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NOVEMBER 11, 2020

Writing on Saturday, November 7, the day the Planet got its break – one of the first Biden actions will be to rejoin the Paris Accords. With joy and renewed hope, we bring you climate news, some persistent (politics), but mostly riveting news of our path forward.


Scientists on Trump Defeat: Joy Tempered by Resolve

November 7, 2020

For scientists who have watched in horror as President Donald Trump relentlessly insulted, undermined, and ignored science, while more than 236,000 Americans died during a historic pandemic, Joe Biden’s victory on Saturday was a long-awaited cause for celebration.

Links to climate articles

Climate and the election

Climate crisis breaks open generational rifts in US families

A sense of despair and outrage among young people over global heating is being met with indifference and dismissal among some older relatives

As Election Nears, Trump Makes a Final Push Against Climate Science

The administration is imposing new limits on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that would undercut action against global warming.

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has recently removed the chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the nation’s premier scientific agency, installed new political staff who have questioned accepted facts about climate change and imposed stricter controls on communications at the agency.

What Will Trump’s Most Profound Legacy Be? Possibly Climate Damage

President-elect Biden can restore many of the 100-plus environmental regulations that President Trump rolled back, but much of the damage to the climate cannot be reversed.

Politics, legislation, regulations

White House Releases New Plan for Seismic Tests in Arctic Refuge

The Trump administration has relaunched long-delayed plans to conduct a seismic survey in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska as a prelude to drilling for oil there.

The Bureau of Land Management on Friday released a proposal to begin a seismic survey in December that would look for underground signs of oil reserves over more than half a million acres on the east side of the refuge’s coastal plain. The Bureau said it would accept public comments on the plan, which was proposed by an Alaska Native village corporation, for 14 days before deciding whether to issue a permit.

The U.S. Left the Paris Climate Pact. Allies and Rivals Are Pressing Ahead.

The American exit officially took effect Wednesday. If Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins the election and rejoins the pact, the United States will have a lot of catching up to do.

Sir David Attenborough's "Witness Statement."

At the age of 93, after a lifetime of exploring the natural world and bringing it into our homes, Sir David sounds the mass extinction alarm louder than ever. A huge element of that threat is global warming. He feels the ticking of the clock, both personally and for the diversity of life on Earth we humans depend upon.

See it all on Netflix.

Rumors of the death of the carbon taxes are greatly exaggerated, Robert Archer

Citizens’ Climate Lobby Newsletter, November 2020

Wildfires and extreme weather

Safety focus turns to embers

Fire fragments pose critical threat to houses, inspire niche industry

By Gregory Thomas

On a sweltering morning recently in Portola Valley, Devan LeBlanc led a homeowner on a walk around her house, pointing out all the ways it could catch on fire.

“We think about that every day,” said the homeowner, who requested anonymity to protect her privacy. “What would happen if this place burned down? Where would we go?”

In the West, Lightning Grows as a Cause of Damaging Fires

By John Schwartz and Veronica Penney, Oct. 23, 2020

While this year’s intense lightning storms in California could prove to be an anomaly, research suggests that lightning is an increasingly common cause of large blazes, and that climate change may cause an increase in lightning strikes over the continental United States in coming decades.

California Bars Insurers From Dropping Policies in Wildfire Areas

The new one-year freeze is a sign of the growing financial burden caused by climate change.

In Colorado, It Feels Like a Fire Season Without End

After a horrific summer of fires in the West, Colorado is fighting out-of-control fires as ski season approaches.

Science

Cutting Greenhouse Gases From Food Production Is Urgent, Scientists Say

Efforts to limit global warming often focus on emissions from fossil fuels, but food is crucial, too, according to new research.

Global food production emissions 'would put Paris agreement out of reach'

Study calls for more focus on farming and food waste, behind a third of greenhouse gas production

Impacts

Belching Cows and Endless Feedlots: Fixing Cattle’s Climate Issues

The United States is home to 95 million cattle, and changing what they eat could have a significant effect on emissions of greenhouse gases like methane that are warming the world.

Americans May Add Five Times More Plastic to the Oceans Than Thought

The United States is using more plastic than ever, and waste exported for recycling is often mishandled, according to a new study.

Giant Antarctic iceberg on collision course with British territory of South Georgia

Fears the 150km long A-68A iceberg, which broke away from Larsen C ice shelf in 2017, could disrupt wildlife and shipping routes

A massive Antarctic iceberg the size of a small country is heading for the island of South Georgia with concerns it could disrupt the British territory’s economy and its wildlife.

Bentley to stop making petrol cars by 2030 and go fully electric

Luxury car brand promises to shift business to become ‘end-to-end carbon neutral’

Bentley, the luxury carmaker, will stop making fossil fuel cars by 2030 and aims to be completely carbon neutral at the same time, in one of the most ambitious plans of any UK car manufacturer in the transition towards electric vehicles.

It will stop building cars with traditional internal combustion engines within six years, instead making hybrids and then its first battery electric cars in 2025. By 2030 it will sell only pure battery electric vehicles, with zero-carbon exhaust emissions.

[Billings Gazette] Coal economy troubles hitting Montana's tax rolls

Coal economy struggles are showing up on Montana tax rolls with millions of dollars past due to state and local governments.

Mining companies Decker Coal and the Navajo Transitional Energy Co. owe more than $9 million gross proceeds taxes, which are collected on the amount of coal actually mined and paid to counties. The two companies own southwest Montana mines a short walk from each other in Big Horn County. Coal severance taxes paid to the state are also about $9 million past due.

Allstate Corp CEO eyes climate insurance plan under potential Biden win

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Allstate Corp ALL.N wants a potential Democratic administration to back a taxpayer-funded program that would pay for losses caused by the largest climate-change fueled natural disasters, the Illinois-based insurer's chief executive said.

Solutions

100% solar, wind and batteries is just the start — the 'super' power they produce will change the world

The following is a contributed article by Tony Seba and Adam Dorr, co-founder and research fellow, respectively, at RethinkX.

Imagine having an energy system that generates three times more electricity we use today for a fraction of the cost (even free!) while generating no greenhouse gases or toxic waste. Imagine repatriating and growing energy-hungry industries, creating millions of jobs, trillions of dollars in societal wealth, and vastly improving our quality of life — while saving money. Incumbents would say it’s not possible. We have heard that before — but they’ve been proven wrong and we’ve been proven right.

Some important climate solutions aren't 'particularly sexy'

Reducing soil erosion, for example.

Her goal was to identify solutions that offer climate benefits with fewer drawbacks. “We found some things that don't sound particularly sexy, they don't sound like they're the flavor of the month, but they can be really important and they don't get us significant trade-offs and risk,” she says.

Debt-for-climate swaps can help developing countries make a green recovery

By Romina Picolotti and Alan Miller

At last month’s meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), three topics dominated the conversation: the coronavirus pandemic, greening the recovery, and climate change.

Bezos' $10 billion climate fund is going

The Atlantic has begun solving a big mystery in climate advocacy circles — how Jeff Bezos will spread around money from the $10 billion "Bezos Earth Fund" announced in February.

Why it matters: The fund's size makes it a huge presence in climate philanthropy. And, until now, the fund has been a mysterious presence, given the dearth of info and the broad scope of funding areas.

Bezos initially said the first grants would arrive in the summer, but that came and went.

Yale E360 - Green Hydrogen: Could It Be Key to a Carbon-Free Economy?

Green hydrogen, which uses renewable energy to produce hydrogen from water, is taking off around the globe. Its boosters say the fuel could play an important role in decarbonizing hard-to-electrify sectors of the economy, such as long-haul trucking, aviation, and heavy manufacturing.

Saudi Arabia is constructing a futuristic city in the desert on the Red Sea called Neom. The $500 billion city — complete with flying taxis and robotic domestic help — is being built from scratch and will be home to a million people. And what energy product will be used both to power this city and sell to the world? Not oil. The Saudis are going big on something called green hydrogen — a carbon-free fuel made from water by using renewably produced electricity to split hydrogen molecules from oxygen molecules.


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