Hot News: January 3, 2017 - The Years Project

Hot News: January 3, 2017

By Climate Nexus

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Happy New Year! Now What? Record-breaking global temperatures, coral bleaching, and extreme weather events created worrisome climate headlines throughout 2016, while Donald Trump’s surprise win in November and December’s grim Arctic ice melt numbers put an ugly final spin on the year. But 2016 also had many bright spots, as our favorite end-of-year climate news roundups pointed out: global emissions stopped increasing, solar and wind costs continued to plummet, and the Paris Agreement went into effect well ahead of schedule. Looking towards 2017, keep an eye on state action against backwards climate policy from Washington, how international diplomacy may respond to Trump’s climate wrecking ball, climate justice at DAPL and beyond, and renewable energy becoming even cheaper worldwide. (2016 roundups: Washington Post$, CBSThe GuardianWiredLA Times $, GristClimate CentralGreentech MediaThinkProgressQuartzPacific Standard. 2017: The GuardianQuartzGizmodoInsideClimate NewsClimate Central.)

Cabinet Confirmations Put Fossil Fuels in Spotlight: As Trump readies a formidable team to push his cabinet picks through upcoming confirmation hearings, his nominees’ ties to the fossil fuel lobby are coming under close scrutiny. Six Senate Democrats are pressing Scott Pruitt for more details related to nearly $200k of fossil fuel donations to his nonprofit, saying that Pruitt’s financial ties to the industry he would regulate as EPA chief is “troubling.” And while Rex Tillerson’s stated belief in climate change makes him stand out in a sea of deniers, some speculate that Tillerson’s leadership at Exxon on climate change was nothing more than PR bluster. Lawyers for a set of teens and children suing the US government and industry groups (including Exxon) for failing to act on climate change called on Tillerson last week to testify in the case on January 19, the day before the inauguration. (Cabinet: Politico. Pruitt: ReutersThe HillThinkProgressTillerson: New York Times $, BloombergBoston Globe $. Commentary: The Guardian, Dana Nuccitelli analysisLA Times, Lee Wasserman op-ed $.)

Liberal States Gear Up for 2017 Climate Surprises: Last Thursday, 15 attorneys general from Democratic states sent a letter to Trump urging him to preserve the Clean Power Plan, rebutting a letter sent in early December from Republican AGs pushing for the CPP to be scrapped. The letter hinted at future legal action if Trump does away with the CPP. California continues to send strong signals that it may defy anti-climate policies from Washington, with Jerry Brown telling the New York Times in late December the state “will take action” against “extreme climate denial.” Last week, Brown tapped climate change attorney Kathleen Kenealy to serve as the state’s interim AG while Kamala Harris transitions to the Senate. (Letter: Washington Post $, The HillPolitico Pro$, TPM California: New York Times $ Commentary: New York Times editorial $, LA Times editorial $, Grist, Vien Truong op-ed)

…But Don’t Forget Red States: It’s not just Democratic states pushing their own climate agendas: while Ohio’s AG Michael DeWine signed on to the letter in favor of scrapping the CPP, Gov. John Kasich vetoed a bill last week pushed through the Republican legislature that would freeze renewable energy standards and slow renewables development in Ohio. Kasich, who cited “economic competitiveness” as the reason for his veto, also blocked a $264 million tax break for the oil and gas industry in the state. (VoxBloombergThe HillGreentech MediaCincinnati InquirerCrain’s Cleveland Commentary:, Dick Munson and Josh Knights op-edAkron Beacon Journal editorial.)

US News
  • Weak federal powers could limit Trump’s climate-policy rollback (New York Times $)
  • Scientists just ran the numbers on how much Trump could damage the planet (Washington Post $)
  • Can carbon capture technology prosper under Trump? (New York Times $)
  • Methane’s on the rise, but regulations to stop gas leaks still debated (NPR)
  • State renewable energy mandates are producing enormous benefits (Vox)
  • Tesla aims to sustain purity of car batteries, but can any company be sure? (Washington Post $)
  • States to keep utility model under a microscope in 2017 (Politico Pro $)
  • Coal country picked Trump. Now, they want him to keep his promises (NPR)
  • Mothers unleash their organizing power on climate (Grist)
  • Should there be carbon penalties for ‘no growth’ communities? (LA Times $)
  • Pipeline uncertainty illustrates broader concerns for tribes (AP)
  • Pipeline resistance gathers steam from Dakota Access, Keystone success (InsideClimate News)
  • Wis. agency scrubs webpage to remove climate change (Milwaukee Journal SentinelGizmodoThinkProgress)
  • Can a federal government scientist in California convince Trump that climate change is real? (LA Times $)
  • Panasonic to invest over $256 mln in Tesla’s U.S. plant for solar cells (ReutersBloomberg)
  • Stage set for another big year of energy and environment fights (Politico Pro FL$)
  • How much will really change for the West’s oil and gas industry under Trump? (LA Times $)
  • Should L.A. County have a huge desalination plant? A battle looms in the South Bay (LA Times $)
  • In Vermont, solar, batteries key energy revolution (AP)
  • Mexico’s climate migrants are already coming to the United States (Grist)
  • Spread by trade and climate, bugs butcher America’s forests (AP)
  • Skeptical climate scientists coming in from the cold (RealClear Investigations)

World News

  • With enough evidence, even skepticism will thaw (Washington Post $)
  • Photographing climate change refugees, by drone and on foot (New York Times $)
  • Solar could beat coal to be the cheapest power on Earth (Bloomberg)
  • Solar panels now so cheap manufacturers probably selling at loss (Bloomberg)
  • China to cut solar, wind power prices as project costs fall (Bloomberg)
  • Mexico’s Maya point way to slow species loss, climate change (Reuters)
  • The U.S. isn’t the only big country at risk of falling behind on climate change. Meet Brazil (Washington Post $)
  • Climate change driving birds to migrate early, research reveals (The GuardianHuffington Post)
  • Ban Ki-moon buoyed by climate accord but laments conflicts (AP)
  • 2016’s super warm Arctic winter ‘extremely unlikely’ without climate change, scientists say (Washington Post $)
  • Oil producers turn to wind power (WSJ $)
  • Indian firm makes carbon capture breakthrough (The Guardian)
  • Fish seek cooler waters, leaving some fishermen’s nets empty (New York Times$)
  • ‘This is possible. We did it’: the week Portugal ran on renewables (The Guardian)
  • Costa Rica barely used any fossil fuels in 2016 (Mashable)
  • EU to exempt foreign flights from emissions scheme (Reuters)
  • Major flooding in UK now likely every year, warns lead climate adviser (The Guardian)
  • Floods in southwest Congo kill at least 50 (Reuters)
  • Government to outline climate change risks facing UK in new report (The Guardian)
  • Power surge: Chinese electric car battery maker charges for global market (Reuters)
  • Cornish village marks 25 years of UK wind power (The Guardian)
  • Global warming is reshaping the wine-making world (NPR)
  • Christmas Day 2016 sets new UK record for renewable energy use (The Guardian)
  • How climate change threatens famed Amalfi Coast (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Yes, some extreme weather can be blamed on climate change (Scientific American)

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