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A federal judge has reinstated a moratorium on coal leasing from federal lands that was imposed under former President Barack Obama and then scuttled under former President Donald Trump. Friday’s ruling from U.S. District Judge Brian Morris requires government officials to complete a new environmental review of the leasing program before they can resume coal sales. It marks a major setback for the already struggling coal industry. Few leases were sold in recent years as coal demand shrank drastically. But coal from existing leases remains a major contributor of planet-warming emissions. The industry’s opponents had urged Morris to revive the moratorium to ensure coal can’t make a comeback as climate change worsens.
New aerial surveys show that massive amounts of methane are venting into the atmosphere from oil and gas operations across the Permian Basin. The emissions endanger U.S. targets for curbing climate change. Methane’s earth-warming power is some 83 times stronger than the carbon dioxide that comes from car tailpipes and power plant smokestacks. Congress and the EPA have largely failed to regulate the invisible gas. That leaves it up to oil and gas producers to cut methane emissions on their own, but in some cases they are the very companies who have been fighting regulations. An Associated Press investigation shows hundreds of sites spewing the gas over and over again.
The British environmental scientist whose influential Gaia theory sees the Earth as a living organism gravely imperiled by human activity has died on his 103rd birthday. James Lovelock’s family said Wednesday that he died the previous evening at his home in southwest England after his health deteriorated from a bad fall this year. Lovelock's contributions to environmental science included developing a device to measure ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere and pollutants in air, soil and water. The Gaia hypothesis saw the planet as a complex, self-regulating system that maintained the conditions for life on the planet. Lovelock said human activity has thrown the system dangerously off-kilter. Gaia is the Greek goddess of the Earth.
Massachusetts House and Senate lawmakers have approved a compromise bill mandating some steps the state needs to take to meet a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Massachusetts House approved the compromise bill on a 143-9 vote Thursday. The Senate then voted 38-2 in favor of the bill. The bill takes more aggressive steps toward battling tailpipe emissions. It would increase to $3,500 the rebate for qualifying purchases and leases of zero-emission passenger cars and light duty trucks. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has 10 days to review the legislation and decide whether to sign or veto it.
Airplanes are a minor contributor to global greenhouse-gas emissions, but their share is sure to grow as more people travel in coming years. That has the aviation industry facing the prospect of tighter environmental regulations and higher costs. At Monday’s opening of a huge aviation industry show near London, discussion about climate change replaced much of the usual buzz over big airplane orders. The industry has embraced a goal of reaching net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050. Experts who track the issue are skeptical. Today’s aircraft engines are the most efficient ever, but improvements in reducing fuel burn are agonizingly slow — about 1% a year on average.
FILE - Framed by the Manhattan skyline, electricians with IBEW Local 3 install solar panels on top of the Terminal B garage at LaGuardia Airport, Nov. 9, 2021, in the Queens borough of New York. President Joe Biden is promising “strong executive action” to combat climate change, despite dual setbacks that have restricted his ability to regulate carbon emissions and boost clean energy such as wind and solar power. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
FILE - President Joe Biden speaks to reporters after meetings with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Waldorf Astoria Jeddah Qasr Al Sharq hotel, July 15, 2022, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Biden is promising “strong executive action” to combat climate change, despite dual setbacks in recent weeks that have restricted his ability to regulate carbon emissions and boost clean energy such as wind and solar power. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
BOSTON — Officials from companies with fleets of trucks are urging governors across the country to embrace a rule meant to speed the adoption …
BOSTON — Massachusetts has turned a critical corner in its response to climate change.
A home sits near the Marathon Petroleum Company refinery near Detroit. In a new study, researchers have uncovered stark disparities between wh…