The biggest U.S. oil company wants to pay every American a dividend.
AP Photo/Richard Drew
Exxon Mobil has a clear motive to back a new plan to tax carbon with its clout and money. And a carbon tax that is high enough to work might prove politically impossible to enact.
Hurricanes Michael and Florence have knocked power out for millions of people. Burying power lines could help but the costs are high.
The UN's panel on climate change said that technologies to remove CO2 will be necessary to limit global temperature rise to only 1.5 degrees Celsius. But these techniques are largely unproven.
Hurricanes frequently move inland in the southeast US, causing widespread river flooding, but emergency plans focus on protecting people in coastal communities.
Dairy cows are sensitive to heat, so farmers cool them down with sprinklers and fans. Researchers are designing better, more efficient systems to keep cows comfortable through hot California summers.
Do high fuel economy requirements make the US auto fleet less safe? The Trump administration says yes and is moving to freeze these standards, but auto experts and US car makers disagree.
The return of white sharks to Cape Cod, Massachusetts was a tourism success story – until a shark killed a swimmer. Can the Cape's residents and visitors learn to share the ocean with these apex predators?
Landowners told researchers that they lacked the knowledge, time and money to advocate for themselves, their financial interests and their property in negotiations over drilling leases.
The damage to coal ash sites from Hurricane Florence demonstrates how a community's vulnerability to natural disasters is closely linked to how stringent environmental regulations are.
A hurricane evacuation researcher in South Carolina explains why evacuating when the sun's out actually makes sense.
How do the narrow ribbons of sand that line the Atlantic and Gulf coasts withstand the force of hurricanes? The answer lies in their shape-shifting abilities.
Widespread flooding in North Carolina from Hurricane Florence shows the need for better advance planning in inland areas of the south and mid-Atlantic, especially near rivers.
Lessons learned from Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and the Fukushima disaster in 2011 have changed how utilities brace for big storms.
Don't believe the skeptics or the conspiracy theorists: Weather forecasters can't slant hurricane warnings to make political points.
Hurricanes in the southern US have caused widespread damage inland in recent decades, mainly through river flooding. But evacuations and stormproofing focus almost entirely on keeping people safe on the coasts.
Climate science in the computer age is the pursuit of elite scientists. A historian of science sees an upside to the popular, participatory approach of studying changes to the climate from the 19th century.
US ozone pollution has fallen in recent decades, but exposure to low levels of ozone still has serious effects on human health and well-being.
Thousands died after Hurricane Maria, but it did not have to be that way. Early evidence should have led the government to a much stronger response.
Wetlands are some of the world's most undervalued weapons against climate change. They store huge quantities of carbon – but without better protection, many could soon be drained or paved over.
How do experts know when and where the next big hurricane is going to hit? A look at the complicated science of forecasting.
Taking this step may improve the quality of life for vulnerable people and reduce the amount of air conditioning they use, making their neighborhoods less prone to power outages.
Many students and professors at US colleges and universities want their schools to divest holdings in fossil fuel companies, but it's a hard sell for school administrators.
When a dam comes down this fall, a team of scientists will be there to track the environmental changes.
Paying these CEOs more when oil prices rise means they're rewarded for having good luck.
Taking millions of gallons of water permanently out of the Colorado River amid a prolonged drought would surely start an interstate fight.
Huge fires roared through Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 1988, scorching one-third of the park. Since then the park has been a valuable lab for studying how forests recover from fires.
Many US coastal towns are building defenses to protect against rising seas and storms. This can encourage people to stay in place when they should be moving inland.
Hurricane Harvey swamped much of Houston in 2017, causing more damage than all other US hurricanes except Katrina. But now the city is authorizing construction in zones at high risk for flooding.
Many people board up their houses and stay in place during disasters – but often they aren't prepared to go without water, power or transportation for days or weeks afterward.
The Trump administration's Affordable Clean Energy Plan would help the declining coal industry, but a study shows many coal workers could transition to a new industry – solar – and earn more money.
Trump's energy plan may meet the letter of the law but the Affordable Clean Energy Plan reflects the administration's clear agenda to move slowly or not at all on climate change.
Colombia's coffee industry is at risk due to unpredictable seasons, floods, landslides, droughts and pests. Farmers say they want to learn to adapt to these environmental changes but don't know how.
Incineration of household waste has gotten a bad name, argues an economist, who sees today's recycling crisis as an opportunity to reconsider how the U.S. handles its waste.
Roughly 10,000 tons of plastic enter the Great Lakes every year, and scientists want to know where it ends up. There are some parallels to ocean plastics, but also important differences.
Since China stopped importing 'foreign garbage' in March 2018, scrap – especially plastic – has built up in the US. Will this shock trigger long-overdue investments in plastic recycling here?
Bitcoin is often criticized for using up tons of energy. But its carbon footprint may not be that bad.
Bio-based plastics made from natural sources break down more easily than conventional plastic, without producing toxic byproducts. But for this to happen they have to be composted, not buried in landfills.
Research is yielding strategies for making plastics greener and more sustainable. But without support as they scale up, new versions will struggle to compete with well-established synthetic plastics.
As California reels from another devastating fire season, environmental resource scholars explain how the state – and other fire-prone areas – can better prepare and coexist with wildfires.
Red tide and a blue-green algae outbreak are fouling hundreds of miles of coast, killing fish and driving tourists away from beaches. Some of the causes are natural, but human actions play a big role.
Two business professors spent five years studying Walmart's ambition project to bring sustainability to its millions of budget-conscious customers – a plan that began with the birth of a granddaughter.
With California suffering another devastating wildfire year, more people are wondering about whether and how global warming is contributing. A climate scientist explains.
There's no precedent for selling oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve at a time when there's no market-driven reason for doing that.
In 2015, over 320 million tons of polymers, excluding fibers, were manufactured across the globe.
Whether they aim to stop pipelines in Virginia or block Pacific Northwest export terminals, organizers are trying to 'keep it in the ground' to save the climate.
The Ogalalla Aquifer is a vast underground lake that irrigates farms across the US Great Plains. It took thousands of years to fill, but human use could drain it in roughly a century.
Wildland firefighting has always been a risky job, but development in fire-prone areas is making it more dangerous by putting forest firefighters in situations they are not equipped or trained for.
Climate change, development, past forest management policies and current firefighting practices are creating conditions for large, costly wildfires.
Commercial nuclear reactors provide roughly one-fifth of the electricity produced in the US. But they face grave threats to their continued operation.
August 1, 2018 is 'Earth Overshoot Day,' a date coined by the nonprofit Global Footprint Network to publicize overuse of Earth's resources. But their estimates actually understate the problem.
As EVs make more inroads, giving tenants somewhere to plug in their cars could become a selling point.
A perfect storm of climate, forestry, development and fire management trends are driving up the costs of fighting wildfires.
What would you pay to keep trash off your favorite beach, or pollution away from a national park? Economists can tease these values out of our travel choices and use the numbers to help make policy.
What drives the emergence and disappearance of species? By modeling the fundamental processes of evolution and ecology on geographical scales, new research spotlights topography and climatic shifts.
Not only does U.S. law bar price-fixing, there are bipartisan efforts underway to make it possible to sue OPEC members in American courts for antitrust violations.
The Whole Earth Catalog was a blueprint for sustainability that envisioned humans living in balance with nature. Its creative spirit was welcomed in a year riven by war, assassinations and riots.
A historian of wildfires explains the difference between urban and rural fire cultures, and what it means for protecting communities in fire-prone rural areas.
Fifty years ago biologist Paul Ehrlich published 'The Population Bomb,' an apocalyptic warning that overcrowding would lead to wars and famine. Here's what the book got right and wrong.
The global population is climbing faster and faster. What will this mean for future generations?
Even if Asia buys most of the natural gas the U.S. will be exporting soon, America's growing role in that market could wind up reducing Russia's political influence in Europe.
Just like with Cold War-era red-baiting, there's an apparent effort to discredit and undermine critics of the US government.
After two years of turmoil at the EPA in the 1980s, President Reagan hit the reset button, choosing a Republican who supported environmental protection to head the agency.
July is the hottest month in much of North America. Experts explain who is most affected by heat waves and ways to cope with them.
In many US cities, ride-hailing apps are luring riders away from public transit and increasing traffic congestion. But with the right rules, they could enhance public transit instead.
There are precedents for trying to make the industries responsible for climate change foot the bill for adapting to a changed climate.
Many people who live near large-scale livestock farms complain about noxious smells, air and water pollution and health risks. With little help from regulators, they are turning to lawsuits.
US farmers are planting more and more acres with seeds coated with neonicotinoid pesticides. An ecologist explains why this approach is overkill and may be doing more harm than good.
Large-scale emergencies can be a strain, even in one of the world's richest countries. Population growth, income inequality and fragile supply chains may make the problem worse.
Crop insurance cushions farmers against natural disasters, but it also can lead them to overuse resources and reduce their incentive to adapt to climate change.
Vermonters' views on labels for genetically engineered foods shed light on consumers' views, as the federal government considers mandatory labels.
A scholar of climate misinformation campaigns explains how, in part, the large gap in public opinion on global warming emerged since a scientist's landmark clarion call for action.
Generating less electricity with fossil fuels could help save lives.
It's becoming harder and harder for animals to find human-free spaces on the planet. New research suggests that to try to avoid people, mammals are shifting activity from the day to the nighttime.
If the US were to stop dumping these valuable metals in landfills and to cease exporting them as cheap scrap, its imports could fall, and there would be less of these metals being made from scratch.
Mexico City desperately needs a new airport. It also needs more green space. One landscape architect thinks the Mexican capital's new Norman Foster-designed international airport can be both.
Last summer one of Antarctica's floating ice shelves calved an iceberg the size of Delaware – but scientists say other less dramatic changes reveal more about how and why Antarctica is changing.
New research projects that climate change could greatly increase airborne dust levels in the southwestern US, causing higher hospital admissions and premature deaths from heart and lung ailments.
How can marine preserves best protect sea creatures that move in and out of them? Two ocean scientists describe new thinking about designing marine protected areas.
Advanced small modular reactors, known as SMRs, will probably have many advantages over older technology. But it's not yet known how they will stack up against other sources of electricity.
Government agencies are supposed to listen to the industries they regulate, but what if they tune out everyone else? Scholars call this regulatory capture, and some staffers see it happening at EPA.
The 2018 hurricane season starts on June 1, with some communities still recovering from 2017 storms. Scholars offer insights about where the risks lie and who is most vulnerable during and after hurricanes.
Did Rachel Carson catalyze the organic farming movement, as many advocates claim? Or would she reject their ban on synthetic fertilizer and see organic as an inefficient way to feed the world?
If recent history repeats itself, the proposed repository for extremely dangerous nuclear waste will stay dead.
'Bendable concrete' is not an oxymoron. Mimicking designs found in nature, engineers are making concrete that gives under stress without shattering – an advance that could improve US infrastructure.
Large-scale solar and wind tend to push energy prices down, which sounds great as a consumer. But that makes keeping the grid in constant balance harder.
Nestle pays the state a pittance in exchange for its water at a time when public awareness of water issues is rising.
The EPA intends to limit what scientific studies can inform policy – a change long sought by industry. A long-time public health researcher explains the single study at the root of the controversy.
Environmentalists and climate hawks are cheering, but many experts aren't excited about the state making rooftop solar panels mandatory on most new homes beginning in 2020.
With elevated wildfire risks forecast across much of the western US this summer, here's how travelers can track local conditions, stay out of harm's way and avoid accidentally starting fires.
Chytrid fungus has caused a global "amphibian apocalypse," killing frogs worldwide. Now some appear to be evolving resistance – but a closely related fungus threatens newts and salamanders.
Do environmental reviews delay large-scale projects? The Trump administration says yes, but studies show that these reviews lead to better results and can even save time and money.
According to one study, more than 8 million people per year die early from air pollution exposure.
New research is spotlighting personal care products, such as shampoos and skin lotions, as a significant source of chemicals that contribute to urban air pollution.
A review of Trump's stated war on regulations doesn't find many successful repeals. But it is hurting regulatory enforcement in quieter ways.
Fountains of lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano are dramatic, but the most deadly impacts of volcanic eruptions are toxic gases and ash and mud flows.
Michigan officials have ended distribution of free bottled water in Flint, but many residents believe the city's water crisis is not over and have lost all trust in government.
Study finds that coal pollution in China is leading to people getting significant levels of mercury poisoning from rice.
In an increasingly urban world, trees can make a major difference. One study found that, for every dollar invested in planting, megacities saw a $2.50 return on their investment.
Scientists have long thought most nitrogen in Earth's ecosystems comes from the air, but new research shows it also is released as rocks weather. This could boost plant growth and help sequester carbon – but not fast enough to avert climate change, as some pundits have claimed.
Climate change is transforming the Arctic, with impacts on the rest of the planet. A geographer explains why he once doubted that human actions were causing such shifts, and what changed his mind.
During sea turtle nesting season, scientists collect data and assess how turtles are doing. But they know less about how plastic pollution, fishing and warming oceans are affecting turtle numbers.