Tag Archives: climate change risks

FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Releases Agency Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plans from Across Federal Government

October 7, 2021 – Today, the Biden-Harris Administration released plans developed by more than 20 federal agencies that outline the steps each agency will take to ensure their facilities and operations adapt to and are increasingly resilient to climate change impacts. The plans reflect President Biden’s whole-of-government approach to confronting the climate crisis as agencies integrate climate-readiness across their missions and programs and strengthen the resilience of federal assets from the accelerating impacts of climate change. The climate adaptation and resilience plans were previously submitted to and reviewed by the National Climate Task Force, White House Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) Federal Chief Sustainability Officer, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in response to President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.

Agencies face a multitude of risks caused by climate change, including rising costs to maintain and repair damaged infrastructure from more frequent and extreme weather events, challenges to program effectiveness and readiness, and health and safety risks to federal employees who work outside. By taking action now to better manage and mitigate climate risks, we will minimize disruptions to federal operations, assets and programs while creating safer working conditions for employees. Continue reading here.

All 20 Federal Agency Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plans are available here:
www.sustainability.gov/adaptation

SELECT AGENCIES’ NEWS RELEASES 

How farmers can step up to fight climate change

Opinion Contributed by Stephanie Mercier and John Reilly, The Hill

In his first seven months in office, President Biden has made clear his intention to treat climate change as a serious threat to both the country and the world, and recently set a goal to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least half by the year 2030.  

U.S. farmers have the opportunity to participate proactively in reducing the threat of climate change through a number of efforts, such as sequestering carbon in soils by using conserving agricultural practices, reducing or capturing methane emissions from livestock, taking steps to more efficiently use nitrogen fertilizer to reduce nitrous oxide emissions, reducing emissions by improving their energy efficiency on-farm, and contributing to renewable energy production. Continue reading here.

About the Writers: Dr. Stephanie Mercier is an economist and senior policy adviser with Farm Journal Foundation. Dr. John Reilly is co-director emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.

Referenced Resources Include:

About The Farm Journal Foundation
The Farm Journal Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to achieving global food security by sustaining modern agriculture’s leadership role and ability to meet the vital needs of a growing population. The organization works to advance this mission through key issue areas, including global food security, agricultural research and development, nutrition, and conservation agriculture.

About the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change
The MIT Joint Program is working to advance a sustainable, prosperous world through scientific analysis of the complex interactions among co-evolving global systems. To help nations, regions, cities and the public and private sectors confront critical challenges in future food, water, energy, climate and other areas, the Program’s integrated team of natural and social scientists produces comprehensive global and regional change projections under different environmental, economic and policy scenarios. These projections help decision-makers to assess impacts and costs/benefits of potential courses of action.

Photo: The Deblauw Family Farm in Hartington, Nebraska,. Their 10.4-kilowatt photovoltaic system supplies owners Marvin and Debra Deblauw with about 80% of the farm’s energy needs. Installers: MarLin Wind & Solar and North Star Solar Bears

Yellen: US regulators to assess risk posed by climate change

By Martin Krutsinger, AP Economic Writer, NTV

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says she will lead an effort by top U.S. regulators to assess the potential risk that climate change poses to America’s financial system, part of a wide-ranging initiative launched by the Biden administration.

Yellen says the regulatory review, which will be done by the Financial Stability Oversight Council, will examine whether banks and other lending institutions are properly assessing the risks to financial stability. She chairs the committee, which includes Treasury, the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission and other financial regulators. Read more here.

MIDWEST ENERGY NEWS SERIES

Faulty equipment, poor training are main factors in Illinois coal mining death
When people die in Illinois coal mines, faulty equipment and lack of safety protocols are most often cited by federal investigators, and experts say economic challenges will create pressure to cut corners.

A small price to pay: Illinois mines routinely appeal safety penalties
Federal mine safety inspections are the main safeguard to prevent accidents and deaths in an inherently dangerous industry, but critics say the fines for safety violations are low, and companies regularly get them reduced. 

For generations of Illinois coal mining families, risk is part of everyday life
In parts of downstate Illinois, coal mining is deeply ingrained in families and communities. But it has taken a deep toll on some.

About the Author
Kari Lydersen has written for Midwest Energy News since January 2011. She is an author and journalist who worked for the Washington Post’s Midwest bureau from 1997 through 2009. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times, Chicago News Cooperative, Chicago Reader and other publications. Kari covers Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana as well as environmental justice topics.

NEBRASKA NEWS

Nebraska Public Power Utilities Make Progress In Restoring Power In Wake Of Storms, by Paul Ciampoli, American Public Power Association

Public power utilities in Nebraska continued to make progress over the weekend in restoring power to customers in the wake of outages caused by severe storms that hit the state. A storm that hit on the night of Friday, July 9, damaged transmission structures as well as local distribution structures in several communities and crews from across the state were called to help restore power as quickly and safely as possible, Nebraska Public Power District (NPDD) reported. 

Developer Abandons Keystone XL Pipeline Project, Ending Decade-Long Battle

By Jeff Brady and Neela Banerjee, NPR

Keystone XL would have passed through Nebraska, and for years, a coalition of Indigenous tribes, ranchers and local environmentalists demonstrated, lobbied and sued to halt the pipeline’s construction. Its proposed route in Nebraska cut through the Ogallala Aquifer, the groundwater source for millions of Plains States residents. The pipeline’s opponents in Nebraska feared that any leak from Keystone XL would damage the critical aquifer, and they welcomed the end of the project.

“On behalf of our Ponca Nation we welcome this long overdue news and thank all who worked so tirelessly to educate and fight to prevent this from coming to fruition. It’s a great day for Mother Earth,” Larry Wright Jr., chairman of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, said in a statement. Read more or listen to the “All Things Considered” broadcast here.

Image Credit: Prairie Nebraska.Org

A timeline of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project, by The Canadian Press, Toronto Star

PREVIOUSLY POSTED

Canadian Officials React To Biden Revoking Keystone XL Permit, All Things Considered, NPR
Canadian officials say they’re disappointed that President Biden revoked the Keystone XL Pipeline permit — but they’re also looking forward to working with the new administration on climate change.

Nebraska’s better off without Keystone XL, Lincoln Journal Star Editorial Board
Increased investment in renewable energy — wind energy, solar power, electric vehicles, etc. — proves that America’s future will involve fewer fossil fuels going forward, a fact underscored by the growing number of financial institutions and other entities that now refuse to invest in the oil and gas industry. The grassroots coalition of environmentalists, farmers, ranchers and property-rights advocates who fought the pipeline tooth and nail can celebrate, knowing their efforts weren’t in vain. 

Canada predicts largest oil province Alberta to lead growth in renewables, Reuters
Canada’s biggest oil-producing province Alberta is expected to see the fastest growth in renewable energy capacity between 2018 and 2023, the Canada Energy Regulator forecast in a report, as new wind and solar projects help replace coal-fired electricity. By 2023, 26% of Alberta’s electricity capacity will come from renewable sources, up from 16% in 2017. 

Climate Change Risks & Global Markets – Natural Resources Defense Council

What Is the Keystone XL Pipeline?: How a single pipeline project became the epicenter of an enormous environmental, public health, and civil rights battle.

When TC Energy said the pipeline would create nearly 119,000 jobs, a State Department report instead concluded the project would require fewer than 2,000 two-year construction jobs and that the number of jobs would hover around 35 after construction.

The market case, even before the COVID-19 pandemic sent oil prices plummeting, has also deteriorated. Low oil prices and increasing public concern over the climate have led Shell, Exxon, Statoil, and Total to either sell their tar sands assets or write them down. Because of this growing market recognition, major new tar sands projects haven’t moved forward with construction for years, despite investments from the government of Alberta, Canada. For example, in 2020, Teck Resources withdrew its ten-year application to build the largest tar sands mine in history—citing growing concern surrounding climate change in global markets.

FACT SHEET: President Biden Directs Agencies to Analyze and Mitigate the Risk Climate Change Poses to Homeowners and Consumers, Businesses and Workers, and the Financial System and Federal Government Itself

The White House Briefing Room, May 20, 2021

Agency Actions Will Better Protect Workers’ Hard-Earned Savings, Create Good Jobs, and Position America to Lead the Global Economy

Today, President Biden took action to address the serious threat that the climate crisis poses to our economy. Extreme weather related to climate change can disrupt entire supply chains and deprive communities of food, water, or emergency supplies. Snowstorms can offline entire power grids. Floods made worse by rising sea levels destroy homes and businesses. As the United States builds a modern and equitable clean energy future that creates millions of good-paying jobs and advances environmental justice, the agency actions spurred by the President’s directive today will help safeguard the financial security of America’s families, businesses, and workers from the climate-related financial risks they are already facing. Continue reading here.

Additional White House Releases

Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk

How infrastructure is banking on green banks

By Heather Clancy, Editorial Director, GreenBiz Group

Quick, what do Alaska, Maine and South Carolina have in common? 

All three U.S. states are seriously evaluating the creation of green banks — financing institutions created with the explicit mission of combining public and private funds to invest in climate solutions and green infrastructure. They would join roughly 20 other U.S. jurisdictions that have used this mechanism to drive more than $5 billion in clean energy investments as of the end of 2019, including Connecticut, Florida, Michigan and Washington, D.C. 

Alaska is so invested in the idea that Rep. Don Young, a Republican who championed Deb Haaland’s nomination as Interior Secretary, last week stepped across the aisle again to become a co-sponsor of the latest legislation to create a national-level green bank. The bill would make $100 billion of public funds available for a nonprofit organization that would provide financing and other support to regional, state and local green banks — an amount the sponsors say could catalyze $884 billion in green infrastructure investments over the next decade and help create 4 million clean economy jobs within the next four years. Continue reading here.

LINKS TO MORE INFORMATION

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Nebraska’s better off without Keystone XL

Lincoln Journal Star Editorial Board

Increased investment in renewable energy — wind energy, solar power, electric vehicles, etc. — proves that America’s future will involve fewer fossil fuels going forward, a fact underscored by the growing number of financial institutions and other entities that now refuse to invest in the oil and gas industry . . . The grassroots coalition of environmentalists, farmers, ranchers and property-rights advocates who fought the pipeline tooth and nail can celebrate, knowing their efforts weren’t in vain. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading

When TC Energy said the pipeline would create nearly 119,000 jobs, a State Department report instead concluded the project would require fewer than 2,000 two-year construction jobs and that the number of jobs would hover around 35 after construction.

The market case, even before the COVID-19 pandemic sent oil prices plummeting, has also deteriorated. Low oil prices and increasing public concern over the climate have led Shell, Exxon, Statoil, and Total to either sell their tar sands assets or write them down. Because of this growing market recognition, major new tar sands projects haven’t moved forward with construction for years, despite investments from the government of Alberta, Canada. For example, in 2020, Teck Resources withdrew its ten-year application to build the largest tar sands mine in history—citing growing concern surrounding climate change in global markets.

Alberta’s Renewable Energy Growth

How the Fed can save the earth

By Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Editor, GreenBiz Group

Just before Christmas, America’s central bank took a major step, albeit one long overdue: It recognized the threat that the climate crisis poses to the nation’s — and the world’s — financial system. It did that in part by becoming a member of the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System, or NGFS.

The group, launched in 2017, aims “to enhance the role of the financial system to manage risks and to mobilize capital for green and low-carbon investments in the broader context of environmentally sustainable development.” That is, its goal is to help central banks and other regulatory bodies exchange ideas and research on how to mitigate climate risk within banks and other financial systems. NGFS membership has grown from eight central banks three years ago to 83 banks across five continents, from Canada to Colombia to Cambodia. That the United States has joined is no small change. Read more here.

Securitization News
Can a 1990s strategy help states quit coal?, by Jeffrey Tomich, E&E News

Growing numbers of students are calling on Nebraska colleges to divest from fossil fuel firms

By Omaha World-Herald Staff Writer Rick Ruggles, Kearney Hub

Creighton University announced late last week that it would divest from its investments in fossil fuels within 10 years and pursue solid investments in renewable energy. Creighton University students marched early last year for divestment. Doane University pledged in 2019 to cease new investments in fossil fuels. The NU system, with campuses in Omaha, Lincoln and Kearney, has heard calls for divestment from students at Board of Regents meetings and elsewhere. Read more here.

Nebraska-Based Bluestem Energy Solutions In The News  

Jo-Carroll Energy completed solar project, Freeport Journal-Standard
Jo-Carroll Energy, in partnership with Bluestem Energy Solutions, has completed a 2.3 megawatt solar project in Jo Daviess and Carroll counties. The now-operational solar farm consists of two solar array sites located near Apple Canyon Lake and Mount Carroll. It will provide a tax boost to both counties along with additional benefits to Jo-Carroll and its member-consumers. 

Photo Credit: Fresh Energy

Local View: Public power must reduce coal use

Contributor Drew Havens, Lincoln Journal Star

A benefit of living in Nebraska is the accessibility and reliability of our electricity. It powers our homes and businesses and allows us to be productive, hard-working people. But public power and its addiction to coal is not the path forward. Our state’s insistence on burning coal for electricity leaves us physically dependent, economically vulnerable and financially burdened. In 2018, Nebraska received 99% of its coal imports from Wyoming, and our public utilities sent $115 million across the border to pay for it. [That] $115 million we send out of Nebraska annually could be put to better use inside our state. Instead of handing it off to Wyoming, our public utilities should be reinvesting in Nebraska. Read more here.

Drew Havens is a senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln studying natural resource and environmental economics. He is originally from Omaha. This column was written as part of the class “Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policies.”

Natural Resource and Environmental Economics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln