The annual State of the Climate report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and American Meteorological Society assembles climate studies and reports from the previous year in one package. The 25th annual report is out and the news isn’t good: indicators of climate change show up everywhere.
Oklahoma almost never used to have earthquakes. But in the last six years they’ve increased so much that last year the state surged past California as the most seismically active state in the continental U.S. Prior to 2009, the state averaged two quakes of greater than 3.0 magnitude annually. By 2014 that number had soared to 585, up from 109 in 2013.
Oklahoma was never big earthquake country, but in the last six years their numbers have surged, going from an average of two a year over 3.0 magnitude to 538 last year, surpassing California as the U.S.’s most seismically active state. Regions in Texas and Ohio that rarely felt an earthquake are now seeing wave after wave of them; eight states overall have seen big increases.
Wealthy Charlotte, North Carolina-based entrepreneur Jay Faison has taken on a task that is probably more formidable than building his business empire was: he plans to spend a chunk of his fortune working to convince his fellow Republicans that climate change is real, human-caused and needs to be addressed.
In 2010, Congress commissioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to study the impact of fracking on drinking water. Yesterday, the EPA released the long-awaited final draft of its report, assessing how fracking for oil and gas can impact access to safe drinking water. The report refuted the conclusion arrived at by the EPA’s 2004 study that fracking poses no threat to drinking water, a conclusion used to exempt the fracking process from the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Factory farming has been expanding in the U.S. over the last two decades, and the size of those farms has increased dramatically — dominating the market, squeezing out smaller producers and setting the agenda for farming practices — to the detriment of food consumers.
A broken pipeline spewed oil into the Pacific Ocean Tuesday, creating an oil slick four miles long on some of the state’s most beautiful coastline at Refugio State Beach just north of Santa Barbara. An estimated 21,000 gallons of oil spilled, according to an early Coast Guard estimate. Refugio State Beach and area fisheries are closed, and it is unknown when the beach will reopen.
Throughout the last two decades state after state has passed renewable energy standards, often with big bipartisan majorities, as investment in technologies like wind and solar held great promise for economic growth and job creation in addition to cutting greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change and decreasing air pollution.
Recently the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Obergefell vs. Hodges. The decision in that case, expected in June, could legalize marriage equality across the country in the dozen states that have not done so on their own.
[Editor’s note: It’s official, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced Wednesday that he’s running for president of the U.S. in 2016.