Republican states move to block giant asset manager’s ESG push for utility companies

Read the full story at The Hill.

A group of Republican-led states have filed a motion with a federal regulator to block BlackRock, the largest asset manager in the world, from imposing sustainable investing practices on utility companies.

The states, led by Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R), appealed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to keep BlackRock from laying down environmental, social and governmental (ESG) investing priorities on utility companies, continuing a GOP crusade against what it argues is “woke” investing.

The states, including Utah, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and West Virginia, filed the motion against the investment company on Wednesday, asking the FERC to not give it blanket authorization to buy more than $10 million in voting stakes in a utility company if it imposes ESG priorities.

An EPA proposal to (almost) eliminate climate pollution from power plants

Read the full story from NPR. See also:

Coal and gas-fired power plants would have to eliminate nearly all their climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions in just a little over a decade, under proposed regulations issued today by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Owners of those plants have been allowed to spew climate-warming carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere for more than a century. If these proposed regulations are finalized, they would come close to putting a stop to that practice.

In Florida study, nonnative leaf-litter ants are replacing native ants

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

A new look at decades of data from museum collections and surveys of leaf-litter ants in Florida reveals a steady decline in native ants and simultaneous increase in nonnative ants — even in protected natural areas of the state, researchers report.

Spike in major league home runs tied to climate change

Read the full story from Dartmouth College.

A new study identifies the influence of climate change in the greater number of home runs in major league baseball in recent years. The researchers found that more than 500 home runs since 2010 can be attributed to warmer, thinner air caused by global warming, and that rising temperatures could account for 10% or more of home runs by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. The researchers examined how the average number of home runs per year could rise for each major league ballpark with every 1-degree Celsius increase in the global average temperature.

Why this new plant is capturing carbon dioxide just to let it back out again

Read the full story at The Verge.

Global Thermostat wants to sell its CO2-capturing tech to other companies. But first, it has to prove the system works.

Exploring pathways for government CDR purchases

Read the full story from the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Meeting our net-zero goals will require the deployment of emissions reducing technologies and pathways for directly removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. For the latter category, innovation and funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law have the United States on a trajectory towards global leadership in deploying carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies, including direct air capture (DAC), but gaps remain to effectively scale these solutions. In this context, a bipartisan conversation surrounding the role of the federal government in purchasing carbon removal services has emerged, ultimately leading to congressional direction for the Department of Energy to “establish a competitive purchasing pilot program for the purchase of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere or upper hydrosphere” as part of the Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations omnibus bill.

With this new pilot program to procure CDR services, DOE can provide needed demand-side support for the carbon removal industry to catalyze investment and reach gigaton scale. Critical design decisions will determine the program’s effectiveness at scaling up the carbon removal industry and the type of carbon removal projects that will receive private sector investment.

To inform DOE and Congress in the effective design of the pilot CDR procurement program, the Bipartisan Policy Center convened a private, off-the-record workshop with NGOs and industry stakeholders familiar with the intricacies of procuring CDR services. The workshop included a discussion on goals and design characteristics of the procurement program, with questions about how to best leverage private sector expertise and catalyze additional investments to multiply federal dollars spent. While there was no consensus position among all participants, the following categories reflect considerations brought up during the discussion.

GM invests in lithium maker to bolster EV materials supply

Read the full story from Manufacturing Dive.

GM is investing in lithium producer Energy Exploration Technologies Inc. as part of a new supply deal between the two companies.

The U.S. lithium company, known as EnergyX, will provide GM with exclusive lithium supply from its contracted mining companies in North America and South America, according to a press release. GM will also finance additional lithium production projects on the two continents.

The two companies will also collaborate to commercialize EnergyX’s direct lithium extraction technology, which the producer claims is more cost-effective and sustainable and will lead to a new lithium supply chain in North America.

Curbside film recycling can be a reality with the right equipment and policy updates, pilot suggests

Read the full story at Packaging Dive.

EPR could spur the investments needed to upgrade MRFs to handle flexible plastics, but “you’ve got to figure out that last step,” said Flexible Packaging Association President and CEO Alison Keane.

The country’s most EV-friendly metro areas

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

Electric vehicle sales are ramping up, with 800,000 of them sold last year alone — an increase of 65% from 2021, according to a new report by StorageCafe ranking the nation’s largest metros by their electric vehicle infrastructure. 

California has had the most electric vehicle adoption by far, up from 258,000 vehicles in 2016 to 878,000 in 2021. On a city level, Los Angeles has the most registered EVs at 290,000, while Jackson, Mississippi, has the least at 480.

However, the availability of EV charging infrastructure varies widely depending on geographic location. Out of the top 10 U.S. metros for electric-vehicle friendliness, California metros make up more than half of the spots — while Miami is the only Southern or East Coast city in the top 10.

The massive ‘batteries’ hidden beneath your feet

Read the full story in Wired.

When rainwater falls, it soaks down into an aquifer, a layer of porous rock or loose materials like sand or gravel. For thousands of years, humans have been digging into these bands of liquid to bring up drinking water. But interest is growing in another clever use for these subterranean pools: aquifer thermal energy storage, or ATES.