The Environment

Trump prepares to gut Federal land protections

By Daniel de Vries, 28 April 2017

The executive order signed Wednesday orders a review of national monuments on behalf of energy and mining interests.

White House divided on future of Paris climate agreement

By Daniel de Vries, 19 April 2017

Debate is raging within the Trump administration over whether to carry through on the president’s campaign promise to withdraw from the 2015 climate change accord.

Trump launches pollution deregulation offensive

By Daniel de Vries, 29 March 2017

The order nullifies several Obama-era climate directives and instructs the EPA to begin the process of undoing the Clean Power Plan.

Tens of thousands evacuated from floods in Northern California

By Ben McGrath, 25 February 2017

While the Oroville Dam crisis highlighted the crumbling nature of US dams, levees around the country are also in deteriorating conditions.

Violent arrests as police begin evacuating Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp

By Zaida Green, 23 February 2017

The eviction orders from the US Army Corps of Engineers and the North Dakota governor come as developers rush to complete the pipeline.

Southern California hit by massive rainfall

By Glenn Mulwray, 22 February 2017

Rainstorms wreaked havoc over Southern California last weekend, causing mass power outages and flooding.

US Senate confirms industry stooge to head Environmental Protection Agency

By Daniel de Vries, 18 February 2017

Former Oklahoma attorney general and anti-regulation zealot Scott Pruitt was sworn in as head of the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday.

Federal employees resist administration attempts to impose media gags

By Bryan Dyne, 3 February 2017

Scientists at various government agencies are concerned that any mention of climate science will be silenced.

Petroleum pipeline ruptures in northern Iowa

By Gary Joad, 30 January 2017

Wednesday’s northern Iowa diesel pipeline spill is reportedly the largest diesel spill in the United States since January 2010.

Eighteen killed in Mississippi, Georgia as tornadoes descend on southeastern US

By Shelley Connor, 23 January 2017

A system of storms that developed on the Gulf Coast on Saturday has claimed 18 lives, and continued to threaten through Monday morning.

Global temperatures set new highs for third consecutive year

By Bryan Dyne, 20 January 2017

After eight years in which the Obama administration did nothing to address climate change, the incoming Trump government is set to fully deregulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Great Barrier Reef suffering worst-ever coral bleaching

By Bryan Dyne, 30 December 2016

Global warming has caused the worst destruction of corals ever recorded on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Planet Earth II: David Attenborough narrates the dramas of life a second time

By Bryan Dyne, 16 December 2016

The BBC documentary explores how life has evolved and adapted across islands, mountains, jungles, deserts, grasslands and cities.

Canada’s Resources Minister threatens to use army against pipeline protests

By our reporter, 3 December 2016

The Liberal government has declared it is prepared to use force against those protesting expansion of Canada’s oil pipelines.

Fires, tornadoes claim lives throughout southeastern US

By Shelley Connor, 2 December 2016

Tornadoes descended upon the Southeast on Wednesday, killing six people and complicating wildfire rescue efforts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Police attack on Dakota Access Pipeline protest results in 300 injuries

By Genevieve Leigh, 25 November 2016

Sophia Wilansky, 21, was severely injured by a police concussion grenade, and may require an arm amputation.

Police use water cannons on Dakota Access Pipeline protesters

By Kevin Martinez, 22 November 2016

Violence broke out on Sunday night when protesters tried to remove a blockade but were stopped by police using water cannon, tear gas and concussion grenades.

Record-low sea ice as Arctic temperatures soar

By Daniel de Vries, 22 November 2016

Never since satellite monitoring began in the late 1970s has such little ice covered the polar seas this time of year.

Popular support grows for anti-oil pipeline protesters in North Dakota

By Kevin Martinez, 2 November 2016

The mainly Native American protesters have received over $1 million in crowdsource funding, but only silence from Hillary Clinton and attacks from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

Another major earthquake strikes central Italy

By Marc Wells, 31 October 2016

At 7:41 a.m. on Sunday, Italians in the central area of Marche and Umbria were woken by a violent earthquake, measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale.

Violent police attack on anti-oil pipeline protest in North Dakota

By Zaida Green, 29 October 2016

Police officers in riot gear from five states were supported by National Guard troops and armored vehicles, arresting 141 protesters.

Report documents hunger across the Pacific

By John Braddock, 20 October 2016

The report points to the dire social consequences of extreme weather events and vast climatic changes across the Pacific.

Haiti’s hurricane devastation: A tragedy rooted in capitalist oppression

By Bill Van Auken, 13 October 2016

Nearly seven years after the catastrophic earthquake of 2010, Hurricane Matthew has again exposed the historic oppression of the Haitian masses.

US death toll rises in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew

By Nick Barrickman, 13 October 2016

As many as 38 people have died in the US and tens of thousands continue to be impacted in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, which came ashore late last week.

Toxic smog over South East Asia killed over 100,000 in 2015

By John Harris, 10 October 2016

The estimate, which is yet to be verified by an analysis of official mortality data, far exceeds the Indonesian government’s death toll.

Hurricane Matthew hits Haiti and heads north

By John Marion, 5 October 2016

The storm made landfall Tuesday morning in a country that has been devastated by the 2010 earthquake and still lacks basic infrastructure.

More than 1,000 to be displaced by demolition of low-income housing development in Indiana

By Catherine Long, 3 September 2016

Extremely high levels of lead and arsenic are present in the soil due to the historic absence of environmental controls on the metal smelting industry in East Chicago.

Warming of Earth proceeding at unprecedented pace

By Bryan Dyne, 3 September 2016

Temperature records from ice cores and sediments show that the current rate of global warming is faster than at any point in the past millennium.

Blue Cut fire quickly engulfs tens of thousands of acres in Southern California

By Dan Conway, 18 August 2016

An incredibly strong brush fire has rapidly swept through more than 30,000 acres near the Southern California city of San Bernardino.

US price of EpiPen for allergic reactions skyrockets

By Brad Dixon, 12 August 2016

The price of the EpiPen, relied on by millions to treat severe allergic reactions, has increased by 450 percent in the United States since 2004.

State of emergency declared in Maryland suburb after record-breaking flooding kills two

By Nick Barrickman, 3 August 2016

The storm is being called a “1-in-a-1,000-year rain event” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Anger mounts over government handling of floods in China

By John Braddock, 30 July 2016

With widespread media and internet reports accusing officials of negligence, Beijing is increasingly nervous about deepening social opposition.

Severe heat wave spread across much of US

By Evan Blake, 25 July 2016

The heat wave crisis stems from global warming, which scientists have repeatedly warned will cause an ever-increasing frequency of extreme weather events.

US Interior Department issues first oil drilling rules in US Arctic Seas

By Gary Joad, 16 July 2016

The White House timed the announcement so that it would have minimal impact on petroleum company plans for US Arctic Ocean exploration.

In wake of Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in 2010

Obama administration issued over 1,000 offshore fracking permits in Gulf of Mexico

By Gary Joad, 8 July 2016

The United States has surpassed Saudi Arabia in daily oil production, primarily due to an increase in fracking.

West Virginia flood highlights impact of budget cuts, decayed infrastructure

By Naomi Spencer, 5 July 2016

Federal and state agencies ignored warnings about inadequate flood protections, home-building standards and the impact of logging and mining.

The West Virginia floods and America's class divide

By Jerry White, 29 June 2016

While the immediate trigger for the floods was record-setting rainfall, like all natural disasters, the extent of the damage and its human impact were determined by conditions that are man-made.

Sri Lanka: JVP calls for state of emergency in response to flood disaster

By Vilani Peiris, 17 June 2016

The JVP’s proposal shows its readiness to strengthen the capitalist state apparatus against rising social unrest.

Australia’s east coast hit by devastating storms

By Eric Ludlow, 13 June 2016

Under-resourced emergency response units were spread thin across the storm- and flood-damaged areas.

El Niño and the acceleration of global warming

By Matthew MacEgan, 1 June 2016

The abnormally warm ocean waters caused by El Niño induce much more extreme weather patterns than normal, including droughts, cyclones, and floods.

Sri Lankan flood and landslide deaths continue to climb

By Pani Wijesiriwardena, 25 May 2016

Apart from perfunctory warnings for the public to be “vigilant,” the Sri Lankan government took no serious measures to lessen the cyclone’s impact.

Colombo flood victims speak to the WSWS

By our correspondents, 25 May 2016

Thousands of working class and poor families are currently living in makeshift accommodation and other shelters on higher ground.

Growing bankruptcy crisis in global oil and gas industry

By Gabriel Black, 12 May 2016

A third of all US oil and gas companies could go bankrupt.

Hundreds die in Indian heat wave

By Kanda Gabriel, 11 May 2016

The wave of heat-stroke deaths is a product of the lack of basic services and infrastructure that hundreds of millions of Indians confront daily.

Canadian capitalism and the Fort McMurray wildfire

By Roger Jordan, 10 May 2016

The Fort McMurray wildfire is not a natural, but a man-made disaster for which the capitalist profit system bears responsibility.

Fort McMurray teacher describes chaotic evacuation

By Roger Jordan, 6 May 2016

The World Socialist Web Site spoke to a teacher and her partner who were among the approximately 80,000 people evacuated from Fort McMurray, Alberta on Tuesday. Both had lived in the city for around two years.

Factory farms cause thousands in rural Wisconsin to go without clean water

By Catherine Long, 25 April 2016

Pollution from large-scale farms and deregulation of groundwater systems have created unsafe drinking water for thousands in the state.

Study warns of potentially catastrophic impacts from Antarctic ice melt

By Daniel de Vries, 5 April 2016

New research estimates that unabated warming may double the rate of expected sea level rise to nearly 2 meters by century’s end.

Hundreds of Australian climate-change science jobs to be axed

By Perla Astudillo and Richard Philips, 25 February 2016

The CSIRO cuts are a major setback for scientific investigation into ocean temperatures, greenhouse gas levels and other climate-change issues.

California Coastal Commission head ousted

By David Levine, 23 February 2016

The second head of the California Coastal Commission was fired last week as the result of a political campaign backed by Democrats tied to developers.

At least 29 dead, thousands displaced after Cyclone Winston hits Fiji

By Oscar Grenfell, 23 February 2016

The most powerful storm ever recorded in the region has produced a mounting humanitarian crisis.

In wake of VW scandal European Parliament relaxes emissions regulations

By Jan Peters and Dietmar Henning, 16 February 2016

Last autumn, it was revealed that Volkswagen manipulated the emissions readings in 11 million diesel vehicles and hundreds of thousands of petrol models.

Supreme Court blocks Obama plan on climate change

By John Burton, 12 February 2016

The Supreme Court has issued a summary order that effectively invalidates the Obama administration’s new regulations to lower carbon emissions from power plants.

Detroit-area residents protest Marathon Oil request to increase air pollution

By our reporters, 15 January 2016

Following the completion of $2.2 billion upgrade which began in 2012, Marathon is requesting a permit from the state of Michigan to emit an additional 22 tons of sulfur dioxide per year.

House Republican committee chairman attacks climate change scientists

By Matthew MacEgan, 12 January 2016

Lamar Smith has issued a subpoena to a group of climate change scientists who have shown that a global warming slowdown has not occurred over the past 15 years.

Australia: Over 100 houses destroyed in Victorian bushfires

By Margaret Rees, 4 January 2016

Victoria has been hit by more than 2,500 bushfires since October but the hottest months, when the most dangerous fires usually occur, are still to come.

Winter storms kill dozens across US South and Midwest

By Shannon Jones, 29 December 2015

As usual in such disasters, hardest hit were working class communities where less well constructed homes as well as trailers were flattened by unusual December tornadoes.

Chinese industrial zone engulfed by waste landslide

By Peter Symonds, 22 December 2015

Rescuers are struggling to find those missing after a tidal wave of mud and waste toppled buildings and inundated an area of Shenzhen.

The climate crisis and imperialism

By Andre Damon, 16 December 2015

Far from fostering the international collaboration that would be required to reverse climate change, capitalist society is increasingly characterized by xenophobia, international conflict and war.

India: Government negligence responsible for flood disaster

By Sasi Kumar and Moses Rajkumar, 15 December 2015

Tens of thousands of people in the capital Chennai and across the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu are yet to be rescued and properly assisted.

Sri Lankan corporate giant sues environmental activist

By Vilani Peiris, 14 December 2015

The damages action is part of the record of big business and government suppression of opposition to industrial pollution.

UK and Ireland devastated by floods

By Joan Smith and Robert Stevens, 12 December 2015

The human cost of the severe flooding in large parts of northern England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland over the last week is emerging.

Global warming compounds Atlantic cod fishing industry problems

By John Marion, 8 December 2015

Recent scientific studies point to the effects of global warming on Atlantic cod populations already reduced to historically low sizes by decades of overfishing.

Pacific Island nations “bearing the brunt” of climate change

By John Braddock, 7 December 2015

Rising sea levels and extreme weather events are beginning to destroy Pacific Islands and threaten their existence.

COP21 ecological summit opens amid war tensions, with Paris in lockdown

By Stéphane Hugues, 1 December 2015

As the major powers are on the verge of war in Syria, they failed, unsurprisingly, to come together to address complex ecological problems related to global warming.

Tens of thousands attend climate change rallies in Australia

By Oscar Grenfell, 1 December 2015

While the protests expressed growing concern over the environmental crisis, organisers sought to channel them into bankrupt appeals to the Turnbull government.

Manhattan Project fallout: Nuclear waste health catastrophe in St. Louis, Missouri

By Gary Joad, 27 November 2015

Nuclear waste dumps from the Manhattan Project have resulted in clustering of unusually high cancer rates in younger people and children.

Ten years since Hurricane Katrina: Part two

Destruction of public housing and forced exodus of workers

By E.P. Bannon, 23 October 2015

New Orleans had a pre-hurricane population of 484,700. Today, it is 384,300, a 21 percent decline.

Deadly haze from forest fires engulfs South East Asia

By John Roberts, 19 October 2015

The levels of air pollution this year will equal or exceed those of 1997, the worst fire season on record.

BP, US government finalize $20 billion settlement over 2010 oil spill

By Tom Hall, 9 October 2015

The oil giant will pay a fraction of the maximum possible fine for the worst environmental catastrophe in American history, while not a single top executive will spend a day in jail.

Australia, New Zealand reject stronger climate measures at Pacific Islands Forum

By John Braddock, 15 September 2015

Many of the small Pacific Island states are low-lying and particularly vulnerable to the rising sea levels produced by higher global temperatures.

UK government to override local consultation in drive for fracking

By Trevor Johnson, 4 September 2015

A decision to allow exploration and drilling for gas in the North Yorkshire Moors shows how conditions have been transformed to favour fracking corporations.

Wildfires in US Pacific Northwest continue to burn

By James Blackwell, 3 September 2015

The impact of drought and forestry budget cuts have contributed to a violent fire season along the Pacific Coast.

Three million gallons of hazardous mine waste released into Colorado river

By Kevin Martinez, 12 August 2015

The Environmental Protection Agency says that the spill occurred when employees were investigating contamination at the Gold King Mine above Silverton.

Wildfires spread in Northern California

By Kevin Martinez, 7 August 2015

Over 13,000 people have been ordered to evacuate as about two dozen fires consume more than 142,000 acres.

Obama administration finalizes climate rules

By Daniel de Vries, 6 August 2015

The Clean Power Plan is a signal to Wall Street and the energy giants that their profits bound up with natural gas are safe.

UK government rips up restrictions on fracking

By Trevor Johnson, 5 August 2015

The British government is sending a strong signal to the fracking industry that its interests will prevail over all others.

The historical background of California’s water crisis

By Marc Wells and Evan Blake, 14 July 2015

The damage from California’s drought stems from almost two centuries of an irrational water rights regime.

EPA study whitewashes the effects of fracking

By Philip Guelpa, 13 July 2015

The US EPA reports finding that the incidence of drinking water contamination due to hydraulic fracturing is low, but evidence of the danger of fracking continues to mount.

Oil giant BP reaches sweetheart settlement over 2010 Gulf disaster

By David Brown, 3 July 2015

The agreement is the culmination of the Obama administration’s efforts to shield BP from responsibility for the worst environmental disaster in US history.

Atmospheric temperatures rise to record levels as glaciers disintegrate

By Matthew MacEgan, 3 July 2015

Two new reports show that global warming and climate change are becoming larger threats than ever before.

Supreme Court invalidates federal air pollution rules for power plants

By John Burton, 30 June 2015

The Supreme Court struck down Environmental Protection Agency regulations that would have sharply reduced airborne toxins from oil- and coal-fueled power plants.

Flash flooding forces thousands to flee in Texas, Oklahoma

By Thomas Gaist, 26 May 2015

Record-breaking rainfall in typically dry areas of Texas, Oklahoma and other states has flooded entire residential areas, leading to at least fifteen deaths.

Pipeline in Santa Barbara oil spill lacked key safety feature

By Kevin Martinez, 26 May 2015

The pipeline had no automatic shutoff valve, a routine safety feature that could have greatly minimized the disaster.

Growing danger of landslides in Sri Lanka

By Vijith Samarasinghe, 22 May 2015

The refusal of successive Sri Lankan governments to initiate basic safety measures has led to growing numbers of landslide disasters.

Pro-capitalist “anti-capitalism”

A review of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, by Naomi Klein

By Evan Winters, 4 May 2015

Klein calls for a coalition of various organizations to pressure national governments to implement protectionist policies and environmental and social reforms.

Fracking linked to earthquakes and increased levels of radon in homes

By Philip Guelpa, 4 May 2015

Despite industry denials, the process known as fracking, used to extract oil and natural gas, is responsible for serious health and environmental problems.

Air Force base jet fuel spill threatens Albuquerque water supply

By Stuart Winter and Charles Abelard, 10 April 2015

Air Force officials say the fuel has been leaking from an underground pipe for at least 40 years dating back to the 1970s.

White House announces pro-corporate fracking rules

By Philip Guelpa, 27 March 2015

The Obama administration’s newly announced rules on hydraulic fracturing on federal lands will allow oil companies to continue endangering human health and the environment.

The California drought: Water-rationing plan leaves corporate interests untouched

By Evan Blake, 26 March 2015

Last week, the state passed emergency legislation targeting residential “water wasters,” while giving free rein to the agricultural giants to continue their overuse of groundwater.

Planetary boundaries—a systems approach to the environmental crisis

By Bryan Dyne, 3 February 2015

Environmental degradation by a range of metrics, of which climate change is only one, has the potential for large-scale disruptions of both biological and social life.

Obama administration moves to open US coastlines to offshore drilling

By Nick Barrickman, 31 January 2015

In a major giveaway to US energy corporations, the Department of the Interior announced that it would open a large section of the Atlantic coast to oil and gas drilling for the first time.

Diesel spill in West Virginia leaves 12,000 without water

By Clement Daly, 29 January 2015

Chemical spills and leaks are endemic throughout the US, threatening the health and safety of the population and the quality of the environment.

Fourteen cold-related deaths in Chicago region since November

By Jeff Lusanne, 17 January 2015

Extreme cold in the Chicago region has amplified the precarious situation of the homeless and impoverished population in the region.

Freezing temperatures lead to dozens of deaths in the US

By Muhammad Khan, 9 January 2015

Cold weather across the United States this week has revealed the dire social conditions facing millions of Americans.

California drought has depleted water sources by 11 trillion gallons

By Evan Blake, 19 December 2014

Recent storms have only partially quenched the state’s worst drought in recorded history.

Political wrangling continues over Keystone pipeline

By Philip Guelpa, 26 November 2014

The long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline was defeated by one vote in the US Senate last week but will be taken up again early in 2015.

After historic blizzard, death toll rises and floods threaten Buffalo, New York

By Michelle Ryan, 24 November 2014

As residents continue to dig out, warming temperatures accompanied by heavy rains could lead to widespread flooding.

Massive snowstorm cripples Buffalo, kills ten

By Michelle Ryan, 21 November 2014

A massive lake-effect snowstorm has left ten people dead, thousands without power, and many stranded in the Buffalo, New York region.

Climate report warns of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts”

By Daniel de Vries, 7 November 2014

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest in a series of studies warning that time to act on climate is running out.