Lyft takes a giant step toward fighting climate change by announcing equal carbon offsets for all its cars
For Earth Day, Lyft has announced that it will be putting millions towards offsetting the emissions from its cars in order to make customers' trips entirely carbon neutral, CNN reports. But the plan will last a lot longer than just Earth Day 2018: The company promises to make its trips carbon neutral for the foreseeable future as a means of fighting climate change.
In the words of co-founder John Zimmer: "With great scale comes great responsibility."
Lyft will use the make, model, and miles driven by the cars of its employees to determine exactly how much CO2 it needs to offset. The company plans to donate money to projects related to forestry, renewable energy, and landfill emissions.
"As we continue to grow the business, we continue to think about finding ways to have the most positive impact possible on the cities and people that are part of our community," Zimmer said. Jeva Lange
President Trump's Environmental Protection Agency has come down hard on rejecting the scientific consensus on climate change, even silencing a report by the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program last fall that detailed how climate change is affecting everything from precipitation to air and water temperatures. Now the EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, has gone as far as to suggest that climate change might not "necessarily" be "a bad thing."
Pruitt appeared on Nevada's KSNV on Tuesday, where he rhetorically wondered, "Is [climate change] an existential threat?" He added: "We know that humans have flourished during times of … warming trends," and said it was merely "assumptions" that "because the climate is warming that that necessarily is a bad thing."
While it is true mankind has flourished when there is not a literal ice age, researchers predict that 150,000 people could die a year in Europe from climate change-related extreme weather events by the end of the century.
Pruitt has a long history of frustrating the scientific community with his comments about climate change, such as expressing doubt over whether carbon dioxide from human activity is a driving factor behind the environmental changes being recorded. Last fall, The Lancet reported that there were more than 9 million premature deaths from pollution in 2015, and that if not addressed, pollution "threatens the continuing survival of human societies." Jeva Lange
A major federal report published by 13 agencies Friday names humans as the primary cause of global climate change.
"This assessment concludes, based on extensive evidence, that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century," the document says. "For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence."
This runs afoul of the Trump administration's stance on the subject. A White House response highlighted a line in the report about "remaining uncertainty," noted "the climate has changed and is always changing," and promoted access to "affordable and reliable energy needed to grow economically." Bonnie Kristian
A climate change report drafted by scientists from 13 federal agencies won't be released until the Trump administration signs off on it, but the report does not line up with the views of President Trump and some members of his Cabinet, The New York Times said Monday.
The Times has obtained a copy of the report, which states that since 1980, the average temperature in the United States has risen dramatically, that even if greenhouse gas emissions stop immediately, the world would still experience a warming of 0.50 degrees Fahrenheit, and that it is "extremely likely" that more than half of the global mean temperature increase since 1951 can be linked to humans. In Alaska and the Arctic, surface, air, and ground temperatures are warming twice as fast as the global average, the report said, and it is "very likely that the accelerated rate of Arctic warming will have a significant consequence for the United States due to accelerating land and sea ice melting that is driving changes in the ocean including sea level rise threatening our coastal communities." This is also caused by humans, the report says.
One scientist who worked on the report told the Times they are worried it will be suppressed. One of the agencies that must approve it by Aug. 13 is the Environmental Protection Agency, led by Scott Pruitt, and he has said he does not believe carbon dioxide is a major contributor to global warming. Catherine Garcia
The State Department on Friday officially started the process of extracting the United States from the Paris Agreement. President Trump announced his intent to withdraw from the international emissions reduction deal in June, condemning the pact's "draconian financial and economic burdens," but no official notice was delivered to the United Nations until this week.
"The United States supports a balanced approach to climate policy that lowers emissions while promoting economic growth and ensuring energy security," says the statement from State, which also indicates the U.S. will continue to participate in major climate negotiations "to protect U.S. interests and ensure all future policy options remain open to the administration."
French President Emmanuel Macron attempted to persuade Trump to reconsider his stance on the Paris accord during Trump's visit to France last month, but his hopes were apparently unjustified. Bonnie Kristian
In an increasingly rare act of bipartisanship, Democratic and Republican lawmakers in California voted on Monday to extend the state's cap-and-trade climate program.
The initiative, which would have ended in 2020 but has now been extended to 2030, has been praised by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) as being a model for other states that want to lower their carbon emissions. "Tonight, California stood tall and once again, boldly confronted the existential threat of our time," he said in a statement released after the vote. "Republicans and Democrats set aside their differences, came together, and took courageous action. That's what good government looks like."
California law requires that by 2030, the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent from 1990 levels, and cap and trade limits the amount of carbon emissions by businesses and makes polluters request permits to release greenhouse gases. Brown said if cap and trade wasn't in place, regulators in the state would have to enact restrictions that would be hard on businesses and expensive for consumers, The Associated Press reports. Some environmentalists say the law does not go far enough, while conservatives believe it raises consumer costs. Catherine Garcia
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says if President Trump ditches the Paris Agreement, he'll ditch him.
On Wednesday morning, it was reported that Trump will likely withdraw the U.S. from the landmark Paris climate agreement, signed by former President Barack Obama in 2015, which commits to reducing carbon emissions by 26 to 28 percent within a decade. Later in the day, Musk, a member of Trump's business advisory council and manufacturing jobs initiative, tweeted that he didn't know "which way Paris will go, but I've done all I can to advise directly to POTUS, through others in WH & via councils, that we remain." A follower asked Musk what he'll do if Trump does leave the agreement, and Musk replied, "Will have no choice but to depart councils in that case." Trump tweeted Wednesday night that he will announce his decision at 3 p.m. Thursday in the White House Rose Garden.
Musk also disagreed with Trump on his travel ban that targeted people from seven Muslim-majority countries, tweeting in February that while he opposed the ban, "advisory councils simply advise and attending does not mean that I agree with actions by the administration." Catherine Garcia
Even as President Trump is reportedly readying to rip up the Paris climate agreement, ExxonMobil's shareholders voted Wednesday in favor of a proposal "calling on the oil and gas giant to assess and disclose how it is preparing its business for the transition to a low-carbon future," sustainability nonprofit Ceres reports. Over 62 percent of shareholders voted in favor of the climate report.
"This is an unprecedented victory at Exxon for investors in the fight to ensure a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy. Climate change is a risk to the core business of ExxonMobil, and the burden is now on the company to show that it is responsive to shareholder concerns," said New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
A string of high votes this year at other U.S. oil and gas companies and electric utilities is elevating the call for enhanced disclosures on climate risk and opportunities amidst the energy transition. The proposal at Exxon specifically requests that the company publish an annual assessment of the long-term impacts of technological advances and climate policies on its full portfolio of reserves and resources, including a portfolio resilience assessment that considers a low oil demand scenario consistent with the globally agreed upon 2-degree target. [Ceres]
ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods wrote a letter to President Trump urging him to stay in the Paris agreement earlier this month. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, formerly the ExxonMobil CEO, has also promoted the agreement.
"Climate change is real — and it's having a real effect on both our planet and the economy," said New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. "ExxonMobil has ignored investors' concerns about climate change for too long. Today's vote sends a clear message — shareowners want to see how a low-carbon future affects this company. ExxonMobil needs to take a hard look at what a greener future means and share that information with investors." Jeva Lange