On climate: Just the facts, please.
This past week or so has been a mad scramble. Between flying across the country twice and driving half way across the state and back, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve just about used up my annual carbon budget (and accumulated an equivalent sleep deficit). So forgive me for sending out this week’s post late, and for making it a bit shorter than usual!
In my post last week I talked about the launch of the Risky Business project, which brings Tom Steyer, Mayor Bloomberg, and Hank Paulson together to pose the question of what level of economic risk the U.S. is taking on by not acting on climate change. Last Friday the three co-chairs penned a Washington Post op-ed about why they’re investing their time and resources in this project: “As businessmen and public servants, we are intimately familiar with the systems used to manage risk. They are central to informed decision-making. But today, the world faces one of the greatest humanitarian and economic challenges of our time: the threat of global climate change. And in this arena, our risk-assessment systems have broken down. This ignorance cannot be allowed to continue.”
That’s the news from a country unwilling to take climate change seriously – not the case with California, where we’re continuing the hard work of passing and implementing policies aimed at moving our state forward to a new and advanced energy future. Here’s some news on that front:
- Delta Plan Raises Water Worries. The heart of California’s fresh water supply is the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, which is the topic of intense scrutiny as plans to divert more Delta water are considered in Sacramento. Capital Public Radio concludes a five-part series on the all-important fresh water source and the changes that could be in store for the region if Governor Brown’s proposed twin tunnels plan moves forward.
- Proposition 39 work continues! We passed the prop. We passed the implementing legislation. Now it’s time for the hard work of making sure it’s all done right. The California Energy Commission has the starring role in this drama, and is holding workshops across the state to get input on its draft regulations. The Energy Commission hosted its first webinar this week as well. Many, many people have emailed or tweeted me asking for more details about the process: I encourage all of you to sign up for the CEC’s P39 listserve (link here), and to attend a workshop or webinar.
- Speaking of the CEC, the agency just launched a very cool virtual tour of renewable energy generation sites across the state. It’s the perfect resource for those cocktail party arguments about whether renewable energy really works and can be done at scale.
- And in carbon pricing news, I somehow forgot to mention last week the groundbreaking news that California has now signed an agreement with Quebec to link our carbon markets. From this piece in Quartz: “The deal is another sign that any efforts to fight climate change are likely to be spearheaded by cities and states rather than nation-states, given the utter failure to reach a global consensus on how to cut greenhouse gas emissions.” Others seem to agree: this week the head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) urged governments across the globe to “leave no stone unturned” in pursuing creative options for pricing carbon.
- For more on what California has accomplished so far on energy and climate issues, you don’t have to go further than the ARB scoping plan, which includes a nice history lesson on our successes to date. CleanTechnica did a nice summary of the plan for those unwilling to dive into the ARB website, which (sorry, Mary Nichols!) is somewhat impenetrable.
And finally, my favorite article of the week: this piece from LA Times letters editor Paul Thornton about why the paper doesn’t publish letters from climate deniers. Key point: “Simply put, I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published. Saying ‘there's no sign humans have caused climate change’ is not stating an opinion, it's asserting a factual inaccuracy.”
That’s all my tired brain can manage for today! Stay tuned for next week’s post, which will be on time (maybe).