Tuesday, June 23, 2015

CLIMATE CHANGE NEWS FOR JUNE 2015

CC NEWS FOR JUNE 2015

On October 8, 2014 Interfaith Power and Light (IPL), which represents 18,000 congregations of many faiths, announced the Paris Pledge, which calls on congregations to pledge - prior to the December, 2015 21st climate Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris - to reduce their carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and to become carbon-neutral by 2050.  You can watch a 3.6-minute video of the Rev. Sally Bingham, the founder of IPL, announce the Pledge and see an initial list of congregations that have taken it.

E&E News, with daily coverage of environmental and energy politics and policy, posted an article by Hannah Northey  on May 6, 2015 titled. Senator with energy chops champions 'disruptive' technology “Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine has emerged as a champion for new technologies taking hold of the U.S. electric grid with legislation that could shake up a decades-old business model in the utility sector.”  His bill, The Free Market Energy Act of 2015, “would ensure that distributed energy resources would be able to connect to the grid in a reasonable time frame and for just and reasonable fees.”  The distributed sources would include solar, wind, fuel cells, combined heat and power, batteries and energy efficiency.  Senator King anticipated opposition, but thinks that utilities will eventually need to come around.  He said, "If the utilities simply say, 'This is war; we're going to do everything we can to stop this,' I think all that will do is be a delaying action. I think this is inevitable.  The question is, how do we construct a system where everybody wins, including the customers, the environment and national security?" 

Climate Access has a blog post by Amy Huva for May 22 titled, the 100-RE Club.  The club is a group of cities, districts and regions around the world racing to get to 100% renewable energy.  Some folks from Climate Access attended a conference and reported what they learned.  One thing was A consistent message from speakers across countries and sectors was how ownership can empower people and promote buy-in. One of the key strengths of Germany’s Energiewende (energy transition) has been community-based ownership that allows people to share in the benefits of renewable energy.
People can point to the local wind turbine or the solar panels on the roof of a local school and say, “That’s where our power comes from. We did that.” People take great community and civic pride in knowing the source of their power and having contributed to it.”
The blog above let me to another by Amy Huva posted on May 7 titled, Talking Carbon Pricing with Your Legislator: Oregon Climate.  Oregon Climate was an organization formed in 2013 “with the aim to build grassroots support for a statewide price on carbon pollution in Oregon, the group has been making great strides with three bills to price carbon currently making their way through Oregon’s state legislature.”  Most of the article is about how the non-profit group mobilized and trained volunteers to speak to legislators.  It is real democracy in action.  NOTE: According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Oregon’s per capita carbon emissions in 2011were the 5th lowest of any state in the country; New York’s is the lowest.  See: http://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/state/analysis/.  Oregon is going to be hard to beat!
On May 19 Katherine Bagley published an article in Inside Climate News titled, Climate Change Lands on the Agenda of the PTA.  She writes, The California State Parent Teacher Association, which represents nearly 1 million parents and educators, adopted a resolution this month to urge schools to prioritize climate curriculum and improve energy efficiency, as well as to lobby lawmakers to act on climate warming.”  “The resolution frames the issue of climate change as a significant threat to children.  "There is broad scientific consensus among climate scientists that human activities contributing to greenhouse gases are the dominant cause of climate warming since 1950," the document reads. "Children represent a particularly vulnerable group already suffering disproportionately from both direct and indirect adverse health effects of climate change."” 
“Like evolution before it, climate change has become a highly controversial education issue in recent years. Conservative groups like the Heartland Institute have launched campaigns aimed at educators and textbook publishers to promote doubt about the scientific consensus on manmade global warming.”
NOTE: In my view, educating children in grades K-12 on the basic science and consequences of climate change is the least we can do to prepare them, and certainly their children and grandchildren, for what is coming down the road - especially if organizations like the Heartland Institute are successful in delaying serious action on climate change.  To understand where it is coming from, read the book, Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, or see the documentary film with the same name.

Jeff Turrentine posted an article on May 22 in Pacific Standard magazine titled, Forgive Them, Father, about the encyclical Pope Francis is to issue this year on climate change.  He writes,From a climate activist’s perspective, there can be little doubt that this encyclical will resonate. For one thing, you couldn’t ask for a more effective messenger to deliver this message. At the moment, Pope Francis is enjoying something like super-pope status, his every utterance making headlines and sparking conversation among Catholics and non-Catholics alike. And by rhetorically tying climate action to the Christian mandate to aid the afflicted and give comfort to the needy, he’ll be doing much more than merely acknowledging the severity of the problem. By virtue of his moral authority, the pope has the singular ability to mobilize people all over the globe to take whatever form of action they can. No other figure of our time can claim that degree of influence.” ”As the pope will surely stress, his understanding of Christian ethics compels him to see climate change as a profoundly moral issue.”
Climate Central has an article in the May 27 Scientific American titled, Heaviest Downpours Rise across the U.S.  It says,Record-breaking rain across Texas and Oklahoma this week caused widespread flooding, the likes of which the region has rarely, if ever, seen. For seven locations there, May 2015 has seen the most rain of any month ever recorded, with five days to go and the rain still coming.”  “Across most of the country, the heaviest downpours are happening more frequently, delivering a deluge in place of what would have been routine heavy rain. Climate Central’s new analysis of 65 years of rainfall records at thousands of stations nationwide found that 40 of the lower 48 states have seen an overall increase in heavy downpours since 1950. The biggest increases are in the Northeast and Midwest, which in the past decade, have seen 31 and 16 percent more heavy downpours compared to the 1950s.”  
“Extreme heavy downpours are consistent with what climate scientists expect in a warming world. With hotter temperatures, more water evaporates off the oceans, and the atmosphere can hold more moisture. Research shows that the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere has already increased.
That means that  there is often a lot more water available to come down as rain. Climate scientists have already shown that increasing greenhouse gas concentrations as a consequence of human activity are partially responsible for the average global increase in heavy precipitation.”
On June 1 the National Journal published an article by Ben Gemen titled, Big Oil Companies Want a Price on Carbon. Here’s Why.  He wrote, BP, Shell, Eni, Total, Statoil, and BG Group (a big gas company that Shell is acquiring) announced in a letter to Christiana Figueres, the top U.N. climate official, that they are joining forces for an initiative calling for carbon pricing, which is accomplished through emissions-trading systems or taxes.”  “Their effort reflects a strategic calculation for the companies that by engaging on the topic, they can help shape climate policies to benefit natural gas, which produces about half the carbon emissions of coal when burned to create electricity. Wider use of carbon pricing worldwide, depending on how stringent the policies, could benefit companies that produce gas and ship it around the globe in liquefied form.”  Jason Bordoff, the founding director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, and a senior energy and climate aide at the National Security Council under President Obama, said, "I think given how quickly nations are beginning to move to address climate change, given how public opinion on the issue is rapidly shifting, and how much pressure is coming from the public for greater action from the energy companies that produce fossil fuels that are responsible for the vast majority of carbon emissions, I think many—clearly not all—but many large energy companies are realizing that they need to proactively engage in the conversation about what the solution to climate change is going to be,"
Laura Santhanam posted an article on June 3 for the PBS Newshour titled, Why is there a huge methane hotspot in the American Southwest?  Satelitte data in the form of color-coded maps showing the amount of methane in the atmosphere above the U.S. indicate that the greatest amounts appear in a big red spot near the four-corners area - where the borders of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona meet.  It is home to one of the nation’s most productive natural gas and coal-bed methane mining operations.  The high concentrations of methane have now been confirmed by analyzing air samples captured by overflying aircraft.  The contributions from various sources have nut yet been determined, but they are the subject of ongoing research.  What we do know is that methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and that it an other volatile organic compounds that are being released with it contribute to high concentrations of ground-level ozone - particularly on hot sunny days - and that ozone causes and exacerbates asthma and can cause permanent lung damage.  Ozone is normally something you associate with large cities - not the middle of the desert.
The June 11 issue of Business Insider has an article by Kelly Dickerson titled, Here’s exactly what the US needs to do to fix its energy problem. It describes a new study in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, which describes a plan to get all 50 states operating on 100% renewable energy by 2050. The proposed timeline for the U.S., which involves a complete conversion from fossil and nuclear power to renewable energy sources,  is shown in the figure below. 
B.A.U. stands for Business as Usual.  A TW (terawatt) is trillion watts or a billion kilowatts.  PV stands for photovoltaic and CSP for concentrated solar power.

Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of engineering at Stanford, et al. write,
"If this timeline is followed, implementation of these plans and similar ones for other countries worldwide will eliminate energy-related global warming; air, soil, and water pollution; and energy insecurity."  The authors have analyzed the renewable energy resources for each state to show the mixture of energy sources it could use to get to 100% renewables by 2050.
The article has a couple of other great figures with maps of the lower 48 states showing their wind and solar resources in terms of annual average wind capacity factors (%) and annual average solar irradiance (Kwh/sq. m - day).  The wind resource map is ahown below.  Notice the huge offshore wind resources off the U.S. East Coast from Maine to Cape Hatteras, NC, and also on Lake Michigan. 

Robert Reich (who has been the U.S. Secretary of Labor and a professor of public policy and economics at Brandeis, Harvard and UC Berkeley) and MoveOn.org have produced a series of 3-minute videos called, Ten Ideas to Save the EconomyMake Polluters Pay is the 9th and advocates divesting from fossil fuels and putting a tax on carbon emissions.  I recommend it.

On June 12 the Earth Policy Institute posted the first few pages of Chapter 5. The Solar Revolution of their recently published book by Lester R. Brown et al. titled, The Great Transition - Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy.  The book is available in paperback for $15 and at reduced rated for multiple copies.  I bought a copy from Amazon and have been reading it.  Like other books by Lester Brown, this one is well written and full of useful information and ideas.  Here’s an example from Chapter 1.  “Time is everything.  We cannot turn back the clock and prevent the earth’s temperature from rising.  That is already happening.  But if we move to dramatically cut carbon emissions with a wartime sense of urgency, we may be able to slow the rise and prevent climate change from spiraling out of control.  This means restructuring the world energy economy: saying farewell to fossil fuels, embracing efficiency, and quickly expanding the use of renewable forms of energy.”

On June 15 James Hansen, now with the Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions Program of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, issued his most recent short paper, with the title Nonpartisan and Bipartisan, in which he advocates the price on carbon approach of the Citizens Climate Lobby, which is holding a national meeting and lobbying Congress later this month.  
NOTE: You can sign up for other communications, presentations and scholarly papers at http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1.  Hansen is a hero of mine and one of the most active climate scientists in the world working to get people to eriously address the climate change threat.


The following items are from the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), Carol Werner, Executive Director. Past issues of its newsletter are posted on its website under "publications".
 at http://www.eesi.org/publications/Newsletters/CCNews/ccnews.htm
 
EESI’s newsletter is intended for all interested parties, particularly the policymaker community. 


The White House Releases Report on National Security Implications of Climate Change
On May 20, the White House released an 11-page report outlining the national security implications of climate change, and what the White House is doing about them. The document is a compilation of findings from other federal reports, including the National Climate Assessment, the Department of Defense’s 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, and the White House’s 2015 National Security Strategy. The report covers domestic and international security implications; the changing Arctic circumstances; infrastructure risks; and the demands on military resources. The report concludes, “Climate change will change the nature of U.S. military missions . . . the United States is preparing.”
For more information see:


Senator Whitehouse Gives 100th Floor Speech on Climate Change
On May 18, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) gave his 100th weekly floor speech on climate change since April 18, 2012. “I decided to come to the floor every week the Senate is in session . . . to urge my colleagues to wake up and take action,” Sen. Whitehouse said during his latest speech. “One day there will be a reckoning. If we wake up, if we did get this right, if we turn that ponderous balance of destiny in our time, it can be their reckoning. It does not have to be ours,” the senator said. Senators Boxer (D-CA), Franken (D-MN), and Leahy (D-VT) congratulated Sen. Whitehouse after his speech. Sen. Schumer (D-NY) said Sen. Whitehouse “deserves a real moment of recognition.”
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Four States Sign International Pact on Climate
On May 19, California, Oregon, Washington and Vermont signed a pact with seven international states, mutually agreeing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels, or to reach a per capita emissions rate of less than 2 metric tons, by 2050. In addition to the four U.S. states, signatories came from subnational governments in Brazil, Spain, Mexico, Germany, Wales, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The agreement is non-binding, and each subnational government will create its own plans to meet the set targets. In a statement after the pact was signed Governor Brown’s office said, “This global challenge requires bold action on the part of governments everywhere. It’s time to be decisive. It’s time to act.”
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel Proposes a Global Emissions Trading System
On May 16, during her weekly podcast, German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested the need for a global Emissions Trading System (ETS) to fight climate change. “This instrument would of course be particularly effective if we could introduce it beyond Europe because then we’d have the same general framework around the world,” Merkel stated. The European Union’s ETS, currently the largest in the world, requires qualifying emitters of greenhouse gases to purchase a credit for every metric ton they release. However, recent overabundance of credits has depressed prices, insufficiently incentivizing companies to switch from fossil fuels to clean power. A global market may mitigate this kind of issue. Merkel planned to discuss the potential for a global trading system on May 19 at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, a meeting in Berlin focused on preparing for the United Nations climate talks in Paris this December.
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Shell Annual Meeting Dominated By Climate Change Concerns
On May 19 during an annual meeting in The Hague, Shell shareholders passed a resolution requiring the oil firm to test its business model against international targets to limit global warming to a 2 degree Celsius rise. Ninety-nine percent of the shareholders’ votes supported the resolution, which was also passed by BP last month. The resolution includes stipulations that no corporate bonus can be awarded for an activity which damages the climate, and requirements to invest in renewable energy. Shell’s Board fielded questions during the meeting about Shell’s coming activities in Alaska, and their membership in the American Legislative Council (ALEC), an organization that opposes addressing climate change. Ben van Beurden, Shell’s chief executive, explained that Shell is one of “the biggest investors” in renewable energy, but that to make modern life possible, oil is still needed.
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IMF Finds World Subsidizes Fossil Fuels by $5.3 Trillion Annually
On May 18, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a report finding that governments around the world will give fossil fuel companies a $5.3 trillion post-tax subsidy in 2015 by not including the harmful environmental and health effects of fossil fuels in energy prices (emphasis added). The IMF said that in 2013, the subsidy amounted to $4.9 trillion, and estimated it will increase this year to the equivalent of 6.5 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP). “The fiscal implications are mammoth,” said IMF economists Benedict Clements and Vitor Gaspar. “At $5.3 trillion, energy subsidies exceed the estimated public health spending for the entire globe.” The IMF listed China as the largest subsidizer, with a $2.3 trillion subsidy for fossil fuels, closely followed by the United States, with a $699 billion subsidy.
For more information see:

NOTE: If the global emissions of CO2 from fossil fuels reaches 36 billion metric tons in 2015 (a reasonable number based on a 2014 report from the International Energy Agency (IEA)), it means that the $5.3T subsidy - mostly in the form of the harmful environmental and health effects of fossil fuels, will reach nearly $150 per metric ton of CO2!  These economic externalities are sometimes called the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC).


Climate Change to Greatly Increase Americans’ Exposure to Extreme Heat
On May 18, a study published in Nature Climate Change warned that the average American will be four to six times more at risk for exposure to extreme heat in the year 2070, compared to risk levels over the last hundred years. These projections have profound implications for public health in the continental United States, the researchers say, citing data that shows extreme heat is deadlier than any other type of weather event. The study states that the increasing exposure to heat is not only due to climate change, but also the changing size and distribution of populations. Increases in exposure rates depend upon region, with the West South Central region seeing the greatest increase in extremely hot days (defined as days above 95 degrees F), followed by the South Atlantic, Mountain and Pacific regions.
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Climate Change May Put Electricity Production in West at Risk
On May 18, Arizona State University (ASU) researchers published a new study in Nature Climate Change with findings that almost half of western US power plants could see a three to nine percent reduction in electricity production, due to climate change-exacerbated future drought and extreme heat. For the 46 percent of existing power capacity which is vulnerable to drought and heat, average summertime electricity generation will be reduced 1.1 to 3.0 percent, and a ten-year drought would reduce generation 7.2 to 8.8 percent. “A lot of people didn’t realize this is a possibility – that climate change could impact the amount of electricity being produced,” said lead author Matthew Bartos at ASU.  The researchers simulated effects on the power sector over the next 50 years by combining hydrological and climate modelling in the 11 Western states.
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EPA Clean Power Plan Goes to OMB for Final Review
On June 1, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted a revised version of its Clean Power Plan to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), putting it on track to be finalized and released in August. During OMB review, stakeholders can request meetings with both White House and EPA officials in order to give final input on the rule, which mandates a 30 percent decrease in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing power plants by 2030, as compared to the baseline year of 2005. Once finalized, it is expected that the rule will face significant opposition. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) has already introduced legislation, due to be voted on the week of June 23, which would give states the ability to opt out of compliance and halt the rule until judicial review is finished.
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House Passes Two Amendments to Block US Government Climate Actions
On June 3 at 2:00 am, the House passed two amendments by voice vote which blocked US government climate initiatives. The first, offered by Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), blocks funding for the US Global Climate Research Program’s National Climate Assessment (NCA), the Intergovernmental Report on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nation’s Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, and the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis under Executive Order 12866. The second, offered by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), blocks funding for either negotiating or entering a trade agreement which would put a limit on greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. The amendments were attached to HR 2578, a $51.4 billion appropriations bill for the Departments of Commerce, Justice, Science, and related agencies. President Obama has issued a veto threat of the bill.
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NOTE: To my way of thinking, blocking US government action on climate change is about as smart as disarming in the face of a serious and growing military threat from enemies abroad.  One of the most important functions of the government is to protect the lives and welfare of its citizens.


President Obama Visits Florida and Talks Climate Change
On May 28, President Obama held a discussion about climate change via twitter during a tour of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. Swedish political activist Zebulon Carlander tweeted a question to the president asking why climate change is a national security issue. President Obama tweeted in response, “more severe weather events lead to displacement, scarcity, stressed populations; all increase likelihood of global conflict.” The president also gave brief remarks to media at National Hurricane Center, stating, “The best climate scientists in the world are telling us that extreme weather events like hurricanes are likely to become more powerful. When you combine stronger storms with rising seas, that’s a recipe for more devastating floods.”
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Over 2,000 Companies Call for Price on Carbon as Part of International Climate Deal
On May 20 and 21, during a two-day United Nations-backed Business & Climate Summit in Paris, international business leaders representing over 2,000 companies pushed for governments to sign a global climate agreement to achieve net-zero emissions. The initiative calls for science-based carbon targets and a high price on carbon, enforced through a trading system or a tax. Carbon emissions-intensive companies such as Glencore, RWE, Total and Czech CEZ Group voiced their favor for carbon pricing. “There was one thing everyone has agreed on, and it’s a price, a price, a price – a big fat price with which to hit carbon on the head with,” said Angel Gurria secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
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Former BP Chief Calls for End to Fossil Fuel Subsidies
On May 21, Tony Hayward, infamous for being the chief executive officer of BP during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, said subsidies for fossil fuels must be phased out so the world can combat climate change. Hayward added that rich developed countries should also give financial assistance to developing countries, to support efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and install renewable energy. Hayward is now the chairman of Glencore Xstrata, the largest commodity trading group in the world. He made his comments at the United Nations Business & Climate Summit in Paris.
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Exxon and Chevron Reject Proposals to Place Climate Experts on Boards
On May 27, shareholders from U.S. oil companies Exxon and Chevron voted against several environmental proposals, including an initiative to add members with climate expertise to their boards and plans to set greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets. Preliminary polls at both the Chevron and Exxon Mobil Corp annual meetings show the proposal to include independent climate change experts on the board was supported by roughly 20 percent of shareholders at each company. Milwaukee-based Catholic friar Michael Crosby, whose church owns about 300 Exxon shares, sponsored the proposal at Exxon. Crosby stated, “If they had done something 20 years ago we could have a different world right now.”
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WRI Releases Study Saying US Can Meet Climate Goals without Congress
On May 27, a new report by the World Resources Institute (WRI) found that the United States can meet its emissions reduction target of a 26 to 28 percent cut in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from 2005 levels by 2025, without introducing any new policies or relying on nonexistent technologies. The study says U.S. targets can be met or exceeded by fully implementing the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), along with strengthening some current and proposed policies. Without the CPP, WRI warns the United States would fall significantly short of its promised goals. The report noted that in the long term Congressional action is still critical to achieve further carbon reductions and spur the technological innovations needed.
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Glaciers around Mt. Everest Predicted to Nearly Disappear by 2100
On May 27, the European Geosciences Union (EGU) published a study in their journal, The Cyrosphere, forecasting 70 to 99 percent reductions in glacier volume within the Everest region of the Himalayas by the end of the century. The study was conducted by an international team of researchers in the Dudh Kosi basin in Nepal, where Mt. Everest is located. “The signal of future glacier change in the region is clear: continued and possibly accelerated mass loss from glaciers is likely given the projected increase in temperatures,” said study lead author Joseph Shea. According to researchers, the rate of melting is heavily dependent on future greenhouse gas emissions.  (emphasis added)
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IKEA Pledges $1 Billion Euros to Fight Climate Change
On June 4, the world’s largest furniture retailer pledged 1 billion Euros (1.13 billion U.S. dollars) to combat climate change. IKEA will allocate 600 million Euros to develop their wind and solar capacities, and IKEA Foundation will invest 400 million Euros to aid communities in nations that are especially susceptible to climate change impacts like drought and floods. IKEA chief executive officer Peter Agnefjall said the announcement was primarily motivated by the urgent need to stop climate change, and that improving the company’s image on environment and social responsibility is a “secondary” concern. Agnefjall added the move will not drive up prices, calling it “good for customers, good for the climate and good for IKEA too.” IKEA has already vowed to use 100 percent clean energy by 2020.


Green Bonds to Double in 2015 to $100 Billion
On May 27th, financial firm Moody’s Investors Service released a report predicting that in 2015, $100 billion will be distributed globally in the form of green bonds, a tool used to finance environmental projects. This amount is more than double 2014’s level of $37 billion in green bonds, which was triple the number of green bonds distributed in 2013. The report finds that the growth is fueled by greater global interest in “sustainable, responsible and impact” (SRI) investing due to the worsening impacts of climate change. In addition, the report states that there is great potential for continued growth in green bonds in India and China, as they pursue sustainable development. Most green bonds are issued by multilateral banks, although municipalities and corporate bodies are increasing their issuance.
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Big Six Energy Firms Call for Price on Carbon and Gas to Fight Climate Change
On May 31st, the executives of six European energy companies, Shell, BP, Statoil, BG Group, Eni and Total, sent a letter to the United Nation’s (U.N.) top climate official Christiana Figueres stating the need for a global carbon pricing system, and asking to participate in talks with governments regarding it. In the letter, the executives state, “As a group of business people, we are united in our concern about the challenge – and the threat – posed by climate change. We urge governments to take decisive action at December’s UN summit. We are also united in believing such action should recognize the vital roles of natural gas and carbon pricing in helping to meet the world’s demand for energy more sustainably.” The letter comes in advance of the U.N. climate negotiations in Paris where nearly 200 countries will convene to try to create a global climate treaty. Notably, American energy companies Exxon Mobil and Chevron both declined to collaborate with European companies in the effort.  (emphasis added)
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NOTE: I would like to suggest that those concerned about climate change should send a message to Exxon Mobil and Chevron by boycotting their gas stations.  I have avoiding buying gas at Exxon Mobil stations since the Exxon Valdez oil spill off the coast of Alaska in 1989.


Oceans to See Large Change in Biodiversity
On June 1, a study examining the impacts of climate change-caused ocean warming on marine biodiversity was published in the scientific journal, Nature Climate Change. By comparing biodiversity patterns from different climate periods throughout the Earth’s history to warming projections for the 21st century, the study found that severe climate change could disrupt marine life more than anything seen in the past three million years. With even moderate climate change, species extinctions and widespread species migration could triple from recent levels. Gregory Beaugrand, ocean researcher at the French National Center for Science Research and lead author of the report, stated, “What we have found is that if we constrain global warming by less than two degrees C, ocean changes will be relatively benign on the global scale, but if we are above this threshold, we will have a huge reorganization of marine biodiversity.”
For more information see:

pastedGraphic.pdfPaul Ryan Adds Climate Change Amendment to Fast Track Trade Bill

On June 9, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) added an anti-climate action amendment to the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) bill, which needed to be passed in order to pass the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill. TPA, the so-called "fast-track" bill, would allow President Obama to more rapidly seal a controversial 12-nation trade deal in the Pacific called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Rep. Ryan's amendment, introduced at the request of Rep. Sensenbrenner (R-WI), would "ensure that trade agreements do not require changes to U.S. law or obligate the United States with respect to global warming or climate change." The amendment is an attempt to prevent President Obama from circumventing necessary Congressional approval of any binding international climate deal. On June 12, the TAA failed to pass in the House, scuttling the TPA. House Republicans have called for a re-vote by Tuesday next week. 

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pastedGraphic_1.pdfSenators Unveil Carbon Tax Legislation at Conservative Think Tank

On June 10, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) unveiled the "American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act," legislation that would establish a $42 fee for every metric ton of carbon emitted in the United States. The act would return all revenue made from the fee to the American people in the form of payroll tax cuts, social security benefits, and lower corporate tax rates, among other listed options. The Senators chose to announce this legislation at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, with the hopes of drawing support from Republicans for their bill, which they believe aligns with conservative economic principles. Senator Schatz stated, "With this bill we can take control of our economic future. This is one of the most straightforward solutions to climate change, and has growing support across the ideological spectrum," said Schatz.

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pastedGraphic_2.pdfG7 Leaders Agree to Work towards Decarbonizing the Global Economy

On June 8, the Group of 7 (G-7), a group of seven of the world's leading economies, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Italy, Germany and Canada, concluded a summit in which the need to address climate change was a primary focus. The G-7 announced a nonbinding pledge to eliminate fossil fuel emissions from all sectors of the economy by the end of this century, and achieve a low-carbon energy sector by 2050. In an official declaration, the G-7 countries stated, "We commit to doing our part to achieve a low-carbon global economy in the long-term, including developing and deploying innovative technologies striving for a transformation of the energy sectors by 2050." This pledge supports coming United Nations climate negotiations in Paris this December, where many hope to achieve an international agreement on emissions reductions.

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pastedGraphic_3.pdfNorway Parliament Unanimously Decides to Divest from Coal

On June 5, Norway announced it will divest its government pension fund-valued at $890 billion, the largest in the world-from stocks in companies that rely on coal for at least 30 percent of their business, such as power providers or mining companies. An analysis suggests the new policy will trigger the sale of $8 billion in investments, in the largest fossil fuel divestment to date. Norway will debut an adjusted portfolio starting next year. While the statement is hailed as significant progress, many point out that Norway remains a large producer of oil and gas and has made no plans to shift its investments in these industries, which are seen as the source of the fund's wealth. Furthermore, as fossil fuel divestment announcements keep on making headlines, people on all sides of the issue continue to weigh in on whether the strategy is effective in advancing the environmental cause.  

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pastedGraphic_4.pdfReport Finds Clean Power Plan Would Create 360,000 New Jobs by 2020

On June 9, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) released a report stating that the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan, a proposed regulation on carbon emissions from existing power plants, would result in a net increase of 360,000 new jobs by 2020, with continued slower net job gains amounting to 15,000 jobs by 2030. The EPA has estimated its regulation would create 120,000 jobs and cause 24,000 job losses, but the EPI report says these estimates "undercount both positive and negative influences on employment." EPI adds that job losses will be likely concentrated in already poor states, increasing the challenge for unemployed workers seeking new jobs. EPI suggests that the federal government should create aid and policies to help these workers. 

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pastedGraphic_5.pdfPresidential Hopeful Sen. Lindsey Graham Calls for Business-Friendly Climate Change Solution

On June 6, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina acknowledged that climate change is occurring during an interview with CNN's "State of the Union" in Boone, Iowa. Graham also expressed his intent to tackle carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in a "business-friendly way" if he wins the GOP presidential nomination. The senator noted that other presidential hopefuls in his party have not released plans for how they would tackle climate change and other environmental issues. According to Graham, "Here's a question you need to ask everybody running as a Republican: What is the environmental policy of the Republican policy? When I ask that question, I get a blank stare."


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NOTE: To my knowledge this is the first time a Republican candidate for president in the 20216 election has mentioned an interest in reducing carbon emissions.  For this reason it is very significant.

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Thanks,
Chad A. Tolman

ctolman141@gmail.com
New Castle County Congregations of Delaware Interfaith Power and Light

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