Earthward Newsletter

Welcome to the Earthward Newsletter. Earthward is a weekly nonpartisan newsletter that covers recent events in the climate and renewable energy space, including science, technology, policy, politics and citizen advocacy.
 
Earthward is written by Dr. John Perona and is an outgrowth of the climate education work begun with From Knowledge to Power: The Comprehensive Handbook for Climate Science and Advocacy (K2P).
 
For more about Earthward see this interview with John on the Skeptical Science website.

Natural Hydrogen

Earlier this month, a team of French and Albanian geologists published a short report documenting some unusually strong emanations of gas from a chromium ore mine in Albania. The paper, which appeared in the prestigious journal Science, describes a focused source of hydrogen that had apparently been tapped into by accident, some years ago, as

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Holy Grail

For how long are we going to have to keep talking about the energy transition? Let’s be honest, it can get pretty tiring after awhile – and this has got to be part of why so many people are looking for a quick fix, so we can move on already. “Electrify everything!” is the kind

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Liquefied Natural Gas

To judge by the volume of recent reporting, the number one US climate and energy issue of 2024 might be summed up in three words – Liquified Natural Gas. LNG has been simmering somewhere below the public radar for some time, but its astonishing growth in the past few years has finally attracted the notice

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Greenhouse Gas Regulation

If you ask Americans who pay attention to climate change what they think about our climate policy, it is more than likely that you will get opinions about the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. The IRA gets a lot of press for the very good reason that it is by far the most far-reaching law Congress

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State of the Climate

Greetings! Belated Happy New Year to all, and welcome back to Earthward for 2024. We said goodbye to 2023 on an optimistic note – an unprecedented pledge at the UN’s December COP28 meeting calling for a “transition away” from fossil fuel energy, and new leadership from the US and China that produced a resolution for

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COP28

As the hoopla around the latest annual UN climate summit begins to die down, it seems appropriate for healthy climate advocates to set aside a moment to ponder what just happened. The long runup to the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP28), and the two-week meeting itself, generated some clear breakthroughs yet

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Carbon Dioxide Pipelines

This Fall, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality released an apparently routine notice requesting comments on a proposal to sell ethanol into the state. Like everywhere in the US, almost all commercial gasoline in Oregon is blended with 10-15% ethanol to raise the octane level and (according to the Department of Energy) improve “drivability.” The

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Ocean Iron Fertilization

In the past few years, industrial-scale atmospheric carbon removal has moved from the fringes of respectable discourse to a mainstream part of the climate policy conversation. The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, with its tax credits of up to $180 per ton for directly captured and safely sequestered carbon dioxide, was a key driver of this

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White Gold

All eyes in the climate world are preparing to turn toward the UN’s annual two-week Conference of the Parties, which begins on November 30 in Dubai. This is the 28th such meeting under the 1992 international treaty known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which coordinates the worldwide response to global warming.

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Ice Melt

Accelerated melting of sea ice, glaciers and ice sheets is among the most immediate consequences of global warming. An important benchmark for assessing these changes came two years ago, when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change offered its latest synthesis of observations and computer modeling  on how melting of Earth’s ice (the cryosphere) may progress

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Green Finance

Transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy requires mobilizing large amounts of money. This is a basic principle that has been executed with remarkable efficiency by the Biden administration. Within nineteen months of taking office, and with a unified Democratic Congress behind him, President Biden signed three major pieces of legislation that have greatly accelerated

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Green Growth?

Earlier this month, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, made a provocative statement to accompany release of the agency’s latest World Energy Outlook, perhaps the most comprehensive analysis of the state of the global energy system and where it is heading. Looking at the data, Dr. Birol concluded that “…the transition

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Methane Capture

International concern is growing over the rising level of atmospheric methane, a greenhouse gas second in influence only to carbon dioxide, and responsible for 25-30% of global warming since the start of the Industrial Revolution. Methane is a naturally occurring trace gas in Earth’s atmosphere that was present at a preindustrial concentration of 700 parts

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Temperature Spike

Over the last few weeks, a new scholarly term has appeared in the lexicon of climate science: gobsmackingly bananas. The phrase was coined by a leading climate scientist, Zeke Hausfather, to describe the outcome of a new analysis of global warming by him and his colleagues at Berkeley Earth. The work reveals a sharp global

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Carbon Tariffs

Ask climate policy specialists about the best approach to rapidly phase out fossil fuels, and it’s a good bet that many will offer carbon pricing as the answer. Innumerable economic studies bear this out, but the powerful effect of a carbon tax is also pretty intuitive. As long as comparably priced clean alternatives exist, using

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Offshore Oil

Last Friday, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), part of the US Department of the Interior, announced a new five-year program for oil and gas leasing in federal waters on the outer continental shelf. BOEM periodically revises its offshore oil and gas leasing program in accordance with the 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act

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Supreme Madness

In February of 2020, a small Atlantic herring fishing company, Loper Bright Enterprises, sued the US Secretary of Commerce over the actions of the National Marine Fisheries Service, a federal agency in the Commerce Department. NMFS has authority to regulate fisheries under a 1976 federal law, the Magnusen-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act. The law

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Planetary Boundaries

Last week, an interdisciplinary team of twenty-nine scientists from labs spanning four continents published a comprehensive update of a “planetary boundaries framework,” an analysis of Earth’s ability to withstand human impacts. From the temperature record of the past 10,000 years, deduced from glacier ice cores, we know that Earth’s environment was exceptionally stable while civilization

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Geothermal Energy

Over the past few months, both the popular press and specialty publications in the renewable energy field have been abuzz with excitement about the commercialization of a new geothermal energy technology by a Houston-based startup company, Fervo Energy. The approach, called Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), uses hydraulic fracturing (fracking) techniques developed by the oil and

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Voluntary C Markets

Last week, the Swiss company Climeworks, a leading player in the nascent direct air capture industry, sponsored an informational webinar featuring speakers from The Nature Conservancy and JPMorgan Chase. TNC is among the world’s largest environmental nonprofit organizations, with a staff of hundreds of scientists deploying their expertise to conserve land and water resources around

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Greens’ Dilemma

Five weeks ago, I wrote in Earthward about the beneficial impacts that two new US laws – the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) – are expected to have on reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the remainder of the 2020s. The Princeton Net Zero lab found that the reductions are quite

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Hydrogen

This week, pv magazine USA, which offers daily updates on the solar industry, reported that the Biden administration is forming a Hydrogen Interagency Task Force to be jointly led by the Department of Energy and the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy. According to Mary Frances Repko, the White House deputy national climate advisor,

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Montana Climate Case

This week in Montana, a trial court judge delivered an important and decisive victory for young people. It ruled that the state constitution, which affirms that citizens have a right to a clean and healthful environment, is violated by laws that prevent considering climate change impacts from new fossil fuel projects. The plaintiffs in this

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Offshore Wind

This week, the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth, a nonpartisan think tank better known as MassINC, published a modest account of a boat ride in its journal, CommonWealth. Massachusetts state lawmakers, local officials from Martha’s Vineyard, and others on board were touring the construction site for the nation’s first commercial scale offshore wind farm,

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Carbon Sequestration

Greenhouse gas emissions have to be sharply and rapidly cut, but some emissions are easier to cut than others, and some are going to persist for a long time. These are the basic facts behind the “net” of “net zero” – the mantra that has come to define the green energy transition. Electric cars are

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Permitting

The Princeton Zero Lab (Zero-carbon Energy Systems Research and Optimization Laboratory) is well known for its Net-Zero America study, probably the most detailed roadmap for the US green energy transition. Published the month before President Biden took office, this comprehensive analysis describes five distinct technological pathways for the nation to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions

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Natural Gas Ban

Last week, the Eugene, Oregon City Council unanimously voted to repeal an ordinance blocking installation of fossil fuel infrastructure in new one- to three-story residential buildings. The Council had adopted the ordinance only earlier this year, but it immediately became a target of the local natural gas utility, Northwest Natural, which funded an aggressive signature

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Electricity Grid

Another spate of extreme weather has hit the US. This time we have a triple whammy consisting of last month’s smokeouts from Canadian wildfires (Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest), torrential rain and flooding in Vermont and upstate New York, and a record-breaking heat wave that continues to impact the South and Southwest. Since warmer air holds more

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Doomism

Narratives can play a decisive role in determining action on climate change. An example is the green growth narrative, which offers an optimistic and empowering context for the clean energy transition. This narrative drives the Paris climate accords, in which individual countries set out win-win strategies for green economic growth and decarbonization. Another prominent narrative, though,

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Solar Geoengineering

This week, executives of the European Union released a Joint Communication to the European Parliament, offering a new outlook on the connection between climate change and European security. Although the plan is very broad, covering a wide range of implications arising from global warming, the attention grabber is the EU’s decision to join international discussions

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Welcome to the Earthward Newsletter. Earthward is a weekly nonpartisan newsletter that covers recent events in the climate and renewable energy space, including science, technology, policy, politics and citizen advocacy.
 

Earthward is written by Dr. John Perona and is an outgrowth of the climate education work begun with From Knowledge to Power: The Comprehensive Handbook for Climate Science and Advocacy (K2P).

Subscription is free and will generate one (1) weekly email that will arrive on Thursday mornings. The email will include an “unsubscribe” link.