Hot Takes: The Top Climate Stories of 2017

1. Puerto Rico: Donald Trump’s malignant neglect of the American territory in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria’s devastation is nothing short of a human-rights atrocity, and one of the most significant climate stories of the decade.

2. Paris pullout: Trump’s announcement of his plans to abandon the 2015 Paris climate agreement sparked an international backlash–and a commitment by climate-concerned Americans to take steps on a state and local level to achieve the goals of the historic deal.

3. Scott Pruitt: The single worst EPA Administrator in history did all within his considerable power to destroy the agency from within.

4. Mother Nature’s fire and fury: Hurricane Harvey. Hurricane Irma. Hurricane Jose. Wildfires in the West. Inundation in India. Some hoax, eh?

5. National Climate Assessment released: In something of a shocker, the Trump administration did not suppress the Congressionally-mandated report about the threat carbon pollution and fossil fuels pose to the health of our planet. Of course, it’s profoundly unlikely that Trump and Pruitt ever read the report.

6. March for Science and People’s Climate March: The April marches demonstrated that the Trump-Pruitt agenda on climate would be aggressively resisted by those concerned about the fate of future generations.

7. Climate victories in New Jersey, Virginia and Washington state: The elections of Phil Murphy and Ralph Northam will likely lead to the strengthening of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. In addition, a critical Democratic victory in a state Senate election has cleared a path for carbon pricing in the Evergreen State.

8. The expansion of the House Climate Solutions Caucus: The year-old group, formed to find a way around the partisan divide on the issue of carbon pollution, is now 62 members strong; while the group is certainly controversial in some circles, it could have a major legislative impact on the 116th Congress and beyond.

9. Right-wing interests reach for more media power in the US: Between Sinclair Broadcasting Group’s attempt to expand its local-media empire and the Koch Brothers seizing control of TIME magazine, climate denialism will likely have a louder voice in 2018. Speaking of media…

10. Paramount screws Al Gore: The troubled studio blew a golden–or shall we say green–opportunity to influence the post-Paris climate conversation by failing to properly market and distribute An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.

Your help is critical to maintaining the Washington Monthly’s independent voice. Please consider a tax-deductible donation today. Thank you.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.