BANK OF AMERICA SAYS NO TO FURTHER FUNDING OF OIL AND GAS EXPLORATION IN THE ARCTIC
Bank of America is saying it won’t finance oil and gas exploration in the Arctic following a pressure campaign from environmentalists. The Sierra Club in recent months has put pressure on Bank of America, calling it “the only major US bank not to rule out financing for the destruction” of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) following commitments not to finance drilling there from several of its peers.
The bank’s public policy and strategy in Washington chief made the recent announcement it won’t finance Arctic oil and gas exploration. The federal government is required to hold at least two drilling lease sales in the Arctic by the end of 2024 under a 2017 law. However, the Trump administration may try to hold one of those sales before January, 2021 as the Biden Administration is expected to try to limit drilling there.
Sierra Club Senior Campaign Representative Ben Cushing expressed praise of Bank of America’s announcement by saying “now every major American bank has stated unequivocally that they will not finance this destructive activity.”
DEEPER DIVE:THE HILL,BLOOMBERG
DENMARK DUMPS FUTURE OIL AND GAS EXPLORATION IN THE THE NORTH SEA
In a landmark decision for the fossil fuel industry, the Denmark government agreed to end all new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea. Right now, Denmark is the largest oil producer in the European Union, pumping over 100,000 barrels per day in 2019, according to a report by BP.
The decision is part of the government’s comprehensive plan to end fossil fuel extraction by 2050. Denmark’s climate minister said the plan helps to put a final end to the fossil era, and he hopes the decision will resonate around the world. The Denmark government energy ministry estimates the decision would cost the country roughly 1.4 billion U.S. dollars in lost revenue.
Greenpeace Denmark called the decision a “watershed moment” and victory for the climate movement. All eyes are now on surrounding countries, including the UK, to join Denmark’s transition towards a more sustainable future.
DEEPER DIVE: BBC
YELLEN IS GELLIN’ TO LEVERAGE TREASURY DEPT. CLOUT IN CLIMATE FIGHT
Janet Yellen has promised to make fighting climate change a priority as Treasury secretary, spurring OPTIMISM among activists who believe she will put the issue at the center of U.S. economic policy for the first time. Yellen, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Treasury Department, has already endorsed a tax on carbon dioxide emissions.
Yellen’s Treasury Department is expected to play a central role in that effort by helping shape stimulus spending to pull the U.S. out of recession and fulfill Biden’s Promise To invest as much as $2 trillion on clean energy.
Both Biden and Yellen’s ambitions for big clean-energy spending could be constrained by Congress, where Republicans will hold at least 50 seats in the Senate. Conservatives have assailed congressional Democrats’ ambitions for a wave of spending to propel clean power and energy efficiency, including through expanded tax cuts and investments, as a socialist wish list. Yellen’s interest in addressing climate change dates to her time in the Clinton administration, when she was the head of the Council of Economic Advisers.
Climate change is already affecting energy investments, raising the risk that oil, gas and coal reserves will lose value or be barred from development as governments clamp down on the greenhouse gas emissions generated by burning fossil fuels. Even non-energy investments in commercial buildings and real estate are at greater peril with the encroachment of rising seas and more intense storms fueled by climate change.
DEEPER DIVE:BLOOMBERG EVERGREEN ACTION
CANADA’S BRITISH COLUMBIA PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT SUSPENDS LOGGING IN ENDANGERED CARIBOU HABITAT
Due to opposition voiced by conservation groups, scientists and the public, the British Columbian government has suspended logging of critical habitat for endangered caribou. Reported by The Narwhal, the BC government decided to halt logging plans near north of the Revelstoke old-growth forest.
In an interview with the Narwhal, the conservation and policy campaigner for the Wilderness Committee called the decision a huge win and testament to the people’s power in taking action. It’s reported more than 3,000 letters were submitted to elected officials calling for the suspension of logging.
The government agency BC Timber Sales planned specific logging efforts in one of British Columbia’s most at-risk ecosystems, some of which overlapped critical habitat federally designated for the Columbia North southern mountain caribou herd.
During the suspension period, a public affairs officer for the Ministry of Forests said the time allows for further review of how logging in the area might affect the caribou’s habitat.
DEEPER DIVE: The Narwhal