Facebook’s latest hollow effort to fight climate change denial

This is fine.

Enlarge / This is fine. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

Facebook this week implemented yet another new initiative meant to combat rampant, dangerous disinformation on the platform—this time, relating to the climate crisis. Unfortunately this initiative, like countless others before it, seems likely to generate positive headlines for about a week before disappearing unremarked into obscurity, solving exactly zero of Facebook’s deeper problems along the way.

“One of the biggest lessons we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is how powerful Facebook can be for connecting people to accurate, expert advice and information during a global crisis,” Facebook wrote in a corporate blog post. To that end, Facebook is launching a new “Climate Change Information Center” module and landing page that will, in theory, connect users to up-to-date, fact-based information grounded in reality.

Users in the US and a small handful of other countries may already have seen a notification about the new climate information center appear in their newsfeeds this week, either on desktop or on mobile. The green box implores you by name to “see how our climate is changing.”

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#climate-change, #climate-crisis, #facebook, #policy, #pr-stunts

Climate change may wreck economy unless we act soon, federal report warns

A deep orange sky covers an automobile bridge across a lake.

Enlarge / A boat motors by as the Bidwell Bar Bridge is surrounded by fire in Lake Oroville during the Bear fire in Oroville, California, on September 9, 2020. (credit: Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images)

The ever-worsening climate crisis is already causing waves of human suffering—both internationally and here in the United States. And now, a new report from a US financial regulator finds that climate change is also poised to do major damage to some of the institutions with the most power to help mitigate it: Wall Street banks and investors.

Climate change “poses a major risk to the stability of the US financial system and to its ability to sustain the American economy,” the report (196-page PDF) from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) begins. Regulators “must recognize that climate change poses serious emerging risks to the US financial system, and they should move urgently and decisively to measure, understand, and address these risks.”

The report, called “Managing Climate Risk in the US Financial System,” was written by a group of 35 advisors from major banks such as Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase, environmental groups such as The Nature Conservancy and Ceres, energy firms such as BP and ConocoPhillips, several investment firms, and experts from several universities. It is the first analysis of climate change to come from a US financial regulator looking specifically at how change, already underway, will affect trading of agricultural commodities and futures, the real estate and insurance markets, and all the complex financial instruments that are built on multiple industries taken together.

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#climate-change, #climate-crisis, #energy, #finance, #policy, #social-costs, #sustainability, #wall-street

Trump admin. finally kills off Obama-era rule limiting methane emissions

A natural gas flare from an offshore oil drilling rig in Cook Inlet, Alaska.

Enlarge / A natural gas flare from an offshore oil drilling rig in Cook Inlet, Alaska. (credit: Paul Souders | Getty Images)

The Environmental Protection Agency this week finalized a rule that kills off Obama-era limitations on how much methane, a potent greenhouse gas, oil and natural gas producers are allowed to emit into the atmosphere—even though industry leaders didn’t want the changes.

The changes to the rules, known as the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), remove some segments of the industry from being covered under the existing standards at all, and these changes also lift the methane caps on other segments, the EPA announced on Thursday.

The oil and gas industry basically splits into three big buckets of activity: upstream, meaning the actual drilling for oil or gas; midstream, which is the world of storage and pipelines; and downstream, that last mile where products are refined and sold. The current changes apply to the downstream and midstream segments, as the EPA broke down in a graphic (PDF).

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#climate-change, #climate-crisis, #emissions, #energy, #environmental-protection-agency, #epa, #methane, #methane-emissions, #policy, #science

Jail time for polluters in Biden’s $2T climate plan

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden arrives to speak at a "Build Back Better" Clean Energy event on July 14, 2020 at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware.

Enlarge / Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden arrives to speak at a “Build Back Better” Clean Energy event on July 14, 2020 at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware. (credit: Olivier Douliery | AFP | Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden today unveiled a $2 trillion policy platform that seeks to address both the climate crisis and the worsening pandemic-driven economic crisis by drastically expanding investments in infrastructure improvements and clean energy.

The proposals in the Biden plan are in line with a policy package released earlier this month by the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. The House Democrats’ plan (a 550-page PDF), at a very high level, calls first for bringing the United States to net-zero emissions by 2050, then for using the back half of the century to get to negative emissions. That ambitious goal would be reached by adopting new regulations and incentives in energy, transportation, housing, construction, manufacturing, agriculture, telecommunications, and infrastructure, among other sectors.

Biden’s plans, as outlined on his campaign website, go much less in-depth than the Congressional proposal package but are perhaps even more aggressive.

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#climate-change, #climate-crisis, #coronavirus, #covid-19, #economy, #energy, #environmental-justice, #policy

Sweeping climate-crisis plan would bring US to zero emissions in 30 years

 U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO), joined by members of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, delivers remarks during a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol on June 30, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Enlarge / U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO), joined by members of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, delivers remarks during a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol on June 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. (credit: Stefani Reynolds | Getty Images)

A House committee tasked with managing the global climate crisis this week unveiled an ambitious, detailed policy-package proposal. It brings the United States to net-zero emissions, protects vulnerable communities, and helps limit global warming to an increase of 1.5 degrees.

The full report (large PDF) from the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis clocks in around 550 pages and contains suggestions for just about every sector you can think of. Not only does report provide specific policy recommendations and spell what should happen—it also suggests Congressional committees and Cabinet departments to oversee the creation and enforcement of each element.

Broadly speaking, the goals of the plan are to bring the United States to net-zero emissions no later than 2050 and then follow through to negative emissions in the back half of the 21st century. That goal would be achieved by adopting new regulations and incentives in energy, transportation, housing, construction, manufacturing, agriculture, telecommunications, and infrastructure for a start and then building on those accomplishments from there. The report is broad and dense, but here are a few of the highlights.

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#carbon-emissions, #climate-change, #climate-crisis, #congress, #environmental-justice, #policy, #politics, #science