Carbon fee resurrected, The Fight for Climate After COVID-19 & Pew's new survey on climate

The newsletter for independent thinkers on carbon and climate.

(source: McGill University)

Issue No.90

Welcome to the latest issue of Carbon Creed - a curated newsletter for independent thinkers on carbon and climate.

Carbon pricing is back in the mix for reconciliation.

Senate Democrats are considering a carbon pricing proposal for the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, according to E&E News, bringing the policy back into the mix despite potential opposition from progressives and the White House.

It’s the latest sign that a carbon tax or fee could be in the mix for reconciliation, in addition to the Clean Electricity Performance Program, or CEPP, and a suite of other climate policies.

A separate Finance Committee document circulating around Capitol Hill last month included a broad proposal for a carbon tax starting at $15 per ton, paired with rebates for low-income taxpayers, as a potential way to finance the package.

Presidential climate envoy John Kerry said earlier this year that he believes President Biden supports carbon pricing and that “one of the most effective ways to reduce emissions is putting a price on carbon” (Climatewire, April 9).

But the White House opposed a similar gas tax hike during talks on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and appeared to rule carbon pricing out with Biden’s pledge not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 a year.

I remain firm in my conviction that a price on carbon must be included in any major climate legislation. In fact, I think we are on the verge of a global carbon border tax. This will fundamentally change our economies and trigger the great decarbonization shift.

We’ll keep you posted on the latest carbon policy and market insights as they happen. 

If you have an opinion on any topic covered in this newsletter, please feel free to send me an email at mcleodwl@carboncreed.com. 

Thank you for your viewpoint and the value of your time.

Leave a comment


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QUOTES

Climate quotes and sayings that will inspire you

(image : Loomis Dean/The Guardian)


“The Earth is a fine place and worth fighting for.”
– Ernest Hemingway (late Novelist and Journalist)

“We cannot compromise with the earth; we cannot compromise with the catastrophe of unchecked climate change, so we must compromise with one another.” - Gordon Brown (fmr. Prime Minister UK)

“A tree falls the way it leans. Be careful which way you lean.” - Dr. Seuss (Author, The Lorax)


BOOKS

The Fight for Climate After Covid-19

By Alice C. Hill

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit our world on a scale beyond living memory, taking millions of lives and leading to a lockdown of communities worldwide. A pandemic, much like climate change, acts as a threat multiplier, increasing vulnerability to harm, economic impoverishment, and the breakdown of social systems. Even more concerning, communities severely impacted by the coronavirus still remain vulnerable to other types of hazards, such as those brought by accelerating climate change. The catastrophic risks of pandemics and climate change carry deep uncertainty as to when they will occur, how they will unfold, and how much damage they will do. The most important question is how we can face these risks to minimize them most.

The Fight for Climate After COVID-19 draws on the troubled and uneven COVID-19 experience to illustrate the critical need to ramp up resilience rapidly and effectively on a global scale. After years of working alongside public health and resilience experts crafting policy to build both pandemic and climate change preparedness, Alice C. Hill exposes parallels between the underutilized measures that governments should have taken to contain the spread of COVID-19—such as early action, cross-border planning, and bolstering emergency preparation—and the steps leaders can take now to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Through practical analyses of current policy and thoughtful guidance for successful climate adaptation, The Fight for Climate After COVID-19 reveals that, just as our society has transformed itself to meet the challenge of coronavirus, so too will we need to adapt our thinking and our policies to combat the ever-increasing threat of climate change.

Unapologetic and clear-eyed, The Fight for Climate After COVID-19 helps us understand why the time has come to prepare for the world as it will be, rather than as it once was.


INSIGHTS

Pew Survey: Citizens in advanced economies willing to “change” to combat global warming

A new Pew Research Center survey in 17 advanced economies spanning North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region finds widespread concern about the personal impact of global climate change. Most citizens say they are willing to change how they live and work at least some to combat the effects of global warming, but whether their efforts will make an impact is unclear.

Citizens offer mixed reviews of how their societies have responded to climate change, and many question the efficacy of international efforts to stave off a global environmental crisis.

Conducted this past spring, before the summer season ushered in new wildfires, droughts, floods and stronger-than-usual storms, the study reveals a growing sense of personal threat from climate change among many of the publics polled.

Many people across 17 advanced economies are concerned that global climate change will harm them personally at some point in their lifetime. A median of 72% express at least some concern that they will be personally harmed by climate change in their lifetimes, compared with medians of 19% and 11% who say they are not too or not at all concerned, respectively. The share who say they are very concerned climate change will harm them personally ranges from 15% in Sweden to 57% in Greece.

These data reflect the growing realization by the advanced economies, that climate change is not something in the distant future, but is happening now and must be dealt with. Are the citizens of these lands really prepared to make the necessary changes to stave off the worst consequences of climate change - we hope so, but only time will tell.


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Ida's wrath, "Drought, Flood, Fire" and Engine No. 1 eyes Chevron

The newsletter for independent thinkers on carbon and climate.

(source: NJ.COM)

Issue No.89

Welcome to the latest issue of Carbon Creed - a curated newsletter for independent thinkers on carbon and climate.

Hurricane Ida’s wake killed more people in the Northeast than on the Gulf Coast.

The death toll from Ida continued to swell Friday, a day after the hurricane-turned-tropical storm swept through the Northeast on a destructive path north from Louisiana’s Gulf Coast.

At least 49 people were killed after torrential rain pounded New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, ripping through buildings, sparking massive flooding and leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power.

More deaths could still be linked to the downpour, which ended Thursday. As New Jersey’s fatality total rose to 25 overnight — all related to flooding — Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said he expected that number to grow further. Six people in the state remained missing as of Friday.

Since Ida made landfall in Louisiana on Sunday, August 29th as a Category 4 hurricane, more than 60 storm-related fatalities have been reported across eight states. Roughly 10 tornadoes also touched down, including one that caused the Northeast’s first-ever “tornado emergency,” the most dire type of alert the National Weather Service can issue.

Officials linked the tragedy to climate change and promised to improve infrastructure ahead of future storms. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) tweeted that “record-breaking floods are the new normal” and said she had asked staff to draft an “after-action report” to examine the state’s preparation for the storm.

“No longer will we say, ‘Yeah, that won’t happen again in our lifetime,’” Hochul told reporters Friday. “This could literally happen again next week.”

Creed readers understand that climate change is happening now, not in the distant future. We are at the beginning of the transition, and it does not get easier. As a species, we need effective leadership on carbon to avoid slipping into an irreversible cycle of climate induced crisis.

We promise to keep you posted on the latest carbon policy, information and market insights as they happen. 

If you have an opinion on any topic covered in this newsletter, please feel free to send me an email at mcleodwl@carboncreed.com. 

Thank you for your viewpoint and the value of your time.

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QUOTES

Climate quotes and sayings that will inspire you

(source: Union of Concerned Scientists)

“For the rainy season that will come next year, one thatches the roof this year.” - Ethiopian proverb

Credo: Invest in climate infrastructure before the storm comes.

“If you really think that the environment is less important than the economy, try holding your breath while you count your money.” - Dr. Guy McPherson

Credo: The climate and the economy are not a zero-sum game.

“I have long understood that climate change is not only an environmental issue – it is a humanitarian, economic, health, and justice issue as well.” – Frances Beinecke

Credo. We are all connected - one people, one planet.


BOOKS

Drought, Flood, Fire

By Chris Funk

Climate change is no longer a distant worry, discussed solely among scientists and environmentalists. Climate change is happening now, and it’s hurting millions of people and costing billions of dollars annually.

But the Earth is an astoundingly complex system, and tracing a line from greenhouse gas emissions through natural disasters and all the way to their effects on people is tough even for scientists, let alone the general public. Meeting that challenge is the driving force behind “Drought, Flood, Fire , by UC Santa Barbara’s Chris Funk, which aims to demystify how climate change contributes to catastrophes.

“The two main goals of the book are to communicate how climate change is really impacting us now, and then explain why that is happening,” said Funk, director of UCSB’s Climate Hazards Center. Rather than making a pronouncement on climate change from on high, Funk sought to discuss and explain the mechanisms driving it so that readers can understand the process for themselves.

The author draws upon climate data, economic impact assessments and personal accounts to explain the effects climate change is having on individuals, communities and entire societies. From 2015 to 2021, for instance, the amount of the Earth’s surface that is exceptionally warm shot from 8% to 24%, he said. And the costs of extreme events have ballooned. As described in the first chapter, the amount of weather-related damages have quadrupled since 1980, with estimated costs for 2017 and 2018 totaling $653 billion. “We’re getting to a point where the real-world cost of weather and climate hazards is approaching the cost of dealing with climate change itself,” Funk said.

“There is an old-school perception of climate change — still common among some scientists — that climate change will manifest as a ‘bathtub’ warming: a slow, gradual increase in temperatures everywhere at the same time,” Funk said. “But as a climate hazard scientist, I know that this conception is wrong. I know that this perception blunts our ability to predict and anticipate extreme events.”

Instead of thinking of climate change as a slowly warming bathtub, Funk compares it to a seesaw, alternating between highs and lows as heat and moisture circulate around the globe. “A common misconception is that global warming will just simply lift that seesaw straight up,” he said. “Whereas the latest research emphasizes that the seesaw is actually swinging up and down more violently.”

Rather than target climate cynics, Funk aimed his book toward those who are interested in understanding the impacts of climate change.

For instance, warm air can hold more moisture than colder air, a simple fact with profound implications. This increased capacity cuts both ways: It means the atmosphere can dump more water in wet regions and soak up more moisture from dry ones. As a result, climate change looks different depending on where you live.

The systems that transfer energy around the globe are behaving differently than they used to. While average temperatures are increasing overall, this extra energy is not necessarily distributed evenly. For example, rising temperatures have helped create a huge high-pressure dome over the Western U.S., pushing the jet stream north into Canada, Funk explained. To the east of this dome, the jet stream can bring arctic air into Eastern North America. This can help explain why the American West has been ravaged by droughts and megafires while flooding and polar vortices have battered the Midwest and East Coast.

Creed Comments: This is a book that I could share with climate lukewarmers. You know, the folks that say they believe climate change is real, but don’t know if humans are causing it (eyes rolling). Funk has several great analogies that help explain the connections between weather and climate (e.g., seesaw vs bathtub). I’ve got a friend whom I think will be open to the methods presented herein. Read it for yourself and let me know what you think.


INSIGHTS

(source: Financial Times)

Engine No. 1 eyes Chevon as the next climate proxy target

In recent weeks, Chevron executives met with representatives of Engine No. 1, the investment firm that led the successful fight to win three seats on Exxon’s board, people familiar with the matter said. Chevron shared some of its plans to reduce carbon emissions during the talks, which were described as cordial.

Engine No. 1 is considering whether to target a major oil company once again, and other investors have been in touch with the hedge fund about organizing a group to purchase Chevron shares, sounding out if there is interest in launching a second major campaign, people familiar with the matter said. Engine No. 1 hasn’t made any decision about another campaign, one of the people said.

Chevron has studied Engine No. 1’s campaign against Exxon, and its rival’s defeat crystallized the urgency in communicating its energy-transition plans, people familiar with the matter said. Chevron’s board met in person for the first time this summer since the onset of the pandemic. Topics of discussion included the Exxon-Engine No. 1 proxy fight, according to people familiar with the meeting.

Chevron has been developing its energy-transition strategy since the pandemic began. In coming weeks, it plans to announce more-ambitious carbon-reduction targets than those it has previously laid out, people familiar with the matter said. The company is also evaluating the addition of a new director with environmental expertise to its board, the people said.

Engine No. 1’s success has rippled across the energy sector, spurring Exxon’s competitors to take a closer look at the environmental impact of their strategy, leadership and board makeup.

Actions of the Biden administration are adding to the pressure companies face regarding climate change. Public companies might soon be required to disclose in regulatory filings more information about climate-related risks—including the emissions from the products they produce—under a proposal being formulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Chevron Chief Executive Mike Wirth has branded the company’s strategy as “higher returns, lower carbon.” 

The company plans to present more details on its energy-transition plans at an event later this month, which executives view as an opportunity to articulate the oil company’s future as some question the role of fossil fuels in coming decades, people familiar with the matter said. 

Chevron’s planned carbon commitments will stop short of a so-called net-zero pledge to reduce emissions, one of the people said. Beginning last year, several large European oil companies including BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC made such a commitment to zero out emissions produced by the assets they own. Mr. Wirth has called such targets aspirational and said the company won’t set targets for which it doesn’t have a plan to achieve.

Exxon Chief Executive Darren Woods in 2020 called such targets a “beauty competition.” The company is now considering making a net-zero pledge, The Wall Street Journal reported last month.

Historically, activist investors have accumulated large stock positions in target companies to give themselves more votes at the companies’ annual meeting, where shareholders cast ballots based on how many shares they own.

Engine No. 1 was successful against Exxon despite owning only about $50 million of the company’s shares, roughly 0.02% of the stock outstanding. It was able to persuade other investors to support its board slate by arguing that Exxon had squandered billions of dollars on low-return oil megaprojects that left the company saddled with debt, in addition to expressing concern about Exxon’s energy-transition strategy, saying it lacked a realistic blueprint for navigating a global transition to cleaner energy sources. 

Exxon at the time said Engine No. 1’s board candidates were unqualified and defended the company’s strategy, which it said would increase earnings and investor payouts over time, while reducing debt.

Engine No. 1 owns a tiny amount of Chevron’s stock in its recently created exchange-traded fund, around $600,000, according to regulatory filings. Chevron has a market capitalization of around $189 billion. Essential to any campaign against Chevron would be the ability to sway some of its largest institutional investors. Vanguard Group, BlackRock Inc. and State Street Corp. , which together control more than 20% of Exxon’s shares, all voted for some of Engine No. 1’s candidates. The firms are also Chevron’s three largest shareholders.

Chevron could be a tougher target than Exxon in some respects. Chevron has been more frugal with its capital in recent years and has about $35 billion in debt, versus Exxon’s roughly $57 billion. Engine No. 1 frequently compared Exxon and Chevron during the proxy campaign, noting the latter’s superior returns.

Still, some investors want Chevron to do more. Nearly 61% of Chevron’s shareholders voted in support of a proposal that it cut emissions created from use of its products, which Chevron had urged investors to reject. The proposal doesn’t require Chevron to set a specific, binding target for such a reduction. Like Exxon, Chevron has eschewed investments in renewable energy, focusing instead on biofuels, hydrogen and lowering the carbon footprint of fossil fuels.

[This post was adapted from the original written by Christopher M. Matthews and Emily Glazer for the Wall Street Journal]

Creed Comments: Engine No. 1 is establishing a reputation as the climate champion of shareholders in the energy industry. Their strategy was brilliantly executed with Exxon. We are anxious to see how it goes with Chevon.


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Bordering on a carbon tax, 1,001 Voices of Climate & Bolt on fire

The newsletter for independent thinkers on carbon and climate.

Issue No. 88

Welcome to the latest issue of Carbon Creed - a curated newsletter for independent thinkers on carbon and climate.

White House is hesitant to support Senate carbon border tax proposal.

The White House is withholding support for a Democratic proposal to impose a pollution tax on imports from China and other countries, casting doubt on whether Democrats will be able to deploy what many consider one of the greatest weapons to tackle global climate change in a massive spending bill this year.

The United States is the closest it has ever been to imposing a carbon border tax - which seeks to level the playing field between U.S. companies which face environmental regulations at home and foreign competitors with less rigorous standards - after Democrats included the proposal in their $3.5 trillion reconciliation package that they hope to pass along party lines by mid-September.

U.S. President Joe Biden and top members of his administration have said publicly they support a carbon border tax as a tool to advance climate goals, but the White House has not endorsed the Democratic proposal, spearheaded by longtime Biden ally Senator Chris Coons. The tax, as outlined by lawmakers, would raise billions by levying a tariff on carbon-intensive imports, but leaves specific details up to the Biden administration.

The White House is concerned the Democrats' proposal will raise prices on a host of consumer goods, from cars to appliances, and conflict with Biden's pledge not to tax any American earning less than $400,000 per year, according to two sources familiar with the discussions. The White House is also worried any tax that raises prices could fuel Republican attacks that his policies are driving up inflation, they say.

"We believe that carbon border adjustments in relation to carbon-intensive goods represent a potential, useful tool. We do not have a comment on any specific proposals at this time," a White House official said. "We will continue to engage with Congress, our partners around the world, and other stakeholders, including workers and domestic industry, on this issue.”

For a balanced discussion on the case for and against a carbon border tax, visit the Tax Notes Talk podcast and listen to these episodes:

The Case Against a Carbon Tax (August 5, 2021)
The Case for a Border-Adjusted Carbon Tax (August 12, 2021)

Creed readers know that I believe a carbon tax border tax will be enacted by this congress as part of the reconciliation bill. Executed in concert with the EU, this will be a historic shift by world governments to decarbonize the global economy.

We’ll keep you posted on the latest carbon policy and market insights as they happen. 

If you have an opinion on any topic covered in this newsletter, please feel free to send me an email at mcleodwl@carboncreed.com. 

Thank you for your viewpoint and the value of your time.

Leave a comment


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QUOTES

Climate quotes and sayings that will inspire you

(source: Twitter)

“The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way. But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.”
-
Barack Obama, 44th POTUS

“If you don’t act against climate change, then no matter how much money you leave for your children, it’ll not even cover their healthcare bills, due to living in an unhealthy planet.” – Abhijit Naskar, Neuroscientists & Author

“Climate change is sometimes misunderstood as being about changes in the weather. In reality, it is about changes in our very way of life.” – Paul Polman, Businessman


BOOKS

(source: Amazon)

1,001 Voices on Climate Change

By Devi Lockwood


It’s official: 2020 will be remembered as the year when apocalyptic climate predictions finally came true. Catastrophic wildfires, relentless hurricanes, melting permafrost, and coastal flooding have given us a taste of what some communities have already been living with for far too long. Yet we don’t often hear the voices of the people most affected. Journalist turned author, Devi Lockwood set out to change that.

In 1,001 Voices on Climate Change, Lockwood travels the world, often by bicycle, collecting first-person accounts of climate change. She frequently carried with her a simple cardboard sign reading, “Tell me a story about climate change.” 

Over five years, covering twenty countries across six continents, Lockwood hears from indigenous elders and youth in Fiji and Tuvalu about drought and disappearing coastlines, attends the UN climate conference in Morocco, and bikes the length of New Zealand and Australia, interviewing the people she meets about retreating glaciers, contaminated rivers, and wildfires. She rides through Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia to listen to marionette puppeteers and novice Buddhist monks. 

From Denmark and Sweden to China, Turkey, the Canadian Arctic, and the Peruvian Amazon, she finds that ordinary people sharing their stories does far more to advance understanding and empathy than even the most alarming statistics and studies. This book is a hopeful global listening tour for climate change, channeling the urgency of those who have already glimpsed the future to help us avoid the worst.

Creed Comments: People are accustomed to pronouncements on climate being handed down by the UN and other scientific bodies. Rarely do we hear testimonies from everyday people who are directly impacted by climate change. This book does that.

Lockwood has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post, Slate, Yale Climate Connections, and other outlets. The book was released on August 24, 2021. I am adding this one to my list.


INSIGHTS - Electric Vehicles

Are Lithium-Ion Batteries in Electric Vehicles a Fire Hazard?

(source: Silicon Angle)

General Motors Co. has expanded the recall of its Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles due to a risk of fire from the pouch-type lithium-ion battery cells made by South Korea’s LG.

The recall, the second major one involving batteries made by LG Chem’s battery unit LG Energy Solution (LGES) underscores the challenges facing battery firms in making a stable product to power electric cars.

HOW DOES A LITHIUM-ION BATTERY WORK?

Cells come in different shapes and sizes, but most have three key elements: Electrodes, electrolyte and separator.

Electrodes store the lithium. The electrolyte carries the lithium ions between electrodes. The separator keeps the positive electrode from coming in contact with the negative electrode.

Energy, in the form of electricity, is discharged from the battery cell when lithium ions flow from the negative electrode, or anode, to the positive electrode, or cathode. When the cell is charging, those ions flow in the opposite direction, from cathode to anode.

WHY DO LI-ION BATTERIES POSE A FIRE RISK?

Lithium-ion batteries, whether they are used in cars or electronic devices, can catch fire if they have been improperly manufactured or damaged, or if the software that operates the battery is not designed correctly.

The major weakness of lithium-ion batteries in electric cars is the use of organic liquid electrolytes, which are volatile and flammable when operating at high temperatures. An external force such as a crash can also lead to chemical leakage.

Also authorities, car makers and battery makers often do not disclose what the exact safety risk is.

WHAT CAUSED THE FIRES ON BOLTS AND KONAS?

In February, South Korea’s transport ministry said some defects had been found in some battery cells manufactured at the LGES China factory and used in Hyundai Motor’s electric cars, including the Kona EV. Hyundai’s recall cost about $854 million USD.

GM said the batteries supplied by LG for the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV may have two manufacturing defects – a torn anode tab and folded separator – present in the same battery cell, which increases the risk of fire.

ARE POUCH-TYPE BATTERIES MORE VULNERABLE?

All three types of lithium-ion batteries currently used in electric cars – cylindrical, prismatic and pouch-type – are fundamentally the same in functionality, but each has pros and cons.

Cylindrical and prismatic batteries are cased in hard materials. Pouch-types use sealed flexible foils and are protected by thin metal bags.

The technology used in cylindrical batteries is old and yields consistent results. These cells can withstand high internal pressure without deforming. They are also cheaper, making them ideal for mass production. But they are heavier and their shape stops cells from being packed as densely as with other battery forms. Tesla Inc mostly uses cylindrical batteries, some supplied by LGES.

Prismatic batteries are considered safer and lighter than cylindrical cells and, because they are rectangular, can be more densely packed. They optimize space better than cylindrical cells, but are typically more expensive and have a shorter life cycle. They can also swell.

Compared with cylindrical and prismatic cells, pouch-type battery cells allow for lighter and thinner cell fabrication, and design flexibility for different capacities and space requirements for different vehicle models. However, they are vulnerable to swelling, and are more vulnerable in crashes, posing a greater fire risk.

GM and Hyundai Motor use pouch battery cells from LG Energy Solution (formerly LG Chem). Volkswagen said earlier this year it would shift away from pouch-style cells made by LG and SK Innovation Co. Ltd. to prismatic technology.

ARE THERE OTHER SOLUTIONS?

Companies such as China’s BYD Co. produce EV battery cells that use lithium iron phosphate cathodes, which are less prone to catching fire, but are not able to store as much energy as standard cells that use nickel cobalt manganese cathodes.

Others including GM are testing different chemistries such as nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminum (NCMA) technology, which use less cobalt, making the cells more stable and cheaper.

Chinese battery maker CATL unveiled last month a sodium-ion battery that does not contain lithium, cobalt or nickel.

A number of companies including Toyota Motor Corp. are also developing battery cells with solid-state electrolytes, which could minimize overheating issues and fire risks, but could take another three to five years to commercialize.

[This post was adapted from the original written by Heekyong Yang  for Claims Journal]


Creed Comments: I must admit, I was alarmed by the recent spate of Chevy Bolt fires. But I don’t think its a game stopper for people considering the purchase of an EV. Do your homework. Buy electric. Decarbonize your transportation.


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Throw away, the Nature of Nature & Hurricanes are changing

The newsletter for independent thinkers on carbon and climate.

Issue No. 87

Welcome to the latest issue of Carbon Creed - a curated newsletter for independent thinkers on carbon and climate.

Climate emerges during Senate budget reconciliation process.


Democrats kicked off debate on a budget reconciliation package last week, a process that will make or break President Biden’s promises to tackle climate change.

With United Nations climate talks just a few months away the big investments Democrats envision in clean energy and infrastructure could be crucial to meeting international climate goals.

Senate Democrats unveiled a $3.5 trillion budget resolution, which sets instructions for committees around Capitol Hill to write policies for a filibuster-proof reconciliation package.

While the resolution dictates only the topline spending for each committee, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) laid out the expectations for each panel in a memo.

They include a variation on a clean electricity standard (Clean Electricity Payment Program) to be written in Energy and Natural Resources, a methane fee to be fleshed out in Environment and Public Works, and a clean energy tax overhaul for the Finance Committee (Greenwire).

The rules of reconciliation are narrow, allowing only for a limited set of tax and spending policies to pass with a simple majority, but it’s currently the only tool Democrats have to bypass Republicans in the 50-50 Senate.

That means pained debates and potential partisan brawls before senators even finish writing the reconciliation package in mid-September. The memo isn’t the last word either, and the policy could change significantly by the time it’s in the bill. Let the games begin! [Read more at E&E News]

We’ll keep you posted on the latest carbon policy and market insights as they happen. 

If you have an opinion on any topic covered in this newsletter, please feel free to send me an email at mcleodwl@carboncreed.com. 

Thank you for your viewpoint and the value of your time.

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QUOTES

Climate quotes and sayings that will inspire you

(source: European Union)

“There is no such thing as ‘away’. So, when we throw anything away, it must go somewhere.” – Annie Leonard, Activist


Credo: Use less.

“The general population doesn’t know what’s happening, and it doesn’t even know that it doesn’t know.” – Noam Chomsky, Scientist


Credo: Climate ignorance and indifference will be our undoing.

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt, fmr. U.S. President


Credo: Contemplate what it means when our forests are on fire - everywhere.


BOOKS

(source: Amazon)

The Nature of Nature

By Enric Sala

In this inspiring manifesto, internationally renowned ecologist Dr. Enric Sala, makes a clear case for why protecting nature is our best health insurance, and why it makes economic sense.

Sala wants to change the world--and in this compelling book, he shows us how. Once we appreciate how nature works, he asserts, we will understand why conservation is economically wise and essential to our survival. He makes easily digestible for the average person what is happening in our oceans and on our planet due to climate change and habitat destruction and how to solve it.

Dr. Sala, director of National Geographic's Pristine Seas project (which has succeeded in protecting more than 5 million sq km of ocean), tells the story of his scientific awakening and his transition from academia to activism--as he puts it, he was tired of writing the obituary of the ocean. His revelations are surprising, sometimes counterintuitive: More sharks signal a healthier ocean; crop diversity, not intensive monoculture farming, is the key to feeding the planet.

Somewhere along the way he points out, we as a species became obsessed with controlling nature and not living within it. His revelations are surprising and sometimes seem counterintuitive. Dr. Sala shows the economic wisdom and monetary value of making room for nature, even as the population becomes more urbanized and industrialized. He shows, using fascinating examples from his expeditions and those of other scientists, how saving nature can help to reverse the conditions that led to the coronavirus pandemic and prevent further global catastrophes.

Creed Comments: This book seems right for the moment - the first hurricane in 30 years threatens New York and the New England coastline. Nature, as manifested by the ocean’s furry, is beyond the control of man. Humans can only monitor and respond to its rage, while our societies wreck havoc on its bounties. The equilibrium is broken, and it’s up to us to bring nature back into balance.


INSIGHTS - EXTREME WEATHER

(source: Pacific Standard)

How the climate crisis is changing Hurricanes

In the same week that Tropical Storm Fred caused catastrophic flooding in North Carolina, and Hurricane Grace made its second landfall in Mexico, Hurricane Henri is barreling toward New England, where it's expected to be the first to make landfall there in 30 years.

Hurricanes -- also called tropical cyclones or typhoons outside North America -- are enormous heat engines of wind and rain that feed on warm ocean water and moist air. And scientists say the climate crisis is making them more potent. 

The proportion of high-intensity hurricanes has increased due to warmer global temperatures, according to a UN climate report released earlier this month. Scientists have also found that the storms are more likely to stall and lead to devastating rainfall and they last longer after making landfall.

Scientists have observed that, globally, a larger percentage of storms are reaching the highest categories -- 3, 4 and 5 -- in recent decades, a trend that's expected to continue as global average temperature increases. They are also shifting closer to the poles, moving more slowly across land, growing wetter, and stalling in one location.

"There's evidence that tropical cyclones are more likely to stall," Jim Kossin, senior scientist with the Climate Service.

Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 60 inches of rain on some parts of Texas, causing about $125 billion in damages, according to the National Hurricane Center, and killing more than 100 people.

2020 study published in the journal Nature also found storms are moving farther inland than they did five decades ago. Hurricanes, which are fueled by warm ocean water, typically weaken after moving over land, but in recent years they have been raging longer after landfall. The study concludes that warmer sea surface temperatures are leading to a "slower decay" by increasing moisture that a hurricane carries.

For every fraction of a degree the planet warms, according to the UN report, rainfall rates from high-intensity storms will increase, as warmer air can hold more moisture. Earlier this week, what had been Tropical Storm Fred dumped more than 10 inches of rain on western North Carolina, according to the National Weather Service, which pushed the Pigeon River near Canton 9 feet above flood stage and killed at least four people.

The science behind climate change attribution, which attempts to determine how much of a role it played in extreme weather, has made significant advances in the past decade, according to the UN climate report. Heat waves, flooding, drought and higher coastal storm surge are things that scientists are more confident now in linking to climate change.

[This post was adapted from the original by Rachel Ramirez for CNN]

Creed Comments: As the planet rapidly warms, extreme weather events will become more disastrous and possibly harder to predict.

Just consider: the 2020 hurricane season tore through the alphabet so quickly that it was forced to use Greek letters as names from September through November. This year's season is already above average: Atlantic storms beginning with the letter H typically occur toward the end of September, meaning Henri formed more than a month ahead of average. 

Unless climate and emergency management policies are fixed, infrastructure damage and potential loss of life will increase. This is the new normal.


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