Climate Change And Sustainability
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Conservation Actions for Climate Resilience: Bureau of Land Management Accepting Comments on Proposed Rule
On April 3, 2023, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed regulations that would update how the agency approaches public land management “by prioritizing the health and resilience of ecosystems across those lands.” The updates are important, and have the potential for significant impact, because BLM manages nearly 10% of the United States, or almost 250 million acres.
One of my roles as ELI’s International Envoy is serving on the Steering Committee of the new Climate Crisis Commission established by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). For those of you unfamiliar with the IUCN, it is a fairly unique international NGO with an extensive interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral membership base that includes governments, other NGOs, practitioners, academics, and the like.
Candidly, I gave up making New Year’s resolutions long ago. We all know about the January spike in gym memberships that falls off a cliff come March. On the other hand, I always look forward to spending time in December looking back and pondering priorities for the year to come. Here are a few of the things starting to circle in my mind.
The Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA’s) increase of the 45Q tax credit has created a bonanza around carbon removal.
When a colleague asked me what exactly I meant by political ecology during a recent meeting, I was genuinely surprised.
A longstanding problem for solar farms has a surprisingly cute solution. “Sheep are the solar industry’s lawn mowers of choice,” writes Amrith Ramkumar in the Wall Street Journal. Farmers maintaining thousands of acres of panels need to contend with tall grasses, which, unabated, can obstruct sunlight. Enter the star of nursery rhymes and an unexpected hero of renewables. Hard-working flocks are now generating millions of dollars in annual revenue by helping to chomp on pesky weeds.
When I last sat down to write this column, the Supreme Court had just issued its 6-3 decision in West Virginia v. EPA. As I said at the time, it was disheartening, and many in the environmental law field were assessing how to bounce back from its potential effects limiting agency action. Fast-forward two months, and while the concerns raised by that case aren’t gone, we’ve spun in the other direction.
Clean energy technologies require a variety of minerals of varying degrees of scarcity. As a result, decarbonizing the economy will entail expansion of mineral production—not only through imaginative reuse and recycling, but also through new mines and the permits required to build those mines. Some have called for a loosening of environmental standards to address this growing need.
Managed retreat is deemed by most as a viable adaptation option to climate-related extreme weather events. Yet, the practice is controversial due to the negative impacts it can have on marginalized communities.
Passed on August 16, 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act commits nearly $370 billion in direct investment to address climate change and energy production.