Climate 411

May brings another record auction for the Western Climate Initiative, as California considers how to ramp up climate action

Results of the May Western Climate Initiative auction were released today, and again they demonstrate strong demand for allowances and generate revenue that will deliver meaningful investments for California communities. Earlier this month, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) also outlined the role of its cap-and-trade program in its draft Scoping Plan, which intends to chart the path to California’s 2030 and 2045 climate targets. However, there is major room for improvement: CARB needs to do more to ensure the emissions cap is an effective backstop and can provide certainty of near-term emission reductions.

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The latest IPCC report unpacks the role of innovation. Here are five key takeaways.

Wind energy

Photo credit: Pexels.

Last week, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s leading body on climate science, issued another stark warning on the state of the climate crisis. With every fraction of a degree at stake, the world needs to speed up the clean energy revolution as quickly as possible to secure a safer future.

This sixth assessment report lays out a variety of pathways and solutions that can limit global climate warming and stymie the most harmful impacts of the climate crisis. The top takeaway: We need to swiftly and equitably transition to a global clean energy economy through rapid and wide-scale deployment of existing solutions like solar, wind, batteries and heat pumps. For the first time, however, the report also dedicates a chapter to innovation – the process of developing, testing and scaling new climate solutions. In all pathways studied, these new solutions will be important for addressing emissions in sectors where today’s clean energy solutions are not enough.

Here are 5 key takeaways about climate innovation in the IPCC report that policymakers should know.

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New study shows federal agencies must consider climate risk in environmental reviews under NEPA

(This post was co-authored by Romany Webb of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School and EDF’s Michael Panfil. It is also posted on the Sabin Center’s website.)

From pipelines destabilized by melting permafrost to powerline-sparked wildfires exacerbated by drought, the impacts of climate change are affecting infrastructure across the U.S. and heightening the risks posed to the environment and communities.

A new study, undertaken jointly by Environmental Defense Fund and Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, finds that federal agencies are not adequately considering climate change impacts in energy project reviews conducted under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The finding stands at odds with NEPA’s requirement that federal agencies take a “hard look” at the environmental effects of proposed actions, including considering ways to mitigate adverse effects and alternative courses of action, before proceeding.

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Also posted in Clean Air Act, Energy, News, Partners for Change, Policy / Comments are closed

Protective pollution safeguards can dramatically increase deployment of zero-emission freight trucks and buses

Photo: Scharfsinn86

A new study developed by Roush Industries for EDF shows rapidly declining costs for zero-emission freight trucks and buses, underscoring the feasibility of rapidly deploying these vehicles that will help us save money, have healthier air, and address the climate crisis.

The study, Medium- and Heavy-Duty Electrification Cost Evaluation, analyzes the cost of electrifying vehicles in several medium and heavy-duty market segments, including transit and school buses, shuttle and delivery vehicles, and garbage trucks – vehicles that typically operate in cities where average trip distances are short and the health and pollution effects of transportation pollution are of particular concern. It projects the upfront costs of buying an electric vehicle instead of a diesel vehicle, and the total cost of ownership for electric vehicles in model years 2027 to 2030.

The study finds that a rapid transition to electric freight trucks and buses makes economic sense when considering both the upfront purchase cost and the total cost of ownership.

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Also posted in Cars and Pollution, Cities and states, Clean Air Act, Economics, Health, News, Policy / Comments are closed

The Clean Future Act: New Mexico’s biggest opportunity to lead on climate

New Mexico mountains

Photo credit: Pixabay

Last year, New Mexico was hit by three different billion-dollar weather disasters: a devastating wildfire season, severe summer storms that included destructive hail, and persistent drought throughout the year across the West. At one point in 2021, over half of the state was in “exceptional drought” (the most severe category of drought), which put immense pressure on farmers, ranchers and even towns to find ways to conserve water.

As these costly, climate change-fueled events become more severe and frequent, communities across the state are looking to the Roundhouse for strong leadership. That is why it was critical when Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced in October that she would push a bill this legislative session to ensure New Mexico does its part to reduce emissions.

This session, New Mexico state leaders can act on the Clean Future Act (House Bill 6), a bill that will reduce harmful climate pollution and build a cleaner, healthier economy for all New Mexicans. This bill puts statutory limits on pollution from all major sources of greenhouse gases across the state, requiring pollution reductions of 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, including a 90 percent reduction in direct emissions by that date.

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Also posted in Cities and states / Read 3 Responses

Colorado legislators passed a law to cut pollution from industry, but regulators have yet to deliver

Cement plant west of Pueblo, CO.

Cement plant west of Pueblo, CO. Photo by Jeffrey Beall

As the 2022 legislative session in Colorado gets underway – with many climate and environmental issues on the agenda – it’s important to take stock of what legislators accomplished on this front last year. One key action we’ve been tracking closely and hope to see progress on this year: Curbing climate pollution from industry and manufacturing.

On top of Colorado’s existing obligation to cut emissions across the economy, established in the state’s Climate Action Plan in 2019 (HB 19-1261), the legislature passed an additional mandate last year directing the state’s Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) to adopt rules that ensure climate pollution from the industrial and manufacturing sector falls 20% below 2015 levels by 2030.

As we detail below, even with this further direction from legislators and some positive steps, progress on reducing emissions continues to be slow. In the fall, the Commission adopted a new rule that takes aim at climate pollution from four specific industrial facilities in Colorado. The new rule marked an important step forward as the first rule directly regulating climate pollution from one of the state’s major source categories, though together these facilities account for just 2% of the statewide emissions (see Figure 1 below).

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Also posted in Cities and states / Comments are closed