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MAY 12, 2023

Dear Friends:

Keep your eye on Republican efforts to cut IRA benefits through its debt ceiling proposal. Watch EPA’s new rules on carbon capture. Follow closely response to “Ninth Circuit” ruling that EPCA preempts a Berkeley ordinance prohibiting the installation of natural gas piping within newly constructed buildings.

Remember Ember Stomp, May 20, Civic Center Fairgrounds (see events below)

Belle, Victoria and the Climate Team


Links to Articles

Debt Ceiling

Speaker McCarthy’s Debt Ceiling Proposal Would Undo Benefits of Inflation Reduction Act

Republicans’ opening bid to avert economic catastrophe by raising the nation’s borrowing limit focuses more on energy policy than reducing debt.


The Debt Ceiling Debate Is About More Than Debt

By Jim Tankersly

But the bill Mr. McCarthy introduced on Wednesday would only modestly change the nation’s debt trajectory. It also carries a second big objective that has little to do with debt: undercutting President Biden’s climate and clean energy agenda and increasing American production of fossil fuels.


In a Climate Trade-Off, Biden Backs Manchin’s Fossil Fuel Plan

The White House hopes that the approval of some oil and gas projects will speed the expansion of transmission lines for renewable energy.


Climate Summit Leader

Oil Executive Who Heads U.N. Climate Talks Hints at His Approach

In a speech, Sultan al-Jaber, the Emirati official presiding over this year’s climate summit, spoke of emissions cuts, but experts also cited ambiguity in his statements.


Renewables

The future of Hydroelectric Power May Not Include Traditional Dams

A technology called pumped storage is Filling in the Gaps from Weather-Related dips in Wind and Solar Energy


IRA and Clean Energy Tax Incentives

Companies Flock to Biden’s Climate Tax Breaks, Driving Up Cost

A law to boost clean energy appears to be more potent than predicted, with big implications for both budget talks and efforts to fight climate change.


How to Think About Green Industrial Policy

Paul Krugman

The Inflation Reduction Act, unlike earlier proposed industrial policies, isn’t an attempt to accelerate economic growth by picking winners. It is instead about reshaping the economy to limit climate change.


Agriculture

Meet the climate hackers of Malawi

April 27, 2023

Somini Sengupta and photographer Khadija Farah traveled across Malawi to meet farmers adapting creatively to the climate crisis.

When it comes to growing food, some of the smallest farmers in the world are becoming some of the most creative farmers in the world. Like Judith Harry and her neighbors, they are sowing pigeon peas to shade their soils from a hotter, more scorching sun. They are planting vetiver grass to keep floodwaters at bay.


Deadly Illinois Dust Storm Raises Soil Questions. Is Solar the Answer?

May 2, 2023


Effects of climate change intensify in parched East Africa, study finds

By Raymond Zhong

Two and a half years of meager rain have shriveled crops, killed livestock and brought the Horn of Africa, one of the world’s poorest regions, to famine’s brink. Millions of people have faced food and water shortages. Hundreds of thousands have fled their homes, seeking relief. A below-normal forecast for the current rainy season means the suffering could continue.

Human-caused climate change has made droughts of such severity at least 100 times as likely in this part of Africa as they were in the preindustrial era, an international team of scientists said in a study released Thursday. The findings starkly illustrate the misery that the burning of fossil fuels, mostly by wealthy countries, inflicts on societies that emit almost nothing by comparison.


Electrification

Electrifying Homes Could Mean Breaking from “Breaker Boxes”


Marin Voice: PG&E’s electricity rate reform is needed to move forward

By Jonathan Marshall and Ray Welch

Today, utilities recover nearly all of their costs for maintaining the grid, funding safety programs and supporting state policies (like energy efficiency) through the rates they charge per kilowatt-hour. The utilities propose instead to lower usage rates by more than 20% and recover more of their costs that don’t vary with use through a monthly fixed charge.


UC Berkeley to embark on $700 million plan to supply its entire campus with clean energy.

Old Art Gallery at UC Berkeley will be converted to a clean power station for the campus.


Letters: Making a home all-electric is not a nightmare. Here’s what can make it easier

Susannah Saunders, San Anselmo


Carbon Capture

The Politics of Carbon Capture Are Getting Weird

Carbon capture might be EPA’s strongest tool to cut emissions from power plants.

That could scramble battle lines.


Energy Policy

Ninth Circuit Reverses City of Berkeley Ban on New Natural Gas Hookups in Buildings

April 19, 2023


California Voice: State should examine SoCalGas ties to lawsuit against Berkeley’s natural gas ban

Matt Vespa is a senior attorney at Earthjustice. Distributed by CalMatters.org.


Fossil Fuels

Price to Plug Old Wells in Gulf of Mexico? $30 Billion, Study Says.

Even as the world starts to transition away from coal, oil and gas toward renewable energy, decades of mining and drilling in almost every corner of the world, including in oceans, have left behind the need for an immense plugging and cleanup effort.


Climate Policy, Politics and Regulation

Biden to Create White House Office of Environmental Justice

A new executive order requires every federal agency to address the disproportionate impact of pollution and climate change on minority communities.


E.P.A. to Propose First Controls on Greenhouse Gases From Power Plants

If the regulation is implemented, it will be the first time the federal government has limited carbon emissions from existing power plants, which generate 25 percent of U.S. greenhouse gases.


New EPA limits Target emissions at Power Plants

Almost all coal and gas fired power plants would have to cut or capture almost all of their carbon dioxide emissions by 2040.


Biden Pledges $500 Million to Stop Deforestation in Brazil

The promise to help Brazil protect the Amazon must be approved by Congress, where Republicans are opposed to foreign climate aid.

The Amazon plays an important role in regulating water cycles, stabilizing the climate and absorbing carbon dioxide. By one estimate, there are 150 billion to 200 billion metric tons of carbon locked away in the forest. But as trees are cut down, parts of the forest now emit more carbon dioxide than they absorb.


Wildfires

When fires create floods: Is California ready for a cascade of disasters?


Wildfire size doesn’t matter but its impacts do

Colleen Hagerty

To plan for future disasters, we need to prioritize severity, community impact and environmental damage.


California, Bay Area, Marin climate planning, sequestration, impacts

Corte Madera pinpoints short-term climate priorities

The Corte Madera Town Council has approved a climate plan for the next year focused on curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Top priorities of the plan include developing ordinances that require residential remodels to convert from gas power to all-electric power, and identifying properties where electric-vehicle charging stations could be installed. The council unanimously approved the 11-point plan on April 4.

“I think this is fantastic,” Vice Mayor Eli Beckman said.


Why the Bay Area is home to one of the most effective carbon sinks in the world

Dutch Slough, a restored wetland in Contra Costa County, stores carbon at a higher rate than nearly all other sites studied around the world. Here’s why.


A Lost Lake Is Re-Emerging In California, And Farms And Communities Are Going Underwater

Tulare Lake, once four times the size of Lake Tahoe, had several ports and a ferry before it was converted to farmland decades ago. Now the floodwaters are rushing back.


Extreme Weather

El Niño is predicted to return. Here’s what it could mean for California

Gerry Díaz

April 14, 2023


A New Spike in Global Temperatures in the Forecast

The World Meteorological Organization reports increased odds that El Niño, the global weather pattern often tied to intense heat, will arrive by fall.


New studies show 'unprecedented' sea-level rise along the North Carolina coast

Gareth McGrath


Spain Bakes in Summer-Like Heat, and Worries About What Comes Next

The April temperatures, over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in some places, come on top of a long-running drought that has depleted reservoirs and dried up fields.


In 1982, Scientists Foresaw the Drying of the Mediterranean

May 2, 2023

Below, more from Euro news on the current drought situation in Spain and Italy – in which the narrator ominously mentions that Italy’s Po River is dependent on snows in the Alps, snows that we know will only become more unreliable in coming decades.


EVENTS

Monday, May 15, 7 pm

San Rafael City Council to consider revised Housing Element. Agenda


Drawdown: Marin is now MarinCAN. More info at MarinCAN.


Saturday, May 20, 11 am – 5 pm

Ember Stomp is almost here! Join us on May 20th from 11 am to 5 pm at the Civic Center Fairgrounds. More info here.

Don’t miss the opportunity to come together as a community and adapt to wildfire. Stop by ESP table.

Live music

Food trucks

Wildfire experts

Kids Zone

Fire-Smart landscaping

Art show

Live burn demonstration

We are all in this together! Ember Stomp invites residents to learn their role in being part of a fire-adapted community and how we can all prepare for wildfire. This year offers a bigger space with new music, entertainment, exhibits, vendors and a live burn demonstration. This FREE event is fun for the whole family.

Join the fun and be part of the solution – lowering Marin’s risk of wildfire together!


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