[GWSG] The IRA and the EPA; net-zero cures; carrots over sticks; a bad diet; running blind; erratum

Tilley, Al atilley at unf.edu
Sun Aug 28 09:50:05 EDT 2022

1. Patrick Parenteau clears up the general confusion about the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act on the scope of the EPA regarding greenhouse gas regulation. State’s efforts to control emissions are going to be important, as the EPA is still limited in its power to enact sweeping, system-wide changes. The 9-minute video explaining the W VA v. EPA ruling is worth watching.  https://theconversation.com/the-inflation-reduction-act-doesnt-get-around-the-supreme-courts-climate-ruling-in-west-virginia-v-epa-but-it-does-strengthen-epas-future-abilities-189279

2. Net-zero emissions plans often depend on spurious offsets and overly-creative expectations. Amazon’s emissions have increased 40% since it set a net-zero target in 2019. The MIT Tech Review suggests six curative alternatives. https://www.technologyreview.com/2022/08/24/1058459/we-must-fundamentally-rethink-net-zero-climate-plans-here-are-six-ways-how/

3.  A carbon tax is beginning to seem inadequate to the task of rebasing our economy on renewable energy in time to preserve a livable world. The subsidies and other carrots of the Inflation Reduction Act are looking more powerful. Cheaper power, rather than more costly fossil power, is becoming the tool of choice. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/25/business/economy/economy-climate-change.html

4. The 2020-25 US dietary guidelines completely ignore the necessity to reduce meat and dairy consumption if we are to achieve 2C. (They even recommend 3 servings of dairy a day, when the current average is 1.6.) The guidelines also ignore the gains in health of a shift to a plant-based diet, even though a previous advisory group recommended it. The guidelines influence millions of people through the 7bn school meals a year, offerings in hospital cafeterias, and government food programs. A group including The Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the American Pediatric Association is attempting to influence the 2025-30 guidelines; they are facing the influence of tens of millions of dollars from the food industry. Other countries are leading the way. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/26/usda-diet-guide-myplate-climate-crisis

5. My Jacksonville, FL, neighborhood of 19,000 was just on a three-day water alert because e. coli appeared in the water from one of the deep wells which tap the Floridan aquifer for us. (The well was isolated, and the contaminated water was not circulated.) We have already lost other wells to salination and pollution as the ground water rises. We have septic tanks, old sewer lines, and other sources of pollution which come into play as the sea rises, and we have not had an effective program to deal with the problem. In fact, we have never had a comprehensive vulnerability study, though we have had plenty of feints and fakes. If sea level rise was not the source of this well failure (and we are unlikely to be told), it will be soon enough. Jacksonville is not alone in this problem. One project that almost every coastal community could and should undertake is to demand to know what risks they are running so that they can implement programs to deal with the ones which are solvable.

6. Correction: In the last email (as you may have guessed) I should have said that the UK intends to get 95% of their power from low-carbon sources by 2030 (not 2035) and to decarbonize the grid by 2035.

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