Weekend Environment Reader

The loneliest polar bear.

Read about the struggles of Nora, the beloved polar bear, and the impact humans are having on polar bears in the Arctic. more…

What Changed the World This Week

How the 1% are preparing for the apocalypse.

The threat of global annihilation may feel as present as it did during the Cold War, but today's high-security shelters could not be more different from their 20th-century counterparts. more…

Editor comments: This is a less nuanced version of a similar story that appeared in the New Yorker in January 2017. -JPM

California fires leave 31 dead, a vast landscape charred, and a sky full of soot.

The reach of the blazes is spreading dramatically further by the day, as thick plumes of smoke blow through population centers across the Bay Area. more…

Desperate Puerto Ricans are drinking water from a hazardous-waste site.

In Puerto Rico, water is being pumped to people by water authorities from a federally designated hazardous-waste site. more…

Editor comments: Climate-related weather disasters are driving health concerns in Puerto Rico (Superfund water), Texas (petrochemical spills) and California (toxic air). -JPM

Firefight in Sonoma County reaches second week as flames force thousands to evacuate.

An army of firefighters with a larger aerial arsenal at their disposal held made some gains Saturday on devastating wildfires ravaging Wine Country, but a rising death toll offered clear reminder of the peril that still grips the region. more…

‘Shrinking, shrinking, shrinking’: Puerto Rico faces a demographic disaster.

Long before the winds of Hurricane Maria reached Puerto Rico, another disaster had been wrenching and scattering the lives of island residents. more…

Puerto Ricans pump drinking water from hazardous-waste: report.

Some Puerto Rico residents are turning to a hazardous waste site for drinking water as the island continues to reel from Hurricane Maria. more…

Photos: Smoke from Wine Country fires traveled as far as Mexico.

It can be challenging to put the devastation of the Wine Country fires into perspective, but when viewed from such great heights, one's cognitive distance quickly shrinks. more…

Trump voters in storm-ravaged county confront climate change.

After Harvey, some conservatives in Texas are wondering what role do humans play in global warming and the worsening of storms like Harvey? And what should they expect their leaders to do about the problem now? more…

Unfair trade: US beef has a climate problem.

Future trade deals in the US, and around the world, must explicitly assure that trade and profit do not override climate policy. more…

Wild is the wind: The resource that could power the world.

Wind isn’t just mysterious, destructive and exhilarating - capturing just 2 percent of it would solve the planet’s energy needs at a stroke. more…

South Australia goes all out on renewable energy.

A massive solar thermal plant and world’s biggest lithium ion battery are making this down-under state a renewable energy powerhouse. more…

Latinos leading on climate change.

All across the country, Latinos are working hard to fight polluters and protect our air, water and climate. Here are the Latino voices leading the way in fighting climate change. more…

As Bloomberg hammers coal, what's next for his climate giving?

The fate of the coal industry is bigger than Michael Bloomberg and Donald Trump. That’s a perception that Bloomberg ought to be wary of as his climate philanthropy continues to develop. more…

World petrol demand 'likely to peak by 2030 as electric car sales rise.'

World petrol demand will peak within 13 years thanks to the impact of electric cars and more efficient engines, energy experts have predicted. more…

Top Weekend News

Native American secrets lie buried in huge shell mounds.

Archaeologists in Maine are working to unearth artifacts buried for centuries in shell middens. But sea levels are rising, eroding the ancient sites. New York Times

Tar sands pipeline described as ‘a quiet Keystone XL’ gets Trump approval.

Enbridge's Line 67, the Alberta Clipper, can pump nearly 900,000 barrels of tar sands oil across the Canadian border every day. InsideClimate News

Perry pursuing policy on coal, nuclear power at odds with Texas record.

As multiple Texas coal plants wind down operations, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry is pushing a widely decried proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear plants in the name of grid resiliency. Texas Tribune, Texas

This Week in Trump

Proposed New Mexico science standards omit global warming.

A proposed overhaul of New Mexico’s state science standards for public schools came under intense criticism Monday at a packed public hearing in the state capital for omitting or deleting references to global warming, evolution and the age of the Earth. Associated Press

Trump pick for top environment post: Carbon dioxide is 'the gas of life.'

President Donald Trump has picked Kathleen Hartnett White, a former Texas regulator and unapologetic advocate of expanding U.S. fossil fuel production regardless of carbon dioxide emissions, for the top White House environment post. InsideClimate News

Republicans may use budget to open Arctic, Atlantic to oil rigs.

Congressional Republicans have found a way to use the federal budget to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling— and they don’t plan on stopping there. Bloomberg News

Coal country is finding little relief in Trump's climate actions.

Every morning is filled with anxiety in this hardscrabble town so intertwined with the fortunes of its hulking coal power plant that a drawing of the facility is emblazoned on the community’s police force emblem. Los Angeles Times

EPA scrubs climate change website of 'climate change.'

A new analysis made public on Friday found that an E.P.A. website has been scrubbed of scores of links to materials to help local officials prepare for a world of rising temperatures and more severe storms. New York Times

Pruitt clamps down on 'sue and settle.'

U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt moved today to curb settlements with environmental groups, a practice critics say the Obama administration used to issue new regulations. Greenwire

Scott Pruitt suggests he will restrict scientists who get EPA grants from advising the agency.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt hinted Tuesday at plans to rid the agency’s scientific advisory boards of researchers who get EPA grants, arguing that the current structure raises questions about their independence. Washington Post

New talks on Paris climate pact are set, and that's awkward for US.

International delegates will gather next month to discuss implementing the Paris agreement, and American negotiators will be there even though the United States has said it will quit the pact. New York Times

Pruitt's promised directive rattles science advisers.

U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's suggestion that he'd get rid of advisory committee members who also receive EPA grants has roiled the research community. Greenwire

Trump has taken longer to name a science adviser than any modern president.

The administration is moving forward on decisions that depend on science despite leaving the top White House scientific position open. Washington Post

EPA head seeks to avoid settlements with green groups.

The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a directive to his agency on Monday seeking to end the practice of settling lawsuits with environmental groups behind closed doors, saying the groups have had too much influence on regulation. Reuters

Trump says he ended the ‘war’ on coal companies. But it’s too late to save them.

The moves to save this industry have actually exposed its weaknesses — and revealed a trend that coal companies and the Trump administration have not acknowledged publicly: Despite Trump’s best efforts, the American coal industry remains on life support. Washington Post

We asked 4 agency bosses about Trump. They're worried.

Take it from four former U.S. EPA chiefs - this is all going to get much worse before it gets better. ClimateWire

No Senate confirmation? No problem.

President Trump is installing nominees at federal agencies to serve as "advisers" without a stamp of approval from Congress. Greenwire

Senate Democrats vow to fight drilling in Alaska reserve.

U.S. Senate Democrats vowed on Tuesday to fight a measure expected to be slipped into budget legislation that would open Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Reserve to oil and gas drilling, saying it would destroy one of earth’s remaining paradises. Reuters


Even in Alberta, views on oil are changing: Steward.

Catastrophic weather events have shifted the views on burning greenhouse gases and politicians will need to respond. Toronto Star, Ontario

Transition sacred.

As Pope Francis has put it, we need an "ecological conversion." Resilience.org

The diplomat behind the Paris climate agreement says the world is moving forward without Donald Trump.

Christiana Figueres remains optimistic about tackling global warming. Sierra

Don’t consign poor countries to wild storms and flooding.

Wealthy nations caused the problem but are not doing enough to solve it. Newsweek

Craft: EPA administrator should see Houston's post-Harvey pollution firsthand.

Ignoring science, weakening protections and crossing our fingers that the next storm does not target the Gulf Coast will not get the job done. Houston Chronicle, Texas

Automakers shouldn’t fight emissions standards.

As top automakers commit to take on climate change, industry lobbyists are undermining fuel economy and emissions standards. New York Times

Even China is tackling climate change, while US takes a back seat.

Beijing sees an interconnected world where environmental sustainability is crucial to maintaining political support, global stability and economic growth. The Hill, District of Columbia

Rich countries must provide funds for climate change victims.

UN talks on loss and damage are failing to deliver for vulnerable communities. After a devastating hurricane season, the developed world must step up. Climate Home

Trump’s sellout of American heritage.

It’s easy to forget that the president is doing real damage to things that all of us share. New York Times

Editor comments: Best line: "Pruitt is the swamp, the only wetland the Trump administration wants to protect." -DF


The White House sees only dollar signs in the Arctic.

With subterfuge and an ear for those who can gain financially, the administration pushes to drill oil and mine gold in fragile areas. New York Times

Eye in the sky offers clearest vision of Earth.

The world’s latest carbon-monitoring satellite has advanced our understanding of how the planet functions. US politicians should take note. Nature

Learning lessons from Northern California’s fires.

After 10 stressful days, things are returning to normal — at least a new normal — for most of us. Santa Rosa Press Democrat, California

See it, say it: Climate change.

Denial by the White House will sadly increase the intensity of storms and wildfires. Washington Post

Undoing the Clean Power Plan.

EPA Director Scott Pruitt achieved a long-sought personal victory last week when he signed a measure to begin the process of repealing the Clean Power Plan, a 2015 measure aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot, Virginia

California burns: Where is the president?

As raging wildfires devour the lives, homes and dreams of Californians in an unprecedented scale, one voice has been conspicuously mute: President Trump. San Francisco Chronicle, California

Hurricane Ophelia: A warning on climate inertia.

Even if emissions are stabilised through international agreements, the worst effects of global warming have yet to be experienced. Dublin Irish Times, Ireland

The misery in Puerto Rico is completely unacceptable.

The millions of Americans on the island deserve a far better response from their government than what they have gotten. Washington Post