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Today's climate and energy headlines
DAILY BRIEFING Chevron and Occidental invest in CO2 removal technology
Chevron and Occidental invest in CO2 removal technology


Chevron and Occidental invest in CO2 removal technology

Oil firms Chevron and Occidental Petroleum are to invest in a Canadian company developing technologies that could remove CO2 from the atmosphere and use it to make synthetic fuel, the Financial Times reports. The deal “marks the first significant investment by energy groups into the technology, known as direct air capture”, the FT says. The investment recipients, Carbon Engineering, say the deal is part of a $60m fundraising round that could help it design and build commercial-scale plants, the FT adds. “These new investments will allow us to accelerate the deployment of our DAC and air to fuels technologies,” Steve Oldham, chief executive of Carbon Engineering, tells Reuters. However, Reuters notes that “the costs of such technologies are high” and “a huge number of plants would be needed to make a dent in manmade CO2 emissions”. Axioscarries the story with the headline: “Big Oil’s interest in carbon capture tech increases.”

Financial Times Read Article
'Take heed of science': minister urged to drop new coal-mining plans

Campaigners are urging UK communities minister James Brokenshire to throw out plans to extract 3m tonnes of coal from beneath the sand dunes of Druridge Bay in Northumberland, the Guardian reports. The plans, from local coal mining firm the Banks Group, were thrown out last year by his predecessor, Sajid Javid, who cited “among other environmental reasons the ‘substantial’ adverse effect on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change”, the Guardian says. The high court overruled Javid’s decision in November and the final say now hangs with Brokenshire. “This open-cast [mine] will damage one of the area’s greatest assets and hamper a more sustainable emerging local economy for the short-term benefit of the fossil fuels industry, which we should be moving away from,” Duncan Lawrence, from local campaign group Save Druridge Bay, tells the Guardian.

Elsewhere, the Press Association reports that mountaineers have called on a local authority to “reconsider its options” over plans for hydro power construction schemes in Glen Etive, Scotland. The Highland Council is considering seven applications for Glen Etive after comments on the proposals closed on Sunday. However, Mountaineering Scotland has criticised the plans, saying they would involve “new road construction, bridge-building, trench-digging, cement-pouring and power cabling”, according to the Press Association.

The Guardian Read Article
Trump officially taps former coal lobbyist to lead EPA

Donald Trump formally nominated Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, to lead the US Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday, report Agence France-Presse and others. “If confirmed, Wheeler is expected to pursue Trump’s agenda of rolling back environmental regulations put in place by the Republican leader’s predecessor Barack Obama,” AFP says. Time reports that Trump praised Wheeler for having “done a fantastic job” as acting administrator of the EPA following the July 2018 resignation of the agency’s former chief, Scott Pruitt. The news is also covered by ReutersPolitico, the Hill and Axios.

Meanwhile, CNN reports that “voters have moved away from Trump on coal”. “Recent polling suggests more Americans want to cut down on coal usage, with even Republicans divided on the issue,” it says. Elsewhere, Clean Energy Wirereports that Germany’s coal commission “will agree on a phase-out [of the fuel] within around 20 years”, according to Armin Laschet, premier of the coal mining state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Agence France-Presse Read Article
Trump administration working on Arctic oil leases despite shutdown

The Trump administration is continuing to push for the expansion of oil drilling in Arctic Alaska – despite the government shutdown, Reuters reports. The Alaska Bureau of Land Management (BLM), part of the Interior Department, was scheduled to hold a meeting last night in Wainwright, an Inupiat village on the Arctic coast, over plans to drill for oil. “There were a lot of people concerned about how they’re conducting business during the shutdown,” said Martha Itta, administrator for the local tribal government in the village, according to Reuters, adding: “There was even a question to them if the meeting was illegal.” Meanwhile, the Washington Post has an in-depth report on how the shutdown is “damaging US science”.

Reuters Read Article


Not all environmentalists eat tofu: the hunters fighting climate change

In the first of a new column for the Guardian, Megan Mayhew Bergman travels to US southern states to talk to Republican huntsmen that are concerned about climate change. “I’m one of those rare Republicans that believe that if you don’t take care of your environment, your environment can’t take care of you,” Charlie Phillips, clammer and entrepreneur, tells Bergman. “I’ve seen what big hurricanes can do. They’re worse now. Things aren’t what they used to be.”

Megan Mayhew Bergman, The Guardian Read Article
He’s been president a week – and already Bolsonaro is damaging Brazil

The world needs to understand what Brazil has become, before it’s too late,“ Eliane Brum writes in the Guardian. “Brazil has become the apocalyptic vanguard that signals how radical this moment is – one with the power to worsen the climate crisis at top speed and blight the entire planet.” She continues: “We cannot comprehend what is now happening in Brazil – and around the world – unless we understand that our culture wars are tightly bound up with humanity’s need to say goodbye to 20th-century illusions of power and face a planet made more hostile by human hand. Things will soon reach catastrophic levels if nations and their residents do not unite in a global effort to do something extremely hard and unpopular: impose limits on ourselves to counteract global warming.”

Eliane Brum, The Guardian Read Article
Climate change: We need a popular carbon tax

“Climate change is an enormous and complex problem, without any single silver bullet solution. A carbon tax that is effective and popular is a good start,” reads an editorial in the Irish Examiner. “[Prime minister] Leo Varadkar is clearly anxious to avoid a repeat of the water charges debacle when it comes to tackling climate change through carbon taxes. While the Taoiseach is enough of a realist to know he must build a broad consensus on the issue, he also recognises that time is of the essence and that we have to get serious about having an increasing levy on fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, gas and peat.”

Editorial, Irish Examiner Read Article


Adapting to water impacts of climate change

A new special issue of the journal Climatic Change addresses “what, if anything, humans are doing to adapt to a world that at various times and places is both wetter and drier, more hazardous, and less inhabitable”. The collection of six papers analyse different adaptation options for the impacts of climate change on water, including “flood insurance, flood zone maps, managed retreat buyouts, homeowner risk reduction, beach nourishment, and cyclone evacuation behaviour”. The authors of this introductory article note: “Many of the papers offer the pessimistic conclusion that current adaptations to climate change are woefully inadequate, and people and property will remain in harm’s way for the foreseeable future. There is thus an urgency to this topic.”

Climatic Change Read Article


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