CC9C. Staying Current-What Are Governments Doing About Climate Change?

Articles from 2023 (most recent articles)

Stay current index page for Chapter 9

{ Climate Change Contents }

2023-03-19. IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) . [] By Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Summary for Policy Makers (draft) [] is marked as “Approved” but “Do Not Cite, Quote or Distribute”. That said, there are many many aspects of interest. E.g.:
“A.4.2 Several mitigation options, notably solar energy, wind energy, electrification of urban systems, urban green infrastructure, energy efficiency, demand-side management, improved forest- and crop/grassland management, and reduced food waste and loss, are technically viable, are becoming increasingly cost effective and are generally supported by the public. From 2010– 2019 there have been sustained decreases in the unit costs of solar energy (85%), wind energy (55%), and lithium ion batteries (85%), and large increases in their deployment, e.g., >10x for solar and >100x for electric vehicles (EVs), varying widely across regions. The mix of policy instruments that reduced costs and stimulated adoption includes public R&D, funding for demonstration and pilot projects, and demand pull instruments such as deployment subsidies to attain scale. Maintaining emission-intensive systems may, in some regions and sectors, be more expensive than transitioning to low emission systems. (high confidence)….”
There are interesting variations of how this report is portrayed in news media. For example, compare the headlines in The New York Times, “Climate Change Is Speeding Toward Catastrophe. The Next Decade Is Crucial, U.N. Panel Says“, with The Guardian, “World can still avoid worst of climate collapse with genuine change, IPCC says.

2023-03-10. Biden Administration Expected to Move Ahead on a Major Oil Project in Alaska. [] By Lisa Friedman, The New York Times. Excerpt: …the Biden administration is planning to greenlight an enormous $8 billion oil drilling project in the North Slope of Alaska…. …Willow would be the largest new oil development in the United States, expected to pump out 600 million barrels of crude over 30 years. Burning all that oil could release nearly 280 million metric tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. On an annual basis, that would translate into 9.2 million metric tons of carbon pollution, equal to adding nearly two million cars to the roads each year. The United States, the second biggest polluter on the planet after China, emits about 5.6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. Environmental activists, who have labeled the project a “carbon bomb” have argued that the project would deepen America’s dependence on oil and gas at a time when the International Energy Agency said nations must stop permitting such projects to avert the most catastrophic impacts of climate change….

2023-02-10. As Federal Cash Flows to Unions, Democrats Hope to Reap the Rewards. [] By Jonathan Weisman, New York Times. Excerpt: In places like West Virginia, money from three major laws passed by Congress is pouring into the alternative energy industry and other projects. “I think it’s a renaissance for the labor movement,” said one union official. …Money is just starting to flow from the last Congress’s three huge legislative victories — a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, a $280 billion measure to rekindle a domestic semiconductor industry and the Inflation Reduction Act, which included $370 billion for clean energy to combat climate change….

2023-02-03. The man in charge of how the US spends $400bn to shift away from fossil fuels. [] By Oliver Milman, The Guardian. Excerpt: Deep in the confines of the hulking, brutalist headquarters of the US Department of Energy, down one of its long, starkly lit corridors, sits a small, unheralded office that is poised to play a pivotal role in America’s shift away from fossil fuels and help the world stave off disastrous global heating. The department’s loan programs office (LPO) was “essentially dormant” under Donald Trump, according to its head, Jigar Shah, but has now come roaring back with a huge war chest to bankroll emerging clean energy projects and technology. Last year’s vast Inflation Reduction Act grew the previously moribund office’s loan authority to $140bn, while adding a new program worth another $250bn in loan guarantees to retool projects that help cut planet-heating emissions. Which means that Shah, a debonair former clean energy entrepreneur and podcast host who matches his suits with pristine Stan Smiths, oversees resources comparable to the GDP of Norway: all to help turbocharge solar, wind, batteries and a host of other climate technologies in the US….

2023-02-02. Calls for bigger windfall tax after Shell makes ‘obscene’ $40bn profit. [] By Alex Lawson, The Guardian. Excerpt: The government is under pressure to rethink its windfall tax on energy companies after Shell reported one of the largest profits in UK corporate history, with the surge in energy prices sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushing the oil company’s annual takings to $40bn (£32bn)….

2023-01-20. White House Aims to Reflect the Environment in Economic Data. [] By Lydia DePillis, The New York Times. Excerpt: Forests that keep hillsides from eroding and clean the air. Wetlands that protect coastal real estate from storm surges. Rivers and deep snows that attract tourists and create jobs in rural areas. All of those are natural assets of perhaps obvious value — but none are accounted for by traditional measurements of economic activity. On Thursday, the Biden administration unveiled an effort to change that by creating a system for assessing the worth of healthy ecosystems to humanity. The results could inform governmental decisions like which industries to support, which natural resources to preserve and which regulations to pass….

2023-01-14. A Deal to Help South Africa Is a Breakthrough for the World. [] By The Editorial Board, The New york Times. Excerpt: South Africa generates 80 percent of its electricity by burning coal, more than any other industrialized nation. Some 200,000 people are directly employed by the coal mines, coal transports and coal-fired power plants that dot the flatlands east of Johannesburg, but the prosperity of the rest of the nation also rests on a foundation of black rock. Now, the South African government, with the help of the United States and European nations, is embarking on an audacious plan to quit coal without undermining economic growth. If it works, the proposed transition to solar and wind power could fuel faster growth and create a template for coal-dependent nations to confront climate change. This is a significant opportunity, and it deserves support and attention. The United States has committed more than $1 billion as part of an $8.5 billion international aid package to catalyze South Africa’s shift to renewable energy, and, after two years of talks about the details, the government in Pretoria is to deliver a plan in February for carrying it out. The proposed aid package is part of a broader shift in the international response to climate change. Windy talk about the necessity for wealthy countries to help less wealthy countries is finally turning tangible. In November, a group of nations, including the United States, committed $20 billion for a similar partnership with Indonesia, then made a $15.5 million commitment to Vietnam in December. Talks are underway with other nations, including Senegal and India….

2023-01-12. Extended producer responsibility for fossil fuels. [] By Stuart Jenkins, et al, Environmental Research Letters. Excerpt: …an opportunity: to open a conversation about applying the principle of extended producer responsibility (EPR) to fossil fuels. …Implementing EPR through a combination of geological CO2 storage and nature-based solutions can deliver net zero at comparable or lower costs than conventional scenarios driven with a global carbon price and subject to constraints on CO2 storage deployment. It would also mean that the principal beneficiary of high fossil fuel prices, the fossil fuel industry itself, plays its part in addressing the climate challenge while reducing the risk of asset stranding. …Under EPR as implemented in France, for example, a ‘producer’, meaning ‘any natural or legal person who develops, manufactures, handles, treats, sells or imports waste-generating products’, ‘may be required […] to provide or contribute to the prevention and management of the resulting waste’. This law already applies to household chemicals, but not hydrocarbon fuels, despite the fact that almost 100% of the carbon contained in fossil fuels ending up as waste CO2 dumped into the atmosphere. If the principle of EPR were applied across OECD countries without this exemption, anyone extracting or importing fossil fuels into the OECD would become responsible for permanent disposal of the waste CO2 that those fuels generate….

See updates from {2022}-{2021}-{2020}-{2013-2019}-{2008-2012}

Non-chronological resources

Kyoto Treaty text

National Climate Assessment (NCA), originally required by the Global Change Research Act of 1990 and periodically updated, can be found on the U.S.Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) website. It informs the nation about already observed climate changes, the current status of the climate, and anticipated trends for the future. It integrates scientific information from multiple sources and sectors and provides input to Federal agencies, U.S. citizens, communities, and businesses as they create more sustainable and environmentally sound plans for the nation’s future. Prior and current drafts of the NCA can be found at

Climate Change

Carbon Mitigation Initiative – a joint project of Princeton University, BP and the Ford Motor Company to find solutions to the greenhouse and global warming problem. Researchers are developing strategies to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions that will be safe, effective, and affordable.

ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability was founded in 1990 by local governments at the United Nations Headquarters in New York as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). It’s an association of cities, towns, counties, and local government associations ((more than 600 in the U.S.) whose mission is to build and serve a worldwide movement to achieve tangible improvements in global sustainability. 

Nature Conservancy pages on Climate Change

NOAA Global Climate Change page

Permafrost Lab

RealClimate –
a commentary site (blog) on climatology by climate scientists. Provides quick response to developing stories.

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) – Climate & Energy Publications

Climate Change cover