Top Democratic presidential contenders talked tough Wednesday on cutting climate-damaging emissions from oil, gas and coal, turning their focus to global warming in a marathon evening of town halls that gave the candidates a chance to distinguish themselves on a topic of growing importance to their party's liberal base. The lengthy climate conversations promised to hand Republicans ammunition for next year's general election fight by emphasizing one common element in the Democrats' climate change plans: their overwhelming — and overwhelmingly costly — scope.
The government agency that manages Australia's Great Barrier Reef has downgraded its outlook for the corals' condition from "poor" to "very poor" due to warming oceans. The report issued Friday finds the greatest threat to the reef remains climate change. The other threats are associated with coastal development, land-based water runoff and human activity such as illegal fishing.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo fired a shot across the bow of yet another utility company this week, when he sent a letter to the state Department of Public Service, directing the agency to broaden its investigation into a moratorium on natural gas imposed by National Grid after the energy provider failed to get approval for a hotly contested pipeline in May.
Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg arrived in New York City to chants and cheers Wednesday after a trans-Atlantic trip on a sailboat to attend a global warming conference. Thunberg, 16, and her crew were escorted into a lower Manhattan marina at about 4 p.m., concluding a two-week crossing from Plymouth, England. Hundreds of activists gathered on a Hudson River promenade to cheer her arrival.
Across the Southwest, people are longing for the monsoon rain like a lost summer romance. They're declaring their love online for the seasonal weather pattern that makes the scorching heat somewhat bearable in places like Phoenix and Las Vegas, and helps snuff out wildfires. They're peering out their windows for signs of storm clouds rolling in and calling rain drops a tease. And they're not giving up hope, despite many cities experiencing their driest summers on record.
Marriott International, the world's largest hotel chain, said Wednesday it will eliminate small plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner and bath gel from its hotel rooms worldwide by December 2020. They'll be replaced with larger bottles or wall-mounted dispensers, depending on the hotel. The move follows a similar announcement last month by IHG, which owns Holiday Inn, Kimpton and other brands.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Wednesday that Latin America's Amazon countries will meet in September to discuss both protecting and developing the rainforest region, which has been hit by weeks of devastating fires. The Brazilian leader also escalated a deeply personal dispute with French President Emmanuel Macron, accusing him of portraying himself as "the one and only person" concerned about the environment.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has told voters in coal-producing Kentucky that it's possible to be a friend of coal miners and a believer in climate change and the need for cleaner energy sources to combat it. In blunt terms rarely heard in Kentucky's political circles, the Vermont senator said Sunday on a stop in Kentucky that bold action is needed to confront the dangers from climate change.
Acrimony between Brazil and European countries seeking to help fight Amazon fires deepened on Tuesday, jeopardizing hopes of global unity over how to protect a region seen as vital to the health of the planet. A personal spat between the leaders of Brazil and France seemed to dominate the dispute, but it also centered on Brazilian perceptions of alleged interference by Europe on matters of sovereignty, economic development and the rights of indigenous people.
This is where Earth's refrigerator door is left open, where glaciers dwindle and seas begin to rise. New York University air and ocean scientist David Holland, who is tracking what's happening in Greenland from both above and below, calls it "the end of the planet." He is referring to geography more than the future. Yet in many ways this place is where the planet's warmer and watery future is being written.