Edition for 25 February 2020

Top Stories

How coronavirus impacts climate change and the US housing market (BoingBoing)

  • Similarly, Time published an article about the way that factory closures in China due to coronavirus have lead to a significant drop in carbon emissions: One of the deadliest epidemics in decades has dented energy demand and industrial output in China, cutting carbon dioxide emissions by about 100 million metric tons—close to what Chile emits in a year.
  • A new analysis by the climate nonprofit Carbon Brief found that the widespread impact of the virus—including travel restrictions, longer holidays, and lower economic activity—means that neither has recovered from the usual lull around the Chinese New Year, a roughly two-week festival that began this year on January 25.
  • What at first glance sounds like a win for climate action also comes at a cost of nearly 2,500 lives, with more than 50,000 actives cases of coronavirus out there as of this writing (the flu kills between 6 and 30 times as many people each year, according to the CDC).

JPMorgan Chase plans to unveil climate initiatives at investor day (Reuters)

  • JPMorgan Chase & Co executives plan to announce new climate-change initiatives on Tuesday, including restrictions on financing coal mining and Arctic drilling, as well as a $200 billion target to provide financing for sustainable projects.
  • Those transactions are expected to be a mix of loans, underwriting, advisory services and investments, and will include $50 billion of financing for green initiatives, which was earmarked to count toward a 2017 target.
  • The bank said it will also stop providing financing for new oil and gas developments in the Arctic, and will expand restrictions on its financing of coal mining and coal-fired power.

Munich Re joins Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance bringing collective AUM of group to US$ 4.5 trillion (UNEPFI)

  • The group of pension funds and insurers have pledged to decarbonize their portfolios to net-zero emissions by 2050 to avoid a global temperature increase above the 1.5°C Paris target.
  • This will not be attained through divestment, but rather the Alliance will work closely with portfolio companies to change their business models, adopting climate friendly practices and setting a net-zero target based on what science tells us is necessary in order to strive for a 1.5°C world.
  • Members will work together with initiatives such as the UN Global Compact Business Ambition for 1.5°C, the Investor Agenda, the Science Based Targets initiative, Climate Action 100+, and the WEF Mission Possible Platform.

Australia's Bushfires Completely Blasted Through the Models (Wired)

  • Today in the journal Nature Climate Change, researchers are publishing a series of articles as a kind of postmortem of the Australian bushfires.
  • The series is both a diagnosis of what happened as flames swept across the continent, and a call to action for researchers the world over: Climate change is a crisis for people, the natural world at large—and for science itself.
  • “This is perhaps one of the first really big cases where we've seen the real world do something before we've been able to have the capacity to model it properly,” says climate scientist Benjamin Sanderson of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, who co-wrote a piece in the Nature Climate Change package.

Justices grapple with $8 billion pipeline that would cross Appalachian Trail (The Hill)

  • The Forest Service issued a permit that would allow the pipeline to cross the trail, but that decision was challenged in the courts by a number of environmental groups.
  • In the lower court, lawyers for the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) argued the permit to cross the Appalachian Trail was only secured due to a change in administration, the first in the trail’s roughly 50-year history.
  • In a 2018 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit sided with the environmental activists based on its interpretations of several interconnected federal laws.

Alberta appeal court sides with province, rules federal carbon tax unconstitutional (National Post)

  • The Alberta Court of Appeal gave opponents of the federal carbon tax their first win on Monday when it ruled that the levy is unconstitutional.
  • The Alberta government had argued in its challenge of the tax that climate change isn’t a national concern requiring overriding federal intervention.
  • The federal government countered by saying climate change is a national and global issue that can’t be left to each of the provinces to take on alone.

Climate change could be a 'catastrophic' national security threat, report warns (Detroit Free Press)

  • Climate change could turn into a "catastrophic" threat to national and global security in the coming decades, warns a new report released Monday.
  • The report, titled “A Security Threat Assessment of Global Climate Change: How Likely Warming Scenarios Indicate a Catastrophic Security Future" was released Monday by the Center for Climate and Security, a non-partisan security policy institute.
  • To avoid such dire future impacts, the report recommends "quickly reducing and phasing out greenhouse gas emissions."

Conversion of NGM’s TS Power Plant aligns with Nevada’s carbon reduction ambitions (GlobeNewswire)

  • In support of Nevada’s carbon-reduction objectives and in partnership with Governor Sisolak’s administration, Nevada Gold Mines (NGM) - a joint venture between Barrick Gold Corporation (61.5%) as the operator and Newmont Corporation (38.5%) - is pleased to announce that it has approved the conversion of its TS Coal Power Plant to a dual fuel process, allowing the facility to generate power from natural gas.
  • This conversion will enable the facility to reduce carbon emissions by as much as 50 percent.
  • The conversion of NGM’s TS Power Plant and the potential for an additional solar power facility illustrates this commitment while reducing the State’s carbon emissions,” said Greg Walker, Executive Managing Director, NGM.

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