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Climate news from around the US: from New York, to Maine, to Nevada

The Clim8

12.12.21-12.18.21

Photo Credit: via The Guardian

Young climate activists refuse to accept “good citizen” awards (The Guardian)

Members of Young Friends of the Earth in Pontypridd, Wales refused to accept good citizen awards from Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT) county’s borough council. The members felt as though it would be hypocritical to accept the award from a town council they believed was failing to take action on environmental issues. Apparently, the town faced severe flooding last year due to rising sea levels and temperatures. Members of Young Friends of the Earth said they would have preferred recognition in the form of action and legislation instead of an award. The refusal of the award also seems to have been a smart publicity tactic 12-year-old Dan Wright said that accepting the award may have gotten into the local newspaper, but refusing the award would make headlines or motivate the town council to reflect on its inaction.


Click here to read about what program the RCT council recently launched in an effort to tackle the climate crisis.

 
Photo Credit: Aníbal Martel via Anadolu Agency/ Getty Images

California Public Utilities Commission drafts controversial solar proposal (Inside Climate News)

The California Public Utilities Commission drafted a plan that would reduce the financial benefits of implementing solar panels that California has previously granted homeowners. Not only does the plan reduce financial benefits, but it also incurs a “grid participation” fee on households that use rooftop solar panels. If adopted, there would be little to no incentive to go solar: the savings from new rooftop solar systems would take longer to pay off making money saved on utility bills seem less impactful on one’s finances. California has long served as a leader in proposing environmental policy in the country, but this may be seen as a step backward. However, the commission offers a justification. The growth of rooftop solar has served mostly affluent customers. While these customers are reaping the financial benefits of solar, low-income individuals cannot afford solar, which is why part of the plan would allocate 600 million dollars to increasing solar access to low-income customers. The California Utility commissioner also states that they prioritize transitioning away from fossil fuels.

 
Photo Credit: via BBC

How your home’s energy efficiency can further contribute to gas emissions (BBC)

In order to reach their climate targets, the UK will have to implement new energy efficiency measures in housing. Factors like bad insulation can help contribute to increased emissions; “heating buildings contributes to almost a quarter of all UK emissions and the more heat that escapes through walls and roofs, the more energy is wasted.” One thing people are encouraged to do if their home isn’t staying warm enough is to check their home’s energy performance certificate (EPC), which will allow homeowners to check the energy efficiency of their home. The UK is currently working on raising the minimum efficiency standard.


 
Photo Credit: Dieu-Nalio Chéry via NY Times

New York City makes a shift away from natural gas appliances (NY Times)

This week, New York City joined other cities in blue states like California and Massachusetts in making a shift away from gas stoves and furnaces. These efforts are being made in an attempt to stop burning natural gas; New York City is instead moving towards using electric appliances and utilities. As “homes and buildings are directly responsible for about 13 percent of America’s annual greenhouse gas emissions,” this new initiative is necessary in order to meet President Biden’s proposed goal for 2050: to stop adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

 
Photo Credit: via Yahoo News

Maine lobster industry thriving, but perhaps not for long (CBS News)

Water temperatures in the Gulf of Maine are warming 99% faster than global oceans. For oyster and lobster farmers in the region, this means an extension of the usual farming period by about a month and a half. This warming has driven lobsters north, in search of the cool waters they need to survive. Thus, lobster populations are falling in Southern New England, while rising around the coast of Maine and Canada. However, with the temperatures ever-rising, scientists fear that this lobster boom could leave as quickly as it came. Eventually, shellfish will disappear from waters surrounding inhabitable areas altogether, and the abundance that we see now is only foreshadowing the immense loss which will ultimately come.

 
Photo Credit: via KS0STM/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Climate change fueling winter tornadoes? (Science News)

A climate simulation has predicted that higher winter temperatures may lead to more powerful tornadoes this season. Tornadoes typically form when warm and humid airstreams get trapped beneath cool and dry winds. Warmer air temperatures could lead to more intense twisters – which could be as much as eight times more powerful than typical ones.


Check out the climate model projection here.

 
Photo Credit: Turpin Samuel via Climate Visuals Countdown

Too Hot! Warming at a rapid pace, the Arctic reaches record temperatures (UN News)


The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) confirmed a record temperature of 38 degrees Celsius, which translates to just above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, in the Arctic.


WMO spokesperson Clare Nullis stated that the Arctic is heating “more than twice as fast as the global average” and the WMO has issued frequent warnings that the region is one of the fastest warming locations on the planet.


Following the recent Arctic heat, the UN agency established a new category for record temperatures labelled “highest recorded temperature at or north of 66.5⁰, the Arctic Circle.”

 
Photo Credit: via The Nevada Independent

Is Nevada… home to the holy grail? (CNN Politics)


The state of Nevada is home to lithium, a critical ingredient for the large, rechargeable batteries that power electric vehicles. Those same batteries can also store the energy that solar panels and wind turbines produce, allowing that energy to be utilized when weather conditions prevent such machinery from generating energy.


Electric vehicles are key to President Joe Biden’s plan for the U.S. to run on clean, low-carbon economy energy.

Now, there is a rush to mine lithium.

“America has a clear opportunity to build back our domestic supply chain and manufacturing sectors, so we can capture the full benefits of an emerging $23 trillion global clean energy economy," US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said.