Neonics v. birds; Elections have consequences; UN climate talks

Quite a week. The election gave hope for climate action, but science again showed we're playing a dangerous game with our environment. Here's what you need to know.



Pesticides are putting migratory birds 'on life support.'

EHN founder & chief scientist Pete Myers (and several readers, thank you!) underscore the importance of a study showing that neonicotinoid pesticides and chlorpyrifos, both widely used, interfere with bird orientation and feeding.

A key finding from the study, published online this week in the journal Nature:

These results suggest that wild songbirds consuming the equivalent of just four imidacloprid-treated canola seeds or eight chlorpyrifos granules per day over 3 days could suffer impaired condition, migration delays and improper migratory direction, which could lead to increased risk of mortality or lost breeding opportunity.

Canada's National Post has strong coverage: "Research shows common pesticides starve, disorient birds"

Saturday climate watch: COP23 in Bonn

The annual United Nations climate talks opened this week in Bonn, and for the first time in the quarter-century history of the proceedings, the United States did not set up a pavilion at the summit – the only developed country not to do so.

The talks aim to hammer out the "rule book" for the 2015 Paris Agreement, an accord signed by 195 countries including the United States that President Trump has vowed to abandon.

U.S. absence has left a vacuum at the talks, and plenty are speculating who will fill it.

A group of U.S. governors, mayors, university and business leaders – the We are Still In coalition – has stepped forward to show how Americans are still taking climate action, even if Uncle Sam isn't.

Led by California Gov. Jerry Brown and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the group on Saturday released a report showing the breathe and influence of U.S. non-federal action on climate change.

You can catch the livestream here starting at 4p CEST/10a EST featuring authors who will describe the report's findings.

Other coverage:

Our sister site, The Daily Climate, has more stories.

Four good reads

Grab a coffee. Or bookmark these for later if Saturday's chores await:

1. When did lunch become so complicated? Hakai Magazine on seafood labeling: The ecolabel fable: Sustainable seafood programs can't guarantee ocean-friendly choices.

"The server at the sushi restaurant hands me the menu, and I'm hit with a wave of anxiety as I count four pages, printed front and back. I was hoping the menu would be as minimalist as the modern decor. I have only 45 minutes, and I'd like to enjoy a conversation with my husband..." (read more)

2. Good news on environmental and social justice. Next City: Transforming a Bay Area brownfield into a green jewel.

"The city of Richmond is emerging as a leader in sustainable redevelopment and in the process, preserving its past..." (read more)

3. The Atlantic on Flint, children's health and the lead crisis: The 'horrifying consequence' of lead poisoning.

"The devastating health consequences of this lapse are now becoming clear. A recent paper finds that the city's lead crisis may have sparked a drop in birth rates and a precipitous rise in miscarriages..." (read more)

4. Seven trends that could beat global warming. The Guardian: There is reason for hope.

"It does not need to be all bad news: A series of fast-moving global megatrends, spurred by trillion-dollar investments, indicates that humanity might be able to avert the worst impacts of global warming..." (read more)

Election aftermath

"A good night for climate action at the ballot box," report ClimateWire's Josh Kurtz and Benjamin Storrow. (Blue wave seen as a rebuke to Trump's climate views.)

Seattle P-I's Josh Connelly weighs in on the suddenly sour prospects for North America's largest oil-by-rail terminal. (A big defeat for Big Oil on proposed Columbia River terminal)

Lest we forget, NBC offers this retrospective on how much the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has changed in one year since Trump's election.

Saturday's headlines

Peak Pig: The fight for the soul of rural America. ​

Head's up: Join us Monday as we launch our month's long investigation, in partnership with North Carolina Policy Watch, into the rapid rise of industrial agriculture and its environmental and social justice impacts in rural America, particularly North Carolina's hog country.

We'll take you to the frontline in the countryside as we uncover what it means to be rural in an age of mega-farms.

EHN.org: Journalism that drives the discussion.

republican climate change denial
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson. (Credit: Gage Skidmore)

Opinion: House Speaker Mike Johnson’s climate change playbook — deny the science, take the funding

The two-faced charade of climate denial while diving into the pot of federal renewable incentives and tax breaks.

It took no time for Mike Johnson to establish a hefty carbon footprint as new Speaker of the House.

Keep reading...Show less
Senator Whitehouse & climate change

Senator Whitehouse puts climate change on budget committee’s agenda

For more than a decade, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave daily warnings about the mounting threat of climate change. Now he has a powerful new perch.
wetlands sunset
Image by Alain Audet from Pixabay

The $500,000 fight to protect a Muskoka wetland

Very few of Ontario’s quickly vanishing marshes and swamps are safe from development. A group of citizens managed to preserve one, but they also found deep flaws in the system.

Wolverine
Image by Andrea Bohl from Pixabay

Some U.S. wolverines to be protected by Endangered Species Act

Officials will add the predators, threatened by climate change and habitat loss in much of the United States, to the Endangered Species List.

Plans to present meat as ‘sustainable nutrition’ at Cop28 revealed

Big meat companies and lobby groups are planning a large presence at the Cop28 climate conference, equipped with a communications plan to get a pro-meat message heard by policymakers throughout the summit.

farm irrigation
Image by Jupi Lu from Pixabay

In California, farmers test a method to sink more water into underground stores

A novel program reimburses landowners for replenishing groundwater, in a bid to add regularity to the state’s boom and bust water system.

virgin atlantic flight
Photo by Troy Mortier on Unsplash

First flight using 100% sustainable fuel crosses the Atlantic Ocean

The Virgin Atlantic flight used only sustainable aviation fuel to cross the Atlantic Ocean from London to New York on Tuesday. It’s a step toward zero-carbon flight.

Zahra Biabani, author of Climate Optimism, named Future Perfect 50 finalist

The Climate Optimism author believes focusing on victories can engender more positive action.
From our Newsroom
childrens health climate change

Delays in joining the RGGI regional climate program means excess ER visits and child illness in Pennsylvania

Up to 128 premature deaths from air pollution could have been prevented if the state had entered the program in 2022 as planned.

environmental justice

LISTEN: Carlos Gould on wildfire smoke and our health

“Information matters a lot — trying to explain not just that there’s a problem, but how to do something about it.”

fracking PFAS

“Forever chemicals” in Pennsylvania fracking wells could impact health of surrounding communities: Report

More than 5,000 wells in the state were injected with 160 million pounds of undisclosed, “trade-secret” chemicals, which potentially include PFAS.

800,000 tons of radioactive waste from Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry has gone “missing”

800,000 tons of radioactive waste from Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry has gone “missing”

Poor recordkeeping on hazardous waste disposal points to potential for bigger problems, according to a new study.

drought climate farming

Opinion: Climate change and soil loss — the new Dust Bowl?

How we can save our soil, stabilize the climate, and prevent a new Dust Bowl.

Stay informed: sign up for The Daily Climate newsletter
Top news on climate impacts, solutions, politics, drivers. Delivered to your inbox week days.