Climate 411

Oregon is finalizing a key pillar of its climate strategy. Will DEQ deliver the climate ambition that Oregonians are demanding?

This post is authored by Kjellen Belcher, Senior Analyst for U.S. Climate at EDF.

Oregon wildfire.

Photo credit: US Bureau of Land Management.

This past summer, the Pacific Northwest endured record-breaking high temperatures, with Portland reaching 116 degrees F. Hundreds of Oregonians are still reeling from the wildfires of 2020 —  one of the most destructive seasons on record for Oregon. And a new study just revealed that Mt. Hood, an iconic Oregon landmark, will have low to no snowpack within the next 35 to 60 years, impacting Oregon’s water supply, winter sports season and other treasured natural resource industries.

Climate change is impacting every part of Oregon, and every action we take (or don’t take) will either solidify a very grim climate future or stop the ever-accelerating impacts of climate change and the immeasurable human suffering that goes with it.

But Oregon regulators have the power to take immediate action to address the climate crisis.

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Also posted in Cities and states, News / Comments are closed

New EDF Research Shows More than 330,000 Workers Already Make Electric Trucks and Buses Throughout the United States, Potential for Tremendous Future Growth

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Build Back Better Act later this month, a bill with an unprecedented $555 billion in climate and clean air investments that will drive the creation of clean energy and manufacturing jobs. And the economic potential of manufacturing trucks and buses is underscored by two recent EDF reports – one examining the current landscape, and another offering a glimpse of what’s possible in the future.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans already make electric trucks and buses… Read More »

Also posted in Cars and Pollution, Climate Change Legislation, News / Comments are closed

What We’re Watching in Reconciliation: Regular Updates from EDF

Photo Credit: John Williams

Through the process known as budget reconciliation, Congress is now crafting a bill that could include significant investments in climate action that will drive economic and job growth. There are going to be a lot of moving parts over the next few weeks, which is why EDF will be weighing in regularly in this space to help break down what’s happening, and why it matters.

Want a primer on the key issues EDF will be watching? Read all about them here.

Nov. 19: 10 ways the Build Back Better Act will benefit the U.S.

The House of Representatives has passed the single most significant piece of climate legislation ever. Now it’s on its way to the Senate, where it will also need to be passed in order to become law.

This bill is incredibly important in the effort to transition to a climate-safe economy. The bill includes key climate and clean energy investments that will make a real difference in the lives of people and communities across America.

Here are ten ways the Build Back Better Act will benefit U.S. families and businesses: Read More »

Also posted in Cars and Pollution, Climate Change Legislation, Economics, Health, News, Policy / Read 1 Response

Why the Department of Energy launched an ‘Earthshot’ effort to draw down and store carbon pollution

This blog was co-authored by Sonali Deshpande, Program Analyst for U.S. Climate at EDF.

At a COP26 event on November 5, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm announced a new, visionary effort to scale up solutions that can draw down and store carbon pollution from the atmosphere: The Carbon Negative Shot

The Carbon Negative Shot follows two other Energy Earthshot announcements from DOE this year on hydrogen and long duration storage, all aimed at achieving breakthroughs in emerging climate solutions this decade. It’s the latest way that DOE is demonstrating how it can deliver on President Biden’s whole-of-government approach to combating climate change.

While we need to prioritize slashing carbon and methane pollution this decade to have a fighting chance of reaching net-zero emissions by mid-century — the target that gives us the best chance of avoiding the worst effects of warming — the science suggests that we might also need to scale up strategies to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, known as carbon dioxide removal or CDR.

DOE’s new Earthshot aims to fund research and innovation to achieve durable and scalable carbon removal under $100 per ton of CO2 within a decade. To be clear, that’s an ambitious goal: currently, a ton of direct air capture can cost multiples of that. However, some experts believe that these costs can fall significantly with an aggressive research agenda. And there are plenty of other challenges beyond cost: storing the CO2 permanently and safely, engaging with communities to ensure they inform and benefit from CDR, and ensuring CDR does not compete with renewable energy generation and other vital infrastructure for land use, and more.

To explore ways to maximize the value and impact of the Carbon Negative Shot, DOE gathered a range of voices for the launch at COP26, including remarks from Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, and IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol; and a panel featuring, Assistant Secretary of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management and expert on CDR Dr. Jennifer Wilcox, Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp, Microsoft’s Chief Environmental Officer Dr. Lucas Joppa; and moderated by Dr. Akshat Rathi, Climate and Energy Reporter for Bloomberg News.

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Posted in Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Comments are closed

Washington and Wall Street must act now to protect Americans’ financial futures from unfolding climate change harms

This piece was co-authored by Stephanie Jones, Attorney, Climate Risk and Financial Regulations, and Gabe Malek, Project Manager, Investor Influence at EDF.

Climate change poses grave risks across society, including “more frequent and intense storms, wildfires, and heatwaves as well as more damaging droughts and more extensive ecosystem losses.” All people face climate harms, today: “this year alone, extreme weather has upended the U.S. economy and affected one in three Americans.” Policymakers must act with urgency to protect all Americans in the face of the unfolding climate crisis, and safeguarding peoples’ financial health and stability is urgent and paramount – no American should face financial jeopardy due to the harms climate change poses to their retirement account or ability to prudently manage personal and home finances.

Importantly, Washington and Wall Street are increasingly taking steps to recognize and manage climate risks. A number of important activities have taken shape in recently weeks, all designed to protect Americans’ financial futures. Measures range from proposed rules that would improve lifelong retirement savings plan selection to report findings that make transparent the harms climate change presents to the foundational stability of our banking system.

Eight of the most significant recent U.S. developments in the last few months of 2021 are highlighted below. It is crucial that we build upon these steps and take concrete, urgent action now to protect families, all people with bank accounts small and large, investors from main street to wall street, retirees, and all who depend on a financial system that is not destabilized by climate change.

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Also posted in Policy / Read 2 Responses

Where the U.S. stands going into COP26

After a year-long delay from the pandemic, COP26 — the next UN meeting aimed at accelerating global action on climate change — is right around the corner. As a newly rejoined Party to the Paris Agreement under the leadership of President Biden, the United States will be arriving under much different circumstances than the last COP. But will other countries see the U.S. participation and its new commitments as credible? Will the United States be positioned to push global ambition to the levels needed to beat the climate crisis? The answers to those critical questions depend on how much policy progress the U.S. can make at home.

In April, the United States renewed its commitment to meeting global climate targets, including through an ambitious new nationally determined contribution (NDC) that pledges to reduce U.S. emissions by 50-52% from 2005 levels by 2030. While highly ambitious, multiple analyses have demonstrated that this goal is also achievable, lending much-needed credibility to the U.S. pledge. Since then, the Biden administration has unveiled a series of actions intended to move the country towards achieving that goal.

Critically, one of the largest and most significant components of the president’s plan to tackle climate change is a piece of legislation that is currently in active stages of negotiation in Congress. Getting this bill and the included climate investments across the finish line will be crucial to meeting our climate goals. On top of that, the U.S. must also ratchet up regulatory climate action at the federal and state level to meet our 2030 pledge, as incentives and investments alone won’t be enough to slash emissions at the pace and scale needed.

So what has the U.S. accomplished since announcing its new NDC in April and what is still on the table? Here is where progress stands.

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Also posted in Jobs, Paris Agreement / Comments are closed