Roundup of Climate and Energy News: Feb. 23
The Climate Action Alliance of the Valley (CAAV) is a non-profit, grassroots group of volunteers in the Central Shenandoah Valley. We 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 an 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
When it comes to coping with and preparing for the impacts of sea level rise, Miami and Miami Beach get most of the press. We tend to overlook the many other coastal cities faced with similar problems. This Washington Post article about Boston made clear just how complicated the issue is. In an opinion piece in the same newspaper, New Orleans architects and planners Steven Bingler and Martin C. Pedersen argue that one option that must be considered for coastal cities is retreat. President Trump’s fiscal 2021 budget would slash funding for the National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers, eliminating all $38 million for research to help wildlife and humans “adapt to a changing climate.”
Democratic presidential candidates discussed climate change for about 15 minutes during the recent debate in Las Vegas. Marianne Lavelle of Inside Climate News summarized what the candidates had to say. The Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund ranked Michael Bloomberg and Amy Klobuchar last among the candidates on their plans to address climate change, giving each a score of 1 out of 10. Vox published a list of five things to know about how Bernie Sanders plans to deal with the climate crisis as president.
Republican lawmakers want to continue use of fossil fuels, but employ carbon capture and storage technology. Their plan was immediately condemned by the powerful Club for Growth PAC and elicited grumbles from a handful of Republican lawmakers. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said Monday that he plans to spend $10 billion of his own fortune to help fight climate change. A new study from the Pew Research Center found that the partisan divide over climate change is the largest it has ever been.
On his blog, James A. Bacon examined a report from Rocky Mountain Institute assessing Dominion’s plans to become net-zero by 2050. In a move to protect its ski slopes and growing economy, Utah has created a long-term plan to address the climate crisis.
A study published in the journal Nature Energy cautioned that the negative impacts associated with climate change are insufficiently accounted for in financial markets, raising the possibility of a severe recession in response to serious climate problems.
Climate and Climate Science
In a stirring photo-essay for The New York Times, Damien Cave wrote of “The End of Australia as We Know It.” At National Geographic, Madeline Stone described the various factors and events that may have led to record or near-record temperatures on the Antarctic Peninsula,
In a 2016 book, naturalist E. O. Wilson proposed that half of Earth be set aside for natural systems. Now many people, both scientists and non‑scientists, are working to bring that idea to fruition. Scientists and conservationists have warned that if high ocean temperatures in the region do not drop in the next two weeks, the Great Barrier Reef could experience its third major coral bleaching incident in five years. Climate change could destroy nearly all remaining coral reefs by the end of the century, according to research released Monday at the AGU Ocean Sciences Meeting 2020 in San Diego.
At Yale Environment 360, journalist Lois Parshley explored the question of whether small modular nuclear reactors have a place in the power mix of the future. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly evaluate how to develop, build and operate small modular nuclear reactors, which TVA is considering building near ORNL. In the wake of the shutdown of many of its nuclear energy plants, Japan is implementing a 4-D energy transition, creating a distributed, decarbonized, decentralized, and digitized grid.
In California, utilities argue that ramping up the production of renewable natural gas and blending it with normal natural gas in pipelines can reduce GHGs faster and cheaper than electrifying buildings. David Roberts examined this argument at Vox.
Delta Air Lines said it will invest $1 billion over the next decade in initiatives to limit the impact of global air travel, which accounts for roughly 2% of global CO2 emissions, on the environment. The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday announced a goal for biofuels to make up 30% of U.S. transportation fuels by 2050.
Power-generating capacity from renewable energy — including solar, wind and utility-scale hydropower — has doubled in the U.S. since 2010, according to a new report from Bloomberg NEF and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy.
In a YouTube video, MIT students perform “Heal! — A Battle Poem for the Climate and Its Defenders.”
The Guardian published an edited excerpt from The Future We Choose, a new book by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, the architects of the Paris Climate Accords. New to the cli-fi genre? Then you might benefit from an introduction written by Jennifer Hijazi for E&E News.
Greta Thunberg has set up a foundation “to promote ecological and social sustainability.” In The New York Times Magazine, Charles Homans, the politics editor, wrote about the dashcam video recorded by a fire truck belonging to the Dunmore Rural Fire Brigade in Australia. He called it the “video that finally tells the truth about climate change.”
Joy Loving edited this Roundup, which was prepared by Les Grady, a Rockingham County resident and a Member of the AAV Steering Committee.