Edition for 18 February 2020

Top Stories

The Declining Organizational Capacity of U.S. Environmental Agencies (Earth Institute)

  • The attack on environmental regulation we are seeing in Washington is being mirrored at the state level and could result in the first increases in U.S. environmental pollution levels since 1980.
  • The Environmental Integrity Project’s recent report, The Thin Green Line, analyzed state environmental agency funding from 2008-2010 and learned that: “Thirty states reduced the funding for their environmental agencies’ pollution control programs.
  • Forty states reduced the staffing levels at their environmental agencies over this decade.

Amazon's Bezos pledges $10 bln to climate change fight (Reuters)

  • Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos will commit $10 billion to fund scientists, activists, nonprofits and other groups fighting to protect the environment and counter the effects of climate change, he said on Monday.
  • “Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet,” Bezos said in an Instagram post.
  • “I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share.” The Bezos Earth Fund will begin issuing grants this summer as part of the initiative.

Here’s How the EU Could Tax Carbon Around the World (Washington Post)

  • The European Union has a bold plan for sharply reducing carbon emissions from its factories.
  • The plan is for taxing some of the carbon produced by the European factories’ global competitors, through what’s known as a border carbon adjustment mechanism.
  • For the EU, the mechanism could be a way to hit two birds with one stone: protecting its industry while prodding other regions to move ahead with similar climate action.

Investors urge Japan to strengthen climate targets ahead of U.N. summit (Reuters)

  • Investors managing $37 trillion in assets urged Japan to slash the country’s carbon emissions, saying on Monday that a strong signal from Tokyo could help galvanise international climate action ahead of a U.N. summit in Glasgow in November.
  • Institutional investors, traditionally wary of singling out governments for criticism, are starting to subject policymakers to greater public pressure amid mounting fears over the risks that climate change poses to global markets.
  • While Britain and much of the European Union aim to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, Japan is the only G7 nation still building new coal-fired power plants, drawing criticism from climate campaigners.

Competing energy, Indigenous demands poised to collide as Parliament resumes (CTV News)

  • The competing demands of natural resource development, environmental protection and Indigenous reconciliation appear poised for a head-on crash -- with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's minority government caught in the middle as Parliament resumes Tuesday.
  • Many Liberal MPs are openly campaigning against approval of Teck Resources' proposed Frontier oilsands mine in Alberta, which they see as antithetical to Trudeau's pledge to combat climate change.
  • Cabinet must decide by the end of this month whether to approve the project and risk the wrath of Liberal MPs and voters concerned about climate change, or nix it and risk raising "roiling western alienation to a boiling point," as Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has warned.

Our missed opportunities (The Daily Star)

  • According to the Global Risks Report 2020 from the World Economic Forum (WEF), biodiversity loss is now the third most serious risk our world is facing in terms of impact.
  • It is now number two, losing its position to climate change or more specifically, our failure to take proper action against climate change.
  • Biodiversity conservation and climate change are topics that often come to the fore in discussions.

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