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Climate change demands our attention on Election Day and beyond

climate change demands our attention on election day and beyond

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The BDN Opinion section operates independently and does not set newsroom policies or contribute to reporting or editing articles elsewhere in the newspaper or on bangordailynews.com.

William Lauring Somes is a political science and economics major at the University of Maine.

As Maine’s environment continues to change, solutions to the climate problem are becoming more and more important. My conversations with fishermen have led me to believe lobsters are already moving further away from shore, and scientific evidence suggests this trend will continue over the next 80 years. Of course, this is far from the only impact of climate change. In the coming years, heavy rains related to changes in climate can cause damage to Maine agriculture and infrastructure.

Climate change is an economic problem, and our livelihoods depend on how we address it.

The transportation sector accounts for the majority of all climate-warming emissions in Maine (approximately 54 percent). This means that efforts to combat climate change must focus specifically on reducing emissions from this sector.

In March of this year, the Environmental Protection Agency rolled back fuel economy standards that would have raised the new vehicle fuel economy to 54 miles per gallon. Under these rollbacks, rather than increasing …

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How Climate Change Factors into the Forecast for the US Pipe Market

how climate change factors into the forecast for the us pipe market

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CLEVELAND, Oct. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Climate change is increasing the urgency of wastewater infrastructure upgrades in the US as rising severe storm and hurricane activity continues to expose the flaws in many of these outdated systems, and the threat of sea level rise continues to grow. Going forward, efforts to adapt wastewater infrastructure to the realities of climate change are expected to provide opportunities for pipe suppliers.
For instance, many municipalities use combined storm and sanitary sewer systems that lead to sewage backups during heavy rainfall, an increasingly pressing problem in residential areas where suburban growth has outstripped the capacity of sewer lines and in storm-prone areas, particularly in Gulf Coast states such as Florida, but also in more northerly states such as Maryland and Virginia.
US Pipe Market to Expand 2.9% Annually Through 2024
Demand for pipe in the US is projected to climb 2.9% per year through 2024 to $47.4 billion, rebounding from a low 2019 base. Increases in water and sewer construction spending will be a major driver of growth. On the other hand, a weaker economic outlook will depress construction and oil and gas drilling activity for some time, constraining demand in these major applications for pipe.
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If Biden wins, what would a U.S. climate change pledge look like?

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By Kate Abnett, Valerie Volcovici4 Min ReadBRUSSELS/WASHINGON (Reuters) – If he wins next Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election, Joe Biden has pledged to give the country a leading role in global efforts to curb climate change. Experts are wondering how ambitious his plans would be on slashing emissions this decade.FILE PHOTO: Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden walks past solar panels while touring the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative in Plymouth, New Hampshire, U.S., June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Brian SnyderPresident Donald Trump, who has rejected mainstream science on climate change, does not have a plan to address global warming. The Republican president rejected the 2015 Paris Agreement early in his first term, and the United States is set to formally exit the deal to rein in global emissions on Nov. 4, the day after the election.His Democratic challenger, former Vice President Biden, has pledged that if he wins and takes office in January he would immediately rejoin the international accord, and commit the country to reach net zero emissions by 2050.A push by Biden to re-assert U.S. leadership on the issue would likely also include a pledge to slash emissions by 2030.That is …

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If Biden wins, what would a U.S. climate change pledge look like?

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By Kate Abnett, Valerie Volcovici4 Min ReadBRUSSELS/WASHINGON (Reuters) – If he wins next Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election, Joe Biden has pledged to give the country a leading role in global efforts to curb climate change. Experts are wondering how ambitious his plans would be on slashing emissions this decade.FILE PHOTO: Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden walks past solar panels while touring the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative in Plymouth, New Hampshire, U.S., June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Brian SnyderPresident Donald Trump, who has rejected mainstream science on climate change, does not have a plan to address global warming. The Republican president rejected the 2015 Paris Agreement early in his first term, and the United States is set to formally exit the deal to rein in global emissions on Nov. 4, the day after the election.His Democratic challenger, former Vice President Biden, has pledged that if he wins and takes office in January he would immediately rejoin the international accord, and commit the country to reach net zero emissions by 2050.A push by Biden to re-assert U.S. leadership on the issue would likely also include a pledge to slash emissions by 2030.That is …

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More Firms Need to Disclose Potential Financial Hit from Climate Change: Regulator

more firms need to disclose potential financial hit from climate change: regulator

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Too few companies specify their prospective financial hit from climate change under a voluntary global disclosure code that needs wider backing from asset managers and others to be fully effective, a global regulatory body said on Thursday.
Climate change can reduce the value of assets or subject companies to costs from flooding and other weather-related events, and a body dubbed the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) in 2017 published a voluntary set of disclosures to help inform investors.

The TCFD, set up by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) which coordinates financial rules for G20 countries, said more than 1,500 organizations worldwide had expressed support for TCFD-aligned disclosures to help cut carbon emissions, up 85% since last year’s update.

But the level of disclosure remains inadequate, it said.
“Companies’ disclosure of the potential financial impact of climate change on their businesses and strategies remains low,” the TCFD said.
Just one in 15 companies reviewed disclosed information on the resilience of their strategy, far lower than other categories of disclosure such as governance and risk management, it added.
More backing was needed given the urgent demand for consistency and comparability in reporting, with support from asset managers and owners of assets …

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Trump’s EPA rewrote the rules on air, water energy. Now voters face a choice on climate change issues

trump’s epa rewrote the rules on air, water energy. now voters face a choice on climate change issues

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Cherise Harris noticed a change in her eldest daughter soon after the family moved a block away from a 132-year-old coal-fired power plant in Painesville, Ohio.The teen’s asthma attacks occurred more frequently, Harris said, and she started carrying an inhaler with her at all times.The family didn’t know it at the time, but Painesville’s municipal-owned plant emits nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide – two pollutants that the American Lung Association says inflames air passages, causing shortness of breath, chest tightness, pain and wheezing.  “It makes me wonder,” said Harris, who lives with her four children and fiancé. “Is that what triggered my daughter’s asthma?” Under President Donald Trump’s rule, the Painesville plant – and nearly 200 other coal-powered electric utilities like it – can emit more such pollutants, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s own projections. The rule is one of nearly 100 environmental rollbacks the Trump administration has pursued over the past four years to loosen regulations on everything from air and water quality to wildlife.
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Armani Wells, 13, right and Arihanna Wells, 8, left, hug their mother, Cherise Harris, on their back porch in Painesville, Ohio, in October 2020. The…
Armani Wells, 13, right …

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Too few companies disclose financial hit from climate change,

too few companies disclose financial hit from climate change,

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Too few companies specify their prospective financial hit from climate change under a voluntary global disclosure code that needs wider backing from asset managers and others to be fully effective, a global regulatory body said on Thursday.Climate change can reduce the value of assets or subject companies to costs from flooding and other weather-related events, and a body dubbed the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) in 2017 published a voluntary set of disclosures to help inform investors.The TCFD, set up by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) which coordinates financial rules for G20 countries, said more than 1,500 organisations worldwide had expressed support for TCFD-aligned disclosures to help cut carbon emissions, up 85% since last year’s update.But the level of disclosure remains inadequate, it said.”Companies’ disclosure of the potential financial impact of climate change on their businesses and strategies remains low,” the TCFD said.Just one in 15 companies reviewed disclosed information on the resilience of their strategy, far lower than other categories of disclosure such as governance and risk management, it added.More backing was needed given the urgent demand for consistency and comparability in reporting, with support from asset managers and owners of assets likely to be …

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China’s 14th Five-Year Plan crucial to global response to climate change

china’s 14th five-year plan crucial to global response to climate change

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BEIJING, Oct. 28 — China has vowed to reach CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality ahead of 2060. To realize these goals, outlining measures to achieve the targets will be a significant step in the country’s 14th Five-Year Plan.Carbon intensity target is expected to be set for the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025) in accordance with the carbon emission targets, and specific plans will be drawn up to tackle climate change, according to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.As China has tied its carbon promise to a specific year for combating climate change, some Western critics have questioned its ability to realize the goals while trying to achieve economic growth.China is a country that keeps its words. Once the five-year plan is finalized, the country — from the central government to local governments — will ensure its implementation. For instance, eight of the nine objectives related to ecological environment defined in the 13th Five-Year Plan have been realized ahead of schedule. The remaining objective which is meant to ensure that 337 cities experience good air quality for more than 84.5 percent of the days by 2020 is expected to be realized as planned.The COVID-19 pandemic and a global recession …

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Trump administration must consider climate change before leasing land in Wyoming, court orders

trump administration must consider climate change before leasing land in wyoming, court orders

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The Adobe Town Wilderness Study Area stretches out in a series of cliffs, pinnacles and valleys. A federal court decided the BLM failed to adequately consider how leasing over one million acres of public land to oil and gas companies throughout the West could affect the climate.

Christine Peterson, for the Star-Tribune

Camille Erickson

In a move environmental groups considered a win, a federal court declared the Bureau of Land Management did not adequately consider how leasing over one million acres of public land to oil and gas companies throughout the West could affect the climate.A vast majority of the challenged leases fall within Wyoming.According to U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras, federal regulators fell short of complying with the National Environmental Policy Act when it leased public land in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Montana between September 2016 and March 2019.The court decision remanded, or sent back, the leases to the BLM for additional review. The court ruled the BLM neglected to comprehensively forecast the amount of greenhouse gas emissions associated with leasing the 1.7 million acres for drilling. However, the court chose not to vacate, or invalidate, the leases, as the environmental groups originally …

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On Climate Change, We’re Entirely Out of Margin

on climate change, we’re entirely out of margin

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In 1959, when humans began measuring the carbon-dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, there was still some margin. That first instrument, set up on the side of Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano, showed that the air contained about three hundred and fifteen parts per million of CO2, up from two hundred and eighty p.p.m. before the Industrial Revolution. Worrisome, but not yet critical. In 1988, when the NASA scientist James Hansen first alerted the public to the climate crisis, that number had grown to three hundred and fifty p.p.m., which we’ve since learned is about the upper safe limit. Even then, though, we had a little margin, at least of time: the full effects of the heating had not yet begun to manifest in ways that altered our lives. If we’d acted swiftly, we could have limited the damage dramatically. Photograph by Manan Vatsyayana / AFP / GettyWe didn’t, of course, and we have poured more carbon into the atmosphere since 1988 than in all the years before. The atmospheric concentration of CO2 has topped four hundred and fifteen p.p.m.—that’s much too high, something that we know from a thousand indicators. Last week came the …

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