U.S. Environment & energy 2020-

Written by  //  November 17, 2020  //  Environment & Energy, U.S.  //  No comments

U.S.: Environment & energy 2019 – 2020

16 November
Trump Administration, in Late Push, Moves to Sell Oil Rights in Arctic Refuge
The lease sales could occur just before Inauguration Day, leaving the administration of Joseph R. Biden Jr. to try to reverse them after the fact.
In a last-minute push to achieve its long-sought goal of allowing oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, the Trump administration on Monday announced that it would begin the formal process of selling leases to oil companies.
… Any sales would then be subject to review by agencies in the Biden administration, including the bureau and the Justice Department, a process that could take a month or two. That could allow the Biden White House to refuse to issue the leases, perhaps by claiming that the scientific underpinnings of the plan to allow drilling in the refuge were flawed, as environmental groups have claimed.

9 November
What Will Trump’s Most Profound Legacy Be? Possibly Climate Damage
President-elect Biden can restore many of the 100-plus environmental regulations that President Trump rolled back, but much of the damage to the climate cannot be reversed.
(NYT) President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. will use the next four years to try to restore the environmental policies that his predecessor has methodically blown up, but the damage done by the greenhouse gas pollution unleashed by President Trump’s rollbacks may prove to be one of the most profound legacies of his single term.
Most of Mr. Trump’s environmental policies, which erased or loosened nearly 100 rules and regulations on pollution in the air, water and atmosphere, can be reversed, though not immediately. Pollutants like industrial soot and chemicals can have lasting health effects, especially in minority communities where they are often concentrated. But air quality and water clarity can be restored once emissions are put back under control.
That is not true for the global climate. Greenhouse pollution accumulates in the atmosphere, so the heat-trapping gases emitted as a result of loosened regulations will remain for decades, regardless of changes in policy.

15 October 2020
The Trump Administration Is Reversing Nearly 100 Environmental Rules. Here’s the Full List.
(NYT) Over four years in office, the Trump administration has dismantled major climate policies and rolled back many more rules governing clean air, water, wildlife and toxic chemicals.
While other administrations have emphasized cutting regulations, calling them burdensome to industries like coal, oil and gas, the scope of actions under Mr. Trump is “fundamentally different,” said Hana V. Vizcarra, a staff attorney at Harvard Law School’s Environmental and Energy Law Program.
In all, a New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School and other sources, counts more than 70 environmental rules and regulations officially reversed, revoked or otherwise rolled back under Mr. Trump. Another 26 rollbacks are still in progress.
The bulk of the rollbacks identified by the Times have been carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency, which has weakened Obama-era limits on planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and from cars and trucks; removed protections from more than half the nation’s wetlands; and withdrawn the legal justification for restricting mercury emissions from power plants.
At the same time, the Interior Department has worked to open up more land for oil and gas leasing by limiting wildlife protections and weakening environmental requirements for projects.

4 November
U.S. Quits Paris Climate Agreement: Questions and Answers
President Trump has said the Paris Agreement would “punish the American people while enriching foreign polluters.”
(NYT) Au revoir, Paris Agreement. As of Wednesday, under United Nations rules, the United States is officially out of the global climate accord. Here’s a look at how it happened, what it means and what might happen next.
President Trump’s withdrawal formally came into force the day after Election Day in the United States.
As of Wednesday, in addition to the United States, the countries that originally signed but have not formally adopted the Paris Agreement are: Angola, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, South Sudan, Turkey and Yemen.
So far, no other country has followed the United States in renouncing the Paris Agreement. At one point President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil threatened to do so but he later reversed course.
Is the U.S. withdrawal final?
No. Any future president could opt back in.
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has pledged that he would recommit the United States to the Paris Agreement on Day 1. In practical terms that means on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, his administration would send a letter to the United Nations notifying it of America’s intention to rejoin. The American return would become official 30 days later.
If the United States stayed out of the agreement, it could still have a voice in United Nations climate negotiations. That’s because it would still be a member of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the body that created the Paris Agreement. America would, however, be reduced to observer status, which means its negotiators would be allowed to attend meetings and work with other countries to shape outcomes but not be allowed to vote on decisions.

25 October
Biden Pledges Ambitious Climate Action. Here’s What He Could Actually Do.
If elected, Joe Biden and his allies are preparing to pass climate change legislation, piece by piece — knowing full well that the candidate’s $2 trillion plan would be a tough sell.
(NYT) Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s $2 trillion plan to fight global warming is the most ambitious climate policy proposed by a leading presidential candidate, a political lightning rod spotlighted on Thursday night when the Democratic nominee acknowledged during a debate that it would “transition” the country “from the oil industry.”
But no one knows better than Mr. Biden that it almost surely will not be enacted, even if his party secures the White House and the Senate.
Still, a President Biden could have real impact: solar panels and wind turbines spread across the country’s mountains and prairies, electric charging stations nearly as ubiquitous as gas stations and a gradual decrease in the nation’s planet-warming greenhouse pollution.
… even a narrow Democratic majority in the Senate would leave a President Biden with options. And this time around, Mr. Biden wants to do it differently, not with a stand-alone climate bill but by tucking climate measures into broader, popular legislation to insulate them from partisan attack.
Democrats’ initial pass would most likely come in an economic recovery package. The $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed in 2009, which Mr. Biden was responsible for putting in effect, included about $90 billion in clean energy infrastructure spending.

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