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Monthly Headlines August 2022

Global Copper Shortage Threatens to Slow Clean Energy Development (Axios, Gizmodo, CNBC)

  • Copper, a key conductive material in the transfer and generation of energy, is expected to be at a shortage by the end of this decade with a gap between supply and demand opening up in the middle of this decade.

  • Unless new sources of supply are found, achieving net zero emissions are expected to remain out of reach.

  • Growth from grid upgrades, batteries and renewable energy is expected to push copper demand higher in the next 30 years than has been used since 1900.

Manchin Continues to Flip on Climate Action (NPR, Associated Press, Axios, Independent)

  • West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who two weeks told fellow democrats that he would not support action on Climate Change, released the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

  • Included in this Act is over $350 billion for climate and energy programs, more than any other federal clean energy investment in the US’s history.

  • A massive step forward, it still needs to be reviewed and then approved by the House and the Senate before landing on the President’s desk.

An Unprecedented Amount of Greenland’s Ice Melted in One Weekend (CNN, Climate Signals)

  • After a bout of unusually warm weather in Greenland earlier this month, 6 billion tons of glacial melt water per day flowed into the Atlantic Ocean between July 15 and July 17; this is the equivalent of covering the state of West Virginia in a foot of water.

  • In recent years, it has become apparent that Greenland’s ice sheet has passed the point of no return and will continue to melt regardless of climate action. If the entire ice sheet were to melt, global sea levels would rise 7.5 meters.

  • Climate Change is rapidly rising sea levels around the world through ice melt and warming ocean temperatures, which causes them to expand the more heat they absorb.

Biden Expected to Declare National Climate Emergency (Associated Press, Reuters, Axios)

  • On July 20th, President Biden stood in sweltering heat in Somerset, MA and declared that he looks at Climate Change as an emergency, without actually declaring an emergency.

  • If a climate emergency is declared, the door would be open for more aggressive executive action to curb increasing emissions.

  • Following the address, special climate envoy to the president John Kerry said that this declaration, along with executive actions, soon and is only a matter of timing.

Extreme Heat Roasts Northern Hemisphere (The Guardian, Associated Press, CNN, ATS Journal)

  • Much of the United States, Europe and Asia have been braced this month for extreme heat, caused by climate change.

  • Record breaking temperatures and heat waves have been recorded in North America, Asia and Western Europe and, as a result, electricity demand has increased dramatically as residents do their best to stay cool.

  • Not only is extreme heat uncomfortable, but the combination of heat and air pollution has dramatically increased the mortality rate from such heat waves.

Biden Administration Signals Support for Alaska Oil Project (The Hill, Anchorage Daily, Washington Post)

  • Despite Biden’s campaign promise to end drilling on federal land, his administration showed its support earlier this month for a large drilling project in Alaska.

  • The multibillion dollar ConocoPhillips ‘Willow’ project would release the same amount of Carbon Dioxide as a third of all US coal plants throughout its lifetime.

  • Final approval is pending a public comment period, but the release of the assessment is discouraging for environmentalists who have followed this project.

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