The existential threat of climate change can’t be ignored
On January 20, a new expert team will act on the climate emergency. Here are administrators selected by the new administration: Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Department of Energy; U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM), Department of the Interior; Michael Regan, Environmental Protection Agency; Brenda Mallory, chair of the Council on Environmental Quality; former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, National Climate adviser; and Ali Zaidi, deputy National Climate adviser.
Former Secretary of State John Kerry will head the new Climate Department, assisted by Gina McCarthy and Ali Zaidi. The U.S. will also rejoin the United Nations Paris Climate Agreement.
The Climate Team described in detail the economic opportunities of clean energy, clean transportation, and the economic recovery with a substantial number of quality jobs.
Oil and Gas push back
Using flawed EPA emissions data to pretend greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. are going down, Oil and Gas are crying out loud. Power plants burning “natural” gas ignore the massive methane leaks from the shale wells to the point of combustion and pretend to be clean. The Earth’s climate system does not care what Oil and Gas say. In the short term, the atmospheric warming potential of methane emissions is 84 times worse than carbon dioxide.
The American Petroleum Institute says, “we will continue to advocate for policies that promote technological innovation, advance modern energy infrastructure, and support access to natural gas and oil resources — both on federal and private lands.”
The American Gas Association says, “There are no Republican or Democratic energy molecules,” she said. “We will continue to find consensus across political lines and do what is best for each community.”
The Empowerment Alliance says, “Regan and Haaland have repeatedly expressed hostility to natural gas, and America should be very concerned that Biden’s energy and environmental cabinet officials will roll back our progress.”
Former DOE administrator Ernest Moniz is not in the Biden-Harris climate team. Moniz created the Energy Futures Initiative to promote “clean coal,” investments in carbon capture and storage (CCS), and the “Green Real Deal,” to protect Big Oil. Biden is not buying Moniz’s false climate solutions.
In 2018, Moniz joined the Southern Company board of directors, the largest U.S. electric utility. Southern owns the $7.5 billion Mississippi Kemper clean coal CCS power plant under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Kemper plant has been a total failure but is not dead. In July 2020, DOE announced Kemper would receive $17.4 million in DOE grants and $6.1 million in other funds. Other DOE CCS projects include Illinois, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wyoming.
It’s Biden time
It was refreshing to hear the new EPA administrator talk about clean air and water, the reduction of carbon emissions, and other environmental regulations rolled back in the last four years. Biden’s Climate team spoke of manufacturing electric vehicles, building a network of fast-charging electric stations, and all we have hoped for.
This December 21, 2020, headline tells the story. “DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy Announces $4 Million for Projects to Optimize Safe, Secure, and Verifiable Carbon Storage.”
Did you know we have an office of Fossil Energy?
How can we store something we haven’t been able to capture?
Last month a team of 41 climate experts found the 2015 Paris climate goals are not enough. “Carbon neutrality targets are often not as ambitious as they sound, relying on problematic carbon offsets and unproven technologies.”
Carbon offset accounting is poorly defined. We have reached a point where we need to stop carbon emissions altogether. Net-zero is not enough.
The U.K. has reached a similar conclusion based on the surge of Covid-19 mortality. The Telegraph clearly states, “burning wood pellets for electricity has to stop.” Carbon emissions from wood pellets are higher than coal, and PM 2.5 air pollution is increasing the morbidity and mortality of the Covid-19 pandemic.
All subsidies for wood pellets have to stop.
Dr. Luis Contreras