A new study shows that drought costs California’s agricultural industry billions. In the meantime, Russian attacks cut off Ukrainian electricity, and the Biden government approved a new oil export terminal.
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Programming note: We’ll be taking a break on Thursday and Friday. We’ll be back on Monday. Happy Thanksgiving!
Prolonged drought increases losses in California: study
As the drought in California stretches for the third year in a row, the state’s agricultural industry is suffering billions in associated losses, a new study found.
- The report estimates the direct impact on agricultural activity this year at $1.2 billion — up from $810 million in 2021.
- However, according to the University of California report, Merced’s Water Systems Management Lab, the effects of the drought in 2022 went well beyond that $1.2 billion sum.
- Effects on the food processing industry, which depends on agricultural products, amounted to around $845 million in 2022 — up from $590 million in the previous year.
What makes that particularly bad? “Drought is no stranger to California, but this current drought has hit some of the typically water-rich parts of the state that are essential to the entire state water supply very hard,” said co-author John Abatzoglou, professor of climatology at UC Merced, in a statement.
Overall, the direct and indirect consequences of the drought have led to added value losses of around 2 billion US dollars this year alone, according to the researchers.
Expressed in figures: These losses represent a decline of 5.9 percent compared to those in 2019 and, according to the study, also led to 19,420 job cuts.
California agriculture not only suffered from the effects of the drought, but also suffered from supply chain disruptions, including the ability to ship plants outside the state, the authors explained.
According to the study, such delays could lead to an increase in inventories and affect some of the prices for specialty crops in California.
While researchers acknowledged the adverse effects of the drought on agriculture, they found that it could have been worse.
Read more from Sharon Udasin from CNNBreakingNews.
Officials approve Gulf oil terminal over local opposition
Federal regulators approved a new oil terminal in the Gulf of Mexico off Texas this week as a result of objections from local activists who argued the move violated the Biden administration’s stated climate goals.
- The Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration officially issued the license on November 21, ending a process that began three years ago under the Trump administration.
- The Sea Port Oil Terminal would be located off the coast of Freeport, Texas, and would have a capacity of 2 million barrels per day.
- The project would include two pipelines running through the town of Surfside Beach, where the City Council voted unanimously against the project in March 2020.
Greenpeace announced approval of the terminal by the Biden government and referred to an environmental impact statement published in July, which predicted that the terminal would generate 83,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year through the construction process alone, equivalent to a total of 219 million tons of downstream refineries and combustion emissions per year.
The environmentalist group also pointed to President Biden’s recent participation in the UN COP27 climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, and the Biden government’s stated commitment to cut CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2030.
“When we say that oil and gas companies sacrifice communities to make money, that’s exactly what we’re talking about. We have less than a decade to cut emissions by half. Approving new oil and gas projects is not a bridge, it is a step towards the collapse of the planet,” Destiny Watford, climate activist at Greenpeace US, said in a statement.
“It is utter hypocrisy for President Biden and [Transportation] Secretary Pete Buttigieg to shorten the detonation of the world’s largest carbon bomb by giving the green light to more oil export terminals right after they’ve given the world talks about growing climate ambitions at COP27.”
Read more about admission here.
The electricity in Ukraine was shaken by Russian strikes
Russia launched mass attacks on critical infrastructure in Ukraine on Wednesday, cutting off power across much of the country and causing temporary blackouts in power plants, Ukrainian officials said.
- The Ukrainian Ministry of Energy said the “majority of electricity” for consumers in Ukraine was cut off following the shelling.
- Officials also reported a temporary power outage for all nuclear power plants and most heating and hydropower plants, affecting millions of people.
The details: “There are some emergency outages. The lack of electricity may affect the availability of heating and water supplies,” the ministry said in a Facebook update.
“Energy workers are already working and are doing their best to restore power as quickly as possible. But [given the extent of] the impact, it’s going to take some time.”
Since October, following heavy losses in the war, Russia has launched rocket attacks on civilian infrastructure and energy networks in Ukraine.
The Ministry of Energy said that despite widespread power outages, “Russia will not be able to intimidate Ukrainians.”
“Ukrainians aren’t afraid of the cold. Ukrainians aren’t afraid of the dark. Ukrainians are not afraid of terrorists,” officials wrote in the Facebook post.
According to a telegram post from state-owned network operator Ukrenergo, which is working quickly to repair the damage, Wednesday’s attacks included 70 rockets, of which around 51 were shot down by air defense.
Read more from Brad Dress from CNNBreakingNews.
TALES FROM THE CRYPT (O)
New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) signed legislation on Tuesday that temporarily limits cryptocurrency mining in the state for environmental reasons. This makes it the first state in the whole country to implement such a step.
The bill was presented to the governor on Tuesday after state lawmakers passed the measure in June, and The Associated Press reported that Hochul had signed the measure into law.
The restrictions apply even after the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, which has led to increased scrutiny of the industry.
However, the New York Act instead targets the impact of technology on the environment and provides for a two-year moratorium on permits for fossil-fuel facilities used to mine cryptocurrencies, using “proof-of-work authentication.”
The technology used for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies requires large amounts of energy, and the text of the law suggests that using it makes it difficult to achieve the state’s climate goals.
Read more from Zach Schonfeld from CNNBreakingNews.
NEXT WEEK ON TAP
- The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is expected to vote on the promotion of nominees, including (the multiple delayed nomination of) Joseph Goffman as head of the EPA’s Air and Radiation Office, Beth Prichard Geer as a member of the Tennessee Valley Authority, and Shailen Bhatt as head of the Federal Highway Administration.
- The Senate EPW Committee will hold a hearing on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the private sector.
- The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a hearing on a wide variety of energy bills.
WHAT WE READ
- How China, the world’s largest polluter, is avoiding paying for climate damage (The Washington Post)
- USA wants to sanction pickups in Brazil and thus step up the fight against climate change (Reuters)
- How the USA abruptly postponed decades-long climate policy (The New Republic)
- EPA skips stricter rules on air pollution from aircraft (E&E News)
🦃 Leichterer Klick: Go Turkeys!
That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out CNNBreakingNews’ Energy and Environment page for the latest news and coverage. I’ll see you next week.