Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy: Climate change linked to record temperatures | Progressive groups warn of risk to climate from US approach to China 

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HAPPY THURSDAY! Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day’s energy and environment news. 

Please send tips and comments to Rachel Frazin at rfrazin@thehill.com . Follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin . Reach Zack Budryk at zbudryk@thehill.com or follow him at @BudrykZack

Today we’re looking at a new analysis on climate’s role in last week’s extreme heat, progressives warning that  U.S.-China relations could hamper climate talks and Maine not allowing offshore wind projects in state waters. 

IT’S HOT HOT HOT! Analysis finds climate change exacerbated record heat last week

The record-breaking heat wave in the Pacific Northwest last week would have been “virtually impossible” without the effects of climate change, according to an analysis from an international group of climate researchers published Wednesday.

The team of American, Canadian, British, Dutch, French, German and Swiss scientists analyzed historically observed temperatures in the affected region. They found that the temperatures in the area were statistically a once-in-a-millennium event.

The results were published by World Weather Attribution, an international research organization that works to identify the role of climate change in extreme weather.

The two possible explanations for such a spike, they wrote, are a low-probability event that is “the statistical equivalent of really bad luck.”

“The second option is that nonlinear interactions in the climate have substantially increased the probability of such extreme heat, much beyond the gradual increase in heat extremes that has been observed up to now,” they wrote.

Combined results from a climate model and weather observation analysis suggest that the heat would have been at least 150 times rarer without the presence of human-caused climate change, according to researchers.

Read more about the analysis here.


CHINA AND CLIMATE: Progressive groups warn of risk to climate from US confrontational approach to China

Dozens of progressive organizations warned in a letter Thursday that escalating U.S.-China tensions could undermine cooperation on international climate goals and continue what they called a tradition of scapegoating China for the climate crisis.

In the letter, the groups called for an end to the “dominant antagonistic approach” to relations between Washington and Beijing. The ongoing tensions, they write, will both hamper international cooperation and “bolster…racist, right-wing movements” domestically.

Over 40 organizations signed on to the letter including the Sunrise Movement, the Union of Concerned Scientists, CODEPINK and MoveOn.

Some background: China emits the largest amount of greenhouse gases in the world, but the country has lower emissions per capita than the U.S.

While the Biden administration has sought to repair international ties with other major economies on climate issues, it has also directly confronted Beijing on human rights issues such as the detention of Uyghur Muslims.

Read more about their letter here.


TURNING OFF THE OFFSHORE: Maine prohibiting offshore wind projects in state waters

New offshore wind projects will be prohibited from Maine state waters reserved for recreation and fishing under a new measure signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Janet Mills (D).  

The bill was prompted by concerns from members of the commercial fishing industry on how they will be impacted by the state’s investment in research and construction of offshore wind farms. 

According to the governor’s office, up to 75 percent of Maine’s commercial lobster harvesting occurs in state waters. 

The protection of state waters comes after Mills signed into law last month legislation advancing the creation of the country’s first research area for offshore wind, which is set to be constructed in federal waters of the Gulf of Maine. 

But they’re cool with wind in federal waters near the state: The governor said in a statement that the state water preservation measure “cements in law our belief that these efforts should occur in Federal waters farther off our coast through a research array that can help us establish the best way for Maine to embrace the vast economic and environmental benefits of offshore wind.”

Read more about the prohibition here.



The Smoke Comes Every Year. Sugar Companies Say the Air Is Safe. The Palm Beach Post and ProPublica report

Uranium not a ‘critical mineral’ according to law, US minerals agency says, S&P Global reports

Why Minnesota Republicans targeted Pollution Control Agency Commissioner for removal, MinnPost reports

The climate crisis haunts Chicago’s future, The New York Times reports

Court declares Australian government must protect young people from climate crisis harm, The Guardian reports


ICYMI: Stories from Thursday (and Wednesday night)…

Left-wing groups criticize Biden Treasury nominee over work for Exxon, Wall Street

BMW, VW fined over emissions collusion

Maine prohibiting offshore wind projects in state waters

Progressive groups warn of risk to climate from US confrontational approach to China

Climate change exacerbated record heat last week: Analysis

Tropical Storm Elsa kills 1 in Florida, possible tornado injures 10 at Georgia Navy base

Wildlife officials ask anglers to avoid Colorado River following historic drought, heat and fire



Expect political consequences from higher oil prices during the summer driving season, writes Simon Henderson,  director of the Bernstein Program on Gulf and Energy Policy at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy

The ‘Eye of Fire’ in the Gulf and a path forward away from fossil fuels, writes Erik Cordes, professor and vice chair of biology at Temple University

Clean hydrogen can fuel industrial decarbonization and environmental justice, write David Yellen, assistant director at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center and Maria Castillo former young global professional at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center.


OFFBEAT AND OFF-BEAT: Mall rat? More like a mall snake!

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