Stanley “Skip” Pruss is a friend, and former Chief Energy advisor to newly minted Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, a former Governor of Michigan.
I’ve got a super-abundance of authoritative commentary on the climate/energy prospects for the new administration.

Today’s announcements by the new administration make clearer than ever that we are at a watershed in history.
The conversations I had with a bevy of energy heavy hitters will shine a light on that simple fact.

Hope to have the new Yale video on this in the chute in coming days.

Almost any cover by Eva Cassidy is better than the original.

Below, Mick Fleetwood on Eva.

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Joe Biden is to instruct the US government to pause and review all oil and gas drilling on federal land, eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and transform the government’s vast fleet of cars and trucks into electric vehicles, in a sweeping new set of climate executive orders.

The battery of executive actions, to be signed by the US president on Wednesday, will direct the Department of the Interior to pause new oil and gas leases on public lands and offshore waters and launch a “rigorous review of all existing leasing”, according to a White House planning document.Biden raises hopes of addressing climate crisis as Cop26 nearsRead more

The directive opens up a path to the banning of all new drilling on federal land, a campaign promise made by Biden that has been widely praised by climate groups and caused outrage within the fossil fuel industry. Biden has called the climate crisis the “existential threat of our time” and the White House has said the new executive orders will help push the US towards a goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The White House:

Today, President Biden will take executive action to tackle the climate crisis at home and abroad while creating good-paying union jobs and equitable clean energy future, building modern and sustainable infrastructure, restoring scientific integrity and evidence-based policymaking across the federal government, and re-establishing the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Today’s Executive Order takes bold steps to combat the climate crisis both at home and throughout the world. In signing this Executive Order, President Biden has directed his Administration to:

Center the Climate Crisis in U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security Considerations

  • The order clearly establishes climate considerations as an essential element of U.S. foreign policy and national security. 
  • The order affirms that, in implementing – and building on – the Paris Agreement’s objectives, the United States will exercise its leadership to promote a significant increase in global ambition. It makes clear that both significant short-term global emission reductions and net zero global emissions by mid-century – or before – are required to avoid setting the world on a dangerous, potentially catastrophic, climate trajectory. 
  • The order reaffirms that the President will host a Leaders’ Climate Summit on Earth Day, April 22, 2021; that the United States will reconvene the Major Economies Forum; that, to underscore the administration’s commitment to elevating climate in U.S. foreign policy, the President has created a new position, the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, which will have a seat on the National Security Council, and that it will be a U.S. priority to press for enhanced climate ambition and integration of climate considerations across a wide range of international fora.
  • The order also kicks off the process of developing the United States’ “nationally determined contribution” – our emission reduction target – under the Paris Agreement, as well as a climate finance plan.
  • Among numerous other steps aimed at prioritizing climate in U.S. foreign policy and national security, the order directs the Director of National Intelligence to prepare a National Intelligence Estimate on the security implications of climate change, the State Department to prepare a transmittal package to the Senate for the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, and all agencies to develop strategies for integrating climate considerations into their international work.
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Robert Rohde is of course the Data Whiz made famous by the Berkeley Earth project.

New York Times:

As President Biden prepares on Wednesday to open an ambitious effort to confront climate change, powerful and surprising forces are arrayed at his back.

Automakers are coming to accept that much higher fuel economy standards are their future; large oil and gas companies have said some curbs on greenhouse pollution lifted by former President Donald J. Trump should be reimposed; shareholders are demanding corporations acknowledge and prepare for a warmer, more volatile future, and a youth movement is driving the Democratic Party to go big to confront the issue.

But what may well stand in the president’s way is political intransigence from senators from fossil-fuel states in both parties. An evenly divided Senate has given enormous power to any single senator, and one in particular, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, who will lead the Senate Energy Committee and who came to the Senate as a defender of his state’s coal industry.

Without a doubt, signals from the planet itself are lending urgency to the cause. Last year was the hottest year on record, capping the hottest decade on record. Already, scientists say the irreversible effects of climate change have started to sweep across the globe, from record wildfires in California and Australia to rising sea levels, widespread droughts and stronger storms.

Mr. Biden has already staffed his government with more people concerned with climate change than any other president before him. On his first day in office, he rejoined the Paris Agreement on climate change.

But during the campaign, he tried to walk a delicate line on fracking for natural gas, saying he would stop it on public lands but not on private property, where most of it takes place.

A suite of executive actions planned for Wednesday does include a halt to new oil and gas leases on federal lands and in federal waters, a move that is certain to rile industry. But that would not stop fossil fuel drilling. As of 2019, more than 26 million acres of United States land were already leased to oil and gas companies, and last year the Trump administration, in a rush to exploit natural resources hidden beneath publicly owned lands and waters, leased tens of thousands more.

If the administration honors those contracts, millions of publicly owned acres could be opened to fossil fuel extraction in the coming decade.

The administration needs to do “much, much more,” said Randi Spivak, who leads the public lands program at the Center for Biological Diversity.

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Trump used emergency Presidential powers for “a stupid wall”, which was definitely not an emergency, according to the Senate Majority Leader.
Climate really is an emergency.
Stay tuned.

Among the authors of a new study is Tony Leiserowitz, my colleague at Yale Climate Connections.

Journal of Applied Social Psychology:

Despite Greta Thunberg’s popularity, research has yet to investigate her impact on the public’s willingness to take collective action on climate change. Using cross-sectional data from a nationally representative survey of U.S. adults (N = 1,303), we investigate the “Greta Thunberg Effect,” or whether exposure to Greta Thunberg predicts collective efficacy and intentions to engage in collective action.

We find that those who are more familiar with Greta Thunberg have higher intentions of taking collective actions to reduce global warming and that stronger collective efficacy beliefs mediate this relationship. This association between familiarity with Greta Thunberg, collective efficacy beliefs, and collective action intentions is present even after accounting for respondents’ overall support for climate activism. Moderated mediation models testing age and political ideology as moderators of the “Greta Thunberg Effect” indicate that although the indirect effect of familiarity with Greta Thunberg via collective efficacy is present across all age-groups, and across the political spectrum, it may be stronger among those who identify as more liberal (than conservative).

Our findings suggest that young public figures like Greta Thunberg may motivate collective action across the U.S. public, but their effect may be stronger among those with a shared political ideology. Implications for future research and for broadening climate activists’ ap- peals across the political spectrum are discussed

We’re definitely moving “beyond meat” faster than most anyone yet realizes.

I have a rule of thumb.
Don’t argue with thermometers. Don’t argue with rising oceans.
And don’t argue with investment funds that have 7 trillion dollars under management.

A year ago, the world’s biggest investment fund, Black Rock, put out a letter indicating that climate and sustainability would be their guiding principles going forward.

Then Covid happened.
Under the severe stress test, renewable energy bloomed, and fossil fuels folded.
Now, Blackrock is back and doubling down.

New York Times:

A year ago this month, the BlackRock chief Laurence D. Fink wrote a letter to the world’s C.E.O.s with an urgent message: Climate change will be “a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects.” Underscoring his point, he added, “We are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance.”

Coming from arguably the world’s most powerful investor — BlackRock controls nearly $9 trillion, making it far and away the largest such firm — this letter landed with seismic force in boardrooms across the globe. In the weeks that followed, Microsoft announced a plan to be carbon-negative by 2030, Salesforce pledged to conserve or restore 100 million trees over the next decade and even Delta Air Lines announced a $1 billion effort to be carbon-neutral in 10 years.

Still, skeptics argued that Mr. Fink’s support for the reform-minded E.S.G. movement — which stands for environmental, social and governance — was a marketing gimmick that companies would back in an economic boom but shun in a crisis. If corporate America had to pick between cutting sustainability programs or dividends for investors, the thinking went, sustainability programs would be the first to go.

Then the Covid-19 pandemic arrived and something unusual happened: E.S.G. didn’t collapse, it accelerated. In particular, the emphasis on climate change became an even greater focus within companies and among investors, who piled into the stocks of sustainable companies en masse — driving up the values of companies like Tesla and doubling the money invested in sustainability-oriented mutual funds. This gave fuel to Mr. Fink’s thesis: Green investing is profitable.

That’s why Mr. Fink’s latest annual letter to corporate leaders — which he is sending out Tuesday morning, and which was obtained by The New York Times — will once again grab attention. And this year, with an even more ambitious blueprint for businesses that BlackRock invests in, it may have an even bigger impact.

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