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JUNE 20, 2020

We are pleased to announce that Drawdown: Marin has endorsed the proposal "Drawdown Feasibility and Optimization Study:  Marin County Biomass Recovery" initiated by Belle Cole as a member of Drawdown's Climate Resilient Communities Collaborative. Get back if you are interested in viewing the PowerPoint presentation. Meanwhile our climate news has been accumulating. Here we go.

Climate and Covid 19

World has six months to avert climate crisis, says energy expert

International Energy Agency chief warns of need to prevent post-lockdown surge in emissions

“This year is the last time we have, if we are not to see a carbon rebound,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency.

Fifty Years Past the First Earth Day, a Frayed Planet—and a Sublime One

By Bill McKibbon

On the fiftieth anniversary of the first Earth Day, let’s think for a moment about the Earth—backdrop for our busy and dramatic life, but also a planet.

Politico

So far, the people of the world have mostly managed, with notable exceptions and glitches, to come together to fight the common enemy of the coronavirus. It’s much more complicated to fight the enemy when the enemy is us.

Still, the enduring lesson of Earth Day is that while governments and corporations rise and fall, we will always have just one planetary home. And nobody else will clean it up for us.

What a Week’s Disasters Tell Us About Climate and the Pandemic

Extreme weather presents an even bigger threat when economies are crashing and ordinary people are stretched to their limits.

Praising Emissions Reductions Due to Coronavirus Plays into Right-Wing Strategy

A study published in Nature Climate Change recently found that, in early April, daily global carbon dioxide emissions decreased by 17 percent compared to the 2019 mean levels. Because of shelter-in-place rules and businesses being closed, people have been driving and flying less, leading to lower emissions.

Will the Coronavirus Crisis Trump the Climate Crisis?

The battle over how to spend recovery funds — to quickly restore the old economy or invest in a greener one — will define the post-pandemic world.

G.O.P. Coronavirus Message: Economic Crisis Is a Green New Deal Preview

By Lisa Friedman

As the economy melts down, embattled conservatives are testing a political response: saying Democratic climate policies would bring similar pain.

“If You Like the Pandemic Lockdown, You’re Going to Love the Green New Deal,” the conservative Washington Examiner said in the headline of a recent editorial.

Former Inslee Staffers Urge Biden and House Dems to Embrace $1.2 Trillion Green Stimulus as Part of Covid-19 Recovery

"It's time for an all-out national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis."

Our Greener, Climate-Friendly Future Is Going to Be Amazing—It's Our Job to Tell That Story

A more comfortable apartment. Cheaper electricity bills. Your stove cooks faster, your dishwasher washes cleaner, and the lightbulbs look great. Even the food is more delicious!

Public Health Experts getting the Climate Scientist Treatment

May 17, 2020

The view from Trump advisors not directly involved in the rising death toll is that the “CDC” (i.e., EPA) wants to burden Trump’s chances of driving economic activity in the 8 states he cares about.

The effort to discredit these folks is on. With the same playbook used in climate science. 

Fact check: The coronavirus pandemic isn’t slowing climate change

By Matthew Brown, USA Today, June 1, 2020

“Because changes in the climate are the result of decades of accumulating greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, one year of slightly falling emissions will not counter long-term effects.”

Climate Science

Nine climate tipping points now 'active,' warn scientists

More than half of the climate tipping points identified a decade ago are now "active," a group of leading scientists have warned.

This threatens the loss of the Amazon rainforest and the great ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland, which are currently undergoing measurable and unprecedented changes much earlier than expected.

Climate, Elections, legislation, regulations

SUNRISE MOVEMENT CO-FOUNDER VARSHINI PRAKASH TO JOIN SANDERS-BIDEN TASK FORCE ON THE CLIMATE CRISIS ALONG WITH REP. OCASIO-CORTEZ

https://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2020/05/13/sunrise-movement-co-founder-varshini-prakash-join-sanders-biden-task-force

A War Against Climate Science, Waged by Washington’s Rank and File

Efforts to block research on climate change don’t just come from the Trump political appointees on top. Lower managers in government are taking their cues, and running with them.

Federal court urged to hold ‘rogue’ Trump EPA head in contempt for blatant defiance of ban on toxic weed killer

A coalition of farming and conservation groups is calling on a federal appeals court to hold EPA chief Andrew Wheeler in contempt for defying an order to immediately suspend use of dicamba, a poisonous weed-killer that is notorious for its tendency to drift and destroy nearby crops.

What is the Equitable and Just Climate Platform?

Reversing Nearly 100 Environmental Rules. Here’s the Full List.

In all, a New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School and other sources, counts more than 60 environmental rules and regulations officially reversed, revoked or otherwise rolled back under Mr. Trump. An additional 34 rollbacks are still in progress.

Newsom Proposes Huge Cuts to California Environmental Programs in Latest Budget

By Kevin Stark

Newsom’s proposal includes major cuts to environmental programs, including a $681 million slash in spending for environmental protection compared to last year, and a $224 million cut to the state’s natural resources department.

Cap-and-Trade Cuts

Newsom’s budget summary outlines “significant uncertainty” in how much money the state’s landmark climate change program will generate through its quarterly auctions.

The cap-and-trade program established caps on emissions and allows businesses to buy and sell credits on a state exchange. The governor is proposing a $965 million budget for the program, down from $1.4 billion last year.

He said the state will prioritize initiatives to improve air quality in disadvantaged communities, fire prevention, and a program to clean up contaminated drinking water across the state.

Become a Climate Voter

There are so many ways to join the fight for our planet, but one of the most important actions you can take is showing up on Election Day. Add your name if you’re ready to go green at the ballot box.

Naomi Klein and Arundhati Roy Help Launch Global Green New Deal Project with Worldwide Invitation

"The time to build the future we deserve is now, and international solidarity is the tool we need to begin its construction."

Could a green new deal turn South Korea from climate villain to model?

A year ago, Soyoung Lee was one of a crowd of climate activists demonstrating on the streets of Seoul in a campaign inspired by the global school strike founder Greta Thunberg. Today, the 35-year-old lawyer is the youngest member of the South Korean parliament and a driving force in the government’s green new deal, which aims to create millions of jobs in renewable energy and help the economy recover from the coronavirus lockdown.

Extreme weather

Deadly heat is killing Americans: climate death toll rises after a decade of federal inaction

Heat now causes more deaths than hurricanes, tornadoes or floods in most years, creating a new public health threat. An investigation reveals why the CDC’s prevention efforts have faltered

Devastating Simulations Say Sea Ice Will Be Completely Gone in Arctic Summers by 2050

 The warming means less ice is going to form and more ice is going to melt, but also, because there's less ice, less of the Sun's incident solar radiation is reflected off, and this contributes to the warming."

Climate change may kickstart dormant El Niño weather system in Indian Ocean

Small shifts in surface temperature could lead to weather patterns similar to the El Niños currently experienced over the Pacific 

“We are certain that the risks of these extreme events is becoming larger and larger as we pump more CO2 into the atmosphere, and certainly going to have an unequal impact on countries in the tropics.”

New: Glacier Detachments Can Happen in Seconds [video clip]

May 16, 2020

Coal industry will never recover after coronavirus pandemic, say experts

The global coal industry will “never recover” from the Covid-19 pandemic, industry observers predict, because the crisis has proved renewable energy is cheaper for consumers and a safer bet for investors.

Climate change is turning parts of Antarctica green, say scientists

Researchers map ‘beginning of new ecosystem’ as algae bloom across surface of melting snow

Scientists have created the first large-scale map of microscopic algae on the Antarctic peninsula as they bloom across the surface of the melting snow, tinting the surface green and potentially creating a source of nutrition for other species.

Wildfires

PG&E Pleads Guilty to 84 Counts of Manslaughter in Camp Fire Case

The California utility’s transmission line started the 2018 fire that killed dozens and destroyed the town of Paradise.

‘Guilty, your honor’: PG&E enters pleas for 85 Camp Fire felonies*

By J.D. Morris and Lizzie Johnson, June 16, 2020 

Marin’s new wildfire agency gears up for summer

The new Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority is considering a plan to begin fire safety work throughout the county as soon as this summer.

Spring is a good time to get ready for fire season

With 64% of our average rain fall, Marin County is quickly entering the dry season. Like a pandemic, the question about wildland fire is not if, it’s when.

Marin braces for PG&E blackouts amid coronavirus stay-home order

https://www.marinij.com/2020/06/18/marin-braces-for-pge-blackouts-amid-coronavirus-stay-home-order/

Newsom Announces More Than $200M in Proposed Wildfire Prep Funding

The proposed spending, the bulk of which will be allocated to Cal Fire and the state's Office of Emergency Services, will be included in the state's May budget revision, scheduled to be announced Thursday.

Florida wildfire covering 6,000 acres forces evacuations and closes Alligator Alley

'This is an extremely dangerous situation and the fire conditions are making it very difficult to predict the movement and protect property'

Impacts

Michigan dam disaster an example of what could happen in many other communities

SANFORD, Mich. — When the dam broke, the geography here was almost instantly redrawn. Houses that once sat lakeside with private docks now stare out over mud flats pocked with pleasure boats heaving awkwardly on their sides.

Proposed California law would fast-track environmentally sustainable transit

Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) will unveil SB288, the Sustainable Transportation COVID-19 Recovery Act, which would streamline alternative transportation infrastructure projects

The proposed bill would fast track sustainable transportation projects that would typically take months or years for approval due to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

Renewables

Renewables surpass coal in US energy generation for first time in 130 years

‘We are seeing the end of coal,’ says analyst as energy source with biggest impact on climate crisis falls for sixth year in a row

Solar, wind and other renewable sources have toppled coal in energy generation in the United States for the first time in over 130 years, with the coronavirus pandemic accelerating a decline in coal that has profound implications for the climate crisis.

A New Weapon Against Climate Change May Float

The wind power industry sees an opportunity in allowing wind turbines to be pushed into deeper water.

In a First, Renewable Energy Is Poised to Eclipse Coal in U.S.

The coronavirus has pushed the coal industry to once-unthinkable lows, and the consequences for climate change are big.

The U.S. can get to 90% clean electricity in just 15 years

By Adele Peters, Fast Company, June 17, 2020

A new report from UC Berkeley shows that the falling price of renewable energy can result in the U.S. using 90% clean energy by 2035, ultimately transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2045.

Adding new clean energy infrastructure could add up to 570,000 new jobs each year.

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