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Emissions Gap Report 2020: Where we are & where we should be to avoid catastrophe


Highlights

  • The United Nations Environment Programme has released their Emissions Gap Report for 2020, highlighting where greenhouse gas predictions for 2030 are and how the world can avoid climate disaster
  • Currently, the world is headed for temperature rise in excess of 3°C this century and 2020 has likely to be the warmest year on record
  • Around 126 countries covering 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions had adopted, announced or were considering net-zero goals at the time this report was written, signifying that various countries are attempting to do their part to reduce emissions
  • Governments must go greener in the next stage of COVID-19 fiscal interventions to kick-start faster action on climate change

Scientists are increasingly warning that to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change, the world’s governments must implement policies for massive greenhouse gas emissions reductions and begin a drawdown of carbon from the atmosphere within ten years. With 9 of 15 global tipping points now active, what we do today can either unleash an inhospitable hothouse Earth or secure a safe climate well into the future. For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.


Read the Full Report: https://www.unep.org/interactive/emissions-gap-report/2020/

A new era of clean transportation requires new leadership

by Mary Creasman, CalMatters


Highlights

  • Transportation is responsible for about 40% of California’s emissions
  • Assembly Transportation Committee Chair Jim Frazier has stalled various efforts for cleaner transportation in California
  • Frazier pushed back against the Clean Cars Bill that would have transitioned cars to zero-emission by 2040 and worked against former Governor Jerry Brown’s goal of putting 5 million electric cars on the road by 2030
  • Frazier also asked the California Air Resources Board to suspend all proposed air quality regulations until 2021
  • Frazier has received thousands of dollars in money from oil companies and has held more than $1 million in Chevron stock
  • Removing Frazier and replacing any members of the Transportation Committee who won’t work to secure a clean transportation future is vital for a safe and healthy California

Increased air pollution from fossil fuel emissions makes all of us more vulnerable to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California Platform includes solutions for clean mobility to cut greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Governor Newsom’s recent Executive Order N-79-20 banning the sale of new gas-powered cars and trucks by 2035 is a great first step, but more is needed to secure climate stability. The Climate Center released a requested Executive Order in alignment with our Climate-Safe California Platform shortly before the Governor’s announcement. 


Read More: https://calmatters.org/commentary/my-turn/2020/10/a-new-era-of-clean-transportation-requires-new-leadership-on-the-assemblys-transportation-committee/

Can China go net-zero? Two charts show just how ambitious Xi Jinping’s goal is

 


Highlights

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced that his country aims to reach peak carbon emissions before 2030 and become carbon-neutral by 2060
  • A newly released blueprint for the country’s energy transition was created by the Tsinghua University’s Institute of Energy, Environment, and Economy
  • To reach their carbon neutrality goals, there will be a projected 587% increase in solar energy generation between 2025 and 2060
  • Many are skeptical that China will reach their goals by 2060 as coal-fired electricity won’t be phased out until around 2050
  • Coal, oil, and natural gas would still be generating about 13 percent of the country’s energy in their new plan

Image from Grist

  • China would still emit 200 million tons of CO2, nearly 3% of the United States’ carbon emissions in 2018

Scientists are increasingly warning that to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change, the world’s governments must implement massive reductions of warming emissions and begin a drawdown of greenhouse gases (GHG) from the atmosphere over the decade ahead.  For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.


Read More: https://grist.org/climate/can-china-go-net-zero-two-charts-show-just-how-ambitious-xi-jinpings-goal-is/

Exxon touts carbon capture as a climate fix, but uses it to maximize profit and keep oil flowing

by Kevin Crowley and Akshat Rathi, Bloomberg


Highlights

  • Carbon captured by Exxon Mobil’s Shute Creek Treating Facility is being sold to other companies that are injecting the carbon into depleted oil fields to help produce more oil
  • Exxon may have claimed hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits due to the tax credit that encouraged companies to capture and store carbon back in 2008
    • The company may have collected $1 billion awarded under the credit over the past decade with nearly $900 million of that amount failing to comply with EPA requirements
  • Exxon is lobbying to eliminate the rule that requires companies to submit carbon monitoring plans to the Environmental Protection Agency in order to claim the carbon credits 
  • Some environmental advocates believe fossil fuel companies are exploiting carbon capture technology to maximize their profits as the carbon they capture can be utilized to pump more oil from the ground in a process referred to as enhanced oil recovery
    • Enhanced oil recovery involves injecting CO2 and water into an oil well which makes the oil easier to move and pump from underground
  • The carbon capture process helps fossil fuels companies retain enough CO2 to keep using the enhanced oil recovery method, which can potentially keep them in business longer
  • The International Energy Agency said recently that carbon capture capacity must soar to 840 million metric tons by 2030, up from about 40 million today in order to have benefits for the environment

Increased air pollution from fossil fuel emissions makes all of us more vulnerable to the current COVID-19 pandemic. For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.


Read More: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/25092020/exxon-carbon-capture

Exxon’s plan for surging carbon emissions revealed in leaked documents

by Kevin Crowley and Akshat Rathi, Bloomberg


Highlights

  • Exxon Mobil is raising its yearly emissions to 17% by 2025, releasing an additional 21 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year according to the companies own assessment of its $210 billion investment strategy 
  • New investment and growth plans come after the company experienced losses during the pandemic and the collapse of oil demand
  • The largest U.S. oil producer has never made a commitment to lower oil and gas output, planned to become carbon neutral, nor have they ever publicly disclosed its forecasts for its own emissions
  • Exxon does not account for emissions from customers burning their fuel, meaning their new growth strategy would account for and additional 100 million tons of CO2

Increased air pollution from fossil fuel emissions makes all of us more vulnerable to the current COVID-19 pandemic. For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.


Read More: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-05/exxon-carbon-emissions-and-climate-leaked-plans-reveal-rising-co2-output?sref=ABTRBDIh

Opinion: Methane leaks in the Central Valley may be worsening COVID-19 cases

by Karen L. Jones, California Health Report


Highlights

  • According to the California Department of Public Health, the death rate due to chronic lower respiratory disease is 12 times higher in the San Joaquin Valley compared to the rest of the state and 14 times higher than the national rate
  • The intense pollution in the region can have severe effects on Valley residents who contract COVID-19
  • Kern County does not meet federal ozone and particulate matter standards due to the pollution caused by the region’s petroleum industry among other factors such as unplugged oil wells that leak methane
  • There are reports of several wells leaking at rates over 200,000 percent above the EPA average estimate for western U.S. gas wells
  • Methane leaks detected by using airborne infrared imaging sensors show that nearly 4 billion cubic feet of methane may have been released in Kern County oil fields
  • The gathering of methane plume imagery could help locate and plug methane leaks in oil fields

Increased air pollution from fossil fuel emissions makes all of us more vulnerable to the current COVID-19 pandemic. For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.


Read More: https://www.calhealthreport.org/2020/08/18/opinion-methane-leaks-in-the-central-valley-may-be-worsening-covid-19-cases/

How the gas industry is waging war against climate action

by Emily Holden, The Guardian


Highlights

  • The gas industry has been orchestrating efforts to push against any climate policy that threatens their business models through coalition building, hiring lobbying firms, social media strategy, and op-eds
  • Though natural gas is touted as a safe resource, the extraction and transportation of the gas leaks methane, which is more powerful than carbon dioxide and is being emitted by the gas industry in large quantities
  • In Seattle, where the city council attempted to ban natural gas hookups in order to eliminate pollution, there was mass opposition from plumbers, realtors, and building owners who feared job losses and discontent with people who wanted gas in their homes
  • Charlie Spatz, a researcher at the Climate Investigations Center, says that the push back is due to the threat of the industries failing business:

“The gas utilities are facing an existential threat, and instead of approaching a decarbonizing economy as an opportunity to reinvent themselves, they’re digging their heels in and going back to the age-old tactics of [the fossil fuel industry]”

  • A group called Partnership for Energy Progress (PEP) which consists of western utilities, labor unions and businesses plans to spend nearly $3 million in efforts to convince consumers that natural gas is an important player in our green energy future
    • The American Public Gas Association is spending at least $127,000 on anti-electrification initiatives and $200,000 for media monitoring, engagement with reporters, letters to the editor, op-eds and social media efforts

While the gas industry has been touting how many jobs they support, jobs within the renewable sector are vastly outpacing those in the fossil fuel industry. The Climate Center works toward electrifying buildings and vehicles using 100% clean energy sources such as solar and wind to eliminate fossil fuel-based emissions and promote economic opportunities in the renewable energy industry.


Read More: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/aug/20/gas-industry-waging-war-against-climate-action

The worst-case scenario for global warming tracks closely with actual emissions


Highlights

  • The worst-case climate scenarios that feature the highest greenhouse gas emissions projections are the best ones to strategically plan for as they capture both future and historical emissions
  • Though the use of coal is dwindling, cumulative concentrations of greenhouse gases that were emitted in the past play a huge role in future warming projections
  • Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) are scenarios that show how much warmer the world will become by 2100
    • The Paris Agreement would be an RCP of 2.6, leading the world to 3.6 Degrees Fahrenheit. Effects of this RCP allow only 10% of coral reefs to survive
    • The worst-case scenario, RCP 8.5, would lead to an 8 Degree F increase, causing a 3-foot increase in sea level rise

Scientists are increasingly warning that to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change, the world’s governments must implement massive reductions of warming emissions and begin a drawdown of greenhouse gases (GHG) from the atmosphere over the decade ahead.  For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.


Read More: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/03082020/climate-change-scenarios-emissions

Committee For A Better Arvin / Comite para un Arvin mejor

Tired of wells that threaten residents’ health, a small California town takes on the oil industry


Highlights

  • In the Central Valley of California, exhaust from semi-trucks, oil and gas fumes, plus pesticides from the agricultural sector are trapped in the valley, creating mass pollution that creates severe health problems
    • Health effects include asthma, respiratory illnesses, preterm birth, low birth weight, and cancer 
  • Pollution caused by drilling sites disproportionately affect neighborhoods that are predominately occupied by Black, Indigenous, People of Color 
  • Though implementing setbacks or buffers that separate drilling sites from homes, schools, and hospitals effectively reduces health risks, California has no mandates or laws requiring these buffers
  • Oil industry giants such as the Western States Petroleum Association and Chevron have spent $9.9 million and $7.5 million on lobbying this legislative season
    • These same companies successfully advocated for streamlined approval of new oil projects with little environmental review
  • A community group in the Central Valley town of Arvin, named Committee for a Better Arvin, have taken on the oil industry in their community 
      • In 2014 a leaky pipeline had caused an air sampling from the inside of homes on a street in Arvin to have levels of toxic gas 13 times higher than deemed safe by the EPA 
      • With help from other smaller community groups plus big environmental groups, Committee for a Better Arvin sued for better regulations in their community
  • In Los Angeles County over 1.5 million people live within 2,500 feet of an operational oil well
  • AB 345 would create setbacks of 2,500ft, being the first mandate for buffers in the state
  • The bill would not stall oil production but would help frontline communities avoid toxic levels of pollution 

The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California Platform advocates for a formal California State commitment by 2022 to 80% below 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions and net-negative emissions by 2030. This bold target requires accelerating the phase-out of fossil fuel development, production, and use.


Read More: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/02082020/california-big-oil-environmental-health

New report on climate-driven mass migration of humanity

by Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica


Highlights

  • Due to the climate crisis, mass migrations of people will continue to grow as flooding, drought, food insecurity become more widespread
  • In Alta Verapaz, Guatemala is experiencing the worst effects of the climate crisis, as El Nino storms will decrease rainfall by 60%, making it nearly impossible to grow crops for sustenance and income
  • the planet could see a greater temperature increase in the next 50 years than it did in the last 6,000 years combined
  • In the next 80 years, the world could see temperatures so hot that going outside for a few hours can be deadly
  • Extremely hot areas that currently cover less than 1% of the earth’s land surface could cover nearly a fifth of the land, displacing 1 of every 3 people alive outside the climate niche where humans have relied on for crop cultivation and livable temperatures
  • Climate refugees must be admitted into countries that are not experiencing the most severe effects of the climate crisis. Preparation and planning of this mass migration is key in order to avoid political instability and conflict
  • In Southeast Asia, where increasingly unpredictable monsoon rainfall and drought have made farming more difficult, the World Bank points to more than 8 million people who have moved toward the Middle East, Europe, and North America
  • Using a model created by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, the most extreme climate scenario would result in over 30 million migrants trying to reach the US over the next 30 years
  • Reduction in emissions would result in close to 700,00 climate migrants from Central America and Mexico to the US from now to 2050. Without emissions reductions, the US could see close to one million migrants
  • The United Nations estimates that some 65% of farmable lands have already been degraded in the African Sahel due to rapid desertification
  • Coastal regions in the US, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Iraq, and Egypt are at risk of submerging underwater due to rising tides

Scientists are increasingly warning that to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change, the world’s governments must implement massive reductions of warming emissions and begin a drawdown of greenhouse gases (GHG) from the atmosphere over the decade aheadFor a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.


Read More: https://features.propublica.org/climate-migration/model-how-climate-refugees-move-across-continents/