FEBRUARY 19, 2020
Dear Friends: We call your attention to Marin IJ reporting on Measure C, the fire safety parcel tax on the March 3 ballot; report on record high carbon emissions, 416.08 parts per million; Jeff Bezos committing $10 Billion to address climate change and so much more. Belle and Climate Team
Links to climate articles
Ostrich Paradox: Why Marin is pushing to pass Measure C
By Dick Spotswood
Since the greatest threat to life and property in Marin is wildland fire, Measure C, the parcel tax on the March 3 ballot to fund prudent forest management, should be a cinch to achieve a two-thirds supermajority.
A Detailed Breakdown of Marin's Measure C, Which Proposes a Tax to Fund Marin WildFire Prevention
Posted by Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center
The attached comes from Mill Valley City Councilmember John McCauley, writing as an individual and not in his Councilmember capacity, about Measure C
Extreme weather: wildfires, floods, drought
Wildfires Threaten North American Water Supplies
By François-Nicolas Robinne, Dennis W. Hallema and Kevin D. Bladon, The Conversation
Rivers and lakes that serve as drinking-water sources are at increased risk of pollution due to wildfires. With climate projections suggesting that the frequency and severity of wildfires is likely only to increase, governments need to seize existing opportunities, including the adoption of Indigenous forest management practices, in order to protect forests and clean water sources.
Not-so rainy season: Bone-dry February to stay that way, possibly boosting fire danger
By Austin Murphy, February 12, 2020
I spent weeks reporting on the bushfires. This is the truth about regional Australia
The story of coal and climate change is not a tale of two cities, but a tale of two regional Australias
Over summer I spent weeks reporting on the bushfire crisis in northern New South Wales, including the ferocious blazes close to Taree that near destroyed the towns of Bobin and Killabakh through to the Myall Creek fire in the state’s north, which menaced New Italy and Woombah.
I’m a climate scientist who’s worked in Antarctica – this is what heat waves really mean for the climate crisis | The Independent
Temperatures on the northern Antarctic Peninsula can reach a balmy 5C on a warm summer’s day. It’s not quite T-shirt weather, but this is Antarctica, after all. So at first glance, the two Antarctic temperature records set last week – 18.3C at the Argentine Esperanza base on 6 February and 20.8C at Brazilian base Marambio on 9 February – appear extraordinary.
Climate Crisis Could Cause a Third of Plant and Animal Species to Disappear Within 50 Years: Study
By Jessica Corbett, staff writer
The human-caused climate crisis could cause the extinction of 30% of the world's plant and animal species by 2070, even accounting for species' abilities to disperse and shift their niches to tolerate hotter temperatures, according to a study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Deep Decarbonization: A Realistic Way Forward on Climate Change
Global emissions have soared by two-thirds in the three decades since international climate talks began. To make the reductions required, what’s needed is a new approach that creates incentives for leading countries and industries to spark transformative technological revolutions.
By David G. Victor, January 28, 2020
Concentration of Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere Hits Record High
By Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams
According to NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory, an atmospheric baseline station in Hawaii, the daily average of CO2 levels on Feb. 10 was 416.08 parts per million
Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg, who founded the global youth-led climate action movement Fridays for Future, tweeted Tuesday of NOAA’s new finding that “the saddest thing is that this won’t be breaking news.”
Elections, politics, legislation
Video Reveals Threat of "Wholesale Transfer and Privatization of America's Public Lands" on Trump's Agenda, Says Watchdog Group
The event in question, which took place June 2019 and was hosted by the Interior Department, featured a keynote address by climate-denier Myron Ebell.
By Andrea Germanos, staff writer
Watchdog group Western Values Project said Friday that audio it obtained of a June 2019 event at Trump's Interior Department provides more evidence that public lands are under threat of being privatized by the former reality star and his crew of "anti-public land zealots."
A Trillion Trees: How One Idea Triumphed Over Trump’s Climate Denialism
People warned Marc Benioff, the billionaire chief executive of Salesforce, not to bother talking to the White House about global warming. But Mr. Benioff, a tech mogul and environmental philanthropist, felt sure he had found a climate change solution that even President Trump could love: Planting trees.
Climate glitterati gather in Washington for tense meeting
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse tore into green-tinged companies at the residence of French Ambassador Philippe Etienne.
By Ryan Heath, February 14, 2020
US 2020 ELECTION SEASON GOES (LIGHT) GREEN: Latinx voters are set to push climate change in the Democratic Nevada caucuses next week. House Republicans are building a climate legislative plan (with an eye on covering their electoral backs) based on three tenets: carbon sequestration, clean energy and conservation. Reality check: President Donald Trump wants a 75 percent cut in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy budget.
The fastest way to cut carbon emissions is a ‘fee’ and a dividend, top leaders say
Leading economists and corporate executives said carbon fees and an annual $2,000 payment to American families is the most potent tool to fight climate change.
Planting Trees Won’t Save the World
Focusing on trees as the big solution to climate change is a dangerous diversion.
By Erle C. Ellis, Mark Maslin and Simon Lewis
The authors are scientists.
Democrats and Republicans should both embrace this common-sense, planet-saving reform
CLIMATE CHANGE was the most important issue for a quarter of voters in the Democratic primary in New Hampshire on Tuesday; only health care ranked higher, according to exit polls…
What unites them is a plan that is more ambitious and effective in carbon reduction than Mr. Obama’s energy plan or the Paris accord; doesn’t increase the deficit by so much as a dime; leaves most Americans financially better off; encourages innovation; and provides an incentive for other emitters, including China and India, to act. How is that possible? The plan would levy a steadily rising tax on carbon (oil, gas, coal) to cut U.S. carbon emissions in half from 2005 levels by 2035. The timeline is aggressive — steep cuts, and soon — and there’s a backstop if they don’t materialize.
Trump’s Path to Weaker Fuel Efficiency Rules May Lead to a Dead End
By Coral Davenport
The cost-benefit analysis showed that consumers would lose more money than they would gain. And, because the new auto pollution rule lacks the detailed technical analyses required by law, the regulations would be unlikely to withstand court challenges.
“They look like they’re headed to a legal train wreck here,” said Richard Lazarus, a professor of environmental law at Harvard University.
PG&E resists judge’s tree-trimming, executive bonus proposal
Kevin McCarthy faces uneasy right flank over climate push
Some Republicans are wary of the minority leader's narrow proposals.
Marin officials hopeful for state climate funding infusion
Californians might be asked to decide on a multi-billion dollar bond measure in November to bolster the state’s defenses against wildfires, drought, sea level rise, habitat loss and other climate-related impacts.
Marin County officials are tracking the various versions of measures proposed in the Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget as they could provide an infusion of cash for local climate and fire projects.
“All of them are extremely necessary,” Jack Liebster, a planning manager for the Marin County Community Development Agency, said of the bond funds.
Bay Area lawmakers seek $125M for San Francisco Bay estuary
It’s the largest estuary on the North America’s West Coast, supporting a vast network of natural habitat and a multibillion-dollar economy, but the San Francisco Bay Estuary is not receiving the federal funding it deserves for its restoration, according to a coalition of Bay Area lawmakers.
By Thomas Friedman
There is a winning campaign theme that progressives can use against Trump, and it isn’t “Medicare for all.” but it’s a political loser and an easy target for Trump to feast on. A much better campaign theme is hiding in plain sight. I call it “the Earth Race.”
I’d pound Trump every day with this message: “Trump says he cares about you. Well, that’s funny, because he clearly doesn’t care about the water you drink. He just revoked a rule that prohibited coal mining debris from being dumped into local streams — among other actions to weaken the Clean Water Act — so that pro-Trump coal companies can make more money while they make you sick. What kind of president does that?
A Rare Trump-Era Climate Policy Hits an Obstacle: The Tax Man
In 2018, Congress approved a lucrative tax break for companies that use carbon capture technology to trap carbon dioxide produced by industrial sites before the gas escapes into the atmosphere and heats the planet. House Republicans are aiming to expand support for carbon capture as part of a broader package of climate bills, the first of which is expected Wednesday
Economics and finance
Jeff Bezos Commits $10 Billion to Address Climate Change
The world’s richest man unveiled a fund to help climate scientists and activists, an escalation of his philanthropic efforts.
SEATTLE — Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive and the world’s richest man, said on Monday that he was committing $10 billion to address the climate crisis in a new initiative he called the Bezos Earth Fund. The effort will fund scientists, activists and nongovernmental organizations, Mr. Bezos said in a post on Instagram. He said he expected to start issuing grants this summer.
Can We Have Prosperity Without Growth?
The critique of economic growth, once a fringe position, is gaining widespread attention in the face of the climate crisis
By John Cassidy
Global Financial Giants Swear Off Funding an Especially Dirty Fuel
Nevertheless, the clash over foreign divestment in Alberta — and the strong response it has provoked from local leaders — suggests the potential for the financial industry to influence climate policy if firms follow through on their early pledges to incorporate climate change into their investment strategies.
In Search of Economic Patriots
Time for the foreign policy establishment to step up.
By David Leonhardt
In Foreign Policy magazine, Jennifer Harris and Jake Sullivan have published a piece urging not just military leaders but the entire foreign policy community to focus more on economic questions than they have in recent years. Including: -Follow the lead of Alexander Hamilton and Dwight Eisenhower, and make the case for a national industrial policy, especially to fight climate change.
Delta announces $1bn plan to be first carbon neutral airline
Airline is committing $1bn over next 10 years to mitigate all emissions from its global business
Delta announced an ambitious plan on Friday to become the first US airline to go carbon neutral, committing $1bn over the next 10 years to mitigate all emissions from its global business.
Climate crisis: Plan to dam entire North Sea could protect millions from rising oceans
Global failure to tackle emissions may mean ‘extreme’ infrastructure project is needed to save cities from submersion, scientists warn.
The garden of the future looks like the garden of the past
Gardening connects us to the past. Our grandparents nurtured soil, tended plots and planted many trees we enjoy today. I wonder what they would think about our current situation. The symptoms of climate change are unmistakable. Drought, fire and flood are more frequent and intense. Plants bloom earlier and the growing season has become somewhat unpredictable. As plant communities adjust, soil composition changes. In essence, we’ve interrupted the rhythm of the seasons.
Natural solutions will do much to combat climate change.