Hot News: January 10, 2017 - The Years Project

Hot News: January 10, 2017

By Climate Nexus

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The Heat Was On in 2016: 2016 was the second-warmest year on record in the US, trailing only 2012, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday. All lower 48 states recorded warmer-than-average years and 34 cities across the nation registered temperature records. Per NOAA, 2016 was also the fourth consecutive wettest year for the US, with four disastrous inland flooding events in Texas, West Virginia, and Louisiana costing more than $15 billion in damages; these floods are part of the 15 extreme weather events that caused $46 billion in damage and 138 deaths last year. (APWashington Post $, BloombergUSA TodayClimate CentralNew York Times $. Commentary: ThinkProgress, Joe Romm analysis. Climate Signals backgrounders: Houston floodsLA floodscentral TX floodsWV floods.)

Obama: Clean Energy Revolution “Irreversible”: In the January 13 edition of the journal Science, President Obama argues that the clean energy policy he fostered during his term will continue to grow due to market forces. “Putting near-term politics aside,” the president writes in the op-ed, “the mounting economic and scientific evidence leave me confident that trends toward a clean-energy economy that have emerged during my presidency will continue and that the economic opportunity for our country to harness that trend will only grow.” The piece can be seen as both a celebratory bookend to the president’s various successful policies and as a direct address to the next administration. (APWashington Post $, The HillThe GuardianUSA TodayThe AtlanticTimeMashableInsideClimate NewsClimate HomeClimate CentralGreentech Media)

Exxon Will Do Business With Anyone, US Policy Be Damned: A European subsidiary of ExxonMobil did business with Iran while the country was under economic sanctions from the US as state sponsors of terrorism, SEC filings show. The $52.3 million in sales happened for three years in the early 2000s while Rex Tillerson was a top executive, and raise even more questions about the ethics of appointing an oil CEO as Secretary of State one day before his Wednesday confirmation hearings. A separate Washington Post report published yesterday details how Exxon’s negotiations to purchase Iraqi oil reserves, led by then-CEO Tillerson, directly went against US foreign policy goals in the region as dictated by Washington. And a Center for American Progress report released this morning finds Exxon could make as much as $1 trillion in profit under a Trump administration. (Iran sales: USA TodayThe HillNY Daily NewsMic. Iraq: Washington Post $. Hearings: Bloomberg. CAP report: Grist.)

FWS: Save Sea Ice, Save the Polar Bear: Curbing global greenhouse gas emissions is the “single most important” action needed to protect polar bears, the US Fish and Wildlife Service urged Monday. Writing in a conservation management plan developed specifically for the species, the FWS emphasized that climate change-induced loss of sea ice cover, the bears’ habitat, was a disastrous sign for the bears’ survival and the number one priority to address to save the species over the long term. If emissions continue at current rates, only portions of the Canadian Arctic and northern Greenland may retain enough ice for bear habitat. (APWashington Post $, New York Times $, The GuardianFusionBuzzfeed)

Methane Has Zombie Effect on Rising Sea Levels, Study Shows: Short-lived greenhouse gasses like methane can have an impact on sea level rise centuries after they disappear from the atmosphere, new research has shown. The study, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, uses a climate model to examine how greenhouse gases influence thermal expansion – the process by which water expands in volume as it heats – finding that 40% of the ocean’s peak thermal expansion caused by methane could remain even 500 years after the gases disappear from the atmosphere. The study comes as the GOP moves to roll back President Obama’s regulations on methane emissions. (Study: Washington Post $. GOP: The New YorkerEnergyWire $, E&E $, Bloomberg BNA.)

US News
  • F.B.I. arrests Volkswagen executive on conspiracy charge in emissions scandal (APNew York Times $)
  • Texas $1 billion carbon project to curb emissions, up oil recovery (ReutersWashington Post $)
  • U.S. intelligence study warns of growing conflict risk (ReutersBloomberg)
  • Kerry presses businesses to take up climate fight (Politico, Boston Globe $, ReutersInsideClimate News)
  • Here Are All the Climate Deniers and Oil Flacks Who Love Trump’s EPA Pick (Mother Jones)
  • Trump EPA pick leaves conservative law group (The Hill)
  • ‘Day Against Denial’ rallies target nominees’ climate stance (E&E $)
  • Ethics officials clear Trump’s EPA nominee (AP)
  • Southern Co. gains powerful ally in Trump Attorney General pick (Bloomberg)
  • Manchin: Trump will help on miners’ fight (The HillE&E $)
  • GOP chairman uses House floor speech to decry NYT column as ‘fake news’ (The Hill)
  • Tom Steyer heads back into battle, starting with an ad against secretary of State pick Rex Tillerson (LA Times $)
  • Trump, Congress could halt state action on climate (Climate Central)
  • Corps, tribes to judge: Reject Dakota Access company request (AP)
  • Wisconsin tribe votes against renewing Enbridge pipeline agreements (Reuters)
  • Vermont’s new governor sticking with renewable energy goal (AP)
  • Even in Illinois coal communities, Trump’s anticipated impact on industry is a source of debate (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
  • UW-Madison faculty challenge DNR climate change revisions (AP)
  • Offshore drilling regulator tapped to lead solar group (The Hill)
  • Legendary ‘tunnel tree’ falls victim to powerful California storm (Mashable)
  • U.S. should pursue controversial geoengineering research, federal scientists say for first time (Science Magazine)
  • A little less gas in the greenhouse: S.C. industries reduced CO2 emissions in 2015 (Post and Courier)
  • Report finds increasing vulnerability for coal ash stored in Chesapeake (Virginian-Pilot)

World News

  • Africa’s first grid-connected biogas plant powers up (Reuters)
  • Three alternative sources of income for yield-hungry investors (FT $)
  • Gasoline taxes fall despite promises to slow climate change – study (Reuters)
  • 2016 was hottest year ever recorded in New Zealand (AP)
  • One year from today, we’ll have blown the world’s entire carbon budget (Fast CoExist)
  • Lightning, weather’s byproduct, may become one of its predictors (New York Times $)
  • Solar panel researchers investigate powering trains by bypassing grid (The Guardian)
  • UN shipping body rejects EU climate initiative (Climate Home)
  • ‘This is our future’ – Kenya’s croton tree touted as new biofuels crop (The Guardian)
  • Forget denial, Canadian government campaign makes climate change ridiculously personal (Fast Co.Create)

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