Tag Archives: climate resilience

There’s new momentum in Congress for a climate bill, but a lot of questions on what it could include

By Ella Nilsen and Lauren Fox, CNN

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has cracked open the door for negotiations on a slimmed-down version of President Joe Biden’s climate and economic bill following months of little progress on the issue. Manchin outlined his counteroffer this week, confirming that climate and clean energy provisions will be some of the few original pieces of Biden’s original Build Back Better bill he wants to pass through a Democrat-only bill. Manchin is also calling for Democrats to raise taxes on corporations and America’s wealthy and use that revenue to reduce the budget deficit and spend on new climate programs. Read more here.

Watch the following brief video at the same above link: CNN asks West Virginia residents about climate change. 

Previously Posted

NEW FROM THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING ROOM

ENERGY SAVER.GOV NEWS & RESOURCES

  • Energy Saver 101 Infographic: Home Energy Audits
    A home energy assessment is the first step to saving energy and money. Sometimes called an energy audit, a home energy assessment helps you learn how you use energy, determine where it’s being wasted, and prioritize efficiency upgrades. Making energy efficiency upgrades identified in a home energy assessment can save 5-30 percent on your monthly energy bill while also ensuring the health and safety of your house.
  • New Plug-in Electric Vehicle Sales in the United States Nearly Doubled from 2020 to 2021
    Sales of new light-duty plug-in electric vehicles, including all-electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), nearly doubled from 308,000 in 2020 to 608,000 in 2021.

Related Links

New Biden Administration website and guidebook focus on implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

The White House 

Delivering Results from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
President Biden forged consensus and compromise between Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to demonstrate our democracy can deliver big wins for the American people. After decades of talk on rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, President Biden delivered the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – a historic investment in America that will change people’s lives for the better and get America moving again.

A Guidebook to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
Our Administration is committed to maximizing transparency so communities across America know what to apply for, who to contact, and how to get ready to rebuild. That’s why we’ve created a guidebook for state, local, tribal, and territorial leaders. This guidebook is a roadmap to the funding available under the law, as well as an explanatory document that shows, in as much detail as currently available, program-by-program information. Learn more here.

ENERGY ASSISTANCE PART OF THE BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE LAW

White House Announces Additional Actions to Help Families Afford Energy Bills, Building on Historic InvestmentsWhite House Briefing Room, February 1, 2022

The White House is joining states, localities, advocacy groups, and utilities in encouraging American families to apply for programs that can help hard-pressed families address home energy costs. These resources include the record funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provided by the Biden-Harris Administration this year and funds to reduce home energy costs in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. In addition to outreach efforts across the Administration, the White House also announced information encouraging states to use all available American Rescue Plan resources for energy assistance and funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to reduce home energy costs. 

NEBRASKA AMONG STATES IN BIDEN’S METHANE REDUCTION PLAN

White House methane plan funds orphan well cleanup, rewards reduced farm emissions, Ohio Capital Journal

The White House plan listed how it would distribute $1.15 billion to 26 states eligible to receive funds to cap so-called orphan wells, which are no longer used for oil and gas extraction but can leak methane because former operators neglected to cover them. Each state is eligible for a $25 million initial grant, plus a combined $500 million in additional grants in the program’s first year. The Interior Department will provide more detailed instructions “in the coming weeks,” the department said in a news release.

Biden Administration Announces $1.15 Billion for States to Create Jobs Cleaning Up Orphaned Oil and Gas Wells, Department of the Interior News Release

UNL IN THE NEWS

WVU researchers to improve the flow of renewable energy to power plants with $7.5 million in grants, West Virginia University Today

The project team is extensive and is comprised of an entire supply chain—the research is being conducted within the Statler College, tested at Oak Ridge Laboratory, manufactured by General Electric Research and University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and is slated to be commercialized by General Electric if successful.

U.S. CLEAN ENERGY CORPS

US Clean Energy Corps To Pursue Climate Resilience, CleanTechnica

A new program launched by the Biden administration will hire 1,000 people in the US to help expand the country’s clean energy infrastructure, a step the White House says is “critical to achieving the president’s goal of 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035.” The Clean Energy Corps will draw from engineering, physical science, legislative affairs, and contract management sectors in its multi-disciplinary work. The creation of the Clean Energy Corps represents the largest expansion of the DOE’s workforce in nearly half a century. 

PEAKING PLANTS

Activists urge Massachusetts to take another look at need for peaking plants, Energy News Network

Campaigns in Boston and western Massachusetts are taking aim at existing and proposed peakers. Critics say the facilities are bad for the climate and public health, and that cleaner and more economical alternatives now exist

INTERCONNECTION CLOGS / BUILDING A BETTER GRID INITIATIVE / MICROGRIDS

Overwhelmed by Solar Projects, the Nation’s Largest Grid Operator Seeks a Two-Year Pause on Approvals, Inside Climate News

The nation’s largest electric grid operator, PJM Interconnection, is so clogged with requests from energy developers seeking connections to its regional transmission network in the eastern United States that it is proposing a two-year pause on reviewing more than 1,200 energy projects, most of them solar power.

Solutions Underway

‘NOVEL’ CROSS-SEAM TRANSMISSION STUDY

SPP, MISO identify 7 cross-seam transmission projects that could unlock 81 GW of new generation, Utility Dive

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) have identified seven possible transmission projects across their joint border that could allow 81 GW of potential generating capacity to interconnect with the grid. The transmission projects, costing about $1.8 billion, would relieve transmission constraints that are preventing wind, solar and other potential projects along the grid operators’ seam from being able to come online, according to a draft study released last week by the grid operators.

FEATURED ORGANIZATION 

The AgriSolar Clearinghouse is a nationwide hub developed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology to connect businesses, landowners, and researchers with trusted resources to support the growth of co-located solar and sustainable agriculture, also known as agrivoltaic development. 

NEW NATIONAL NETWORK

Daimler, NextEra, and BlackRock to deploy nationwide US electric trucking network, PV Magazine

An initial investment of about $650 million divided evenly among the group will launch the deployment of EV and hydrogen medium- and heavy-duty trucks and charging stations across the US.

USDA Rural Development Announces more than $3 Million for Nebraska

USDA News Release, December 7, 2021

LINCOLN, Neb. – Following a nationwide announcement by United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Friday that the Department is investing more the $633 million in rural America, Acting Nebraska State Director for USDA Rural Development Kim Martini announced today more than $3 million of those funds are coming to Nebraska.

“USDA Rural Development is incredibly proud to support Nebraskans with these investments and assist with Rural Nebraska to prosper. These funds will help local communities better prepare for extreme weather, combat climate change, and give back to their communities at large,” said Martini. Continue reading here.

Build Back Better Framework

The White House Briefing Room, October 28, 2021

The Build Back Better Act will create millions of good-paying jobs, enable more Americans to join and remain in the labor force, spur long-term growth, reduce price pressures and set the United States on course to meet its clean energy ambitions.

Investments in Clean Energy and Combatting Climate Change

  • Clean Energy Tax Credits ($320 billion): Ten-year expanded tax credits for utility-scale and residential clean energy, transmission and storage, clean passenger and commercial vehicles, and clean energy manufacturing.
  • Resilience Investments ($105 billion): Investments and incentives to address extreme weather (wildfires, droughts, and hurricanes, including in forestry, wetlands, and agriculture), legacy pollution in communities, and a Civilian Climate Corps.
  • Investments and Incentives for Clean Energy Technology, Manufacturing, and Supply Chains ($110 billion): Targeted incentives to spur new domestic supply chains and technologies, like solar, batteries, and advanced materials, while boosting the competitiveness of existing industries, like steel, cement, and aluminum.
  • Clean Energy procurement ($20 billion): Provide incentives for government to be purchaser of next gen technologies, including long-duration storage, small modular reactors, and clean construction materials.

Click here to read about all proposed investments in the Build Back Better Framework.

Also From The White House

Additional Recommended Reading

Climate change widespread, rapid, and intensifying – IPCC

GENEVA, Aug 9 – Scientists are observing changes in the Earth’s climate in every region and across the whole climate system, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, released today. Many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some of the changes already set in motion—such as continued sea level rise—are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years.

However, strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change. While benefits for air quality would come quickly, it could take 20-30 years to see global temperatures stabilize, according to the IPCC Working Group I report, Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis, approved on Friday by 195 member governments of the IPCC, through a virtual approval session that was held over two weeks starting on July 26. Continue reading here.

About the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC)

Created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the objective of the IPCC is to provide governments at all levels with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies. IPCC reports are also a key input into international climate change negotiations. The IPCC is an organization of governments that are members of the United Nations or WMO.

The IPCC currently has 195 members. Thousands of people from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC. For the assessment reports, IPCC scientists volunteer their time to assess the thousands of scientific papers published each year to provide a comprehensive summary of what is known about the drivers of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and how adaptation and mitigation can reduce those risks.

An open and transparent review by experts and governments around the world is an essential part of the IPCC process, to ensure an objective and complete assessment and to reflect a diverse range of views and expertise. Through its assessments, the IPCC identifies the strength of scientific agreement in different areas and indicates where further research is needed. The IPCC does not conduct its own research.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

IN NEBRASKA

  • Information forums on decarbonization scheduled by NPPD, NPPD News Release
  • NPPD seeks public input on decarbonization, by Nancy Gaarder, Omaha World-Herald
    Another of Nebraska’s major utilities is taking a look at decarbonization and will be asking its customers to weigh in. The Nebraska Public Power District will hold five public meetings over the next two weeks on whether it should pursue decarbonization, CEO Tom Kent said Friday. The meetings are part of a larger effort to gauge customer sentiment, he said . . . The Lincoln Electric System has a decarbonization goal of net zero by 2040. LES held a yearlong educational series with its customers. The Omaha Public Power District held public workshops on the issue earlier this year. It has a goal of net zero carbon production by 2050.

Ag groups recommend USDA use pilot projects to build a carbon bank

AgDaily

The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance, which includes 70 agriculture organizations, has worked over the past three months to develop specific recommendations for how the U.S. Department of Agriculture should approach a potential carbon bank. FACA began sharing those recommendations with USDA and Congress.

A voluntary, USDA-led carbon bank is one policy mechanism being considered to help reduce barriers that producers and landowners face to participating in voluntary carbon markets and adopting climate-smart practices. FACA recommends that USDA lay the foundation for a potential carbon bank by first developing a series of pilot projects that would focus on the following four areas: Continue reading here.

USDA INVESTS IN RESEARCH INNOVATIONS

USDA Invests $21.7M in Research Innovations to Improve Soil Health and Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry

WASHINGTON, April 21, 2021 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will invest at least $21.7 million in several key programs to help agricultural producers manage the impacts of climate change on their lands and production. NIFA awarded $6.3 million for 14 Soil Health grants and $5.4 million for seven Signals in the Soil grants through its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). NIFA also is investing at least $10 million this year in a new AFRI program area priority called, “Extension, Education, and USDA Climate Hub Partnerships,” to train the next generation of agriculturalists and foresters to incorporate climate change research into their management practices.

About USDA’s Northern Plains Climate Hub
The Northern Plains Hub serves Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. The Hub delivers science-based knowledge, practical information, management & conservation strategies, and decision tools to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners with the goal of helping them adapt to weather variability and changing climatic conditions. See::Topics

MORE NEWS RELEASES: USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT / NEBRASKA 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

A Proclamation on Earth Day, 2021

By President Joseph R. Biden, The White House

On April 22, 1970, millions of Americans rallied together to protect the right of all of us to live free from environmental hazard and harm.  On that first Earth Day, they gathered all across America — on college campuses, in public parks, and State capitals — galvanized by a vision of a healthier, more prosperous Nation where all people could thrive.  Their untiring spirit sparked a national movement for environmental protection that endures today in the bedrock laws that protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and treasured wild places and wildlife.

Earth Day was primarily conceived and brought to life by a dedicated public servant:  the late Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin.  Senator Nelson and his wife, Carrie Lee -– who herself passed away just last month –- were both dear friends who changed my life; it was Senator Nelson who helped persuade me to remain in the Senate after losing my first wife and daughter in a car accident in 1972.  Senator Nelson changed the world, too, by building a legacy of environmental protection through Earth Day and all of the progress that has come in its wake –- not because it was popular, but because it was the right thing to do for our children and grandchildren.

Over half a century later, that legacy lives on in the chorus of courageous young people across the world who are rising up to demand action on climate change.

Read the entire proclamation here.

Additional White House Briefing Room Releases & Statements

USDA Seeks Public Input to Help Create a New Rural Renewable Energy Pilot Program

WASHINGTON, April 1, 2021 — Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is requesting public input from interested parties, including potential customers and interested stakeholders, to help create a new Rural Renewable Energy Pilot Program. To ensure a diverse group of voices are heard, USDA is seeking written comments and will host a public listening session on April 22, 2021.

“When we invest in creating new sources of renewable energy, we invest in rebuilding the middle class by creating good-paying jobs in rural America,” USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson said. “To meet this goal, we must put rural communities at the heart of climate action and climate-smart solutions, and that begins with getting feedback from a broad, diverse set of voices from the start.” Continue reading here.

For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FOOD AND AGRICULTURE CLIMATE ALLIANCE REPORT

Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance Expands Membership, Drills Down on Policy Recommendations, National Farmers Union News Release

[In February] the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA) announced expanding membership and new policy working groups focused on developing a set of more specific policy proposals that drill down on the 40+ recommendations released by FACA in November 2020. FACA’s eight founding members — American Farm Bureau Federation (co-chair), Environmental Defense Fund (co-chair), FMI – The Food Industry Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (co-chair), National Farmers Union (co-chair) and The Nature Conservancy — welcomed 14 new groups to the Steering Committee. FACA’s original 40+ recommendations cover six areas of focus: soil health, livestock and dairy, forests and wood products, energy, research, and food loss and waste. They are outlined in a 50-page report [PDF] and summarized in a hand-out [PDF].

UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN NEWS & RESOURCES

ENVIRONMENTAL ENTREPRENEURS REGENERATIVE AG REPORT

Healthy Soils and the Climate Connection: A Path to Economic Recovery on America’s Farms
 provides a roadmap for how climate-smart agriculture policies could provide profit boosts for farmers and climate wins for advocates.

Most initiatives to fight climate change today focus on reducing fossil fuel emissions from electricity generation, transportation, and buildings. But to avoid the worst impacts of climate change we must also significantly reduce the atmospheric carbon that has already been emitted. While efforts are underway to develop new and high tech mechanisms to accomplish this, there is an immediately available and economically viable pathway for atmospheric carbon removal—one that provides a compelling new value proposition for farmers to revitalize their soils and get paid for doing it.

E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Our members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital.

Previously Posted
Biden to Engage Farmers & Build Climate Resilience, NRDC
What Biden’s Climate Plan Means For Regenerative Ag, Rodale Institute

Buyer’s Guides
A Buyer’s Guide To Regenerative Food, Rodale Institute
RegeNErate Nebraska Resource Guide

Recommended Books 

 

Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land, by Leah Penniman

 

 

 

Dirt to Soil: One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Farming, by Gabe Brown

FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan

The White House Briefing Room

The President’s American Jobs Plan is a historic public investment – consisting principally of one-time capital investments in our nation’s productivity and long-term growth. It will invest about 1 percent of GDP per year over eight years to upgrade our nation’s infrastructure, revitalize manufacturing, invest in basic research and science, shore up supply chains, and solidify our care infrastructure. These are investments that leading economists agree will give Americans good jobs now and will pay off for future generations by leaving the country more competitive and our communities stronger. In total, the plan will invest about $2 trillion this decade. If passed alongside President Biden’s Made in America corporate tax plan, it will be fully paid for within the next 15 years and reduce deficits in the years after. Read more here. 

Additional Recommended Reading & Viewing

‘The Grid’ Author On How Texas Crisis Highlights A Fragile U.S. Infrastructure

NPR’s Michel Martin Interviews Professor Gretchen Bakke.


The storm in Texas highlights just how fragile U.S. infrastructure can be, and so you might wonder if this problem extends beyond Texas. It does. In their most recent report card, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the U.S. energy infrastructure a D-plus, stating, quote, “without greater attention to aging equipment, capacity bottlenecks and increased demand, as well as increasing storm and climate impacts, Americans will likely experience longer and more frequent power interruptions,” unquote.

We wanted to learn more about this, so we called Gretchen Bakke. She is the author of “The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans And Our Energy Future,” which examines the history of electrical power and its current challenges. When we spoke earlier today, she explained the problems in Texas are partly due to its independence from the U.S. power grid.

Read the text of this “All Things Considered” interview or listen to it here.

 


The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future

 

 

Additional Recommended Reading 

About Americans for a Clean Energy Grid
Americans for a Clean Energy Grid (ACEG) is the only non-profit broad-based public interest advocacy coalition focused on the need to expand, integrate, and modernize the North American high-voltage grid. Sponsors and supporters of the Americans for a Clean Energy Grid coalition are broadly supportive of ACEG’s mission and vision. 

Included in The Biden Plan: Rebuild Our Infrastructure for a Sustainable Economy
The order catalyzes the creation of jobs in construction, manufacturing, engineering and the skilled-trades by directing steps to ensure that every federal infrastructure investment reduces climate pollution and that steps are taken to accelerate clean energy and transmission projects under federal siting and permitting processes in an environmentally sustainable manner.

GEOTHERMAL NEWS

Dandelion Raises $30M to Scale Up Home Geothermal Energy, Greentech Media
There’s a lot of energy underneath homes — if reasonably priced technology can be scaled up to tap its potential. A U.S. Department of Energy study indicates that geothermal heat pumps, which capture the steady temperatures of underground air to heat homes in winter and cool them in summer, could cost-effectively replace fossil-fuel- and electric-powered heating and air conditioning in up to 28 million homes.

Geothermal Technologies Office, U.S. Department of Energy

ENVIRONMENTAL ENTREPRENEURS REGENERATIVE AG REPORT

Healthy Soils and the Climate Connection: A Path to Economic Recovery on America’s Farms
 provides a roadmap for how climate-smart agriculture policies could provide profit boosts for farmers and climate wins for advocates.

Most initiatives to fight climate change today focus on reducing fossil fuel emissions from electricity generation, transportation, and buildings. But to avoid the worst impacts of climate change we must also significantly reduce the atmospheric carbon that has already been emitted. While efforts are underway to develop new and high tech mechanisms to accomplish this, there is an immediately available and economically viable pathway for atmospheric carbon removal—one that provides a compelling new value proposition for farmers to revitalize their soils and get paid for doing it.


E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Our members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital.