Heat pumps can counter Putin and the climate crisis, say advocates

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Heat pumps can counter Putin and climate change, say supporters. The White House is listening.

Last month, author and climate activist Bill McKibben offered an unusual way President Biden could simultaneously fight climate change and the war in Ukraine.

It all comes down to heat pumps.

At the time, McKibben’s thoughts went largely under the radar. But today the White House is seriously considering his plan, which would involve increasing U.S. manufacturing of heat pumps and sending them overseas to counter Europe’s reliance on Russian gas.

It’s the latest example of climate advocates and the Biden administration coming up with creative ways to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, one of the main causes of climate change and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s influence in Europe.

It’s also a sign of the growing popularity of heat pumps, which have the potential to heat and cool thousands of homes using electricity instead of natural gas.

In a February 27 Sub-stack piece, McKibben argued that Biden should invoke the Defense Production Actan emergency national defense law, “to get American manufacturers to start producing electric heat pumps in quantity, so that we can ship them to Europe where they can be installed in time to drastically reduce Putin’s power “.

McKibben likened the effort to the program established by the Lend-Lease Act of 1941, during which the United States sent vital supplies to Allied nations that had been invaded by Germany in The Second World War.

White House aides were still seriously considering the idea on Wednesday, though they acknowledged it could go through the congressional appropriations process, a person familiar with the matter told Jeff.

In an interview with The Climate 202 yesterday, McKibben acknowledged he had discussed his plan with Biden administration officials, though he declined to name names.

“It’s very exciting to see people take an interest in this,” McKibben said. “I think it probably happens less because of the brilliance of my prose and more because it’s a really natural idea. It follows exactly what happened the last time there was a war land in Europe.

The idea received further impetus when more than 200 groups published a letter yesterday urging Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act to accelerate the deployment of clean energy technologies, including heat pumps and battery storage. .

Organizations signing the letter included the Center for Biological Diversity, Indigenous Environmental Network and International Oil Change.

“We are at a time when [Biden] assumes the role of executive action”, Collin ReesUS program manager International Oil Change, told The Climate 202. “We saw it with the oil import ban by decree. And there’s so much more he could do.

Also on Wednesday, the group Rewiring America released a three-part plan for America to help Europe reduce its reliance on Russian gas by next winter. The plan calls for boosting US heat pump manufacturing capacity and sending civilian volunteers to install the technology in Europe and Britain.

Sarah Ladislaw, a general manager at MRIan organization dedicated to clean energy transition, questioned whether heat pumps alone would have a significant impact on European gas demand in the immediate term, noting the need for long-term deployment.

Ladislaw pointed to a recent International Energy Agency report, which found that doubling current heat pump installation rates in the EU would save 2 billion cubic meters of gas usage in the first year. But if everyone in a European building lowered the thermostat by 1 degree Celsius, they would save about 10 billion Cubic meters.

“There are limits to what [heat pumps] can deliver in the short term, although this is true of all potential solutions to Europe’s dependence on Russian gas in the short term,” Ladislaw said.

Corn Ari Matusiakthe CEO of Rewiring America, told The Climate 202 that heat pumps have a big behavior change advantage: they last 20 years and don’t rely on someone repeatedly remembering to turn down their thermostat .

“In politics and politics, you don’t always have the opportunity to deliver a true win-win-win,” he added. ” That’s it. And it will add value far beyond when Putin is no longer in power.

Bill would stop the Postal Service from buying gas-powered delivery trucks

Following the adoption by the Senate of a major spending bill aimed at reforming the US Postal Service which did not include a provision requiring the agency to go electric, Representative Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) Wednesday introduced legislation to prevent the agency from buying a new fleet of delivery vehicles unless at least 75% of them are emissions-free.

The bill, backed by 68 other lawmakers, follows a decision made last month by the postmaster general Louis DeJoy for conclude a contract with Defense of Oshkosh replace vehicles that are nearly 30 years old with a fleet that is 90% gas-powered, despite previous calls from the Biden administration to electrify all federal vehicles. The Postal Service is home to one-third of the nation’s entire federal fleet.

Granholm tells oil executives to increase production at CERAWeek

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Wednesday urged oil companies to increase supply to counter soaring gas prices amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while stressing that the industry must switch to long-term renewables to combat against climate change.

“At this time of crisis, we need more supply,” Granholm said during his keynote address at the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston. “Right now, we need oil and gas production to increase to meet current demand.”

At the same time, Granholm said the Biden administration wants to act as a partner with the oil industry to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy, even as some in the fossil fuel industry have chafed at Biden’s climate policies.

“We still have to consider the impact of climate change. We can walk and chew gum at the same time,” she said, adding that “to be on the right side of history, we have to work together.”

EPA reinstates California’s ability to set stricter emissions rules for cars

The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it is restoring California’s authority to set stricter limits than the federal government on global warming emissions from cars, pickup trucks and SUVs.

The post office Dino Grandoni explain to readers that Barack obama first obtained the waiver from California under the Clean Air Act, which allows the state to act independently on the reduction of exhaust emissions. But the Trump administration froze energy efficiency standards and stripped California of that authority in 2019.

Now, with a new waiver, the state can incentivize automakers to cut emissions even further without help from the federal government. And more than a dozen other states have already pledged to follow California’s lead on greenhouse gas pollution from cars.

Fact check: Republicans wrongly blame Biden for high gas prices

Key Republican lawmakers have blamed soaring gasoline prices on President Biden and its energy policies this week. But they relied on misleading talking points, according to a fact check by The New York Times. Linda Qiu.

GOP lawmakers have argued that the pain at the pump happened long before the war in Ukraine. They sought to link the price spikes to Biden’s decision to revoke a key permit from the Driving Keystone XL and temporarily suspending new drilling leases on public lands. But in reality, the coronavirus pandemic has been largely responsible for soaring prices over the past year, and the conflict in Ukraine has only made the problem worse.

Even if Biden had given the green light to the Keystone XL pipeline, it is very unlikely to be operational before 2023, as only 8% of it had been built when he took office. And in its first year, the Biden administration approved 34% more drilling permits on federal land than the Trump administration in its first year, according to data compiled by the Center for Biological Diversity. Anyway, those permits were for production in three to four years, not now.

The demand for meat is destroying the Amazon. Smarter choices at the table might help.

The world’s growing appetite for cheap meat is fueling deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, Richard Schiffman reports for La Poste. Forest advocates say millions of hectares of the Amazon are being replaced by farmland to grow animal feed and make room for grazing livestock, largely due to consumer demand far and wide. of the forest in the United States and Europe.

Some experts say the best way to end the destruction is to persuade consumers to only buy meat products that have been produced sustainably on uncleared land. But wise consumer choices to boycott certain products are only part of the solution. There must also be systemic action by policy makers and businesses.

In October, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Earl Blumenauer Representatives (D-Oré.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) introduced legislation prohibiting the entry into the United States of goods from illegally deforested land. Environmental groups are rallying behind the legislation, with some saying the carbon-intensive meat industry should be phased out to make way for more environmentally friendly food production.

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