In case the solar eclipse eclipsed your view of other news, here is your ecoright climate summary for the week.
Meet the rising ecoright: This Politico storyMore GOP lawmakers bucking their party of climate changeprofiles the surge of GOP support for climate action. Rep. Carlos Curbelo expresses confidence that “the vast majority of House Republicans are shifting toward accepting the science and openness toward at least modest policy prescriptions.”
Thawing in Oklahoma? Rep. Tom Cole broke from President Donald Trump on several issues in a town hall meeting this week, presenting a different opinion on climate change. “I don’t think there is any doubt there is climate change I think the science is pretty clear. We can debate over how to deal with it,” Cole said. Maybe there is better than a snowball’s chance for Sooner representation on the House Climate Solutions Caucus.
Hogan’s a climate hero: Maryland joined eight other Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative states in committing to reduce their carbon pollution cap by 30 percent between 2020 and 2030. “Maryland is committed to finding real bipartisan, common-sense solutions to protect our environment, combat climate change, and improve our air quality,” Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement this week. The other states in the initiative are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.Through the program, states auction off greenhouse gas emission allowances and use the money to pay for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. Power plants that use fossil fuels such as coal that can generate at least 25 megawatts of power are required to purchase allowances. The total emissions cap has been decreasing by 2.5 percent each year, which was scheduled to continue until 2020. The new action sets the reductions for the decade after that.
Wash, rinse, burn: Trump touted clean coal at a rally earlier this week. “We’ve ended the war on beautiful, clean coal,” he said. “It’s just been announced that a second, brand-new coal mine, where they’re going to take out clean coalmeaning, they’re taking out coal. They’re going to clean it.” The term clean coal is typically used to refer to the practice of sequestering carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants and either storing the carbon underground or putting it to use in other industrial processes. Speaking of coal, Taxpayer watchdog groups and free marketers alike speculate whether Trump’s rhetoric on coal will result in fiscal policy to boost the sagging industry. “If coal is to be the dominant objective and preserving coal jobs is to be a major goal of the national government, it is not going to happen with free-market policies,” said Eli Lehrer, president of the R Street Institute. “Since he doesn’t show any signs of being a free-marketer, one will expect that he will at least try to subsidize coal. That’s what I expect him to do.”
Grid study: The Department of Energy issued a much anticipated grid study this week which confirmed coal is on the downslide because of cheap natural gas, not environmental regulation. The report also did not find renewable energy to pose a threat to reliability. “The national U.S. capacity and generation mix have become more diverse over time. Changes in capacity have moved the resource mix toward a greater proportion of natural gas, wind and solar, while coal and oil capacity have decreased. Energy generation trends for these resources have tracked changes in capacity, with natural gas generation almost doubling in proportion. While nuclear capacity has decreased relative to other resources, the proportion of nuclear generation remains unchanged as capacity factors for nuclear units have increased,” reads the study.
Dis-Mayes-ed: In an update to our post on Wednesday, California’s GOP Assembly leader Chad Mayes indicated he will step down from his leadership post at the end of the legislative session next month. He was under pressure from party leaders who opposed his negotiating efforts on California’s recently extended cap and trade program.
Climate jester: No surprise that the President once again is this week’s jester. Trump disbanded a 15-person Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment, a panel of academics, local officials and corporate leaders. Under Congressional mandate, the National Climate Assessment is supposed to release a report every four years. The most recent draft has been the subject of speculation, but NOAA’s communications director said in an email “this action does not impact the completion of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which remains a key priority.”
Enjoy the last weekend of August!