Energy in the News: Friday, November 11

Friday, November 11, 2016

What President Trump means for the future of energy and climate

The Conversation, feat. Mark Barteau

President…Donald…Trump. For those on both sides of the aisle who vowed “Never Trump!,” that’s going to take some getting used to. On this morning after a stunning election, the first impulse may be to describe the future in apocalyptic phrases. Game over for the climate! Game over for NATO! Game over for the Clean Power Plan! Game over for Planned Parenthood!

While there are certainly extreme outcomes possible for these and many other issues that divide our nation, we may see some moderation, especially on matters where the divisions do not rigidly follow ideological fault lines.

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Where will the Great Lakes fit into Donald Trump's agenda?

Detroit Free Press, feat. Mark Barteau

Expect a dramatic reduction in emphasis on combating climate change, more fossil fuel mining and drilling and less environmental regulation generally under a Donald Trump presidency.

That's the consensus of academics and environmental advocates as they rush to read the tea leaves of Trump's campaign rhetoric and his transition team moves to discern how he will act on environmental issues following the Republican businessman's upset victory in Tuesday's presidential election.

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Army Corps wants more cooperation from Dakota Access company

Associated Press, feat. Mark Barteau

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it's trying to defuse tensions between Dakota Access pipeline protesters and law enforcement in southern North Dakota, but the pipeline's developer isn't cooperating.

The agency released a statement late Wednesday imploring Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners to voluntarily stop work in the area where protests against the $3.8 billion pipeline have resulted in more than 400 arrests. The Corps made a similar plea last week, but was also rebuffed.

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What to expect from President Trump

Michigan Ross, feat. Thomas Lyon

“Based on his own comments, there is one overarching feature to a Trump Administration's energy policy: As president, Donald Trump will pretend climate change does not exist. This is an increasingly untenable position, even for committed climate ‘skeptics.’ His energy policy will encourage investment in high-carbon energy sources that will look foolish in retrospect. And he will anger much of the rest of the world by reneging on policies designed to address global challenges.”

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Climate and energy experts speak out on Trump’s views

Scientific American, feat. Andrew Hoffman

The election of Donald Trump as the nation’s next president spurred celebration in some quarters and dismay in others, including among those concerned about the steady warming of the planet.

The unrestrained emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases have altered the Earth’s climate, raising sea levels, impacting ecosystems, and increasingly the likelihood of extreme weather. In terms of numbers, the world’s temperature has risen by more than 1°F since 1900 and 2016 is expected to be the hottest year on record.

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The top five most urgent climate change stories that mainstream media suppressed in election year

Truthdig, feat. Juan Cole

I used the word “suppressed” in the title quite deliberately. Corporate television media in the United States is colluding in a cover-up of the threat of climate change, and they have specifically blacked out the climate change issue with regard to this election.

The guilty parties are Comcast (owner of NBC Universal, including MSNBC/ NBC.com), the Walt Disney Company (the owner of ABC), Viacom/ CBS, Time Warner (owner of CNN), and Twenty-First Century Fox (i.e. sleazy presslord Rupert Murdoch).

These five media conglomerates run by Stephen B. Burke, Robert A. Iger,  Leslie Moonves, Jeff Zucker, and, well, Rupert Murdoch are trying to drown your grandchildren.  Please do drop them a line (contacts hyperlinked except Fox, which is a multi-billion-dollar trolling operation so why bother?) and let them know you aren’t happy about their plans for genocide against our future generations.

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What might Trump mean for science?

Science Media Centre, feat. Mark Barteau

During his campaign, Donald Trump said he would repeal President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and reinforced his stance as a climate sceptic.

The Washington Post reported that the surprise election hurled international climate change negotiations into doubt, as the Marrakech climate summit – COP22 – continues.

Princeton University professor of geosciences and international affairs Michael Oppenheimer told The Washington Post that if Trump doesn’t honour the Paris Agreement’s commitments, “that virtually guarantees that the international process will fall into disarray”.

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Vehicle fuel economy falls again

University of Michigan News, feat. Michael Sivak

Gas mileage of new vehicles sold in the U.S. dropped for the third straight month in October and is now at its lowest mark since September 2013, say researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

The average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of new vehicles sold last month was 24.8 mpg—down 0.4 from September and the first time in nearly three years that it has fallen below 25 mpg.

"However, this likely reflects not only a continuing increase in the proportion of light trucks sold each month, but also the recent calculation adjustments for window-sticker values implemented by the EPA for model year 2017," said UMTRI research professor Michael Sivak.

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What it would really mean if Trump pulls the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement

The Washington Post, feat. EAB member David Sandalow

After Tuesday’s U.S. election upset, climate change watchers and wonks are scrambling to assess what it would really mean if Donald Trump, true to his word, ditches or simply fails to participate in the Paris climate change agreement (which he could do through a variety of mechanisms). And it does indeed appear that the consequences for international diplomacy, and for the planet, would be considerable.

At the center of the U.S.’s role in that agreement is its ambitious pledge to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below their 2005 levels by the year 2025. Presumably, under Trump, we’d no longer see such significant cuts. Indeed, given Trump’s campaign trail talk about firing up the domestic coal, oil, and gas industries, we might even see our emissions increase.

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Letter: Motor City ready to shift from neutral to 'Mobility City'

Crain’s Detroit Business, feat. EAB member Jean Redfield

To many, Michigan is deemed the global center for mobility. We already own auto R&D, autonomous vehicles, manufacturing, electric vehicles and advanced batteries, and we are one of the largest software development and cybersecurity centers in the world. State and local partners are "all in" to position Michigan as "Planet M," and the city of Detroit is poised to play a critical role by providing a real-world test bed for game-changing mobility solutions. Dustin Walsh's Oct. 23 Page 1 story ("City mobility stuck in neutral") suggested that we are "stuck" in neutral. I say we are ready to shift into gear. But how?

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Keystone pipeline developer plans to ‘engage’ with Trump

The Hill

The company behind the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline plans to “engage” with President-elect Donald Trump’s administration in its ongoing fight to build the project.

In a brief statement Wednesday, mere hours after Trump was declared the election’s winner, TransCanada Corp. said little about its strategy, but vowed to fight on.

“TransCanada remains fully committed to building Keystone XL,” spokesman Mark Cooper said in the statement.

“We are evaluating ways to engage the new administration on the benefits, the jobs and the tax revenues this project brings to the table.”

President Obama a year ago rejected the company’s permit to build Keystone XL, which would run from the oil sands in Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast.

But Trump made approving Keystone a key pillar of his energy agenda, and plans to ask TransCanada to renew its application for a cross-border pipeline permit.

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The U.S.’s first offshore wind farm is scheduled to open this month

Scientific American

The first offshore wind farm in the U.S. is scheduled to begin operations this month off the coast of Rhode Island—a small but notable step forward, given that other offshore projects have run into stiff headwinds this side of the Atlantic. The five turbines that make up the Block Island Wind Farm will generate 30 megawatts of electricity—enough to power 17,000 homes on average.

It is a surprise (and frustration) to many that the facilities have not cropped up sooner, considering the potential that offshore wind has to reduce long-term dependence on fossil fuels—and to add new power options for coastal cities with limited real estate. In fact, offshore wind has taken off in Europe, producing a total of 11.5 gigawatts a year. Analysts put the U.S.'s potential at more than 2,000 gigawatts, which is almost double the current electricity use in this country.

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Michigan lawmakers approve driverless car, energy bills

The News & Observer

Michigan lawmakers immediately tackled major components of their postelection agenda Thursday, passing a long-debated update to energy laws and finalizing legislation designed to keep the U.S. auto industry's home state ahead of the curve on driverless vehicles.

The Legislature overwhelmingly voted to no longer require that someone be inside a self-driving car while testing it on public roads. The expansive bills , which Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign, would make Michigan a rare state to explicitly end a requirement that a researcher be present inside an autonomous test vehicle. The researcher would have to "promptly" take control of its movements remotely if necessary, or the vehicle would have to be able to stop or slow on its own.

Supporters said the human operator requirement is seen as an impediment that could put Michigan at risk of losing research and development to other states.

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