Earth affairs: canine sniffing deer smugglers; Trump desires drilling leases for the Arctic to be auctioned now

The ANWR coastal plain

• Trump is in a rush to approve Arctic drilling leases before Biden ousts him: In contrast to executive orders, leasing contracts are contracts that cannot be drawn easily once they have been issued. Biden has vowed to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which has not been allowed to drill well since President Dwight Eisenhower closed the land 60 years ago. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter agreed to the drilling 1.56 million acres the ANWR coastal plain, but only if approved by Congress. Since then, Republicans and some Democrats in Congress have tried more than 50 times to allow drilling in the refuge, but have failed to overcome opposition, which included presidential vetoes. In December 2017, Congress finally approved drilling in parts of the coastal plain. Without a Democratic majority in the Senate, Biden could struggle to keep his promise to close the wells. The immediate problem could arise as early as Monday, however, when the Interior Ministry issues a "call for nominations" for auctioning drilling leases in the coastal plain. Leases auctioned before January 20 would be difficult to break. Even if they have leases, low oil prices, lower demand, and the harsh ANWR environment are likely to deter companies from drilling anytime soon.

• Environment America starts Greener Together project:

Right now, people across the land are turning to nature and nature as a refuge. Nature can calm us down and reconnect with ourselves, with other people and with the world around us. While people with and without children practice social distancing at home, we want to provide the opportunity to connect with nature and other like-minded people by running events, fun activities, and helpful guides to foster that connection.

• Airbus publishes three drafts for zero-emission, hydrogen-powered commercial aircraft that are expected to fly by 2035.

• Global advisors have made it appear that the fossil fuel groups she designed, occupied, and operated were grassroots powered: There were the pro-fracking Texans for natural gas who urged voters to "thank a rough leg". There was the Arctic Energy Center, pushing for drilling off the coast of Alaska, and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. There was the Main Street Investors Coalition, which attacked climate activism, which has been alleged to not help retail investors in the stock market. Hiroko Tabuchi reports that the three appeared to be separate groups representing the common people's views. It found they were part of a network of “influence campaigns” put together by FTI Consulting for some of the world's largest oil and gas companies. Their investigation of FTI revealed a concerted effort to influence public opinion while hiding the role of industry. Of course, this is hardly new. Climate science denialism has been fueled by fossil fuel money, including the infamous Koch Industries, for more than three decades. In addition to his other endeavors FTI monitored environmental activists online and even created a fake Facebook person – "an imaginary middle-aged Texas woman with a dog – to keep an eye on the protesters." FTI occupied two websites – Energy In Depth and Western Wire – with people who authored industry-friendly articles on controversial topics such as fracking. Former employees of Energy In Depth informed Tabuchi that FTI customer Exxon Mobil had staged part of this content.

• San Francisco is following the example of San Jose and banning new natural gas connections: The ban, which comes into force in June 2021, bans the use of natural gas in new buildings and instead requires the use of electricity. In a unanimous vote, tThe city's governing body approved the ordinance on Tuesday. It will apply to the more than 54,000 homes and 32 million square feet of commercial space that are scheduled to be built over the next few years. It is estimated that around 40% of the city's greenhouse gas emissions come from natural gas, and buildings cause 80% of those emissions. The largest city that so far bans new natural gas connections is San Jose, 60 miles south of San Francisco.

• New FERC chairman cancels meeting with electric vehicles: Former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulation Commission Neil Chatterjee is not an enemy of fossil fuels, but he has taken measures that are beneficial to carbon prices and the distribution of energy resources. That shade of green was apparently a major reason Donald Trump kicked him out on November 5th and handed the presidency over to James Danly, former FERC General Counsel who was appointed to the commission in March. Chatterjee held a round table on December 3rd on electric vehicles and their potential impact on the power grid and wholesale power markets. A short notice on Thursday announced that the roundtable had been canceled.

• Tyson Foods plans to reduce the risk of deforestation, but critics say it is not enough: The giant meat packer focuses on four goods: cattle and beef, palm oil, paper and packaging. According to analysts, around 6% of the company's products are linked to deforestation, which is a major contributor to environmental degradation and the climate crisis. Dean Banks, Chief Executive of Tyson, said, "We reaffirm our ambition to make protein more sustainable and look forward to working with our supply chain partners, customers and other stakeholders to make our contribution on this important issue." Green Century Capital Management Inc., a Boston-based investment firm focused on environmental issues, promoted a shareholder proposal to persuade Tyson to remove deforestation from its supply chain, but withdrew it when Tyson said he was working on a plan for a deal with this. But Green Century said Thursday that Tyson's deforestation plans are too lengthy, some of them for more than a decade.

E & E Daily reported that California Democratic MP Mike Levin and Arizona Republican MP David Schweikert introduced the Solar Jobs Preservation Act yesterday. Given the delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the two representatives propose extending the solar exit plan for investment tax credit until 2022. Since the ITC was launched in 2006, the solar industry has grown by more than 10,000% and has created tens of thousands of jobs. Currently, however, around half a million clean energy workers are still unemployed due to the ITC pandemic: In 2015, the ITC was set at 30% in 2019 under a non-partisan contract. A permanent credit of 10% for commercial and utility-scale solar energy and zero% for residential installations is granted through 2022. In a statement, Levin said: “As we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating effects on our economy, we must not forget the climate crisis and the need to preserve clean energy jobs that will help protect our planet. The solar industry plays a vital role in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and promoting economic growth. So we need to support them in this pandemic and extend the investment tax credit. I appreciate Congressman Schwekiert's partnership on this important piece of legislation and I look forward to working with the rest of my colleagues in the House to get this bill passed. "

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