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March 2022 Monthly Headlines

In Dire New Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report, Climate Impacts Arrival Even Sooner than Expected (The Boston Globe, AP, NPR, The Guardian, Reuters, Washington Post, AP Explainer)

  • If you read one thing from this month’s newsletter it should be this: climate change impacts are arriving much sooner than expected and we are incredibly unprepared.

  • The report outlines the dramatic action that must be taken in the next decade to adapt to a rapidly warming climate.

  • This adaptation must take place at the same time as drastic cuts in climate pollution in order to avoid passing the 1.5 degree celsius threshold. This threshold is quickly becoming harder and harder to reach.

  • If we do not keep warming under 1.5 degrees, it will be near impossible to successfully adapt to the escalating impacts of climate change.

  • UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres writes “I have seen many scientific reports in my time, but nothing like this.”

  • The four key takeaways are that the climate crisis is indeed much worse than we thought, more warming will make things worse, poor communities will bear the biggest burden and solutions to the crisis are urgently needed.

  • In New England, one of the hardest hit regions of the country so far, the report means drastic impacts are coming to the economy, weather, sea level and countless other areas of life.

Could Underground Coal Fires be Leading to Recent Forest Fires? (AP, ClimateSignals)

  • There are at least 259 documented underground coal mine fires in the US, with the possibility of many more undocumented fires.

  • Coal fires can be ignited by numerous sources and are nearly impossible to put out since the fire feeds on the oxygen in the coal itself, allowing them to burn underground for decades.

  • There is some evidence suggesting that the Marshall Fire - the most destructive wildfire in Colorado state history - was ignited by just such a coal fire that has been burning since 1883.

The United States Postal Service Confirms Plans to Order New Gas-Powered Delivery Trucks (Washington Post, The Hill, CNBC)

  • The USPS will purchase roughly 150 thousand gas-powered delivery trucks to power its new fleet.

  • This defies objects from the Biden Administration since the fleet includes nearly one third of all vehicles in the federal fleet.

  • Even with improved miles per gallon, the new fleet would only increase fuel efficiency by 0.4 mpg.

New England is Used to Nor’easters, but they may be Becoming More Common (Boston Globe, AP, Axios)

  • An historic nor'easter turned bomb cyclone buffeted the coast of New England at the becoming of the month, tying the record snowfall for a single day in Boston.

  • Nor’easters are created when energy from the jet stream, cold air and warm ocean temperatures collide. This trifecta will likely become more common as ocean temperatures warm and cold arctic air finds its way South more often due to Climate Change.

  • The storm caused power outages for nearly 100,000 residents, with Cape Cod seeing the worst outages.

States to Receive Billions for Orphaned Well Cleanup (Washington Post, Reuters)

  • Earlier this month, the Biden administration announced that it will make $1.15 billion available to states to clean up orphaned oil and gas wells.

  • Orphaned oil and gas wells are abandoned wells that emit large swaths of methane into the environment, a potent greenhouse gas.

  • This is the first disbursement of $4.7 billion approved for well cleanup in the bipartisan infrastructure package.

Costs for Electric Vehicles Continue to Drop (Fast Company, Axios, Bloomberg, Utility Dive)

  • The new F-150 Lightning is 17% more affordable than its gas powered version, in part due to tax credits but also due to widespread installment of EV chargers.

  • Some projects are suggesting that the upfront cost of EVs could be cheaper than gas powered cars in less than 5 years, even without subsidies.

  • In addition, the White House has pledged to distribute $5 billion to build a nationwide EV charging network along the country’s highway system, making EV charging more practical than ever before.

The US Army Announces Climate Strategy for the Military (CNN, Axios, Reuters)

  • For the first time, the military has released a plan to mitigate its climate impact that encompasses both climate impacts at home and abroad.

  • The military is a very large greenhouse gas emitter and has, in recent years, emitted more climate pollution than some industrialized nations such as Denmark or Sweden.

  • The strategy calls for greenhouse gas pollution to be cut in half by 2035, transition its fleet of non tactical vehicles to electric by 2035 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

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