Climate Lede from E&E News
E&E News
The latest climate change news and debates and what it's like to cover them from the E&E newsroom. Why Climate Lede? A "lede" in journalism is the juicy bit at the top of a story that entices you to find out more. Climate Lede is hosted by the editor and deputy editor of Climatewire, a publication of E&E News focused on the policy, business and science of climate change. E&E News provides original and compelling journalism on energy and the environment in five daily publications that keep top decisionmakers informed and ahead of the curve. For more, go to
Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Florida Republican, has wrangled 39 House Republicans into saying they want action on climate change. But he's facing one of the tightest elections in the country as Democrats seek to take back Congress in the fall. Climatewire reporter Kelsey Brugger describes her interview with Curbelo, and Climatewire talks with Susan MacManus, a political analyst in South Florida, about the role of climate change in the race.

The Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council released tens of thousands of pages of emails from U.S. EPA officials obtained through the Freedom of Information Act last week. Three Climatewire reporters -- Niina Heikkinen, Scott Waldman and Zack Colman -- talk through how they combing combed the emails to find nuggets worthy of news, including a meeting with a Cardinal about the red team climate change debate, collaboration with groups who question mainstream climate science and Scott Pruitt's favorite restaurant. "'Climate will not be on the agenda' — emails" (Climatewire, 05/09/2018), by Niina Heikkinen: "Emails reveal behind-the-scenes plans for climate debates" (Climatewire, 05/10/2018), by Niina Heikkinen and Robin Bravender: "Pruitt got climate tips from groups backed by GOP megadonors" (Climatewire, 05/11/2018), by Scott Waldman: "Cheeseburgers run $17 at Pruitt's 'favorite' D.C. joint" (Climatewire, 05/09/2018), by Zack Colman:

Researchers are forecasting a higher-than-usual season for hurricanes this summer because of lingering El Nina conditions. Climatewire science reporter Chelsea Harvey goes over the forecasts for extreme weather. Adam Sobel, an atmospheric scientist at Columbia University, explains how difficult it is to attribute any storm or any active season to climate change. And Greenwire climate reporter Arianna Skibell describes a lab in South Carolina where scientists douse homes in fire, wind, rain and hail to figure out the most resilient building materials.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has outlined a proposal to increase transparency in the science used to write rules on air, water and chemicals; but scientists say it's really an attempt to exclude public health research and potentially make way for industry-funded studies instead. Climatewire reporter Scott Waldman walks through the potential changes with input from two special guests. "How Pruitt's science plans might help industry fight rules" (Climatewire, 05/01/2018), by Scott Waldman: "Here are 3 studies that might be hit by Pruitt's rule" (Climatewire, 04/26/2018), by Scott Waldman: "Scientists say they want open data — but not Pruitt's plan" (Climatewire, 04/25/2018), by Scott Waldman: "Critics: Legal ambush awaits Pruitt's 'secret science' rule" (Greenwire, 04/25/2018), by Sean Reilly:

There's a place in Texas where people are as concerned about climate change as those in liberal New York or D.C.: the fields of South Texas. Rising temperatures is making it even harder on farm workers who already toil under extreme heat. Climatewire science and politics reporter Scott Waldman gives a special preview of the story from his trip. And talks to someone who tries to keep workers hydrated.

Increased scrutiny of EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has put the spotlight back on a trip he took to Morocco in December to promote liquefied natural gas (LNG). The company that stands to benefit the most from more exports of American LNG is Cheniere Energy, which is controlled by Carl Icahn, an investor close to Trump who helped Pruitt land his job. E&E reporters and editors Evan Lehmann, Robin Bravender, Jean Chemnick and Joel Kirkland unpack the ties. "Pruitt's overseas travel pulls Icahn LNG money into focus" (Energywire, 04/12/2018), by Jenny Mandel and Jean Chemnick:

U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has had a week of bad headlines following reporting about possible ethics violations. Will Trump fire him? Climatewire editor Evan Lehmann and deputy editor Robin Bravender talk to an environmentalist who wants Pruitt to go and a friend of Pruitt who thinks the scandal is overblown. Greenwire reporter Kevin Bogardus fills us in on the details, and Climatewire White House reporter Zack Colman describes a groundswell of frustration among Trump aides towards Pruitt.* "Pruitt spread special hires throughout agency" (Greenwire, 04/04/2018), by Kevin Bogardus and Ariel Wittenberg: "Pruitt 'very concerned' about political blunders" (Climatewire, 04/04/2018), by Zack Colman: *This podcast was recorded midday Wednesday, April 4. It may not include the latest developments.

The U.S. EPA will announce this week it wants to relax Obama-era targets on vehicle pollution, setting in motion a potential war with California. Meanwhile, greenhouse gas emissions from transportation keep rising, overtaking all other sectors in the country. Climatewire reporter Camille von Kaenel explains what to expect. Margo Oge, the former EPA official who negotiated the Obama targets, and Robbie Diamond, the CEO of Securing America's Future Energy, also chime in. "Trump to allow more car pollution. But by how much?" (Climatewire, 03/26/2018), by Camille von Kaenel:

California has mostly cleaned up its smokestacks but air regulators say it won’t meet its ambitious climate goals without tackling its car culture. But in the San Francisco Bay Area right now, more people are driving and they’re driving farther. In this special episode, Climatewire reporter Camille von Kaenel talks to a “super-commuter” who lives hours from work because she can’t afford to live closer.

The Washington state senate failed to pass a carbon tax proposal championed by Gov. Jay Inslee (D) last week. Climatewire's energy reporter Benjamin Storrow unpacks what happened. Washington State Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D), the sponsor of the carbon tax bill, talks next steps. And a conservative who likes carbon taxes games out the national implications. "Carbon tax, defeated in the Legislature, to be on the ballot" (Climatewire, 03/06/2018), by Benjamin Storrow: "Can Gov. Inslee deliver America's first carbon tax?" (Climatewire, 01/22/2018), by Benjamin Storrow:

Hurricane Irma devastated Barbuda. Now, a proposal to develop the island to pay for recovery could end the communal ownership of the island that has existed since the abolition of slavery. Climatewire's international reporter Jean Chemnick shares her reporting with Evan Lehmann, editor of Climatewire. They talk to a resident who saw Irma destroy her beauty parlor, restaurant and home, and now fears losing her way of life. They also ask a hurricane expert whether climate change's to blame. "Slaves were given an island over 150 years ago. Then Irma struck" (Climatewire, 02/27/2018), by Jean Chemnick: "De Niro, a climate hero, to build a resort on wrecked island" (Climatewire, 02/28/2018), by Jean Chemnick:

James Eskridge, the mayor of Tangier Island, Va., describes his home in the Chesapeake Bay and how the waves are eating away at the shoreline. He says it is due to erosion, not sea level rise. Don Boesch, an environmental science professor at the University of Maryland, says it is at least partly due to sea level rise, and it could get worse. And Chelsea Harvey, Climatewire's science reporter, explains just how much worse it could get even if we stop emissions right now, or in five years. "Waters on track to rise for centuries, even if emissions stop" (Climatewire, 02/21/2018), by Chelsea Harvey: "Trump's advice about rising oceans is 'ridiculous'" (Climatewire, 05/21/2017), by Scott Waldman:

Climatewire beat reporters Niina Heikkinen and Brittany Patterson describe what it's like to cover (or, often, chase after for a quote) U.S. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, respectively. They compare the Trump administration's proposed budget cuts for climate programs in EPA and Interior. And a round of trivia reveals nicknames, catchphrases and fun ties. "Zinke touts science as Trump pushes cuts to research shop" (Climatewire, 02/13/2018), by Brittany Patterson: "White House preserves Energy Star by charging fees" (Climatewire, 02/13/2018), by Niina Heikkinen: "Trump seeks big cuts to science across agencies" (Climatewire, 02/13/2018), by Scott Waldman:

Republican love to lambaste Steve Cosson, of the theater company The Civilians, for the climate musical he wrote with a National Science Foundation grant several years ago. Climatewire editor Evan Lehmann and deputy editor Robin Bravender catch up with him to talk climate funding ahead of the release of the White House spending plan next week. Josh Kurtz, Climatewire's politics reporter, weighs in on why even Republicans won't pass the White House budget as is. Finally, Christy Goldfuss, who led the Council on Environmental Quality under President Obama, calls in on the White House's withdrawal of Texas regulator and climate skeptic Kathleen Hartnett White's nomination for CEQ chair. "Trump admin mulls deep cuts to clean energy programs" (E&E News PM. 01/31/2018), by Hannah Northey: "Yes, there was a climate musical" (Climatewire, 05/24/2017), by Erika Bolstad: "Skeptic's retreat sparks questions about alternative science" (Climatewire, 02/05/2018), by Robin Bravender and Zack Colman:

It's State of the Union Day, and Climatewire editor Evan Lehmann and deputy editor Robin Bravender take you back to some of the key climate and energy mentions in past addresses. White House reporter Zack Colman walks through what he's expecting from tonight's speech (hint: not a lot of climate change mentions). And the editors share their takes on the release of a 2016 radio interview in which EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt criticizes then-candidate Donald Trump. "Trump can't drop climate from his speech. Here's why" (Climatewire, 01/30/2018), by Adam Aton:

This special episode contains an extended interview with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) He talks with Climatewire editor Evan Lehmann and deputy editor Robin Bravender from his office about inaction on climate change in Congress, the Trump administration, and his plan to counter the influence of the fossil fuel lobby. Photo by Richard Davidson.

E&E News reporters have been chasing details on the White House's nascent initiative to export clean coal technology. Climatewire international reporter Jean Chemnick explains how the U.S. is not even the leader in the technology in question – China is. Climatewire editor and deputy editor Evan Lehmann and Robin Bravender go over their sit-down interview with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and share some highlights. And they explain their favorite "Climojis". "Trump wants to lead on 'clean coal'. Here's what that means" (Climatewire, 01/16/2018), by Jean Chemnick: "That image of a cow farting methane? It's a 'Climoji'" (Climatewire, 01/17/2018), by Daniel Cusick:

The Trump administration got handed one of its first big losses on energy policy by a Republican-leaning independent agency this week. Climatewire energy reporter Benjamin Storrow explains what happened when Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC, shot down a coal and nuclear subsidy proposal by Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Energywire reporter Saqib Rahim recounts his trip to Brattleboro, Vt., which is still finding its way after its nuclear plant shut down three years ago, and what that means for other communities facing closures. And the E&E staff shares favorite acronyms and acronym stories on a beat and a city heavy with them. "FERC rejection exposes Trump's limits in helping coal" (Climatewire, 01/09/2018), by Benjamin Storrow: "FERC rejects Perry's bid for coal‑based grid resilience" (Energywire, 01/09/2018), by Pete Behr and Sam Mintz: "The committee to save nuclear towns is not in session" (Energywire, 01/03/2018), by Saqib Rahim:

Republicans who talk about climate change, like those on the House Climate Solutions Caucus, don't get any love from environmental groups, but they also haven't put forward a real conservative solution. Zack Colman, Climatewire's White House reporter, walks through the political dynamics. Climatewire's science reporter Chelsea Harvey talks about a rising field of research that pins the blame for individual natural disasters on climate change. And hosts and Climatewire editor and deputy editor Evan Lehmann and Robin Bravender ask the Twittersphere for New Year's resolutions. "A bunch of House Republicans accept warming. Is it real?" (Climatewire, 01/03/2018), by Zack Colman: "Researchers can now blame warming for individual disasters" (Climatewire, 01/02/2018), by Chelsea Harvey:

Climatewire's politics reporter Josh Kurtz talks about Democrats and environmentalists getting hopeful for a blue wave to hit Texas, and why Latino voters' interest in climate change won't be enough to flip the state yet. Greenwire regulations reporter Maxine Joselow highlights the best tidbits from her and Greenwire enterprise reporter Hannah Northey's interview with two authors of U.S. EPA's endangerment finding. And Climatewire editor Evan Lehmann and deputy editor Robin Bravender wrap up 2017 with some top climate change soundbites. "Despite Dem push, Texas to remain climate skeptic haven" (Climatewire, 12/19/2017), by Josh Kurtz: "Climate science debate 'on hold' after White House meeting" (Climatewire, 12/19/2017), by Robin Bravender:

California politicians have sought to portray themselves as anti-Trump crusaders on climate change. Debra Kahn, E&E News' San Francisco reporter, joins the D.C. newsroom to describe her interactions with Gov. Jerry Brown (D). Climatewire White House reporter Zack Colman details his scoop on the Trump administration's new clean coal alliance. And Energywire editor Amy Carlile and Climatewire editor Evan Lehmann battle it out over fat squirrels and coffee criminals in a new game, "Find That Angle". "Trump admin to launch 'clean coal' effort" (E&E PM, 12/11/2017), by Zack Colman: "Meet Jerry Brown, from 'Gov. Moonbeam' to climate beacon" (Climatewire, 06/26/2017), by Debra Kahn: "He wants to be Trump's next climate foe" (Climatewire, 12/06/2017), by Debra Kahn:

This special episode contains an extended interview with William K. Reilly, U.S. EPA administrator under President George H. W. Bush. He talks with Climatewire editor Evan Lehmann and deputy editor Robin Bravender about his opposition to President Trump and current EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, the stance of Republicans on climate change, and the environmental policies of former Republican administrations.

Congress is all about tax reform this week. Greenwire reporter Geof Koss explains what's relevant to the energy world and shares stories from what it's really like to report on E&E issues in Congress. Climatewire's Adam Aton calls in from West Virginia where U.S. EPA held a hearing on the repeal of the Clean Power Plan. And the hosts, Climatewire editor Evan Lehmann and deputy editor Robin Bravender, quiz a volcano expert on eruptions and climate change. "High stakes as Senate debates taxes amid shutdown concerns" (E&E Daily, 11/27/2017), by Geof Koss and George Cahlink: "'I had nothing to do with it' Murray says of DOE grid rule" (Greenwire, 11/28/2017), by Adam Aton and Benjamin Storrow: "Erupting volcano could cool planet for a year" (Climatewire, 11/28/2017), by Scott Waldman:

U.S. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt called Climatewire deputy editor Robin Bravender's cellphone. She and Climatewire editor Evan Lehmann share how they approached the interview and play some of the audio highlights. Climatewire science and politics reporter Scott Waldman describes how he traced the path of Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) in Utqiaġvik, Alaska, where residents have seen changes brought by global warming. And we celebrate Thanksgiving by talking about food the only way we know how: by describing how climate change will affect some classic dishes. "Retracing the footsteps of Lamar Smith in Alaska" (Climatewire, 11/20/2017), by Scott Waldman: "U.S. crop harvests to 'suffer' with climate change" (Climatewire, 01/20/2017), by Kavya Balaraman:

The UN climate talks are offering a show. Climatewire's international reporter Jean Chemnick calls in from Bonn, Germany to share how people are pushing back against the Trump administration. On the other side of the planet, Puerto Rico is still struggling with downed power and storm damage nearly three months after Hurricane Maria. Greenwire climate reporter Arianna Skibell describes signs the island might rebuild with the climate in mind from on the ground. And the members of the podcast team compare the carbon footprints of their hometowns. You can too with UC Berkeley's Cool Climate Calculator: "White House booed for promoting 'realities' of fossil fuels" (Climatewire, 11/14/2017), by Jean Chemnick: "Lots of talk, little action on Puerto Rico's grid" (Energywire, 11/13/2017), by David Ferris and Peter Behr:

A year after President Trump's election, Americans will vote on several candidates and issues that have consequences for climate change and climate policy. Climatewire politics reporter Josh Kurtz describes the races he's following -- including the surprisingly fascinating battle for lieutenant governor in Virginia -- and gets quizzed by Climatewire editor Evan Lehmann and deputy editor Robin Bravender on his best campaign stories. And Climatewire White House reporter Zack Colman calls in from southeastern Virginia where he's asking young voters about the future of coal. "5 things to watch on Election Day" (Climatewire, 11/07/2017), by Josh Kurtz and Benjamin Storrow: "Climate activists see rising star in this down-ballot race" (Climatewire, 11/07/2017), by Josh Kurtz: "The biggest climate election this year might be in Seattle" (Climatewire, 10/24/2017), by Benjamin Storrow: "Va. comes down to the wire" (E&E Daily, 11/07/2017), by Nick Bowlin: "4 issues to watch in N.J.'s race for governor" (Energywire, 11/03/2017), by Saqib Rahim:

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is changing up who advises him on science, giving more slots to people from the industry. Climatewire editor Evan Lehmann and deputy editor Robin Bravender talk to Greenwire air quality reporter Sean Reilly, who got an early look at the names of the new advisers. President George H.W. Bush's EPA Administrator, Bill Reilly, explains his frustration with his party's stance on climate change science and policy in a preview of his interview with E&E News. And we share the best ideas for climate-themed Halloween costumes. "Who’s in, who’s out on advisory panels" (E&E Daily, 10/31/2017), by Sean Reilly: "Pruitt signals an embrace of industry researchers" (Climatewire, 11/01/2017), by Scott Waldman:

What does it mean if a member of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus is planning to introduce a carbon tax in the House Ways and Means Committee? Climatewire politics reporter Josh Kurtz, former editor of E&E Daily, breaks it down in his debut with Climatewire editor Evan Lehmann and deputy editor Robin Bravender. Jean Chemnick, who covers international climate policy for Climatewire, shares the stories of the Marshallese fleeing a nuclear legacy and rising sea levels in their Pacific home to live and work in Springdale, Arkansas. And two reporters go head-to-head in the first edition of E&E trivia game The Showdown. "House Dems to propose amendment during tax reform debate" (Climatewire 10/24/2017), by Josh Kurtz:

The Heartland Institute is organizing a group of scientists to cast doubt on mainstream climate change science, and it has the ear of the Trump administration. Climatewire editor Evan Lehmann and deputy editor Robin Bravender describe the group's leaked emails. Climatewire science reporters Scott Waldman and Chelsea Harvey fact-check the claims. International reporter Jean Chemnick recounts the latest storm to hit a Trump coastal property. And Kevin Bogardus, Greenwire's federal agencies reporter and FOIA master at E&E News, shares some of his favorite stories and tips. "Skeptics suspicious of Pruitt plan to press him on red team" (Climatewire, 10/16/2017), by Niina Heikkinen and Robin Bravender: "Some groups want more CO2. Here's what that means" (Climatewire, 10/17/2017), by Chelsea Harvey and Scott Waldman: "Trump resort spared from storm damage. He still wants a wall" (Climatewire, 10/17/2017), by Jean Chemnick: "'Terrified' employees, 'beyond gross' vandalism in troubled regional office" (Greenwire, 08/21/2014), by Kevin Bogardus and Sam Pearson:

The Trump administration started a long process to repeal the Clean Power Plan this week with its formal announcement it would ax the rule. Climatewire editor and deputy editor Evan Lehmann and Robin Bravender give some insight into the players in the negotiations. Energywire legal reporter Ellen Gilmer talks next steps, and Climatewire EPA reporter Niina Heikkinen explains the stalled -- but still alive -- "sister rule" to the Clean Power Plan. And Energywire reporter David Ferris calls in from Puerto Rico, where the electrical grid is still mostly down and people aren't getting supplies. "Bob Murray says Trump's at work on industry 'action plan'" (Greenwire, 10/10/2017), by Hannah Northey: "Clean Power Plan is doomed. What about its sister rule?" (Climatewire, 10/11/2017), by Niina Heikkinen: "Legal war looms as EPA targets climate rule" (Energywire, 10/11/2017), by Ellen Gilmer: "Puerto Ricans' anger builds as federal workers live large" (Energywire, 10/10/2017), by David Ferris:

Coming soon: The Climate Lede, the E&E News podcast hosted by Climatewire editor and deputy editor Evan Lehmann and Robin Bravender. Reporters and special guests will share behind-the-scenes tidbits from the front lines of the debate over climate change and insight into policy and science from E&E's newsroom in Washington, D.C. Music: schmaltz by Jahzaar.

Climatewire editor and deputy editor Evan Lehman and Robin Bravender take you into E&E's newsroom. President Trump visited Puerto Rico following Hurricane Irma, and White House correspondent Zack Colman unpacks whether we can expect Congress and the federal government to continue their outreach to the island territory with funding and microgrids. Daniel Cusick, Climatewire adaptation reporter, calls in from a beach on the Gulf Coast of Florida, where he's assessing whether building codes made a difference in mitigating the damage from hurricanes. And Umair Irfan, previously Climatewire's technology reporter who now writes for Vox, recaps his trip to Japan. "Japan is king of efficiency. But it's losing climate passion" (Climatewire, 10/03/2017), by Umair Irfan: Image: In Japan, where energy efficiency is paramount, support for addressing climate change is slipping. Photo by Umair Irfan/E&E News

Former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy talks with Climatewire editor Evan Lehmann and deputy editor Robin Bravender about current EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, President Donald Trump, and their efforts to undo her greenhouse gas regulations, all over a Guinness. Image: Gina McCarthy talks climate over a Guinness. Photo by Camille von Kaenel.