The $32-million question in Washington State: Carbon emissions fee

Two years after the thundering defeat of a carbon tax in a statewide referendum, voters in Washington State will decide whether to establish a carbon fee on polluters, starting at $15 a ton for large-scale emitters of greenhouse gases. Billionaire Bill Gates donated $1 million in support of …

California leads country with new climate-change legislation

California Gov. Jerry Brown has extended the state’s climate plan for another decade by signing into law a bundle of bills meant to lower greenhouse-gas emissions. “The legislation puts California at the forefront of plans by mostly Democratic governors to reduce carbon emissions and adhere to the goals of the Paris climate change accord after Republican President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the pact,” says Reuters.

Fuel made from ‘forest residuals’ powers Seattle-to-DC flight

Using a 20 percent blend of alternative jet fuel produced from wood, Alaska Airlines sent a passenger flight across the United States from Seattle to Washington's National Airport in a breakthrough for bio-energy. The airline said the alternative fuel, made from "forest residuals" remaining after timbering, produces from 50-80 percent fewer greenhouse gases than petroleum fuel when calculated on a life-cycle basis.

Climate talks in Morocco disturbed, but not unhinged, by Trump’s election

News of Donald Trump’s election shocked the international climate-change proceedings taking place this week in Marrakech, Morocco. During his campaign, Trump vowed to revoke America’s participation in the Paris Agreement, a global plan to keep temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial averages. More than 190 countries have signed the agreement, and many consider it a last hope for fighting climate change. Trump has also vowed to dismantle President Obama’s clean power plan.

Investors urge food companies to embrace plants over meat

“A group of 40 investors managing $1.25 trillion in assets have launched a campaign to encourage 16 global food companies” to change to plant-based proteins in light of the “material” risks of industrial meat farming, says Reuters. Among the companies targeted were Kraft Heinz, Nestle, Unilever, Tesco, Walmart, Costco Wholesale Corporation and Whole Foods.

Few options for urban juice shops to reduce waste

It’s no secret that good compost improves soil, but many urban juice joints don’t bother getting licenses to cart their leftover peels and pulp to local composters, either because it’s too expensive or because the scraps are too “wet and heavy” to be useful, says FERN contributing editor Elizabeth Royte in Modern Farmer.

Methane-producing microbes found in California rocks

For the first time, scientists have found methane-producing microbes living near the earth's surface, rather than in volcanic vents in the ocean floor, says the American Geophysical Union. The study "also shows the newly-discovered microbes are likely capable of using carbon dioxide to produce methane — a finding that could have implications for future carbon sequestration projects."

Agriculture a major source of air pollution in northern hemisphere

Farms outweigh all other human sources of fine-particulate air pollution in much of the United States, Europe, Russia and China, says a study by the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

Oregano oil could help save the planet from cow belches

Feeding cows oregano oil may help cut back on their methane-laced belching, says NPR. Bovine belching accounts for one third of global methane emissions, and methane is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.