White House chief of staff stuffs Pruitt’s climate-change debate

For nearly a year, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt pushed for a public debate on the science of climate change that would be structured like the "red team-blue team" exercises of the military. White House chief of staff John Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, squashed the idea as ill-conceived, reports the New York Times.

Rising seas pushing saltwater into historic farms on Chesapeake Bay

As sea levels rise and the land subsides, America's first colonial farms—350-year-old tracts along Maryland's eastern shore—are being inundated with saltwater, threatening the corn and soybean crops while salt-tolerant plants grow six feet tall, reports FERN's latest story, published with The Atlantic.

Sustainability think tank pushes mushroom-beef burger

With beef production accounting for nearly half of all land use and greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture, the World Resources Institute is touting what it calls a better burger.

Climate change could kill half of California’s vegetation

Research by UC-Davis says that half of California’s vegetation is at risk of dying from global warming by the end of the century, reported Capital Public Radio.

A climate change impact: Bubbling lakes that emit methane

Shallow lakes in farming regions “will emit significantly greater amounts of methane, mostly in the form of bubbles” due to climate change, says a Aarhus University study in the journal Nature Climate Change. Methane is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. …

Dry winter creates wildfire hazard in central and southern Plains

There is a higher than usual risk of wildfire through April in the central and southern Plains, said Kansas State University scientists and the National Interagency Coordination Center, which studies wildfire risks.

Snow drought in western U.S. raises concerns about water supply

Snowpack in parts of the Rocky Mountains is at record lows because of warmer than usual weather, “raising concerns about water supplies and economic damage,” says Inside Climate News.

Heavy rainfall causes surge of nutrient runoff that fuels algal blooms

When heavy rainfall sweeps the countryside, waterways are flooded with peak levels of the nutrient phosphorus, which can trigger algal blooms and create dead zones in rivers, lakes, and coastal waters, says a newly published study.

An unlikely climate push in rural America

Hog giant Smithfield Foods has launched a program to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2025, but it is doing so largely by focusing on the fertilizer applications of its grain farmers. While that’s an important step, it also sidesteps the biggest source of the company’s emissions — its 19 million hogs, FERN’s latest story, in partnership with The WorldPost, reported. (No paywall)