We’ve woke up to rain all week here in Northern California, which after three months of abnormally dry winter weather is welcome, especially as we watch the wildfire season begin to rage in Arizona and New Mexico.
So far this year, 19,774 fires have burned 832,844 acres in the United States, 30% more than the 10-year average of fires and acres burned to date, according to the National Interagency Coordination Center.
Here in the West, as we celebrate the 52nd Earth Day on Friday, it’s shaping up to be another big fire year. In Europe, however, the story this weekend is the upcoming ban on Russian oil and gas. In particular, how weak it looks.
With the European Union still expected to issue a ban as early as next week, last-minute compromises behind the scenes in Brussels are sparking speculation it will be full of holes as more countries join in. Germany and Hungary to voice their opposition to a rigid ban on Russian energy and look for loopholes.
Instead, the EU is doubling down on commitments to increase the use of renewables, planning to more than double by 2030. While that’s all very well, and in eight years a collapse of unity in striking Russia in its most vital economic interests will send a terrible signal to Vladimir Poutine as he hammers into Mariupol and impedes Europe’s transition for many Earth Days to come.
More information below. . . .
Zeus: climate change becomes Hollywood
. . . . Despite the success of the recent film Don’t look up, The apocalyptic nature of many climate change films over the years has prevented screenwriters from incorporating the renewable energy transition into more scripts and streaming shows, according to a new report. David Callaway suggests that the focus should be on the drama of finding solutions to global warming, particularly around the people, technologies and money that go into it. He even tries out some new show ideas himself. . . .
Read the full chronicle of Zeus
EU Notebook: Germany increases its commitment to renewable energy in the overhaul of the electricity industry
. . . . No European country is more exposed to the energy effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine than Germany, which draws 40% of its energy from Vladimir Poutine. New efforts this week from the government of Olaf Scholz to increase renewable energy capacity to 80% by 2030 target large increases in wind and solar energy use, writes Alisha Houlihan from Dublin. But little has been said about nuclear power, which Germany has been trying to phase out in recent years. The new scheme will draw praise from Brussels, but is likely to be challenged in the short term by supply chain issues that have dramatically increased the prices of renewable technologies. . . .
Read the full EU notebook
Thursday Subscriber Preview: Tesla Solar Supply Issues Dampen Renewable Energy Forecast
. . . . On the one hand, an executive of a large solar company predicts solar will generate half of the world’s electricity by 2050. On the other hand, Tesla’s solar installations have dropped nearly 50% due to supply chain issues. Which give? Will the road to solar supremacy be easier?
. . . . Without a doubt, producing alcohol is bad for the environment. You have to heat the grain mash to produce the alcohol, whether it’s for scotch or gin, which produces emissions. Ditto for brandy and other liquor store favorites. Today, a vodka producer says he can make hooch guilt-free. Learn more here. . . .
. . . . You’ve heard the jokes about ridiculously long CVS receipts. But that’s no laughing matter, because of the environmental and health risks they pose, says Green America. But there have been some healthy changes at the point of sale. Learn more here. . . .
. . . . If a tree burns in a forest and no one lights the fire, does anyone take responsibility for their greenhouse gas emissions? This is more than a thought experiment, as countries count their emissions under the Paris Agreement. Learn more here. . . .
Editor’s Choice: Arizona Wildfires; Oregon’s Not-So-Secret Coal Secret
Since the late 19th century, the Earth has warmed by about 1.3°C (2.3°F), almost half of that since 1990.
This warming is strongly correlated with the increase in carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. pic.twitter.com/CACfVxT8f8
— Dr. Robert Rohde (@RARohde) April 20, 2022
Arizona tunnel fire draws closer to Flagstaff
Out of control wildfires have destroyed homes and hundreds more are at risk near Flagstaff, Arizona. The tunnel fire in Coconino County, northern Arizona, which started on Sunday, had burned more than 20,000 acres by Wednesday afternoon. The state’s wildfire season began early this year and is expected to be worse than previous years, according to state fire officials. Half a million acres burned in Arizona in 2021 and more than 900,000 acres in 2020. National fire officials say the Southwest is the site of numerous wildfires fueled by high winds in areas such than Prescott, Arizona and even Las Vegas.
Does “green” Oregon have a dirty coal secret?
The state of Oregon has invested $5.3 billion in fossil fuel companies, according to environmental groups who want the state to divest. An Associated Press report says that although Oregon is generally considered a green state, in part because it was among the first to commit to ending the use of coal power, it has invested $1 billion in the coal industry alone. Citing Divest Oregon, the AP report says “the amount Oregon has invested in oil, gas and coal companies – whose products are a leading cause of global warming – is likely well over 5 This is because the numbers Divest Oregon obtained from the Treasury through a public records request do not include private equity investments, which are not subject to disclosure. The AP also noted that other states are monitoring their fossil fuel investments: New York’s State Common Retirement Fund will limit investments in 21 shale oil and gas companies that have not demonstrated that “they were ready for the transition to a low-carbon economy. And a new law in Maryland requires ‘a trustee of the state’s retirement and pension system to review the ri potential systemic risks of the impact of climate change on system assets”.
Words to live. . . .
“If we save Tuvalu, we save the world.” — hilda Eh, educator, politician and former President of the Marshall Islands.
Callaway Climate Information Bulletin