Climate Change

Google updates maps, flight search and more in global sustainability effort

BY Rachel Tillman International

Google is launching a host of new updates to a number of its services as part of a global effort to help consumers make environmentally-friendly choices both at home and on the road, the company announced Wednesday.

“Today, climate change is more than a threat,” Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and its parent company, Alphabet, said in a recorded statement. “It is a real and present danger. From wildfires to flooding to more frequent and severe storms, climate change is the most profound risk we face, one that affects our health, our economies and our future together on this planet.”

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U.K. pledges to hit all-renewable electricity by 2035

BY Associated Press and Spectrum News Staff International

All Britain’s electricity will come from renewable sources by 2035, the governing Conservatives announced Monday, saying the move would help end the country’s reliance on imported fuel.



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Hochul announces 11 new certified Climate Smart Communities across NY

BY Adam Penale New York State

As part of Climate Week 2021, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced 11 new certified Climate Smart Communities which are working to support local efforts to meet challenges brought about by climate change. Three communities already in the program have also been recertified and Erie County has advanced to silver-level certification.

To reach certification, Hochul says that communities must establish an active climate change task force made up of residents and municipal representatives.

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Daily Pilot: Irvine could secure $1-million worth of funding to combat climate change

BY Ben Brazil Orange County

Irvine is moving forward in a statewide competition for $1-million worth of funding to help the city achieve its ambitious goal to have a zero-carbon economy by 2030.

The competition, the Cool City Challenge, was started by the Empowerment Institute, an international consulting and training organization specializing in empowering cities to meet their carbon reduction goals. As part of this initiative, three California cities will receive $1 million each to roll out their climate programs. The three recipients of the grants will also share the Carbon Neutral City Prize, which includes $25 million in funding.

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Biden EPA completes rule to phase out gases used as refrigerants

BY Associated Press and Spectrum News Staff Nationwide

In what officials call a key step to combat climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency is sharply limiting domestic production and use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), highly potent greenhouse gases commonly used in refrigerators and air conditioners.

The new rule, which follows through on a law Congress passed last year, is intended to decrease U.S. production and use of HFCs by 85% over the next 15 years, part of a global phaseout designed to slow global warming.

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WHO sets higher, tougher bar for air quality

BY Spectrum News Staff & Associated Press International

The World Health Organization said Wednesday that the harmful health effects of air pollution kick in at lower levels than it previously thought and it is setting a higher bar for policymakers and the public in its first update to its air quality guidelines in 15 years.

The United Nations health agency released its revised Air Quality Guidelines as climate change is a leading topic at the U.N. General Assembly in New York. Chinese President Xi Jinping announced Tuesday that China will no longer fund power plants fired by coal, which generates several of the pollutants covered by the guidelines.

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McDonald's to phase out plastic Happy Meal toys by 2025

BY Spectrum News Staff Nationwide

McDonald's announced that it will make major changes to its iconic Happy Meal toys, with an aim to "drastically" reduce its use of plastics as part of the company's push toward sustainability and reducing their environmental impact.

"Starting now, and phased in across the globe by the end of 2025, our ambition is that every toy sold in a Happy Meal will be sustainable, made from more renewable, recycled, or certified materials like bio-based and plant-derived materials and certified fiber," McDonald's wrote in a statement posted to its website.

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Biden administration takes action to protect Americans from extreme heat

BY Spectrum News Staff & Associated Press Nationwide

The Biden administration is moving to protect workers and communities from extreme heat after a dangerously hot summer that spurred an onslaught of drought-worsened wildfires and caused hundreds of deaths from the Pacific Northwest to hurricane-ravaged Louisiana.

Under a plan announced Monday, the U.S. Departments of Labor and of Health and Human Services as well as other federal agencies are launching actions intended to reduce heat-related illness and protect public health.

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Biden, world leaders try to hammer out next steps on climate: 'We have to act and we have to act now'

BY Spectrum News Staff Nationwide

President Joe Biden tried to hammer out the world’s next steps against rapidly worsening climate change in a private, virtual session with a small group of other global leaders Friday, and announced a new U.S.-European pledge to cut climate-wrecking methane leaks.

Grim findings from scientists this year that the world is nearing the point where the level of climate damage from burning oil, gas and coal becomes catastrophic and irreversible “represent a code red for humanity,” Biden said at the beginning of the session.

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NOAA: July 2021 was Earth's hottest month on record

BY Spectrum News Staff International

July 2021 has earned an unenviable distinction of being the planet's hottest month on record, according to data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Environmental Information Friday.

JUST IN: It’s official. #July was Earth’s hottest month on record. https://t.co/xKGLizOml4 via @NOAANCEIclimate #StateOfClimate #July2021 (Tweet 1 of 5) pic.twitter.com/Qqbu6CLqVt

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Biden sets electric vehicle sales goal of 50% by 2030

BY Austin Landis and Spectrum News Staff Nationwide
UPDATED 4:45 PM ET Aug. 05, 2021

President Joe Biden on Thursday signed an executive order that sets a goal that half of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2030 will be zero-emissions, and he committed to reversing a Trump-era rollback of fuel emissions standards.

"We led in developing this technology. And there's no reason why we can't reclaim that leadership again. But we just have to move, we have to move fast," President Biden said, noting China's advances in the industry.

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Biden moves to restore clean-water safeguards ended by Trump

BY Associated Press and Spectrum News Staff Nationwide

The Biden administration began legal action Wednesday to repeal a Trump-era rule that ended federal protections for hundreds of thousands of small streams, wetlands and other waterways, leaving them more vulnerable to pollution from development, industry and farms.

The rule — sometimes referred to as “waters of the United States” or WOTUS — narrowed the types of waterways that qualify for federal protection under the Clean Water Act. It was one of hundreds of rollbacks of environmental and public health regulations under President Donald Trump, who said the rules imposed unnecessary burdens on business.

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Biden to suspend oil leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

BY Associated Press and Spectrum News Staff Nationwide

The Biden administration is suspending oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as it review environmental impacts of drilling in the remote region that has been the focus of a political fight for decades, according to two people who have been briefed on the administration’s plan.

The Interior Department order was set to be announced later Monday. It follows a temporary moratorium on oil and gas lease activities imposed by President Joe Biden on his first day in office. Biden’s Jan. 20 executive order suggested a new environmental review was needed to address possible legal flaws in a drilling program approved by the Trump administration under a 2017 law approved by Congress.

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Biden administration outlines plan to conserve 30% of U.S. lands, waters by 2030

BY Spectrum News Staff Nationwide

The Biden administration provided the outline Thursday for its “America the Beautiful” initiative, releasing a report compiled by multiple Cabinet agencies outlining a collaborative vision for restoring and conserving America’s lands, waters and wildlife over the next decade.

The report builds on an executive order issued by President Biden in his earliest days in office, which ordered federal agencies to submit a report on how the U.S. can conserve “at least 30% of our lands and waters by 2030."

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Study: Pandemic Leads To 9.2% Drop in Greenhouse Gases by U.S. Economy

BY Ryan Chatelain Nationwide
UPDATED 11:23 AM ET Nov. 20, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has sent greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. businesses plummeting to their lowest level in nearly three decades, according to analysis from BloombergNEF, an energy research group.

Greenhouse gases generated by the economy are projected to drop to 5.9 billion metric tons in 2020, down 9.2% compared to last year, the study says. That is about the same level seen in 1983, when the U.S. economy was less than 40% its current size.

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Cuomo: $3 Billion New York Environmental Bond Act Postponed

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The Restore Mother Nature Bond Act, which would have been the largest in state history, was supposed to reduce the risk of flooding for vulnerable communities, restore habitat, and prepare the state for climate change.

It’s become another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The DEC Denied Another Pipeline Permit. Is There More to it Than That?

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The state’s environmental agency said “no” once again to a pipeline that would have carried natural gas into New York City – the second time in three months that energy giant Williams has been foiled in New York.

Back in February, after an eight-year regulatory battle with activists and the state of New York, and after what the company called a diminished anticipated return on its investment, Williams pulled the Constitution Pipeline project.

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Fahy Wants A Bigger Bond Act in New York

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Assemblywoman Pat Fahy thinks New York is going to need a bigger bond act.

The Albany Democrat on Wednesday announced she is backing an even larger bond act to bolster the environment and combat climate change in New York than the original proposal of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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Cuomo to Make Climate Action Council Appointments

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday will announce the appointments of SUNY Empire President Jim Malatras and former Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey to a climate change council.

The appointments by Cuomo are key for the panel to begin its work of enacting a plan to reach targeted emissions reduction goals in the coming decades, and is being closely watched in environmental and climate policy circles.

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Cuomo Proposes $3B Environmental Bond Act

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed on Wednesday $3 billion in borrowing to help bolster the state's environment.

The proposal was the latest plan unveiled in his State of the State agenda, held in Albany and on the first day of the legislative session.

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ExxonMobil Scores Victory In Climate Change Suit

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

State judge on Tuesday ruled in favor of ExxonMobil in a wide-ranging case over whether the company misled shareholders on the effects of the business costs related to efforts to combat climate change.

The result is a victory for ExxonMobil in a case that dates back to Eric Schneiderman’s term in office.

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