Edition for 24 March 2020

Top Stories

Energy and Policy Experts Have a Plan to Fight Covid-19 and the Climate Crisis (Gizmodo)

  • And then, of course, there’s the climate crisis.
  • But over 100 climate and social policy experts have laid out a vision for a very different relief package.
  • In a long letter posted on Sunday, they call for a stimulus that could prevent the spread of covid-19 in the short term while lowering inequality and carbon emissions and boosting employment and social welfare in the long term.

Editorial: Climate change is just as real as COVID-19. Now's the last, best chance for our government to treat it that way (LA Times)

  • We’re not suggesting that climate change contributed to the coronavirus outbreak; there seems to be no direct link, although experts say a warming world could accelerate pandemics of insect-borne diseases (the coronavirus is spread person to person).
  • That could bode well for addressing climate change — if we treat it as seriously.
  • And that reduction in energy use in turn reduces fossil fuel consumption and emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Coronavirus in a Time of Conspicuous Consumption (The New Republic)

  • Beans are one of the lowest-carbon sources of protein, producing one kilogram of carbon emissions per kilogram of beans, compared to 32 kilograms of carbon per kilogram of beef.
  • But the bean boom is the least of the coronavirus shutdown’s potential climate tie-ins: As social isolation has ramped up, people are traveling and consuming less, and carbon emissions have fallen dramatically.
  • And ultimately, that sort of policy reform is probably what the climate crisis will require.

Electric cars produce less CO2 than petrol vehicles, study confirms (Guardian)

  • Electric vehicles produce less carbon dioxide than petrol cars across the vast majority of the globe – contrary to the claims of some detractors, who have alleged that the CO2 emitted in the production of electricity and their manufacture outweighs the benefits.
  • The finding is a boost to governments, including the UK, seeking to move to net zero carbon emissions, which will require a massive expansion of the electric car fleet.
  • In the UK, transport is now the biggest contributor to the climate crisis and domestic heating has been stubbornly stuck on natural gas for much of the country.

Minnesota Court of Appeals sends PolyMet permit back to MPCA (News 1130 - Vancouver)

  • The Minnesota Court of Appeals sent an air-emissions permit for the PolyMet copper-nickel mine back to state regulators for further review on Monday, giving another victory to environmental groups who oppose the project.
  • “The Court of Appeals decision today makes it even more clear: the process that granted permits for the PolyMet mine proposal is broken.” Kathryn Hoffman, Chief Executive Officer of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, said in a statement.
  • Among the concerns, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy noted that crusher lines at the plant have more capacity than PolyMet claimed it intended to use.

Nigeria: Amidst Coronavirus Crisis, Millions of Nigerians Lack Access to Potable Water (AllAfrica News)

  • A report of the Joint Monitoring Programme of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) titled "Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2000-2017" shows that one in three people globally do not have access to clean drinking water.
  • The report states that three billion people around the world lack basic handwashing facilities "In 2017, 60 per cent of the global population (4.5 billion) had a basic handwashing facility with soap and water available at home.
  • A group, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, said the urgency of checking the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed the importance of hand-washing to the fore, and places availability of clean and potable water at the centre of the campaign to check the virus' spread.

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