Hurricanes: A perfect storm of chance and climate change?

Hurricane Maria Image copyright NASA
Image caption The swirling edges of Hurricane Maria seen from space as it slammed into Puerto Rico

The succession of intense and deadly tropical cyclones that have barrelled across the Atlantic in recent weeks have left many people wondering if a threshold of some sort has been crossed. Is this chain of hurricanes evidence of some significant new frontier in our changing climate?

The answer is mostly no, but with worrying undertones of yes.

The first thing to note about this season is that it shows the power of science and weather forecasting.

Every year, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) puts out a hurricane forecast for the season that runs from 1 June to 30 November for the north Atlantic, Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

In August, Noaa updated its predictions, stating that there would be 14-19 named storms and of these, 5-9 would become hurricanes.

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Hurricane Harvey: The link to climate change

harvey Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The intensity of rain in the Houston area is being linked to rising global temperatures

When it comes to the causes of Hurricane Harvey, climate change is not a smoking gun.

However, there are a few spent cartridge cases marked global warming in the immediate vicinity.

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The world's not laughing, Donald, it's crying

Donald Trump Image copyright EPA
Image caption President Trump went on the attack over what he sees as a bad deal for the US

President Trump's statement is a very clear repudiation of the Paris climate agreement and international efforts to fund climate mitigation and adaptation in poorer countries.

In many ways it is far worse than many observers had expected.

Read full article The world's not laughing, Donald, it's crying

Fragile future for US nuclear power

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Image caption The Three Mile Island nuclear installation is set to close 40 years after a partial meltdown

No one died, there were no direct health impacts, but the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear accident burned so deeply into the US psyche that it has helped limit the future use of the power source across America.

A major factor in turning the accident into a "disaster" was timing. Just 12 days before the 1979 accident that saw a partial core meltdown at one of the two reactors at the Pennsylvania plant, The China Syndrome was released in cinemas across the US.

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Don't tell the President: US team lauded at climate talks

Donald Trump Image copyright EPA

Assailed by "enemies" on all sides, the most "unfairly" treated politician in the history of ever has at least had the consolation of knowing that his emissaries to the latest UN climate talks just finished in Bonn have followed his dictum to the letter. Or have they?

The new White House, in case you missed it, takes a very different view on climate change to a majority of countries in the world.

Read full article Don't tell the President: US team lauded at climate talks

SOS Ivanka! Can 'first daughter' save Paris climate deal?

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Image caption UN climate negotiators hope Ivanka Trump will heed their pleas on the Paris climate accord

Among the diplomats meeting here in Bonn, there's a recognition that the person who's really key to the future progress of climate talks is not in Germany but in the White House some 6,500km (4,000 miles) away.

It's not you Mr Trump, it's your official first daughter!

Read full article SOS Ivanka! Can 'first daughter' save Paris climate deal?

Trump makes major change to US climate change narrative

coal fired power Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Coal fired power plants like this one faced restrictions under President Obama

"This is, I think, one of the most historic attacks on climate and environmental action that the US has ever seen," said Liz Perera from the Sierra Club.

Her words are certain to cheer Trump supporters everywhere.

Read full article Trump makes major change to US climate change narrative

Groundhog day for a keystone cop-out?

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sections of the pipeline prepared but not yet used for Keystone XL

According to Donald Trump, the Keystone XL will be an "incredible pipeline", but could it be that the official signing of the permit in the Oval Office will be the high point for this long-winded process?

Let's look at some of the issues that might see TransCanada, the company behind the project, eventually walk away.

Read full article Groundhog day for a keystone cop-out?

Trump's 'drain the swamp' budget to hit swamp dwellers

mangrove Image copyright World Neighbors
Image caption Members of the local community have planted thousands of mangrove trees to help fight rising tides

"We're not spending money on climate change any more," said Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director.

"We consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that."

Read full article Trump's 'drain the swamp' budget to hit swamp dwellers

Oil change? Fossil fuel advocate to run State department

Tillerson Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Rex Tillerson is set to become Secretary of State in the Trump administration

Good news for environmental campaigners: President-elect Trump has finally nominated someone to his cabinet who actually believes in climate change science.

The bad news for those same campaigners is that this true believer happens to be CEO of Exxon Mobil, and also sees fossil fuels as critical to humanity's survival.

Read full article Oil change? Fossil fuel advocate to run State department