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COBALT IS CRITICAL TO THE RENEWABLE ENERGY TRANSIT...

May 14, 2020 — Its name conjures an image of vivid deep blues. But when cobalt is dug out of the ground in ore form, there’s barely a hint of the rich hue it lends its name to. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which produces more than half of the world’s supply, it takes the form of heterogenite, a dull brownish mineral that could easily be mistaken for small clods of dirt. But people die for this mineral. Children...

LESS THAN 10% OF ALL PLASTIC TRASH EVER PRODUCED H...

May 21, 2020 — Plastic. It’s not hard to see how anyone who is appalled at the despoliation of the environment could think that the world would be better without it. Nearly 10% of the world’s oil is used in making it. It has enabled the proliferation of cheap goods — cramming closets, landfills and otherwise-unspoiled places where it could remain for decades, if not centuries. Yet, because it’s so much lighter than the steel...

Do Fuels Made From Plastic Make Eco Sense? Behind ...

Yogurt pots, shampoo bottles, coffee-to-go lids, bubble wrap — plastic products are all composed of the same building blocks: long carbon chains. Heating them to high temperatures makes the carbon chains crack into a mixture of shorter molecules, ultimately converting them back into crude oil, the resource from which the majority of plastic products were originally made. Varying the process can result in different carbon...

Monarch Butterflies Will Be Protected Under Histor...

The side of the road isn’t usually thought of as ideal habitat. But for insects, such as butterflies and their caterpillars, the long expanses of land along roads and utility corridors add up to a considerable amount of home turf. More than 45 transportation and energy companies, as well as dozens of private landowners, have agreed to create or maintain monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) habitat along...

Test Your Knowledge: Climate Science 101 (QUIZ)

During this time of social distancing, we’re sharing some of our most popular content and invite you to spend some time learning how our climate is changing and how we can solve this crisis together. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, anything resembling normal life is currently on hold — for us here at Climate Reality as much as for millions around the world.That said, social distancing doesn’t have to put the brakes on...

Air Pollution and the Coronavirus: The Connection ...

Most Americans have spent the past couple weeks focused on staying safe and protecting their families during the coronavirus pandemic. For President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), however, this time has been spent differently. Trump’s EPA has been on a mission of late to quickly relax regulations and give fossil fuel companies a free pass to pollute – all at a time when we’re learning that the quality of the...

Human Pollution Reaches Underground Cave Ecosystem...

Not even underground ecosystems are safe from human pollution. New research published in PLoS ONE May 6 examined how water runoff from the surface impacted the communities of microbes in the Monte Conca cave system in Sicily. The answer? Quite a lot. Potentially human-introduced bacteria made up less than 4 percent of the microbial community during the dry season, but shot up to almost 90 percent during the wet season, after...

Trump EPA Won’t Regulate Toxic Drinking Water Chem...

In defiance of a court order, the Trump administration Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will not regulate perchlorate, a toxic chemical used in rocket fuel that contaminates drinking water and harms the development of fetuses and small children. The move is in keeping with other Trump administration decisions not to impose recommended limits on toxic chemicals, such as its decision not to ban child-harming...

The Trump Administration Is Reversing Nearly 100 E...

After three years in office, the Trump administration has dismantled most of the major climate and environmental policies the president promised to undo. Calling the rules unnecessary and burdensome to the fossil fuel industry and other businesses, his administration has weakened Obama-era limits on planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and from cars and trucks, and rolled back many more rules governing...

Lead Poisoning Reveals Environmental Racism in the...

Reports that the new coronavirus is disproportionately killing African Americans in the United States are no surprise to the country’s public health researchers. Numerous examples, from polluted water in Flint, Michigan, to parasites like hookworm in Alabama, have long shown that African Americans are more exposed to environmental dangers and ill-health than white Americans. But a study into one of the most enduring of...

Did The Plastics Boom End Before It Even Started?

Three years ago, the UN declared plastic pollution a global crisis, more than three decades after the discovery of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch–a collection of marine debris 2x the size of Texas. The Year 2020 was supposed to be a watershed moment for the plastic industry after dozens of state and local policymakers planned to make the ultimate shift away from plastics. They clearly underestimated the sheer tenacity...

Trump Signs Executive Order That Will Accelerate C...

President Donald Trump issued an executive order late Thursday that environmentalists warned will accelerate the corporate exploitation of oceans by relaxing regulations on and streamlining the construction of industrial offshore aquaculture facilities, which critics deride as “floating factory farms” that pump pollution and diseases into public waters. The Don’t Cage Our Ocean Coalition, which was formed...

Climate Journalism Honored at Pulitzers

Environment and climate stories made strong showings in this year’s Pulitzer Prize winners and finalists, which were announced Monday. The Washington Post won the top prize for explanatory reporting for its “2°C: Beyond the Limit” series, which used temperature data from across the globe to examine places where warming has already exceeded the 2 degrees C threshold. Other climate-related stories were also...

6 Things Michael Moore’s ‘Planet of the Humans’ Ge...

Filmmaker Michael Moore’s new documentary purports to expose hypocrisy at the heart of the renewable energy movement. But the video, released on YouTube last week, is a mess of deceptive and outdated anecdotes, and a succession of ridiculous arguments. It will almost certainly do far more harm than good in the struggle to reduce carbon emissions. As a reporter who covers renewable energy and has a background in...

US Supreme Court Decides Clean Water Act Applies T...

The Clean Water Act of 1972 was intended to do exactly what the name implies — protect the waters of the United States from pollution. Since the beginning, it was controversial. Precisely what waters were included? It obviously applies to the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, but what about that pond on the back 40 of a farm in Kansas? US Aquifers. Credit: USGS Over the years, state and federal courts have plumbed the...