Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Biden’s new climate chief John Kerry invokes Australian bushfires

Thus showing that he knows nothing about them. The recent bushfires were bad but not as bad as some others from way back

London: US President Joe Biden’s climate tsar has invoked last summer’s Australian bushfire crisis as evidence the world “can’t afford to lose any longer” and must urgently slash carbon emissions.

John Kerry, a former US secretary of state under Barack Obama, is rallying world leaders to bring more ambitious policies to a crunch summit in Glasgow later this year through his role as Biden’s international climate envoy.

The Biden administration made climate change its focus on Thursday AEDT, announcing a series of new executive orders designed to elevate climate “as an essential element of US foreign policy and national security”.

Biden will host a leaders’ climate summit on Earth Day, April 22, in a bid to create momentum before the Glasgow event in November.

“We’ve waited too long to deal with this climate crisis,” Biden said at a White House signing ceremony. “This is not a time for small measures. We need to be bold.”

Biden has also created a new office of domestic climate policy to co-ordinate climate policy across key government agencies.

In his first appearance at the White House briefing room, Kerry said: “The stakes on climate change just simply couldn’t be any higher than they are right now [...] This is an issue where failure, literally, is not an option.”

Speaking earlier at the World Economic Forum, Kerry said he had read an article over Christmas “that ought to stop every single one of us in our tracks”.

Headlined “Watching Earth Burn”, the story by New York Times writer Michael Benson pieced together satellite images of the Australian bushfire emergency.

“You could see huge plumes of smoke when you saw these pictures of Australia’s fires with, and I quote Michael, ‘flame vortexes spiralling 200 feet into the air’ passing New Zealand and stretching thousands of miles into the cobalt Pacific,” Kerry said.

He continued to quote details in Benson’s article, including the razing of an estimated 46 million acres, loss of dozens of lives, destruction of nearly 6000 buildings and potential extinction of some species.

“Benson summed it up,” Kerry said. “With shocking iconographic precision, that unfurling banner of smoke said: The war has started. We’re losing.”

Kerry estimated the world had to phase out coal five times faster than current rates, ramp up renewable energy six times faster and transition to electric vehicles 22 times faster.

Kerry also criticised China’s pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 when other countries have signed up to a 2050 target.

“China has said they’re gonna do something by 2060 but we don’t have a clue really, yet, about how they’re going to get there. I hope we can work with China. I hope we can get China to share a sense of how we get there sooner than 2060.”

Japan removes two last wind power turbines

The Japanese government has decided to remove the two remaining wind power turbines it installed off the Fukushima Prefecture due to the unprofitability of the project.

The 60 billion yen (US$580 million) project was widely seen as a symbol of the reconstruction of the northeastern prefecture following the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters.

Kyodo News reports that the government's decision came despite Japan's goal of raising its offshore wind power generation up to 45 gigawatts in 2040 from the 20,000 kilowatts it currently produces.

Japan's alternative and renewable energy plans are part of efforts to fight climate change and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

At a meeting in Fukushima, industry ministry officials briefed fishermen and other participants about the plan to scrap the wind power turbines, with locals saying the government had wasted taxpayers' money and should conduct a thorough study of why the project had failed.

Of the three turbines installed 20km off the coast of Naraha town, the government removed one in June and it will remove the remaining two starting April next year.

The three turbines were constructed in stages in 2012, to support the local economy by creating a new industry based on renewable energy.

To commercialise wind power generation, the operational rate of a turbine must remain at 30 to 35 per cent or more, according to the ministry.

But the rates of the turbines off Fukushima were only around four to 36 per cent.

American oil executives began a pushback against some of President Joe Biden’s climate policies by making the case that fossil fuels from U.S. shale have a lower carbon footprint than imports.

Since taking office this month, the Biden administration has made swift moves to pause sales of oil and gas leases on federal land, cancel the Keystone XL pipeline and expand the government’s fleet of clean-energy vehicles. The U.S. oil industry, already under pressure from low prices and investor pessimism, is particularly concerned about limiting access to resources on federal acreage in New Mexico, Wyoming, Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico..

“We don’t think it’s good policy to be overly restrictive on federal land,” Chevron’s Chief Financial Officer Pierre Breber said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Friday. “That will just move energy production to other countries. We know that we can develop energy in this country responsibly.”.

America is the world’s biggest consumer of crude and any restrictions of domestic production will mean more will have to be shipped in from other countries, which may produce higher-carbon oil and have less stringent environmental laws, the argument runs. U.S.-produced shale emits less carbon per barrel than the global average for both onshore and offshore, according to Rystad Energy..

“Reducing domestic production will not only raise costs at the pump, but will also ensure international producers, operating with fewer environmental regulations, will meet the global demand for petroleum products,” Pioneer Natural Resources Co.’s Chief Executive Officer Scott Sheffield said by email. “That scenario is inconsistent with the administration’s choice to rejoin the Paris Accord.”.

The Oil-Climate Index, a 2016 model funded by the Carnegie Endowment, shows that shale plays including the Eagle Ford in South Texas and the Bakken in North Dakota have some of the lowest emissions per barrel globally..

But key to shale’s climate impact is how operators manage natural gas that is produced alongside the crude and the industry has come under intense criticism for excessive flaring and venting of methane, an extremely harmful practice..

For example, while the Bakken ranked ahead of Saudi Arabia’s Ghawar resource in the Oil-Climate Index, parts of the shale field where flaring is prevalent fell behind the Middle Eastern field. The Permian Basin has become notorious for burning off gas and the index is currently being updated by some of the original researchers to include estimates for the deposit.

A Cornell University study published in 2019 said fracking was to blame for a decade-long global spike in methane levels..All the major shale players including Chevron and Pioneer say they support Biden’s plans to increase regulation of methane leaks, reversing former President Donald Trump’s policy.

But anxiety is rising in the fossil fuel industry that it may be in for a sustained period of government pressure..Given that operators tend to stockpile leases for months or even years before they plan to drill, it’s unlikely that Biden’s action will have any short-term impact on shale production.

In any case, operators are keen to show investors that they won’t grow production into an oversupplied market..It’s the Gulf of Mexico, where leases come up for sale infrequently and projects cost in the billions of dollars, where the largest impact of Biden’s policies may be felt, according to Chevron CEO Mike Wirth..

“The risks are probably greater in the Gulf of Mexico,” he said on a call with analysts. “If conditions in the U.S. become so onerous that it really disincentivizes investment we’ve got other places we can take those dollars

Secretary Bernhardt Touts Conservation Successes Under Trump Administration

Hunters, anglers, ranchers, and other outdoor recreationists who felt voiceless during the Obama years welcomed the conservation policies advanced by the Trump administration.

David Bernhardt, the 53rd Secretary of the Interior, believes he championed their interests well in a few short years.

Secretary Bernhardt first rose to prominence as Interior Deputy Secretary under Ryan Zinke. Following Secretary Zinke’s resignation in late 2018, President Donald J. Trump soon nominated Bernhardt as Zinke’s replacement. Given his past experience working in the department under President George W. Bush, he was a natural successor. The Senate confirmed him in April 2019.

Bernhardt then continued where his boss left off. He brought more sportsmen and women to the table. He and his staff championed shooting sports. They strived to improve stakeholder relations across the U.S. (especially out West).

After two roles spanning four years, January 20th marked Bernhardt’s last day at the department.

The former Trump Cabinet official recently spoke to me by phone about his time at Interior, his working relationship with President Trump, and what the future holds for him.

Former Secretary Bernhardt began our conversation by praising his boss and offered, “I think this President [Donald Trump] has had some incredible accomplishments...for recreation and for true conservationists.”

Bernhardt declared President Trump “single-handedly delivered the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA)”— the most consequential conservation bill in 50 years. Trump signed the landmark bipartisan bill into law last summer.

He added, “That thing was dead without him stepping forward and saying, let's do it. And then, you know, driving Congress to introduce legislation and then pass it. I think that will be one of his biggest legacies—and certainly in the recreation space.”

The Rifle, Colorado, native also talked up his agency’s efforts opening 4 million acres to new fishing and hunting opportunities on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) public lands and national fish hatcheries.

“I think we've now opened over...4 million acres to new opportunities or expanded opportunities,” he said. “We just are finalizing concession policies for fish that I think will lead to other—better—recreational opportunities in the future in parks.”

“The one thing I would say about the recreation and conservation work we've done, a lot of it has very significant bipartisan support,” the secretary added.

Bernhardt, however, is confident Trump’s agenda “set a positive position for stewardship, conservation, working with states, focusing on hunters and anglers and recreational activities.”

He also spoke about his work modernizing the Endangered Species Act (ESA) since a mere 2-3 percent of listed imperiled species have successfully recovered since 1973.

Over the last four years, he said 17 species successfully recovered and were delisted. He also was happy issuing directives giving states more oversight managing recovered populations like gray wolves and grizzly bears.

His Advice for Biden Interior Secretary Nominee Deb Haaland

Bernhardt is aware his likely successor, Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-NM), pending Senate confirmation, will adhere to a different conservation philosophy than his.

I proceeded to ask him what advice he’d dispense to her about the role.

“I've worked for three different secretaries. And my takeaway from there, working for them, and with me...every Secretary does things a little differently,” Bernhardt said.

He said Interior Secretaries must be guided by three things: the law, the facts, and the policy views of the president they serve.

“My view is that as long as you run the facts and understand the law—and discretion space you have—then you make the best decision that you believe and you articulate that decision,” he added. “And that decision should be sustainable.”

A Glimpse Into His Post-Secretary Life

The outgoing Interior Secretary has returned to Colorado to begin life post-Trump administration.

What do his plans include? Training a new Labrador puppy and getting some hunting and fishing time in, he told me.

“I have a 12-year-old Lab that's been my great hunting companion. He's getting a little old,” he remarked. “After the election, that next weekend, my daughter and I and [my] wife drove out and got a second Lab. So I've been working that Lab pretty hard.”

When I asked Bernhardt about his future, he replied, “I haven't given it really any thought. I figure I'll have plenty of time to sit in a duck blind and figure out what I want to do when I grow up.”

“I've had one of the greatest jobs a person could have working with a president who enabled me to lean forward and get stuff done—who wanted to fix problems and wanted to do great things for conservation. And he [President Trump] gave me that opportunity to push forward.”


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http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com TONGUE-TIED)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://john-ray.blogspot.com (FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC) Saturdays only

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)


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