ICYMI: East Coast Choked, Ukraine Flooded, Mountain Valley Pipeline Greenlighted & Wolverines Are Back!

A weekly roundup for busy people

By Paul Rauber

Illustrations by Peter Arkle

June 10, 2023

Illustration by Peter Arkle

Smoke from hundreds of wildfires in Canada chokes the eastern US and Canada, turning skies a ghastly orange with soot levels up to 10 times that considered safe by the EPA. New York City’s air quality is the worst on record.

As smoke from the Canadian fires reached Virginia, Governor Doug Youngkin pulled the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a leading interstate organization addressing climate change. 

The Russian-controlled Kahkovka Dam in Ukraine is destroyed, apparently by explosives planted within it. The breach releases an amount of water into the Dnipro River equivalent to that within Utah’s Great Salt Lake, causing widespread economic and ecological disaster

The shrinking of Southern California’s Salton Sea is relieving pressure on the San Andreas Fault, reducing the chances of a catastrophic earthquake

President Biden is sending Jackson, Mississippi, $115 million to help rebuild its crumbling water system.

In May 2023, the amount of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere hit 424 parts per million, a new record and an increase of 3 ppm over May 2022.

The Arctic Ocean could be ice-free in September as early as the 2030s, a decade earlier than previously predicted, and it may be too late to save it.

Rising seas are swallowing the historic D-Day beaches in Normandy.

historic heat wave in Puerto Rico pushes the heat index as high as 125°F.

General Motors follows Ford in adopting Tesla’s EV “Supercharger” system, making it likely that it will become the industry standard. 

A new law in Vermont targets automobile “superusers” (defined as those who buy more than 1,000 gallons of gas per year) with incentives to buy electric vehicles.

Friends of the Earth and the union representing its staff ratify their first contract

More electric heat pumps were sold in the US in 2022 than gas furnaces. 

Beech trees in the US are increasingly threatened by fatal beech leaf disease.

Fulfilling a campaign pledge, President Biden and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland withdraw public lands within 10 miles of Chaco Canyon and Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico from oil and gas drilling for 20 years.

Abandoned oil and gas wells emit, in addition to climate-heating methane, carcinogenic benzene and other toxic compounds.

As part of a deal with congressional Republicans to prevent the United States from defaulting on its debt, President Biden greenlights the 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline, which Sierra Club activists have bitterly opposed for a decade. 

House Republicans put forward a bill to shield gas stoves from federal regulation, only to have it blocked by hard-right members upset over Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s debt-ceiling deal. 

wolverine is spotted in California’s Yosemite National Park, only the second to be seen in the state in the past century.