This issue is devoted mostly to the Corona Virus and climate change. We hope all of you are well and thinking hard about the parallels, how we promote green stimulus packages, what we can do in place and the elections. See below on our listings on Earth Day events. Just out today, NYTimes series on Crash course on Climate Change, 50 years after the First Earth Day. Belle and the Climate Team
Corona virus and climate change
Parallels and consequences
The Coronavirus and Climate Change, the Great Crises of Our Time, with David Remnick
Bill McKibben and Elizabeth Kolbert explain how and why President Trump is rapidly rolling back environmental protections—weakening auto-emissions standards and the controls on mercury released by power plants, among other actions—in the midst of the worst viral pandemic in more than a century. Carolyn Kormann interviews a disease ecologist who hunts down viruses among cave-dwelling bats, and who blames human activity for our exposure to deadly novel viruses. And the historian Jill Lepore has an appreciation of Rachel Carson’s early writings about the ocean. If Carson had not died at fifty-six, she wonders, would she have blown the whistle on climate change decades earlier?
Opinion by Ban Ki-moon and Patrick Verkooijen, April 9, 2020
(CNN) Crises tend to bring out some of the best and the worst in us. We have watched in awe and admiration as health care professionals have responded with superhuman dedication to the Covid-19 pandemic... Around the world, 1.7 billion people are staying at home to slow down the spread of the virus, according to The Guardian. Never, it seems, have there been so many visible acts of collective solidarity, and of such magnitude.
Marin firefighters face dual burden of virus, fire season
Facing a potential shortage of healthy firefighters, officials say fire prevention work, such as clearing vegetation around homes and roads, is more crucial than ever this year.
“We have the potential for catastrophically low fuel moisture levels in the vegetation and potentially heavily impacted firefighting resources statewide,” said Todd Lando, executive coordinator for FIRESafe Marin. “Our role is to redouble our efforts.” Tornado and hurricane seasons could be worse this year due to abnormally high sea temperatures.
Northern California may still be grappling with the novel coronavirus outbreak when it begins to face the more familiar threat of dangerous wildfires, and emergency officials are already contemplating that possibility.
By Sarah Kaplan, April 15
Is the coronavirus pandemic connected to climate change? — Tom, France
The short — and incomplete — answer to this question is: not really.
Although climate change is expected to worsen many kinds of disease, especially tropical illnesses carried by insects, coronaviruses like the current one are not on the list. Scientific evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2, the germ that causes covid-19, is closely related to a virus found in bats. Humans may have contracted it through an intermediate host, a scaly anteater called a pangolin that is traded at illegal wildlife markets.
Opening up - Green stimulus
SACRAMENTO – Bringing together leaders across California’s diverse, innovative economic and social sectors to chart a path forward on recovery in the wake of COVID-19, Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the formation of a state Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery. The Task Force will be co-chaired by Governor Newsom’s Chief of Staff Ann O’Leary and philanthropist, environmentalist and businessman Tom Steyer, who was also appointed Chief Advisor to the Governor on Business and Jobs Recovery. He will receive no compensation for his service.
The Task Force will work to develop actions government and businesses can take to help Californians recover as fast as safely possible from the COVID-19 induced recession and to shape a fair, green, and prosperous future. They will meet twice a month throughout 2020 to develop options that would work for all Californians, with a particular focus on those hardest hit by the pandemic.
Addressing climate change is a big enough idea to revive the economy.
By Rhiana Gunn-Wright
Ms. Gunn-Wright is director of climate policy at the Roosevelt Institute.
A climate-focused economic recovery — much less a coronavirus response that acknowledges the climate crisis — could require a new Congress and a new president, a tall order in an America this divided. But maybe it is time to stop acting as though politics is a force of nature when we are facing actual and deadly forces of nature. It’s past time to elect leaders who are fit to handle the crises we face, instead of hoping for problems small enough to fit the leaders we have.
The climate case for making the government the employer of last resort
By Kate Aronoff, March 18, 2020
The American economy is headed for a recession. As many as three million people could be out of work by summertime, even with a modest stimulus, the Economic Policy Institute predicted on Thursday. A new poll finds that, already, nearly one in five workers in the United States has faced layoff or a loss of hours because of the coronavirus.
By Thomas L. Friedman
Congress needs to invest with an eye on the nation’s future. More cheap, domestically produced, low- and zero-carbon energy so we become less vulnerable to the oil price manipulations of Saudi Arabia and Russia and less likely to court Mother Nature’s next curve ball: climate change.
Elections and politics
Pandemic (article attached)
By Kevin Morrison and Barb Miller, April 17, 2020
By Karyn Strickler
Given the climate emergency, the difference between a candidate who is good enough on the issue and one who is great, could be the difference between a livable planet and not.
By Beth Gardiner
Ms. Gardiner is the author of “Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution.”
Health impacts - COVID-19, climate change
By Kurtis Alexander
The smoke-filled skies that choked Northern California in recent wildfire seasons may be best remembered for sore throats, burning eyes and wheezing. New research, however, suggests that many people experienced a far more drastic side effect: heart failure.
A first-of-its-kind study that looked at the health impacts of California wildfires from 2015 through 2017, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found that cardiac arrests occurred as much as 70% more often on days of heavy smoke. Most of these incidents were fatal.
The massive global economic shutdown in response to COVID-19 is clearing the skies as less pollution is being emitted from the burning of fossil fuels, including emissions of fewer colorless greenhouse gases. But emitting fewer greenhouse gases alone will not cool Earth, only reduce extra warming that would have otherwise taken place. And counterintuitively, as fossil fuel pollutants are reduced, global average temperatures warm even more due to the loss of global cooling aerosols (air pollution) that are emitted alongside greenhouse gases when fossil fuels are burned.
By Matt McGrath, Environment correspondent
Researchers say the megadrought is a naturally occurring event that started in the year 2000 and is still ongoing.
Climate change, though, is having a major impact with rising temperatures making the drought more severe.
Some researchers are more cautious, saying that it is too early to say if the region really is seeing a true megadrought.
“The results of this paper suggest that long-term exposure to air pollution increases vulnerability to experiencing the most severe Covid-19 outcomes,” the authors wrote.
“This study provides evidence that counties that have more polluted air will experience higher risks of death for Covid-19,” said Francesca Dominici, a professor of biostatistics at Harvard who led the study.
Gutting climate and environmental regulations during COVID-19
The Drilled News Climate & COVID-19 Policy Tracker is keeping an eye on climate change-related rollbacks by the Trump administration and state governments amid the coronavirus crisis, along with favors to oil and gas, and other energy and climate-related industries.
By Amy Westervelt and Emily Gertz
Published April 6, 2020, Last updated April 20, 2020
The Trump administration is expected on Thursday to withdraw the legal justification for an Obama-era regulation that forced coal-fired power plants to cut mercury and other toxic air pollution, the New York Times reports.
Why it matters: It's another step by the administration to relax health-related regulations even during the coronavirus pandemic. The administration curtailed vehicle emissions standards despite studies linking pollution to higher COVID-19 death rates.
By Dino Grandoni, March 23, 2020
The Trump administration is moving full-steam ahead to allow more drilling for oil and natural gas on public lands — despite the precipitous drop in petroleum prices now undercutting their value.
The coronavirus pandemic has triggered one of the steepest slides in oil prices in history, with the U.S. energy sector being hit both by an expected surge in production from Saudi Arabia and Russia and a drop in global demand for fuel as airlines cancel flights and factories suspend production in an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
"The EPA uses this global pandemic to create loopholes for destroying the environment. This is a schoolbook example for what we need to start looking out for."
The Environmental Protection Agency, headed by former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, announced on Thursday a sweeping and indefinite suspension of environmental rules amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic, a move green groups warned gives the fossil fuel industry a "green light to pollute with impunity."
Under the new policy (pdf), which the EPA insisted is temporary while providing no timeframe, big polluters will effectively be trusted to regulate themselves and will not be punished for failing to comply with reporting rules and other requirements. The order—applied retroactively beginning March 13, 2020—requests that companies "act responsibly" to avoid violations.
NYTimes.com: Trump’s Environmental Rollbacks Find Opposition Within: Staff Scientists
By Lisa Friedman
Gina McCarthy, who led the E.P.A. under the Obama administration and now serves as president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, called it “an open license to pollute.” She said that while individual companies might need flexibility, “this brazen directive is nothing short of an abject abdication of the E.P.A. mission to protect our well being.’’
The Trump administration has finalized new fuel efficiency standards, lowering expectations from 54 miles per gallon by 2025 to 40 miles a gallon by 2030.
By Coral Davenport
Climate Change - Extreme weather and impacts
The drought that has gripped the American Southwest since 2000 is as bad as or worse than droughts in the region over the past 1,200 years, a new study finds.
The closure of Colorado coal-fired powerplants is freeing up water for thirsty cities
Large electricity generators use lots of water to cool their coal-fired plants. As those units shut down, expect to see battles heat up over how the massive amounts of water can be repurposed.
A Crisis Right Now: San Francisco and Manila Face Rising Seas ... Somini Sengupta, The New York Times global climate reporter, and Chang W. Lee, ... to see how rising sea levels are affecting two big metropolitan areas.
On November 8, 2018, the day the Camp Fire broke out, four local reporters showed up at the Butte County sheriff’s department for an end-of-day news briefing... They couldn’t yet confirm any deaths; the fire had been burning since morning, and many places were still too dangerous to enter. The faces of some of the officials were streaked with soot; others appeared to be in shock, eyes glassy and distant. A county supervisor had watched his home burn. “This is the fire we always feared would happen,” the sheriff said. After about an hour, they said good night.
Trey Hill led a small group of fellow farmers to a field outside his office in Rock Hall on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It was a cloudy February day, but the ground was alive with color — purple and red turnip tops mixing exuberantly with green rye, vetch and clover, and beneath it all, rich brown soil. Hill reached down, yanked a long, thick, white daikon radish from the earth and showed his visitors sumptuous coffee-colored clods clinging to hairy rootlets. Those clumps, he explained, hoard carbon — carbon that’s not heating the planet.
March 28, 2020
And Corona virus not helping.
Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis:
“The fracking sector as a whole has been struggling mightily throughout the decade to register positive free cash flow but for those based in Appalachia, the numbers have been even more dismal,” said IEEFA financial analyst and briefing note co-author Kathy Hipple.
"This has never happened before," one scientist said. "We're in completely uncharted territory."
By Denise Chow
The Great Barrier Reef is experiencing its most widespread coral bleaching event, according to scientists who say record warm temperatures and warming oceans are threatening its fragile corals.
EARTH DAY EVENTS (thanks Green Change for list)
· Earth Day Live! - April 22-24
· Drawdown 101 - April 22
· Adopt a Polar Bear - April 22
· Stop the Money Pipeline - April 23
· Uniting From Home - April 25
· Take Climate Actions at Home - April 25
Also: Citizen's Climate Lobby (see attached flyer)
EARTH DAY CARBON-FREE PRESENTATION
When: EARTH DAY! Wednesday, April 22, 4:00pm
And will be Archived for future viewing at: TomSuchanek.net/covid
Where: ON Nevada County TV: Comcast Cable 11, Suddenlink Cable 16
Facebook: Nevada County Citizens’ Climate Lobby
Facebook: Sacramento Citizens Climate Lobby
"They will provide insight on attempts to “slow the spread” and “flatten the curve” of coronavirus infections, and what that can teach us about the need to bendthe exponential curve of increasing carbon emissions to address climate change."
CCL Virtual Earth Day Conference, Sat, April 25, 2020 10:00 AM- 1:00 PM PT
Belle Cole, Chair (415) 482-6627
Karen Andresen, Vice Chair (415) 382-8490
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View a calendar of all political events https://norcalblue.org/
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