Hot News: December 12, 2016 - The Years Project

Hot News: December 12, 2016

By Climate Nexus

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Fears of a Climate Purge in the Trump Administration: The president-elect’s transition team is showing an unsettling interest in federal workers who have helped shape national and international climate policy. A 74-question document, first reported by Bloomberg on Friday, includes inquiries into which Department of Energy employees attended international climate talks, which employees helped develop policy around the social cost of carbon, and “which programs within DOE are essential to meeting the goals of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.” Democratic lawmakers are speaking out against what they fear is an emerging witch hunt targeting career civil servants. (New York Times $, Washington Post $, CBSReutersAPPoliticoThe HillPolitico PRO $, Mother Jones. Commentary: Vox, Brad Plumer analysis)

An “Open Mind” on Climate Change that Appears to Ignore Science: “Nobody really knows” if climate change is real, Donald Trump told Chris Wallace in an interview on Fox News Sunday, despite decades of established science. In the interview, Trump defended his appointment of climate denier Scott Pruitt to the EPA, expressing disdain for long EPA approval processes and implying “other countries are eating [the US’s] lunch” due to excessive regulations. The Paris Agreement, Trump claims, is something he is “studying.” He stated, “I don’t want that agreement to put us at a competitive disadvantage with other countries.” Trump also previewed “quick” decisions on the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines once he enters office without offering specifics. (Washington Post$, PoliticoSlateCBSCNNHuffington PostMashable Commentary: Gizmodo, Rhett Jones analysis)

World’s Top Oil Boss May Become America’s Top Diplomat: ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson is the current favorite for Secretary of State. While Tillerson has gone on the record acknowledging climate change, his company’s future profitability is inversely related to the success of international climate change agreements. Exxon is under investigation by state attorneys general for potentially misleading the public and stakeholders on climate change risk. The company is also being scrutinized by the SECfor its use of climate risk pricing in its portfolio. Tillerson’s close business relationship to Vladimir Putin is raising red flags, especially regarding the future of sanctions imposed on a 2011 deal expanding Exxon’s drilling rights in the Russian Arctic. (New York Times $, Washington Post $, WSJ $, APNPRPoliticoTexas TribuneThe GuardianReutersLA Times $, The HillMother Jones. Commentary: New Yorker, Steve Coll analysisThinkProgress, Joe Romm analysis)

Surprise — Oil Interests May Run DOE & DOI Too: Rep Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-WA, will likely be offered the top job at Interior, outlets reported Friday. McMorris Rodgers has opposed action on climate change and has voted in favor of expanded offshore drilling and legislation, making it easier to drill within tribal territories. Meanwhile, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who once forgot the name of the Department of Energy while attempting to say he’d abolish it during a presidential debate, is the leading contender to head the agency. Perry is also opposed to climate action, has taken more than $12 million in donations from the oil and gas industry, and sits on the board of DAPL parent company Energy Transfer Partners. (DOI: WSJ $, PoliticoMother JonesThe HillReuters DOE: ReutersBloombergThe Guardian. Commentary: The Guardian, Oliver Milman analysis)

US News
  • Donald Trump, in Louisiana, says he will end energy regulations (New York Times$)
  • Biden: Trump will not undo most climate change policies (APThe HillReuters)
  • Amidst funding fears, NASA announces another climate research mission (Washington Post $)
  • GOP senator presses Trump to back miners’ benefits (The Hill)
  • Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel says Trump won’t make cities go backwards on climate change (Quartz)
  • Pruitt ally defends Trump’s EPA pick from ‘rubbish’ attacks (The Hill)
  • Obama creates ‘resilience area’ to protect Bering ecosystem (AP)
  • Mass. AG appeals Exxon ruling, wants new judge to throw out oil giant’s case (InsideClimate News)
  • Bank of America CEO on climate change: ‘We believe in the science’ (Charlotte Observer)
  • Climate change strengthens an army of forest-eating insects (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Ohio lawmakers call for keeping freeze on clean energy mandates (Toledo BladeUtility Dive)
  • Ohio advocates hope Kasich follows through on promise to veto clean energy freeze (Midwest Energy News)
  • Critic of Ohio clean-energy requirements getting solar panels at home (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Mohawks become first tribe to take down a federal dam (AP)
  • CNN host Chris Cuomo spars with congresswoman in tense exchange over global warming (Business Insider)
  • California’s climate fight could be painful — especially on job and income growth (LA Times $)
  • Advocates’ fears realized as Wisconsin directs energy dollars to internet access (Midwest Energy News)
  • Climate change film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ gets a sequel (US News & World ReportAPWashington PostVanity Fair)
  • Money trail shows clout against clean energy (Daily Mining Gazette)
  • Pennsylvania net metering rules face a challenge (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
  • Where new clean energy jobs may be created and why Nevada lawmakers will play a role (NBC Reno)
  • U of Illinois inks 10-year deal to buy energy from wind farm (AP)
  • Natives’ firsthand knowledge informs study of climate-change impact on subsistence hunting (KUAC)
  • Eye on weather: ski resorts preparing for impacts of climate change (CBS Boston)
  • Seaport developer ‘doubts’ climate change science (Boston Herald)
  • This farmer’s answer to climate change? Plant crops that trap carbon (PRI)
  • Trump EPA could put Colorado at center of climate change, energy debate (The Denver Post)
  • Wisconsin experts confident about renewable energy’s future, even under Trump (WPR)
  • Future of Connecticut’s clean energy program is in question (WNPR)
  • New Arizona proposal seeks to mandate renewable generation during peak demand hours (UtilityDive)
  • Sununu pledges to fight for natural gas projects (AP)
  • Oklahoma wind farms help Google build on renewable energy goal (The Oklahoman)
  •  National forests on the receiving end of bugs spread by trade, climate change (The Colorado Statesman)
  • Boat built for climate change set to test Vermont winter (Burlington Free Press)

World News

  • Canada agrees on national carbon price, but tensions remain (ReutersBloombergWSJ $, Washington Post $, New York Times $)
  • Atmospheric levels of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, are spiking, scientists report (Washington Post $, Grist)
  • Bill Gates and investors worth $170 billion are launching a fund to fight climate change through energy innovation (QuartzFortuneBloomberg)
  • New Delhi’s air pollution rises again (WSJ $)
  • Reindeer shrink as climate change in Arctic puts their food on ice (Reuters)
  • Wind power key to curbing greenhouse emissions, study finds (The Guardian)
  • IEA cuts coal demand forecast for fifth year in a row (Climate Home)
  • Tibet’s disappearing glaciers (Reuters)
  • Cows and rice paddies boost methane emissions: study (Reuters)
  • Will the internet of things sacrifice or save the environment? (The Guardian)
  • Study pins 2016 Tibetan avalanche on climate change (UPI)
  • Carney panel set to demand climate-risk scenarios from companies (Bloomberg)
  • Bloody conflict between western Kenya farmers drives bid to improve water, fodder (Reuters)
  • Apple just invested in China’s largest wind-turbine maker to power its supply chain (Quartz)
  • Africa gears up for first-of-a-kind climate impact study (Climate Home)
  • Study explains why people self-silence when it comes to climate change (Centre Daily)

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