The Netherlands’ environment minister described Donald Trump’s views on climate change as “wrong” yesterday, hours after the celebrity businessman solidified his grasp on the Republican nomination for president. A handful of other foreign officials also expressed concern about Trump’s dismissive comments on rising temperatures. Together, those worries might foreshadow international disagreements facing a Trump administration on an environmental issue that 195 nations recently pledged to address as a global threat.
Think, for a moment, of carbon dioxide as garbage, a waste product from burning fossil fuels. Like other garbage, almost all of that CO2 is thrown away — into the atmosphere, where it contributes to climate change. A small amount is captured and stored underground to keep it out of the air. But increasingly, scientists are asking, rather than throwing away or storing CO2, how about recycling some of it?
“We knew we weren’t going to win,” said the Nebraska Peace Foundation’s Mark Vasina, who introduced the proposal for the foundation at the meeting. The goal was to raise the issue, he said. Responding to the foundation’s resolution, Buffett said climate change is highly probable, not certain, and poses “no adverse impact on the insurance business,” Vasina recalled.
A new Fish and Wildlife Service plan to permit energy companies to kill federally protected bald and golden eagles for up to 30 years is drawing mixed reviews from wind and wildlife advocates. The draft rule would give wind farms, power lines and other large projects license to injure, disturb or kill a limited number of eagles in exchange for commitments to avoid and mitigate harm.
It was the second straight year U.S. investment in renewable energy projects has outpaced that of fossil fuels. Robust growth is once again predicted for this year. And while Republican lawmakers in Washington have fought to protect coal-fired power plants, opposing President Barack Obama’s efforts to curtail climate-warming carbon emissions, data show their home states are often the ones benefiting most from the nation’s accelerating shift to renewable energy. Leading the way in new wind projects are GOP strongholds Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, home to some of the leading critics of climate science and renewable energy incentives in Congress. Republican-dominated North Carolina trails only California in new solar farms, thanks largely to pro-renewables polices enacted years ago under a Democratic legislature.
Environmentalists including the Sierra Club immediately used Trump’s expected nomination to criticize the businessman, who has called climate change a “hoax,” voiced opposition to a carbon tax and said he would slash funding for U.S. EPA.
Either way, the data reinforce a common theme since the final Clean Power Plan was unveiled back in August of 2015, and then after it was stayed by the Supreme Court. Namely, this: Even without the plan in place, the U.S. is transitioning its energy system in precisely the direction that the plan would itself require. It’s not yet the law — but it’s already a sign of the times.
An effort to jolt Massachusetts’ reliance on solar and wind projects has surged in recent years, powered in part by an increase in lobbying by supporters of renewable energy. In 2015, nearly two dozen renewable energy companies and advocacy groups poured more than $1.5 million into lobbying in an effort to get their voices heard by Beacon Hill lawmakers, according to an Associated Press review of state lobbying records. Just five years ago, in 2010, only five of the 23 companies had spent anything on lobbying.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz travels to Des Moines on Friday for the first stop in a two-day Iowa visit pegged to the Quadrennial Energy Review. Moniz will speak before panels on bulk power generation, transmission development and electricity distribution in the Iowa capital before heading west to dedicate the Ames Laboratory’s Sensitive Instrument Facility and deliver the commencement address at Iowa State University’s graduation ceremony. Moniz joins Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R), Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie (D) and U.S. Department of Agriculture rural development administrator Sam Rikkers for the session at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, one of six regional meetings on the review. It is part of the agency’s broader push for technology development.
The Fish and Wildlife Service yesterday revived a proposal to allow energy companies to obtain 30-year permits to disturb or kill protected bald and golden eagles, a move aimed at encouraging more firms to commit to eagle conservation measures. The agency released a draft rule along with a draft programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) analyzing the rule’s effect on eagles and a requirement that companies perform mitigation to offset harm to golden eagles.