near tribal land.

approved a plan to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035.

Indonesia and the Philippines, releasing vast amounts of carbon dioxide before being refined in Chinese factories powered by coal.

Another source of nickel is a massive mining operation north of the Arctic Circle in Norilsk, Russia, which has produced so much sulfur dioxide that a plume of the toxic gas is big enough to be seen from space. Other minerals used in electric vehicle batteries, such as lithium and cobalt, appear to have been mined or refined with the use of child or forced labor.

With global demand for electric vehicles projected to grow sixfold by 2030, the dirty origins of this otherwise promising green industry have become a looming crisis. The Democrats’ new tax and climate bill devotes nearly $400 billion to clean energy initiatives over the next decade, including electric vehicle tax credits and financing for companies that manufacture clean cars in the United States.

New domestic high-tech mines and factories could make this supply chain more secure, and potentially less damaging to the global environment. But skeptics say those facilities may still pose a risk to the air, soil and water that surrounds them, and spark a fierce debate about which communities might bear those costs.

can leach out sulfuric acid and heavy metals. More than a dozen former copper mines in the United States are now Superfund sites, contaminated locations where taxpayers can end up on the hook for cleanup.

canceled leases for another copper-nickel mine near a Minnesota wilderness area, saying the Trump administration had improperly renewed them.

Talon Metals insists that it will have no such problems. “We can produce the battery materials that are necessary for the energy transition and also protect the environment,” said Todd Malan, the company’s chief external affairs officer and head of climate strategy. “It’s not a choice.”

The company is using high-tech equipment to map underground flows of water in the area and create a 3-D model of the ore, so it can mine “surgically” while leaving other parts of the earth undisturbed, Mr. Malan said. Talon is also promising to use technology that will safely store the mine’s toxic byproducts and do its mining far underground, in deep bedrock where groundwater doesn’t typically penetrate.

Talon has teamed up with the United Steelworkers union on work force development. And Rio Tinto has won a $2.2 million Department of Energy grant to explore capturing carbon near the site, which may allow the mine to market its products as zero emission.

estimates, the world will need roughly 20 times as much nickel and cobalt by 2040 as it had in 2020 and 40 times as much lithium.

Recycling could play a bigger role in supplying these materials by the end of the decade, and some new car batteries do not use any nickel. Yet nickel is still highly sought after for electric trucks and higher-end cars, because it increases a vehicle’s range.

The infrastructure law passed last year devoted $7 billion to developing the domestic supply chain for critical minerals. The climate and tax law also sets ambitious thresholds for ensuring that electric vehicles that receive tax incentives are partly U.S.-made.

has begged miners to produce more.

is home to deposits of nickel, copper and cobalt, which were formed 1.1 billion years ago from a volcano that spewed out miles of liquid magma.

Talon has leased 31,000 acres of land in the area, covering an 11-mile geological feature deep under the swamp. The company has zealously drilled and examined the underground resources along one of those 11 miles, and discovered several other potential satellite deposits.

In August, the company announced that it had also acquired land in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to explore for more nickel.

Talon will start Minnesota’s environmental review process within a few months, and the company says it anticipates a straightforward review. But legal challenges for proposed mines can regularly stretch to a decade or more, and some living near the project say they will do what they can to fight the mine.

Elizabeth Skinaway and her sister, Jean Skinaway-Lawrence, members of the Sandy Lake Band of Minnesota Chippewa, are especially concerned about damage to the wild rice, which Ms. Skinaway has been gathering in lakes several miles from the proposed mine for 43 years.

Ms. Skinaway acknowledges the need to combat climate change, which also threatens the rice. But she sees little justice in using the same kind of profit-driven, extractive industry that she said had long plundered native lands and damaged the global environment.

“The wild rice, the gift from the creator, that’s going to be gone, from the sulfide that’s going to leach into the river and the lakes,” she said. “It’s just a really scary thought.”

“We were here first,” said her sister. “We should be heard.”

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Heat and Drought in Europe Strain Energy Supply

ASERAL, Norway — In a Nordic land famous for its steep fjords, where water is very nearly a way of life, Sverre Eikeland scaled down the boulders that form the walls of one of Norway’s chief reservoirs, past the driftwood that protruded like something caught in the dam’s teeth, and stood on dry land that should have been deeply submerged.

“You see the band where the vegetation stops,” said Mr. Eikeland, 43, the chief operating officer of Agder Energi, pointing at a stark, arid line 50 feet above the Skjerkevatn reservoir’s surface. “That’s where the water level should be.”

thousands of northern homes without electricity.

reignited talk of investing in nuclear power and has dried up the waterways crucial for transporting coal.

most severe drought on record in France has also cost the country’s energy production, as nuclear plants responsible for more than 70 percent of the country’s electricity had to cut down activity temporarily to avoid discharging dangerously warm water into rivers.

Many of France’s 56 nuclear plants were already offline for maintenance issues. But the rivers that cool reactors have become so warm as a result of the punishing heat that strict rules designed to protect wildlife have prevented the flushing of the even warmer water from the plants back into the waterways.

power grid operators to hire more workers amid fears of electricity shortages.

In Norway, a winter without much snow and an exceptionally dry spring, including the driest April in 122 years, reduced water levels in lakes and rivers. Shallow waters in Mjosa, the country’s largest lake, kept its famed Skibladner paddle wheel boat tied up at port and prompted city officials in Oslo to send out text messages urging people to take shorter showers and avoid watering lawns.

“Do that for Oslo,” read the text message, “so that we’ll still have water for the most important things in our lives.” In May, Statnett SF, the operator of the national electricity grid, raised the alarm about shortfalls.

But the skies offered no relief and this month, as the country’s hydro reservoirs — especially in the south — approached what Energy Minister Terje Aasland has called “very low” levels, hydropower producers cut output to save water for the coming winter.

The reservoirs were about 60 percent full, about 10 percent less than the average over the previous two decades, according to data from the energy regulator.

Southern Norway, which holds more than a third of the country’s reservoirs, is dotted with red barns on green fields and fishing boats along the coast. On a stream in the Agder region, a sign put up by the energy company, like a relic from another time, warned, “The water level can rise suddenly and without warning.”

But recent months have shown that there is danger in the water level dropping, too. Reservoirs had dwindled to their lowest point in 20 years, at just 46 percent full. One, Rygene, was so low as to force the temporary closing of the plant. On Tuesday, the rainstorms returned, but the ground was so dry, Mr. Eikeland said as he surveyed the basin, that the earth “drinks up all the water” and the water levels in the reservoirs barely rose.

He sped his electric car farther south toward Kristiansand, where a large grid sends electricity around the country’s south and to Denmark. In a fenced-off area above the hill, a Norwegian industrial developer was building a data center for clients such as Amazon, which would suck up a significant share of locally produced electricity in order to cool vast computer servers.

This year’s drought has only highlighted the urgent need for a wider energy transformation, Mr. Eikeland said.

“The drought shows that we are not ready for the big changes,” he said, but also “that we will not accept the high prices.”

Reporting was contributed by Christopher F. Schuetze from Germany, Constant Méheut from France, Gaia Pianigiani from Italy, Isabella Kwai from London and Henrik Pryser Libell from Norway.

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European Drought Dries Up Rivers, Kills Fish, Shrivels Crops

By Associated Press
August 12, 2022

The European Commission’s Joint Research Center warned that drought conditions will get worse and potentially affect 47% of the continent.

Once, a river ran through it. Now, white dust and thousands of dead fish cover the wide trench that winds amid rows of trees in France’s Burgundy region in what was the Tille River in the village of Lux.

From dry and cracked reservoirs in Spain to falling water levels on major arteries like the Danube, the Rhine and the Po, an unprecedented drought is afflicting nearly half of Europe. It is damaging farm economies, forcing water restrictions, causing wildfires and threatening aquatic species.

There has been no significant rainfall for almost two months in the continent’s western, central and southern regions. In typically rainy Britain, the government officially declared a drought across southern and central England on Friday amid one of the hottest and driest summers on record.

And Europe’s dry period is expected to continue in what experts say could be the worst drought in 500 years.

Climate change is exacerbating conditions as hotter temperatures speed up evaporation, thirsty plants take in more moisture and reduced snowfall in the winter limits supplies of freshwater available for irrigation in the summer. Europe isn’t alone in the crisis, with drought conditions also reported in East Africa, the western United States and northern Mexico.

The European Commission’s Joint Research Center warned this week that drought conditions will get worse and potentially affect 47% of the continent.

The current situation is the result of long periods of dry weather caused by changes in world weather systems, said meteorologist Peter Hoffmann of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research near Berlin.

“It’s just that in summer we feel it the most,” he said. “But actually the drought builds up across the year.”

Climate change has lessened the temperature differences between regions, sapping the forces that drive the jet stream, which normally brings wet Atlantic weather to Europe, he said.

A weaker or unstable jet stream can result in unusually hot air coming to Europe from North Africa, leading to prolonged periods of heat. The reverse is also true, when a polar vortex of cold air from the Arctic can cause freezing conditions far south of where it would normally reach.

Hoffmann said observations in recent years have all been at the upper end of what the existing climate models predicted.

The drought has caused some European countries to impose restrictions on water usage, and shipping is endangered on the Rhine and the Danube rivers.

Millions in the U.K. were already barred from watering lawns and gardens under regional “hosepipe bans,” and 15 million more around London will face such a ban shortly.

The Rhine, Germany’s biggest waterway, is forecast to reach critically low levels in the coming days. Authorities say it could become difficult for many large ships to safely navigate the river at the city of Kaub, roughly midway between Koblenz and Mainz.

The drought is also hitting U.K. farmers, who face running out of irrigation water and having to use winter feed for animals because of a lack of grass. The Rivers Trust charity said England’s chalk streams — which allow underground springs to bubble up through the spongy layer of rock — are drying up, endangering aquatic wildlife like kingfishers and trout.

Even countries like Spain and Portugal, which are used to long periods without rain, have seen major consequences. In the Spanish region of Andalucia, some avocado farmers have had to sacrifice hundreds of trees to save others from wilting as the Vinuela reservoir in Malaga province dropped to only 13% of capacity.

Some European farmers are using water from the tap for their livestock when ponds and streams go dry, using up to 26 gallons a day per cow.

EU corn production is expected to be 12.5 million tons below last year and sunflower production is projected to be 1.6 million tons lower, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Kentucky Deals With Effects Of Climate Crisis

As climate continues to change, disasters are becoming more frequent across the state of Kentucky.

Piles of debris litter a town in Kentucky. No, it wasn’t from the recent floods. The damage comes from eight months ago when a rare, powerful EF-4 tornado ripped through several states and destroyed the small town of Mayfield in Western Kentucky.

Every building downtown is damaged, destroyed, and collapsed.   

The tornado leveled the town with 190-mile per hour winds. It was the deadliest in state history. Eighty people died, 24 just in Graves County alone.   

Most inside a flattened Mayfield candle factory.  

At the time, temperatures in the area were above normal for mid-December — in the 70s in nearby Memphis, Tennessee.

“This type of event — and the fact that it happened here and not, say, farther south — that’s not something that we typically expect,” Western Kentucky University Meteorologist Joshua Durkee said.

Fast forward to last week across the state in Eastern Kentucky…

“We’re currently experiencing one of the worst, most devastating flooding events in Kentucky’s history,” Gov. Andy Beshear said.

The historic floods devastated towns, washing away entire neighborhoods and people. At least three dozen are dead and hundreds more are still missing.  

“We know that climate change is in the DNA of today’s extreme weather events,”  University of Georgia Atmospheric Sciences Program Director James Marshall Shepherd said.

In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency warned annual precipitation in Kentucky would keep increasing and floods would become more frequent.  

According to the EPA, the last time the Blue Grass State produced a climate change adaptation plan was in 2010, and it focused on the danger to the state’s wildlife. 

Both Eastern and Western Kentucky are strewn with debris from climate change events.    

“It’s gonna take years to rebuild,” Gov. Beshear said — as the climate continues to change and disasters become more frequent.

Source: newsy.com

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Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman On Flood Recovery Efforts

By Newsy Staff
August 4, 2022

Coleman says the state’s police, National Guard and Fish and Wildlife rescue teams have conducted 1,300 rescue missions so far and are still going.

Floods have ravaged parts of Eastern Kentucky, leaving 37 residents dead. Gov. Andy Beshear expects that death toll to rise as recovery efforts continue. However, there have been some 1,300 rescue missions so far and more are in progress. Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman spoke with Newsy’s “Morning Rush” to discuss the disasters that have hit the state and how the state can cope in the future as climate change could bring more and more trouble.

NEWSY’S ALEX LIVINGSTON: Thank you so much for joining us today. It’s such a pleasure to have you on. But what is the latest on the situation in Eastern Kentucky that you can tell us? 

LT. GOV. JACQUELINE COLEMAN: Well, thank you so much for having me and thank you for bringing attention to such a terrible tragedy going on in the eastern part of our state right now. As of this morning, we still have 37 confirmed deaths in Kentucky so far. As the governor says every time he is able to talk to Kentuckians, we expect that number to continue to rise as the waters recede. We are still in search-and-rescue mode. We have the National Guard, we have support coming in from West Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee and our National Guard, our K.S.P.  and our Fish and Wildlife professionals have conducted 1,300 rescue missions so far and they are still going.

NEWSY’S JAY STRUBBERG: How many people are still missing right now? What are the biggest challenges you guys are facing as far as rescuing them?

COLEMAN: One of the biggest challenges that we’re facing right now has to do with communication.  As you can imagine, all communication in certain areas that kind of had spotty connectivity to begin with has been a real struggle. And so we are working on getting all of those communications back up and running. We’re down to the hardest areas to service at this point. But as the communication comes back, we’re able to connect more families together and account for more folks. But right now, we suspect there are hundreds that are still missing and unaccounted for.

LIVINGSTON: Is the geography of the eastern part of the state also posing any difficulty? I know that we had our meteorologist there and he was talking to some people who lived in hollers and I know from working in West Virginia and experiencing that, they could be in some rugged terrain and hard-to-get-to areas. Is that at all a factor in the rescue efforts?

COLEMAN: It absolutely is. I was in several of the hardest-hit counties just yesterday. I was in Letcher County, Knott County, Leslie and Clay County areas all day yesterday and what I kept hearing was the terrain was making it really difficult to get to people. But I will say this: You see stories of folks that are delivering meals and delivering much-needed supplies on ATVs and on horseback because the roads are out, bridges are out. I spoke to a couple of the county judges yesterday. I think Letcher County said there were about 16 bridges that they knew were out so far. In Knott County, it was 60 as in 6-0. Those are public and county bridges. That is not counting all of the private drives and culverts that people used to get from their home to the main roads and so that work is going to continue. We’re, again, right now, still recounting to see what the damage actually is. The extent of the damage is overwhelming. I can see it on the faces of Eastern Kentuckians and our locally elected officials, our Kentucky emergency management folks who are working around the clock to save people’s lives and to make sure that people have what they need. The tragedy is heartbreaking, but what we are seeing out of our fellow Kentuckians is heartwarming and it renews my faith in humanity to see how wonderful these people are, who have lost everything. They’re showing up for their neighbors and lending a hand. I walked into Letcher County High School yesterday and I got cold chills and tears in my eyes looking at the number of students and community members; people from two hours away that have driven in to help supply folks with what they needed. It’s remarkable. It gives me hope that that we’re in for the long haul. 

STRUBBERG: Yeah, it is a silver lining of tragedies like these, how good they are at bringing communities together and [seeing people] helping each other out. It’s good to see that. Obviously, the immediate concern is the safety of residents, rescuing missing residents, also the recovery efforts as well. From a long-term perspective, these extreme weather events — whether it is flooding in Kentucky or the heat waves that we’re seeing along the West Coast with the wildfires — they’re becoming more extreme, they’re happening more often and we always hear the words climate change being brought up. What is your state doing to prepare for the impacts of the climate crisis? 

COLEMAN: Well, I have to say that first of all, like I said, we are still in the search-and-rescue mission phase of this and so that is where focus is right now. But I can tell you that before we were hit with this tragedy, one of the things that the governor has committed to is building the economy of the future. And he has done that, by landing two of the largest economic development deals in Kentucky’s history to become the home of the twin electric vehicle battery plants for Ford. We’re going to be the future of the electric vehicle batteries that Ford bet on. In Bowling Green, AESC Envision is doing the same thing. That’s the western part of the state. In the eastern part of the state, we are working to make sure that Kentucky is the agri-tech center of the United States with more efficient and effective farming and agriculture practices that conserve water and do all of the things to help feed a growing nation and to do it effectively and efficiently. And so again, this is a long-term plan. It’s something that we started as part of our economic development package as soon as we took office. But we’ve been hit by the tornadoes in the west and now the flooding in the east. We continue to work through that, but certainly, we have made that a centerpiece of our economic development moving forward.

STRUBBERG: Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, thank you so much for your time. Obviously, some devastating developments out of your state. We appreciate you coming on the show.

COLEMAN: Thank you. Thank you so much.

Source: newsy.com

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Polish Institute Classifies Cats As Alien Invasive Species

By Associated Press

and Newsy Staff
July 30, 2022

The database already had 1,786 other species listed with no objections.

A respected Polish scientific institute has classified domestic cats as an “invasive alien species,” citing the damage they cause to birds and other wildlife.

Some cat lovers have reacted emotionally to this month’s decision and put the key scientist behind it on the defensive.

Wojciech Solarz, a biologist at the state-run Polish Academy of Sciences, wasn’t prepared for the disapproving public response when he entered “Felis catus,” the scientific name for the common house cat, into a national database run by the academy’s Institute of Nature Conservation.

The database already had 1,786 other species listed with no objections, Solarz told The Associated Press on Tuesday. The uproar over invasive alien species No. 1,787, he said, may have resulted from some media reports that created the false impression his institute was calling for feral and other cats to be euthanized.

Solarz described the growing scientific consensus that domestic cats have a harmful impact on biodiversity given the number of birds and mammals they hunt and kill.

The criteria for including the cat among alien invasive species, “are 100% met by the cat,” he said.

In a television segment aired by independent broadcaster TVN, the biologist faced off last week against a veterinarian who challenged Solarz’s conclusion on the dangers cats pose to wildlife.

Dorota Suminska, the author of a book titled “The Happy Cat,” pointed to other causes of shrinking biodiversity, including a polluted environment and urban building facades that can kill birds in flight.

“Ask if man is on the list of non-invasive alien species,” Suminska said, arguing that cats were unfairly assigned too much blame.

Solarz pushed back, arguing that cats kill about 140 million birds in Poland each year.

Earlier this month, the Polish Academy institute published a post on its website citing the “controversy” and seeking to clarify its position. The institute stressed that it was “opposed to any cruelty towards animals.” It also argued that its classification was in line with European Union guidelines.

As far as categorizing cats as “alien,” the institute noted that “Felis catus” was domesticated probably around 10,000 years ago in the cradle of the great civilizations of the ancient Middle East, making the species alien to Europe from a strictly scientific point of view.

The institute also stressed that all it was recommending was for cat owners to limit the time their pets spend outdoors during bird breeding season.

“I have a dog, but I don’t have anything against cats,” Solarz said.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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