Can a Tiny Territory in the South Pacific Power Tesla’s Ambitions? – The New York Times

“GORO, New Caledonia — From the reef-fringed coast of New Caledonia, the Coral Sea stretches into the South Pacific. Slender native pines, listing like whimsical Christmas trees, punctuate the shoreline. The landscape, one of the most biodiverse on the planet, is astonishingly beautiful until the crest of a hill where a different vista unfolds: a gouged red earth pierced by belching smokestacks and giant trucks rumbling across the lunar-like terrain.

This is Goro, the largest nickel mine on a tiny French territory suspended between Australia and Fiji that may hold up to a quarter of the world’s nickel reserves. It also poses a critical test for Tesla, the world’s largest electric vehicle maker, which wants to take control of its supply chain and ensure that the minerals used for its car batteries are mined in an environmentally and socially responsible fashion.

Tesla’s strategy, the largest effort by a Western electric vehicle maker to directly source minerals, could serve as a model for a green industry confronting an uncomfortable paradox. While consumers are attracted to electric vehicles for their clean reputation, the process of harvesting essential ingredients like nickel is dirty, destructive and often politically fraught.

Because of its nickel industry, New Caledonia is one of the world’s largest carbon emitters per capita. And mining, which began soon after New Caledonia was colonized in 1853, is intimately linked to the exploitation of its Indigenous Kanak people. The legacy of more than a century of stolen land and crushed traditions has left Goro’s nickel output at the mercy of frequent labor strikes and political protests.”

Interior Dept. Report on Drilling Is Mostly Silent on Climate Change – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — The Interior Department on Friday recommended that the federal government raise the fees that oil and gas companies pay to drill on public lands — the first increase in those rent and royalty rates since 1920.

The long-awaited report recommended an overhaul of the rents and royalty fees charged for drilling both on land and offshore, noting one estimate that the government lost up to $12.4 billion in revenue from drilling on federal lands from 2010 through 2019 because royalty rates have been frozen for a century.

The Interior Department said its goal is to “better restore balance and transparency to public land and ocean management and deliver a fair and equitable return to American taxpayers.”

But the report was nearly silent about the climate impacts from the public drilling program. The United States Geological Survey estimates that drilling on public land and in federal waters is responsible for almost a quarter of the greenhouse gases generated by the United States that are warming the planet.”

At McKinsey, Widespread Furor Over Work With Planet’s Biggest Polluters – The New York Times

“As world leaders prepare to meet in Glasgow next week to address the devastating impact of wildfires, floods and extreme weather caused by rising greenhouse gases, a revolt has been brewing inside the world’s most influential consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, over its support of the planet’s biggest polluters.

More than 1,100 employees and counting have signed an open letter to the firm’s top partners, urging them to disclose how much carbon their clients spew into the atmosphere. “The climate crisis is the defining issue of our generation,” wrote the letter’s authors, nearly a dozen McKinsey consultants. “Our positive impact in other realms will mean nothing if we do not act as our clients alter the earth irrevocably.”

Several of the authors have resigned since the letter, which has never before been reported, came out last spring — with one sending out a widely shared email that cited McKinsey’s continued work with fossil fuel companies as a primary reason for his departure.”

On a Pacific Island, Russia Tests Its Battle Plan on Climate Change – The New York Times

“SAKHALIN ISLAND, Russia — Sixteen wind turbines are slated to go up amid the winding coast and wooded hills of this Russian island in the Pacific, creating a wind park bigger than any that currently exists in the vast reaches of the country’s Far East.

The clean energy generated by the new wind park will go toward mining more coal.

Russia is scrambling to retain the wealth and power that come from selling fossil fuels to the world, even as the Kremlin increasingly acknowledges climate change to be a human-made crisis that the country needs to do more to address.

Last week, President Vladimir V. Putin said Russia would stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by 2060. It was a remarkable reversal since Mr. Putin has long dismissed climate science and many in his country see international efforts to combat global warming as part of a Western plot to weaken Russia. His announcement comes two weeks before world leaders are set to converge in Glasgow for a pivotal U.N. climate summit.

But it’s unclear if Russia is sincere in its new pledge. Russian energy experts and government officials acknowledge the moves are largely driven by economics, with the European Union’s plans for tariffs on heavily polluting countries threatening exports from Russia, the fourth biggest among nations in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Some elements of Russia’s plans have prompted skepticism, including a heavy reliance on forests as a tool to absorb carbon dioxide.”

 

Op-Ed: How Congress could curtail the Big Oil gravy train – Los Angeles Times

“The fossil fuel industry is a poster child for corporate welfare.

Federal subsidies and tax breaks prop up fossil fuel development, even when drilling projects should be too expensive to turn a profit. Below-market leasing rates, royalties and fees subsidize oil and gas companies, encouraging them to exploit our public lands and leaving taxpayers on the hook for the environmental damage.

In the “Build Back Better” Act, Congress has an opportunity to make oil and gas corporations play by the same rules as everyone else. The House has included common-sense oil and gas reforms in its version of the bill, and the Senate should follow suit.

Taxpayers should get a fair return from oil and gas companies that drill on publicly owned lands and waters. The House bill would make this change. Right now, these polluters pay below-market rates to extract resources that belong to all Americans.”

Source: Op-Ed: How Congress could curtail the Big Oil gravy train – Los Angeles Times

Opinion | Worrying About Your Carbon Footprint Is Exactly What Big Oil Wants You to Do – The New York Times

Mr. Schendler is the senior vice president of sustainability at the Aspen Skiing Company, the chairman of the board of the group Protect Our Winters and the author of “Getting Green Done.”

“Everybody’s going carbon neutral these days, from the big boys — Amazon, Microsoft, Unilever, Starbucks, JetBlue — to your favorite outdoor brand, even ski resorts. Probably your neighborhood coffee roaster, too.

What’s not to like? Becoming carbon neutral means cutting greenhouse gas emissions as much as you can, then offsetting what you can’t avoid with measures like tree planting. Seems admirable.

Well, not exactly. Carbon neutrality doesn’t achieve any sort of systemic change. A coal-powered business could be entirely carbon neutral as long it stops some landfill gas in Malaysia from entering the atmosphere equal to the emissions it’s still releasing. American fossil fuel dependence would remain intact, and planet-warming emissions would continue to rise. The only way to fix that is through politics, policymakers and legislation. But distressingly, most businesses don’t want to play in that arena.”

Floods in China Leave Many Searching for Loved Ones Amid Outages – The New York Times

MIHE, China — Chen Shuying was sitting at home with her husband and their 3-year-old grandson on Tuesday when water began to surge through the door. Within minutes, it was well above her waist. “The water came so fast,” she said.

They made it to the roof, where they waited for hours for the water to recede. Two days later, she still cannot return home, she said. They were lucky. Three neighbors — a grocery shopkeeper and two of the grocer’s customers — were swept away by the floodwaters and have not been seen since.

The formidable destructive power of the floods that engulfed Henan Province in central China became clearer on Thursday, even as new areas were inundated. Still more rain is in the forecast, following days of torrential downpours, including the strongest on record in the area on Tuesday.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
The silver lining of this tragic flooding in central China, is that the Chinese government deserves to be reprimanded for its insistence that it is their turn now to pollute for 300 years, like the western countries did in the last 300 years. They continue to build new coal plants in China and around the world, and insisist that they can increase their carbon emissions for at least another 15 or 30 years. While their position makes good sense morally, it ignores the science of the climate crisis. And it isn’t good for the people of China. The people of earth have to stop all climate change causing pollution emissions, or we all will suffer the awful consequences. The problems we are seeing today are just the prequel, the beginning of what could turn out to be an existential threat of floods, droughts, famines, epidemics, dislocation and war over diminishing resources.
David Lindsay Jr is the author of the Tay Son Rebellion about 18th century Vietnam, and blogs at InconvenientNews.Net.

Farhad Manjoo | Summer Travel Post-Covid Has Arrived. Earth Can’t Handle It. – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“To cruise or not to cruise? To safari or stay put? To fly — perchance to hang glide or kite surf into some un-Instagrammed country. So goes the great moral dilemma now lurking in the travel and tourism industry, perhaps the beating heart of global consumerist extravagance. Now that our year-plus fast is close to over, shall we commence gorging once more?

In 2019, according to an industry trade group, the world spent about $9 trillion — nearly a tenth of global G.D.P. — on tourism. It was the 10th consecutive year of growth in travel, and expansion looked endless.”

The Little Hedge Fund Taking Down Big Oil – The New York Times

  • Audio Recording by Audm  Listen 34:47

“On the day the little investment firm Engine No. 1 would learn the outcome of its proxy battle at Exxon Mobil, its office in San Francisco still didn’t have furniture. Almost everyone had been working at home since the firm was started in spring 2020, so when the founder, Chris James, went into the office for a rare visit on May 26 this year to watch the results during Exxon Mobil’s annual shareholder meeting, he propped his computer up on a rented desk. As an activist investor, he had bought millions of dollars’ worth of shares in Exxon Mobil to put forward four nominees to the board. His candidates needed to finish in the top 12 of the 16 up for election, and he was nervous. Since December, James and the firm’s head of active engagement, Charlie Penner, had been making their case that America’s most iconic oil company needed new directors to help it thrive in an era of mounting climate urgency. In response, Exxon Mobil expanded its board to 12 directors from 10 and announced a $3 billion investment in a new initiative it called Low Carbon Solutions. James paced around the empty office and texted Penner: “I was doing bed karate this morning thinking about how promises made at gunpoint are rarely kept. Exxon only makes promises at gunpoint.”

Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Does the Opposite – The New York Times

Matt Apuzzo and 

LONDON — During a contentious meeting over proposed climate regulations last fall, a Saudi diplomat to the obscure but powerful International Maritime Organization switched on his microphone to make an angry complaint: One of his colleagues was revealing the proceedings on Twitter as they happened.

It was a breach of the secrecy at the heart of the I.M.O., a clubby United Nations agency on the banks of the Thames that regulates international shipping and is charged with reducing emissions in an industry that burns an oil so thick it might otherwise be turned into asphalt. Shipping produces as much carbon dioxide as all of America’s coal plants combined.

Internal documents, recordings and dozens of interviews reveal what has gone on for years behind closed doors: The organization has repeatedly delayed and watered down climate regulations, even as emissions from commercial shipping continue to rise, a trend that threatens to undermine the goals of the 2016 Paris climate accord.

One reason for the lack of progress is that the I.M.O. is a regulatory body that is run in concert with the industry it regulates. Shipbuilders, oil companies, miners, chemical manufacturers and others with huge financial stakes in commercial shipping are among the delegates appointed by many member nations. They sometimes even speak on behalf of governments, knowing that public records are sparse, and that even when the organization allows journalists into its meetings, it typically prohibits them from quoting people by name.”    . . .

David Lindsay Jr.

David Lindsay Jr.Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:

Thank you Matt Apuzzo and Sarah Hurtes for bringing this mess, this Augean Stables, to our attention. This nonesense should be stopped ASAP. Someone should tell this group at the IMO that all its meeting have to be open to the press, or it should be dismantled. There are some great ideas in the comments, like getting rid of, making illegal, Open Ship Registers. The United States should have its own rules, regulations, and enforcement, perhaps permanently, or at least, until the UN organization shows that it is up to the job, which it clearly isn’t.

PS. One commenter suggested, the US should require all ships coming to the US should meet strict environmental standards, or they can’t stop here and unload or pick up goods. Another said, we should join with the EU, and create rules that anyone trading with either group must abide.