Climate, Politics/Capitol Light©, is a service of The JBS Group and Civil Notion
January 11, 2020
Talk about cooking the book(s)
As anticipated, Trump announced his administration’s proposed changes to the National Envi-ronmental Policy Act (NEPA). The proposed changes would reduce the number of infra-structure projects requiring an environmental review and releasing agencies from having to account for cumulative environmental impacts. Under the proposed rules, projects paid for with private investment funds, e.g., the Keystone XL pipeline, would not require an environ-mental impact statement. Absent the NEPA requirement privately funded projects would not be required to disclose plans to discharge waste into nearby rivers, clear cut forests or otherwise increase greenhouse gas emissions.
The administration has virtually eliminated federal consideration of climate change by freeing agencies from having to account for cumulative environmental impacts. The courts have generally required agencies to account for cumulative climate impact of projects like the federal government's leasing public lands for oil and gas exploration and extraction.
The proposed changes are here. The changes won’t become permanent before the conclusion of a 60-day comment period and conduct of two public hearings.
Volume 1 July 1, 2019 Issue 13
Note to readers: Due to the July 4th holiday this is the only issue published this week.
Populist leaders will need bigger walls. A United Nations report is warning that the world is risking a "climate apartheid" scenario in which the wealthy can pay to avoid the consequences of global warming while the rest of society suffers.
“Even if current targets are met, tens of millions will be impoverished, leading to widespread displacement and hunger,” U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, said in a report released last week.
The report says that extreme climate change threatens to push "more than 120 million more people into poverty by 2030," according to Alston, who added that it will "have the most severe impact in poor countries, regions, and the places poor people live and work.” (The Hill)
Wanting it both ways. ExxonMobil is working to encourage a major Washington lobbying group to support policies addressing climate change, according to a top company official.
Facing public, investor and legal pressure, oil companies are increasingly backing action on the issue of climate change while remaining members of trade associations, e.g., the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), whose positions don’t align with that shift.
Royal Dutch Shell, under pressure from activist investors, announced earlier this year it was leaving AFPM, citing "material misalignment" on climate policies. Exxon is opting to stay and try to influence the group’s positioning, Nick Schulz, Exxon’s director of stakeholder engagement, said at a recent conference. Exxon also supports the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and a carbon tax. (Axios)
Joel Stronberg, MA, JD., of The JBS Group is a veteran clean energy policy analyst with over 30 years’ experience, based in Washington, DC.