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April 2021

Dear Friends:

We emphasize links to Biden’s Global Summit and Infrastructure plan, Drawdown: Marin’s new status as well as a list of Earth Day events. Belle and Climate Team


Trump Abandoned the Climate. This Is Biden’s Moment.

The new president has promised to take the lead on climate. His plan does not disappoint. “On April 22, Earth Day, the leaders of more than three dozen countries, among them 17 nations responsible for four-fifths of the world’s emissions of greenhouse gases, will convene at a virtual summit. The purpose is to discuss where the world goes from here on climate change and what each country must do to limit the Earth’s warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius compared with preindustrial levels — a threshold beyond which scientists predict irreversible environmental damage.”


Links to Articles

Biden’s Global Summit

Biden Wants Leaders to Make Climate Commitments for Earth Day

The administration is closing in on deals with some close allies, but agreements with powers like China, Brazil and India are proving difficult.


Biden’s Infrastructure Proposals and Climate Policy

How Infrastructure and Climate Are Linked Issues

The reality is that a changing climate threatens America’s decrepit infrastructure and makes such investments ever more necessary. Every year, weather—and climate-related natural disasters cost the United States tens of billions of dollars—totaling more than $600 billion over just the last five years.


Biden’s wooing both labor and environmentalists on climate change. Oil pipelines may drive them apart.

The president is trying to square environmentalists’ demands to stop burning fossil fuels with labor leaders’ desire for union jobs linked to oil and gas


Biden’s Jobs Plan Is Also a Climate Plan. Will It Make a Difference?

The Administration has an ambitious vision for combatting global warming, but it’s only a start.

By Elizabeth Kolbert

From a political standpoint, it makes sense to link jobs and justice and decarbonization. Union wages and electric school buses are a lot easier to sell than a hike in the gasoline tax. And an infrastructure package that doesn’t pass won’t do anyone any good. Unfortunately, though, the laws of geophysics are indifferent to politics.


Biden Team Prepares $3 Trillion in New Spending for the Economy

A pair of proposals would invest in infrastructure, education, work force development and fighting climate change, with the aim of making the economy more productive.


Biden’s Recovery Plan Bets Big on Clean Energy

The president’s plan, worth up to $4 trillion, represents a fundamental shift in the way Democrats talk about tackling climate change: It’s no longer a side issue.

A guiding philosophy of the Biden proposal argues that the future of good jobs is the transition to an economy that no longer churns out carbon dioxide through the burning of coal, oil and gas.

The underlying message — that the next step of America’s economic recovery is fundamentally tied to countering the climate crisis — represents a major pivot in the way Democrats make the case for tackling global warming.


Biden Rolls Out His Infrastructure Plan

By Coral Davenport

The initiative includes hundreds of billions of dollars to fight climate change.


To Save the Earth, Fall in Love

More people than ever visited national parks during the pandemic. We need to harness that interest for change.


Biden’s Climate Plan Means Tough Choices: Which Homes Get Saved?

The proposal represents an enormous effort to fight climate change, but it sidesteps the question of who will be forced to move because of rising water.


Biden’s Lesson from Past Green Stimulus Failures: Go Even Bigger

As vice president, Joe Biden oversaw a “green jobs” stimulus package that produced notable failures. This time, with more money and more demand for clean technology, will be different, Democrats say.


Science

How close are we to the temperature tipping point of the terrestrial biosphere?

By Bill McKibben

In recent days, the nation watched in horror as an unprecedented winter storm wreaked havoc on Texas’s energy infrastructure, leaving residents without power in sub-freezing temperatures for days on end. We later learned that the state came within a hair’s breadth of a truly catastrophic failure that could have put parts of the grid in the dark for months.


Climate change and wildfire smoke leave the West's outdoor theaters with few good options going forward


'We're Destroying Our Life-Support Systems': Study Suggests the Amazon Now Contributes to Warming

"CO2 is not a lone actor. When you consider the whole cast of other characters, the outlook in the Amazon is that the impacts of human activities will be worse than we realize."

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer


Carbon dioxide spikes to critical record, halfway to doubling preindustrial levels

The concentration of the heat-trapping gas topped 420 parts per million, while the planet has warmed more than two degrees


The EV Charging Problem (great video)

March 6, 2021

Above, the chicken and egg problem of EVs and EV chargers.


Technology

Scientists Say Jet Fuel Made from Food Waste Could Slash Aviation’s Climate Impact

Researchers have worked out a way to transform food scraps, used cooking oil, animal manure and wastewater sludge into jet fuel with a carbon footprint 165% lower than standard jet fuel, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Researchers have outlined a way to make more sustainable fuel from waste like cooking oil, food scraps, manure and sewage. But not everyone is convinced.


Biden Administration Boosts Wind and Solar Ambitions Ahead of Infrastructure Push

The U.S. currently has 42 megawatts of offshore wind online. The Biden administration just set a goal of deploying 30,000 megawatts by 2030.

By Chris D’Angelo and Alexander C. Kaufman


This Peeler Did Not Need to Be Wrapped in So Much Plastic

Amazon must become a leader in reducing single-use packaging.


Transformative Investment in Climate-Smart Agriculture: Introduction and Deep Dive

A new U.S. Farmers and Ranchers in Action (USFRA) report, “Transformative Investment in Climate-Smart Agriculture: Unlocking the potential of our soils to help the U.S. achieve a net-zero economy” makes the case that increased attention and investment in agriculture is necessary and urgent.  Why?


Antarctica’s ice shelves are trembling as Earth heats, threatening Sea Level Rise unless we Act Now


Green hydrogen could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 25 million tonnes in German Ruhr region

Green hydrogen technology can help reduce emissions from industry, transport and heating in the German Ruhr region up to 72 percent by 2050 compared to 2018, the private industry-sponsored German Economic Institute (IW) shows in a report commissioned by the Ruhr Regional Association (RVR). The IW looked at six different scenarios for the development and use of hydrogen in the western German metropolitan region, home to five million inhabitants and many power plants as well as steel and chemical industries.


Public opinion, Republican response to Biden’s climate policies

Republicans Are Mired in Concrete

By Paul Krugman

It is time to embrace the softer side of infrastructure.

Republicans have been having a hard time explaining why they oppose President Biden’s American Jobs Plan. … in the past few days many Republicans seem to have settled on the claim that most of the proposed spending isn’t really infrastructure …


In the Heartland: Clean Energy has to Make its Case

By greenman3610


As Benefits Become Clear, More Conservatives “Get it” on Clean Energy


The Moms Who Are Battling Climate Change

A new initiative seeks to tap into mothers’ concern for the world their children are inheriting.

By Lizzie Widdicombe


Any Bipartisan Approach with GOP on a Carbon Tax Is a Fool's Errand

We at Carbon Tax Center believe that removing climate deniers from the Climate Solutions Caucus could help rehabilitate carbon taxing in the public conversation.


Extreme weather- wildfires, storms, drought

Drillers Burned Off Gas at a Staggering Rate as Winter Storm Hit Texas

Frigid temperatures last month froze pipelines and forced companies to flare vast amounts of planet-warming gases that they suddenly had nowhere to send.

The need to intentionally burn off, or flare, an estimated 1.6 billion cubic feet of gas in a single day — a fivefold increase from rates seen before the crisis, according to satellite analysis — came as the state’s power plants went offline and pipelines froze.

… Burning off unused gas instead of capturing it not only wastes a valuable energy source, it emits carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that is the main contributor to climate change.


Wisconsin poised for devastating wildfire season as hundreds of blazes rage

State has lost almost as much acreage to fires in four months as it did throughout last year


California’s wildfire smoke could be more harmful than vehicle emissions, study says

Toxic particles spewed by wildfires resulted in 10 times as many respiratory-illness related hospitalizations as other types of pollution, researchers found


Wildfires Will Keep Getting Worse — Even in “Best Case” Climate Scenarios


Too late to stop it': California's future hinges on managing megafires


Biden’s Chance to Save the Everglades

Reviving the South Florida ecosystem enjoys bipartisan support and deserves federal funding.


Fossil Fuels

New Report Details the Gendered and Racial Impacts of the Fossil Fuel Industry and the Complicit Financial Institutions


The Powerful New Financial Argument for Fossil-Fuel Divestment

A report by BlackRock, the world’s largest investment house, shows that those who have divested have profited not only morally but also financially.

Oil Giants Prepare to Put Carbon Back in the Ground

The multibillion-dollar project could be a breakthrough for a technology known as carbon capture and storage, a concept that has been around for at least a quarter-century to reduce the climate-damaging emissions from factories.


There’s A Big Hole in The Argument That Ditching Fossil Fuels Will Kill Jobs

The clean energy transition isn’t Big Oil’s only problem. Oil and gas jobs have been disappearing for a long time.


California, Marin

Scientist, biotech entrepreneur to lead land trust

By Richard Halstead

The Marin Agricultural Land Trust has hired Thane Kreiner, a scientist and biotech entrepreneur, as its new chief executive officer.


'This has never happened': California's only wildfire research center makes scary discovery

On the second day of April, the skies were clear over the San Francisco Bay Area and the view from atop the sun-drenched Mount Umunhum in the South Bay spread across a sea of green shrubs and trees carpeting the surrounding Santa Cruz Mountains.


Novato City Council approves Costco gas station


Marin to launch nonprofit to tackle climate change, pollution

A new nonprofit will be created to implement the goals of “Drawdown: Marin,” a community driven campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below zero and prepare for climate change impacts. The Marin County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the formation of the nonprofit on Tuesday.

“This is a great day officially beginning the formation of the Drawdown organization,” said Bill Carney, president of Sustainable San Rafael and a Marin Climate Action Network member.


Don't judge the climate fight

By Joe Mathews

When you evaluate California’s fight on what it’s actually accomplished, the picture is extraordinary. Over a generation, climate change has been the most compelling reason for reducing pollution, starting industries, re-engineering products, seeding social movements, investing in infrastructure, and revamping regional government.


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