Top Climate News

Scott Pruitt suggests he will restrict scientists who get EPA grants from advising the agency.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt hinted Tuesday at plans to rid the agency’s scientific advisory boards of researchers who get EPA grants, arguing that the current structure raises questions about their independence. Washington Post

How California’s North Bay fires became the state’s deadliest.

California is beginning to take stock of the damage caused by a series of wildfires that tore through the state’s wine country and resulted in more than 40 confirmed fatalities. Water Deeply

Australian doctors call on health super funds to pull $1.7 billion out of coal and oil companies.

Hundreds of Victorian doctors and medical staff are pressuring their super funds to quit investing in coal and oil for the sake of health, as they did with tobacco five years ago. Melbourne Age, Australia

Our Reporting on Climate Change

More news from EHN

Fickle Nature: From too much hurricane to not enough ice in a few days.

NASA

Arctic ice cover reaches low (someone tell NASA). Daily Climate

UPDATE: TV News plays catch-up on the climate-hurricane link.

CNN

Cable News awakens. Sort of. Daily Climate

Commentary: In TV hurricane coverage virtually no trace of the C-word.

CNN

For all of its A-plus, life-saving urgency in backing up evacuation efforts, TV news still can't bring itself to even ask the question. Daily Climate

Sea change of heart for the Secretary?

A stalled international agreement, once championed by Rex Tillerson, soars in significance. Daily Climate

Editorials

Eye in the sky offers clearest vision of Earth.

The world’s latest carbon-monitoring satellite has advanced our understanding of how the planet functions. US politicians should take note. more…

Hurricane Ophelia: A warning on climate inertia.

Even if emissions are stabilised through international agreements, the worst effects of global warming have yet to be experienced. more…

Impacts on biodiversity

This startup turns climate pollution into fish feed.

NovoNutrients wants to replace that fish food with something more sustainable: microbes grown with carbon dioxide. Fast Company

Will Northern California soon have Southern California's climate?

The Napa Valley wildfires are eerily similar to those that often flare up near Los Angeles. The Atlantic

Satellite shows how forest CO2 emissions can skyrocket.

NASA data collected in 2015, an exceptionally warm year, raises more concerns about spiraling global warming feedback. InsideClimate News

Senate Democrats vow to fight drilling in Alaska reserve.

U.S. Senate Democrats vowed on Tuesday to fight a measure expected to be slipped into budget legislation that would open Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Reserve to oil and gas drilling, saying it would destroy one of earth’s remaining paradises. Reuters

Land management could be key in climate change battle.

To combat climate change, every country on Earth could stop the burning of oil completely. Or they could simply pay attention to the way they manage their land. Toronto Star, Ontario

Could migrating squid help Alaska predict climate change?

Chasing warmer waters, the market squid might be here to stay. Juneau Empire, Alaska

Are flatulent shellfish really contributing to climate change?

Scientists investigating marine life in the Baltic Sea have found mussels, oysters and clams are emitting greenhouse gases - but cows still trump them. The Guardian

Plant more trees to combat climate change: Scientists.

Planting forests and other activities that harness the power of nature could play a major role in limiting global warming under the 2015 Paris agreement, an international study showed on Monday. Reuters

Ten miles of California's loveliest countryside, transformed by fire.

The wildfires displayed a cruel California truth: Living in the state's most beautiful spots has always required a sacrifice in safety. Washington Post

Impacts on water quantity

After an agonizing week on edge, good news for some Napa County residents.

The Atlas fire has burned more than 51,000 acres, killed six people and destroyed more than 300 homes. But as of late Sunday, the Atlas fire was 65 percent contained. Los Angeles Times

California wildfires, intense heat could be ‘new normal.'

As portrayed in novels, the California of the future is barely habitable. Brutal storms alternate with crushing droughts. Mudslides and wildfires create waves of climate change refugees. McClatchy Newspapers

US, states struggle to pay spiraling cost of fighting fires.

The long and brutal 2017 wildfire season is stressing the state and federal agencies that have to pay for the army of ground crews and machinery required to fight them. Associated Press

California’s wildfires aren’t “natural” — humans made them worse at every step.

We fuel them, we build houses by them, we ignite them. Vox

Napa fires make San Francisco air worse than Beijing, causing a run on masks.

Home Depot is sold out of face masks, people sleeping in shelters have bandanas tied around their faces. USA Today

Editor comments: Think health aftermath of 9-11.  Burning construction materials and household goods is likely to have lasting health consequences for residents and first responders. -JPM

Opinions

Jobs bonanza? The Adani project is more like a railway to nowhere.

The Carmichael coal mine was once pitched as a choice between jobs and the environment. So where are the jobs? more…

Even China is tackling climate change, while US takes a back seat.

Beijing sees an interconnected world where environmental sustainability is crucial to maintaining political support, global stability and economic growth. more…

Impacts on food

As fires move on, wine country wonders whether immigrants will, too.

Many of the foreign-born workers the region depends on are undocumented and do not qualify for most disaster aid. They may struggle to find affordable housing. New York Times

Florida’s migrant farm workers struggle after hurricane damaged homes, crops.

Jobs, homes and lives are at risk when extreme weather strikes the communities that grow America's food. InsideClimate News

As drought makes harvests uncertain, Kenya’s farmers mull a seed change.

Using imported seed, "you are not sure if you will harvest enough to offset the costs" - so local seed is gaining ground, farmers say. Thomson Reuters Foundation

In Puerto Rico, a daily struggle for water and food.

People in poor communities hit hard by the hurricane are rationing their food, water and propane, and hospitals are trying to operate on shaky power supplies. InsideClimate News

How a seed bank, almost lost in Syria's war, could help feed a warming planet.

A plant conservationist from Syria and his colleagues are safeguarding seeds that might be crucial when more parts of the world become as hot and arid as the Middle East. New York Times

For Algeria's struggling herders, "drought stops everything."

Less rain and higher temperatures means herders in Algeria are increasingly struggling to make ends meet. Thomson Reuters Foundation

Africa tops global hunger index, driven by war and climate shocks.

Global hunger has fallen more than a quarter since 2000, but conflict and climate shocks are beginning to reverse these gains, an annual global hunger index said on Thursday. Thomson Reuters Foundation

Fall armyworm arrives in Africa on the heels of climate change.

A rapidly spreading invasive pest now threatens crops across the continent. Sierra

Midwestern poultry farmers cut bills in half with new heating system.

A heat-exchange technique to transfer the warmth from the exhaust exiting a poultry house to the fresh – but often extremely cold – air coming in are saving poultry farmers big bucks. Midwest Energy News, United States

United Nations and climate

Pope implicitly criticizes US for leaving Paris climate accord.

Pope Francis implicitly criticized the United States on Monday for pulling out of the Paris agreement on climate change, praising it as a means to control the devastating effects of global warming. Reuters

EU ministers agree national climate goals ahead of UN talks.

EU environment ministers agreed national emissions-reduction targets and forest management rules in a push to show the bloc is delivering on its climate goals ahead of United Nations talks next month to fight global warming. Reuters

Fossil fuels win billions in public money after Paris climate deal, angry campaigners claim.

Coal, oil and gas finance from major development banks totalled $5bn in year after historic climate pact, according to estimates. The Guardian

UNEP official calls for ‘coherent planning’ as Aichi falters in Africa.

International agreements are increasingly looking at conserving forests as a way to mitigate global warming, preserve biodiversity and safeguard human communities from environmental disasters. Mongabay

Protect indigenous people to help fight climate change, says UN rapporteur.

World leaders must do more to defend custodians of natural world whose lives are at risk from big business, says UN rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz. The Guardian

'Alarming' rise in Queensland tree clearing as 400,000 hectares stripped.

Deputy premier brands Australia ‘deforestation hotspot’ after a 45 percent jump in her state’s reef catchment clearing. The Guardian

Solutions and Good News

Minneapolis church seeks for Earth to power its heavenly work.

The faithful at Mount Olive Lutheran Church just wanted to make their 80-year-old building energy-efficient, a tangible step to care for God's creation. Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota

Into the ice: humans get closer to nature – in pictures.

From log trails to lava houses, from mud baths to melting glaciers, US photographer Lucas Foglia explores our relationship with the natural world in his new book Human Nature. The Guardian

Puerto Rico could go solar: Elon Musk, Gov. discuss microgrid transformation.

Could Puerto Rico rebuild its electrical system in a radical new way to use more renewable energy, lower costs and improve reliability? Two heavyweight players appear interested in the idea. InsideClimate News

How solar energy saved a Puerto Rican farm from Hurricane Maria.

While his competitors wait for diesel to restart generators knocked out by Hurricane Maria, flower grower Hector Santiago is already back in business because of solar panels powering his 40-acre (16.2-hectare) nursery in central Puerto Rico. Reuters

Ocean acidification

How the 1% are preparing for the apocalypse.

The threat of global annihilation may feel as present as it did during the Cold War, but today's high-security shelters could not be more different from their 20th-century counterparts. CNN

Editor comments: This is a less nuanced version of a similar story that appeared in the New Yorker in January 2017. -JPM

Alaska’s oyster farmers are filling an acidification-driven void.

The state’s oyster farming industry is gaining ground as growers elsewhere struggle. Hakai Magazine

Chesapeake acidification could compound issues already facing the bay, researchers find.

As oceans around the world absorb carbon dioxide and acidify, the changes are likely to come faster to the nation’s largest estuary. Baltimore Sun, Maryland

Ocean pollution: Prince Charles warns humanity is ‘testing the world to destruction’ and must act.

During his speech to the 2017 “Our Oceans” environmental conference, Charles said that the world had “catastrophically underestimated” the sea’s “vulnerability to climate change, acidification and pollution.” Newsweek

Could techno-fixes and gene therapies really save the world’s coral?

A team of scientists and reef managers say it's time to consider 'riskier' and unconventional ways to save the world's coral habitats. The Guardian

For the success of coral restoration, a matter of scale.

Restoring depleted reefs with nursery-grown coral is a captivating idea, but how do its goals measure up? Undark

Political News

America’s climate refugees have been abandoned by Trump.

As hurricane after hurricane ravages Puerto Rico and the Gulf Coast, the Trump administration has quietly walked away from a government-wide effort to help the growing number of American communities whose very existence is threatened by climate change. Mother Jones

Some groups want more CO2. Here's what that means.

A key argument used by climate skeptics to downplay the consequences of anthropogenic climate change is resurfacing: the idea that carbon dioxide emissions are a net positive for the planet's vegetation. ClimateWire

Malcolm Turnbull convinces party to unite on energy policy.

Malcolm Turnbull has secured party room backing to impose new reliability and emissions reduction guarantees on energy retailers and large energy users from 2020. The Guardian

Fiji urges "absolute dedication" to toughest climate target.

Fiji called on Tuesday for “absolute dedication” to the strictest limits on global warming as it prepares to preside over U.N. talks next month seeking to keep the Paris climate agreement on track despite a U.S. pullout. Reuters

US regulator hints at changes to plan boosting coal, nuclear plants.

The head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said on Tuesday that a directive from the U.S. energy secretary to prop up struggling nuclear and coal power plants has initiated an important conversation, but hinted the agency may not pass the plan without changes. Reuters

Climate and oceans

Republicans may use budget to open Arctic, Atlantic to oil rigs.

Congressional Republicans have found a way to use the federal budget to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling— and they don’t plan on stopping there. Bloomberg News

Gulf of Mexico oil spill may be largest since 2010 BP disaster.

The Delta House floating production facility southeast of Venice, Louisiana, released 7,950 to 9,350 barrels of oil making it the largest spill in more than seven years, even though it’s a fraction of the millions of barrels ejected in the 2010 incident. Bloomberg News

Return of 'ocean chimney' the size of Tasmania puzzles Antarctic scientists.

A rare hole the size of Tasmania has opened up in the sea ice off Antarctica, enthralling scientists keen to understand its cause and the possible role of climate change in its formation. Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

Ex-Hurricane Ophelia slams Ireland with 119 mile-per-hour winds, pounding waves.

As a hurricane and an extratropical storm, Ophelia has over-performed. Mashable

A hard shore is a dead shore.

How anti-erosion measures hurt fish—and living shorelines may help. Hakai Magazine

A geologist bets on a North Sea gusher that may never come.

Robert Trice is pursuing his quixotic 12-year quest to prove that undiscovered troves of oil still lie in British waters, if you just know where to look. New York Times

Climate justice

Indigenous rights "serious obstacle" to Kinder Morgan pipeline, report says.

The controversial expansion of a pipeline that would carry tar sands crude from Alberta to British Columbia’s coast will be doomed by the rising power of Indigenous land rights. The Guardian

EPA warns Puerto Ricans to stop drinking water from Superfund sites, but everything's fine!

t's been three weeks since Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, and conditions are deteriorating due to a pervasive lack of access to food, water, and electricity. Some residents in Puerto Rico have little recourse left than to seek out water supplies at wells located on the island's Superfund sites. Mashable

The end of coal will haunt the Navajo.

The fossil fuel has been an environmental threat and economic necessity for Native American tribes in Arizona. What happens when it's gone? Bloomberg News

Judge deals blow to tribes in Dakota Access pipeline ruling.

The judge refused to shut down the oil pipeline during an environmental review. Lawyers pointed to a ‘historic pattern of putting all the risk and harm on tribes.’ InsideClimate News

Oil giant Chevron needs no costs protection from 'poor' Ecuadorians, court told.

Forcing a group of Ecuadorian villagers to come up with almost $1 million before they can pursue a claim against oil behemoth Chevron would deprive them of access to justice, Ontario's top court heard Wednesday. Canadian Press

US judge allows Dakota pipeline to run as Army conducts study.

Oil can keep flowing through the contested Dakota Access Pipeline while the Army Corps of Engineers conducts a new environmental review of the duct through next April, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday. Reuters