Other News We Are Reading
The World Needs to Store Billions of Tons of Carbon. It Could Start in a Surprising Place (The Washington Post)
The corn-based ethanol industry could become a surprising leader in a technology that the world needs to fight climate change, an economic analysis published Monday suggests – a development that could scramble the intense environmental politics of the ethanol issue.
The technology in question is carbon capture and storage, or CCS – widely believed to be necessary to save the climate but still in a fledgling state, with relatively few large-scale installations around the world. But fitting corn-ethanol refineries with carbon-storing technologies would be a winning financial proposition that could simultaneously advance the CCS industry’s growth, the research finds. Read more…
California Considers Carbon Capture, For Ethanol (Argus)
San Francisco, 25 April (Argus) – Ethanol producers selling fuel in California may emerge as a beneficiary of a technology often associated with the coal industry.
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has proposed changes to the state’s Low-Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) meant to spur projects that capture CO2 and inject it into underground geologic formations.
Advocates say industrialized countries that burn fossil fuels must develop carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) if they want to have any hope of meeting global climate goals. But high costs and engineering challenges have limited the deployment of the technology in coal plants, as well as the oil and gas sector.
Stanford researchers argue in a study published on 23 April that ethanol biorefineries could take advantage of favorable economics to build CCS projects. Read more…
Can Dirt Save the Earth? (New York Times Magazine)
Peggy Rathmann and her husband, John Wick, were involved in a major effort in California to reshape the way people think about land use and climate change. The couple own a ranch in Northern California, which they’ve dedicated in part to “carbon farming,” an agricultural technique by which the process of photosynthesis is used to divert carbon out of the atmosphere and store it underground. Moises Velasquez-Manoff writes that if just 41 percent of California’s rangeland were treated in the same manner as they’ve treated their ranch, “carbon pumped into the earth by photosynthesis might render the entire agricultural sector of the world’s sixth-largest economy carbon neutral for years to come.” Read more…
Why the Climate Challenge Needs Congressional Action (Brookings Institution)
President Trump has aimed to undo much of the Obama administration’s policy on energy and climate. This includes announcing a withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, repealing the Clean Power Plan, rolling back vehicle fuel economy standards, attempting to rescind rules on methane emissions from oil and gas production on federal lands, ending the moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands, and opening additional offshore areas to oil and gas leasing.
Each of these undoings shares a common quality: The Obama administration initiated them through regulation or executive order. One could argue that any of the leading candidates in the 2016 Republican primary would have taken similar actions in the climate and energy space. What is needed now, we argue, is momentum toward bipartisan climate legislation in Congress that could outlast the back-and-forth on regulations. Read more…
Pruitt Declares That Burning Wood Is Carbon Neutral (The Hill)
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared Monday that burning wood is carbon neutral.
The announcement, made by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt during a meeting with Georgia forestry leaders, signals an administrative policy shift that will treat all burning of biomass as carbon-neutral “when used for energy production at stationary sources,” according to an EPA statement.
The administration likened the new policy decision to a clarification, saying it will help streamline regulations for forest and paper industries. Read more…
The Latest State to Get Serious About Climate Change Is…New Jersey? (Vox)
U.S. climate hawks have not had much to celebrate lately, with the Trump administration lurching backward and states finding it more difficult than expected to move forward on their own.
But last week brought reason for celebration, as New Jersey, unified under Democratic rule after the 2017 gubernatorial election, passed a suite of legislation that vaulted it into the ranks of top US climate leaders, alongside California and New York. Read more…
Climate Change: Michael Bloomberg Pledges $4.5m For Paris Deal (BBC News)
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he will pay $4.5 million to cover some of the lapsed U.S. commitment to the Paris climate accord. He said he had a responsibility to help improve the environment because of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the deal.
Trump announced the withdrawal last June and sparked international condemnation. It will make the United States in effect the only country not to be part of the Paris accord. Read more…
California Risks Severe ‘Whiplash’ From Drought to Flood: Scientists
California will suffer more volatile weather this century with a “whiplash” from drought to rain and mounting risks a repeat of the devastating “Great Flood” of 1862, scientists said on Monday.
Climate change, driven by man-made greenhouse gas emissions, would drive more extreme shifts between hot and dry summers and wet winters in the most populous U.S. state, they wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Global warming is making California and other regions with similar Mediterranean-style climates, from southern Europe to parts of Australia, drier and warmer in summer, said lead author Daniel Swain of the University of California, Los Angeles. Read more…