Slow down the climate crisis | The New Yorker

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His administration has expedited federal permit approvals for fossil-fueled infrastructure, such as the Dakota Access Pipeline. Not only does such an infrastructure last for decades, allowing pipelines to function, whether to recover costs or to secure tax revenues, but it becomes the rationale for future extraction, as in the case of the Trans- pipeline system. Alaska.

Trump’s appointment of judges who narrowly interpret the powers of federal agencies under federal law restricts the ability of Biden and future administrations to use rule-making to steer the United States away from fossil fuels. They may be more reluctant, for example, to use powers under the Clean Air Act (as the Obama administration did) to encourage states to use emissions trading to incentivize the industry. electricity to decarbonise. Trump’s appointment of Supreme Court justices, including Amy Coney Barrett, who has chosen not to recognize man-made climate change, also weakens the chances of success in climate litigation. This litigation provides a pressure point to encourage investments outside the fossil fuel sector.

Joe Biden seems to be trying to get us back on track and accelerate our progress, what do you think are the main markers of his progress?

Halfway through, the Biden administration, using powers under existing laws, would implement key signals for economic players and invest funds, allocated as part of the US bailout, in communities and energies. clean.

First, companies would fully disclose their weather risks to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and banks would be subject to weather stress tests by the Federal Reserve.

Second, federal agencies would take full account of benefits and costs, including climate impacts, when making decisions about leasing fossil fuels or renewable energy on public lands and offshore, and on federal permits. for infrastructure projects.

Third, the Department of Energy should continue to fund research, development and deployment that further reduce the costs of green technologies and help new innovations enter the market.

Fourth, the Economic Development Authority reportedly approved projects under the Coal Communities Commitment to support the economic revitalization efforts of these communities.

Fifth, the agencies are said to have implemented clear criteria to follow Biden’s promise that underprivileged communities will receive 40% of the benefits of climate and energy investments.

Sixth, Biden would have restored the boundaries of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.

To achieve the urgent and transformative energy transition, Biden needs Democrats to push the “climate bill” through the budget reconciliation process. This bill is essential for the massive deployment of wind, solar and energy, and for the shift to more public transport and electric vehicles.

You have lived and written in Pittsburgh. What does the city’s post-industrial boom tell us, and what does the region’s outlook look like now that the fracking boom has arrived in the region (and perhaps reached its peak)?

Diversifying the economic base, including investments in human capital, was essential to rebuilding Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh’s progress tells us that economic transformation is possible, but more work is needed to correct social inequalities in the city and diversify the economy of the surrounding region. Our region has made the mistake of putting too many eggs in the shale and the petrochemical basket. With the collapse of the shale, the benefits have dried up, while too many local communities have to bear the costs of unblocked wells and contamination.

On the side of hope, many are working to reinvent the Appalachians, with investments prioritizing human capital, clean energy, sustainable agriculture and natural amenities. We see progress. For example, several Republican and Democratic state lawmakers support community solar legislation as a strategy to create opportunities for rural communities. Several Democratic lawmakers are backing membership in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and a bill would direct revenues from this program to provide “transition assistance to workers and communities affected by power plant closures.” and other energy infrastructure ”. Polls show the majority of Pennsylvania voters support the clean energy transition. Sadly, lawmakers opposed to the transition are hampering progress, but they are out of step with the majority of voters.

Climate school

Amy Westervelt is normally an up-to-date climate journalist, but last week she offered a thought-provoking essay on her father’s suicide and how he exemplified the individualism that makes solving our great social crises so hard. “For a few months at the start of the pandemic, I thought maybe this would be the thing that would pull America out of its obsession with personal responsibility,” she writes. “And then pretty soon everyone was making their own guidelines for a global pandemic, so apparently not. “

Global warming is spreading ticks further and further north. Sue Halpern (Full Disclosure: My Favorite Writer) offers good news: We may have to go through a summer or two more before scientists come up with preventative treatment for Lyme disease. Bad news: We could have had it twenty years ago, if vaccine reviews hadn’t stood in the way.

One of the world’s foremost climate activists, Avi Lewis, formally ran for Canadian election last week, announcing his parliamentary candidacy to represent a district of British Columbia that stretches from the Pacific to the ski slopes from Whistler Mountain. Like his start the video points out, this position would fit naturally: his grandfather and father were pioneers of the left-wing New Democratic Party of Canada, and he worked closely with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on a short film to visualize the Green New Deal.

In a deeply reported article for the GuardianAntonia Juhasz warns that ExxonMobil’s massive new oil fields off Guyana could turn into ecological disasters, even apart from the carbon they will release into the atmosphere. “Experts say Exxon in Guyana appears to be taking advantage of an unprepared government in one of South America’s poorest countries, allowing the company to bypass necessary oversight. Worse yet, they also believe that the company’s security plans are inadequate and dangerous. Meanwhile, in a racial equity scorecard, Exxon managed to rank last among the five hundred largest companies in the United States. It requires serious commitment.

Dashboard

Huge victory for activists in Louisiana: Biden administration told company Formosa Plastics that its building permit has been suspended and that it must go through a full environmental impact declaration process before building a new factory in the State “Cancer Region of the lane.” “Today’s announcement is David’s ultimate victory over Goliath,” Anne Rolfes, executive director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, which has been fighting the project for years, said in a statement. “I hope this is the nail in the coffin of Formosa Plastics in St. James Parish. And don’t try to build elsewhere. Pack your bags and go home.

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