I’m going to do all this reading and research anyway… might as well share what I learn!
NEWS
+
VIEWS
January 15 2021

the changing Arctic, parts of the U.S. will become uninhabitable, the world’s largest wind turbine, major climate action by Congress, Trump fails to damage the National Climate Assessment

The New York Times reports on a new assessment of the Arctic climate that finds extraordinary rates of change across the region. As predicted decades ago, the Arctic is heating faster than the rest of the planet, and this is reducing the extent of snow and ice, melting permafrost and promoting fires. One author notes, “Nearly everything in the Arctic… is changing so quickly that there is no reason to think that in 30 years much of anything will be as it is today.”

As the Earth’s climate changes, there will be a region of “the frozen north” that becomes more temperate, resulting in the possibility of greater agricultural production. The New York Times (in conjunction with ProPublica) reports that Russia, which has the largest landmass by far of any northern nation, hopes that warming temperatures and longer growing seasons will make it one of the world’s largest food producers. The article notes that Canada, Scandinavia, Iceland and Russia could see as much as five-fold bursts in their per capita gross domestic products by the end of the century. Of course, these changes will happen gradually, and will be accompanied by challenges as thawing soils lead to damage to roads, bridges and buildings. Winter wheat and canola seed productivity in southern Siberia is already rising as predicted, although at a much faster rate. Russia’s agricultural exports have jumped by a factor of 16 since 2000…

read more
December 31 2020

Trump’s EPA formally ignores health benefits, reducing the price of carbon capture, modern sailing ships, the essential electrification of trucking, getting to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050

At this blog (and on virtually any news site), you have been exposed to a dismaying array of environmentally destructive and scientifically indefensible actions by the Trump Administration. Now the Washington Post reports on a recent action by the EPA that may be the worst ever. The EPA has formally propagated a rule that will change how the agency estimates the costs and benefits of its regulations, making it standard practice to ignore “indirect benefits.” Richard Revesz of the New York University School of Law summarizes it this way: “They’re basically saying that the indirect consequences of regulation must be taken into account if they’re negative, and should be ignored if they are positive. I mean, there’s no scenario under which an approach like that is rational in any way.” Most observers expect this rule will be overturned, but this will require time and money. Critics are labeling the new regulation nothing but sabotage to public health in order to protect industry.

The Economist looks at the declining coal-fired power industry, noting that its decline is being brought about by government policy, cheaper alternatives and restricted access to capital. The impacts are quite significant. For example, in Britain the share of electricity generated by coal fell from 40% in 2013 to 2% in the first half of 2020. In the U.S., despite the Trump Administration’s pro-coal policies and rhetoric, coal-fired electricity generation was 20% lower in 2019 than in 2016. Portugal, which had planned to be coal free by 2030, now looks to reach that goal in 2021. A new study summarized by Energy News concludes that the vast majority of existing fossil-fuel power plant capacity will reach the end of its typical lifespan by 2035, making achieving a deadline to decarbonize electricity less costly than previously expected…

read more

IN BRIEF: PAST
CLIMATE NEWS

MORE MY TAKES
 

NEWS
+
VIEWS
I’m going to do all this reading and research anyway… might as well share what I learn!
January 15 2021

the changing Arctic, parts of the U.S. will become uninhabitable, the world’s largest wind turbine, major climate action by Congress, Trump fails to damage the National Climate Assessment

The New York Times reports on a new assessment of the Arctic climate that finds extraordinary rates of change across the region. As predicted decades ago, the Arctic is heating faster than the rest of the planet, and this is reducing the extent of snow and ice, melting permafrost and promoting fires. One author notes, “Nearly everything in the Arctic… is changing so quickly that there is no reason to think that in 30 years much of anything will be as it is today.”

As the Earth’s climate changes, there will be a region of “the frozen north” that becomes more temperate, resulting in the possibility of greater agricultural production. The New York Times (in conjunction with ProPublica) reports that Russia, which has the largest landmass by far of any northern nation, hopes that warming temperatures and longer growing seasons will make it one of the world’s largest food producers. The article notes that Canada, Scandinavia, Iceland and Russia could see as much as five-fold bursts in their per capita gross domestic products by the end of the century. Of course, these changes will happen gradually, and will be accompanied by challenges as thawing soils lead to damage to roads, bridges and buildings. Winter wheat and canola seed productivity in southern Siberia is already rising as predicted, although at a much faster rate. Russia’s agricultural exports have jumped by a factor of 16 since 2000…

read more
December 31 2020

Trump’s EPA formally ignores health benefits, reducing the price of carbon capture, modern sailing ships, the essential electrification of trucking, getting to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050

At this blog (and on virtually any news site), you have been exposed to a dismaying array of environmentally destructive and scientifically indefensible actions by the Trump Administration. Now the Washington Post reports on a recent action by the EPA that may be the worst ever. The EPA has formally propagated a rule that will change how the agency estimates the costs and benefits of its regulations, making it standard practice to ignore “indirect benefits.” Richard Revesz of the New York University School of Law summarizes it this way: “They’re basically saying that the indirect consequences of regulation must be taken into account if they’re negative, and should be ignored if they are positive. I mean, there’s no scenario under which an approach like that is rational in any way.” Most observers expect this rule will be overturned, but this will require time and money. Critics are labeling the new regulation nothing but sabotage to public health in order to protect industry.

The Economist looks at the declining coal-fired power industry, noting that its decline is being brought about by government policy, cheaper alternatives and restricted access to capital. The impacts are quite significant. For example, in Britain the share of electricity generated by coal fell from 40% in 2013 to 2% in the first half of 2020. In the U.S., despite the Trump Administration’s pro-coal policies and rhetoric, coal-fired electricity generation was 20% lower in 2019 than in 2016. Portugal, which had planned to be coal free by 2030, now looks to reach that goal in 2021. A new study summarized by Energy News concludes that the vast majority of existing fossil-fuel power plant capacity will reach the end of its typical lifespan by 2035, making achieving a deadline to decarbonize electricity less costly than previously expected…

read more

IN BRIEF: PAST
CLIMATE NEWS

MORE MY TAKES