Weekly Roundup of Climate and Energy News
The Climate Action Alliance of the Valley (CAAV) is a non-profit, grassroots group of volunteers in the Central Shenandoah Valley. We have actively work to educate our legislators and the public about the implications of the Earth’s worsening climate crisis. One way we do this is by producing The Weekly Roundup of Climate and Energy News. We are providing a brief excerpt from a recent Roundup in the hopes that more people will become aware of, and will want to act on, the risks we all face. For an archive of prior posts, visit the CAAV website.
Politics and Policy
There are many leaders, including in the President’s party, who favor putting a price on carbon. The Houston Chronicle documents that “Climate bills sweep Washington, as GOP and Democrats compete on approach”.
The fondness for coal continues in the U.S., as noted in this Inside Climate News item: “Trump May Approve Strip Mining on Tennessee’s Protected Cumberland Plateau”. The Hill reports that “Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette on Friday announced a $64 million dollar initiative to fund research and development for coal, giving an assist to an industry that appears to be on the decline.”
The New York Post says “Voters claim they want a leader who’ll actually do something about climate change”. Mother Jones says “poll numbers don’t lie”: “Trump’s Biggest Vulnerability Is His Climate Change Denial”.
Climate and Climate Science
Phys.org describes a Centre for research on Energy and Clean Air report that concludes “Air pollution costs $2.9 trillion a year…, [or] $8 billion a day, or roughly 3.3 percent of the entire world’s economic output.”
On February 6 “Antarctica [Was] Warmer than Los Angeles” at 64.9 degrees. Amazingly and on February 14 “Temperature in Antarctica soars to near 70 degrees, appearing to topple continental record set days earlier”.
The Washington Post Magazine’s story, The Green Miles, details how “Kentucky was devastated for decades by mountaintop removal. Now scientists have figured out a way to undo the damage — one tree at a time.” Ohio Valley Resource reports that “Heavy rainfall events have already increased by 20 percent since the early 20th century in eastern Kentucky, and climate scientists believe that the region is likely to see more extreme rainfall in the future.”
A recent survey of 1000 South Florida residents whose properties are at some risk from flooding assessed the residents’ understanding of those risks using tailored messages to “help people understand risk as it relates to them, and perhaps, change their behavior”. The messages were “maps that represent what flooding in the future might look like. “Exposure to the scientific map did not influence beliefs that their own homes were susceptible to flooding or that sea level rise would reduce local property values.”
“The Trump administration has offered oil companies a chunk of the American west and the Gulf of Mexico that’s four times the size of California – an expansive drilling plan that threatens to entrench the industry at the expense of other outdoor jobs, while locking in enough emissions to undermine global climate policy.” (The Guardian article)
The 2020 General Assembly (GA) session has seen a deluge of clean energy legislation. As the GA begins the second half, Ivy Main provides a comprehensive summary of what’s being proposed and where the various bills stand. The Daily Energy Insider offers its description of one of the major bills, the Virginia Clean Economy Act. Blog posters on Bacon’s Rebellion offer their takes on the many aspects of this bill in Omnibus, Omnibus II, and Omnibus III.
Bloomberg Green suggests “BP Sets Bold Agenda for Big Oil With Plan to Eliminate CO2”. The Guardian notes that “BP, Shell, Chevron and Exxon have made almost $2tn in profits in the past three decades as their exploitation of oil, gas and coal reserves has driven the planet to the brink of climate breakdown….” Axios says: “There’s more oil and gas than ever — and the industry is tanking.” As the PBS Newshour reports, “The International Energy Agency expects demand for oil to fall in the first quarter as a result of the virus outbreak that emanated in China. Any fall would represent the first quarterly decline in a decade.”
This Reuters article on International Energy Agency report says: “Global CO2 emissions from power generation flatten out … after two years of increase. “The growth of renewable energy and fuel switching from coal to natural gas led to lower emissions from advanced economies. Milder weather in several countries and slower economic growth in some emerging markets also contributed….”
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that UPS is working to increase its use of electric trucks and self-driving vans. Indigenous peoples are vigorously protesting a planned Canadian pipeline project, halting rail traffic across the country, according to this National Public Radio story. Mother Jones heralds “The Biggest Municipal Solar Farm in the US Is Coming to…Cincinnati?”
A recent Washington Post article on parenting describes “How climate experts think about raising children who will inherit a planet in crisis”.
Yale Environment 360 brings us the story of “How Native Tribes Are Taking the Lead on Planning for Climate Change”.
The Walrus says clothing from alpaca wool is more sustainable than that from sheep.
Bloomberg Green sounds this alarm: “Climate Change Is Coming for Your Oreos”. Why? Because “Drenched fields across the U.S. make wheat a scarcer commodity.”
Joy Loving, who lives in Grottoes, is a Steering Committee Member of Climate Action Alliance of the Valley.