Edition for 11 February 2020

Top Stories

US environmental law scale-back effort draws ire (660 News)

  • The Trump administration on Tuesday hosts the first of two hearings on a proposal to roll back a landmark environmental law, and activists say the abbreviated schedule is limiting the very public input that’s long been guaranteed by the 50-year-old law itself.
  • Tickets to speak at the Denver hearing of the president’s Council on Environmental Quality on the proposal were snapped up in minutes.
  • President Donald Trump on Jan. 9 proposed narrowing the scope of the National Environmental Policy Act, signed by President Richard Nixon in 1970.

SEC risks silencing the climate-minded investors it’s meant to protect: Ceres (Market Watch)

  • Proposed SEC rule change that could muffle smaller, vocal investors receives 14,000 comments from shareholders who want a say on climate change.
  • A rule change that is currently being proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission has a fatal flaw that relates to global warming, according to sustainability organization Ceres.
  • That would exclude some of the smaller investors who are credited with getting issues including climate change onto the agenda at shareholder meetings.

Los Angeles City-Owned Buildings to Go 100% Carbon Free (NRDC)

  • Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti today committed all new or substantially rehabilitated buildings owned by the City of Los Angeles to be 100 percent carbon free—and to use less carbon-intensive building materials in the process.
  • Los Angeles also will become the first local government to adopt the state’s Buy Clean California Act, requiring carbon emissions reductions from construction materials, including steel, flat glass, and insulation beginning in 2021 for buildings such as fire stations, civic centers, and libraries.
  • Housing, energy, workforce development, and climate change are topics that involve every Angeleno in every community, and we must bring a diverse set of experiences and visions for the future to these policy discussions.

Zimbabwe: Satellite Data Brings Farming Advice to Remote Areas (AllAfrica News)

  • When roads are bad and extension agents few, technology can help get farmers the information they need to deal with climate shifts and other threats, backers say.
  • Deep in rural western Zimbabwe, where tarred roads are nonexistent, Japhet Ngwenya used to spend every season worrying that the people who advise him on how to protect his crops from dry spells and pest invasions would not be able to reach him.
  • Then, last year, two extension officers from the consortium Turning Matabeleland Green (TMG) managed to make their way to Ngwenya's farm to show him their solution: climate and crop information collected by satellite and sent to farmers' phones.
  • Zimbabwe has been slow to embrace satellite-based systems for its agricultural sector, but now the country is seeing the benefits of using the technology to help farmers adapt to the impact of climate change, agricultural experts say.

February 2020 Updates to the Climate Case Charts (Climate Law Blog)

  • Divided Ninth Circuit Said Juliana Plaintiffs Lacked Standing to Press Constitutional Climate Claims Against Federal Government In a split decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that young people and other plaintiffs asserting a claim against the federal government for infringement of a Fifth Amendment due process right to a “climate system capable of sustaining human life” did not have Article III standing.
  • The Ninth Circuit rejected the government’s argument that the plaintiffs’ constitutional claims had to be brought pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act and agreed with the district court that the plaintiffs met the injury and causation requirements for Article III standing because at least some plaintiffs had alleged concrete and particularized injuries caused by fossil fuel carbon emissions that were increased by federal subsidies and leases.

'Divestment is simplistic': Cbus backs 23 coal producers (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • The $56 billion superannuation fund representing the construction and building industries has invested in at least 23 global coalmining companies despite adopting a vocal stance on climate change and pledging to reduce exposure to fossil fuels.
  • Cbus' exposure to coal comes as major financial institutions face rising scrutiny over their investments in fossil fuels, amid a growing debate over the financial sector's role in reducing carbon emissions.
  • Cbus chief investment officer Kristian Fok said the fund has "very small exposure" to coal and selling off its holdings was not a priority as it would not have significant impact on reducing global carbon emissions.

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