Yale Climate Connections:

Disasters aren’t waiting for the pandemic to end. Already this spring, COVID-19 complicated efforts to recover from tornadoes across the Southeast. And it’s likely to remain squarely on the radar as hurricanes, floods, fires, and other extreme events unfold during the rest of 2020.

Those conditions set the stage for a double whammy: In some U.S. communities, residents may soon contend with a disaster that occurs on top of a major disease outbreak. As a result, after spending months limiting their social contacts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, many Americans may need to evacuate to community shelters, hotels, or the homes of friends or relatives.

Take the following steps to help prepare yourself and loved ones to handle two emergencies at once.

Step 1: Update your emergency plan to cover COVID-19 concerns

First, if you haven’t already prepared your emergency plan, it’s time to make one.

Review your plan to identify points that may need updating in light of the pandemic. Take some time to read CDC information on the novel coronavirus, which includes up-to-date guidance and information on how to check yourself for symptoms.

Discuss with other members of your household how COVID-19 concerns might affect your actions during a major flood, fire or other disaster – particularly as it pertains to where you’ll seek refuge.

For example, if your typical plan is to evacuate to a relative or friend’s home, talk with them in advance about whether they are still comfortable with this approach. Especially if your friend or family member is a senior or otherwise immune-compromised, you may need to contact others about seeking shelter elsewhere. If your plan is to shelter in a hotel, take a moment to check on whether the hotel’s cleaning and mask policies have been updated in light of the pandemic.

Whether your plan is to head to a hotel or relation’s home, plan to stay safe during your shelter period by bringing – and using – your own cloth face coverings and sanitizing supplies.

Step 2: Understand and prepare for your shelter’s safety requirements

It’s difficult to maintain social distancing in a crowded shelter, so many communities are working to address COVID-19 concerns by reducing crowds to the extent possible. Many shelters, for example, will need to space beds farther apart, reducing capacity.

As a result, some emergency managers are identifying additional sites that can be used during an evacuation. Those sites may even include hotel rooms, depending on local plans. But in other places, some residents might be advised to shelter in place rather than evacuate if possible.

Check with your local emergency planning officials to find out if there have been changes to community shelter recommendations. The Red Cross also lists community shelters once opened, or you can visit FEMA’s Disaster Recovery Center Locator to find a center near you.

During a severe weather event, follow guidance from your local officials. If it leads you to a community shelter, be ready to meet CDC guidelines for going to a public shelter during the pandemic. Its guidance includes recommendations that you:

  • Bring two cloth face coverings for everyone in your family over two (unless they are medically unable to wear them), and hand sanitizer or soap.
  • While in the shelter, maintain at least six feet of distance from those outside your immediate family.
  • Wash your hands often, cover when you cough or sneeze, and avoid touching high-touch surfaces or sharing food and drink.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched items like cell phones and children’s toys.
  • Tell shelter staff immediately if you or a family member are feeling sick.

Many of these same rules apply to sheltering in a private home or hotel. The basic rule of thumb: Practice social distancing, wear a cloth face covering, and sanitize frequently.

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The Lancet:

The tidal wave of information on the internet concerning the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in difficulties in discerning truth from fiction. This so-called infodemic, defined by WHO as an “overabundance of information—some accurate and some not—that makes it harder for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when needed”, has become a major threat to public health. Infection rates will rise if people are confused about restrictions and patients may be harmed if they use unproven treatments or bogus remedies.

An urgent call for action to gauge, map, and develop a means of combating this problem was explored at a WHO-organised conference held across April, June, and July. The meeting, which focused on so-called infodemiology—the science behind managing infodemics—brought together experts from a range of disciplines, including epidemiology, public health, applied mathematics, and data science.

The term infodemiology was first used in 2002, although concern about misinformation in health and the need for fact-checking have long been present. But now, a growing mistrust in science and experts, poor and confusing responses by political and government leaders, and some people’s reliance on social media as their sole source of information have made dealing with infodemics as acute as dealing with COVID-19 itself. While the discipline of infodemiology is in its infancy, some insights are emerging.

The groups generating and spreading egregious information are highly organised political or pseudoscientific bodies that are experienced at using nefarious techniques to propagate their narratives. These bodies can rapidly change their names and their key messages, moving from one campaign to another, and consciously seek and target vulnerable populations. Conspiracy theories and misinformation proliferate in times of uncertainty and fear. Such circumstances, exemplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, have occurred throughout history and been manipulated by populist politicians, anti-vaccination movements, climate change deniers, and the tobacco industry. Protagonists and propagators of such fake news have been shown to be motivated often by political and financial gain.

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Sex with astral demons will do that to you.

Oil’s Creeping Crash

July 31, 2020

New videos will focus on the catastrophic effect of the Corona Crisis on the fossil fuel industry.
I’ve posted recently about recent write-downs of oil and gas assets by BP and Shell. The Wall Street Journal reported that the moves signal vast parts of corporate oil reserves may be “left in the ground.”
Things were already bleak in the oil, gas and coal space before the pandemic, now the industry tries to find rays of hope as the walls keep closing in…

CBC:

French energy giant Total says it is writing off $9.3-billion worth of oilsands assets in Alberta and cancelling its membership in the Calgary-based Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

Total now considers oil reserves with high production costs that are to be produced more than 20 years in the future to be “stranded” given its carbon reduction targets and because the resource may not be produced by 2050, the Paris-based company said Wednesday.

It will take writedowns worth $7.3 billion related to its 24.6 per cent ownership in the Fort Hills oilsands mine operated by partner Suncor Energy Inc., the company said, and its 50 per cent stake in the Surmont thermal oilsands project operated by partner ConocoPhillips.

Total will also write off $2 billion in other oilsands assets, it said, along with $1.07 billion on its liquefied natural gas assets in Australia.

Australian Business Review:

Australia’s LNG sector has blown up more than $20bn in writedowns after French energy giant Total took a $US800m ($1.1bn) hit, sparking concern high construction costs and a lower oil price outlook may derail spending needed for a next wave of investment.

Total, which owns stakes in Inpex’s $US45bn Ichthys gas plant in Darwin and Santos’s $US18.5bn GLNG export project in Queensland, blamed “giant projects with high construction costs” and lower oil price assumptions for the impairment.

Over $22bn has now been written off on projects run by Woodside Petroleum, Shell, Origin Energy and Oil Search so far in July as some of the nation’s biggest gas producers slash their assumptions for oil amid COVID-19 uncertainty.

Australia’s $200bn LNG spending spree in the past decade has catapulted the country to be the world’s largest gas exporter but most projects have suffered cost blowouts and delays, trimming returns for some of the world’s biggest energy producers and raising doubts over the appetite of majors to bankroll a next wave of projects.

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As I posted this week, Saul Griffin and his team produced a study this week showing the creation of 25 million new jobs with a transition to renewable energy.

Here he is in a November 2019 presentation which manages to be both wonky and passionate.

Tropical Storm Update

July 30, 2020

Developments are rapid in the Caribbean.

The one-time pizza magnate and Presidential candidate did not believe in the science of climate, or Corona virus.

One might ask how many have died and will die from following his example.

He was 74.

The Guardian:

Takes initiative. An independent thinker. Engages in study outside of the curriculum. Cares deeply about her community and the world around her. Stands up for her convictions and beliefs.

These are all qualities that would appear to make Ou Hongyi a suitable candidate for studying at her dream institution of Harvard University.

For Ou, however, those qualities may scuttle her chance of even graduating from high school or taking college entrance examinations.

As the first young person in China to engage in Greta Thunberg-inspired Fridays For Future climate strikes, Ou, 17, has become a target for the authorities who see that activism as a challenge to their control.

Ou claims she has been told by authorities to ditch her climate activism as a condition for her restarting studies at Guangxi Normal University affiliated high school in Guilin, where she studied until late 2018.

Ou, who also goes by the English name Howey, suspended her studies in December 2018 after being told she was “not suitable” for the international programme there and decided to study for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and US college admissions SAT test on her own. 

But, following the wishes of her parents, and with dreams of pursuing higher education, she has been attempting in recent months to re-enter the school.

Her parents have been called several times by provincial education authorities, Ou told the Guardian, urging them to stop her climate activism and not to conduct interviews with foreign media.

Ou said her principal, Li Linbo, also told her in a meeting on 29 May that she must promise to end her climate activism before being readmitted, a claim corroborated by her father.

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Trump warns Texans that a Biden administration would mean “No Fracking, no nothing.”

Which is kind of where Texas is now, but never mind.

More on that in an upcoming vid.

Prez also warns of chaos like “in Mini-Anapolis”.

Financial Times: (paywall)

As 2020 kicked off, Dan Gocher at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, a shareholder advocacy organisation, was feeling “pretty optimistic” about its plans to force big Australian energy companies to tackle climate change. BlackRock, the $6.8tn asset manager, and other large investors had proclaimed an urgent need to arrest global warming.

With the renewed focus on climate change following the devastating bushfires in Australia, the ACCR was hopeful several climate-related resolutions filed at oil and gas producers Santos and Woodside would gain strong shareholder support at their annual meetings in April. Then came the coronavirus pandemic.

“Once the virus hit, we said ‘God, we won’t get anything done [on climate change] for 18 months’,” says Mr Gocher. Like many others, Mr Gocher feared investors would swiftly retreat from recently made climate pledges as markets plummeted.

Critics had long argued that the fund industry’s nascent love affair with environmental, social and governance investing was in reality a marketing ploy that would be dumped at the first sign of trouble.  Instead, in spite of the pandemic, 2020 has proved to be a landmark year for investor action on climate change, with significant resolutions being passed and investment pouring into sustainable funds. With both regulators and clients increasingly calling for change, asset managers are now broadening their remit beyond energy-intensive industries such as oil.

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