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Justine Calma

Justine Calma

Senior Science Reporter

Justine Calma is a senior science reporter at The Verge, where she covers clean energy and the environment. She’s also the host of Hell or High Water: When Disaster Hits Home, a podcast from Vox Media and Audible Originals. Since reporting on the adoption of the Paris agreement in 2015, Justine has covered climate change on the ground in four continents. "Power Shift," her story about one neighborhood’s fight for clean energy in New Orleans was published in the 2022 HarperCollins anthology, The Best American Science and Nature Writing. She previously covered environmental justice at Grist and taught a nonfiction climate writing class for the MFA program at The City College of New York. She is an alumna of Columbia Journalism School's Toni Stabile investigative program and the Ida B. Wells fellowship at The Nation Institute's Investigative Fund.

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The EPA is delaying final rules on power plant pollution.

Measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions from gas-fired power plants operating in the US probably won’t be finalized until November — after presidential elections. It’s a risky gamble for environmental groups pushing the Biden administration to take more time to tighten proposed regulations. If Donald Trump is elected, policies to tackle climate change could just go out the window like they did during his last stint in office.

AI is making data centers more power hungry.

AI eats up a lot of electricity, and that’s driving up data centers’ energy use. It’s also changing the physical footprint of data centers and making it harder for companies to hit their sustainability goals, the New York Times reports. With the AI-fueled boom in new data centers, sites under construction in North America could eventually use as much power each year as the San Francisco metro area, according to a real estate report published yesterday.

A nuclear weapons facility is back online after a fierce fire forced non-essential workers to evacuate.

The blaze is still tearing through the Texas Panhandle after scorching 500,000 acres. The Smokehouse Creek Fire is now the second largest in state history, with 0 percent contained as of Wednesday morning. The facility responsible for disassembling a majority of the nation’s nuclear weapons shuttered briefly Tuesday night as flames drew near.

The Verge
Elizabeth Warren is still pushing crypto mines to divulge their electricity use.

Warren has been urging federal agencies to scrutinize energy-hungry Bitcoin mines. But crypto groups secured a temporary pause on the Department of Energy’s survey of their electricity consumption.

“The Department is asking cryptominers to report basic information about their energy usage—like other industries have done for decades—so the public and lawmakers better understand how cryptomining’s electricity use and carbon emissions affect the power grid and environment,” Warren said in a statement to The Verge after the news came out.

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Clean energy projects are coming to tribal and rural communities in the US.

The Department of Energy announced $366 million for 17 clean energy projects across 30 Tribal Nations and 20 states. All of them are connected to “disadvantaged communities that are disproportionally overburdened by pollution and historically underserved.” That includes off-grid solar and battery storage for the Hopi and Navajo Nations, aiming to give 300 rural homes electricity for the first time. More than one-fifth of Navajo homes and one third of Hopi homes lacks electricity, according to the DOE.

“Why am I on fire?”

Workers suffered chemical burns while digging a tunnel in Las Vegas for Elon Musk’s Boring Company, according to a state OSHA investigation. “You’d be like, ‘Why am I on fire?’” one worker told Bloomberg Businessweek.

They routinely waded through chemical-laced water, which burned and scarred workers when it splashed onto their skin. OSHA reportedly fined the Boring Company $112,504 last fall for eight “serious” violations. Musk’s company is contesting the findings of the investigation.