New program in Tallahassee teaches kids about the environment

May 13, 2019

Learning something new and saving the environment at the same time, that's the goal of a new program in Tallahassee.

YEL or Young Environmental Leaders group, aims to stimulate and direct the environmental interests and passions of children in elementary, middle and high school.

YEL will provide settings for students to stretch their creativity, engage their interests and understand that their voice in society can be heard.

Solar installations in US now exceed 2 million and could double by 2023, new figures show

May 12, 2019

There are now over 2 million solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in the U.S., according to new figures. The 2 million mark comes three years after installations hit 1 million, a figure it took the industry 40 years to reach. 

The numbers, from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), were released Thursday.

Solar power can be harnessed in several ways, including through photovoltaic and concentrated solar power systems. Photovoltaic refers to a way of directly converting light from the sun into electricity. 

Plastic straws are out: Ron DeSantis vetoes prohibition of local straw bans

May 11, 2019

Gov. Ron DeSantis flexed his veto power for the first time late Friday, declining to sign an environmental bill that would have prohibited local governments from banning plastic straws for the next five years.

In his veto letter to Secretary of State Laurel Lee, he said municipalities who prohibit plastic straws have not “frustrated any state policy” or “harmed the state’s interest.”

Under the bill, a study of “each ordinance or regulation adopted” by local governments related to single-use plastic straws would have to be conducted by the Department of Environmental Protection and then submitted to Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, and House Speaker José Oliva, R-Miami Lakes.

How to talk to kids about climate change without scaring them

Interior is processing offshore oil permits despite drilling pause

May 10, 2019

The Interior Department is reviewing permits from companies interested in exploring the coast for potential sources of oil, despite the agency announcing a pause in its offshore drilling plans, Reuters reported Monday.

Interior is reportedly in the process of reviewing permits for seismic testing, a process that blasts air below the water to create sound waves that can be used to map out natural resources. The method is strongly opposed by environmental groups as it serves as a precursor to drilling and also alarms marine life, particularly the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

Interior did not immediately respond to request for comment.

South Miami Commits to Running on 100 Percent Renewable Energy by 2040

May 9, 2019

Earlier this year, South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard went "off the grid" for seven days and lived entirely on energy from the solar panels attached to the roof of his home. Stoddard, a longtime critic of Florida Power and Light who is also a Florida International University biologist, told the Miami Herald last month he unplugged from the power grid as a "trial run" for potential outages during this year's hurricane season.

After succeeding on his own, Stoddard is taking the entire city with him. Yesterday, the South Miami City Commission unanimously passed a resolution saying the city will transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy by the year 2040.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis tackling climate change with ‘Chief Resilience Officer’

May 8, 2019

Florida is going to acknowledge and address ramifications of climate change under Gov. Ron DeSantis, a stark break from the policies of his predecessor who largely denied or ignored the phenomenon.

DeSantis is preparing to hire a Florida Chief Resilience Officer, someone whose job will be to coordinate Florida’s preparations for “environmental, physical and economic impacts of climate change, especially sea level rise”, according to a job posting. The position would report to the governor’s office. Applications are being taken through the end of the month.

The creation of the position, and the up-front declaration that Florida must prepare for climate change, not only mark a break from the position of former Gov. Rick Scott, a fellow Republican, but harken to ideas offered by the most fervent of climate-change crusaders among the Democrats.

SECOND CUP: 2019 Energy Ball

Brian Lee joined WTXL on Wednesday tell us about ReThink Energy Florida's upcoming Energy Ball

North Broward Prep students win Lexus Eco Challenge’s grand prize

May 7, 2019

A group of seven sixth-grade students from North Broward Preparatory School in Coconut Creek recently won an additional $30,000 from the Lexus Eco Challenge, a national STEM competition for grades 6-12 in which students work together to solve an environmental issue affecting their communities.

Last March, the students took home $10,000 as one of the middle school winners of the first two phases of the competition.

The project tasked 2,300 students led by their teacher advisors from the around the country with a set of two challenges: land and water or air and climate and accompanying topics, including landfills, waste management and recycling; endangered species and loss of biodiversity; shrinking wetlands and aquatic habitats; global warming; air pollution; and fossil fuels and renewable energy, among others.

North Broward Prep students Nate Harmelin, Ryan Folic, Isabella Wiles, Camila Palladino, Hayden Simmons, Grant Fawcett and Maddie Sage and their teacher Hope Kennedy chose global warming for their Food Miles Matter project. They came up with a solution to reduce the food miles their cafeteria adds to the world from its trucked-in food supplies by growing food in their own garden. In addition to studying a variety of types of gardening techniques — regular, hydroponic and aeroponic vertical tower — they also organized a school awareness campaign and tweeted their progress.

Humans Are Speeding Extinction and Altering the Natural World at an ‘Unprecedented’ Pace

May 6, 2019

Humans are transforming Earth’s natural landscapes so dramatically that as many as one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction, posing a dire threat to ecosystems that people all over the world depend on for their survival, a sweeping new United Nations assessment has concluded.

The 1,500-page report, compiled by hundreds of international experts and based on thousands of scientific studies, is the most exhaustive look yet at the decline in biodiversity across the globe and the dangers that creates for human civilization. A summary of its findings, which was approved by representatives from the United States and 131 other countries, was released Monday in Paris. The full report is set to be published this year.

Its conclusions are stark. In most major land habitats, from the savannas of Africa to the rain forests of South America, the average abundance of native plant and animal life has fallen by 20 percent or more, mainly over the past century. With the human population passing 7 billion, activities like farming, logging, poaching, fishing and mining are altering the natural world at a rate “unprecedented in human history.”

America's renewable energy set to surpass coal for the first month ever

May 4, 2019

America's clean energy revolution is on the verge of a tipping point.

The renewable energy sector is projected to generate more electricity than coal during the month of April, according to a recent report published by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. That's never happened before.
Coal, long the king of the power sector, has already been dethroned by natural gas, a much cleaner burning fossil fuel. Now, coal is facing intensifying pressure from wind and solar power.
"Five years ago this never would have been close to happening," Dennis Wamstead, research analyst at IEEFA, said in an interview. "The transition that's going on in the electric sector in the United States has been phenomenal."

Sea turtle nesting season is back on our beaches. Here's what you need to know

May 1, 2019

On your mark, get set, nest! Thousands of female sea turtles are about to begin their annual rite of spring when they invade South Florida beaches for nesting season.

During the season, the marine reptiles come back to the beaches and dig holes to lay eggs. The turtles leave about 100 golf-ball-sized eggs, which they cover with sand to hide them from predators.

Here is what residents and visitors need to know about the turtles’ pilgrimage and how to help them safely lay their eggs.

FSU named one of 10 most environmentally friendly campuses in America

April 29, 2019

According to College Magazine, FSU was ranked number seven in the U.S. in environmentally friendly campuses.

College Magazine said from eliminating plastic trays to using renewable energy, FSU was one of 10 college campuses to demonstrate their dedication to the Earth. They said the schools provide the best environmental science programs, recycling initiatives, and sustainable transportation options.

One of the things College Magazine said about FSU was that "when it comes to recycling and waste diversion, FSU practices the type of eco-friendly policies that every campus should model."

Ashley Furniture Industries invests $29 Million in solar energy

April 28, 2019

Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. has selected ten of its largest U.S. facilities to receive solar installations this year as part of phase one of their new initiative.

The company has committed to a multi-phase effort to reduce its energy footprint, according to a news release.

Phase one of the project will be a $29 million investment for Ashley. By installing solar, the company expects to offset its electrical energy needs by 35% using clean energy from the sun.

Florida Supreme Court asked to reject Everglades oil drilling plan

April 26, 2019

Opponents of an oil drilling proposal for the Everglades have taken their case to the Florida Supreme Court, asking for a review of a lower court’s order that the state issue a permit for the controversial project.

Broward County and the city of Miramar filed papers asking the court to review a decision by the First District Court of Appeal telling the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to issue a drilling permit to Kanter Real Estate LLC.

The company, which represents the family of banker and developer Joseph Kanter, proposes to drill an exploratory well in the Everglades of western Broward County about five miles west of U.S. 27 and 10 miles south of Alligator Alley, nearest to the city of Miramar.

Vegan Climate Activist Makes TIMES' Influential People Of 2019 List

April 23, 2019

Vegan climate activist, Greta Thunberg, has made TIME Magazine's Influential People Of 2019 list, for her efforts demanding political action to save the environment.

Thunberg, who has also been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, joins the likes of US politician, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and primatologist, Jane Goodall, who were also featured in the 'TIME 100'.

"Now in its 16th year, the TIME 100 is far more than an annual list of the world's most influential people. It is, across its more than 1,000 alumni, one of the world's greatest leadership communities—a unique mix spanning government, business, entertainment, health, sports, and science," TIME's website states.

Environmentalists Call On Governor To Ban All Types of Fracking, Not Just Some

April 18, 2019

To mark Ron DeSantis's 100th day in the Governor's office, environmentalist groups gathered across several cities in Florida on Wednesday for a day of action to ban all forms of fracking, the controversial oil-drilling technique, in the state. 

A small group of about 20 people gathered in front of the state Department of Economic Opportunity in Oakland Park in the early evening to call on the governor to ban all forms of fracking, and not just some. 

"We can say it any one of a thousand different ways: we need to ban fracking," Susan Steinhauser organized the rally. 

'Green Amendment' author brings Earth Day message to Temple Israel

April 18, 2019

Our environment is under attack. With disastrous blue-green algae, cataclysmic red tide, devastating hurricanes and tornadoes, and rising sea levels the challenge is mounting in Florida. The impact affects us all. No one can escape the contamination of our environment. We all have a job to do.

Maya K. van Rossum has been doing that job for 23 years. Maya is an environmental attorney, strategist, community organizer, facilitator, coalition builder, and manager. She is also the author of "The Green Amendment, Securing Our Right to A Healthy Environment."

The book was selected as the 2018 Living New Evergreen Awards Gold Winner in the Nature Conservation category. She was named one of the ”10 Most Influential People of 2015” by SNL Energy when it comes to energy issues, and has testified, by invitation, twice before U.S. Congressional committees.

Good News for Florida – Science can defend the paradise we call home

April 16, 2019

As a scientist with more than five decades of experience, I am heartened by the announcement of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ appointment of Dr. Tom Frazer to serve as Florida’s Chief Science Officer.

This is good news for Florida – first that there is a chief science officer – in contrast to the recent past. That science is now recognized as a critical tool in understanding how to manage complex issues facing the state is vital.

Dr. Frazer is well qualified. He is a professor and the Director of the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Florida. He is a well-published biologist who has done practical work on water and algae issues.

Plus, Dr. Frazer has worked with the Florida Climate Institute – a consortium of universities working on climate issues.  The Institute was established to encourage cooperation on issues of critical importance to the state of Florida. Algae infestation is one of them.

Florida utility aims to build world's biggest renewable battery

April 14, 2019

One problem that plagues solar and wind power projects is the intermittent nature of their output, which varies with weather conditions. Battery storage on a big-enough scale can solve that problem by storing power made during favorable weather and releasing it when needed. 

Florida Power & Light is planning to build a battery big enough to replace two natural gas power plants. 

"It would be the world's biggest solar-powered storage battery."

Group pushes to expand offshore drilling—including off Florida’s coast

April 12, 2019

Florida voters may have spoken out against offshore drilling in 2018. But Explore Offshore, a group created by the American Petroleum Institute (API), is pushing to expand the practice throughout U.S. waters, including in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic.

Explore Offshore has set up a bipartisan leadership team consisting of former U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson and Democratic former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia. Nicholson also is a former Republican Party head.

Nicholson recently joined David Mica, executive director of the API’s Florida Petroleum Council, to pitch the push at a gathering of the National Federation of Independent Business in Tallahassee.

The voter-approved Amendment 9 banned offshore drilling in state waters, which extend 3 to 10 miles off Florida’s coast, depending on the location.

The Great Barrier Reef Was Seen as ‘Too Big to Fail.’ A Study Suggests It Isn’t

April 10, 2019

For millenniums, ecosystems have withstood fires, floods, heat waves, drought and even disease by adapting and rebuilding their biodiverse communities.

But according to new research, there is a limit to what even the largest and most resilient places can stand, and climate change is testing that limit by repeatedly disturbing one of the earth’s most precious habitats: the Great Barrier Reef.

The study, released Wednesday in the journal Nature by researchers from the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in Australia, monitored the death and birth of corals following ocean heat waves that caused mass bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 and 2017.

Puerto Rico just passed a bill to require 100% renewable electricity by 2050

April 8, 2019

Eighteen months after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico–an island-wide blackout that was the longest in the history of the U.S. that helped contribute to the thousands of deaths from the storm–the island is now planning to shift to 100% renewable energy.

A Puerto Rico Senate bill that would move the island to 100% renewables by 2050 just passed, and the governor is expected to sign it within a month. “After Hurricane Maria, a new consensus was really built in Puerto Rico,” says Javier Rua-Jovet, director of public policy in Puerto Rico for Sunrun, a solar power company that worked with others to give input on the bill. “Everybody knew that a different system had to be built.”

In the wake of the storm, several companies and organizations worked to install solar panels and batteries at hospitals, community centers, and at critical infrastructure sites like a sewer treatment plant. Sunrun installed solar power at fire stations. These were emergency projects, but there was a growing understanding that renewable energy made sense for the island at a large scale.

Solar energy - and solar jobs - are on the rise in Florida | Commentary

April 7, 2019

it's time for everyone to put on sunglasses and see the light: Solar is great for the Florida economy.

Solar employment in Florida grew by 21 percent in 2018, even though nationally there was a 3.2 percent decline.

Florida is now second in the United States for solar jobs after California. Total solar employment in our state grew to 10,358, according to the Solar Foundation’s Solar Jobs Census 2018.

Judge Blocks Oil Drilling in Arctic Ocean

April 5, 2019

On Friday, a federal judge in Alaska ruled that an executive order signed in April 2017 that would have allowed oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean and an area of underwater canyons off the Atlantic coast is “unlawful, as it exceeded the President’s authority.” Only congress, United States District Court Judge Sharon Gleason wrote, has the power to reverse such bans on oil drilling.

The ruling reinstates restrictions placed on Arctic drilling by the Obama administration in 2015 and 2016. The bans applied to about 98 percent of the Arctic coastal shelf in northern Alaska, or roughly 125 million acres. In the Atlantic, the ban has been reinstated on 5,937 square miles of underwater canyon complexes stretching from Virginia to the Canadian border, reports Kevin Bohn at CNN.

The ruling comes after ten environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, Greenpeace and League of Conservation Voters, joined a lawsuit challenging the executive order. Defenders of President Donald Trump’s 2017 executive order included the current administration, the state of Alaska and the American Petroleum Institute.

H&M reports “strong progress” towards sustainability

Swedish fashion chain H&M has stated in its annual sustainability report that it has shown “strong progress” towards its goal to only use sustainable materials, as 57 percent of all materials used by H&M Group to make its products were created using recycled or other sustainably sourced fibres.

Anna Gedda, head of sustainability at H&M Group, said in a statement: “From the beginning, our role has been to democratise fashion. Today, that means making it sustainable: it’s the only way we’ll keep making great fashion and design available today, tomorrow and for generations to come. We will continue our work to lead the change towards a sustainable fashion industry.”

The report highlights that the fashion group is progressing to its wider goal towards becoming a circular and renewable brand, as in 2018, 57 percent of all materials used was recycled or other sustainably sourced fibres, an increase of 35 percent from 2017. While for cotton the figure was 95 percent, close to the company’s goal to reach 100 percent by 2020.

Scientists found microplastics inside creatures from the deepest parts of the ocean

April 2, 2019

It's news to no one that plastic poses a serious threat to marine life — only this month, a curvier's beaked whale washed up dead in the Philippines with 40 kilograms of plastic waste in its stomach.

With microplastics also being ingested by plankton, fish, and birds — which often end up dying as a result of the build-up in their systems — it's clear to see that our problem with plastic has got out of hand.

Unfortunately, the problem is far more extensive than previously thought, according to a team of researchers from the University of Newcastle. Microplastics are being consumed by animals in the farthest depths of the ocean.

FAMU and Duke Energy partner to soak in Florida’s sunshine through solar energy

March 31, 2019

Duke Energy’s Rattler Solar Power Plant could add 74.9 megawatts of clean, renewable power to the grid at BAERS and help further the development and research of solar technologies, plant operations and workforce expansion.

“FAMU strives to be a good neighbor at all times, and like residents of Brooksville and Hernando County, we are concerned about the sustainability of the planet,” said Fred Gainous, Ed.D., who leads the FAMU Brooksville project. “This initiative allows us to use the natural energy source of the sun to power homes, instead of using resources that can be depleted.”

The solar facility would occupy between 600 and 800 acres of property and feature approximately 270,000 tracking solar panels that will follow the sun’s movement throughout the day, maximizing energy production for customers.

Oil Giants Invest $110 Billion In New Fossil Fuels After Spending $1 Billion On Green PR

March 29, 2019

The world’s five largest publicly traded oil companies are increasing their investments in oil and gas, putting a combined $110 billion in new fossil-fuel production. Meanwhile, those firms are projected to spend just $3.6 billion on low-carbon investments, such as biofuels and renewables, according to a new analysis that Influence Map, a British nonprofit that analyzes corporate influence on climate policy, derived from industry data and numbers buried in company disclosures.

The reckless disparity comes just months after the United Nations warned that the world must rapidly phase out fossil fuel use over the next decade or face catastrophic global warming of at least 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, BP and Total together have spent more than $1 billion on public relations promoting green energy projects and lobbying on behalf of climate policy in the past three years, after virtually every nation on Earth agreed to cut emissions under the Paris Agreement.

Did fracking cause south Alabama earthquakes? Federal researchers investigating

March 27, 2019

Earthquake researchers are sending additional sensors to the area around south Alabama and the Florida Panhandle where five earthquakes have been detected in three weeks. The government researchers are trying to determine whether the quakes are related to oil and gas operations in the area.

Justin Rubinstein, a geophysicist for the U.S. Geological Survey, said USGS is working with the Geological Survey of Alabama and researchers at the University of Memphis to deploy seismometers around the area that will provide more information if additional quakes occur. Some of the instruments are already in place and more will be installed this week, Rubinstein said.

Climate change is cooking salmon in the Pacific Northwest

March 27, 2019

he Tulalip Indian Reservation sits on the east side of the Puget Sound, about 40 miles north of Seattle, Washington, where the change in seasons is marked by the arrival and departure of salmon. At the heart of the reservation is Tulalip Bay, where salmon return every spring and fall before swimming upstream to spawn.

In tribal folklore, the Tulalip people are descended from salmon. As Cary Williams, who works at the tribe’s cultural center, tells the story, the ancient salmon saw people walking on land and wanted to become human. When they asked the grandfather salmon to give them human form, he granted their wish and told them, “I will take care of you, but you must take care of me.”

But it has become increasingly difficult for the Tulalip people to care for the salmon. Since the 1980s, wild Pacific salmon have faced a sharp decline due to overfishing, habitat loss and pollution, leaving several local populations threatened or endangered. Now, climate change is further imperiling the fish.

House, Senate bills ban 2 of 3 forms of oil, gas fracking in Florida

March 26, 2019

Two forms of fracking for oil and natural gas exploration would be banned in Florida under a bill that cleared state House and Senate committees Tuesday, leaving in place a third technique opponents say would still threaten water supplies and the state's fragile environment.

The House Appropriations subcommittee on agriculture and natural resources voted 10-2 for the bill, which would permit a rock-dissolving technique called matrix acidizing but ban two other common forms of fracking. Later Tuesday, the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee voted 6-4 for a similar bill.

Environmental groups call that a loophole, putting underground aquifers at risk of contamination from potentially dangerous chemicals. The petroleum industry also opposes the bill because it would halt use of other fracking techniques.

Glacier melt on Everest exposes the bodies of dead climbers

March 26, 2019

Mount Everest expedition operators are finding increasing numbers of climbers' dead bodies on the world's highest peak as high temperatures melt glaciers and snow.

More than 200 mountaineers have died on the peak since 1922, when the first climbers' deaths on Everest were recorded. The majority of bodies are believed to have remained buried under glaciers or snow.
"Due to the impact of climate change and global warming, snow and glaciers are fast melting and dead bodies are increasingly being exposed and discovered by climbers," Ang Tshering Sherpa, former president of Nepal Mountaineering Association, told CNN.

"Since 2008 my own company has brought down seven dead bodies of some mountaineers, some dating back to a British expedition in the 1970s."

INSIGHT: Florida’s Solar Energy Production to Skyrocket in Next Decade

March 24, 2019

In 2018, solar energy production in the Sunshine State only made up approximately 1.5 percent of Florida’s energy portfolio. Over the next 10 years, the state’s solar energy production is projected to increase nearly tenfold. This includes the installation of an estimated 7,125 megawatts of new solar generation based on a review of the ten-year site plans for the electric utilities. Nearly 80 percent of this generation will be owned by the state’s utility companies, and the remainder will be contracted.

As solar projects expand across the Sunshine State, utilities and solar developers should be aware of all cost-saving opportunities available in the state. Florida law provides a long-standing state and local tax exemption for solar devices, and a recently enacted constitutional amendment will provide significant property tax savings for commercial solar projects through 2037. 

Florida reviewing options to fight Everglades oil drilling plan

March 22, 2019

The fight over oil drilling in the Everglades remains far from over, despite a court ruling this week in favor of the plan.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection issued a statement Wednesday saying it’s reviewing its options and would help Broward County and the region’s cities as they fight a plan by Kanter Real Estate LLC for an exploratory well in the Everglades of western Broward County.

“We’re disappointed in the Court’s ruling, which goes against the protection of the Everglades,” the Florida Department of Environmental Protection said in a statement Wednesday. “The department is reviewing our options and will continue to work with Broward County and local municipalities to provide technical assistance as they pursue their own action regarding this matter.”

Spring break 2019: 30 tons of trash is left behind on Corpus Christi, Port Aransas beaches

March 21, 2019

When the alcohol curfew approaches in Port Aransas, spring breakers leave but a wasteland of trampled beer cans and other trash stays behind.

"We will remove more than 30 tons this week," said William Davis, president of Absolute Waste Services.

"Our service is increased from three days a week to seven days a week during spring break. If we would not go seven days a week it would be quite the mess," he said.

"In case you were wondering, 30 tons equals the weight of about five elephants."

This artificial leaf wants to help fight climate change

March 20, 2019

A man-made leaf may hold the potential to help combat carbon dioxide emissions that lead to climate change.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) have created an artificial leaf prototype that is designed to cut down on carbon dioxide — the main greenhouse gas behind global warming and climate change, experts say. CO2 is released by humans through things like electricity, transportation and steel production.
In 2016, carbon dioxide made up roughly 81.6% of all greenhouse-gas emissions in the US caused by humans, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
The researchers behind the leaf, who published their work in a recent paper in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, are the latest group to try to mimic the work that real leaves do in order to fight emissions.

Transocean Lands 5-Year $830 Million USD Drilling Contract with Chevron

March 19, 2019

Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) announced today that it has signed a rig design and construction management contract, as well as a five-year drilling contract, with Chevron USA, Inc. (“Chevron”) for one of its two dynamically positioned ultra-deepwater drillships (“the drillship”) currently under construction at the Jurong shipyard in Singapore. The drilling contract has an estimated backlog of $830 million USD, excluding mobilization and reimbursables. The drilling contract is subject to design, construction, and delivery requirements set forth in the construction contract.

"The rig will be the first ultra-deepwater floater rated for 20,000 psi operations and is expected to commence operations in the Gulf of Mexico in the second half of 2021."

These Photos Of Kids Around The World Participating In ‘Climate Strike’ Will Give You Hope

March 19, 2019

Leave it to our future generation to educate some of the “we don’t believe in science or facts” folks. Over the weekend, over 1.4 million of our youth in 123 countries skipped school to demand, not inquire about, stronger climate policies for our world.

Many see this movement as the largest environmental protest in history. “This movement had to happen, we didn’t have a choice,” Swedish activist Greta Thunberg told The Guardian. “We knew there was a climate crisis. We knew because everything we read and watched screamed out to us that something was very wrong.”

Thunberg’s message rang true with thousands across the globe, now named the Fridays for Future movement. If you’ve not heard of Thunberg, prepare yourself for greatness. She’s been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her work combating global warming. She’s loud, she’s gaining an all-important following — oh, and she’s only 16 years old.

How Does Your State Make Electricity?

March 18, 2019

Overall, fossil fuels still dominate electricity generation in the United States. But the shift from coal to natural gas has helped to lower carbon dioxide emissions and other pollution. Last year, coal was the main source of electricity generation for 18 states, down from 32 states in 2001.

Here is a list of US states with descriptions of power sources.

Here’s how Trader Joe’s plans to cut 1M pounds of single-use plastic from its stores

March 16, 2019

Trader Joe’s is taking the fight against plastic to its 500 or so stores. The grocery chain announced that it is cutting back on plastic waste in the hopes of eliminating one million pounds of plastic from its stores as soon as possible.

The move comes following an online Greenpeace petition that was started late last year and signed by 91,000 people. Trader Joe’s read the room and jumped into action. It started putting some of its plastic-removing plans into effect late last year, announcing it would no longer offer single-use plastic bags to customers, replace the plastic produce bags and Styrofoam packages with compostable alternatives, and avoid using compounds like BPA in packaging.

Senate panel votes to ban some forms of fracking in Florida

March 12, 2019

Some forms of fracking to explore for oil and natural gas would be banned in Florida under a bill that cleared a state Senate committee Monday, with environmental groups and other opponents contending a major loophole could still threaten water supplies and the state’s fragile ecosystem.

The legislation was approved, 3-2, by the Senate Agriculture Committee, with both Democrats voting against. Only New York, Vermont and Maryland have enacted bans on fracking, which uses high-pressure liquids to create cracks in underground rock to allow pockets of oil and gas to flow freely.

How Climate Change is Affecting Fine Wine

March 11, 2019

Premium wine lovers should be paying close attention to the increasingly dire reports on global climate change.

Many winemakers certainly are—because they have no choice. Average temperature levels are rising, and even more concerning, so are extreme vine and grape-harming weather events, such as prolonged droughts and hail storms. Bordeaux, for instance, was hit with severe hail storms in May 2018, damaging thousands of acres, while in 2017, the region suffered destructive frosts.

“When you think about all the consequences of climate change, impacts on wine is probably not what comes to people’s minds first,”

On March 15, the Climate Kids Are Coming

March 9, 2019

Beware the Ides of March, all you climate wreckers out there. The Climate Kids are coming, in massive and growing numbers, and they are not in the mood to negotiate. They know that you—whether you’re a fossil-fuel executive, a politician who takes fossil-fuel money, or a Fox News hack who recycles fossil-fuel lies—have put their future in grave danger, and they are rising up to take it back.

On March 15, tens of thousands of high-school and middle-school students in more than 30 countries plan to skip school to demand that politicians treat the global climate crisis as the emergency it is.

From solar sisters to waste warriors, 5 examples of women taking climate action

March 8, 2019

Climate-related disasters, extreme weather events and depleting water sources affect everyone on earth, but studies show that women are disproportionately impacted by global warming.

Women in developing countries are particularly at risk as they are often poorer and more dependent on natural resources than men, according to the United Nations.

"On International Women's Day, we profile five initiatives led by women fighting for a greener planet."

Fla. Lawyer Says Lead Plaintiffs Attorney Drafted BP Oil Spill Settlement to Get $3B in Fees

March 8, 2019

A Florida attorney has alleged that a lead plaintiffs lawyer in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill litigation colluded with BP in drafting a class action settlement that gave more than $3 billion in legal fees.

Attorney Brian Donovan, of The Donovan Law Group in Tampa, filed the suit Feb. 12 in Florida’s 13th Judicial District in Hillsborough County against Steve Herman, co-lead counsel for the multidistrict litigation against BP over the 2010 spill. Donovan claims that Herman, of New Orleans-based Herman Herman & Katz, was negligent and breached his duties to class members through an “eight-step plan to maximize his compensation” while reducing BP’s liability over oil spill claims.

Made From Microalgae, These Mardi Gras Beads Are Biodegradable


Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a famously unholy mess. After the 2018 celebration, some wondered if it had gone too far. Apart from bacchanalian excess, the parade left behind 950 tons of debris in souvenirs, trash and beads, reported the Times-Picayune, with over 620 tons heading to landfills by mid-February. City crews after the holiday hauled up 46 tons of beads alone that clogged water catch basins across the city.

You could say the party is a microcosm of our global problem with plastics, with waste plastic growing in the world’s oceans, and landfills piling up with stuff that refuses to decompose. And the plastics industry continues to boom, spending an estimated $180 billion to build over 260 new plastic factories by 2025 in the United States alone, increasing plastic production by one third, according to biologist Susan Shaw, founder and president of the Shaw Institute. “It’s estimated we’re putting 8 million tons of plastics into the ocean every year,” she notes, “and it lasts for hundreds of years in the environment.”

The climate change lawsuit that could stop the U.S. government from supporting fossil fuels

March 6, 2019

Of all the cases working their way through the federal court system none is more interesting or potentially more life changing than Juliana v. United States. To quote one federal judge, "This is no ordinary lawsuit."

It was filed back in 2015 on behalf of a group of kids who are trying to get the courts to block the U.S. government from continuing the use of fossil fuels. They say it's causing climate change, endangering their future and violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property. When the lawsuit began hardly anyone took it seriously, including the government's lawyers, who have since watched the Supreme Court reject two of their motions to delay or dismiss the case.

Four years in, it is still very much alive, in part because the plaintiffs have amassed a body of evidence that will surprise even the skeptics and have forced the government to admit that the crisis is real.

The World Is Losing Fish to Eat as Oceans Warm, Study Finds

March 5, 2019

Fish populations are declining as oceans warm, putting a key source of food and income at risk for millions of people around the world, according to new research published Thursday.

The study found that the amount of seafood that humans could sustainably harvest from a wide range of species shrank by 4.1 percent from 1930 to 2010, a casualty of human-caused climate change.

“That 4 percent decline sounds small, but it’s 1.4 million metric tons of fish from 1930 to 2010,” said Chris Free, the lead author of the study, which appears in the journal Science.

Florida leads nation in new solar jobs

March 3, 2019

Momentum for new solar energy projects may be slowing in some areas but it is an emerging force in Florida, which led the nation last year in new solar industry jobs.

An annual jobs census released last week by The Solar Foundation found U.S. jobs in the industry fell by 3.2 percent in 2018 to 242,343, the second straight annual decline.

However, the nonprofit group said Florida added 1,769 new solar jobs, a 21 percent jump that brought the state’s employment in the industry to 10,358.

Kites and drones used to harness wind power could revolutionize renewable energy

March 2, 2019

High-altitude kites or drones could be used to harness dependable wind power and could revolutionise approaches to renewable energy generation, scientists believe.

A research team at the University of Madrid are using the giant aerofoil kites used in kitesurfing to experiment with on-board energy generation, in the form of small wind-turbines mounted to the aircraft.

The power generated is then transmitted to the ground via a cable tether which also keeps the kite in place.

Exclusive: Interior hands out hundreds of offshore drilling safety rule waivers

March 1, 2019

The Interior Department has given offshore oil drillers nearly 1,700 exemptions to Obama-era safety rules put in place after BP's 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, effectively gutting parts of the regulation before the Trump administration officially rolls them back.

Those waivers were awarded in the first 20 months after the Well Control Rule took effect, according to data provided to POLITICO under a Freedom of Information Act request. The most common waivers were those that allowed the companies to sidestep tighter rules for blowout preventers — the device that failed to seal off BP's well after it erupted in 2010, killing 10 workers and spewing more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf over five months.

The Issue With Tissue and Toilet Paper: How the U.S. Is Flushing Forests Away

February 28, 2019

For most people, toilet paper only becomes an issue when it unexpectedly runs out. Otherwise, it's cheap and it's convenient, something we don't need to think twice about. But toilet paper's ubiquity and low sticker price belie a much, much higher cost: it is taking a dramatic and irreversible toll on the Canadian boreal forest, and our global climate.

As a new report from NRDC and outlines, when you flush that toilet paper, chances are you are flushing away part of a majestic, old-growth tree ripped from the ground, and destined for the drain. This is why NRDC is calling on Procter & Gamble, the manufacturer of Charmin, to end this wasteful and destructive practice by changing the way it makes its toilet paper through solutions that other companies have already embraced.

The Canadian boreal forest is the largest intact forest in the world, holding immense value for Indigenous Peoples, species and the climate. It is home to over 600 Indigenous communities whose cultures have remained inextricably linked to the forest for millennia, and is habitat for iconic species like the boreal caribou, Canada lynx and American marten. In addition, the forest is critical in the fight against climate change, storing the carbon equivalent of nearly twice the world's recoverable oil reserves in its soil.

A Summer of Storms and Smog Is Coming

February 27, 2019

Air pollution is the sixth-biggest killer worldwide—more than alcohol use, kidney failure or too much salt. The cause, as we all know, is the burning of fossil fuels, which generates soot and other airborne particles that hang in the atmosphere.

In a new example of the vicious cycles spun up by climate change, research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests for the first time that pollution is lingering longer over cities and summer storms are becoming more powerful.

When it comes to the global warming crisis, rising seas, catastrophic flooding, devastating heat waves and unprecedented hurricanes get all the press. The new study reveals how even the more mundane aspects of weather are being affected by man-made damage in ways likely to become—if they haven’t already—damaging to people and property.

California Could Be First State To Phase Out Single-Use Plastics

February 25, 2019

First, California taxed plastic bags. Then it curbed plastic straws. Now a group of legislators wants to completely phase out single-use plastics.

"It's time to get serious about this," said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D- San Diego), who is spearheading legislation targeting the use of plastics along with Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica).

If passed, those bills would require the state to reduce or recycle 75 percent of single-use plastic packaging and products by 2030. In addition, manufacturers would be required to ensure that all packaging sold or distributed in California is recyclable or compostable by 2030.

Groundbreaking Solar Panels Use Space Tech to Double Efficiency

February 24, 2019

new solar technology promises to offer double the efficiency of conventional residential panels, by using an optical system to concentrate the light on tiny cells typically reserved for space satellites. Insolight, a new solar startup founded by three former students from Switzerland’s École Polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, claims its panels can offer yields of up to 29 percent. By comparison, many panels on the market offer yields around 17 to 19 percent.

It’s the latest in a line of big movements from the solar industry, which has seen a number of innovative launches amid lowering costs. The startup, which outlined its technology to its former university on Tuesday, decided to use highly efficient cells normally used to power satellites.

Florida State University going green with an order for 22 Proterra electric buses

February 22, 2019

Since operating its first battery-electric buses over five years ago, StarMetro has logged over 313,000 miles of revenue service with five Proterra buses to date, according to the manufacturer. The procurement will also set a national precedent with FSU being one of the first universities in the nation to go all-electric. The new 35-foot (10.5 meter) Proterra Catalyst FC buses will serve FSU’s Seminole Express Bus Service and provide campus transportation for faculty, staff, students and visitors, totaling an average ridership of 847,000 each year.

Operations are expected to begin mid-2019 with an initial deployment of 15 buses, with the remaining seven buses expected to deploy in 2021. This procurement also supports the goals defined in Florida State University’sstrategic plan to deepen its commitment to continuous innovation, invest strategically and incorporate sustainable living practices into all FSU activities. With 22 Catalyst buses, Florida State University will displace more than 2,820,000 gallons of diesel over the vehicles’ 12-year lifespan and eliminate over 5,000,000 pounds of carbon emissions annually, according to Proterra.

'Not Here, Not Now, Not Everglades': Wetland Conservationists Call For No Oil Drilling

February 19, 2019

Next to the airboats at the entrance to Everglades Holiday Park, about thirty people from The Sierra Club, the Broward County League of Women Voters, and other environmentalist groups stood together holding signs Tuesday that read "Not Here, Not Now, Not Everglades."

The groups gathered, along with local lawmakers, to speak out against drilling for oil in the wetlands they were standing in. 

Earth’s sea levels are due for a dramatic rise, scientists warn

February 19, 2019

Earth’s sea levels should be 30 feet higher than they are – and dramatic melting in Antarctica may soon plug the gap, scientists warn.

They say that global temperatures today are the same as they were 115,000 years ago, a time when modern humans were only just beginning to leave Africa.

Research shows that during this time period, known as the Eemian period, scorching ocean temperatures caused a catastrophic global ice melt.

"As a result, sea levels were 20 to 30 feet higher than they are today."

Here comes the sun: Kissimmee to use solar power in 100 percent of city buildings by 2020

February 17, 2019

A bright future awaits Kissimmee as it become the first city in Florida to have all government-owned facilities powered by solar energy.

By next year, 100 metered locations – including City Hall, the police department and all street lights in city limits – will operate through a new Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) solar program.

The big plan was approved by city commissioners Feb. 5, and doesn’t require Kissimmee to make any capital investments or long-term commitments, according Larry Mattern, KUA’s vice president of power supply.

$378 million price tag to prevent flooding leaves Delray Beach reeling

February 16, 2019

Delray Beach will have to pay more than $378 million to save its neighborhoods from knee-deep floods, the City Commission learned on Tuesday.

Commissioners were stunned by this price tag, determined by an engineering team that said roads and seawalls will have to be raised and pipes improved to protect streets from rising waters associated with climate change.

Delray Beach is one of many coastal cities in South Florida that are working to deal with the effects of rising oceans, waterways and groundwater. In Miami Beach, construction has already begun on elevated roads and pumps that help to dry streets after floods.

Environmental groups win key Everglades protection legal fight

February 13, 2019

“We are relieved that Rick Scott’s attempt to give a parting gift to Big Sugar has failed,” Sierra Club Organizing Representative Diana Umpierre said in a statement.

Seven environmental groups won a key legal victory Monday in a case over pollution in two of South Florida’s most critical natural areas: Everglades National Park and the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. A federal judge blocked an attempt to ditch federal oversight of Everglades cleanup.

Earthjustice, the Florida Wildlife Federation, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, the National Parks Conservation Association, Defenders of Wildlife, and Audubon Society of the Everglades argued that the federal oversight – which dates back to 1992 – was key to enforcing water quality improvements for agricultural polluters.

Oil Spill Shuts TransCanada's Keystone Pipeline in Same County Where 'Paper-thin' Pipe Found in 2012

February 11, 2019

On Wednesday, February 6, an oil spill in St. Charles County, Missouri, caused the shutdown of two major oil pipelines, one owned by Enbridge and the other by TransCanada, as investigators began searching for the source of the spill.

Today, TransCanada confirmed in a statement that its Keystone pipeline — which has had severe corrosion issues in this area in the past — was the likely source of the oil spill, which Missouri officials initially estimated to have leaked 1,800 gallons. Meanwhile, officials from Enbridge said the company was “highly confident” its Platte pipeline was not the cause of the leak.

“Following overnight activity and excavation, a preliminary investigation has led TransCanada to believe that the oil discovered in St. Charles County likely originates from the Keystone Pipeline system,” TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha said, according to the Associated Press, “and we will continue to conduct our activities accordingly.”

'Inkjet' solar panels poised to revolutionize green energy

February 10, 2019

What if one day all buildings could be equipped with windows and facades that satisfy the structure’s every energy need, whether rain or shine?

That sustainability dream is today one step closer to becoming a reality thanks to Polish physicist and businesswoman Olga Malinkiewicz.

The 36-year-old has developed a novel inkjet processing method for perovskites — minerals for a new generation of cheaper solar cells — that makes it possible to produce solar panels under lower temperatures, thus sharply reducing costs.

Gas line explosion in San Francisco sends people running for lives

February 8, 2019

A gas line explosion at a busy San Francisco intersection shot flames 40 feet into the air, sent people running for their lives and set five buildings on fire Wednesday afternoon.

Crews working for Verizon dug into the street at Geary Boulevard and Parker Avenue in the Inner Richmond and struck a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. gas line, setting off the blast at around 1:18 p.m.

At nearby Mel’s Drive-In, diners began running out of the restaurant when they heard a booming “rumble and felt the windows shake,” said Antelmo Faria, who had just sat down to have lunch with his girlfriend at the counter.

Court Clears Way For Drilling In Everglades Oil Well Near Miramar

February 5, 2019

Overturning a decision by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, an appeals court Tuesday ordered the state to issue a permit to a major Broward County landowner that wants to drill an exploratory oil well in the Everglades.

A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled the department improperly rejected a recommended order by an administrative law judge, who said in 2017 that a permit should be approved for Kanter Real Estate LLC.

High School Students Upcycle Plastic Bags to Make Mats for the Homeless

February 2, 2019

Students at Lakewood High School have managed to solve two of our country’s major problems — a dependency on single-use plastic and homelessness — with one creative solution. The high school in Colorado has started a “Plarn Club”; the group works by making homemade quilts and mats by substituting yarn with recycled plastic bags. 

They’ve started using their talents and unique technique of weaving the recycled bags into sleeping mats, which will then be donated to the homeless in their community.

Here are the facts: Despite winter storms, global warming is real

January 30, 2019

Extreme cold, big snowstorms – and even unwelcome invasions from the polar vortex – will continue to hit the USA, even as humans continue to warm the planet.

President Donald Trump again tweeted about global warming during a cold snap: Late Monday, he wrote that "in the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded...What the hell is going on with Global Warming? Please come back fast, we need you!"

No matter how much humans have warmed the planet, we still didn't kill winter: Trump's own federal agency – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – corrected the president Tuesday, noting that "winter storms don't prove that global warming isn't happening." 

What Changed In The Solar & Energy Storage Industries In 2018?

January 27, 2019

I started covering the solar energy industry seriously in 2009. It seemed like a hopping, exciting time in the industry — growth was exploding. I remember one early story in which readers admonished me a little because I put “Solar Power Exploding” in a headline, and they thought I was referring to genuine explosions. In 2019, 2009 and 2010 progress looks like anthills.

Scrolling back through our What Changed archives, below is a lengthy rundown of notable changes within the solar energy and energy storage industries in 2018. I’m sure I missed some of them — drop a note in the comments if you have a favorite I skipped. I’m also sure this post is far too long for the casual reader — do your best. Additionally, stay tuned for record-breaking progress in 2019.

EPA Struck Secretive Deal Over Toxic Site Leaving $13 Million in BP’s Pocket

January 23, 2019

In February, before an invitation-only crowd assembled in near secrecy behind locked gates, Scott Pruitt, then head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, signed over control of one of the nation’s biggest toxic waste sites to the state of Nevada. A blue sky blazed over the 3,400-plus-acre Anaconda Copper Mine near Yerington, Nevada, as Pruitt and Governor Brian Sandoval signed the paperwork. Beaming, they posed for a photograph with proponents of the deal, including John Minge, then the CEO of BP America, and Robert Genovese, then president of Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO)—senior representatives of both parties responsible for cleaning the site.

Many locals who watched coverage of the ceremony on TV news that evening, meanwhile, were dismayed by the transfer.

The plastic ban: Gainesville will be 100 percent waste free by 2040

January 18, 2019

Plastic bags were the first to go from Loosey’s.

The foam containers used to hold half-eaten leftovers were next. And soon, every other business in Gainesville will be doing the same.

The Gainesville City Commission voted unanimously to pass an ordinance banning single-use plastic bags and foam containers in Gainesville Thursday evening.

Salt-Water Fish Extinction Seen By 2048

January 15, 2019

The apocalypse has a new date: 2048.

That's when the world's oceans will be empty of fish, predicts an international team of ecologists and economists. The cause: the disappearance of species due to overfishing, pollution, habitat loss, and climate change.

The study by Boris Worm, PhD, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, -- with colleagues in the U.K., U.S., Sweden, and Panama -- was an effort to understand what this loss of ocean species might mean to the world.

Supreme Court Rejects ExxonMobil Appeal Of Massachusetts Court Ruling

January 11, 2019

In April of this year, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled the company is indeed subject to the laws of Massachusetts because it conducts extensive business operations within the state. Maura Healey’s office made a jubilant statement to the press after that decision.

ExxonMobil filed an appeal of the Massachusetts decision with the US Supreme Court. Under federal law, hearing such an appeal is discretionary. The US Supreme Court can decide whether to hear the case or not. On January 7, the court declined to hear the appeal, according to Reuters. The result of the court’s decision not to accept the appeal is that the civil investigative demand must now be complied with, which got a celebratory tweet from Healey.

First plastic-free flight in decades departs Lisbon

January 8, 2019

The first of four plastic-free flights departed Portugal on Boxing Day in a bid by an aircraft leasing company to banish the material from its planes by the end of 2019.

Hi Fly said the first trial trip left Lisbon, Portugal for Natal, Brazil, on Wednesday without a single-use plastic item on board.

Among the innovations presented to passengers were bamboo cutlery, new paper packaging and containers that can be easily composted.

Nearly 75% Of Coastal States Aren't Prepared For Sea Level Rise

January 5, 2019

As thousands of people in the Northeast lost power due to a pre-Christmas storm that put coastal towns on flood alert, the Pacific coast was grappling with its own flood warning brought upon by the largest high tides of the year("King Tides"). As climate change progresses, storms will increase in strength,  sea levels will rise more rapidly, U.S. coasts will flood more frequently, and shoreline properties will disappear.

Each year, $500 million worth of coastal structures are lost as coastlines disappear. The federal government spends nearly $150 million each year to manage the loss of beaches and coastal real estate. Two-thirds of the U.S. population lives and works in coastal counties. Ocean-related businesses are responsible for over $352 billion of the U.S.' annual GDP. By the end of the century, as sea levels rise between six to ten feet and nearly 2.5 million coastal homes experience chronic flooding, many coastal livelihoods will be put at risk.

6 renewable energy trends to watch for in 2019

January 2, 2019

2019 promises to be an exciting year for clean tech. An increasing number of countries, companies and regions are embracing sustainable energy generation and the landscape is rapidly evolving.

Here are 6 renewable energy trends to watch in the coming year.


December 21, 2018

Conservation groups today filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s approval of the first offshore oil drilling development in federal Arctic waters. Hilcorp Alaska received approval in October to build and operate the controversial Liberty project, an artificial drilling island and underwater pipeline that risks oil spills in the sensitive Beaufort Sea and threatens polar bears and Arctic communities.

Today’s lawsuit was brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Defenders of Wildlife, and Pacific Environment, all represented by Earthjustice. They say the Liberty approval violated federal laws and ignores the causes and effects of climate change. The project is in the heart of polar bear habitat.

California will require solar panels on all new homes.

December 16, 2018

California is officially the first state to require newly built homes to come with enough solar panels to offset their electricity use. The state Building Standards Commission voted unanimously to add the requirement to the state building code last week, the San Jose Mercury News reported

The new code takes effect in 2020 and covers all single-family homes as well as multifamily buildings up to three stories high. There are exceptions for houses with too-small roofs or those in the shade. An average home is expected to use 53 percent less energy under the new code than one built under the previous standards.

Here's How much Climate Change could cost the U.S.

December 13, 2018

Climate change comes with a hefty bill. The United States stands to experience major economic losses over the 21st century as sea levels rise, heat waves become more frequent and rains fall in heavier bursts, according to the recently released National Climate Assessment (NCA). Sources of the costs range from damaged and abandoned coastal properties to wages lost when it is too hot to work outdoors, to premature deaths caused by increased air pollution and disease exposure.

The report is put together by 13 federal agencies and includes input from hundreds of scientists, including many who work at academic institutions. 

New Jersey-Size 'Dead Zone' Is Largest Ever in Gulf of Mexico

December 8, 2018

A record-breaking, New Jersey-sized dead zone was measured by scientists in the Gulf of Mexico this week—a sign that water quality in U.S. waterways is worse than expected.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today that this summer’s dead zone is the largest ever recorded, measuring 8,776 miles. This is more expansive than the nearly 8,200 square-mile area that was forecast in July. Since monitoring began 32 years ago, the average size of the Gulf’s dead zone measured in at 5,309 square miles.

World Bank to Invest $200 Billion to Tackle Climate Change

December 5, 2018

As the all-important United Nations climate talks kick off in Katowice, Poland this week, the World Bank Group announced Monday that it will significantly ramp up its investments to fight climate change, and it is urging the wider global community to do so as well.

It will double its current 5-year investments to around $200 billion from 2021-2025 to boost adaptation and resilience in a rapidly warming world, especially in the world's poorest countries.

Real vs. Artificial Christmas Trees: Which Is the Greener Choice?

December 3, 2018

It’s the centerpiece of the biggest holiday of the year for many American families: the Christmas tree, the focal point for parties and presents, replete with favorite ornaments and lights.

Some cherish the scent of a real tree and the tradition of bringing it home, while others prefer the tidier and easier option of the plastic variety.

But which is better for the environment? Here’s a look at some of the central claims — and the common misconceptions — in that debate.

Washington could be the first state to charge for carbon emissions that cause climate change

October 29, 2018

The battle has set a new Washington state record for spending on a ballot issue. The Clean Air Clean Energy coalition to say “yes” on the ballot has raised more than $15 million, including $1 million each from Gates and former New York mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Big oil companies belonging to the Western States Petroleum Association — including Koch Industries — have given more than $31 million, according to the state’s Public Disclosure Commission.

Climate Change might double the cost of a beer

October 21, 2018

Beer drinkers might pay more and find less of their favorite beverage as climate change comes for barley. Scientists expect that extreme droughts and heat waves will become more frequent and intense in the regions that grow the grain.

During the most severe climate events, the study predicts that global beer consumption would decline by 16 percent, an amount about equal to the total annual beer consumption of the United States in 2011. It also expects average beer prices to double.

We need to save the Everglades quickly because it helps protect South Florida’s drinking water and can limit hurricane damage

October 20, 2018

Saving the Everglades from sea-level rise means much more to South Florida than just protecting panthers, alligators and those pesky pythons. Without the Everglades as a buffer to hurricanes and as a source of drinking water, it’s the people living in South Florida who risk becoming the endangered species.

The Everglades guards our western flank during hurricanes, absorbing storm surge and the drenching rains that can come from hurricanes blowing in from the Gulf. And long after storm season passes, we rely on Everglades water seeping into and replenishing underground supplies we tap for drinking water.

Message from Hurricanes Michael and Maria: Renewable energy makes more sense than ever

October 18, 2018

"To face this growing threat, we can no longer rely on old energy systems — we must develop infrastructure that can withstand increasingly frequent climate hazards. This gives us an opportunity to build in a smarter, more sustainable way."

Climate change has created a terrifying new normal of severe weather patterns in many regions, and it seems we are now facing once-in-a-lifetime storms on a regular basis. To face this growing threat, we can no longer rely on old energy systems — we must develop infrastructure that can withstand increasingly frequent climate hazards. This gives us an opportunity to build in a smarter, more sustainable way.

Florida Supreme Court says Amendments 7, 9 and 11 can stay on ballot

October 18, 2018

The Florida Supreme Court is overturning a lower court decision to toss three proposed constitutional amendments off the Nov. 6 ballot.

Wednesday's ruling means voters can still vote on Amendments 7, 9 and 11.

Last month a lower court ruled the items should be struck from the ballot because they bundled different issues.

The Magic Kingdom Is Going Green

October 14, 2018

Even the visionary Walt Disney probably could not have imagined this one.

The Walt Disney Company is just months away from generating enough renewable solar energy to fully power two of its four parks at the Walt Disney World Resort in central Florida.

Exploratory Oil Wells Proposed in Calhoun County

October 4, 2018

In late August, permit applications for six exploratory oil wells, on four platforms, were submitted to Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) by Cholla Petroleum of Dallas, Texas. Cholla Petroleum previously conducted seismic testing in Calhoun County in 2016. The application packet is available online through FDEP. Hard copies are also available at the Blountstown library.

More than 40 species of amphibians and 80 species of reptiles live within the Apalachicola River basin, the highest diversity of amphibians and reptiles in the United States and Canada. More than 1,300 species of plants, including 103 that are threatened or endangered, are also found in the Apalachicola basin.

Sea Level Rise: New Interactive Map Shows What’s at Stake in Coastal Congressional Districts

September 22, 2018

A new interactive map tool from the Union of Concerned Scientists lets you explore the risk sea level rise poses to homes in your congressional district and provides district-specific fact sheets about those risks. No matter where you live along the coast, chances are that rising seas will begin to reshape your community to one degree or another in the coming decades.

More methane: Interior eases rules curbing leaks from oil and gas leases on federal land

September 19, 2018

In the fourth rollback of a major federal climate rule in less than two months, the Interior Department eased requirements Tuesday that oil and gas firms operating on federal and tribal land capture the release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Officials said that the rule, adopted in 2016, was duplicative, given state laws, and imposed too heavy a burden on the private sector. Environmentalists and Democrats vowed to fight the reversal in court, saying that it would lead to greater air pollution and boost emissions linked to climate change.

Federal Lawyers: Gulf Oil Leak Spills much more than we thought

September 17, 2018

Federal government lawyers say a 14-year-old leak is releasing much more oil each day into the Gulf of Mexico than officials previously claimed, and it may be getting worse.

"A Friday court filing in a case involving Taylor Energy Co. says 10,000 to 30,000 gallons (37,000 to 113,000 liters) daily is leaking from multiple wells around a drilling platform toppled by 2004's Hurricane Ivan."

That estimate if far above the 16,000 gallons (60,500 liters) of oil that the U.S. Coast Guard estimated in 2015 had been spotted in slicks over seven months.

California aims to be entirely green powered by 2045, as Gov. Jerry Brown signs SB 100

September 14, 2018

"Climate change is 'a real and present danger to California and to the people of the world,'"

Seeking to cement California's reputation as a global leader in combatting climate change, Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed two measures designed to push the state to 100 percent renewable electricity and so-called carbon neutrality by 2045.

Senate Bill 100 raises the state’s already ambitious goals for producing electricity from wind, solar and other green sources. The aim is to ensure greenhouse gas emissions are low enough that they can be absorbed by forests, oceans, soil and other natural systems.

Hurricane Florence is moving relentlessly toward the Southeastern U.S. It's a large, powerful cyclone that will likely bring storm surge and high winds to coastal communities. But climate scientists say one of the biggest threats posed by Florence is rain.

Eckerd College Targets Single-Use Plastics

September 10, 2018

Gowans and marine science professor Amy Siuda are leading an initiative to eliminate the use of single-use plastics at Eckerd College after receiving a grant for more than $115,000 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program.

"People don’t always practice what they talk about," Siuda said. "I try my hardest and I know I don’t always as well. ... I think it’s important for people to think about that you eating a snack pack of crackers could impact the marine ecosystem. Not everyone thinks about that, and recycling is not really the answer. We need to think about our use."

Could the 'Mangrove Effect' Save Coasts from Sea Level Rise?

September 8, 2018

When it comes to climate change and sea level rise, the news has been generally bad for communities on the U.S. Southeast coast. Florida is set to lose more than 10 percent of its homes by 2100, and five southern states have already lost $7.4 billion in home values.

Giant Plastic Catcher Heads for Pacific Ocean Cleanup

September 7, 2018

After being motivated by swimming through garbage in Greece, Dutch teenager Boyan Slat, backed with a major investment and lots of engineering from the Dutch Government, created a garbage collection system to help rid our oceans of garbage.

The key point is that the collection system is passive - there are no motors, no machines. Instead, it'll drift, acting like an artificial coastline, gently gathering any plastic in its path. Like a giant snake, made up of sections of tube, it's 600m (2,000ft) long and will float in a giant 'U' shape. Beneath it a screen will hang down 3m (10ft).

Facebook Just Made a Huge Commitment on Renewable Energy

September 2, 2018

Facebook has committed to cutting its greenhouse emissions by 75 percent and powering global operations with 100 percent renewable energy by the end of 2020. The new commitment builds upon the firm's 2015 aim of supporting 50 percent of its facilities with renewable energy by 2018. That goal was reached in 2017. 

Facebook's move was welcomed by environmental campaigners. "CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reaffirmed Facebook's place among business leaders in the race to be coal-free and 100 percent renewable-powered," Gary Cook, senior corporate campaigner at Greenpeace, said in an online statement Tuesday. 

Shocking Study Shows that Fracking is Depleting US Drinking Water at a Catastrophic Rate

August 31, 2018

According to a recent study conducted at Duke University revealed that Hydraulic fracking is having a catastrophic impact on water supplies throughout the US. The findings of the study suggest that fracking is using far much more water than before, and putting a huge dent in the amount of drinkable water available in water supplies.

"In many cases, people who live near fracking sites have been able to set fire to the water and air that comes through their pipes. It has also been found to contaminate drinking water, rendering it permanently undrinkable." 

Miami will be Underwater Soon. It's Drinking Water Could Go First.

August 30, 2018

Miami-Dade is built on the Biscayne Aquifer, and the infrastructure that draws from it cleans its water, and keeps it from overrunning the city combine to form a giant but fragile machine. Without this abundant source of fresh water, made cheap by its proximity to the surface, this hot, remote city could become uninhabitable.

Barring a stupendous reversal in greenhouse gas emissions, the rising Atlantic will cover much of Miami by the end of this century.

"The economic effects will be devastating: Zillow Inc. estimates that six feet of sea-level rise would put a quarter of Miami’s homes underwater, rendering $200 billion of real estate worthless. But global warming poses a more immediate danger: The permeability that makes the aquifer so easily accessible also makes it vulnerable."

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Didn't Really Hurt Florida, Pro-Drilling Leaders Say

August 28, 2018

Former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp caused a furor recently when he claimed oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster "didn't even reach the shores of Florida."

His attempt to walk back the remark could offer a preview of the campaign to come as groups push to expand drilling in federal waters eight years later. He and another industry representative say the BP oil spill was more of a public relations disaster fueled by the television news media, rather than an environmental disaster.

"I guess I overstated it," said Kottkamp, now leading a group seeking to open the eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil exploration, said in an interview this week with the Tampa Bay Times.

Kroger, the nation's largest grocery chain, will phase out the use of plastic bags in its stores by 2025

August 24, 2018

Kroger, the nation's largest grocery chain, will phase out the use of plastic bags in its stores by 2025. The grocer orders about 6 billion bags each year. 

Kroger operates 2,779 stores in 35 states and the District of Columbia, serving almost 9 million people daily through two dozen different grocery chains. Kroger said Thursday that will start the project at its Seattle chain QFC, where it expects to be plastic-bag free by next year.

Arctic's oldest and thickest ice breaks for the first time

August 23, 2018

The oldest and most robust sea ice in the Arctic has reportedly begun breaking up for the first time in recorded history. The Guardian reported on Tuesday that the ice breaks, which result in water opening up north of Greenland, have happened twice in 2018 because of warm winds and a heat wave caused by climate change. 

The sea off the northern coast of Greenland was once referred to as "the last ice area” because of how perpetually frozen it normally is.

"It was also believed that it would be one of the final northern areas to be impacted by the world's hotter temperatures."

Contact Lenses to Add to Earth's Microplastic Crisis

August 21, 2018

Contact lenses may appear harmlessly soft and small, but a big chunk of American users are improperly disposing their used lenses and adding to the planet's microplastic problem, Arizona State University researchers found.

In a survey of 409 wearers, about 1 in 5 responded that they flushed their used lenses down the toilet or sink instead of throwing them in the trash, according to a new study presented at the American Chemical Society's National Meeting and Exposition. The flushed lenses, which are mostly plastic, turn up at wastewater treatment plants and become part of sewage sludge that gets spread on farmland.

Goodman commentary: As Florida goes on climate change, so goes nation

August 20, 2018

"For climate change, Florida is the ballgame."

So says Rafe Pomerance, a man who has worked longer to stave off the threat of global warming than just about anybody. If the national politics on climate change is ever to shift from denial to action — in time to stop the disgorging of carbon dioxide beyond the point of no return — Florida, he says, is the key.

Why? Because no other state is under greater immediate threat from the warming planet and rise in sea levels. And no other swing state has so many electoral votes.

Fracking is destroying U.S. water supply, warns shocking new study

August 18, 2018

"Toxic wastewater from fracking jumps 14-fold from 2011 to 2016 — and it may get 50 times bigger by 2030."

An alarming new study reveals fracking is quite simply destroying America’s water supply.

That means we are losing potable water forever in many semi-arid regions of the country, while simultaneously producing more carbon pollution that in turn is driving ever-worsening droughts in those same regions, as fracking expert Anthony Ingraffea, a professor at Cornell University, explained to ThinkProgress.

Largo, Florida, Commits To 100% Clean Energy

August 17, 2018

On Tuesday, the city commission of Largo, Fla., approved the city’s commitment to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy.

Largo, which is located in the Tampa Bay Area, represents the fourth city in Florida and the 75th in the U.S. to establish this goal, according to the Sierra Club.

The plan includes 35 indicators to guide sustainability efforts, focusing on three main areas: infrastructure, workforce and natural resources. In addition, the city has adopted a goal to power all municipal operations with at least 50% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% renewable energy by 2035.

How climate change is making ‘red tide’ algal blooms even worse

August 15, 2018

"Red tide is killing Florida’s southwest coast."

Fish, manatees, sea turtles — some of them endangered — and nine dolphins have washed up dead on the beaches, and all of them are confirmed or suspected to have been poisoned by the algal bloom. The body of a young whale shark was found on a beach in late July, and biologists believe that it was the first known whale shark to have been killed by red tide.

Now the toxic algae — Karenia brevis — is working up the coast from Sanibel Island to Tampa Bay. Algal blooms are common in Florida and along the rest of the Gulf Coast, but they don’t always get this bad. This one began in 2017 and, over the past few months, has slowly ballooned into a nightmare scenario for residents and business owners — not to mention the thousands of animals that have died.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for seven counties on the southwest coast Tuesday.

Trump Moves to Open 1.6 Million Acres of California Public Lands to Fracking

August 10, 2018

The Trump administration took the first steps on Wednesday towards opening up 1.6 million acres of public land in California to fracking and oil drilling, The Sacramento Bee reported.

In a notice of intent published on the Federal Register Wednesday, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said it would prepare an environmental impact statement on the use of fracking on 400,000 acres of public land and 1.2 million acres of mineral estate overseen by BLM in California counties including Fresno, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, The Hill reported.

"'It's a coordinated attack on California by the Trump administration,' CBD senior attorney Clare Lakewood told The Hill."

Our climate plans are in pieces as killer summer shreds records

August 5, 2018

Deadly fires have scorched swaths of the Northern Hemisphere this summer, from California to Arctic Sweden and down to Greece on the sunny Mediterranean. Drought in Europe has turned verdant land barren, while people in Japan and Korea are dying from record-breaking heat.

Climate change is here and is affecting the entire globe -- not just the polar bears or tiny islands vulnerable to rising sea levels -- scientists say. It is on the doorsteps of everyday Americans, Europeans and Asians, and the best evidence shows it will get much worse.

Rising Seas and Increasing Hurricane Intensity: A Recipe for Disaster

June 23, 2018

Hurricane season is upon us. The activity of individual seasons goes up and down, but trends are becoming clear: rising sea level and increasing storm intensity and rainfall are elevating the hazard.

Rising sea levels is one of the most robust consequences of a warming climate. Warmer water expands and takes up more volume. Melting land-based ice also adds more water. The consequences for Florida are dire.

City of London to Source 100% Renewable Electricity for Square Mile

June 19, 2018

“Sourcing 100% renewable energy will make us cleaner and greener, reducing our grid reliance, and running some of our buildings on zero carbon electricity.”

In a move which continues to place London as one of the world’s leading climate and environmentally-friendly cities, the City of London Corporation, the governing body of the Square Mile (the colloquial nickname for the City of London), announced that it plans to source 100% renewable electricity from October 2018 onward.

Study: As Sea Levels Rise, Florida Property Values Will Sink

June 18, 2018

In findings released today, the Union of Concerned Scientists reports that — of all the coastal states in the lower 48 — Florida has the most existing homes at risk of eventually experiencing chronic flooding caused by rising sea levels.

That flooding, the researchers warn, could make those residential properties no longer practical to inhabit, much less insure, rent or sell — causing their market and taxable values to plummet.

TECO Expands Solar Energy With 10 Additional Megawatt Projects in Florida

June 17, 2018

“Tampa Electric is becoming cleaner and greener,” said Cherie Jacobs, spokesperson for Tampa Electric. “Solar power plays a key role in our fuel mix for our future years.”

Tampa Electric, one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric utilities that serves about 750,000 customers in West Central Florida, was given the thumbs up by the Florida Public Service Commission last month for the initial phase of its efforts to expand the use of solar energy in Florida.

Judge Sides With Environmentalists in Land Conservation Dispute

June 16, 2018

“The people of Florida voted with a firm, clear voice. And the court said today that counts,” 

Ruling from the bench Friday, Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson sided with environmental groups in the lawsuit centered on whether lawmakers “defied” the 2014 Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative by improperly diverting portions of the money to such expenses as staffing – allegations legislative leaders have repeatedly disputed as they continued to make such budget allocations.

NASA Scientist Says Wind, Flooding and Rainfall Increase the Intensity of a Hurricane

June 14, 2018

Dr. Tim Hall is a Senior Researcher with NASA and an adjunct professor at Columbia University.  In this interview with Dr. Hall, he explains his research in weather patterns and their correlations to climate change.  Utilizing data from recent hurricanes Irma, Maria and Harvey, Dr. Hall explains that NASA has begun to prove that hurricanes are in fact getting worse.  

New Study Examines Impacts of Fracking on Water Supplies Worldwide

June 11, 2018

A new paper in the journal Earth’s Future examines the effects of hydraulic fracturing on water supplies worldwide.  30% of shale deposits are located in arid regions where aquifers are already heavily tapped for other uses including environmental, human and agricultural needs.  The paper concludes on a need for water management in areas where hydraulic fracturing could result in competing for water resources.

TransCanada Pipeline Explodes in West Virginia

June 11, 2018

“the fire was "very large—if you can see it from your house, evacuate."

A TransCanada pipeline that was installed in January, has exploded in Marshall County West Virginia.  The explosion could be seen from as far as 20 miles away. TransCanada, the same company behind the Keystone Pipeline, reports the explosion was contained and being investigated.  

At the opening of the line, TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling stated, “ "This is truly a best-in-class pipeline and we look forward to many years of safe, reliable, and efficient operation on behalf of our customers."

Broward Residents Can Now Track Rising Sea Levels, Tides and Storms in Real Time

June 10, 2018

Thanks to some new technology, South Florida will have access to real time data on rising tides, incoming storms, climate change and overall sea-level rise.  Installed by NOAA, the Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS) is a tool the public can access through Port Everglades’ website. Boaters and vessel operators can also utilize the tool to more safely navigate South Florida waters.  

Hottest Month of May Ever Recorded in U.S.

June 9, 2018

“Surpassing a mark set during the peak of the Dust Bowl in 1934, the continental U.S. just had its hottest May on record thanks in large part to the human-caused climate crisis, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced on Wednesday.”

World Oceans Day is June 8:  Here’s How You Can Make a Difference 

June 5, 2018

“Now with the oceans facing more threats than ever, it is time for all of us to come together to protect our treasured marine environment.”

In 2002, the United Nations declared June 8th World Oceans Day. This day is dedicated to the celebration and protection of our oceans. It is more important now than ever for grassroots action given the current administration’s vast offshore drilling plan that threatens our marine environments. On World Oceans Day, take action by:

  1. Telling your federal leaders to stop the rollback of ocean protections.
  2. Reduce your consumption of plastics with a #ZeroPlasticLunch.  
  3. Join the March for the Ocean (or wear blue to show support).

#MarchForOcean  #ZeroPlasticLunch  #WorldOceansDay

As the Sea Rises, South Floridians Will Get Thirsty Before They Get Wet

June 4, 2018

“In the not-too distant future, we will live on one of the small islands of South Florida.”

South Florida is built on porous, dead coral which is experiencing water intrusion from the top and the bottom.  The pressure of seawater pushing up from beneath is our biggest fear. Saltwater intrusion has reduced the freshwater in the Biscayne Aquifer by about 17% since 1985.  If we do not take serious action to intervene in the Everglades, there will not be enough freshwater to sustain the population.

“If we want to continue to live in South Florida, then maintaining our freshwater supply is imperative, and that will require a restored everglades.”

Miami Could Get Stronger, Wetter Hurricanes Thanks to Climate Change

May 29, 2018

“Many residents have questioned whether city officials are doing enough to prepare for the storm surges and massive rainfalls from hurricanes.”

While Hurricane Irma produced damage and flooding in Miami last year, so did a number of other rainstorms and tropical systems.  Regular flooding has become common.  In a new study by the National Center for Atmospheric Studies, predictions show that hurricanes will get wetter and slower thanks to climate change.  Reminiscent of Hurricane Harvey, hurricanes could park over a location and dump unprecedented amounts or rain over areas that are most vulnerable to flooding.  In a study of 22 recent storms, scientists found variations in speed, size and other variables.  However, all 22 storms produced more rain, regardless of the differences in other factors.  

“Though some studies have produced inconsistent results, the bulk of the science has trended toward predicting that hotter ocean temperatures will create stronger, more damaging storms.”

UF Students Submit Proposal to Address Coastal Flooding in St. Augustine

May 28, 2018

““It’s very different from many other coastal communities in Florida,” Chawla said, citing its European roots and its importance to the history of the nation as a whole. “So engaging them and opening up dialogue was very important.”

Graduate-level students from the University of Florida spent three days over Spring Break in the City of St. Augustine addressing the city’s coastal flooding issues.  Students from a variety of different disciplines prepared for their field work by researching sea level rise and its impact on the city in the last few years.  The students prepared white papers and proposals with a myriad of ideas which included extending stormwater pipes, structure retrofitting as well as solutions from policy and technical levels. 

In South Florida, We Need to Transform Our Communities to Address Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise

May 26, 2018

“In South Florida, where we are faced with frequent “sunny day flooding,” most residents have little lingering doubt that our climate is changing.”

 Given the unique nature of the Florida landscape, it has become imperative that we transform our communities to have a global impact and to implement adaptation measures.  We have seen sea level rise to the tune of 9-inches in the last 100 years, and there is a possibility of a an additional 3-foot rise by 2060.  The vulnerability of our location is apparent as “sunny day flooding” and more frequent high tides become commonplace.  It has become necessary to engage city and county governments to advocate for adaptation measures, address our unique situation and inspire imaginative solutions. 

“This process can lead us into a new form of resilience as a community, sharing challenges with a sense of responsibility for one another.”

Advocacy Groups Say Florida Parks At Risk By Offshore Drilling

May 25, 2018

“In January, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke appeared briefly in Tallahassee to announce drilling would not occur off Florida’s coasts. But the White House’s position has not yet been formalized.”

According to a report by the National Parks Conservation Association and the Natural Resource Defense Council, eleven national parks in the state of Florida are threatened by the White House Proposal to open oil drilling in the currently protected continental shelf.  In addition to putting m more than 9,000 jobs at risk, the economic output from the state of Florida could cost more than $876 million annually. 

Pediatricians are Concerned About Climate Change, and Here’s Why

May 19, 2018

Children are estimated to bear 88% of the burden of disease related to climate change, according to a paper published Tuesday in the journal Pediatrics.

According to a new study, climate change is presenting an increasing risk to children’s health.  Citing rising outdoor temperatures, water related infections, extreme weather events, poor air quality and the spread of mosquito derived illnesses, children are part of a vulnerable population that stands to be most effected by climate change.

"The basic message is that climate change is occurring, and I think it disproportionately affects the most vulnerable populations, and that includes children,"

Surfrider Foundation “Hands Across the Sand” Event to Unite Against Offshore Drilling Once Again

May 18, 2018

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010 certainly played a role in showing the devastating impact that offshore drilling can have on coastal communities and their livelihoods. 

The Surfrider Foundation, in cooperation with other environmental groups, once again hosted The Hands Across the Sand event on May 19. What began in 2009 as Floridians standing against offshore drilling has grown to an international event with over 100 coordinated events.  The event aims to:” Bring together individuals and organizations to promote a clean energy future across the world and end our dependence on dirty fuels. Gather thousands of Americans and global citizens at beaches and cities to draw metaphorical and actual lines in the sand; human lines in the sand against fossil fuels that threaten our future.”

Researchers Create Super Sponge That Mops Up Oil Spills

May 17, 2018

The lead researcher, Dr Justin Chalker, said it had the potential to be a cheap and sustainable recovery tool in areas affected by oil spills.

A new floating substance made from sulfur and canola cooking was tested by South Australia's Flinders University. The newly developed polymer acted like a sponge, effectively removing crude oil and diesel from seawater, according to a new study published by Sustainable Systems Journal.  Last year nearly 7,000 tons of crude oil were spilt in our oceans. This new polymer is potentially less expensive and more sustainable than current clean up tools.

Renewable Sources Account for Most New Power Capacity

May 17, 2018

“A revolution is underway in the world’s power markets.”

In the past 20 years, global cumulative installed solar and wind power has grown from less than 8GW to nearly 800GW.  As a leader in this transition, the United States can attribute nearly half of the 24.6 GW of new electrical generating to renewables. 

South Florida Moms Celebrate Mother’s Day by Discussing Climate Change

May 13, 2018

"We want to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with local leaders, supporting them, urging them to do more, and celebrating the innovations that improve the quality of our air, the quality of our lives, and our communities everywhere for future generations.”

The “Mama Summit” occurred on Mother’s Day this year in 11 different cities to bring a host of stakeholders together to address the negative impacts of climate change and how it affects future generations. Organized by Moms Clean Air Force, the summit brought awareness to surrounding issues and encouraged working with government officials to improve climate resilience infrastructure. 

Jobs in Renewable Energy Hit 10.3 Million Last Year, Report Finds

May 11, 2018

“Over 500,000 new jobs were generated by the renewable energy industry last year, a 5.3 percent rise when compared to 2016, according to a report.”


According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the number of people working in the renewable energy sector has hit 10.3 million.  As a pillar for low-carbon economic growth, data reveals nations with attractive policies are experiencing the most social, economic and environmental benefits.

“Fundamentally, this data supports our analysis that decarbonization of the global energy system can grow the global economy and create up to 28 million jobs in the sector by 2050."

Retired Vice Admiral Says Climate Change Is Already Threatening National Security

May 10, 2018


“Climate Change is a growing threat to national security and a concern for the military.  Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said climate change is already impacting global stability”


An interview with Retired Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, a 35-year veteran of the US Navy, reveals the growing concerns about climate change and the impact it will have on our national stability and security. The United States military base structure, which is essential to readiness, is threatened by sea level rise.  The Union of Concerned Scientists published a report that 18 various military bases on the East and Gulf Coasts are also threatened.  Regardless of higher levels of office denying the existence of sea level rise and climate change, Gunn is confident the military is taking prudent steps in combating it.

“This is really an important factor. The base structure of the United States military is absolutely essential to the generation of readiness. Those stateside bases are invariably ... under threat from the consequences of climate change.”

Kids are suing Gov. Rick Scott to force Florida to take action on climate change

"Eight young Florida residents — the youngest is 10, the oldest is 20, and one is a University of Miami marine science student— are the named plaintiffs in a lawsuit that seeks to force a state extremely vulnerable to climate-driven sea rise to start work on a court-ordered, science-based 'Climate Recovery Plan.'”

April 16, 2018

The young group suing Governor Scott is represented by Our Children's Trust, which is an organization that sponsors similar law suits from children across the country. Some perceive this as a legal stunt, but a federal judge recognized the claims to be legitimate enough to send the case to trial. Florida is vulnerable to rising sea levels caused by climate change, especially in the southern regions of the state. In the law suit, the children and their lawyers are accusing Scott and his administration of falling short in the implementation of legislation aimed at curbing carbon emissions, and ignoring the inevitable damage caused by sea-level rise.

"Gov. Scott says he's not a scientist. Well, neither are most of the people that are forced to take action because the state is failing us." 

Constitution panel proposes putting 24 ideas into 12 amendments on November ballot

"While some CRC members wanted all the proposals to stand on their own to avoid voter confusion, others argued they wanted them grouped to save voters’ time."

April 4, 2018

A preliminary proposal unanimously adopted by the Style and Drafting Committee of the Constitutional Revision Commission would allow 24 proposals to be condensed into 12 amendments on the November ballot. Interestingly enough, Proposal 91, which would ban oil and gas drilling in Florida- owned waters, would be paired with Proposal 65, which would ban indoor vaping. Some believe that the bundling of proposals will lead to unfair outcomes, while others are concerned with minimizing lines at the polls. 

“We owe the citizens of this state the opportunity to decide on each individual proposal as to whether that proposal should become part of our Constitution,” Henry Coxe, a Jacksonville lawyer, wrote in a letter to the committee’s chair, Brecht Heuchan on Monday.

Massachusetts top court rules against Exxon in climate change probe

“Massachusetts’ top court on Friday rejected Exxon Mobil Corp’s bid to block the state’s attorney general from obtaining records to investigate whether the company for decades concealed its knowledge of the role fossil fuels play in climate change.”

April 13, 2018

The Supreme Judicial Court of Mass. ruled that Attorney General Healey could legally obtain records to determine whether or not Exxon's marketing or sale of products derived from fossil fuel infringed upon the state's consumer protection law. Healey is eager to receive documents from Exxon that would most likely disclose the fact that they were aware of climate change, the risk involved in their industry, and at what time in the company's history that this knowledge came to fruition. The Mass. investigation into Exxon began in 2015.

"Healey’s probe related to how manmade greenhouse gas emissions had caused climate change, “a distinctly modern threat that grows more serious with time, and the effects of which are already being felt in Massachusetts.”

Oil spill laps shores during Chevron- sponsored French Quarter festival

“On April 12, an oil spill in the Mississippi River brought noxious fumes to music lovers at the New Orleans French Quarter Festival. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates 4,200 gallons of diesel oil spilled when a cargo ship hit the Nashville Wharf.”

April 13, 2018

Traffic had to be stopped on the Mississippi River while the Coast Guard and Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator's Office worked together to clean up the oil spill. According to witnesses, thick layers of oil and sludge were lining the shore, giving off intense fumes. Ironically enough, the main sponsor of the festival is Chevron, with many other popular New Orleans festivals being "underwritten" by big oil companies sponsorship.

Clean energy ambition creates jobs

"Statistics from the Solar Foundation show Atlanta, which pledged in 2017 to make the transition to 100 clean power by 2035, had a 21% increase in solar jobs last year – one of the biggest rises in the country."

April 6, 2018

Here's how climate change could make air travel even worse

"Climate change: it's disrupting our planet, and it's going to disrupt your future travel plans, especially if you're planning to fly. Weather disruptions will mean more delays and cancellations, strengthening jet streams at high altitudes means more turbulence, and traveling against the jet stream (like flying from Europe to the U.S.) means your flights will take longer."

April 8, 2018

Rising temperatures are predicted to give travelers a more difficult time for several reasons. Increased temperatures and subsequent heat waves will result in thinner air, which makes it more difficult for planes to generate the appropriate amount of lift during takeoff. Planes schedules to take off during the hottest times of the year will need weight restrictions to safely fly. Along with this, unpredictable storms and flooding can damage planes and terminals, as well as delay flights. 

“We’ll be able to adapt to these things, but it does have a penalty,” says Coffel. “You have to spend money just to maintain today’s performance, so in that sense [with] any adaptation, even if its successful, you’re still basically paying the cost of climate change.”

Pipeline spill in South Dakota twice as big as first thought

"Around 407,000 gallons (338,900 imperial gallons) spilled onto farmland when the pipeline broke near Amherst in Marshall County on Nov. 16, a spokeswoman for pipeline owner TransCanada Corp., told the Aberdeen American News. TransCanada had originally put the spill at 210,000 gallons (174,860 imperial gallons)."

April 7, 2018

The new development in the pipeline spill makes it the seventh- largest oil or petroleum spill on land since 2010. A mere 12 days after the leak, TransCanada continued normal use of the pipeline. It is estimated that the spill cost TransCanada $9.57 million. A report indicates that the pipeline might have been damaged during the construction process in 2008. 

Renewables grew twice as fast as fossil fuels in 2017

"Solar, wind, biomass and other renewables generated 12.1 percent of world electricity in 2017, up from 5.2 percent a decade earlier."

April 6, 2018

The world set a new record for installation of solar power in 2017, that is 98 GW of energy capacity. The capacity for fossil fuels in 2017 was much lower at 70 GW. Climate experts have encouraged governments to transition to renewable energy sources by mid- century if they are to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Investment in renewables increased by two percent across the globe. Furthermore, the cost of producing electricity from solar technologies fell by 15 percent last year.

“'We are at a turning point ... from fossil fuels to the renewable world,' Erik Solheim, head of U.N. Environment, told Reuters. 'The markets are there and renewables can take on coal, they can take on oil and gas.'”

Zinke sees low demand, strong opposition, for new offshore drilling

"President Trump's plan to open large swaths of the East and West coasts to offshore oil and natural gas drilling faces significant headwinds."

April 6, 2018

Zinke claims that a significant factor he is taking into account in moving forward with his offshore drilling plan is local opposition. States across the county have been vocal in their disapproval of opening up their coastlines to offshore drilling exploration. Zinke believes that the industry is uninterested in increased offshore exploration and points to the expensive infrastructure and environmental risk as reasons for the discouragement. 

"'There is a lot of opposition, particularly off the coast of the East Coast, the West Coast, on oil and gas," he said. "And so our plan takes into consideration the local communities, the voice of the governors.'"

Florida governor vetoes 'toilet to tap' bill

"Protecting Florida's environment has been a top priority during my time as governor," Scott said in the veto letter. "Florida has stringent water quality standards, and we are going to keep it that way."

April 6, 2018

The 'toilet to tap' bill would have given way to treated wastewater being pumped back into Florida's groundwater. Historically, Scott has not sided with environmentalists, but a handful of groups rallied citizens together to call and email the governor's office. Proponents of the bill claimed that the water would meet federal standards for drinking water; opponents countered that federal water standards do not test for harmful things, e.g. pharmaceuticals, which spread through human waste.

"'I am surprised by this, for sure, and pleasantly surprised by this, of course," said event organizer Brian Lee, who chairs the Leon County Soil and Water Conservation District. "I hope that means he was listening to the people.'"

Shell knew fossil fuels created climate change risks back in 1980s, internal documents show

“Internal company documents uncovered by a Dutch news organization show that the oil giant Shell had a deep understanding, dating at least to the 1980s, of the science and risks of global warming caused by fossil fuel emissions.”

April 5, 2018

The scientists at Shell urged the company to address the potential that fossil fuel emissions would have profound consequences such as unnatural climate change. Essentially, Shell, as well as several other oil and gas companies, knew of the danger associated with greenhouse gasses, yet kept that knowledge out of the eyes of the general public. Dutch environmentalists intend to sue Shell for withholding this information and perpetuating the climate crisis. 

In one Shell report from the 80s, the company acknowledged that "'The emerging problem "could have major social, economic and political consequences," it said—a powerful enough upheaval to be "the greatest in human history.'"

Young Americans want to save you from climate change 

"Around nine in ten millennials understand that the climate is changing, the highest proportion of any age group, while nearly eight in 10 think humankind must work to stem the rise in temperature."

April 1, 2018

Students from across the country have made their voices heard on the issue of climate change, and the need to take action. High school students from Connecticut founded a youth- led climate advocacy group called Zero Hour. The group is fundraising in order to organize a march in Washington, DC this July. The ultimate goal of the group is to demand lawmakers to transition the U.S. to 100 percent renewable energy sources by 2028. 

“'We really want to focus on finding youth from front-line communities who want to speak out and tell their stories,” Artis said. “We don’t want to make it about partisanship, but rather an issue that is going to affect everyone.'"

Florida community set to become nation's first solar-powered town 

"One brand-new Florida town has taken its first steps toward becoming completely solar powered. Babcock Ranch, just north of Fort Myers, already has residents moving in and businesses looking to get in on the action." 

April 2, 2018

Syd Kitson, the developer of Babcock Ranch, is striving to keep the solar energy they are producing in the hands of the private sector instead of  dealing with involvement from the federal government which could mean high tariffs. Upwards of 250 families are predicted to settle into the town withing the next year. Residents will enjoy inexpensive energy, autonomous transportation shuttles, and a wildlife preservation- with more than 90% of the land set aside for preservation purposes.  

"'I think the state of Florida has really, over the last several years, realized that it's the Sunshine State, and that this is a great opportunity for a renewable energy source for the state of Florida,' said Kitson."

Why Miami is the first stop on a campaign to ask polluters to pay for climate action

"Unlike plenty of other areas threatened by a changing climate, South Florida cities and counties have come up with plans to stem the floods — and they’ve committed hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars for the work."

March 9, 2018

In an effort to control the impacts of sea level rise, Miami recently voted to tax itself close to $200 million. Miami Beach is also contributing half a billion on improved storm-water systems and raised roads. However, new feelings area brewing within a political movement in Miami and it's pushing for a radical proposal. Polluters pay, not taxpayers

"“You hear them say the responsibility should be shared with states and federal government, but we’ve never had the conversation about polluters. What responsibility do they have?” said Maggie Fernandez, committee chair of the Miami Climate Alliance and president of Sustainable Miami."

A 'Major Second Wave' of U.S. Fracking Is About to Be Unleashed Upon the World

"U.S. oil and natural gas is on the verge of transforming the world’s energy markets for a second time, further undercutting Saudi Arabia and Russia."

March 6, 2018

Just in the time span of a few years remade the global energy sector by the mass adoption of fracking in the U.S. spiked barrels of oil into the billions and cubic feet of natural gas in to the trillions. The International Energy Agency said in a recent forecast that the increase in U.S. oil production will account for 80% of global demand for oil over the next three years. It is predicted to grow almost 30% to 17 million barrels per day by 2023. Much of that increase being attributed to fracking in West Texas.

The second fracking boom in the U.S. is followed by noticeable ramifications for the global energy markets and geopolitics in broader terms.

“In a shale revolution world, no country is an island,” said Birol. “Everyone will be affected.”

Climate Change Could Double Global Sea Level Rise By 2100: NASA Study

"There has been an acceleration in the total rise of sea level on Earth in recent years rather than it rising at a steady pace, a new NASA study has reported."

March 5, 2018

NASA has been compiling data on sea level rise for the past 25 years. This information was used to conduct a projection study that attributes the increase in sea level rise to the accelerated melting in Antarctica and Greenland. This incredible acceleration has the capacity to double the global sea level by 2100. This means if the melting continues, at this rate, the sea level would rise 26 inches by 2100. 

"This is almost certainly a conservative estimate," study lead author Steve Nerem said. "Our extrapolation assumes that sea level continues to change in the future as it has over the last 25 years. Given the large changes we are seeing in the ice sheets today, that's not likely."




Floridians Against Fracking Call On Senator Bradley to Be A Hero On Fracking With Virtual “Bradley Bat Signal”

Asking Sen. Bradley to schedule SB 462 in his last Appropriations hearing

February 28, 2018

Tallahassee-, FL -- Today, the Floridians Against Fracking again called on Senator Rob Bradley to hold a final hearing on a bill that would ban fracking in Florida on Friday, March 2nd.  The event is the culmination of nearly 1500 phone calls and several actions across the state over the past week to encourage Senator Bradley to continue his legacy as a clean water champion by passing a bill to ban fracking.

Florida's Fracking Ban is Flying Through the Senate

Food and Water Watch 

February 14, 2018

"After passing through the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee unanimously, the fracking ban bill moved to the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources for the first time ever.
Each of these votes has been bipartisan and featured unprecedented support."




Is Florida IN or OUT of Offshore Drilling Plan? Feds could decide later this year

WGCU SW Florida 

February 12, 2018

"Supporters and opponents of offshore drilling have one thing in common: neither believe Florida is off the table in the federal government’s proposed 5-year offshore leasing plan."
Uncertainty regarding Florida's Future means we still have to fight! We don't need oil to meet energy demands with the untapped potential of renewables!#SunshineState #ProtectOurCoasts

LWV Reports Sunshine State is Making Solar Strides

The Bradenton Times

February 11, 2018

"Florida now leads the nation in new residential rooftop permits with a growth rate of 110 percent in 2016. The Florida Solar Energy Center reports solar jobs are growing at a rate of ten times that of the Florida economy."

President Trump Slaps Tariffs on Solar Panels in Major Blow to Renewable Energy


January 22, 2018

"The US will impose duties as much as 30 percent on solar equipment made abroad, a move that threatens to handicap a $28 billion industry hat relies on parts made abroad for 80 percent of its supply."

Lee County Residents Stage Mock Oil Spill to Support Anti-Fracking Legislation

November 22nd, 2017

"A group of Lee County residents met in downtown Fort Myers Tuesday night to stage a mock oil rig spill to draw attention to the risks of fracking and promote the proposed bipartisan legislation that would ban the practice in Florida."

Protesters with signs

POINT OF VIEW: Court was clear: Community comes first on fracking

Palm Beach Post
November 8th, 2017

"Approximately 80 percent of Florida’s population has supported a ban on fracking through city and county resolutions. Is Rodrigues representing the majority of Floridians or fossil fuel interests?"

Protester with sign

Tallahasseeans want more money for schools and the environment, restrictions on guns and a ban on fracking

Tallahassee Democrat
October 31st, 2017

ReThink Energy Florida attended the 2017 Leon County Legislative Delegation Meeting on Monday, Oct. 30, 2017 to let our legislative delegates know we want a ban on fracking to be an issue they focus on in the upcoming legislative session. The event, which happen at the Leon County courthouse was packed with over 100 people. To learn more about the event and hear about how ReThink Energy Florida Executive Director: Kim Ross and Communications Director: Brian Lee were involved, check out the full article in the Tallahassee Democrat by clicking the title above.



Education, fracking, crime: Leon County delegation hears concerns

Florida Politics
October 31st, 2017

At the Leon County Legislative Delegation Meeting, many issues were discussed including mental health problems, crime rates, and because of the attendance of ReThink Energy Florida and Floridians Against Fracking, fracking was a major issue discussed as well. You can read a synopsis of the issues discussed from Florida Politics by clicking the title above.

Florida Politics Article Screenshot


UCF's enormous solar plant would slash $2 million a year from utility bills

Orlando Sentinel
May 5th, 2017

"UCF’s solar array would be the biggest in the state not backed by a utility and may mark Florida’s energy timeline as beginning to crack the utility monopoly on electricity."

UCF solar panels


ReThink Energy Florida Pres. Kim Ross to be interviewed on 'Tallahassee National Action In Action' radio show


Reclaiming Florida's Future For All!

WCJB (ABC) - Gainesville, FL - WCJB TV 20 News 5 Live
March 22nd, 2017



Advocacy for everyone: How to effectively influence Florida politics (February Lunch & Learn)

FSView & Florida Flambeau 
February 19th, 2017


Competition teaches students STEM skills, solar power (2017 Energy Whiz!)

Tallahassee Democrat 
February 4th, 2017 Energy_Whiz_Tally_Democrat_Article.png

Rethink Energy Florida Reflects on Election's "Good News"

January 18th, 2017


Water cannons, rubber bullets used on Dakota Access Pipeline protesters by police

November 21, 2016


Protesters Take to the Streets for National Day of Action against Pipeline
November 15, 2016


Seas aren’t just rising, scientists say — it’s worse than that. They’re speeding up.

Top lawmaker calls for buying up sugar land to clean Everglades