2021-12-13. Indigenous Communities Outline Their Climate Data Priorities. By Jane Palmer, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Climate change is hitting the American Southwest hard, bringing warmer temperatures, longer droughts, and dwindling water supplies. For Native American tribes in the region, these changes are threatening their ability to live on the land in the way that they have done for hundreds, or even thousands, of years. In response to these challenges, many of the tribes have developed their own climate change adaptation initiatives, and to see how Western science could help in these efforts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture funded the Native Waters on Arid Lands project in 2015. The goal of the project was to partner researchers with tribal communities in the Great Basin and American Southwest to collaboratively understand how climate change was affecting the region and to come up with possible paths to adaptation.… [https://eos.org/articles/indigenous-communities-outline-their-climate-data-priorities]
2021-12-08. Biden wants to make federal government carbon neutral by 2050. By Anna Phillips, The Washington Post. Excerpt: The Biden administration announced Wednesday it aims to buy its way to a cleaner, cooler planet, spending billions to createa federal fleet of electric vehicles, upgrade federal buildings and change how the government buys electricity. The executive order President Biden signed leveragesWashington’s buying power to cut the government’s carbon emissions 65 percent by the end of the decade. It lays out goals that would put the federal government on a path to net-zero emissions by 2050 and would add at least 10 gigawatts worth of clean electricity to the grid.… [https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/12/08/biden-government-purchasing-climate-change/] See also New York Times article.
2021-11-04. A Greener Path. By Dennis Normile, Science Magazine. Excerpt: China is making its Belt and Road Initiative more environmentally friendly. The massive infrastructure program could still cause ecological devastation. …The 40 wind turbines dotting the rolling grassland 9 kilometers south of Zhanatas, an impoverished industrial town in southern Kazakhstan, are monuments to change. …the $160 million Zhanatas Wind Farm has a capacity of 100 megawatts (MW), making it one of the most powerful wind farms in central Asia. It’s a milestone in Kazakhstan’s quest to boost reliance on renewables and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. The country has 300 years’ worth of coal, but isn’t building a single new plant to burn it. The project stands out for another reason as well: It is one of the biggest renewable energy projects built in the region under China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a colossal infrastructure plan that has alarmed environmental advocates. Launched in 2013, BRI links China to markets and sources of raw materials around the world while stimulating economic growth in developing countries. It is providing much-needed power plants, roads, ports, and railways in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. But the “infrastructure tsunami” also threatens to “open a Pandora’s box of environmental crises, including large-scale deforestation, habitat fragmentation, wildlife poaching, water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions,” ecologist William Laurance of James Cook University, Cairns, wrote in The Conversation in 2017.… [https://www.science.org/content/article/china-s-global-infrastructure-program-goes-green-could-still-devastate-ecosystems]
2021-11-03. Climate summit produces new pledges that could keep global warming below 2°C target. By Kathleen O’Grady, Science Magazine. Excerpt: …There’s a risk that the new projections will be used by politicians to tout a success that doesn’t yet exist, Rogelj says. For example, many nations, such as Australia, are still expanding their use of fossil fuels while touting ambitious climate goals. “There is very low confidence, with the evidence that we have, that those pledges will be implemented,” Rogelj says. Meinshausen adds that realizing many of the pledges from developing countries will require financial help from wealthy nations…. [https://www.science.org/content/article/climate-summit-produces-new-pledges-could-keep-global-warming-below-2c-target]
2021-11-02. A novel way to reduce emissions? China tries confiscating coal from households. By Eva Dou, The Washington Post. Excerpt: On a crisp Saturday morning last month, men in the black jackets favored by local Chinese officials were going door to door. They were checking to make sure villagers in Tangshan’s Fengrun district — one of China’s smoggiest spots — had quit burning coal for heat. …“We must ensure that ‘not one fire burns, not one wisp of smoke wafts, not one black speck remains,’ ” the Fengrun Economy and Environmental Bureau declared, according to an account of the operation it published. After knocking on 596 doors, the officials had turned up nearly a ton of unprocessed coal and nine tons of briquettes, and warned residents of the steelmaking hub that burning coal was no longer allowed. The household checks reflect tensions in China’s northeastern rust belt as the country comes under new global pressure to reduce its carbon emissions. China is by far the largest greenhouse gas emitter, contributing 27 percent of the world’s output. The country is in the spotlight at the COP26 talks in Glasgow, Scotland, where leaders are discussing how to forestall severe effects of climate change.… [https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/china-climate-coal-emissions-cop26/2021/11/03/f32c1c9e-3642-11ec-9662-399cfa75efee_story.html]
2021-10-29. An Electricity Crisis Complicates the Climate Crisis in Europe. By Melissa Eddy and Somini Sengupta, The New York Times. Excerpt: BERLIN — The soaring price of electricity represents a Rorschach test for Europe’s politicians. Depending on their leanings, it is either a reason to wean the continent from fossil fuels more swiftly — or more slowly. The timing is crucial. European Union leaders have cast themselves as the vanguard of a global green transition at the international climate talks that kick off this weekend in Glasgow. …Europe accounts for a very large share of global emissions produced since the start of the industrial age, and its ability to pivot away from fossil fuels is key to averting ruinous rates of global warming. At the heart of the surge in electricity prices is Europe’s reliance on natural gas to turn on the lights, heat homes, and power industry. Even though most countries in the bloc are moving away from coal faster than other parts of the world, like Asia, they have continued to lean on gas while building out their renewable energy infrastructure.… [https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/29/climate/europe-energy-crisis-cop.html]
2021-10-29. Greece Is Getting Rewired for the Future. By Liz Alderman, The New York Times. Excerpt: …The push for a transition to clean energy would seem a herculean task for Greece, a country of around 10 million that recently emerged from a devastating decade-long debt crisis and still leans heavily on fossil fuels for power. …Greece is getting a powerful financial boost to underwrite these efforts: 30 billion euros (nearly $35 billion) — equivalent to a fifth of Greece’s economy — from a European Union recovery funddesigned to power a rebound from the coronavirus pandemic. …The idea is to build Greece’s incomplete infrastructure to cycle more solar and wind power through the national grid. Greece aims to produce 60 percent of its power from renewable energy sources by 2030 and be climate neutral by 2050.… [https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/29/business/greece-green-energy-climate-eu.html]
2021-10-28. On eve of climate summit, researchers sharpen emissions tracking. By Warren Cornwall, Science Magazine. Excerpt: …the world needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, but current national pledges only trim emissions by 7.5%, the United Nations Environment Programme warned this week. In a bid to achieve the Paris goal, some nations at the meeting, formally known as the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26), are expected to commit to deeper emissions cuts, especially from the burning of fossil fuels. While nations step up their pledges, some scientists and policymakers are focused on making sure they stick to them. They are nurturing rapidly emerging technologies—including satellites, sensors, and software—that promise a quick and accurate assessment of greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane.… [https://www.science.org/content/article/eve-climate-summit-researchers-sharpen-emissions-tracking]
2021-10-19. On a Pacific Island, Russia Tests Its Battle Plan for Climate Change. By Anton Troianovski, Photographs by Sergey Ponomarev, The New York Times. Excerpt: President Vladimir V. Putin long dismissed the threat posed by global warming. But fires, disasters and foreign pressure have prompted him to change course. SAKHALIN ISLAND, Russia — Sixteen wind turbines are slated to go up amid the winding coast and wooded hills of this Russian island in the Pacific, creating a wind park bigger than any that currently exists in the vast reaches of the country’s Far East. The clean energy generated by the new wind park will go toward mining more coal.… [https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/19/world/europe/russia-climate-change.html]
2021-10-13. Biden Administration Plans Wind Farms Along Nearly the Entire U.S. Coastline. By Coral Davenport, The New York Times. Excerpt: …Speaking at a wind power industry conference in Boston, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said that her agency will begin to identify, demarcate and hope to eventually lease federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of Maine and off the coasts of the Mid-Atlantic States, North Carolina and South Carolina, California and Oregon, to wind power developers by 2025. …Taken together, the actions represent the most forceful push ever by federal government to promote offshore wind development.… [https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/13/climate/biden-offshore-wind-farms.html]
2021-10-11. More Than 30 Countries Join U.S. Pledge to Slash Methane Emissions. Source: By Lisa Friedman, The New York Times. Excerpt: Methane is the second-largest driver of global warming after carbon dioxide emissions. Scientists say the promised cuts could help avert the worst consequences of climate change. …Methane is the second-most prevalent greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide but much more potent in the short term in its ability to heat the planet. It is the main component of natural gas and is also released into the atmosphere from landfills, livestock and thawing permafrost. …The pledge, developed with the European Union, commits nations to cut emissions from methane 30 percent by 2030. …While the four heaviest emitters of methane — China, India, Russia and Brazil — have not joined the pledge, the administration announced that nine of the world’s top 20 methane polluters had signed on. In addition to the United States and the European Union, they are Canada, Indonesia, Pakistan, Mexico, Nigeria, Argentina and Iraq.… [https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/11/climate/methane-global-climate.html]
2021-09-23. Greenhouse gases in grocery freezers are more powerful than carbon. EPA now aims to slash their use. Source: By Dino Grandoni, The Washington Post. Excerpt: Agency’s final rule will slash the use and production of hydrofluorocarbons — often found to be leaking from U.S. supermarket freezers — by 85 percent over the next 15 years… [https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/09/23/biden-climate-rule-hydrofluorocarbons]
2021-09-08. From 4% to 45%: Energy Department Lays Out Ambitious Blueprint for Solar Power. Source: By Ivan Penn, The New York Times. Excerpt: The Biden administration on Wednesday released a blueprint showing how the nation could move toward producing almost half of its electricity from the sun by 2050 — a potentially big step toward fighting climate change but one that would require vast upgrades to the electric grid. …Such a large increase, laid out in the report, is in line with what most climate scientists say is needed to stave off the worst effects of global warming. It would require a vast transformation in technology, the energy industry and the way people live.… [https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/08/business/energy-environment/biden-solar-energy-climate-change.html]
2021-09-07. To Avoid River Flooding, Go With the Flow, the Dutch Say. Source: By Thomas Erdbrink, The New York Times. Excerpt: Extreme rainfall is causing deadly and destructive floods globally. The Netherlands averted disaster this summer by creating flood plains.… [https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/07/world/europe/dutch-rivers-flood-control.html]
2021-09-02. How the “Best Accidental Climate Treaty” Stopped Runaway Climate Change. Source: By Jenessa Duncombe, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: The Montreal Protocol halted the destruction of the ozone layer. In the process, it saved one of Earth’s most important carbon sinks. …The international treaty that phased out the production of ozone-depleting chemicals has prevented between 0.65°C and 1°C of global warming, according to research. The study also showed that carbon stored in vegetation through photosynthesis would have dropped by 30% without the treaty, which came into force in 1989. Researchers from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the United States wrote in Nature that the Montreal Protocol was essential in protecting carbon stored in plants. Studies in the polar regions have shown that high-energy ultraviolet rays (UVB) reduce plant biomass and damage DNA. Forests and soil currently absorb 30% of human carbon dioxide emissions. …In the simulation, the UVB radiation is so intense that plants in the midlatitudes stop taking up a net increase in carbon. Plants in the tropics fare better, but humid forests would have 60% less ozone overhead than before, a state much worse than was ever observed in the Antarctic ozone hole.… [https://eos.org/articles/how-the-best-accidental-climate-treaty-stopped-runaway-climate-change]
2021-08-09. Climate change ‘unequivocal’ and ‘unprecedented,’ says new U.N. report. By Cathleen O’Grady, Science Magazine. Excerpt: The report paints an alarming picture but emphasizes there is still time for swift action to mitigate the worst of the projected impacts of climate change. …Too much focus on targets like 1.5°C can backfire if they are seen as precipices beyond which there is no redemption, Tebaldi says: “People feel this sense of disempowerment.” The reality, she says, is that these targets sit on a continuum where “every little bit of warming counts.” For the first time, the report elaborates on the details of how each increment of warming is expected to play out in regional impacts and extreme events such as flooding, heat waves, droughts, and fire…. [https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/08/climate-change-unequivocal-and-unprecedented-says-new-un-report] – See also Eos/AGU article, What Five Graphs from the U.N. Climate Report Reveal About Our Path to Halting Climate Change. See also article from Eos.org: Climate Change and Extreme Weather Linked in U.N. Climate Report
2021-08-09. Latest IPCC Report Points to Urgent Need to Cut Emissions. Source: By Julie Chao, Berkeley Lab News Center. Excerpt: Our planet’s oceans, forests, and soils perform a valuable service, absorbing half of our carbon dioxide emissions. But the more that our planet warms, the more that these so-called “carbon sinks” weaken in their ability to perform this service. If we continue on our current trajectory of high emissions of greenhouse gases, by the next century not only will oceans and forests absorb less carbon dioxide, they could even reverse their role and become carbon sources. This is one of the key messages from Working Group I of the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released today. …Reports from Working Groups II and III, which focus on adaptation and mitigation, respectively, will be out next spring. …Another potent short-lived climate forcer is hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, which are commonly used as refrigerants, such as in air-conditioning. Almost 40% of the warming caused by residential and commercial emissions are from HFC emissions. “They have a very high global-warming potential,” said Kuo, also a contributing author on the chapter. “That’s a concern with global warming, with more people buying air conditioners in regions where they typically weren’t needed, such as the Pacific Northwest in the United States.” …The chapter on extreme weather is of particular interest in this summer of record-shattering heat, floods, and other severe weather. A key message is that human influence is making many types of extreme climate events, including heat waves, heavy rainfall, and droughts, more frequent and severe…. [https://newscenter.lbl.gov/2021/08/09/latest-ipcc-report-points-to-urgent-need-to-cut-emissions/] – See also New York Times: A Hotter Future Is Certain, Climate Panel Warns. But How Hot Is Up to Us; Climate Change Is a ‘Hammer Hitting Us on the Head,’ Developing Nations Say; Washington Post: Humans have pushed the climate into ‘unprecedented’ territory, landmark U.N. report finds; and National Geographic: Some irreversible changes to the climate can still be headed off, report says.
2021-08-03. In the Infrastructure Bill, a Recognition: Climate Change Is a Crisis. Source: By Christopher Flavelle, The New York Times. Excerpt: For the first time, both parties have acknowledged — by their actions, if not their words — that the United States is unprepared for global warming and will need huge amounts of cash to cope…. [https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/03/climate/infrastructure-bill-climate-preparation.html]
2021-07-16. [https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/16/business/energy-environment/china-carbon-market.html] – China Opened a National Carbon Market. Here’s Why It Matters. Source: By Chris Buckley, The New York Times. Excerpt: China, the world’s biggest source of greenhouse gas pollution, opened a national carbon emissions trading market on Friday, a long-awaited step aimed at fighting climate change. The market turns the power to pollute into an allowance that can be bought and sold, and is part of an array of policies that the Chinese government is putting in place as it tries to demonstrate its commitment to significantly reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the coming decades. …China’s leader, Xi Jinping, has sought to cast his country as an environmentally responsible world power, and has pledged to tackle climate change. The new carbon market, which is immediately the world’s largest by volume of emissions, is the latest of Beijing’s efforts….
2021-07-14. [https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/14/climate/renewable-energy-batteries.html] – Energy Department Targets Vastly Cheaper Batteries to Clean Up the Grid. Source: By Brad Plumer, The New York Times. Excerpt: WASHINGTON — The Energy Department on Wednesday announced a new effort to tackle one of the toughest technical challenges facing President Biden’s push for an electric grid dominated by solar and wind power — namely, what to do when the sun stops shining and the wind stops blowing. The government is chasing a promising but uncertain solution: a low-cost way to store electricity generated by the sun or wind for hours, days or even weeks at a time, saving it for when it’s most needed. …While dozens of companies are working on different ideas for so-called “long-duration energy storage,” most are still too expensive to be useful. As part of its initiative, the Energy Department wants to drive down the cost of long-duration storage 90 percent below the cost of today’s lithium-ion batteries by 2030. …The announcement is part of the agency’s Energy Earthshots Initiative, which aims to accelerate the deployment of nascent technologies to fight climate change. The program is an acknowledgment that the United States has not yet fully developed all the technologies it needs to meet Mr. Biden’s goal of zeroing out the nation’s planet warming emissions by 2050….
2021-07-14. [https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/14/climate/border-carbon-tax-united-states.html] – Democrats Call for a Tax on Imports From Polluting Countries. Source: By Lisa Friedman, The New York Times. Excerpt: The party’s $3.5 trillion budget plan would include a carbon tariff, as well as a host of other climate actions…. See also Europe Unveils Plan to Shift From Fossil Fuels, Setting Up Potential Trade Spats, … Europe Is Proposing a Border Carbon Tax. What Is It and How Will It Work?, and How Europe’s Ambitious New Climate Agenda Will Affect Businesses.
2021-06-03. [https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/03/world/europe/climate-change-un-international-maritime-organization.html] – Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Does the Opposite. Source: By Matt Apuzzo and Sarah Hurtes, The New York Times. Excerpt: LONDON — During a contentious meeting over proposed climate regulations last fall, a Saudi diplomat to the obscure but powerful International Maritime Organization switched on his microphone to make an angry complaint: One of his colleagues was revealing the proceedings on Twitter as they happened. It was a breach of the secrecy at the heart of the I.M.O., a clubby United Nations agency on the banks of the Thames that regulates international shipping and is charged with reducing emissions in an industry that burns an oil so thick it might otherwise be turned into asphalt. Shipping produces as much carbon dioxide as all of America’s coal plants combined. …The organization has repeatedly delayed and watered down climate regulations, even as emissions from commercial shipping continue to rise, a trend that threatens to undermine the goals of the 2016 Paris climate accord. One reason for the lack of progress is that the I.M.O. is a regulatory body that is run in concert with the industry it regulates. Shipbuilders, oil companies, miners, chemical manufacturers and others with huge financial stakes in commercial shipping are among the delegates appointed by many member nations….
2021-05-25. [https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/25/climate/biden-california-wind-farm.html] – Biden Opens California’s Coast to Wind Farms. Source: By Coral Davenport, The New York Times. Excerpt: WASHINGTON — The notion of wind farms churning in the Pacific Ocean, creating clean energy to power homes and businesses, has long been dismissed because of logistical challenges posed by a deep ocean floor and opposition from the military, which prefers no obstacles for its Navy ships. But evolving technology and a president determined to rapidly expand wind energy have dramatically shifted the prospects for wind farms in the Pacific. On Tuesday, the Navy abandoned its opposition and joined the Interior Department to give its blessing to two areas off the California coast that the government said can be developed for wind turbines. The plan allows commercial offshore wind farms in a 399-square-mile area in Morro Bay along central California, and another area off the coast of Humboldt in Northern California. It marked the most significant action the federal government has taken to promote wind energy along the West Coast and is part of President Biden’s aggressive plan to expand renewable energy and shift the nation away from fossil fuels. “This is a breakthrough that will allow the siting of offshore wind in the Pacific Ocean,” said Gina McCarthy, the White House climate adviser…. See also Washington Post article, Biden looks to California for next phase of offshore wind.
2021-05-21. [https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/05/21/g7-climate-coal/] – G7 nations vow to phase out international financing for coal projects. Source: By Brady Dennis, The Washington Post. Excerpt: …The outcome of the Group of Seven ministerial meeting — in which nations agreed to limit international financing for coal projects and eventually to end financing for such projects around the world — underscored the return of the United States as a force for global climate action after the country remained on the sidelines under President Donald Trump….
2021-05-19. [https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/19/business/macron-france-climate-bill.html] – Going Green, or Greenwashing? A Proposed Climate Law Divides France. Source: By Liz Alderman and Constant Méheut, The New York Times. Excerpt: …As President Emmanuel Macron moves to make France a global champion in the fight against climate change, a wide-ranging environmental bill passed by the French National Assembly this month promises to change the way the French live, work and consume. It would require more vegetarian meals at state-funded canteens, block expansion of France’s airports and curb wasteful plastics packaging. Polluters could be found guilty of “ecocide,” a new offense carrying jail terms of up to 10 years for destroying the environment. If Mr. Macron gets his way, the fight against climate change would even be enshrined in the French constitution through a referendum. But those lofty ambitions are running into a barrage of resistance. Environmentalists and politicians from France’s Green party, rather than backing the legislation, have accused Mr. Macron’s government of watering down ambitious measures and putting corporate interests above tough proposals by a 150-person “citizens climate panel,” which Mr. Macron himself convened last year to address climate concerns….
2021-05-17. [https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/05/18/narrow-pathway-net-zero-future-greenhouse-gases-iea-says/] – A ‘narrow’ pathway to a net zero future for greenhouse gases, IEA says. Source: By Steven Mufson, The Washington Post. Excerpt: To limit climate change, by 2030 the world must install the equivalent of the current largest solar park — every day. The rate of energy efficiency improvements will have to triple the rate of the past two decades. And by 2035, the sale of the internal combustion engine needs to be a thing of the past. Those are some of the items in a new International Energy Agency report titled “Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector,” which warns that the pathway to net zero is “achievable” but “narrow.” The report hails the rapid growth in the number of countries that have pledged to achieve net zero emissions; those pledges now cover about 70 percent of global emissions of carbon dioxide. China has pledged to reach net zero emissions by 2060. But the report warns that in many cases there is nothing backing up the pledges. Most of them “are not yet underpinned by near-term policies and measures,” the report said. Even if successfully fulfilled, the pledges to date would still fail to cover 22 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide in 2050…. See also New York Times article – https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/18/climate/climate-change-emissions-IEA.html
2021-05-12. [https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/05/12/climate/climate-change-weather-noaa.html] – There’s a New Definition of ‘Normal’ for Weather. Source: By Henry Fountain and Jason Kao, The New York Times. Excerpt: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last week issued its latest “climate normals”: baseline data of temperature, rain, snow and other weather variables collected over three decades at thousands of locations across the country. …Because the normals have been produced since 1930, they also say a lot about the weather over a much longer term. That is, they show how the climate has changed in the United States, as it has across the world, as a result of emissions of heat-trapping gases over more than a century. “We’re really seeing the fingerprints of climate change in the new normals,” Dr. Palecki said. “We’re not trying to hide that.” Not that they could. The maps showing the new temperature normals every 10 years, compared with the 20th century average, get increasingly redder [hotter]….
2021-05-13. [https://eos.org/articles/forecasters-navigate-a-highway-to-success-around-lake-victoria] – Forecasters Navigate a Highway to Success Around Lake Victoria. Source: By Munyaradzi Makoni, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: …Four years of testing an early-warning system (EWS) to inform fisherfolk in East Africa of approaching high-impact weather events on Lake Victoria recently concluded. The High Impact Weather Lake System (HIGHWAY) project successfully demonstrated how improved weather, water, and climate services can save lives and livelihoods, as well as support socioeconomic development of vulnerable communities. …Lake Victoria’s size (it is the world’s second-largest freshwater lake, behind only Lake Superior in North America) allows it to generate its own weather patterns, sometimes suddenly and with human and economic casualties. According to its website, HIGHWAY aimed to “enhance the resilience of African people and economic development to weather and climate related shocks, with an initial focus on the Lake Victoria Basin.” The project was funded by £4.5 million from the U.K. Department for International Development, under Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa….
2021-05-05. NASA’s new fleet of satellites will offer insights into the wild cards of climate change. By Paul Voosen, Science Magazine. Excerpt: NASA is about to announce its next generation of Earth-observing satellites… “Earth system observatory,” as NASA calls it, will offer insights into two long-standing wild cards of climate change—clouds and aerosols—while providing new details about the temperatures and chemistry of the planet’s changing surface. The satellite fleets also mark a revival for NASA’s earth science, which has languished over the past decade compared with exploration of Mars and other planets…. [https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/05/nasas-new-fleet-satellites-will-offer-insights-wild-cards-climate-change]
2021-05-03. E.P.A. to Sharply Limit Powerful Greenhouse Gases. By Lisa Friedman, The New York Times. Excerpt: WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency moved on Monday to sharply reduce the use and production of powerful greenhouse gases central to refrigeration and air-conditioning, part of the Biden administration’s larger strategy of trying to slow the pace of global warming.The agency proposed to regulate hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, a class of man-made chemicals that are thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide at warming the planet. The proposal is the first significant step the E.P.A. has taken under President Biden to curb climate change. The move is also the first time the federal government has set national limits on HFCs, which were used to replace ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons in the 1980s but have turned out to be a significant driver of global warming. More than a dozen states have either banned HFCs or are formulating some restrictions…. [https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/03/climate/EPA-HFCs-hydrofluorocarbons.html] See also Washington Post article, Swift action to cut methane emissions could slow Earth’s warming by 30 percent, study finds.
2021-04-28. Senate Reinstates Obama-Era Controls on Climate-Warming Methane. By Coral Davenport, The New York Times. Excerpt: The Senate voted on Wednesday to effectively reinstate an Obama-era regulation designed to clamp down on emissions of methane, a powerful, climate-warming pollutant that will have to be controlled to meet President Biden’s ambitious climate change promises. Taking a page from congressional Republicans who in 2017 made liberal use of a once-obscure law to roll back Obama-era regulations, Democrats invoked the law to turn back a Trump methane rule enacted late last summer. That rule had eliminated Obama-era controls on leaks of methane, which seeps from oil and gas wells. The 52-42 vote was the first time congressional Democrats have used the law, called the Congressional Review Act, which prohibits Senate filibusters and ensures one administration’s last-minute regulations can be swiftly overturned with a simple majority vote in both chambers of Congress. Three Republican senators — Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Rob Portman of Ohio — joined Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents to vote for the measure…. [https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/28/climate/climate-change-methane.html] See also Washington Post article, Senate votes to restore Obama-era limits on methane gas emissions
2021-04-26. EPA moves to give California right to set climate limits on cars, SUVs. By Juliet Eilperin and Dino Grandoni, The Washington Post. Excerpt: The Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that it will move to grant California permission to set more stringent climate requirements for cars and SUVs, a reversal of a key Trump administration policy. The step, coming days after the Transportation Department withdrew Trump-era restrictions of state tailpipe emission rules, could help pave the way for a broader climate deal with the nation’s automakers. The EPA will hold a virtual public hearing on its proposal June 2, and will take comment on the plan until July 6…. [https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/04/26/california-car-climate-waiver/]
2021-04-23. Biden closes landmark summit with a message: Climate action equals jobs. By Brady Dennis, Steven Mufson and Sean Sullivan, The Washington Post. Excerpt: President Biden used the waning hours of a White House climate summit to hammer home a message aimed as much at Americans as at the dozens of world leaders he had convened: Combating the Earth’s warming is not simply a responsibility, but a chance to boost battered economies. “Today’s final session is not about the threat climate change poses,” Biden said Friday morning from the East Room. “It’s about the opportunity that addressing climate change provides, an opportunity to create millions of good-paying jobs around the world in innovative sectors.”…. [https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/04/23/climate-summit-job-biden/]
2021-04-23. Biden Wants to Slash Emissions. Success Would Mean a Very Different America. By Brad Plumer, The New York Times. Excerpt: Hitting the targets could require a rapid shift to electric vehicles, the expansion of forests nationwide, development of complex new carbon-capture technology and many other changes, researchers said…. [https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/22/climate/biden-emissions-target-economy.html]
2021-04-22. Biden Calls to Cut US Emissions in Half by 2030. By Piper McDaniel, Mother Jones. Excerpt: President Biden today addressed 40 world leaders at a virtual climate summit, emphasizing the urgency of the climate crisis and announcing plans to reduce US emissions by 50 to 52 percent by 2030. “By maintaining those investments and putting these people to work, the United States sets out on the road to cut greenhouse gases in half—in half—by the end of this decade,” Biden said. “That’s where we’re headed as a nation.”…. [https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2021/04/biden-calls-to-cut-us-emissions-in-half-by-2030/] See also Washington Post articles, As Biden convenes world leaders, U.S. pledges to cut emissions up to 52 percent by 2030 and Biden ushers in a new era of climate geopolitics.
2021-04-15. Seeking Cooperation on Climate, U.S. Faces Friction With China. By Steven Lee Myers and Chris Buckley, The New York Times. Excerpt: John Kerry, President Biden’s climate envoy, is pressing China to do more to address global warming. But he faces an emboldened Beijing leadership that thinks the United States has lagged behind. …both countries are publicly pledging to do more to fight global warming. The problem will be working together on it. …On Thursday, President Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, met in Shanghai with his counterpart to press China on reducing its carbon emissions, at a time when an emboldened Communist Party leadership has become increasingly dismissive of American demands. In Beijing’s view, the United States still has much ground to recover after walking away from the Paris climate agreement, the 2015 accord to address the catastrophic effects of warming. …“The U.S. has neither the moral standing nor the real power to issue orders to China over climate issues,” the Global Times, a Chinese newspaper that often echoes official thinking in brashly nationalist tones, said in an article on Wednesday before Mr. Kerry’s visit…. [https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/15/world/asia/us-china-climate-john-kerry.html]
2021-03-31. Biden’s infrastructure plan aims to turbocharge U.S. shift from fossil fuels. By Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post. Excerpt: New standard would mandate renewable-energy use by utilities, while tax breaks and spending would promote climate-friendly technologies. …The linchpin of Biden’s plan, which he detailed in a speech Wednesday in Pittsburgh, is the creation of a national standard requiring utilities to use a specific amount of solar, wind and other renewable energy to power American homes, businesses and factories. …Biden said his plan would confront climate change, while putting the U.S. ahead of its economic competitors. “It’s going to boost America’s innovative edge in markets where global leadership is up for grabs,” he said…. [https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/03/31/biden-climate-infrastructure]
2021-03-29. Biden Administration Announces a Major Offshore Wind Plan. By Lisa Friedman and Brad Plumer, The New York Times. Excerpt: WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Monday announced a plan to vastly expand the use of offshore wind power along the East Coast, aiming to tap a potentially huge new source of renewable energy that has so far struggled to gain acceptance in the United States. The plan sets a goal of deploying 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind turbines in coastal waters nationwide by 2030, enough to power 10 million homes. …The administration also plans to offer $3 billion in federal loan guarantees for offshore wind projects and invest in upgrading the nation’s ports to support wind construction. The moves come as President Biden prepares a roughly $3 trillion economic recovery package that will focus heavily on infrastructure to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and tackle climate change, an effort he has framed as a jobs initiative. Officials made a similar case on Monday, saying offshore wind deployment would create 44,000 new jobs directly in the offshore wind sector, such as building and installing turbines, as well as 33,000 new indirect jobs…. [https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/29/climate/biden-offshore-wind.html]
2021-03-18. Biden administration revives EPA Web page on climate change deleted by Trump. By Dino Grandoni and Brady Dennis, The Washington Post. Excerpt: The return of the website again marks the chasm between the two administrations when it comes to climate policy…. [https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/03/18/epa-website-climate/]
2021-03-08. Biden administration backs nation’s biggest wind farm off Martha’s Vineyard. By Dino Grandoni and Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post. Excerpt: The Biden administration took a crucial step Monday toward approving the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind farm about 12 nautical miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., a project that officials say will launch a massive clean-power expansion in the fight against climate change…. [https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/03/08/biden-climate-windfarm/]
2021-01-29. What a New Executive Order Means for Curbing Methane Emissions. By Rishika Pardikar, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: On 20 January, the new administration of President Joe Biden issued an executive order calling for consideration of new methane regulations in the oil and gas sector. More stringent regulations could be a major part of climate change mitigation, as the United States is the world’s largest producer of natural gas with steadily increasing production. …Biden’s executive order comes just days after the release of a Methane Tracker report released by the International Energy Agency on 18 January. “Regulatory action to reduce methane emissions is more important now than ever before.…[Because] oil and gas will continue to be part of the energy mix for years to come, even in rapid clean energy transitions, it is crucial for the oil and gas industry to be proactive in limiting, in all ways possible, the environmental impact of their supply,” according to the report…. [https://eos.org/articles/what-a-new-executive-order-means-for-curbing-methane-emissions]
2021-01-22. Trump downplayed the costs of carbon pollution. That’s about to change.By Paul Voosen, Science Magazine. Excerpt: Carbon pollution is about to get a lot more expensive. Over the past 4 years, the Trump administration low-balled the “social cost of carbon”—a number representing the burden that carbon emissions place on present and future generations, in terms of the cost of floods, droughts, farming losses, and death. The low estimate served to justify a permissive approach to regulating greenhouse gases, whether through power plant emissions rules or appliance efficiency standards. But now the cost—the price per ton of emitted carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxide—is set to rise drastically. On 20 January, its first day in office, the Biden administration recreated an interagency working group (IWG) and ordered it to update the social cost of carbon within 30 days. Many economists believe the cost, set as low as $1 during the Trump administration, will rise as high as $125 in the next month—and higher still come January 2022, when the IWG is due to provide a final number. The update could lead to tighter greenhouse gas regulations. And it is long overdue, says Tamma Carleton, an economist at the University of California (UC), Santa Barbara. “There’s been this huge change in science that hasn’t been reflected in policy.”…. [https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/01/trump-downplayed-costs-carbon-pollution-s-about-change]
2021-01-01. How Trump Tried, but Largely Failed, to Derail America’s Top Climate Report. By Christopher Flavelle, The New York Times. Excerpt: The National Climate Assessment, America’s premier contribution to climate knowledge, stands out for many reasons: Hundreds of scientists across the federal government and academia join forces to compile the best insights available on climate change. The results, released just twice a decade or so, shape years of government decisions. …“Thank God they didn’t know how to run a government,” said Thomas Armstrong, who during the Obama administration led the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which produces the assessment. “It could have been a lot worse.” …For Mr. Trump, who has called climate change a hoax, the assessment posed a particular challenge. Trying to politicize or dismiss climate science is one thing when the warnings come from Democrats or academics. But this report comes from his administration’s very own agencies. …Having failed to either change or bury the report, Mr. Trump and his senior officials then tried dismissing it…. [https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/01/climate/trump-national-climate-assessment.html]