Edition for 28 March 2020

Top Stories

Equinor to quit U.S. lobby group over climate policy (Reuters)

  • Equinor will leave industry lobby group the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) over a disagreement about climate policy, the energy producer said on Friday.
  • The Norwegian company is undertaking a review of its memberships of industry associations under an agreement with a group of institutional investors, the Climate Action 100+, signed last April.
  • “We believe that IPAA’s lack of position on climate leaves the association materially misaligned with Equinor’s climate policy and advocacy position,” the company said in its review of industry associations.

Brazil scales back environmental enforcement amid coronavirus (Reuters)

  • Brazil will cut back on efforts to fight environmental crimes during the coronavirus outbreak, an official at environmental agency Ibama told Reuters, despite concerns that reduced protection could lead to a spike in deforestation.
  • Ibama Director of Environmental Protection Olivaldi Azevedo said the outbreak has left him little choice but to send fewer enforcement personnel into the field because of the highly contagious virus.
  • Deforestation experts said that while health concerns must be a top priority, the policy may have grave environmental consequences.

Sorry, but the Virus Shows Why There Won’t Be Global Action on Climate Change (Foreign Policy)

  • Governments have responded by taking unprecedented steps to shut down entire cities, ban travel, and isolate nations—extreme measures that are giving hope to climate activists that similarly ambitious policies might be possible to address global warming, which many consider a similar existential threat.
  • Yet that would be the wrong lesson to draw, as the very same barriers preventing an effective COVID-19 response continue to keep climate change action out of reach.

Canada: Federal carbon charge increasing April 1 (MMJ.com)

  • Effective April 1, 2020, the federal carbon charge for natural gas in Canada will increase from 3.91 ¢/m³ to 5.87 ¢/m³.
  • The federal carbon charge rates are established in the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Act and are set to increase every year until 2022.
  • Enbridge Gas also charges a smaller facility carbon charge to recoup the cost of their facility-related emissions.

Amazon shareholders submit 10 resolutions on environment, equity, lobbying and other issues (Geekwire)

  • Activist employees wearing white shirts stood up during the meeting to show support for a shareholder resolution demanding the company take more aggressive action in response to climate change.
  • A few months later, Amazon launched its Climate Pledge, which includes broad new sustainability goals.
  • Here are the shareholder resolutions included in the preliminary proxy: Food waste: Shareholders want Amazon to report on the environmental and social impact of food waste that the company generates.

It looks like Brandon Middaugh is heading up the $1B Microsoft climate fund (TechCrunch)

  • Earlier this year, Microsoft made waves in the corporate community by coming out with one of the most ambitious and wide-ranging strategies to reduce carbon emissions from the company’s operations.
  • Part of that plan was a $1 billion fund that would invest in climate change mitigation technologies — specifically focused on decarbonization.
  • At the January event, Microsoft committed to going “carbon negative” by 2030 and said that it would remove by 2050 the equivalent of all the carbon it had emitted into the atmosphere since its founding in 1975.

The Climate Crisis Will Be Just as Shockingly Abrupt (The New Republic)

  • On Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a large-scale rollback of environmental regulations as a response to the pandemic—allowing many emitters to police themselves when it comes to pollution.
  • While some argue that the oxygen in the climate debate should be taken up by the pandemic instead, the two issues aren’t mutually exclusive, experts say.
  • In a warming climate, more diseases are likely to emerge and spread, making climate change action an important part of addressing future health crises.

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