People, planet, and the path ahead

Is Trump pulling the plug on electric cars?

In this edition: As government revisits gas-mileage targets, it'll test carmaker commitment to cleaner vehicles; science funding slashed in Trump budget proposal; why solar panels bloom in the land of hydropower.

What we're writing

President Trump talks with auto industry leaders, including General Motors CEO Mary Barra (left) and United Auto Workers (UAW) President Dennis Williams (right) at the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti Township, Mich., on March 15.
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
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Caption

Trump mileage policy could put carmaker innovation at risk

The Trump administration will revisit an Obama-era target of 54.5 miles per gallon for US vehicles. It could be a test case of how the private sector responds when federal clean-economy rules retreat. // Zack Colman

Science faces budget cuts. Why does that matter?

America has a history of funding basic science at the federal level, on the notion that it pays off for society. The Trump budget challenges that view – including on climate research. The cuts are deep (though not always as deep as some had feared) and would ripple out to affect universities around the nation.  // Henry Gass

Why solar panels bloom in land of hydropower

Electric utilities are seeking a new power mix, as shifts in precipitation diminish the role that dams have long played for western states. // Zack Colman

Up to half of Arctic melting due to natural changes

"But you can't use this as an excuse" to write off the bigger trend in warming, says one of the study's co-authors. // Patrick Reilly

What we're reading

The wind is at this sector's back

Wind has essentially caught up with hydro as America's largest renewable energy source. // Greentech Media

How smarter microgrids can boost clean energy

Plug-and-play microgrids could be key to adding more clean energy to the mix. // Yale Climate Connections 

US joins a seed treaty to boost drought-resistant crops

The US will add 570,000 types of maize, wheat, potatoes, and other crops into a seed-sharing system. // Reuters

A House Republican group addresses climate change

Seventeen House Republicans want climate action, with solutions that keep in mind the health of the economy. // InsideClimate News

What's trending

That early spring? Delayed just a bit.

"Spring arrived in February, was interrupted across much of the country by this week's nor'easter, and is now making its way back.... It’s likely to be a warm one." // Ellen Powell, writing for The Christian Science Monitor

Tesla's Australia battery play is just the start

"Until recently, batteries were many times more expensive than natural gas 'peaker' plants that fire up when supply falls (as when the wind dies down)." // Tom Randall writing for Bloomberg

Investment firm to nudge companies on climate

"For directors of companies in sectors that are significantly exposed to climate risk, the expectation will be for the whole board to have demonstrable fluency in how climate risk affects the business and management's approach to adapting and mitigating the risk.... We will consider voting in favor of [shareholder] proposals that would address our concern." // Policy from BlackRock, quoted by E&E News

Trump's Defense chief sees climate as security issue

“Climate change is a challenge that requires a broader, whole-of-government response." // James Mattis, quoted by Pro Publica