OVERNIGHT ENERGY: China accounted for half of coal-fired electricity in 2020: report | Conservation groups ask Haaland to block oil drilling in Florida preserve | Biden gives NYC green light to study congestion pricing
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Today we’re looking at a report on China’s coal-fired electricity generation, a call by environmental groups for the government to block oil drilling in the Everglades and the White House’s endorsement of research into New York congestion pricing.
YOUR EMISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT: China accounted for half of coal-fired electricity in 2020: report
China accounted for a slight majority of all coal-powered electricity generated in 2020, according to a report released Monday by British research group Ember.
Although China, the world’s top emitter, has pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2060, the report found it was the only Group of 20 nation to see a major increase in coal generation last year. Coal generation dropped or plateaued in all its fellow G20 countries but increased 1.7 percent in China. The country made up 53 percent of coal-powered electricity worldwide in 2020, nine points higher than its 2015 share.
“The transition towards a low-carbon electricity system is a mainstay of China’s bid to become carbon neutral by the mid-century. Making the country’s growth of electricity demand more sustainable is critical for facilitating this transition,” Ember senior electricity policy analyst Muyi Yang said in a statement.
Some advances on wind and solar power: However, the report also found China has made comparable progress to the worldwide average in transitioning to wind and solar energy. Wind and solar gained 6 percent in market share compared to coal, while they saw higher gains of more than 10 percent in the U.K. and Germany, according to the report.
The country reduced coal’s share of overall energy consumption from around 70 percent to 57 percent over the course of the last decade, but the report indicated absolute coal-powered electricity generation increased about 19 percent between 2016 and 2020.
GLADE RUNNER: Conservation groups ask Haaland to block oil drilling in Florida preserve
The Burnett Oil Company has submitted two applications to the state Department of Environmental Protection seeking permits for a new oil well and the construction of an access road near the Big Cypress National Preserve.
The company is also proposing a second well in the close vicinity of Miccosukee tribal lands. Although the preserve is part of the National Park System, some of the fossil fuels beneath it are privately owned.
What are the groups’ objections?: “Both proposed well sites are located in wetlands and primary Florida panther habitat. These proposed oil wells and their associated land clearing, equipment storage, wetlands filling, hydrologic alterations, staging areas, access roads, drilling rigs, storage tanks, fuel tanks, water wells, disposal wells, reserve pits, grading, erosion, sedimentation, and potential oil spills– on their face– would be detrimental to the explicit purposes of the Preserve,” the letter states.
Signers of the letter include the Center for Biological Diversity, Earth Action, Sierra Club and the South Florida Audubon Society.
RUNNING ON MTA: Biden administration gives NYC green light to study congestion pricing
The Biden administration gave New York City the green light to study the nation’s first “congestion pricing” plan.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said in a statement shared to Twitter that the Department of Transportation is allowing the state to proceed with a federally-required environmental assessment and public outreach for the program.
Cuomo said the plan is expected to help generate $15 billion to fund the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA) $51.5 billion plan for transforming the system and making it more accessible.
“We thank President Biden and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg for advancing this important program, and we look forward to continuing to work together to further advance our nation-leading $306 billion infrastructure plan, which is preparing the State to be globally competitive for generations to come,” Cuomo said.
How would congestion pricing work?: Under congestion pricing, officials could charge a once-daily variable toll for vehicles entering the “Central Business District,” 60th Street in Midtown to Battery Park, the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) said in a separate statement.
Environmental assessments generally require less time to complete than a full environmental impact report, FHA noted, signaling that the Biden administration wants to move quickly on the proposal.
WHAT WE’RE READING:
U.S. gasoline demand exceeds 2020 levels for first time in 2021, Reuters reports
GOP lawmakers take aim at Arizona renewable energy standards, The Associated Press reports
74% of economists favor ‘drastic action’ on climate, E&E News reports
Vatican calls for action to assist people displaced by climate change, Catholic News Service reports
ICYMI: Stories from Tuesday and Monday night….
Four Great Lakes governors call on White House to aid in water infrastructure upgrades
China accounted for half of coal-fired electricity in 2020: report
Conservation groups ask Haaland to block oil drilling in Florida preserve
Biden administration gives NYC green light to study congestion pricing
White House to probe whether Trump interfered in scientific research
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