Recent climate policy discussions on how to rapidly reduce carbon have taken on an all-of-the-above attitude that the world, and especially the US, must include all technical solutions, including carbon capture, extracting more fossil fuel, and keeping nuclear plants running as a bridge to carbon reduction. The most recent climate funding, including the new infrastructure law and the soon to be passed new climate bill, have been allocating money to these bridge efforts as well as funding clean renewable energy. There is a push by the fossil fuel industries to insist that more fossil fuel must be extracted and carbon capture technology must be used to burn the extracted fuel in order to not run out of energy while waiting for renewable energy sources to catch up. This puts more carbon in the air, does not stop the air pollution that kills about seven million people a year worldwide, and carbon capture requires a very large infrastructure base, including moving the carbon through a massive pipeline system.
Dr. Mark Z. Jacobson and his team at Stanford University has been modeling the requirements and technology that will be needed to meet world wide carbon goals for years for 145 countries and have found a startling result. His new study found that all 145 countries can meet international carbon reduction by simply by electrifying everything and using renewable energy technologies-- off and on shore wind electricity, solar panels for rooftops and power plants, concentrated solar power, solar heat, geothermal electricity and heat, hydroelectricity, and small amounts of tidal and wave electricity. In this podcast episode, he discusses how the other bridge practices and technologies are much more infrastructure heavy and don't reduce carbon as cheaply and quickly as these renewable technologies.
This worldwide model raises many questions about how climate money should be used for the climate emergency, especially since the technology of carbon capture has yet to be proven to be usable on a large scale. This podcast episode answers many questions about the current technology path on carbon.
Mark Z. Jacobson is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University. Some describe him as the architect of the U.S. Green New Deal. He has authored books, textbooks and articles on transitioning to renewable energy. Recently co-authored the study, “Low-Cost Solutions to Global Warming, Air Pollution, and Energy Insecurity for 145 Countries.
Professor Jacobson came to our attention via his opinion piece in The Hill, “No miracle tech needed: How to switch to renewables now and lower costs doing it.”, which draws heavily on this report. His credentials are impressive:
Director and co-founder, Atmosphere/Energy Program (link), Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, 2004-present.
Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment (link), January 2008-present
Senior Fellow, Precourt Institute for Energy (link), January 1, 2010-present
Co-founder, The Solutions Project (link), July 10, 2011-present.
B. S., with distinction, Stanford University, Civil Engineering, 1988
B. A., with distinction, Stanford University, Economics, 1988
M. S., Stanford University, Environmental Engineering, 1988
M. S., UCLA, Atmospheric Sciences, 1991
Ph. D., UCLA, Atmospheric Sciences, 1994
Have you ever dreamed of an approach to carbon capture and sequestration that can be deployed anywhere, and has many years of demonstrated success? It turns out farmers have been employers using this technology – plants – for thousands of years. Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) is a hot topic in the climate world right now but there is a huge difference between engineering CCS versus natural CCS. The infrastructure law has set aside $12 billion to do expensive engineering CCS demonstration plants that will require complex technology to trap the carbon coming from a polluting plant, hundreds of miles of possibly dangerous CO2 pipelines to transport it to the sequestration sites, and looking for underground sites to store the carbon forever.
Dr. Jeff Creque and others have spent years finding out that there are many potential areas in farming that can be used as permanent and natural cycling of carbon while lowering pollution and improving the soil so that it will absorb more CO2 that current farming practices. He outlines it in this podcast episode and his work with excellent graphics can be found at the Carbon Cycle Institute.
Dr. Jeff Creque is a co-founder of the Marin Carbon Project and the Carbon Cycle Institute, where he serves as Director of Rangeland and Agroecosystem Management. Jeff provides senior leadership on carbon farming and land management, informed by thirty-five years of applied experience and theoretical training. He is an agricultural and rangeland consultant and a Natural Resources Conservation Service certified nutrient management planning specialist and technical service provider.
Jeff’s organizational affiliations include: Founding Board Member, Alliance for Local Sustainable Agriculture (Marin); Co-Founder, Bolinas-Stinson Beach Resource Recovery Project; Agricultural Director, Apple Tree International; Co-Founder, West Marin Compost Coalition.
Jeff holds a PhD in Rangeland Ecology from Utah State University, and is a California State Board of Forestry Certified Professional in Rangeland Management.
While many climate groups and activists are fighting for climate mitigation on a national level, some local environmental and climate groups are fighting for climate mitigation right in their backyard. It isn't easy work and takes knowledge and especially perseverance against local and national companies influencing local governmental leaders against the own self interests over the public good. This week's podcast episode features the work of Mike Eisenfeld from the San Juan Citizens Alliance and his tireless work to shut down an aging coal power plant in Farmington, NM only to have a hedge fund swoop in to keep the plant going with a large and unproven Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) plan.
This plan has failed almost every milestone and keeps changing the rationalization for the coal power plant against all odds and science. Mike has watch-dogged this project through failed promises and now their attempts of getting federal and state money to bail out this failing power plant. His community has been a dumping ground for dirty oil extraction and dirty power for years and he is determined to shut down the coal power plant and get transition money for the town to create jobs that do not poison the people who live in the area.
Local work is a very important part of reaching climate goals and Mike talks about his project and working locally. The important and compelling story of his and others efforts can be found below.
Mike Eisenfeld is San Juan Citizens Alliance Energy and Climate Program Manager. Mike joined SJCA in 2006 following ten years as an environmental consultant in the Four Corners region. Mike works on energy issues including coal, oil/gas, air quality and public lands. He specializes in the National Environmental Policy Act, Federal Land Policy & Management Act, and Endangered Species Act compliance. Mike has a B.A. from Bates College and a M.A. in Environmental Policy and Management from the University of Denver.
Mike's current work and this episode focus on a venture capital backed effort to extend the life of the San Juan Generating Station - a 1.7 gigawatt coal-fired power generation station once scheduled for decommissioning in 2022. As described in a June 29, 2022 High Country News article, this project proposes to implement carbon capture at a scale never before implemented, and to store it underground in areas of questionable geological quality.
Climate Advocates Can Use the SEC's Whistleblower Program To Stop Intentional Climate Misinformation - Poppy Alexander
As a climate advocate, have you been angry and frustrated over corporations who tell their stockholders how great their climate programs are doing to find out they are just greenwashing everyone? The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has a whistleblower program and their new focus is to stop companies from reporting misleading and false information on their climate efforts or climate challenges. How many companies are claiming to move to "net zero" on carbon releases only to use skewed formulas to make the stockholders and public think they are making progress. The SEC is counting on average citizens to report these false statements and are willing to share with citizens tipsters up to 30 percent of the fines they place on the wrongdoing companies.
To make these tips to the SEC, it is wise to have the help of attorneys who know this program and can navigate through the hoops to have a successful tip. This podcast episode features Poppy Alexander, a seasoned attorney from Constantine Cannon, one of the most successful whistleblower law firms in the country. Take a listen and see how citizens can keep these companies honest in their reporting to the government and the public. If you think you might have proof of wrongdoing in this area, contact us at the Get In Touch tab above and we will look at your case and guide you to a good attorney.
Sarah “Poppy” Alexander is a partner in Constantine Cannon’s San Francisco office.
She represents whistleblowers and government entities in qui tam lawsuits, as well as under the various agency whistleblower programs including those administered by the Internal Revenue Service, Securities and Exchange Commission, The Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and Department of Transportation. Poppy’s practice focuses on issues of international corruption and financial misconduct, with a specialty in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and money laundering cases. She writes and speaks regularly about emerging topics in financial fraud, including sanctions violations, Special Purpose Acquisition Companies or SPACs, and cryptocurrency. Poppy has been selected to the Northern California Super Lawyers Rising Stars list every year since 2016.
Prior to joining Constantine Cannon, Poppy was an associate attorney at Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld LLP, where she worked to ensure prisoners received appropriate medical and mental health care and adequate accommodations for disabilities in jails and prisons.
Poppy maintains an active pro bono practice, with a particular emphasis on protecting the rights of children and adults in detention and protecting communities harmed by corporate bad acts abroad. Poppy is also a board member for the Impact Fund, an organization devoted to funding and supporting cutting edge civil rights litigation.
Poppy graduated from Harvard Law School, where she was the co-Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review and an active member of the Harvard Human Rights Clinic. Poppy spent one of her law school summers at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, fighting for abortion rights and the rights of pregnant women. After law school, Poppy clerked for the Honorable Martha Craig Daughtrey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Nashville, TN.
Poppy holds an M.A. in Political Theory from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. from Yale College.