by Eddie Bautista and Lewis Milford

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A number of reputable outlets have touted hydrogen as an emissions-free energy source. Even the newspaper of record, The New York Times, recently described hydrogen as a “clean burning fuel.”

In fact, it’s hard to read an energy article without encountering the new hydrogen hype. But these reports get a critical scientific detail wrong.

Hydrogen does produce little more than water when used in fuel cells to make electricity. Fuel cell technology has great promise for use in vehicles and various industrial applications.

But that’s not what the gas and utility industries have in mind. Instead, they intend to blend hydrogen with natural gas and burn it in power plants, just as they have burned oil, coal or gas for decades. …


by Dan Reich

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The incoming Biden administration is the first to treat the existential threat of climate change as a top legislative priority. Unfortunately, a Senate controlled by climate-skeptical Republicans and a Supreme Court poised to limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) will dampen those ambitions.

Still, there are ways the new administration can lead on climate — even if the Senate and the Supreme Court don’t follow. Drawing on my three decades as a federal government lawyer, I offer these opportunities:

  1. Get investors good data

Many investors care about climate and collectively they can move markets based on their sustainability commitments. Right now, they don’t have all the information they need to make climate-smart decisions. We can change that by enforcing regulations already on the books. …


by Laurie Mazur

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Green 2.0’s Andrés Jimenez on building a diverse, inclusive environmental movement.

In July, Andrés Jimenez took the helm at Green 2.0, an independent advocacy campaign to increase racial diversity among environmental organizations. Previously, Jimenez served as senior director of government affairs at Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), and as associate director of government relations at Ocean Conservancy. The timing was right, as the nation engaged in a long-overdue reckoning with racism that prompted considerable soul-searching within the (very white) mainstream environmental movement. …


by Jeff Peterson

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While much of Washington remains mired in partisan gridlock, there is new cooperation in two areas critical to managing climate change: reducing carbon emissions from agriculture and shifting to electric vehicles.

This is obviously good news for the climate, and it will help protect the quality of rivers, streams and coastal waters across the United States. It turns out that what’s good for the climate pays dividends in clean water.

Since the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, our nation has made progress in restoring the health of rivers, lakes and coastal waters. The act spurred upgrades in sewage treatment, reduced industrial pollution and protected wetlands. Congress stepped up the fight with additional measures to reduce polluted runoff from non-industrial sources, manage municipal storm water discharges and protect critical ecosystems like the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay. …


by David Coursen

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The Biden administration will surely halt the Trump-era assault on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which featured regulatory rollbacks and ruinous proposed budget cuts. But to protect the health of our nation’s people and environment, the new administration must go further — effectively enforcing our existing laws and providing adequate resources for environmental protection.

A centerpiece of the Trump-Wheeler team’s environmental “agenda” was an endless parade of regulatory rollbacks, 104 by one count — promptly reversing them is an obvious first order of business. …


by Daniel Imhoff

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In 2020, U.S. federal farm subsidies reached $46 billion, at least a three-fold increase in annual agricultural supports since President Donald Trump took office. This truly staggering level of taxpayer spending constituted nearly 40% of U.S. farm income, making agriculture a de facto public-private partnership. Some might call it socialism. Others might see it as a blatant attempt to buy votes in flyover country during an election year.

The fact is, the billions spent on the farm sector today are neither protecting the future of U.S. agriculture nor preserving the traditional family farm. …


by Thomas Sinks

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In the name of “transparency” in regulatory science, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt very
un-transparently used my name and professional credentials to promote his ill-conceived proposal to significantly limit scientific studies the EPA considers in regulatory decision-making.

In April 2018, as the EPA proposed the Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science rule, I learned that the administrator had added my name and office to the rule, suggesting that I believed it was scientifically justified. I had not read the rule nor was I involved in its development. …


by Jim Heid

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Across the American west, 2020 has been the most active fire season on record. So far, more than 8 million acres have gone up in flames, with dozens killed and untold billions in property losses.

Call it the new normal. As the planet warms and human settlements expand their reach, we can expect bigger, hotter, more-devastating blazes. Preventing fires — and reducing their toll — is an urgent priority for both the public and private sectors.

Most wildfires occur in the “wildland-urban interface” where development pushes ever deeper into fire-prone natural areas. That expansion is driven by consumer demand — the desire to live close to nature — as well as by housing shortages in and around major cities. …


by Jeff Peterson

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On Nov. 10, NASA will launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air force Base in California. Its payload: a Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite, equipped with instruments that will dramatically improve measurement of changes in sea level around the world.

On the other side of the country, in Washington, D.C., lawmakers recently introduced legislation to constructively manage the challenges that rising sea level will pose for American coastlines.

Taken together, these two events are evidence of important progress toward understanding and managing the risks of sea level rise. …


by David Coursen

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Now that the nation’s eye is on racial justice, the Environmental and Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler has discovered that he wants “to solve the environmental justice issues we face today.”

As a whopper, this may not quite match President Trump’s claim to be America’s “number one environmental president,” but it is a remarkably strange way to describe the Trump-Wheeler team’s record of attacking environmental protections for low-income communities, communities of color and indigenous people. …

About

Urban Resilience Project

A changing climate means a changing society. The Island Press Urban Resilience Project (URP) is committed to a greener, fairer future. www.islandpress.org/URP

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