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Energy & Environment New UN report sounds climate alarm

Energy & Environment New UN report sounds climate alarm

Energy & Environment New UN report sounds climate alarm
Madeline Monroe/iStock illustration of The Hill

Welcome to Tuesday’s Overnight Energy & EnvironmentThe latest news on energy, the environment, and beyond is available at. Subscribe here to view the complete edition.

Today we are looking at the IPCC climate report, which estimates financial climate risks, and what the future holds for the use of the Defense Production Act by the Biden administration. 

Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk were the Hill’s editors. Write to us with tips: rfrazin@thehill.com and zbudryk@thehill.com.

Lets jump in.

UN calls for significant reductions in fossil fuels

The United Nations climate panel calls for a significant reduction in global fossil fuel consumption to avoid the worst effects of climate change.  

The latest report from the panel warns that there is little time to act. It states that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by at least 43% by 2030 to prevent 1.5 degrees Celsius warming by the end of this century. This is a critical threshold that would help the world avoid much of the climate damage. 

We have a very, really difficult task ahead, said Stephanie Roe (lead author and global climate and energie lead scientist at World Wildlife Fund). 

Panel urges ‘large-scale’ action: Roe stated that the amount of emission reductions we need to achieve in the next decade is unimaginable. 

The report also calls on emissions to reach their peak within the next few years, prior 2025.  

Jim Skea, cochair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which produced the report, warned the future is critical.  

Skea stated in a statement that it was now or never if we want global warming to be limited to 1.5C. 

Detailing the details: The report recommends limiting fossil fuel use to achieve the required reductions.  

Combustion of fossil fuels and industrial processes are responsible for about 78 percent of climate-warming emissions over the past several decades.  

The U.N. report specifically calls for limiting the use by coal by 95 percent, oil 60 percent, and natural gas by 45 per cent in 2050 compared with their use in 2019.  

To limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius which would allow substantially more climate-caused harm   the use of these fuels would need to be cut by 85 percent, 30 percent and 15 percent, respectively, by 2050 compared to their 2019 level. 

These declines are reflected in carbon capture, a still-developing technology that is used for capturing and storing emissions from burning fossil fuels. 

Learn more about the report. 

WH details climate change risks for federal budget

The White Houses Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on Monday issued its first risk assessment for the impact of climate change on the federal budget, calling the fiscal risks associated with climate change immense. 

OMB personnel cited estimates by the Network for Greening the Financial System, a network of dozens of central banks around the world that develops best practices for climate finance, which said the current trajectory of climate change could lead to a 3 to 10 percent drop in gross domestic product by the end of the 21st century. 

OMB analyses have shown that climate change could lead to federal revenues falling by about 7.1 per cent, or $2 trillion annually, by the end century. 

What are the risks? Increases in crop insurance subsidies would be a major cost. These are expected to rise anywhere between 3.5 percent and 22 percent annually due to crop losses. Additionally, more frequent hurricanes could result in an increase in coastal disaster response spending of up to $94 billion per year by the end. In the meantime, the replacement cost of more than 12,000 federal building would be more than $43.7 million if there is a 10-foot rise in sea level.  

The analysis calls for a number of the priorities outlined in President Bidens fiscal 2023 budget to be enacted to counteract these risks, including more than $7 billion to reduce emissions from the power sector and more than $5 billion to transition the transportation sector to renewable energy. 

Although the budget is unlikely to pass Congress, it outlines the president’s priorities after the Senate rejected ambitious climate provisions in the Build Back Better package last year. 

You can read more about the analysis by clicking here.

Leaders of EV want more from the Defense Production Act 

Industry figures and environmental groups are urging President Biden to go beyond his initial use of the Defense Production Act (DPA) and seize the opportunity to build out supply chains and infrastructure to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels.   

The DPA, a Cold War-era law used by President Harry Truman, allows the president to prioritize the manufacturing of certain materials in the national interest.   

The White House is using the law to promote the domestic production of rare-earth minerals used for electric vehicle (EV) batteries that would otherwise have to be imported from China. This week, the White House announced that the DPA will include minerals such as nickel, cobalt, cobalt, and graphite.   

Biden is leaning on the DPA amid growing fears about Chinas economic power and supply chain problems that have contributed to inflation in the United States. It also comes as Russias war on Ukraine and subsequent sanctions on Moscow have exacerbated a spike in gas prices, putting a pinch on U.S. consumers and adding to the political problems for Democrats ahead of the midterm elections.   

John DeMaio, CEO of EV battery materials processor Graphex Technologies, told The Hill the DPA would be of limited use to the industry without further adjustments.   

The DPA should be used for grants, tax breaks, and incentive construction to all players in EV battery industry. DeMaio stated in an email that economic support should be extended to all players in the industry, including raw material companies, materials processing businesses, and automakers.   

See Also
Cricketers campaign for the environment. (Twitter)

A disjointed national supply chain is not good for EV automakers.   

Learn more about the next steps. 

CLIMATE CHANGE PROTESTORS QUICKLY DISCONTINUE DC HIGHWAY

A group of climate activists in Washington, D.C. managed to temporarily close down I-395 near the National Mall Monday as part of an environmental demonstration.

Declare Emergency supporters were captured in photos and videos on social media blocking traffic on the interstate near the 3rd Street Tunnel in Washington, D.C. The group said in a Facebook post that multiple protesters were arrested following the incident.

The Hill was told by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department that the demonstration lasted less then an hour and that seven people were arrested for allegedly incommoding, blocking or crowding. 

Declare Emergency posted photos showing people wearing bright green vests and holding signs with traffic behind.

The Washington Post reported the group was demonstrating to discourage the Biden administration from expanding drilling or mining for fossil fuel on federal and Indigenous land. 

Learn more.

ON TAP TOMORROW

  • The House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing on the benefits of challenges of electrifying the Postal Service fleet. The Postal Services Inspector General will be present. 
  • The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee will hold a hearing to examine implementation of the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act, focusing on stakeholders’ needs and experiences.
  • The House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on the Farm Bill and renewable energy opportunities in Rural America
  • The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on wildfire management, ecosystem restoration and resilient communities 
  • The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on high gasoline prices 

ICYMI

WHAT WE’RE READING

  • No obituary for Earth: Scientists fight climate doom talk (The Associated Press) 
  • Joe Manchin opposes SEC climate disclosure rule (CNBC) 
  • The Controversial Leadership Battle At The Nations Biggest Environmental Group (HuffPost). 
  • Flood projects that are not eligible for earmarks will be awarded millions of dollars (E&E News). 
    Finally, something a little offbeat, but still somewhat on-beat
     Signed, sealed, delivered 

This is it for today. Thanks for reading. For the latest news and coverage, check out The Hillsenergy & environment. We look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

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