Hot News: December 20, 2016 - The Years Project

Hot News: December 20, 2016

By Climate Nexus

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Obama May Block Offshore Drilling: President Obama may announce as soon as today that he intends to block future offshore lease sales in the Arctic and some of the Atlantic before leaving office. According to sources, the president may use portions of the 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to withdraw the areas from future oil and gas leasing, making it more difficult for an incoming Trump administration to undo than an executive action. Oil companies’ interest in the Arctic has waned in recent years, as high development costs and slumping oil prices have led the industry to abandon $2.5 billion in drilling rights in the region. (New York Times $, Bloomberg.)

DOI Adopts Coal Mining Rule – For Now: On Monday, the Department of the Interior finalized the Stream Protection Rule, which aims to limit coal mining practices near streams and forests to protect these resources and limit health problems linked to mining. The new standards update 33-year-old regulations and will protect 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests over the next twenty years, according to the DOI. The rule, one of the Obama administration’s last major environmental pushes, has already met heavy opposition from the GOP and the coal lobby and is expected to be axed under the new Trump administration. (Rule: Washington Post $, WSJ $, ReutersAPThe HillClimateWire $. Opposition: PoliticoBloombergThe HillGreenwire $, ThinkProgress.)

Zika Fueled by El Niño: The spread of the Zika virus in Brazil was likely fueled by the 2015 El Niño, which itself was amplified by climate change, according to a new study published Monday in the journal PNAS. Researchers used historical climate data to build an epidemiological model of the virus, allowing them to examine transmission patterns for the 2015 season and predict ideal climate conditions for future outbreaks. The research also demonstrates how the two main mosquito species known to carry the virus are affected by temperature variations. Last week, a travel advisory was issued for Brownsville, Texas, due to multiple cases of Zika in the area in recent weeks. (Study: Washington Post $, HealthDay NewsCarbon Brief. Travel advisory: New York Times$, FiveThirtyEight.)

US News
  • The Energy Department helped start a revolution – and doesn’t know who to hand it off to (Washington Post $)
  • Will Trump live up to his infrastructure promises? (AP)
  • Republicans and Democrats alike want more clean energy (The Guardian)
  • 26 lawmakers defend Energy Department scientists against Trump (Mashable)
  • Climate change and the incoming Trump government (New York Times $)
  • Alaska indigenous people see culture slipping away as sea ice vanishes (The Guardian)
  • Dakota Access protests expose raw divisions and emotions in North Dakota (LA Times $)
  • N.D. senator calls for remaining Dakota Access protesters to leave (The Hill)
  • 1 Dakota Access pipeline suit on hold during related dispute (AP)
  • The year water protecting went mainstream (Fusion)
  • A fight about climate change — but not emissions (ClimateWire $)
  • EPA stops work on climate rule compliance program (The Hill)
  • Gates hopeful Trump will support green energy (Climate Home)
  • Study: Climate regs could cost $4.5T (The Hill)
  • Midwestern lawmakers green the grid, slightly (ClimateWire $)
  • Las Vegas’s city government is now powered by 100% renewable energy, and more cities will follow (QuartzPopular Mechanic)
  • With State pick, Mass. politicians see an opportunity to probe ExxonMobil on climate change (Boston Globe)
  • Ready for flooding: Boston analyzes how to tackle climate change (Ars Technica)
  • Climate change researchers worry about funding under Trump (North Country Public Radio)
  • Proposed Massachusetts air regulations target 80% decarbonization by 2050 (UtilityDive)
  • Split government could curtail progress on climate change (MPR News)

World News

  • For the first time, emerging markets are deploying more renewables than developed nations (VoxGreentech MediaClimateWire $)
  • China smog alerts signal new outlook (WSJ $)
  • How bad air came back (Time)
  • New EU wood energy rules threaten climate, forests (Climate Home)
  • Arctic ice melt ‘already affecting weather patterns where you live right now’ (The Guardian)
  • 2016 Is days away from sealing record-hot spot (Climate Home)
  • China’s breakneck rise from solar dabbler to dominator (ClimateWire $)
  • EU member states split on carbon market ambition (Climate Home)
  • Spy satellites show the Himalayas’ changing glaciers (Nexus Media News)
  • 11 cities showing what bold climate action looks like (EcoWatch)

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