CC9C. 2022-What Are Governments Doing About Climate Change?

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Staying current for Chapter 9

Articles from 2022

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[during 2022, the 2022 articles are on the main Staying current page for chapter 9]

2022-07-01. As Federal Climate-Fighting Tools Are Taken Away, Cities and States Step Up. [] By Maggie Astor, The New York Times. Excerpt: Across the country, local governments are accelerating their efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, in some cases bridging partisan divides. Their role will become increasingly important. Legislators in Colorado, historically a major coal state, have passed more than 50 climate-related laws since 2019. The liquor store in the farming town of Morris, Minn., cools its beer with solar power. Voters in Athens, Ohio, imposed a carbon fee on themselves. Citizens in Fairfax County, Va., teamed up for a year and a half to produce a 214-page climate action plan. …New York and Colorado, for example, are on track to reduce electricity-related emissions 80 percent or more by 2030, compared with 2005 levels, according to new state scorecards from RMI. By removing partisan politics from community discussions about climate policy, it’s sometimes possible to reach a consensus that’s been difficult to achieve on a national level. That is what happened in Morris, a city of about 5,000 in Minnesota, not far from the South Dakota border. There, the University of Minnesota Morris campus leans left politically, while surrounding farming communities lean right. But both communities broadly support — and have helped to shape — the “Morris Model,” which calls for reducing energy consumption 30 percent by 2030, producing 80 percent of the county’s electricity locally by 2030 (thus guaranteeing it comes from renewable sources) and eliminating landfill waste by 2025.…

2022-06-07. Funding needed for climate disasters has risen ‘more than 800%’ in 20 years. By Arthur Neslen, The Guardian. Excerpt: The funding needed by UN climate disaster appeals has soared by more than 800% in 20 years as global heating takes hold. But only about half of it is being met by rich countries, according to a new report by Oxfam. Last year was the third costliest on record for extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and wildfires with total economic costs estimated at $329bn, nearly double the total aid given by donor nations. While poor countries appealed for $63-75bn in emergency humanitarian aid over the last five years, they only received $35-42bn, leaving a shortfall that Oxfam condemned as “piecemeal and painfully inadequate”. []

2022-06-01. University of California to remove all companies that own fossil fuel reserves from the UC Retirement Savings Program. By UC Berkeley. Excerpt: UC Investments believes that the fossil fuel industry faces considerable long term financial risk and that removing such companies from the RSP will have a positive financial and risk-reducing impact on fund performance in the long run…. [

2022-06-01. Biden Administration to Cut Costs for Wind and Solar Energy Projects. By Lisa Friedman, The New York Times. Excerpt: WASHINGTON — The Biden administration said on Wednesday it would cut in half the amount it charges companies to build wind and solar projects on federal lands, a move designed to encourage development of renewable energy…. []

2022-05-06. Climate Action Plans Tailored to Indian Cities. By Deepa Padmanaban, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Many Indian cities are developing climate action plans to adapt to increasing risks they face because of climate change (such as flooding and heat waves) and to mitigate greenhouse emissions associated with extensive urbanization. Abinash Mohanty, program lead for the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, New Delhi, said, “The discourse of city climate action plans started because the hierarchy of decisionmaking, operation, preparedness, prevention, and mitigation is different at city and national levels. We need to understand where the hyperlocal action happens—that can only happen at a city level.” Mumbai is the latest Indian city to release a climate action plan (CAP).… []

2022-03-27. How Joe Manchin Aided Coal, and Earned Millions. By Christopher Flavelle and Julie Tate, The New York Times. Excerpt: At every step of his political career, Joe Manchin helped a West Virginia power plant that is the sole customer of his private coal business. Along the way, he blocked ambitious climate action. …While the fact that Mr. Manchin owns a coal business is well-known, an examination by The New York Times offers a more detailed portrait of the degree to which Mr. Manchin’s business has been interwoven with his official actions. He created his business while a state lawmaker in anticipation of the Grant Town plant, which has been the sole customer for his gob for the past 20 years, according to federal data. At key moments over the years, Mr. Manchin used his political influence to benefit the plant. …As the pivotal vote in an evenly split Senate, Mr. Manchin has blocked legislation that would speed the country’s transition to wind, solar and other clean energy and away from coal, oil and gas, the burning of which is dangerously heating the planet.… []

2022-03-07. E.P.A. to Tighten Tailpipe Rules for the Biggest Polluters on the Road. By Coral Davenport, The New York Times. Excerpt: The Biden administration on Monday proposed strict new limits on pollution from buses, delivery vans, tractor-trailers and other heavy trucks — the first time in more than 20 years that tailpipe standards have been tightened for the biggest polluters on the road. The new draft rule from the Environmental Protection Agency would require heavy-duty trucks to reduce emissions of nitrogen dioxide by 90 percent by 2031. Nitrogen dioxide is linked to lung cancer, heart disease and premature death. The E.P.A. also announced plans to slightly tighten truck emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that is driving climate change. The new rules for nitrogen oxide pollution would apply to trucks beginning with the model year 2027, while the carbon dioxide rules would apply to trucks starting with the model year 2024.… []

2022-02-23. E.U. will unveil a strategy to break free from Russian gas, after decades of dependence. By Michael Birnbaum and Steven Mufson, The Washington Post. Excerpt: Ukraine crisis has pushed Europe toward renewables — but will the change come quickly enough?.… []

2022-02-21. Court ruling on social cost of carbon upends Biden’s climate plans. By Maxine Joselow, The Washington Post. Excerpt: A recent court ruling that bars the Biden administration from accounting for the real-world costs of climate change has created temporary chaos at federal agencies, upending everything from planned oil and gas lease sales to infrastructure spending. The Feb. 11 decision by a Louisiana federal judge blocked the Biden administration from using a higher estimate forthe damage that each additional ton of greenhouse gas pollution causes society. This formula, calledthe social cost of carbon, applies toconsequential decisions affecting fossil fuel extraction on public lands, infrastructure projects and even international climate talks. …President Biden last year directed federal agencies to applyan interim social cost of carbon of $51 per ton — the figure used under former president Barack Obama — while his administration weighed whether to raise itto as high as $125 per ton. Under former president Donald Trump, that figure had fallen as low as $1 per ton, as his appointees recalculated the impacts of climate change on present and future generations.… []

2022-02-10. France Announces Major Nuclear Power Buildup. By Liz Alderman, The New York Times. Excerpt: President Emmanuel Macron announced a major buildup of France’s huge nuclear power program on Thursday, pledging to construct up to 14 new-generation reactors and a fleet of smaller nuclear plants as the country seeks to slash planet-warming emissions and cut its reliance on foreign energy. The announcement represented an about-face for Mr. Macron, who had previously pledged to reduce France’s reliance on nuclear power but has pivoted to burnishing an image as a pronuclear president battling climate change as he faces a tough re-election bid in April.… []

2022-02-10. How Billions in Infrastructure Funding Could Worsen Global Warming. By Brad Plumer, The New York Times. Excerpt: …widening highways and paving new roads often just spurs people to drive more, research shows. And as concerns grow about how tailpipe emissions are heating the planet, Colorado is among a handful of car-dominated states that are rethinking road building. In December, Colorado adopted a first-of-its-kind climate change regulation that will push transportation planners to redirect funding away from highway expansions and toward projects that cut vehicle pollution, such as buses and bike lanes. …In 2019, states spent one-third of their highway dollars on new road capacity, roughly $19.3 billion, with the rest spent on repairs. “This is a major blind spot for politicians who say they care about climate change,” said Kevin DeGood, director of infrastructure policy at the Center for American Progress…. “Everyone gets that oil pipelines are carbon infrastructure. But new highways are carbon infrastructure, too. Both lock in place 40 to 50 years of emissions.” The core problem, environmentalists say, is a phenomenon known as “induced traffic demand.” When states build new roads or add lanes to congested highways, instead of reducing traffic, more cars show up to fill the available space. Induced demand explains why, when Texas widened the Katy Freeway in Houston to more than 20 lanes in 2011, at a cost of $2.8 billion, congestion returned to previous levels within a few years.… []

2022-02-10. The U.S. Army has released its first-ever climate strategy. Here’s what that means. By Michael Birnbaum and Tik Root, The Washington Post. Excerpt: The U.S. Army released its first climate strategy this week, an effort to brace the service for a world beset by global-warming-driven conflicts. The plan aims to slash the Army’s emissions in half by 2030; electrify all noncombat vehicles by 2035 and develop electric combat vehicles by 2050; and train a generation of officers on how to prepare for a hotter, more chaotic world. It is part of a broader effort by the Biden administration to address climate change across government agencies, including at the Pentagon. …strategists are increasingly alarmed about the security implications of climate change. The strategy notes “an increased risk of armed conflict in places where established social orders and populations are disrupted.… []

2022-01-31. Biden administration to give states $1.15 billion to plug orphaned wells, which leak planet-warming methane. By Tik Root. The Washington Post. Excerpt: The White House on Monday announced new steps to help curb emissions of methane, saying it will send $1.15 billion to states to clean up thousands of orphaned oil and gas wells that leak the powerful planet-warming gas. …Tens of thousands of abandoned wells dot the country in places where the oil and gas companies or individual owners went out of business, or are otherwise no longer responsible for their cleanup. …The funds will go to the 26 states that submitted notices of intent to the Interior Department late last year. The allocations range from about $25 million for Alabama, up to $107 million for Texas. More will be spent in the coming months and years as part of grants to states.… []

2022-01-19. Biden Administration Announces Plan to Spend Billions to Prevent Wildfires. By Alyssa Lukpat, The New York Times. Excerpt: After a year that included one of the largest wildfires in California history and ended with an unseasonably late blaze that became the most destructive ever seen in Colorado, the Biden administration on Tuesday announced a 10-year, multibillion-dollar plan to reduce the fire risk on up to 50 million acres that border vulnerable communities. The federal Agriculture Department said in a statement that it would take measures to reduce the danger of catastrophic fires in dozens of spots in 11 Western states by thinning overgrown trees and using controlled burns to get rid of dead vegetation. The plan, detailed in a report, would quadruple the government’s land treatment efforts.… []