Edition for 25 March 2020

Top Stories

Oil industry cites virus in seeking broad pollution waivers (News 1130 - Vancouver)

  • The Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday that it’s reviewing a request from the oil and gas industry to ease enforcement of hazardous air and water pollution and other regulatory issues during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The proposal is drawing objections from public health and environmental advocates.
  • A former Obama-era EPA enforcement official, Cynthia Giles, says the request amounts to seeking a nationwide pass for the industry on almost all environmental rules.

European airlines toppled by COVID-19 pandemic demand breaks from environmental taxes (National Post)

  • European airlines crippled by the coronavirus have demanded lasting relief from environmental taxes – in a move that pits their immediate survival against longer-term emissions goals.
  • The looming tax tussle underscores shifting environmental battle lines and a broader question for governments injecting billions into their afflicted economies: Should bailouts come before climate objectives or rather be used to advance them?
  • With airlines at the front of bailout queues, green advocates fear climate action may lose momentum, just as it did after the 2008 financial crisis.

Coronavirus redraws battle lines on airline emissions (Reuters)

  • European airlines crippled by the coronavirus have demanded lasting relief from environmental taxes - in a move that pits their immediate survival against longer-term emissions goals.
  • The looming tax tussle underscores shifting environmental battle lines and a broader question for governments injecting billions into their afflicted economies: Should bailouts come before climate objectives or rather be used to advance them?
  • With airlines at the front of bailout queues, green advocates fear climate action may lose momentum, just as it did after the 2008 financial crisis.

What Coronavirus Means for the Possibility of a Carbon-Free Economy (TIME)

  • “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” he said, citing a range of challenges, from climate to health care, that might be addressed as part of a response to the Great Recession.
  • Even still, leaders are already jockeying about how to keep the crisis from “going to waste.” One area that many are targeting is climate change.
  • The key climate question raised by this response to coronavirus is whether the trillions of dollars countries will spend to stimulate their economies will help reduce emissions or drive them up.

Here's what a coronavirus-like response to the climate crisis would look like (LA Times)

  • Both the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change are global crises with the power to derail economies and kill millions of people.
  • Society has moved far more aggressively to address the coronavirus than it has the climate crisis.
  • But some experts wonder if the unprecedented global mobilization to slow the pandemic might help pave the way for more dramatic climate action.

Yale Researchers Turn to Hyperledger to Track Carbon Emissions (CoinDesk)

  • But it’s a combination of those tools that software architects think will help mitigate the largest known existential threat we face today: climate change.
  • A team from Yale University’s Open Innovation Lab (OpenLab) has been exploring how distributed ledgers, Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and other data-science tools can be used to measure and track carbon emissions.
  • It’s a gargantuan task, but Yale’s Open Climate project has been laying the foundations for a global carbon accounting mechanism that can be compatible with the Paris Agreement, the United Nations framework for holding the increase in the global average temperature to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

NRDC Takes the Zero Foodprint Pledge (NRDC)

  • A food’s carbon footprint, otherwise known as its “foodprint,” is the sum of emissions created during its lifecycle (Figure 1) that remain in our atmosphere long after the food is eaten.
  • Our global foodprint is so large that reducing these emissions by improving food systems and land management accounts for 15 of the top 25 ways to combat climate change.
  • We incorporated these climate change solutions into the NRDC Catering Policy—designed to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and protect the health of our people.

The Climate Sentinel is an AI-powered news assistant for ESG investors and those concerned about climate change, corporate social responsibility, and related topics. Learn more.

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