Fossil Fuels on the ballot
Short Cliffnotes this week, since I’m technically on vacation (which in my case means I’m spending the weekend stacking logs and raking up black walnuts at my mom’s house in northern Vermont).
I came out East this week for the Crowds and Climate conference at MIT, where I was lucky enough to be on a panel with former Congressman Bob Inglis, EDF communications maven Eric Pooley, and one of my long-time heroes Marshall Ganz. We had a spirited discussion about how to engage different audiences to take action on climate change, and how the climate movement is similar and different to other social and political movements (gay rights, gun control, etc).
Speaking of Boston, the City is considering a proposal to require developers to proactively demonstrate how their proposed new buildings will withstand future extreme weather events and power outages. At the federal level, President Obama put out a new executive order directing agencies to “identify and seek to remove or reform barriers that discourage investments or other actions to increase the Nation’s resilience to climate change.” More on that from Brad Plumer in the Washington Post here. Resilience in action!
- According to CARB, California’s statewide greenhouse gas emissions spiked from 2011 to 2012. The good folks at the Rhodium Group have this explanation: closing the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) meant the state had to fill that gap with natural gas, which has higher emissions that nuclear power. At the same time, the state now has the dubious distinction of being home to eight of the ten most polluted cities in America, according to the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2013 report. Time to step back up and put on that leadership hat, people!
- Speaking of leadership, a new report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Labs tells us California’s long-term climate goals will require new technologies and bold policies. My view: they’ll likely require regional action as well, since California can only act on its own for so long. Some news on that front:
- CARB Chairman Mary Nichols says that California is ready to link its carbon market with Quebec. The markets are expected to be fully integrated sometime in 2014, at which point California and Quebec can hold joint auctions of emissions credits.
- Here on the West Coast, the governors of CA, OR, and WA plus the Premier of British Columbia took a big step toward a regional market the other day, by stating their own support of that goal. But it’ll take legislative action to make that dream a reality. Oregon Public Broadcasting takes a look at the legislative roadblocks facing Governors Kitzhaber and Inslee of Oregon and Washington, respectively, as they look to implement carbon pricing in their states.
- Meanwhile, “fossil fuels took a licking” in those same Western states in Tuesday’s election, as my former CAP colleague Tom Kenworthy reports in Climate Progress. Voters in Whatcom, WA went against big coal in their City Council election, which is important because those councilmembers will decide the fate of a proposed terminal that would allow up to 48 million tons of coal to be shipped out each year to China. And in Colorado, three cities passed fracking bans while another voted to allow the practice to continue, setting the stage for a statewide battle in 2014.
That’s it for now! It just started snowing, meaning I have to get out there and finish stacking wood before it’s all covered in drifts. See you next week when I’ll finally be back on the Left Coast!