In a blow to the outgoing administration’s efforts to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to fossil fuel development, only half of the oil and gas leases offered for sale Wednesday received bids, and all but two of those came from the state of Alaska itself.
Only two companies, neither of them major oil producers, made bids to acquire 10-year rights to explore and drill for oil on two tracts totaling about 75,000 acres. A state-owned economic development corporation, offering the minimum of $25 an acre, was the sole bidder on the other tracts, totaling about half a million acres. The rights to another 400,000 acres remained unsold.
Once billed as a potential windfall that, over time, could bring in close to a billion dollars for the federal Treasury, in all the sale netted less than $15 million, with half of that going to the state.
Both the financial results, and the lack of interest from major companies, are quite likely a disappointment to the administration, and to Alaska officials who have long favored oil development for the jobs and revenue it could bring.
You can read more on the NY Times website here.
Native Americans make up about 1 percent of the U.S. population, but they’ve long been underrepresented in Congress. Since the founding of the country, just 23 Native Americans have served in the legislative body. That slow pace is starting to pick up, however. The 2020 election resulted in victories for a record six Native Americans who will serve as voting members of Congress. Four were reelected, and two were elected for the first time, bringing the historical total to 25.
Indigenous representation in Congress first surged two years ago, after the 2018 midterm elections. Deb Haaland, who is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna and has Jemez Pueblo heritage, was elected to represent New Mexico’s first congressional district. Sharice Davids, an enrolled member of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin, was elected to represent Kansas’ third congressional district. Both Democrats were reelected this month.
The victors represent Hawaii, New Mexico, Kansas, and Oklahoma. An additional three representatives from the territories of Guam, American Samoa, and the Mariana Islands are non-voting members. Split between the two parties, the voting members’ views span the ideological spectrum — from Representative-elect Kai Kahele, a Democrat from Hawaii and an ardent supporter of the Green New Deal, to Representative-elect Yvette Herrell, a hard-line conservative who has called the Green New Deal a “radical government takeover.”
To find out exactly where each of them stands on climate issues, you can read more at Grist.org here.
Scientists have been ringing alarm bells about our changing climate for decades, and the last few years have seen teenage activists turn up the volume. From protesting pipelines to organizing school climate strikes, these young leaders are among the loudest, angriest voices demanding solutions. Now, many of them are speaking up for the first time through a fundamental part of democracy: by voting.
More than 22 million Americans have turned 18 so far this year. Studies show those newly eligible voters are overwhelmingly concerned about the existential threat of a warming planet, and that people born since 1981 will make up the largest segment of the electorate within eight years. That promises to radically change public policy, which is one reason leaders of the youth climate movement are urging their peers to show up at the polls — and cast a ballot with the Earth in mind.
Check out what three youth climate activists have to say about how they feel about casting their first votes this year.
Delaney Reynolds, 21, is the founder of the Sink or Swim Project, a Miami-based nonprofit that educates and engages youth on solutions to sea level rise. Jamie Margolin, 18, co-founded Zero Hour, an organization dedicated to supporting the next generation of climate activists. And Jerome Foster II, 18, started OneMillionOfUs, which aims to register and empower young voters in the 2020 election.
You can read their remarks at Grist.org here.
Restoring natural landscapes damaged by human exploitation can be one of the most effective and cheapest ways to combat the climate crisis while also boosting dwindling wildlife populations, a scientific study finds. If a third of the planet’s most degraded areas were restored, and protection was thrown around areas still in good condition, that would store carbon equating to half of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions since the industrial revolution.
The changes would prevent about 70 percent of predicted species extinctions, according to the research, which is published in the journal Nature.
Scientists from Brazil, Australia, and Europe identified scores of places around the world where such interventions would be most effective, from tropical forests to coastal wetlands and upland peat. Many of them were in developing countries, but there were hotspots on every continent.
You can read more about this on Grist.org here.
The number of Americans who feel passionately about climate change is rising sharply, and the issue appears likely to play a more important role in this year’s election than ever before, a new survey shows.
What’s more, despite the turmoil caused by overlapping national and global crises, support for action to curb climate change has not diminished. Backing for government to do more to deal with global warming, at 68 percent in May of 2018, was at the same level in 2020, according to the survey, issued Monday.
Many social scientists might have predicted a different result. A hypothesis in psychology called the “finite pool of worry” suggests that when people’s level of concern about one issue rises, concern about others tends to fall. Climate change, under such thinking, appeared to be a “luxury good” issue, the sort of thing that’s nice to have if you can afford it, but which gets pushed down the list of priorities in tough times.
The survey, the latest in a 23-year series, suggests that, instead, climate change has become important enough to Americans that it remains prominent despite the global coronavirus pandemic, with its rising death count in the United States, as well as the related national economic crisis, the pressures of self isolation brought on by the pandemic and a never-ending rush of other news.
You can read more on the NY Times website here.
You can also test your climate emissions knowledge with this short quiz, also from the NY Times. It’s trickier than you might think!