California “Green Republicans” network at conventions

California “Green Republicans” network at conventions

California “Green Republicans” network at conventions

By Katie Zakrzewski

Over the last five years, there has been a growing movement of CCLers, Republican and Democrat, tabling at California’s GOP convention. They are referred to as members of CCL’s Conservative Caucus and Friends of the Caucus.  This fall’s convention was an opportunity for a new strategy — a skilled group of right-leaning members of CCL chapters across The Golden State attended, participated, and some voted as delegates of the CA GOP. 

“We’ve been to the state GOP convention six times, always with a table,” says Craig Preston, a Conservative CCL member. “CCL empowers new ideas and in 2015, Rob Beggs, CCL’s Chair of the Conservative Caucus was a voting CA GOP delegate. He put out the original call for CCLers to help with a table.” 

This table featured environmental quotes from President Ronald Reagan and Secretary of State George Schulz. CCL tablers were well versed in conservative actions for climate such as Nixon’s start of the EPA and President Reagan’s actions on ozone, among other points. 

Over the years, Craig says that he’s noticed an uptick of conservatives who approach the CCL table, thankful that climate-concerned Republicans are attending the convention. 

Branching out

Some creative outreach has helped connect with these attendees. In 2019, CCLers started to use raffle prizes at the convention to educate conservatives on the importance of climate.

“We gave out footballs, hats, bags, and bottles of my hometown’s Martinelli’s apple juice because climate change has made our apples harder to grow,” Craig said. “To enter the raffle, visitors were asked to fill out a postcard identifying which conservative environmental politicians they agreed with.”

This year, Craig passed out flyers with current information about how farmers and young Republicans support immediate climate action. Elizabeth Fenner, another conservative CCL volunteer and one of California’s CCL state coordinators, spoke up in skill-building sessions. Members such as Tim Dec influenced breakout sessions on resolutions and rules, Tess Bernard networked with social conservatives and College Republicans, and Mark Tabbert worked the hallways. 

Craig ran into previous contacts and would be heard saying, “We are here supporting what the Chamber of Commerce is doing on the climate. We think our candidates will do better with market solutions. What do you think?”

California “Green Republicans” network at conventions

Creating deeper connections

One of the opportunities available to participants at the GOP Conferences is attendance at several banquets with California GOP members. Four of the CCL volunteers who attended the recent GOP conference in San Diego donated their own money in order to attend one banquet, valuing the opportunity to engage with the attendees in an informal setting.

Those conversations built trust and created connections that have been growing with CCL engagement at Republican events, like the conference.

Going this extra mile from within the GOP environment has allowed California’s right-leaning CCL members to sit amongst members of Congress and congressional candidates, all of whom were eager to hear the concerns of fellow California Republicans. Such an opportunity allowed CCLers to talk about the importance of a free-market solution through pricing carbon, as well as passing out hundreds of flyers.

Elizabeth emphasized the importance of being upfront when networking.

“I told people from the start that I was a Green Republican. Those who didn’t want to talk further stopped. But those who did want to talk further — we had some interesting conversations, and I tried to spread the news about the economic and conservative advantages of climate policy.”

California “Green Republicans” network at conventions

A noticeable shift

Elizabeth explained a trend that she’s noticed after attending several conventions.

“The people who seemed most receptive to hearing about climate issues were candidates, who need talking points about climate for any set of potential voters. We CCLers provide a friendly source of information, and this year we had the biggest CCL team of registered Republicans. It makes a difference.”

Elizabeth discovered that California Republicans are often considered different from conservatives in different states, but that it can be a good thing.

“I think the California conservative caucus was one of the first conservative caucuses. There are a lot of Republicans in this state, as well as farms, and fires. All are tied together, and all have a big impact on California and this country.” 

At a time when more conservatives are feeling the effects of climate change, such as droughts, wildfires and flooding, people look to their party for answers.

“I tell people, and told people at these conventions, that I’m tired of Republicans not having a voice in climate, and there was universal agreement,” Elizabeth says.

California “Green Republicans” network at conventions

Big players taking notice

The hard work of CCL Green Republicans is paying off. State and federal Republicans in California have spoken positively about CCL and a carbon price.

On his 2020 campaign site, state senate candidate Alex Glew spoke of CCL and a carbon price, saying, “I support the Fee and Dividend energy plan and H.R. 763. I introduced language similar to it as an update to the environment plank of the CA GOP party platform this last year.”

CCL Green Republicans in California have benefited from speakers on calls by CCL’s National Conservative Caucus with notable speakers, one of whom was Gabe Collins, the Baker Botts Fellow in Energy & Environmental Regulatory Affairs at Rice University’s Baker Institute. Collins spoke positively of the economic impact of a carbon price on international trade and the economy.  These topics are of interest to California and National GOP members.

As time goes on, it has become clear that CCL conservatives — especially in California — have worked hard to connect with influential voices on the right side of the aisle. Their hard work is paying off.

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NASA to Launch 4 Earth Science Missions in 2022

In Brief:

The missions, including two led by the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will help monitor our changing planet. Scientists will discuss them at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting.

NASA will launch four Earth science missions in 2022 to provide scientists with more information about fundamental climate systems and processes, including extreme storms, surface water and ocean, and atmospheric dust. Scientists will discuss the upcoming missions at the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) 2021 Fall Meeting, hosted in New Orleans between Dec. 13 and 17.

NASA has a unique view of our planet from space. NASA’s fleet of Earth-observing satellites provide high-quality data on Earth’s interconnected environment, from air quality to sea ice.

These four missions will enhance the ability to monitor our changing planet:

  • TROPICS will use six small satellites to provide improved and rapid measurements of tropical cyclones.
  • EMIT will trace the origin and composition of mineral dust that can affect climate, ecosystems, air quality, and human health with an imaging spectrometer aboard the International Space Station.
  • NOAA’s JPSS-2 will help scientists predict extreme weather conditions, including floods, wildfires, volcanoes, and more.
  • SWOT will evaluate the world’s ocean and their role in climate change, as well as monitor lakes, rivers, and other surface waters.
NASA has a unique view of our planet from space. NASA’s fleet of Earth-observing satellites provide high quality data on different parts of Earth’s interconnected environment from air quality to sea ice. Take a tour of missions launching in 2022, including SWOT, TROPICS, EMIT, and JPSS-2. Credit: NASA

Measuring Tropical Cyclones

Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats (TROPICS)

Tropics
The TROPICS Pathfinder satellite, pictured above, was launched on June 29. The satellite body measures approximately 10 cm X 10 cm X 36 cm and is identical to the six additional satellites that will be launched in the constellation in 2022. The golden cube at the top is the microwave radiometer, which measures the precipitation, temperature, and humidity inside tropical storms. Credits: Blue Canyon Technologies

NASA’s TROPICS mission aims to improve observations of tropical cyclones. Six TROPICS satellites will work in concert to provide microwave observations of a storm's precipitation, temperature, and humidity as quickly as every 50 minutes. Scientists expect the data will help them understand the factors driving tropical cyclone intensification and will contribute to weather forecasting models.

In June 2021, the first pathfinder, or proof of concept, satellite of the constellation started collecting data, including from Hurricane Ida in August 2021, that shows the promise of these small satellites. The TROPICS satellites will be deployed in pairs of two over three different launches, expected to be completed by July 31, 2022.

Each satellite is about the size of a loaf of bread and carries a miniaturized microwave radiometer instrument. Traveling in pairs in three different orbits, they will collectively observe Earth’s surface more frequently than current weather satellites making similar measurements, greatly increasing the data available for near real-time weather forecasts.

The TROPICS team is led by Principal Investigator Dr. William Blackwell at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts, and includes researchers from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and several universities and commercial partners. NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, will manage the launch service.

“The coolest part of this program is its impact on helping society,” Blackwell said. “These storms affect a lot of people. The higher frequency observations provided by TROPICS have the potential to support weather forecasting that may help people get to safety sooner.”

Studying Mineral Dust

Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT)

Winds kick up dust from Earth’s arid regions and transport the mineral particles around the world. The dust can influence the radiative forcing – or the balance between the energy that comes toward Earth from the Sun, and the energy that Earth reflects back out into space – hence the temperature of the planet’s surface and atmosphere. Darker, iron-laden minerals tend to absorb energy, which leads to heating of the environment, while brighter, clay-containing particles scatter light in a way that may lead to cooling. In addition to affecting regional and global warming of the atmosphere, dust can affect air quality and the health of people worldwide, and when deposited in the ocean, can also trigger blooms of microscopic algae.

The goal of the Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT) mission is to map where the dust originates and estimate its composition so that scientists can better understand how it affects the planet. Targeted to launch in 2022, EMIT has a prime mission of one year and will be installed on the International Space Station. EMIT will use an instrument called an imaging spectrometer that measures visible and infrared light reflecting from surfaces below. This data can reveal the distinct light-absorbing signatures of the minerals in the dust that helps to determine its composition.

“EMIT will close a gap in our knowledge about arid land regions of our planet and answer key questions about how mineral dust interacts with the Earth system,” said Dr. Robert Green, EMIT principal investigator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

Observing Earth’s Storms

Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS)

Dust
In June 2020, the "Godzilla" dust storm traveled from the Sahara desert across the Atlantic Ocean, as seen in this true color satellite imagery from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) aboard the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite and the NOAA-20 satellite. Credits: NASA / Scientific Visualization Studio

Forecasting extreme storms many days in advance requires capturing precise measurements of the temperature and moisture in our atmosphere, along with ocean surface temperatures. The NOAA-NASA Joint Polar Satellite System satellites provide this critical data, which is used by forecasters and first responders. The satellites also tell us about floods, wildfires, volcanoes, smog, dust storms, and sea ice.

“JPSS satellites are a vital component of the global backbone of numerical weather prediction,” said JPSS Program Science Adviser Dr. Satya Kalluri.

The JPSS satellites circle Earth from the North to the South Pole, taking data and images as they fly. As Earth rotates under these satellites, they observe every part of the planet at least twice a day.

The Suomi-NPP (National Polar orbiting-Partnership) and NOAA-20 satellites are currently in orbit. The JPSS-2 satellite is targeted to launch in 2022 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Three more satellites will launch in coming years, providing data well into the 2030s. NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, will manage the launch service.

Surveying Earth’s Surface Water

Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT)

The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission will help researchers determine how much water Earth’s ocean, lakes, and rivers contain. This will aid scientists in understanding the effects of climate change on freshwater bodies and the ocean’s ability to absorb excess heat and greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.

NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, will manage the launch service, which is targeted for November 2022. SWOT will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The SUV-size satellite will measure the height of water using its Ka-band Radar Interferometer, a new instrument that bounces radar pulses off the water’s surface and receives the return signals with two different antennas at the same time. This measurement technique allows scientists to precisely calculate the height of the water. The data will help with tasks like tracking regional shifts in sea level, monitoring changes in river flows and how much water lakes store, as well as determining how much freshwater is available to communities around the world.

“SWOT will address the ocean’s leading role in our changing weather and climate and the consequences on the availability of freshwater on land,” said Dr. Lee-Lueng Fu, SWOT project scientist at JPL.

The mission is a collaboration between NASA and the French space agency Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, with contributions from the Canadian Space Agency and the United Kingdom Space Agency.

News Media Contacts

Jane J. Lee / Ian J. O’Neill
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
818-354-0307 / 818-354-2649
jane.j.lee@jpl.nasa.gov / ian.j.oneill@jpl.nasa.gov

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Critically Endangered Right Whale Gives Birth Despite Being Caught in Fishing Gear

A critically endangered North Atlantic right whale managed to give birth to a calf while entangled in fishing gear.


The 17-year-old female, named Snow Cone, was spotted December 2 with her new calf off of Cumberland Island, Georgia by an aerial survey team with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced.

“We haven’t seen a chronically entangled whale come down here from up north and have a calf,” Georgia Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Clay George told The AP of the incident. “It’s amazing. But on the other hand, it could ultimately be a death sentence for her.”

Snow Cone’s story exemplifies many of the threats facing North Atlantic right whales, which are currently undergoing an Unusual Mortality Event, primarily because of vessel strikes and fishing gear entanglements. Since 2017, 50 known whales have died or suffered serious injuries, but NOAA estimates that only around one third of the deaths are actually documented. During that time, only 42 new calves have been born, and there are now fewer than 350 of the critically endangered whales left.

Snow Cone lost her first known calf to two vessel strikes in June of 2020, according to NOAA. She was then seen stuck in fishing gear near Plymouth Harbor, Massachusetts on March 10, 2021. The gear was attached to her mouth. Rescuers managed to free her from nearly 300 feet of rope that she was dragging before she dove too deep to allow further disentanglement.

On May 10 and 11, Canadian rescuers managed to free her from more of the rope when she was spotted near New Brunswick, Canada. That left her with one piece of line trailing her tail and another trailing her tailstock. All told, she has carried the gear with her for more than 1,300 miles as she completed her summer migration to Canada and then returned to the whales’ calving area off the U.S. Southeast coast in the fall.

After she was spotted with her new calf, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources decided it would not be safe to remove more of the gear while she is next to her calf.

Right now, the calf appears healthy and is not caught in the rope, HuffPost reported. However, scientists are concerned that the baby could become entangled as well.

“My concern is she’s still got two pieces of rope, about 20 feet, coming out from the left side of her mouth,” George told The AP. “If those two pieces of rope ended up getting knotted around each other and there’s a loop, you could imagine that calf could end up becoming entangled.”

Experts are also worried about the health of the mother.

“Entanglement alone is a costly energetic drain and so is nursing a calf,” Barb Zoodsma, large whale recovery coordinator at NOAA Fisheries’ Southeast Regional Office, said in the NOAA report. “The severity of her mouth and head injuries are also disconcerting. For these reasons, Snow Cone may be facing her biggest challenge yet in the upcoming months. But while there are a lot of unknowns for Snow Cone and her calf, there is one clear known… If we lose Snow Cone, we lose all her future calves as well.”

This would be bad news for the whales, since they are dying faster than they can reproduce. Snow Cone’s calf is the second known birth during the 2020-2021 calving season and the delivery marks the second time a calf was found near an entangled mother, The AP reported. That mother eventually managed to free herself.

While Snow Cone is in a vulnerable position, there is still hope, seeing as she has endured through the loss of one calf and managed to give birth under difficult circumstances.

“Clearly, Snow Cone has game,“ Zoodsma told NOAA.

New research: carbon fee and dividend would reduce poverty and inequality while strengthening the economy

New research: carbon fee and dividend would reduce poverty and inequality while strengthening the economy

New research: carbon fee and dividend would reduce poverty and inequality while strengthening the economy

By Dana Nuccitelli

On November 29, the prominent journal Nature Climate Change published two studies very relevant to CCL’s efforts. The title of the first paper nicely summarizes its key findings: Climate action with revenue recycling has benefits for poverty, inequality and well-being.

Carbon fee and dividend alleviates poverty and income inequality

The study considered a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend structure consistent with achieving the Paris agreement target of limiting global warming to less than 2°C hotter than pre-industrial temperatures. The carbon pricing structure in the paper is similar to that in the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (EICDA), with a few distinctions: 

  • starts at an earlier date (2015)
  • starts at a higher-level ($30 per ton of carbon dioxide pollution compared to the $15 starting point in EICDA)
  • rises more slowly (about 5% or $2 per year in the near-term, compared to the $10 per year increase in the EICDA)

New research: carbon fee and dividend would reduce poverty and inequality while strengthening the economy

As we know from the 2020 CCL Household Impact Study, the vast majority of low-income households benefit from receiving a net income as a result of a carbon fee and dividend policy that returns all of the revenue to households in equal increments per person. That’s because low-income households have smaller carbon footprints, and so the dividend is larger than their increase in energy and other product costs.

The new Nature Climate Change paper confirmed that finding and went further to assess how much poverty and inequality would be reduced as a result. The authors used their Nested Inequalities Climate Economy (NICE) model, which incorporates regional economic distribution data into the climate-economics integrated assessment model for which William Nordhaus won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics.

Like the Household Impact Study, the paper then grouped populations by income quintile from the poorest 20% to the wealthiest 20%. The authors evaluated how each income group would be impacted by the carbon price if 100% of dividends were returned equally to individuals; by a carbon price with no dividends; and in a business-as-usual scenario without a carbon price.

The study concluded that a carbon price without dividends slightly increases income inequality because, even though lower-income households spend fewer dollars on energy than higher-income households, they spend a larger proportion of their income on energy costs. However, when including the equal per capita dividend, the authors found that “climate action involves a synergy with poverty alleviation” and a reduction in income inequality. In the U.S., the study estimated that their modeled carbon fee and dividend structure would lift 1.6 million Americans out of poverty by 2030. It would have even bigger effects if implemented in China and India, as the figure below from the study illustrates. Note that the poverty line is set at different levels in different countries — around a $2 per day income in China and India compared to over $40 per day in the U.S.

New research: carbon fee and dividend would reduce poverty and inequality while strengthening the economy

The carbon fee structure in the study surpasses $60 per ton in 2030, meaning that the EICDA would lift approximately 1.6 million Americans out of poverty by its sixth year when the carbon price reaches $65 per ton. The authors also estimated that the carbon fee and dividend approach would reduce income inequality in the U.S. over the next several decades (until the dividends run out as carbon emissions fall to zero) by about 1%, as measured by the Gini index, with the poorest 20% of households getting the biggest net financial boost.

This study highlights the importance and benefits of pairing a price on carbon with dividends.

Build Back Better with a carbon price

The second study published in Nature Climate Change investigates the question: if we want to meet the aforementioned Paris agreement target, would it be better for the economy if climate policy were implemented more gradually or more aggressively in the near-term? For example, many scenarios envision that global temperatures overshoot the Paris target due to too-slow emissions cuts, but cool somewhat thereafter as humanity pulls substantial amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere with as-of-yet unproven methods and technologies.

The study compares those types of pathways with scenarios that include more aggressive climate policies and emissions cuts in the near-term so that global temperatures always stay below the Paris target. This would require that countries reduce carbon pollution even faster than their current Paris pledges (a.k.a. “Nationally Determined Contributions,” or NDCs). The U.S. NDC pledges to cut our emissions 50–52% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Using nine separate climate-economics integrated assessment models, the authors investigated how these different approaches would impact the global economy as measured by gross domestic product (GDP). They found that the climate policy investment costs would of course be larger over the next few decades in the more aggressive scenarios, but the economy would be significantly stronger in the second half of the century. The authors concluded, “accelerating the transformation towards net-zero CO2 emissions would have benefits for the long-term GDP, even without considering the benefits of avoided impacts.”

The last part of that sentence is key, because we know from research led by Drew Shindell and others that climate policies like carbon pricing yield substantial immediate benefits in the form of healthier, longer lives due to cleaner air, and long-term benefits from a stable climate lessening extreme weather disasters. This particular study did not account for those benefits, but nevertheless found that implementing more aggressive climate policies today would make the economy stronger in the long-term.

As numerous analyses have shown, while the climate policies and investments in the House-passed version of the Build Back Better budget reconciliation package are historic, they are insufficient to meet the U.S. NDC. If the Senate is able to add a carbon price and dividend to their version of the package, it could allow the U.S. to meet or even exceed our Paris pledge. As the studies discussed here concluded, this would alleviate poverty, reduce income inequality, and strengthen the economy in the long-term while allowing Americans to breathe cleaner air and live longer, healthier lives and preserving a stable climate for future generations. 

Adding a carbon price to Build Back Better would be a win-win-win for the U.S. economy, Americans’ health, and the global climate.

Dana Nuccitelli is an environmental scientist and climate journalist with a Master’s Degree in physics. He has written about climate change since 2010 for Skeptical Science, for The Guardian from 2013 to 2018, and since 2018 for Yale Climate Connections. In 2015 he published the book “Climatology versus Pseudoscience”, and he has also authored ten peer-reviewed climate studies, including a 2013 paper that found a 97% consensus among peer-reviewed climate science research that humans are the primary cause of global warming.

The post New research: carbon fee and dividend would reduce poverty and inequality while strengthening the economy appeared first on Citizens' Climate Lobby.

Solar Farms Could Boost Bumblebee Populations, Study Says

A new study finds that installing solar farms could become a two birds, one stone situation, as these areas can also double as thriving pollinator habitats if land owners allow meadows to grow around the solar panels.


The study, from researchers at Lancaster University in the UK that will be presented today at an Ecology Across Borders conference, shows that installing solar farms could be greatly beneficial to nature.

“Our findings provide the first quantitative evidence that solar parks could be used as a conservation tool to support and boost pollinator populations. If they are managed in a way that provides resources, solar parks could become [a] valuable bumble bee habitat,” said Hollie Blaydes, associate lecturer and doctorate student at the university. “In the UK, pollinator habitat has been established on some solar parks, but there is currently little understanding of the effectiveness of these interventions. Our findings provide solar park owners and managers with evidence to suggest that providing floral and nesting resources for bumble bees could be effective.”

While there’s no doubt that solar farms are helpful in generating clean energy, some critics say that these projects require extensive amounts of land that should instead be left untouched. Blaydes notes that solar parks disturb only about 5% of the ground, and these areas can also create new habitats for vulnerable pollinators, whose numbers are dwindling.

The researchers note that there are benefits for land owners who want to install solar parks, too. These lands could become meadows, rather than turf, cutting down land management costs for maintaining grass and other interventions. Meadows could also support four times more bumblebees compared to land covered in turf grass.

Another interesting point of the study is that these solar farms could further support bee density up to 1 kilometer outside of the solar farms, and the pollinators could then tend to nearby agricultural crops as well.

The UK already has about 14,000 hectares of solar farms, which have gained both praise and grievances. But Lancaster University researchers continue to dispel concerns.

Another 2021 university study, in collaboration with Ludong University in China and University of California Davis in the U.S., found that solar farms produce “cool islands,” reducing temperatures by about 2.3°C (36.14°F) 100 meters around the solar farm. Cooling effects on a lesser scale extend up to 700 meters around the solar farm.

Alona Armstrong, senior lecturer of energy and environmental sciences at Lancaster University and co-author of the cool islands study, said, “This heightens the importance of understanding the implications of renewable energy technologies on the hosting landscape — we need to ensure that the energy transition does not cause undue damage to ecological systems and ideally has net positive consequences on the places where we build them.”

Fact Check: The Real Truth About Tornadoes

Fact check piece below written in 2013, but points still valid in regard to the revisionist bad takes following the recent catastrophic outbreak in Kentucky. Among the authors was Noah Diffenbaugh, who I interviewed in 2015, above, and 2013, below. LiveScience: This open letter was written by six, leading tornado experts from research institutions across […]

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Crucial Antarctic ice shelf could fail within five years, scientists say

Climate change’s effects on 193 countries

Canada Renews Central Bank’s Inflation-Targeting Mandate

The Canadian government and Bank of Canada agreed to renew the central bank’s mandate to target 2% annual inflation, with an emphasis on giving the central bank flexibility to address economic challenges and help obtain full employment when conditions warrant.

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Euro Energy Crunch Fuels US LNG Revival

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