The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.

The U.S. Is Taking A Major Step Toward Ending Beluga Whale Captivity

The U.S. may outlaw the import of some threatened beluga whales residing in Russian waters, NOAA announced Tuesday.

Under the proposal from NOAA Fisheries, the U.S. would use the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to designate belugas living in the Sea of Okhotsk on Russia’s Pacific coast as “depleted,” or below their optimum sustainable population. Such a designation would make it illegal to import any of these belugas into the U.S. for the purpose of public display.

Rockefeller family charity to withdraw all investments in fossil fuel companies

A charitable fund of the Rockefeller family – who are sitting on a multibillion-dollar oil fortune – has said it will withdraw all its investments from fossil fuel companies.

The Rockefeller Family Fund, a charity set up in 1967 by descendants of John D Rockefeller, said on Wednesday that it would divest from all fossil fuel holdings “as quickly as possible”.

The fund, which was founded by Martha, John, Laurance, Nelson and David Rockefeller, singled out ExxonMobil for particular attention describing the world’s largest oil company as “morally reprehensible”.

See Also: Oil industry must thwart ‘misguided’ divestment campaign, says Saudi minister
See Also: UK councils warned of ‘severe penalties’ of fossil fuel divestment

Fossil fuel use must fall twice as fast as thought to contain global warming – study

Climate scientists have bad news for governments, energy companies, motorists, passengers and citizens everywhere in the world: to contain global warming to the limits agreed by 195 nations in Paris last December, they will have to cut fossil fuel combustion at an even faster rate than anybody had predicted.

Joeri Rogelj, research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria, and European and Canadian colleagues propose in Nature Climate Change that all previous estimates of the quantities of carbon dioxide that can be released into the atmosphere before the thermometer rises to potentially catastrophic levels are too generous.

Think Tank With Fossil-Fuel Ties Subpoenaed in AG’s Climate Inquiry

The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington, D.C., think tank and one of the fossil fuel industry’s most steadfast allies, disclosed on Thursday that the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands is demanding to see records of the group’s donors and activities involving climate policy.

The subpoena represents a broadening of a multifaceted legal inquiry into whether fossil fuel companies broke any laws as they sought for decades to undermine the scientific consensus and head off forceful action to address the climate crisis.

For the first time, the investigation now appears to touch on the actions of third parties supported by the industry—and perhaps into their joint lobbying actions.

A sinking feeling

Rising sea levels are impinging on coastal cities. Risk management programs, such as building sea walls and draining systems and establishing pumping stations are part of a decades-long timeline in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where project managers are coordinating with experts from Rotterdam, the Netherlands–a country renowned for flood mitigation projects.

Cold mountain streams offer climate refuge: Future holds hope for biodiversity

A new study offers hope for cold-water species in the face of climate change. The study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, addresses a longstanding paradox between predictions of widespread extinctions of cold-water species and a general lack of evidence for those extinctions despite decades of recent climate change. The paper resulted from collaborative research led by the U.S. Forest Service with partners including the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, University of Georgia and the Queensland University of Technology. The research team drew information from huge stream-temperature and biological databases contributed by over 100 agencies and a USGS-run regional climate model to describe warming trends throughout 222,000 kilometers (138,000 miles) of streams in the northwestern United States.

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