Climate news that has caught our attention.

These Obscure Races May Decide the Future of Climate Change. Mother Jones looks at generally overlooked races and their potential impact on climate policy: “…This year, national green groups like the Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, and Michael Bloomberg’s Beyond Carbon have spent millions on these usually overlooked statewide races, especially in Texas, Arizona, and Montana. But it isn’t just the green money that has brought new attention to these races. The politics have also shifted, as climate change has become a top priority for Democratic voters. “You see the difference in how most of these races, the Democratic challengers are running explicitly as clean energy candidates,” Pomerantz says. “Maybe 10 years ago, Democrats would run on a promise to keep people’s rates low. Now they’re running as the solar team.

File image: Scott Kelly (now Arizona U.S. Senator-elect Scott Kelly), NASA ISS.

Making Sense of Trump’s Energy Era. Axios reports: “Market forces have been in the driver’s seat during President Trump’s first term, which means oil-and-gas kept growing (until the pandemic), he couldn’t revive coal, and the country stayed far away from policies that would drive steep future carbon cuts. Where it stands: The administration launched a big deregulatory push to scuttle Obama-era climate policies and support coal, oil and gas. Here are a few snapshots of what happened over the last four years.

  • Carbon emissions haven’t moved greatly in either direction, as the chart above shows. (Of note: It doesn’t show this year, which would display a steep decline due to the pandemic’s effect on travel and economic activity.)…”

Image credit: EIA; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios.

Climate Change and Research Raced Forward. Here’s the intro to a post at Scientific American: “The Trump administration has spent four years consciously ignoring—and often working against—scientists’ efforts to raise the alarm about climate change. In the wake of hurricanes, floods, wildfires and extreme heat, President Trump has continually questioned the science of global warming. A deep cynicism of scientists flavored his policy decisions, such as withdrawing the U.S. from a global climate agreement and unraveling dozens of environmental regulations. Trump’s unchanging stance on climate is punctuated against the backdrop of historic disasters and momentous scientific strides that have occurred since he took office…”

Shell Shocked Twitter Dunks On Its ‘Greenwashing’: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: “On Monday, oil company Shell, the seventh-most carbon polluting company in the world, polled Twitter users as part of their promotion of an energy debate they put on, asking “what are you willing to change to help reduce emissions?” Results were likely more critical than the company must have expected, ranging from answers like “your business model” to a map showing the short walk from Shell’s headquarters to the International Criminal Court. Greta Thunberg responded with her willingness to call out greenwashing companies like Shell, as did Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who tweeted that she’s “willing to hold you accountable for lying about climate change for 30 years when you secretly knew the entire time that fossil fuels emissions would destroy our planet 😇.” (The Guardian, Grist, Earther, EcoWatch)

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How Will America Leaving Paris Accord Impact Emissions and Climate Action? ABC News has the analysis; here’s an excerpt: “…The historic accord seeks to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, the value that climate scientists have determined will have disastrous consequences if exceeded. Trump has assailed the agreement as economically detrimental and claimed it could cost the country 2.5 million jobs by 2025. He also said it gave other major emitters, such as China, a free pass. While a number of environmental policy experts believe the move was a step back from what was previously seen as an era of environmental responsibility during the Obama administration, several who spoke to ABC News on the issue agreed that the U.S. has the ability to regain a title as a world leader in climate action in the coming years…”

File image: Scott Kelly, NASA ISS.

The Politics of Climate Change Largely Set Aside in Pandemic Year. has the story; here’s a clip: “…He said major party candidates in San Diego County and California ignore climate change at their own peril. The issue is important here because voters are getting first-hand proof that a changing climate will affect them. “When you see wildfires and you see seawater rise and floods that come from that when you see hurricanes on the Gulf coast. These physical embodiments of climate change are what will bring it from an issue right now that is in the top ten of most voter’s concerns to an issue that will be a top tier issue that every politician will need to address,” Kouser said. But California’s acceptance of climate change has not broken through in a meaningful way in the national political arena...”

File image: NOAA.

Climate Crisis Beaks Open Generational Rifts in US Families. The Guardian reports; here’s an excerpt: “…While polling shows a clear majority of Americans accept that the climate is changing and want the federal government to respond to the myriad threats this poses, the issue has been polarized in the US to extremes not seen in other leading democracies. An ideological aversion among Republicans to accept climate science and act against fossil fuel interests has led to two starkly different visions laid out by the 2020 presidential candidates. While Trump has rolled back dozens of pollution regulations, dismissed and sidelined climate science and pulled the US from the Paris climate accords, Joe Biden is pushing a $2tn plan to create a 100% clean energy grid within 15 years, and has called the climate crisis “an existential threat” to the US…”

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