As many as 13 million people in the continental United States may be at risk from flooding due to sea-level rise by the year 2100, according to a study out today. Thirty-one counties could each see more than 100,000 people affected by 6 feet of sea-level rise, the study led by the University of Georgia found. The southeastern United States is likely to be hardest hit, representing 70 percent of the U.S. population that’s at risk, according to the data.
A majority of Americans think this past winter was warmer than usual, and more people are attributing the atypical temperatures to climate change, according to a new poll. The Gallup Poll found 63 percent of Americans thought their local winter was warmer than usual and 34 percent attributed that warmth to climate change.
Senators have spent weeks trying to untangle the Flint issue from the broader bipartisan energy bill, S. 2012, in the hopes of getting an agreement that would allow for votes on roughly three dozen amendments and final passage. While efforts continue on finding a compromise, Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) last week said Senate leaders may move forward with a plan to force the energy bill back on the floor.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds recently celebrated Iowa’s distinction as the first and only state to generate more than 30 percent of its energy from wind, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. “We are proud of Iowa’s leadership in wind energy,” Branstad, who chairs the Governors’ Wind and Solar Energy Coalition, said. “With potential to jump above 40 percent in the next five years, we are committed to building an even greener Iowa future that will provide our Iowa families with cleaner, renewable energy and job opportunities.”
Lamenting changes to Minnesota’s way of life, Gov. Mark Dayton this week recommitted his administration to promoting clean energy and climate policies in his final two years in office. In a 40-minute State of the State address, the two-term Democrat said thousands of Minnesotans have “made their interests clear” on how the state should respond to the growing threat of climate change. Rising temperatures, he noted, have manifested themselves in a variety of ways — from shorter winters to more erratic growing seasons for the state’s 75,000 farmers.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed a bill Friday that raises the state’s renewable energy mandate to 50 percent and ends its reliance on coal-fired power. Originally put forth by the state’s two largest utilities and a cadre of environmental groups, S.B. 1547 requires utilities — Pacific Power and Portland General Electric Co. — to exit out-of-state coal contracts by 2030. It also raises the state’s renewable portfolio standard to 50 percent by 2040 from the current target of 25 percent by 2025.
The United States has seen its warmest winter on record this year, with the temperature 4.6 degrees Fahrenheit above average. From December through February, the average temperature for the Lower 48 was 36.8 F, trumping the 1999-2000 record of 36.5 F, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Corporate shareholders this year filed more resolutions specific to climate change with U.S. companies than ever before, according to a new report on stockholder engagement. The study by a coalition of investment analysts found that 94 such proposals — covering issues from urging greenhouse gas emissions mitigation efforts to demanding the use of more renewable energy — accounted for about 40 percent of all active resolutions related to the environment or social issues.
Many Americans feel we’re operating in an overly polarized political atmosphere, where it’s nearly impossible to get anything done that is perceived to benefit one side over another. It’s unfortunate that job creation, economic stimulation and clean energy growth sometimes get caught in this gridlock. However, there are critical steps we can take to ensure a better energy future for all Americans, regardless of political leanings. Modernizing America’s poorly functioning electric grid is one of them.
Two of the nation’s grid organizations are continuing to analyze U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, despite a Supreme Court stay of the rule that has many of the states they operate in suspending official planning work. Southwest Power Pool (SPP) and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) — which spread across the middle section of the United States — said during a joint meeting yesterday that they would keep up their individual number-crunching. They also will work together to send the same message to states looking to ensure against power outages and price hikes as they shift away from coal and toward lower-carbon electricity sources under the rule.