Hot News: December 21, 2016 - The Years Project

Hot News: December 21, 2016

By Climate Nexus

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State Dept Under Transition Team Scrutiny? Trump’s transition team asked the State Department last week to disclose how much money it spends to support international environmental groups, the Washington Post reported Monday. The Post’s report comes less than two weeks after initial news broke of a probing questionnaire sent by the transition team to the Department of Energy seemingly targeting climate change policymakers and programs, and Trump vowed on the campaign trail to “cancel billions of dollars in global warming payments to the United Nations.” Other officials at State pushed back on the Post’s report to CNN, saying the questions were part of a routine inquiry into budget and structure.  (Washington Post $, CNNGristHuffington Post. Commentary: ThinkProgress, Sam Page analysis)

Obama (And Trudeau) Takes Drilling Off the Table: President Obama announced yesterday a “permanent” ban on offshore drilling in parts of the Arctic and Northeast Atlantic. In a tandem move, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau also announced he would put a moratorium on drilling in parts of his country’s Arctic waters. Obama’s move has already provoked aggressive criticism from fossil fuel supporters, but the administration’s use of the 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to prop up the decision means that opponents will almost certainly have to resolve the issue in federal court. (New York Times $, Washington Post $, WSJ $, APReutersPoliticoBloombergTimeThe HillThe GuardianNPRVoxLA Times $, MashableSoutheast Energy News)

Clean Energy All Over the Midwest: Three Midwestern states are closing out the year with big clean energy changes on the horizon. Both Illinois and Michigan passed major clean energy bills in the last hours of their lame duck sessions, encouraged by the state’s Republican governors. And while Ohio’s legislature extended a freeze on the state’s renewables standards, earlier comments from Gov. Kasich indicate he may veto the bill. In Minnesota, while a Republican legislature could curtail progress on the state’s emissions reductions plans, some policymakers have hinted that clean energy policies could be ground for bipartisan compromise. (MI, OH, IL: Midwest Energy News. MN: Midwest Energy NewsMPR News. Commentary: Crain’s Chicago Business, Will Kenworthy op-ed.)

Today’s Forecast May Make You Believe In Climate Change: Had a super sweaty summer? You’re more likely to believe in climate change than your colder friends and family in other parts of the country, according to a study published Monday in the journal PNAS. The study finds that US attitudes towards climate change are influenced by local weather, with Americans living in places with recent record high temperatures more likely to believe in climate change, while people living in areas with record low temperatures showed more skepticism. The study’s authors suggest that the public’s mistaken equation of weather with climate, as well as the idea that “global warming” simply means warmer temperatures, may be responsible for the results. (ClimateWire $, Sacramento BeeThe Independent)

US News
  • These two sentences could hint at the next threat to climate science under Trump (Washington Post $)
  • Trump climate deniers prompt scared scientists to set up hotline (Bloomberg)
  • Judge: Seattle kids can move ahead with climate rights case (AP)
  • It’s a tough time in Oklahoma, except for Scott Pruitt (AP)
  • Troubled coal-fired plant could get new lifeline (WSJ $)
  • California members of Congress petition Trump on climate change and abortion restrictions (LA Times $)
  • Public climate information threatened under Trump (Climate Central)
  • General Motors’ sustainability chief says Trump can’t stop the green energy boom (Quartz)
  • Trump’s commitment to infrastructure vow is being questioned (AP)
  • Dirtier than tar sands: California’s crude oil secret (Climate Home)
  • Here’s how your finances will be impacted by climate change (MarketWatch)
  • Petition calls for Barack Obama to fulfill Green Climate Fund pledge (The Guardian)
  • Republican senator: House GOP killed energy bill to go to a party (The Hill)
  • Battling climate change, FEMA chief blasts ‘social welfare for developers’ (WBUR Here and Now)
  • Another big solar farm coming to California desert (Desert Sun)
  • Is the sun setting on state solar policy fights? (ClimateWire $)
  • Sustainability committee to set renewable energy, net-zero carbon emissions goals (The Cap Times)
  • Regional climate change and the ‘heat island’ effect (JZZ)
  • On average Somerset residents to see decrease on tax bills (The Herald News)

World News

  • Pre-Christmas melt? North Pole forecast to warm 50 degrees above normal Thursday (Washington Post $, Mashable)
  • Chinese cities choked by dangerous smog for fifth day; factories, schools closed (Reuters)
  • Lawyers demand Chinese government action to clear smog (FT $)
  • Amid smoggy days in London, growing calls to clean up Europe’s toxic air (Washington Post $)
  • India’s energy forecasts are falling short and climate could win (Bloomberg)
  • Why cutting soot emissions is ‘fastest solution’ to slowing Arctic ice melt (The Guardian)
  • Earth’s temperature to dip but still sizzle in 2017 (Reuters)
  • Traditional rainmaking ceremonies resurge in parched Zimbabwe (Reuters)
  • Indonesia’s forests are key for saving orangutans — and slowing climate change (PRI)
  • Brazil’s coffee growers face bleak future as world warms (Climate Home)
  • Norway wealth fund excludes 15 coal related firms, more to follow (Reuters)
  • The trouble with ceding climate leadership to China (Foreign Affairs)
  • El Nino-linked cyclones to increase in Pacific with global warming: research (Reuters)
  • Evaluating avalanches danger in a warming world, lessons from past climate change (Forbes)

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