A key U.S. federal agency tasked with investigating the nation’s industrial chemical accidents has been limping along for years. Now, the latest Issue Backgrounder reports that replenished staffing and a funding boost may mean it’s found its footing. But as the pace of chemical accidents accelerates and safety regulations stagnate, will it make a difference?
With the world in the midst of wars in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip, it’s time for journalists to appraise — and report on — the intersection of conflict and the environment, argues the new Backgrounder. That means considering the environment not only as a victim of war, but also as the cause of war and a means of carrying it out.
While the first offshore wind turbine started sending power into the U.S. grid just last month, and the renewable power source has enthusiastic support from the Biden administration, the industry has been slowed by politics, high interest rates and supply chain problems. But the latest Issue Backgrounder explores why offshore wind can be expected to succeed.
When Congress debates funding — or cutting — government programs that deal with environmental and energy issues, journalists on those beats should pay attention. A special Backgrounder, part of our 2024 Journalists’ Guide to Environment and Energy, walks you through the (not so boring) budget process — rules, timelines, dealmaking — to help find the angles on what could be a major story of the coming year. Plus, a primer on budget primers.
As global sales of electric vehicles surge, the positive impact on climate change emissions could be a critical benefit. But as our Backgrounder points out, it’s not as simple as that. There are challenges with politics, tax laws, mineral access, related pollution regulations and union jobs. Get an overview of the issue, in this latest entry in our expanding 2024 Journalists’ Guide to Environment + Energy.
When nations converge this fall for the latest round of annual talks on harnessing climate change, they meet at a crucial juncture. Will the increasingly dramatic impacts of global warming, and the prospects of worse, focus their attention enough to bring about progress? In this sweeping analysis, Backgrounder assesses the varied pressures at play at the coming COP28, along with tips for covering it, from up close or afar.
Long-growing concern over dangerous “forever” chemicals has drawn the attention of federal and state policymakers, local communities and the utilities that provide their drinking water. But little about regulating PFAS will be quick or easy, making it a major environmental and public health story for years to come. Issue Backgrounder unfolds the regulatory moves, the politics and the larger implications of PFAS policy.
It’s a political knot with the potential to tangle the fossil energy industry, the clean energy industry … or both. Environmental journalists looking to better report on the impacts of permitting reform can start with our latest Backgrounder, which explores the issue’s recent history and the competing visions that have stalled changes. There’s also the “backroom problem.” Plus, get a rundown of key actors.
The new proposed limits on climate pollution from existing power plants will be a significant story for years to come, but one with many moving parts and numerous complications. The new Issue Backgrounder explores the larger context and history of the proposed rule, and provides six key developments to watch as you track its evolution.
The debate over drilling on public lands goes back decades. But now our view of how — or even whether — to use public lands faces the unprecedented reality of climate change, fire, drought, floods and the transition to clean energy. The latest Backgrounder explains how we got here and where the current battles rage, including over the Alaskan North Slope’s massive Willow Project.