The Interior Department Scrubs Climate Change From Its Strategic Plan

The Interior Department Scrubs Climate Change From Its Strategic Plan

SOURCE: The Nation DATE: October 25, 2017 SNIP: In the next five years, millions of acres of America’s public lands and waters, including some national monuments and relatively pristine coastal regions, could be auctioned off for oil and gas development, with little thought for environmental consequences. That’s according to a leaked draft, obtained by The Nation, of the Department of the Interior’s strategic vision: It states that the DOI is committed to achieving “American energy dominance” through the exploitation of “vast amounts” of untapped energy reserves on public lands. Alarmingly, the policy blueprint—a 50-page document—does not once mention climate change or climate science. EPA websites have also been scrubbed of most references to climate change. At Interior and the Department of Energy, scientists have been discouraged from referring to climate change in grant proposals or press releases. While disregarding climate change, the 2018–2022 strategic plan places a premium on facilitating oil and gas development. Not surprisingly, one of the DOI’s key performance indicators for the next five years will be the number of acres of public lands made available for oil and natural-gas...
Fossil fuel expansion crushes renewables

Fossil fuel expansion crushes renewables

SOURCE: National Observer and BP DATE: September 20, 2017 SNIP: I read lots of articles these days pointing to the rapid expansion of renewable energy as a reason to be hopeful about our unfolding climate crisis. Unfortunately, the climate doesn’t care how many solar panels and wind farms we build. What determines our climate fate is how much climate-polluting fossil fuels we decide to burn. Renewables are great but only if they actually replace oil, gas, or coal. Sadly, rising renewables haven’t stopped our fossil fuel burn, or our atmosphere’s CO2 from continuing to rise. Instead, the new business-as-usual is one in which we keep expanding both renewables and fossil fuels at the same time. The best available science says we need climate pollution “reductions of 90 per cent or more between 2040 and 2070.” (see International Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment report.) But the latest energy data clearly shows we aren’t reducing fossil fuel burn. Just the opposite. We keep cranking the tap open wider every year. [T]he last decade’s increase in fossil fuels was so huge that it single-handedly exceeds all the renewable energy supply we’ve ever...
Fossil fuel subsidies are a staggering $5 tn per year

Fossil fuel subsidies are a staggering $5 tn per year

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: Aug 7, 2017 SOURCE: A study was just published in the journal World Development that quantifies the amount of subsidies directed toward fossil fuels globally, and the results are shocking. The subsidies were $4.9 tn in 2013 and they rose to $5.3 tn just two years later. According to the authors, these subsidies are important because first, they promote fossil fuel use which damages the environment. Second, these are fiscally costly. Third, the subsidies discourage investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy that compete with the subsidized fossil fuels. Finally, subsidies are very inefficient means to support low-income...
Temperatures Could Rise Far More Than Previously Thought If Fossil Fuel Reserves Burned

Temperatures Could Rise Far More Than Previously Thought If Fossil Fuel Reserves Burned

SOURCE: DeSmog Canada and Nature Climate Change DATE: May 23, 2016 SNIP: These models simulate, in response to 5 EgC of CO2 emissions, global mean warming of 6.4–9.5 °C, mean Arctic warming of 14.7–19.5 °C, and mean regional precipitation increases by more than a factor of four. These results indicate that the unregulated exploitation of the fossil fuel resource could ultimately result in considerably more profound climate changes than previously suggested. — Nature Climate Change Imagine a world where average temperatures are almost 10 degrees Celsius higher than today, an Arctic with temperatures almost 20 degrees warmer and some regions deluged with four times more rain. That is the dramatic scenario predicted by a team of climate scientists led by the University of Victoria’s Katarzyna Tokarska, who looked at what would happen if the Earth’s remaining untapped fossil fuel reserves are burned. Tokarska, a PhD student at UVic’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, used simulations from climate models looking at the relationship between carbon emissions and warming — including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report — and concluded that known fossil fuel reserves would emit the equivalent of five trillion tonnes of carbon emissions if burned. That would result in average global temperature increases between 6.4 degrees and 9.5 degrees Celsius, with Arctic temperatures warming between 14.7 degrees and 19.5 degrees, says the paper published Monday in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change. — DeSmog...