Insurance and Climate Change column

House Passes Climate Now Act, But What’s The Next Step?

By | May 2, 2019

The U.S. must take an active role in mitigating climate change on the global stage.

So says the U.S. House of Representatives, which voted today on H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act.

The bill, which passed 231-190, largely along party lines, requires the Trump administration to develop and update a plan for the country to meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement on climate change hammered out in 2015 under the Obama Administration.

The bill would require the President to develop and annually update a plan for the U.S. to meet its contribution under the Paris Agreement. The plan must outline steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, as well as confirm that other parties to the agreement with major economies are fulfilling their contributions.

The bill, which would also prohibit federal funds from being used to withdraw from the agreement, as Trump has stated it is his intent to do, is unlikely to garner similar support in the Senate. And its detractors see its passage as little more than a political statement.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., remarked from the House floor that this is “nothing more than another messaging bill against the president of the United States.”

The bill is less ambitious than the Green New Deal, introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., which calls for a quick shift by the U.S. completely out of fossil fuels and into renewable energy.

Karen Orenstein, deputy director of economic policy at Friends of the Earth, issued the following statement:

“The climate emergency requires that the United States — the world’s largest historical climate polluter and largest economy — robustly engage multilaterally. To that end, we applaud the sentiment of H.R. 9. But it is not enough that the U.S. not withdraw from the global climate stage; our climate commitment under the Paris Agreement is radically out of line with what science, justice and equity demand. The U.S. must re-emerge in the international arena in a manner that recognizes that all people — whether in Mozambique, Mogadishu or Miami — are equally deserving of dignified lives.”

This Bud’s for You

Did you know that Anheuser-Busch InBev SA often delivers cans of emergency drinking water to areas affected by natural disaster?

Now the beverage giant has a new public service goal based on “the shifting realities of climate change.”

The Leuven, Belgium-based company is now pre-shipping the drinking water to disaster-prone areas, with the assumption another event is always right around the corner.

Anheuser-Busch announced late last month it will send 1 million cans of water to volunteer fire fighters in vulnerable areas of California, Colorado, Arizona and other states before the West Coast wildfire season begins again June 1.

“The reality is there are more wildfires,” Adam Warrington, vice president of corporate social responsibility for the company, said in a statement. “Hydration needs before, during and after them have evolved.”

The maker of Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois reports donating between 1 million and 4 million cans of water each year to communities after disasters.

But that all changed after 2017’s Hurricane Harvey. There were 14 separate billion-dollar disaster weather events in 2018 in the U.S. alone, the company noted in an announcement of its new initiative.

The world’s largest beer producer last year added a second U.S. factory that’s capable of halting regular beer production to produce emergency water instead. The cans are particularly useful after disasters, because local water supplies are often compromised and cans are easier to collect and recycle than plastic, according to the company.

Newsweek

The folks at Newsweek have come up with six ways to halt climate change and global warming.

An article out today authored by Peter J.S. Jones and Rick Stafford outlines a number of lofty ideas from the two professors in simplified form.

  1. Less focus on economic growth: The authors suggest that using GDP as a good measure of a country’s progress means we consume more products, which require raw materials and energy to produce, and it often results in excessive waste when they are disposed of. “Achieving growth isn’t necessarily bad—but focusing solely on growth is,” they write. Instead we should be “agnostic about economic growth” and embrace other measures of societal well-being, according to the professors.
  2. Higher taxes and subsidized transport: Incremental increases in tax on, for example fuel, without alternatives, do little to change behavior, they assert. To drive changes in consumer behavior, “there needs to be large tax increases on the most environmentally damaging products to turn them from everyday items into luxury goods,” the authors write. “This would include air travel, fossil fuels and red meat.”
  3. Work less: From an environmental perspective, working less has many benefits: less commuting, more time to cook healthy food and more time to take holidays without the need for flying, the authors argue. “The reduction in household income also means less opportunity for over-consumption of luxury goods that drive economic growth without adding much value to society,” they write.

Leave the other three ideas to your imagination, or read “Six Ways To Stop Climate Change And Global Warming According To Scientists,” for the rest of their suggestions.

Drought

A group of scientists say they have detected the “fingerprint of human-driven global warming” on patterns of drought and moisture across the world dating as far back as 1900.

This is reportedly the first time researchers have identified resulting long-term global effects on the water supplies that feed crops and cities.

The scientists documented drying of soils across North America, central America, Eurasia and the Mediterranean, while other areas, including the Indian subcontinent, have become wetter.

They say the trends will continue, with severe consequences for humans.

The study, “Twentieth-century hydroclimate changes consistent with human influence,” which appeared this week in the journal Nature, asserts that in the first half of the century (1900–1949), “a signal of greenhouse-gas-forced change is robustly detectable.”

The scientists used tree rings dating back 600 to 900 years to estimate soil moisture trends before human-produced greenhouse gases began rising and compared that data with 20th-century tree rings and modern instrumental observations to see if they could pick out drought patterns matching those predicted by computer models.

“Multiple observational datasets and reconstructions using data from tree rings confirm that human activities were probably affecting the worldwide risk of droughts as early as the beginning of the twentieth century,” the study states.

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Latest Comments

  • June 5, 2019 at 4:25 pm
    Agent says:
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  • May 10, 2019 at 2:21 pm
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