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    House bill would eliminate natural gas, impose sweeping changes on economy / ArsTechnica · Friday, 10 September, 2021 - 20:47

Here’s how the US will tackle climate change with the $3.5T reconciliation bill

Enlarge (credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images )

President Joe Biden’s climate ambitions will face a critical test on Monday as a major portion of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill comes up for a vote. If it passes, the sprawling legislation will push the American economy to rein in its carbon emissions by spurring advancements in clean energy, electric vehicles, grid modernization, and more.

Nearly $500 billion worth of grants, incentives, and programs will be voted on by the members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. After that, the legislation will be merged with the other portions of the reconciliation bill as soon as Wednesday. Senate Democrats have been meeting to draft their version of the bill, and Congressional Democrats hope to send a finalized piece of legislation to Biden by the end of the year.

So far, Republicans are united in their opposition, and the reconciliation bill’s passage appears to hinge on whether Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) approves of key portions. Manchin, who represents coal-rich West Virginia and who owns millions of dollars of stock in a coal brokerage, has expressed reservations about the bill eliminating fossil fuels.

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    Alberta, TC Energy pull plug on Keystone XL pipeline / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 10 June, 2021 - 14:48

Opponents of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines hold a rally as they protest US President Donald Trump

Enlarge / Opponents of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines hold a rally as they protest US President Donald Trump's executive orders advancing their construction, at Columbus Circle in New York on January 24, 2017. (credit: AFP | Getty)

Construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline was officially terminated on Wednesday, handing a big victory to environmentalists who fought the project for more than a decade as they intensified their battles against other fossil fuel development.

The decision by TC Energy and the government of Alberta to pull the plug on the $8 billion pipeline had been widely expected after Joe Biden scrapped the permit to build its US leg in one of his first acts as president.

“We remain disappointed and frustrated with the circumstances surrounding the Keystone XL project, including the cancellation of the presidential permit for the pipeline’s border crossing,” said Jason Kenney, Alberta premier.

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    Coal miners’ union lobbies for jobs in renewable energy / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 20 April, 2021 - 15:36

Dumptruck full of coal drives through strip mining area.

Enlarge (credit: Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images )

What if the British crown had offered the Luddites a retraining program and the promise of good-paying factory jobs? Perhaps they would have accepted the textile transition?

That’s essentially what the nation’s largest coal miner union is suggesting. In exchange for job retraining, wage replacement, and preferential hiring for out-of-work coal miners, the United Mine Workers of America would support the transition away from carbon-polluting fossil fuels. It’s also calling for tax incentives to build portions of the renewable energy supply chain in coal country.

“We’ll take good paying jobs any way we can get them,” said Cecil Roberts, the president of the UWMA, in a talk hosted by the National Press Club. “The government has not done a good job, if at all, managing what’s going on in the coal fields,” he said, citing rounds of layoffs and mine closures.

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    Sweeping climate law zeroes out carbon pollution for Massachusetts / ArsTechnica · Monday, 29 March, 2021 - 15:46


(credit: MIT News )

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law late last week one of the nation’s most sweeping climate bills, putting the state on a path to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The law sets emissions limits of 50% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 75% cuts by 2040 with interim limits every five years. To achieve those goals, the Bay State will add gigawatts of offshore wind power, spur cities and towns to adopt a net-zero building code, and set targets for electric vehicles, charging stations, and energy storage.

The state expects that it will be able to fully eliminate 85% of all carbon emissions by 2050. For the remaining, 15%, it will have to find other options, including tree planting or direct air capture of carbon dioxide. The net-zero target of 2050 is encouraged by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to avoid warming of greater than 1.5˚ C.

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    Biden administration puts a price on carbon / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 2 March, 2021 - 00:46 · 1 minute

Image of exhaust from power plants.

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On Friday, the Biden administration announced it had fulfilled the requirements of one of the executive orders issued on the very first day of his presidency: determining what's called the "social cost of carbon." This figure tries to capture the cumulative economic value achieved by investing in limiting carbon emissions now. As such, carbon's social cost plays a key role in informing the cost/benefit analysis of any government policy or regulation that influences carbon emissions.

The government is required to attach a value to the social cost of carbon, which typically requires the consideration of extensive economic and climate research. But the Trump administration had ended the process of updating the value after having chosen an artificially low one. Given a 30-day deadline to come up with a new one, the Biden administration has chosen to adjust the last pre-Trump value for inflation and use that until it can do a more detailed analysis of how the research landscape has changed over the last four years.

The net result is a dramatically higher price on carbon that will enable far more aggressive regulatory action for at least the next four years.

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    Here’s the energy and environment policy passed with the relief bill / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 23 December, 2020 - 11:45

Here’s the energy and environment policy passed with the relief bill


The legislation passed by the US Senate Monday was downright frankensteinian: a pile of unrelated bills stitched together. Apart from the pandemic relief measures, it contained thousands of pages of government funding and tax credit extensions, like a semester’s worth of homework stapled to the final exam.

But in the end, it includes the most significant federal energy and climate policy in years, setting the agenda for Department of Energy research programs and authorizing higher funding levels for clean energy priorities.

Cool it

Shortly before the 2016 US election, the Obama administration joined an international agreement to phase out another generation of refrigerants with negative environmental consequences. This agreement—called the Kigali Amendment—was added onto the 1987 Montreal Protocol that banned ozone-depleting CFCs. Some were replaced with ozone-friendly HFCs, but these turned out to be quite potent greenhouse gases.

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