Before we get into the news this week we wanted to tell our readers about some. changes we’re making to the Climate Fwd: newsletter — changes meant to help make sense of the climate crisis and what it means for you. Climate Fwd: will begin next month Delivered twice per weekInstead of only once. And, Somini Sengupta, the Times’s global climate correspondent, will be yourA new guide to the most recent news, ideas and information as the newsletter’s lead writer. Stay tuned for more.
People of color, especially Black and Latino, are more vulnerable to environmental hazards than other races. President Biden has promised to address the problem. However, his strategy to identify areas where help is needed will be colorblind. Race will not be taken into consideration.
According to administration officials, the reason is the threat of lawsuits as well as a conservative-leaning Supreme Court which would be likely not to accept a race-based approach in allocating federal benefits. Instead, the White House will be focusing on economically disadvantaged communities.
I interviewed legal experts My article on the plan this week agreed. They agreed.
Activists expressed concern when I spoke with them. They cited decades of environmental hazards, rooted in historical wrongs such as Racial zoning and housing policiesIt is not possible to effectively address this issue with a race neutral approach.
Quotable: “When you look at the most powerful predictor of where the most industrial pollution is, race is the most potent predictor,” Robert Bullard, a professor and a pioneer in the environmental justice movement, said. “Not income, not property values, but race. If you’re leaving race out, how are you going to fix this?”
From the Dining Section: The faux-chicken taste test
A food reporter got A taste of the lab-grown meatCompanies are racing for market. (She had to sign a waiver.
From Opinion: The Joy Of Cooking (Insects).
Creative cooking is a way to be climate-conscious. Our colleagues in The opinion section produced a videoFind out more about an alternative source of protein.
The West’s worst drought in 12 centuries
The megadrought that has gripped the American Southwest since 2000 has reached another milestone, and it’s hardly a cause for rejoicing. A group of scientists studying the region’s past, present, & future climates has found that this two-decade period was the driest in at most 1,200 years. Climate change may be a major factor.
These researchers use historical tree-ring data to reconstruct the past climate. The thickness of tree growth rings can be used to determine how much moisture is present in soil. This is an indicator of drought. The researchers used this data to determine that the current drought was second-driest and slightly less severe than the one in the 16th Century.
But that was before the 2021 summer, when West Virginia was extremely dry. According to one researcher, the drought of last summer was the worst. Article this week. It is now worse that the 16th-century drought and may even be worse than those that occurred before A.D.800. But we may never know — that’s as far back as the tree-ring data goes.
Numbers:The drought in the southwest has been going on for 22 years. Researchers believe it is very likely that it will continue for a 23rd year, and it is only slightly less likely that it will reach 30. They believe that warming has thrown the dice.
California makes a comeback
California is back in the forefront of climate policies and clean air.
The state has been setting the tone for vehicle pollution regulations in the United States for more than 40 years. The 1970 Clean Air Act gave lawmakers the power to set their own stricter standards for truck and car emissions. Because California’s market was so big and important, automakers had no choice but to pay attention. But that came to a crashing halt under President Donald J. Trump, who stripped the state’s power to set its own rules.
Now, the Biden administration is restoring California’s special power. It means a revival of the state’s outsize influence on pollution rules.
The administration is also setting new limits on pollution from heavy trucks, delivery vans, buses and delivery vans. This marks the first tightening of tailpipe standards for the most polluting vehicles on the road since 2001. Those rules will largely be based on California’s standards.
To find out why that’s a big deal, you can You can read the complete article here.
Background:California was initially granted a waiver from the Clean Air Act due its large population, and its serious smog problem since the 1960s.
The Latest News on Climate Change
The Western megadrought. According to a new study, there are an estimated 1.2 million people living in the United States. Extreme drought in the American Southwest that started in 2000 has become so severe that it’s now the driest two decades in the region since 800 A.D.
Water supplies are being depleted. The world’s glaciers may They contain less water than we thought., suggesting that freshwater supplies could peak sooner than anticipated for millions of people worldwide who depend on glacial melt for drinking water, crop irrigation and everyday use.
Measurements of emissions from space. A European satellite shows sites in the United States and Russia, Central Asia, and elsewhere. “ultra emitters” of methane, a potent planet warming gas. The data could be used to fight climate change.
U.S. coastal sea level to rise by a foot by 2050
Precise measurements indicate that the increase will happen “no matter what we do about emissions,” a New study confirms.
Wolves win a round at court
Last week, wolves along with their supporters won a significant victory. A federal court tossed out a 2020 decision that would have removed gray wolves off the endangered species list. For more information and a peek at the future, see here Read our article about the decision.
There’s a new target in the fight against climate change: highway expansions.
States have spent billions of dollars to improve traffic congestion for decades. Studies show that expanding roads encourages people to drive more, accelerates suburban sprawl, and increases the planet-warming emissions of cars and trucks.
Some states are now reconsidering their approach. As I explored this in a new articleColorado just adopted a first-of a kind climate rule. This will encourage local transportation planners, to redirect funding away highway expansions and towards projects that reduce vehicle emissions, such as buses or bike lanes. But it’s a contentious move in a state where most people still rely on cars to get around.
Why it mattersThe President signed a new infrastructure bill that provides $273 billion for highways over five years. There are not many strings attached to it. One analysis showed that this money could cause a significant increase in U.S. emission if states continue to add new highway lanes. Colorado will be the test case to see if a major shift is possible.
Quotable: Highway expansions are “a major blind spot for politicians who say they care about climate change,” said Kevin DeGood, an infrastructure analyst. “Everyone gets that oil pipelines are carbon infrastructure. But new highways are carbon infrastructure, too.”
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