Long a leader in progressive climate change legislation, the European Union doubled down on those ambitions this week as it pushed forward a groundbreaking green stimulus package to revive its pandemic-ravaged economies. On July 21, 2020, EU leaders reached agreement, subject to ratification by the European Parliament and national legislatures, on their new green stimulus, a package entitled Next Generation EU. This package will make fighting climate change central to Europe’s recovery, with large sums earmarked for green investments and carbon reduction goals. There remains disagreement about the package and criticism from some member states that are heavily dependent on hydrocarbons, as well as from some environmentalists who say it doesn't go far enough. At the end of last week, the EU parliament approved a non-binding resolution criticizing the deal.
On this episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by someone who has been at the forefront of the EU’s response, Executive Vice President of the European Commission in Charge of the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans. Frans Timmermans is a Dutch politician and diplomat who has served as First Vice President of the European Commission since 2014. Since December 2019, he has served as the Executive Vice President of the European Commission for the European Green Deal and simultaneously as the European Commissioner for Climate Action. He was previously Minister of Foreign Affairs and State Secretary for Foreign Affairs for the Netherlands. Earlier in his career, he was a member of the Dutch House of Representatives for the Labour Party and a civil servant in the diplomatic service of the Netherlands before becoming active in politics.
What policies help stimulate economic activity, can be done in a reasonably quick timeframe, and also help address climate change? They discuss what's included in the Next Generation EU package and what the deal might mean for carbon reduction, climate change and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, both in the EU and around the world.
In the last few weeks, we've seen numerous events with implications for how to think about the twin challenges of developing the energy resources we need while also protecting our public lands, curbing climate change, and protecting the environment. There have been setbacks for three major U.S. pipeline projects, all rooted in flaws that courts found in environmental review processes; a new announcement by President Trump about a “top to bottom overhaul” of the nation’s environmental review process, a cornerstone of the landmark environmental law President Nixon signed half a century ago; and ambitious new plans announced by Vice President Biden to dramatically increase clean energy investments.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by David J. Hayes to discuss what all these changes might mean for energy infrastructure projects on federal lands moving forward, along with other issues like what’s next for clean energy and climate policy, how states are responding to the Trump administration’s recent environmental rollbacks, and much more.
David J. Hayes is an environmental, energy and natural resources lawyer who leads the State Energy and Impact Center at the NYU School of Law, which supports state attorneys general in their advocacy for clean energy, climate and environmental laws and policies. David previously served as the Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of the Interior for President Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. He’s also been a visiting lecturer at Stanford Law School, is a member of the board of the Coalition for Green Capital, and is founder of the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance. Earlier in his career, he worked in private law practice as global chair of the Environment, Land and Resources Department at Latham & Watkins.
To one extent or another, governments around the world are trying to decide how to recover from the economic devastation of the coronavirus pandemic, and that includes measures that might also minimize the risks of climate change. In the U.S., those discussions are increasingly reflecting acknowledgement of racial and environmental justice.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by Justin Worland, Time magazine’s reporter covering energy, the environment and climate. Justin spoke with Bill as Time is out with a new double issue largely dedicated to climate change.
Justin wrote the cover story headlined “One Last Chance: The Defining Year for the Planet.” He also filed another piece for this edition called “Why the Larger Climate Movement is Finally Embracing the Fight Against Environmental Racism.”
Bill and Justin talk about what makes 2020 so important for addressing climate change. In fact, Justin writes that this year may be the most pivotal yet in the fight against climate change.
In his second piece, Justin recalls a fire at a Philadelphia refinery in 2019 in explaining why environmental racism is getting more attention amid much broader protests over systemic racism in America.
Bill and Justin also touch on coverage of these issues now and in the past, and the challenges the pandemic presents for Justin and other reporters trying to cover events first hand.
Justin joined Time in 2014. He graduated Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in history.
A new report from Democrats on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis calls for comprehensive actions by the U.S. Congress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. as quickly as possible, make communities more resilient to climate change, and build a durable and equitable clean energy economy.
Called “Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient and Just America,” the 550-page report contains hundreds of recommendations. Some call it the most far-reaching report on climate change to ever appear on Capitol Hill.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless reached the chair of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, Rep. Kathy Castor, a Florida Democrat, soon after the report was released by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Castor. It was the second appearance on Columbia Energy Exchange by Rep. Castor, who first sat down with Bill last fall when the committee was still gathering material for the report.
Among the report's specific goals are 100% net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and net negative emissions in the second half of the century. The report would also require a clean energy standard for the electric power sector; a standard to ensure that all light duty vehicles sold by 2035 are zero emission; and similar emission requirements for all new commercial and residential construction by 2030.
It comes after a year of hearings, meetings, research and other actions by the panel to come up with a comprehensive climate strategy. Originally due to be released earlier this year, the report was postponed because of the pandemic.
In their latest discussion, Bill and Rep. Castor talk about the report’s recommendations and the outlook for action on it in Washington at a time when the U.S. is struggling with a pandemic, protests over racial inequality and an economic downturn, not to mention a national election in the fall.