All Climate change stories

Clearing up the Biden-Bernie fracking tussle at the debate

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Getty Images photos: Ethan Miller and Brian Blanco

There was a lot of confusion Sunday night about whether Joe Biden made a big change in his energy platform during his debate with Bernie Sanders. He didn't.

What happened: At one point during his exchange on climate policy with Bernie Sanders, Biden said "no new fracking." That raised antennae about whether he was going beyond his existing vow to end new oil-and-gas permitting on federal lands and waters.

With coronavirus and climate change, it’s about time

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Time is what keeps everything from happening at once, someone wisely said.

Yes, but: In once-in-a-lifetime moments when everything does seem to be happening at once, like what’s unfolding with the cascading coronavirus crisis, time is a ruthless prioritizer. Acting on the decades-long problem of climate change falls to the bottom.

Pollution levels fall in Italy in the wake of coronavirus outbreak

Photo: Andrea Ronchini/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution fell drastically in parts of Italy — a direct result of the country closing borders and businesses to mitigate the novel coronavirus outbreak, The Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The drop in saturation of greenhouse gases in Italy shows the impact humans have on the environment, and how quickly emissions can plummet when people reduce the burning of fossil fuels, the Post writes. Nitrogen dioxide is not the primary greenhouse gas linked to climate change, but serves as a proxy for other emissions.

Coronavirus response should promote clean energy — IEA

Photo: picture alliance / Contributor/Getty Images

The International Energy Agency is urging governments to weave policies that support climate-friendly energy into their economic responses to the novel coronavirus.

What they're saying: "These stimulus packages offer an excellent opportunity to ensure that the essential task of building a secure and sustainable energy future doesn’t get lost amid the flurry of immediate priorities," IEA executive director Fatih Birol said.

Trump's power-plant carbon rule has conflicting impact

President Trump. Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / Contributor

The Environmental Protection Agency's rule controlling power plants’ carbon emissions cuts C02 but preserve more coal electricity, according to a recent analysis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Why it matters: It’s believed to be the first such EIA analysis of the regulation, putting meat on the bones of one of President Trump’s biggest regulatory moves to scale back rules from his predecessor.

Joe Biden is facing closer scrutiny of his climate plans

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The apparent end of the Democratic primary's truly competitive phase will bring closer scrutiny of Joe Biden's climate and energy plans — and new efforts to change them.

The state of play: Bernie Sanders yesterday suggested that his mission in remaining in the race is pushing Biden left, and he name-checked climate change among the policy areas.

What the oil market's collapse means for the climate

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Convulsions in global oil markets are creating new wildcards for efforts to rein in carbon dioxide emissions and boost climate-friendly energy.

The state of play: In the abstract, cheaper energy makes cutting consumption more difficult, something to watch if low prices outlast the coronavirus outbreak. Lower revenues could also potentially hinder oil giants' investments in low-carbon tech and startups.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 11, 2020 - Energy & Environment

A Biden presidency would face significant climate scrutiny from activists

Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Yesterday brought a reminder that if Joe Biden wins the presidency, a lot of his staffing decisions could become battlegrounds over climate policy, not just his picks to run agencies like the EPA and the DOE.

Driving the news: When Axios' Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen reported that Joe Biden confidantes were discussing JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon among several potential Treasury picks, the reaction from some climate activists was severe.

Coronavirus and climate change are obvious risks we ignore

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Forget black swans. We’re getting run over by two gray rhinos: coronavirus and climate change.

The intrigue: A gray rhino is a metaphor coined by risk expert Michele Wucker to describe “highly obvious, highly probable, but still neglected” dangers, as opposed to unforeseeable or highly improbable risks — the kind in the black swan metaphor.

The environmental impact of Fluffy and Rover

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The 163 million dogs and cats in the U.S. ate one-quarter of the 94.3 billion pounds of meat the country produced in 2015, or as much as 62 million Americans did, according to estimates by UCLA professor Gregory Okin.

Why it matters: Raising that meat generated greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 64 million tons of carbon dioxide, or as much as the yearly emissions of 12.3 million passenger vehicles. U.S. pet ownership has increased since 2015 when the pet census was taken and Okin made his calculations. As the number of pets has increased, so have emissions.