chuck Schumer after the vote. 09-21-22

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Left Behind

What life is like for the last residents of Staten Island’s Oakwood Beach.

Signs on a vacant Oakwood Beach home warn away trespassers. Grist / Joaquim Salles

Less than an hour’s drive from downtown Manhattan, on the eastern shore of Staten Island, lies the neighborhood of Oakwood Beach. A decade ago, it was a tight-knit working-class community of roughly 300 homes. Bungalows and beach houses lined its quiet streets, boasting ample backyards, easy water access, and a calmness rare in a city like New York. Today, the neighborhood is unrecognizable, a barren landscape of empty lots and flooded streets. Almost everyone has left.

When Superstorm Sandy ravaged New York on October 29, 2012, Oakwood Beach was one of the hardest hit areas. A 14-foot storm surge, among the highest recorded in the city, swept across the neighborhood. Entire houses were lifted from their foundations and carried across the surrounding marsh. Three people died.

Low-lying and encircled by wetlands, Oakwood Beach had always been prone to flooding, but the devastation caused by Sandy was unprecedented. Rather than rebuilding and waiting for the next storm, residents decided they would be better off elsewhere.

In the months that followed, they successfully lobbied the government to buy out their homes. The state of New York, using federal grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, agreed to pay pre-storm prices for the destroyed properties, demolish them, and never redevelop the land. Residents would be out of harm’s way in the event of another disaster and armed with money to resettle elsewhere. In time, nature would retake the area, creating a natural barrier against future storms. The strategy, called managed retreat, is what some experts say is the only long-term solution for waterfront areas like Oakwood Beach in the face of extreme weather and sea-level rise.

Buyouts in the neighborhood started in 2013, the first in a series of post-Sandy retreat programs on the eastern shore of Staten Island. The vast majority of residents chose to participate, but a few did not. Some simply didn’t want to leave their longtime homes. Others felt they couldn’t afford to relocate in New York’s expensive housing market for what the state was offering.  09-21-22

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Schools are harnessing solar power in record numbers


The new solar array on the roof of the Downtown High School in San Francisco, California
Lea Suzuki / The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Solar arrays offer cost savings and educational opportunities.

In 2014, two solar energy groups published a report finding that only about 3,750 U.S. schools — out of a total of roughly 130,000 — were generating electricity from solar panels. But that number is on the rise.

According to the fourth edition of the “Brighter Future” report, released last week by the clean energy nonprofit Generation180, the number of U.S. schools using solar power has more than doubled in the last seven years, reaching roughly 8,400 by the end of 2021. These so-called “solar schools” now account for nearly 1 in 10 public, independent, and charter K-12 schools and serve more than 6 million students nationwide.

Tish Tablan, director of Generation180’s Solar for All Schools program and lead author of the report, called the number “an incredible milestone.” As some schools build new rooftop and ground-based solar arrays, others are subscribing to community solar programs. In some cases, schools with solar panels are generating enough electricity to sell it back to their communities. Since 2015, American schools’ total solar energy capacity has nearly tripled to 1,644 megawatts — enough to meet the electricity use of all the households in a city the size of Boston, Denver, or Washington, D.C. 09-20-22

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‘Goliath is wobbling’: Louisiana court strikes blow to Formosa’s giant plastics plant

Members of Rise St. James protest Formosa’s proposed petrochemical complex. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Without air or water permits, the company will have to “go back to the drawing board.”

A years-long battle to stop the chemical company Formosa from building a massive petrochemical complex along the Mississippi River in southern Louisiana swung in favor of residents on Wednesday when a state district judge withdrew the air permits that the company needs to operate.

The Taiwan-based chemical giant first announced its plans to build the $9.4 billion petrochemical complex on a sprawling 2,400-acre site in St. James Parish in April 2018. If approved, the so-called “Sunshine Project” would have been one of the largest and most expensive industrial projects in the state’s history. Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, celebrated it as a boon for economic development that would bring 1,200 new jobs to the region.

But the project encountered swift opposition from the local community.

St. James is perched on a bend of the lower Mississippi River in a region known as “Cancer Alley” for its concentration of plants that spew cancer-causing chemicals. Numerous large industrial facilities already operate in the parish. A ProPublica investigation in 2019 found that the air around Formosa’s proposed site already contained more cancer-causing pollution than 99.6 percent of industrialized areas of the country. If the complex was to be built, the analysis estimated, the level of cancer-causing industrial pollution in some parts of the parish could more than triple.  09-16-22

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Banning Gas Cars Is Good, but It’ll Take More to Save the Planet

People must both drive less and switch to electric vehicles to reduce carbon emissions enough to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Los Angeles officials may periodically close a new bridge to car traffic, making it safer for pedestrians and cyclists to travel through the neighborhood.Photograph: Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

When a California pollution regulator voted last month to approve a rule banning new gas-powered car sales in the state by 2035, its officials were hailed as climate heroes. With good reason too: The move will reduce emissions by nearly 400 million metric tons between 2026 and 2040, the state calculates, preventing an estimated 1,300 deaths from heart- and lung-related ailments. The ban is the first such move in the US and among the most aggressive climate regulations in the world. It underscores the Golden State’s position as a powerful proving ground for environmental policy. What’s more, an auto industry already excited about electrification seems to have taken the whole thing in stride. Experts say the goal should be well within reach, too; after all, more than 16 percent of new cars sold in California this year were zero-emission.

That’s the good news. Here’s the bad news: California still has lots of work to do, because electrifying cars alone won’t be enough to stave off the worst of climate change. In a draft report released this summer, the state’s Air Resources Board turned to another policy needed alongside banning gas cars: reducing the number of miles that Californians drive every year. “Even with improvements in clean vehicle technology and fuels,” the agency wrote, “it is still necessary to reduce driving to meet state climate and air quality commitments.”

The state has committed to driving less because, for one thing, it’s going to take a while for all California cars to become zero-emission. Despite new purchases and old cars getting scrapped, the average age of cars on US roads keeps increasing—today, the average is more than 12 years. Existing gas-powered cars will stick around long after they’re banned from new car lots. Plus, there are plenty of emissions associated with cars and driving that don’t come out of a tailpipe, including manufacturing the vehicle in the first place, and the stuff that cars drive on. Building and maintaining just one lane-mile of highway creates some 3,500 tons of carbon emissions, according to one analysis. 09-16-22

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Left Out to Dry: Wildlife Threatened by Colorado River Basin Water Crisis

Lost in much of the coverage of the region’s water woes is the ecological crisis caused by prolonged drought, climate warming and development.

The drought’s ‘bathtub ring’ of Lake Mead at the inlet for Hoover Dam, May 2022. Photo: Don Barrett (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

In the Colorado River basin, our past has come back to haunt us.

We’re not just talking about the dead bodies emerging from the drying shoreline of Lake Mead. The river’s water crisis has caused the nation’s two biggest reservoirs to sink to historic lows.

It’s a problem of our own making — in more ways than one.

The Colorado River Compact, signed a century ago, overallocated the river’s water. Experts have long warned that nature can’t continue to deliver the water that the government has promised to farms, cities and towns.

A drying West, warmed by climate change, has now made that shortage impossible to ignore.

For years demand has outstripped natural flows on the river, and some states and Tribes have already taken cuts to their allocations. Additional conservation measures were expected as the seven U.S. states that share the river — Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, California and Nevada — have been working on hammering out a new deal. The region’s more than two dozen federally recognized Tribes have also been fighting for a seat at that table and a hand in the river’s management. But the deadline for a revised agreement between all the parties came and went this summer with no resolution in sight.

To say there’s a lot at stake would be an understatement.

Some 40 million people rely on the 1,400-mile-long river in the United States and Mexico, including in many of the West’s biggest cities. It also greens 5 million acres of irrigated agriculture.

But that’s come at a cost. Long before cities and industrial farms emerged, the river supported diverse mountain and desert ecosystems, providing refuge and resources for countless animals and plants.

Many of those species now struggle to survive the cumulative pressures from drought, climate warming and human developments. And they remain an overlooked part of the region’s water crisis. 09-12-22

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‘I just want my people out here’: Black-led groups in Detroit are cultivating access to nature

A growing number of initiatives in Detroit are working to redefine outdoor activities as acts of liberation.

Detroiter Ian Solomon began building a deep relationship with the outdoors while attending college in Arizona for broadcast journalism. He’d never been in a place with such access to mountains and nature before, and he quickly fell in love.

But during his forays into the wilderness, he often felt like he was entering predominantly white spaces. He soon began to see the outdoors as a privilege to which other Black and Brown people should have access. His efforts led him to launch Amplify Outside, one of several initiatives emerging from Detroit to help eliminate obstacles to people of color accessing nature.

According to a study by the Outdoor Foundation, 72 percent of outdoor participants in 2020 were white. Black and Hispanic Americans are both underrepresented in outdoor recreation activities, and just 38 percent of Black Americans ages six and over participated in 2020, down from 40 percent in 2019.

There are important reasons for this, according to Solomon. “A lot of our history as being Black Americans in the outdoors is kind of negative – you think about slavery and lynching,” he says. “There’s a lot of access barriers for Black people outdoors, but sometimes it’s just as simple as we don’t know where to go and we didn’t know this was an option.”

The disconnect with nature for Black and Brown people goes beyond access. Scholar Carolyn Finney, author of “Black Faces, White Spaces,” notes that Black Americans’ relationship with the outdoors and the environment has historically been dictated for them. 09-14-22

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‘Forest bathing’ or hiking a trail can make you feel better

Negative ions caused by crashing water can elevate our feeling of well-being, and so, apparently, can walking in the woods.

The Hammock Hills trailhead. Photo: C. Leinbach/Ocracoke Observer

A growing number of studies show that when people are exposed to negative ions — electrically charged particles that occur when air is under the influence of energy sources such as crashing waves or waterfalls — they feel better, owing to negative ions raising the brain’s serotonin (happy hormone) levels.

Apparently, forest trees can also impart beneficial substances.

According to an April 2021 New York Times article, in the 1980s, researchers in Nagano, Japan, found that the practice of spending time in forests lessens stress, boosts immunity and lowers blood pressure.

Subsequent studies showed that soaking up the forest environment reduces cortisol (the body’s primary stress hormone) and activates the parasympathetic (self-healing) nervous system.

According to some reports, breathing in phytoncides, the aromatic oils released by trees, can increase the number of the body’s natural killer cells (a type of white blood cell crucial to the immune system that can limit the spread of microbial infections and tumors).

So “forest bathing” has become a thing, especially in Japan, where it is called Shinrinyoku and where nature therapy has ancient roots.

For a recent article on forest bathing, visit www.japanesegarden.org based in Portland, Oregon.

You don’t need to get naked, put on your swimsuit or get wet during a nature “bath” because you’re bathing in the energy and clean air while walking in the woods. 09-13-22

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These red states don’t want climate targets — but they do want green jobs

How Georgia and other Republican-led states are trying to benefit from the clean manufacturing boom.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp speaks at a campaign event in May. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

On a sweltering Friday this summer, a who’s who of Georgia political and business figures gathered under a large tent on a dusty expanse of vacant land outside of Savannah, sipping champagne. They were waiting for the governor to confirm the week’s exciting rumor: Hyundai was going to build electric vehicles here.

“It is my great honor to officially announce that Hyundai Motor Group will build their first dedicated electric vehicle manufacturing plant right here in this good soil in Bryan County,” Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, announced to whoops and cheers.

He went on to boast that 20 EV-related projects had come to Georgia since 2020, promising thousands of jobs and billions in investment. The state has actively pursued these companies, offering billions in tax breaks and other incentives to lure Hyundai, electric truck and SUV maker Rivian, EV battery maker SK Innovation, and others to Georgia. Kemp called the state “the unrivaled leader in the nation’s emerging electric mobility industry.”

And it’s not just EVs. Solar panels have been made in Georgia since Suniva was founded out of Georgia Tech in 2008, and the industry has expanded in the last few years. The solar manufacturer Qcells opened a plant in 2019 and announced an expansion this year, and last year NanoPV announced another plant in the state. 09-12-22

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Oil companies say they’re going green, but their investments tell another story

A new report finds that Big Oil spent $750 million last year on climate-friendly marketing.

Extinction Rebellion activists protest greenwashing at a demonstration in Amsterdam on November 27, 2021. Ana Fernandez / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

The biggest oil companies remain mired in the business of selling fossil fuels, but their marketing is all about going green.

Well over half of Big Oil’s advertisements promote the message that they have embraced clean energy and emissions reductions, and other such “green claims,” according to a new report from InfluenceMap, a think tank based in London. Researchers found that BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, and TotalEnergies spent an estimated $750 million last year to promote a climate-friendly image — and the report calls that “a conservative estimate.”

Yet at the same time, the report found that all five companies were on track to increase oil production by 2026. Together, these companies spend only about a tenth of their investments on pursuits they consider “low-carbon.” Shell had the widest gap between its words and actions: While the company touted its carbon-cutting efforts 70 percent of the time, it only put 10 percent of capital expenditures toward low-carbon investments. The companies have also recently lobbied governments to weaken renewable energy policies and further the production of fossil fuels.

To understand what message oil companies were sending to the public, InfluenceMap’s researchers analyzed more than 3,400 social media posts, press releases, blog posts, and other communications from oil companies last year. They found that 60 percent contained environmentally-friendly messages, while only 23 percent promoted oil and gas. The most popular message was about adopting clean energy, followed by publicizing their efforts to reduce emissions. Many oil companies have a plan to zero out their emissions by 2050 — though their plans often fail to account for the emissions from the fossil fuels they’re selling. 09-09-22

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America’s electric utilities spent decades spreading climate misinformation

Utilities knew about climate change as early as the 1960s and misled the public in order to continue turning a profit.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

America’s electric utilities were aware as early as the 1960s that the burning of fossil fuels was warming the planet, but, two decades later, worked hand in hand with oil and gas companies to “promote doubt around climate change for the sake of continued … profits,” finds a new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

The research adds utility companies and their affiliated groups to the growing list of actors that spent years misleading the American public about the threat of climate change. Over the past half decade, oil companies like BP and ExxonMobil have had to defend themselves in court against cities, state attorneys general, youth activists, and other entities who allege the world’s fossil fuel giants knew about the existence of climate change as far back as 1968, yet chose to ignore the information and launch disinformation campaigns. Recent investigations show the coal industry did something similar, as did fossil fuel-funded economists.

But while the role Big Oil played in misleading the public has been widely publicized, utilities’ culpability has largely flown under the radar. So researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara began collecting and analyzing public and private records kept by organizations within the utility industry. 09-07-22

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Parched California prepares for first-ever Colorado River cuts

An emerging deal would cut water deliveries to Southern California — but fall far short of federal demands.

David McNew / Getty Images

Officials in California are closing in on an agreement to give up a significant portion of the water the state gets from the Colorado River, bowing to an emergency demand made by the federal government earlier this summer.

Executives from two large water districts in the Golden State, which service the Los Angeles metropolitan area and the agriculture-heavy Imperial Valley, told Grist that they’re making progress on negotiations to leave roughly 10 percent of the state’s Colorado River water allocation in reservoirs next year, or at least 100 trillion gallons. The officials indicated that they may reach a deal as soon as this month, and said they believe other states will follow suit with cuts of their own, helping the federal government achieve its goal of stabilizing the Colorado’s two drought-wracked reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead.

But the deal under discussion falls far short of what federal officials have demanded: Water managers who spoke to Grist indicated that states will likely be able to cut water usage by around half of the minimum conservation target set by federal officials in June. Furthermore, many of the deal’s details are still unclear, including the size of contributions from states besides California.

Nevertheless, the agreement would be transformative for the Golden State, which has never before faced any cuts to its share of the river. If it holds, the agreement could force new water restrictions across the Los Angeles metroplex and reduce the nation’s supply of winter vegetables like lettuce and asparagus. It’s the latest sign that the climate-fueled megadrought in the West is forcing major changes to how the region uses water. 09-06-22

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Unplugged: Why utilities are more likely to disconnect Black, Latino, and Indigenous households

Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Extreme weather leaves millions of Americans with power bills they can’t afford.

Over 20 million households in the US have unpaid electricity bills. But it’s not just inflation that is putting them behind; it’s also our increasingly extreme weather.

Blistering temperatures over the summer led many to keep their air conditioning on longer than they might normally. And now that winter is on the horizon, the cost of heating adds to the stress.

“There’s no relief in sight,” said Mark Wolfe, executive director of the National Energy Assistance Directors Association, or NEADA, which monitors the effectiveness of federal utility assistance programs. “All signs point to another expensive winter.”

And for many of the nation’s struggling families, this means dealing with service shut-offs, deciding whether to “heat or eat,” or continuing to incur debts to utilities that will eventually have to be paid. 09-06-22

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National Wildlife Day 2022: 10 Quotes To Celebrate Nature

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National Wildlife Day is celebrated annually on Sept. 4 to raise awareness about plants and animal species in the wild.

The day was founded in 2005 by animal behaviorist and philanthropist Colleen Paige, according to the official website.

The main objective of this day is to educate people about the need to preserve and rescue endangered animals.

Here are some quotes, courtesy Good Reads, to celebrate wildlife:

1. “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

2. “The hope of the future lies not in curbing the influence of human occupancy – it is already too late for that – but in creating a better understanding of the extent of that influence and a new ethic for its governance.” – Aldo Leopold

3. “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” – Rachel Carson

4. “We need to understand ourselves as biological creatures at one with the diverse of all life. When we can truly see this unity and interdependence, we will find nature to be forgiving, generous and resilient.” – Kenny Ausubel

5. “Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” – Albert Einstein 09-04-22

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The most influential calculation in US climate policy is way off, study finds

Carbon emissions cost society at least three times more than the government’s official estimate.

Jens Schlueter/Getty Images

The United States doesn’t have any federal laws that say electric utilities have to switch to carbon-free power. We don’t yet have any national rules mandating the sale of electric vehicles or plans to phase out oil and gas drilling. Despite years of talk about a tax on carbon, we don’t have that either. What we do have, when it comes to regulations that address climate change, is a decidedly duller but still effective tool called the social cost of carbon, or SCC.

The social cost of carbon is a dollar amount that approximates the cost to society of adding — or the benefits of not adding — 1 metric ton of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. It is underpinned by scientific models that look deep into the future to estimate what that CO2 will mean in terms of lost lives, reduced crop yields, and damage caused by rising seas. The government uses this number as one of several key metrics to evaluate the costs and benefits of policies that affect greenhouse gas emissions, like fuel economy standards for vehicles or oil and gas leasing plans. It makes decisions that increase carbon output look a lot more expensive than those that do the opposite.

But perhaps not expensive enough. A new study published in the journal Nature on Thursday found that the social cost of carbon should be more than three times higher than the $51 dollar figure the Biden administration currently uses. 09-01-22

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School’s out: As temperatures rise, some students sent home because of lack of AC

David Mercer / AP

Many American school are not prepared for “heat days.”

School is back in session and teachers have more than lesson plans on their mind: outdated classrooms with little or no air conditioning makes teaching during heat waves near to impossible.

Columbus, Ohio teachers went on strike this past week, citing cooling systems in need of repair. In Clayton County, Georgia, elementary and middle schools are without proper cooling and hundreds of HVAC repairs need to be made to prevent, in some cases, hot air blowing out of vents and making classrooms inhospitable to students. The Baltimore City Public School system dismissed students at two dozen schools without air conditioning early this week as the city braces for a heatwave.

Classrooms are becoming hotter and hotter as global temperatures rise to extreme levels. These rising temperatures have a detrimental effect on how students learn and fixing them will cost millions of dollars, becoming a point of contention for educators. More and more schools are operating without proper cooling systems or need repairs since roughly 30 percent of all the nation’s schools were built between 1950 and 1969. 09-01-22

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The electric vehicle boom could bring lithium mines back to North Carolina

Not all locals are happy about it.

A lithium-ion battery for the electric Volkswagon ID.3 is stored in a factory warehouse. Jan Woitas / picture alliance via Getty Images

In the Piedmont region of North Carolina, about 50 miles east of the Blue Ridge mountains, a thin, 25 mile-long belt of ore stretches north from the southern state line. The strip, called the Carolina Tin-Spodumene Belt, contains the country’s largest hard rock deposit of lithium.

Back in the 1950s, lithium gained importance as a component of nuclear bombs and pharmaceuticals, and the area around Kings Mountain, near Charlotte, saw a major boom in mining. For about 30 years, the region supplied almost all the lithium in the world. Then in the 1980s, production moved to lower-cost operations overseas. Today, less than 1 percent of global lithium is mined in the United States, all from one mine in Nevada; the vast majority comes from Chile, Australia, and China.

But as nations seek to cut emissions and transition to clean energy sources, demand for the metal is increasing, and the U.S. is looking to ramp up production within its borders. Last summer, President Joe Biden signed an executive order calling for electric vehicles, which depend on lithium-based batteries, to make up 50 percent of all new vehicle sales by 2030. The Inflation Reduction Act, recently signed into law, aims to incentivize a domestic battery supply chain, providing tax breaks for mines and credits for electric cars and grid storage applications when a percentage of the battery is produced or recycled in the U.S. 08-31-22

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How Kentuckians want to hold coal companies accountable for deadly flooding

Michael Swensen / Getty Images

“They won’t have water for six months. The power lines are down.”

Nearly 60 Kentucky residents have filed a lawsuit against neighboring coal companies, alleging negligent practices that contributed to recent historic flooding.

The lawsuit, filed in Breathitt County Circuit Court last week, seeks damages for personal property such as homes and vehicles ruined by the early August flooding that killed 39 people and left hundreds of Kentuckians without a place to live. Many residents of Lost Creek, an unincorporated town in eastern Kentucky, are now without their homes and living in tents. They are also seeking compensation for emotional damages from Blackhawk Mining and Pine Branch Mining.

Blackhawk Mining, founded in 2010, currently operates eight coal facilities in eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia, including the Pine Branch complex, a subsidiary of open pit mines roughly seven miles from Lost Creek. The company has grown in recent years despite its former bankruptcy and a global coal investment downturn where large financial institutions have pulled out of coal operations. The Pine Branch coal mine is uphill from Caney Creek, a tributary of the North Fork Kentucky River, and neighbors the River Caney community of which Lost Creek is a part. 08-29-22

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Americans are convinced climate action is unpopular. They’re very, very wrong.

Grist / Amelia Bates

Support for climate policies is double what most people think, a new study found.

It can be hard to guess what others are thinking. Especially when it comes to climate change.

People imagine that a minority of Americans want action, when it’s actually an overwhelming majority, according to a study recently published in the journal Nature Communications. When asked to estimate public support for measures such as a carbon tax or a Green New Deal, most respondents put the number between 37 and 43 percent. In fact, polling suggests that the real number is almost double that, ranging from 66 to 80 percent.

Across all demographics, people underestimated support for these policies. Democrats guessed slightly higher percentages than Republicans, but were still way off. “Nobody had accurate estimates, on average,” said Gregg Sparkman, a co-author of the study and a professor of psychology at Boston College. “We were shocked at just how ubiquitous this picture was.”

The research was published just two weeks after President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, the country’s most ambitious climate legislation to date. Some experts say it could be a turning point. Such sweeping legislation might signal to people that climate policies are popular enough to pass, paving the way for more policies that would help the United States reduce emissions. 08-29-22

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It’s official: California is phasing out gas-powered cars by 2035

“This is a historic moment for California, for our partner states, and for the world.”

Mario Tama / Getty Images

California is moving full steam ahead with its plan to ban the sale of new gas-guzzling cars. On Thursday, the California Air Resources Board, the state’s chief air pollution regulator, voted overwhelmingly in favor of phasing out all sales of new fossil fuel cars in the state by 2035.

“This is a historic moment for California, for our partner states, and for the world as we set forth this path towards a zero-emission future,” Liane Randolph, chair of the air board, said in the meeting preceding the vote. The new rule will “ensure that consumers can successfully replace their traditional combustion vehicles with new or used [zero-emission vehicles] and plug-in hybrids that meet their transportation needs,” she added.

Currently, about 12 percent of all new cars sold in the state are electric vehicles. The rule requires that automakers increase that figure progressively, nearly tripling it to 35 percent by 2026 and scaling up to 100 percent by 2035. The new rule is a result of a 2020 executive order from Governor Gavin Newsom, which set a goal of 100 percent zero-emission car and truck sales within 15 years. (The requirement does not apply to used car sales.)

The announcement comes on the heels of the U.S. Congress passing a historic measure to invest nearly $370 billion in clean energy and other climate-related measures earlier this month. The new law, ​​when combined with existing policies and economic trends, is expected to reduce U.S. carbon emissions by about 40 percent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. The Biden administration has set a more ambitious target of cutting carbon pollution by half by 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. California’s new rule is expected to spur electric vehicle adoption and help the country meet these goals. 08-25-22

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Study: Extinction threatens up to 16% of native US tree species

George Rose/Getty Images

The United States recognizes eight trees as endangered or threatened. New research suggests that number should be over 100.

In 2017, a team of tree conservation researchers from the Morton Arboretum, outside of Chicago, set out to do something that had never been done before: create a comprehensive assessment of threats to the native tree species of the contiguous United States.

Trees are essential to human health and survival. Their shade cools us down on hot days, they clean the air and trap water in the soil, they provide food and shelter to countless other species, and they suck planet-warming carbon out of the atmosphere. But the world’s forests are increasingly threatened by habitat loss, climate change, pests, and pathogens. The Morton Arboretum project was part of an initiative called the Global Tree Assessment, which aims to catalog conservation assessments of all of the world’s tree species — some 60,000 total.

Many U.S. tree species had never been assessed for extinction risk, and many of the assessments that had been conducted were outdated. “Understanding the current state of trees within the U.S. is imperative to protecting those species, their habitats and the countless communities they support,” said Murphy Westwood, the vice president of science and conservation at the Morton Arboretum, in a press release. 08-25-22

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Wildfire smoke is choking Indigenous communities

A NASA-generated image from July 21, 2021, shows high concentrations of wildfire smoke over wide swaths of the US including Minnesota. Grist / Joshua Stevens / NASA Earth Observatory

With government monitoring lagging behind, members are installing their own monitors.

n July 29, 2021, Li Boyd woke up to the smell of smoke. It was her birthday — she was turning 38 — and she had rented a boat to take her parents and aunts out on the lake near her home in central Minnesota, about 90 minutes north of the Twin Cities. But that morning, when she looked outside her window and found a thick, yellow-gray haze, she figured it was best to avoid going outside. Her older family members all had respiratory issues, and as the day went on and the smoke grew thicker, she worried about how it would affect them. They celebrated in her house, sealing the windows as tightly as they could.

Boyd is a member of the federally recognized Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. That day, her government sent out alerts through Facebook, email, and text message, warning citizens to stay indoors and close their windows. Youth programs were canceled, and public employees were told to go home. The smoke was “so intense,” Boyd said, that her aunt called the police in a panic to report that something was on fire.

It was Canada, they told her; wildfires burning in nearby Alberta had sent a column of smoke south into Minnesota, where it reached Mille Lacs and settled on the reservation like a blanket. Air quality in the United States is measured on a point scale called the air quality index, or AQI, where a score under 50 is considered “good” while one over 150 is “unhealthy.” That day, a private sensor on the Mille Lacs Reservation registered an AQI-equivalent reading of 667.2 — the highest ever recorded in the state of Minnesota. 08-24-22

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People doubt their actions affect climate change. Is that a bad thing?

A protester holds a sign at a youth climate strike in New York City, September 24, 2021. Erik McGregor / LightRocket via Getty Images

More Americans are blaming corporations, not individuals, for the climate crisis, a new poll shows.

For years, environmental campaigns have espoused virtuous actions like biking instead of driving, taking shorter showers, and remembering to turn off the lights. But increasingly, Americans’ concern about climate change appears to be directed less at people’s personal choices, and more toward the actions of politicians and corporations.

A new poll from the Associated Press and NORC, a public affairs research organization at the University of Chicago, suggests that there’s a shifting understanding of who’s responsible for dealing with our overheating planet. According to polling conducted in June, well over 60 percent of Americans think that governments and companies have a large responsibility to take on climate change. By comparison, only 45 percent think the blame rests with individuals, down from 50 percent in 2019.

Climate advocates have long argued that the movement has been overly focused on individual responsibility when large-scale societal shifts can make a much bigger dent in carbon emissions. They point to evidence that companies like BP promoted the idea of lowering your personal carbon footprint for decades, a public relations strategy to deflect the blame for climate change away from the oil industry.  08-23-22

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Proximity to fracking sites associated with risk of childhood cancer

(Credit: iStock.com/milehightraveler)

Pennsylvania children living near unconventional oil and gas (UOG) developments at birth were two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with leukemia between the ages of 2 and 7 than those who did not live near this oil and gas activity, after accounting for other factors that could influence cancer risk, a novel study from the Yale School of Public Health finds.

The registry-based study, published Aug. 17 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, included nearly 2,500 Pennsylvania children, 405 of whom were diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common type of cancer in children.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also referred to as ALL, is a type of leukemia that arises from mutations to lymphoid immune cells. Although long-term survival rates are high, children who survive this disease may be at higher risk of other health problems, developmental challenges, and psychological issues. Unconventional oil and gas development, more commonly referred to as fracking (short for hydraulic fracturing), is a method for extracting gas and oil from shale rock. The process involves injecting water, sand, and chemicals into bedrock at high pressure, which allows gas and oil to flow into a well and then be collected for market. 08-17-22

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‘Gross negligence’: popular Michigan river hit with second chemical spill in four years

Joel Lerner / Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Joel Lerner via Getty Images

The spill is yet another example of how contamination from corporate polluters can endanger entire communities.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and local officials are investigating the recent release of dangerous chemicals into Michigan’s Huron River, a 130-mile-long waterway that is popular for fishing and recreation and supplies drinking water for more than 100,000 people in Ann Arbor as well as other south-eastern Michigan communities.

Then, despite alarms signaling the spill, a plant operator overrode the alarm 460 times in roughly three hours, according to the agency, failing to report the spill for more than two days.

The July event marks the second time in four years that Tribar has been blamed for releasing harmful chemicals into the water, and, critics say, is yet another example of how contamination from corporate polluters can endanger entire communities.

“It just shows gross negligence,” said Sean McBrearty, legislative and policy director of Clean Water Action. 08-19-22

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The problem with corporate pledges to protect abortion access and the climate

Protesters march with signs saying “abortion is our right.”
Thousands march for abortion rights in Minnesota following the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Jerry Holt / Star Tribune via Getty Images

“Companies don’t do anything out of the goodness of their hearts.”

Even before the Supreme Court officially struck down Roe v. Wade in late June, corporations were already announcing how they would come to the rescue. PayPal, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft and several other companies said they would expand their healthcare benefits for employees to cover travel to abortion clinics. Later, Lyft and Uber said they would back drivers with legal support if they were sued for transporting passengers to get an abortion. “Employers like us may be the last line of defense,” one tech executive told the New York Times.

Companies have spent years saying something similar about another big issue: climate change. In the absence of strong federal policies, the private sector has insisted that it’s stepping up with pledges to slash emissions and prevent catastrophic global warming.

“As a strong global franchise, we have an important role to play in the transition to a world where net-zero carbon emissions are a reality,” an insurance executive said in a survey for a recent report on corporate sustainability.

With both issues — abortion access and climate change — companies have framed themselves as nimble, socially responsible protectors of the public good. But there are hard limits on what corporate action can accomplish. Although the private sector can draw public attention to important issues, experts say corporate pledges are no substitute for strong federal action. Whether it’s protecting the climate or the right to choose, they argue that businesses’ profit-seeking nature makes them ill-suited to deliver broad and important social goals. 08-18-22

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Biden signs the Inflation Reduction Act into law

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

It’s the single biggest climate package in U.S. history.

It’s official: After more than a year of political wrangling, President Joe Biden approved the Inflation Reduction Act, or IRA, on Tuesday, signing into law the most sweeping climate and energy bill ever enacted in the United States.

“This bill is the biggest step forward on climate ever, and it’s going to allow us to boldly take additional steps toward meeting all of my climate goals,” Biden said in a speech delivered from the State Dining Room of the White House shortly before signing the bill.

The historic bill contains $369 billion in clean-energy tax credits and funding for climate and energy programs, including efforts to ramp up manufacturing of solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Roughly $60 billion is earmarked for environmental justice initiatives like cleaning up air pollution and installing clean energy projects in low-income communities. 08-16-22

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As rising seas swamp South Carolina’s shores, some coastal communities are left unprotected

A proposed $1.1 billion seawall bypasses marginalized Charleston neighborhoods and relies on outdated grey infrastructure. But there is an alternative: green, nature-based solutions can protect at-risk coastal communities.

Flooding from a King Tide event in Charleston, South Carolina Lauren Petracca / Courtesy of Southern Environmental Law Center

Bordered by a freeway and flanked by former industrial sites, the coastal community of Rosemont in Charleston, South Carolina, is home to generations of Black families. But as climate change raises sea levels and surrounding natural protections from storms have been removed for infrastructure projects, flooding has become a regular problem for the community.

It’s not surprising that flooding is on the rise here—infrastructure in Rosemont has been neglected for decades. When storm drains and sidewalks were put in throughout the city of Charleston, Rosemont was bypassed. Decades of heavy industry left a legacy of pollution—two superfund cleanup sites lie within roughly half a mile of the community. A hurricane in 1989 destroyed the long dock that gave Rosemont residents access to the marsh and the water beyond—it still hasn’t been replaced. And despite Rosemont’s vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, a proposed $1.1 billion new Charleston seawall ends before the Rosemont community begins, leaving residents unprotected yet again.

Chris DeScherer, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), is concerned about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ plans. “They are proposing to build this wall around the most affluent part of Charleston,” he says. “This is where the tourists come, the area with the highest market value. But the wall stops before Rosemont, and the Corps has not proposed other protections that would sufficiently protect the Rosemont community.” 08-15-22

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Massachusetts’ Republican governor signs far-reaching climate bill into law

Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe via Getty Images

It’s “a big f****ing deal.”

Massachusetts’ Republican governor, Charlie Baker, signed a sweeping climate and energy bill into law on Thursday, approving an array of policies intended to advance the state’s goal of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

As the law’s name suggests, “An Act Driving Clean Energy and Offshore Wind” includes significant provisions to boost the development of offshore wind, such as granting access to state funds. The law requires that the state’s electric utilities procure 5,600 megawatts of new offshore wind capacity by 2027, up from a former goal of 4,000 megawatts. It also removes a controversial price cap that required every new wind project to offer cheaper electricity than the previous one — a mechanism that critics argued was stifling economic development.

Other parts of the bill shore up the electric grid, decarbonize the Boston-area transit system by 2040, and require all new cars sold in Massachusetts to be zero-emissions by 2035. 08-12-22

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The Arctic is heating up four times faster than the rest of the planet

That’s much quicker than climate models predicted.

It turns out the Arctic is heating up faster than previously thought, according to research out Thursday — four times faster than the rest of the planet.

In recent decades, scientists have sounded the alarm that the Arctic is warming two or three times faster than the rest of the world. A study in the journal Communications Earth & Environment suggests they were way off.

The new research, conducted by scientists at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, indicates that climate models have consistently underestimated what is known as “Arctic amplification,” where warming happens faster in the Arctic compared to the planet on average.

The Arctic is highly sensitive to climate change, and has long been seen as a harbinger of warming across the globe. Accelerating loss of sea ice and melting glaciers are tied to rising concentrations of greenhouse gas, a stark indicator of the need to drastically cut carbon emissions. On Sunday, the U.S. Senate passed landmark legislation aimed at cutting emissions through investments in clean energy. It’s expected to be taken up by the House of Representatives on Friday.

“Scientific data keeps showing that the situation is more urgent than we had previously thought,” said Robert Orttung, a research professor of international affairs at the George Washington University and the author of Urban Sustainability in the Arctic, in a statement. “Congress’s recent action is a step in the right direction, but more is needed.” 08-12-22

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A Hotter World Means More Disease Outbreaks in Our Future

As global temperatures have risen in recent decades, so have the number of outbreaks of infectious diseases. SARS, MERS, Zika, West Nile, COVID-19, and now clusters of monkeypox and polio have all recently threatened public health.

That’s no coincidence. In a study published in August in Nature Climate Change, researchers tried to understand the relationship between major environmental changes related to higher greenhouse gas emissions—including global warming, rising sea levels, storms, floods, drought, and heat waves—and the outbreaks of 375 human infectious diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. They found that 58% of these public-health threats were fueled by climate change.

“The health impacts of climate change are here,” says Dr. Vishnu Laalitha Surapaneni, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota. “And they are affecting us right here, right now.”

Viruses and other pathogens aren’t becoming better at living in higher environmental temperatures, scientists say. Instead, it’s more likely that the host animals they infect are affected by changing climates. Increasing global temperatures, for example, mean that the geographic range for many pathogen-carrying animals—including insects like mosquitoes—is expanding rapidly. “As they move around to find better climates, there are more opportunities for viruses to spill over among other mammals, and then from some of those mammals to humans,” says Gigi Gronvall, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. In the same way that highways, planes, and trains connect remote parts of the world, these animals are transporting their microbial payloads into new places. 08-10-22

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Hotter nights could cause a spike in deaths, study says

Jose Gonzalez Buenaposada / Getty Images

Climate change is driving up nighttime temperatures. Mortality rates are likely to follow.

By the end of this century, hotter nights may contribute to a 60 percent increase in the global mortality rate, according to new research.

A study in Lancet Planetary Health released on Monday looked at how nighttime temperatures are on the rise across China, Japan, and Korea. It estimated that nighttime temperatures may increase by almost 35 degrees, from 68.7 degrees Fahrenheit to 103.5, in 28 large cities across East Asia, and are expected to surpass the increase in daytime temperatures.

“We project at least a doubling intensity of hot night with higher increase in mortality burden due to hot nights,” study authors wrote, “suggesting a growing role of night-time warming in heat-related health effects in a changing climate.”

The authors, including researchers in China, South Korea, Japan, Germany and the United States, noted that most research has focused on rising daytime temperatures’ effect on various populations but that little research has been done on night-time temperatures. Last year, a paper in the Epidemiology Journal found a similar connection between hot nights and a rising mortality rate in southern Europe.  08-10-22

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The Inflation Reduction Act promises thousands of new oil leases. Drillers might not want them.

The bigger question about Joe Manchin’s fossil fuel provisions is if they’ll succeed on the senator’s own terms.

UniversalImagesGroup / Contributor

The U.S. Senate passed the largest climate action bill in American history on Sunday, clearing the path for hundreds of billions of dollars for clean energy and other climate-related measures (in addition to billions for other Democratic Party priorities). But because the so-called Inflation Reduction Act bears the imprint of swing-vote Senator Joe Manchin, it also includes numerous provisions that support oil and gas producers.

The fossil-fuel policy that has drawn the most attention in the weeks since Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer unveiled their deal is a provision that requires the federal government to auction oil and gas leases on federal land and in the Gulf of Mexico. Though presidential administrations of both political parties have historically leased this territory for drilling, the Biden administration has attempted to halt the federal leasing program; recent lease auctions have also been delayed by litigation from environmental groups.

The reconciliation bill reinstates old auctions that the Biden administration has tried to cancel and forces the administration to hold several new auctions over the coming years. The legislation also requires that the government auction millions of acres of oil and gas leases before it can auction acreage for wind and solar farms. The Center for Biological Diversity, one of many environmental organizations to oppose these provisions, said they turned the bill into a “climate suicide pact,” since they have the potential to prolong the lifespan of the domestic oil industry. However, energy and climate experts who spoke to Grist said that the provisions may not add significantly to U.S. emissions — in part because the fossil fuel industry may not be all that interested in what the government has to offer. 08-09-22

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Senate Democrats Pass Sweeping Climate And Health Care Bill

President Joe Biden walks to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on his way to his Rehoboth Beach, Del., home, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

The Inflation Reduction Act is poised to give President Joe Biden another major legislative victory ahead of November’s midterm elections.

After a year of painstaking negotiations that seemed for a time to be going nowhere, Senate Democrats on Sunday approved sweeping legislation aiming to reduce the nation’s output of greenhouse gases and make health care more affordable.

The vote was split 50-50 along party lines, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaker after a marathon session of votes on amendments. The House is expected to take up the legislation and pass it on Friday.

Democrats celebrated after the bill passed by roaring in applause and hugging one another on the Senate floor. Aides who were intimately involved in negotiations wiped away tears in jubilation.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the bill would endure as “one of the defining legislative feats of the 21st century.”

The Inflation Reduction Act ― while substantially narrowed from prior versions ― is now poised to give President Joe Biden another major legislative victory ahead of November’s midterm elections. Its given name is a reflection of the shaky politics for his party at the moment, with rising costs of food, gasoline and energy at the top of voters’ minds.

The bill would make broad changes in energy, drug and tax policies. Prior to some last-minute changes caused by procedural issues, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill would cut the budget deficit by a little more than $90 billion over 10 years. 08-07-22

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In defense of darkness

Artificial light is polluting the night sky. What do we stand to lose?

Artificial light from the Permian Basin. Tristan Ahtone

The beginning of the night at the McDonald Observatory can be frantic. Jason Young, a visiting lecturer in astronomy at Mount Holyoke, starts by tracking the steadiness of the atmosphere, looking at “standard” stars to calibrate the Harlan J. Smith Telescope. He makes sure the telescope’s iconic white dome stays on track, checks that there are no stray lights in the dome that could mar data collection, and finally, watches for clouds. By midnight, he settles into the telescope’s top floor control center, alone in a pool of light from two huge computer monitors.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” said Young. “But if everything goes smoothly, then it’s pretty easy to just keep an eye on things.”

The observatory is located in the Davis Mountains, high above the Chihuahuan Desert. By day, the isolated West Texas mountain range is striking, ornamented with dark clumps of oak, pinion, and juniper scattered across the gold and khaki grasslands. At night, clear skies reveal endless trails of stars.

Young is observing LEDA 1562327, a diffuse spiral galaxy interacting with a second galaxy that, in his words, are going through a “weird phase” in their evolution: They have enough gas to form stars, but for some reason, aren’t. Meanwhile, next door — astronomically-speaking — two similar galaxies are colliding, forming stars at a rate of nearly 100 per year.

“It’s like a quiet cottage right next to a rock concert,” said Young. “So, I’m trying to figure out why these two are not doing anything when the neighborhood seems to be very active.”

Until a decade ago, the Davis Mountains were one of the darkest places in North America, which is why in 1933, the University of Texas established the observatory on Mount Locke, and later, expanded to nearby Mount Fowlkes, taking advantage of the clear night and high altitude. The observatory’s biggest project for the last four years has been HETDEX, the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment, created to map the night sky out to 11 billion light years in order to figure out why the universe is expanding as it ages. 08-05-22

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In exchange for climate legislation, Joe Manchin was promised a pipeline. Will he get it?

The agreement might not solve the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s biggest problem: compliance with environmental law.

Lengths of pipe wait to be laid in the ground along the under-construction Mountain Valley Pipeline near Elliston, Virginia, U.S. September 29, 2019. Picture taken September 29, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller

When Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin announced the surprising rebirth of a deal to pass sweeping climate legislation last week, reporters could at first only speculate about what exactly it took to secure Manchin’s support.

A few days later, those questions were answered, at least partially: In exchange for a bill that is projected to reduce the country’s overall carbon emissions by roughly 41 percent compared to their 2005 high by the end of the decade, Manchin appears to have secured Democratic leadership’s support for a separate legislative effort containing a number of fossil fuel industry wishlist items. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine fueling gas price increases, Manchin seems intent on removing bottlenecks in domestic fuel production.

A one-page summary of the hypothetical legislation obtained by the Washington Post includes provisions that cap permitting timelines for major energy projects at two years, require the president to maintain a list of 25 “high priority energy infrastructure projects,” and speed up Clean Water Act certifications. The “high priority” projects are to be selected based on their ability to reduce energy costs for consumers, promote international energy trade, and cut carbon emissions. The proposed reforms to the water quality certifications, which are often sought by pipeline companies, could make it more difficult to block such projects.

While many of these permitting reforms stand to benefit both fossil fuel producers and clean energy providers, one provision stood out for its clear benefit to a group of oil and gas companies. The summary includes a requirement to “complete the Mountain Valley Pipeline,” a 303-mile pipeline that delivers natural gas from northwestern West Virginia — Manchin’s home state — to southern Virginia. 08-04-22

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How climate change is muting nature’s symphony

A chickadee makes its characteristic call. Audio by Lang Elliot / Music of Nature. Getty Image

From warbling loons to chirping toads, rising temperatures threaten some of the Earth’s most iconic sounds.

When Jeff Wells, vice president for boreal conservation at the Audubon Society, first encountered the call of the common loon on a pond near Mt. Vernon, Maine — about an hour and a half north of Portland — he thought he may have heard a ghoul. “I leaped out of bed and ran into my parents’ bedroom, like, ‘What is that?’” he told Grist, describing a melancholy wail that has made loons famous far beyond the birding community.

Even after years of summer vacations in Maine, at the southernmost reaches of the loon’s habitat, Wells hasn’t tired of their calls. When their moody warbles echo across the pond, he still beckons family members to gather on the patio to listen. But loons, like so many other birds, are threatened by climate change. Rising summertime temperatures and warmer lake waters may eliminate important swathes of their habitat, and elevated precipitation is putting their nests at greater risk of flooding.

As a result, loons’ songs are in danger of fading from many parts of the world.

Similar consequences are playing out for iconic songbirds — and other vocal animal species — everywhere. According to a 2018 report from the Audubon Society, over 300 North American bird species could lose half their ranges due to climate change in the next 60 years. A widely-cited report published in 2019 showed that nearly 3 billion North American birds across every biome have disappeared since 1970 — a “staggering” loss driven not only by climate change but by suburban sprawl, toxic chemicals, and other stressors. 08-03-22

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