near tribal land.

approved a plan to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035.

Indonesia and the Philippines, releasing vast amounts of carbon dioxide before being refined in Chinese factories powered by coal.

Another source of nickel is a massive mining operation north of the Arctic Circle in Norilsk, Russia, which has produced so much sulfur dioxide that a plume of the toxic gas is big enough to be seen from space. Other minerals used in electric vehicle batteries, such as lithium and cobalt, appear to have been mined or refined with the use of child or forced labor.

With global demand for electric vehicles projected to grow sixfold by 2030, the dirty origins of this otherwise promising green industry have become a looming crisis. The Democrats’ new tax and climate bill devotes nearly $400 billion to clean energy initiatives over the next decade, including electric vehicle tax credits and financing for companies that manufacture clean cars in the United States.

New domestic high-tech mines and factories could make this supply chain more secure, and potentially less damaging to the global environment. But skeptics say those facilities may still pose a risk to the air, soil and water that surrounds them, and spark a fierce debate about which communities might bear those costs.

can leach out sulfuric acid and heavy metals. More than a dozen former copper mines in the United States are now Superfund sites, contaminated locations where taxpayers can end up on the hook for cleanup.

canceled leases for another copper-nickel mine near a Minnesota wilderness area, saying the Trump administration had improperly renewed them.

Talon Metals insists that it will have no such problems. “We can produce the battery materials that are necessary for the energy transition and also protect the environment,” said Todd Malan, the company’s chief external affairs officer and head of climate strategy. “It’s not a choice.”

The company is using high-tech equipment to map underground flows of water in the area and create a 3-D model of the ore, so it can mine “surgically” while leaving other parts of the earth undisturbed, Mr. Malan said. Talon is also promising to use technology that will safely store the mine’s toxic byproducts and do its mining far underground, in deep bedrock where groundwater doesn’t typically penetrate.

Talon has teamed up with the United Steelworkers union on work force development. And Rio Tinto has won a $2.2 million Department of Energy grant to explore capturing carbon near the site, which may allow the mine to market its products as zero emission.

estimates, the world will need roughly 20 times as much nickel and cobalt by 2040 as it had in 2020 and 40 times as much lithium.

Recycling could play a bigger role in supplying these materials by the end of the decade, and some new car batteries do not use any nickel. Yet nickel is still highly sought after for electric trucks and higher-end cars, because it increases a vehicle’s range.

The infrastructure law passed last year devoted $7 billion to developing the domestic supply chain for critical minerals. The climate and tax law also sets ambitious thresholds for ensuring that electric vehicles that receive tax incentives are partly U.S.-made.

has begged miners to produce more.

is home to deposits of nickel, copper and cobalt, which were formed 1.1 billion years ago from a volcano that spewed out miles of liquid magma.

Talon has leased 31,000 acres of land in the area, covering an 11-mile geological feature deep under the swamp. The company has zealously drilled and examined the underground resources along one of those 11 miles, and discovered several other potential satellite deposits.

In August, the company announced that it had also acquired land in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to explore for more nickel.

Talon will start Minnesota’s environmental review process within a few months, and the company says it anticipates a straightforward review. But legal challenges for proposed mines can regularly stretch to a decade or more, and some living near the project say they will do what they can to fight the mine.

Elizabeth Skinaway and her sister, Jean Skinaway-Lawrence, members of the Sandy Lake Band of Minnesota Chippewa, are especially concerned about damage to the wild rice, which Ms. Skinaway has been gathering in lakes several miles from the proposed mine for 43 years.

Ms. Skinaway acknowledges the need to combat climate change, which also threatens the rice. But she sees little justice in using the same kind of profit-driven, extractive industry that she said had long plundered native lands and damaged the global environment.

“The wild rice, the gift from the creator, that’s going to be gone, from the sulfide that’s going to leach into the river and the lakes,” she said. “It’s just a really scary thought.”

“We were here first,” said her sister. “We should be heard.”

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Expansion of Clean Energy Loans Is ‘Sleeping Giant’ of Climate Bill

Tucked into the Inflation Reduction Act that President Biden signed last week is a major expansion of federal loan programs that could help the fight against climate change by channeling more money to clean energy and converting plants that run on fossil fuels to nuclear or renewable energy.

The law authorizes as much as $350 billion in additional federal loans and loan guarantees for energy and automotive projects and businesses. The money, which will be disbursed by the Energy Department, is in addition to the more well-known provisions of the law that offer incentives for the likes of electric cars, solar panels, batteries and heat pumps.

The aid could breathe life into futuristic technologies that banks might find too risky to lend to or into projects that are just short of the money they need to get going.

failure of Solyndra, a solar company that had borrowed about $500 million from the Energy Department, to criticize the Obama administration’s climate and energy policies.

Backers of the program have argued that despite defaults like Solyndra, the program has been sustainable overall. Of the $31 billion the department has disbursed, about 40 percent has been repaid and interest payments in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2021, totaled $533 million — more money than the failed Solyndra loan.

The Energy Department’s loan programs began in 2005 under the George W. Bush administration but expanded significantly in the Obama era. The department provided a crucial loan that helped Tesla expand when it only sold expensive two-door electric sports cars; the company is now the world’s most valuable automaker.

Under the Trump administration, which played down the risks of climate change, the department’s loan office was much less active. The Biden team has been working to change that. Last month, the department said it planned to loan $2.5 billion to General Motors and LG Energy Solution to build electric-car battery factories in Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

complicate the qualification process.

  • Plug-In Hybrids: After falling behind all-electric cars, U.S. sales of plug-in hybrids have been surging. The high cost of electric cars and gasoline have given them an opening.
  • Car Crashes: Tesla and other automakers capture data from their vehicles to operate their products. Experts say the collected information could also improve road safety.
  • A Frustrating Hassle: The electric vehicle revolution is nearly here, but its arrival is being slowed by a fundamental problem: The chargers where people refuel these cars are often broken.
  • One beneficiary of the new loan money could be the Palisades Power Plant, a nuclear facility on Lake Michigan near Kalamazoo, Mich., that closed in May. The plant had struggled to compete in the PJM energy market, which serves homes and businesses in 13 states, including Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.

    The Biden administration has made nuclear power a focal point of its efforts to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector by 2035. The administration has offered billions of dollars to help existing facilities like the Diablo Canyon Power Plant — a nuclear operation on California’s coast that is set to close by the end of 2025 — stay open longer. It is also backing new technologies like small modular reactors that the industry has long said would be cheaper, safer and easier to build than conventional large nuclear reactors.

    The owner of the Palisades facility, Holtec International, said it was reviewing the loan program and other opportunities for its own small reactors as well as bringing the shuttered plant back online.

    “There are a number of hurdles to restarting the facility that would need to be bridged,” the company said in a statement, “but we will work with the state, federal government, and a yet to be identified third-party operator to see if this is a viable option.”

    Rye Development, a company based in West Palm Beach, Fla., that is working on several projects in the Pacific Northwest.

    geothermal power; old coal power plants as sites for large batteries; and old coal mines for solar farms. Such conversions could reduce the need to build projects on undeveloped land, which often takes longer because they require extensive environmental review and can face significant local opposition.

    “We’re in a heap of trouble in siting the many millions of acres of solar we need,” Mr. Reicher said. “It’s six to 10 million acres of land we’ve got to find to site the projected build out of utility scale solar in the United States. That’s huge.”

    Other developers are hoping the government will help finance technologies and business plans that are still in their infancy.

    Timothy Latimer is the chief executive and co-founder of Fervo Energy, a Houston company that uses the same horizontal drilling techniques as oil and gas producers to develop geothermal energy. He said that his firm can produce clean energy 24 hours a day or produce more or less energy over the course of a day to balance out the intermittent nature of wind and solar power and spikes in demand.

    Mr. Latimer claims that the techniques his firm has developed will lower the cost for geothermal power, which in many cases is more expensive than electricity generated from natural gas or solar panels. He has projects under development in Nevada, Utah, Idaho and California and said that the new loan authority could help the geothermal business expand much more quickly.

    “It’s been the talk of the geothermal industry,” Mr. Latimer said. “I don’t think we were expecting good news a month ago, but we’re getting more ready for prime time. We have barely scratched the surface with the amount of geothermal that we can develop in the United States.”

    For all the potential of the new law, critics say that a significant expansion of government loans and loan guarantees could invite more waste and fraud. In addition to Solyndra, the Energy Department has acknowledged that several solar projects that received its loans or loan guarantees have failed or never got off the ground.

    A large nuclear plant under construction in Georgia, Vogtle, has also received $11.5 billion in federal loan guarantees. The plant has been widely criticized for years of delays and billions of dollars in cost overruns.

    “Many of these projects are funded based on political whim rather than project quality,” said Gary Ackerman, founder and former executive director of the Western Power Trading Forum, a coalition of more than 100 utilities and other businesses that trade in energy markets. “That leads to many stranded assets that never live up to their promises and become examples of government waste.”

    But Jamie Carlson, who was a senior adviser to the energy secretary during the Obama administration, said the department learned from its mistakes and developed a better approach to reviewing and approving loan applications. It also worked more closely with businesses seeking money to ensure that they were successful.

    “It used to be this black box,” said Ms. Carlson, who is now an executive at SoftBank Energy. “You just sat in purgatory for like 18 months and sometimes up to two years.”

    Ms. Carlson said the department’s loans serve a vital function because they can help technologies and companies that have demonstrated some commercial success but need more money to become financially viable. “It’s there to finance technologies that are proven but perhaps to banks that are perceived as more risky,” she said.

    Energy executives said they were excited because more federal loans and loan guarantees could turbocharge their plans.

    “The projects that can be done will go faster,” said William W. Funderburk Jr., a former commissioner at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power who now runs a water and energy company. “This is a tectonic plate shift for the industry — in a good way.”

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    Scientists Say New Climate Law Is Likely To Reduce Warming

    By Associated Press
    August 16, 2022

    Scientists say new climate investment will have some beneficial effect on global warming, but the U.S. has a way to go.

    Massive incentives for clean energy in the U.S. law signed Tuesday by President Joe Biden should reduce future global warming “not a lot, but not insignificantly either,” according to a climate scientist who led an independent analysis of the package.

    Even with nearly $375 billion in tax credits and other financial enticements for renewable energy in the law, the United States still isn’t doing its share to help the world stay within another few tenths of a degree of warming, a new analysis by Climate Action Tracker says. The group of scientists examines and rates each country’s climate goals and actions. It still rates American action as “insufficient” but hailed some progress.

    “This is the biggest thing to happen to the U.S. on climate policy,” said Bill Hare, the Australia-based director of Climate Analytics which puts out the tracker. “When you think back over the last decades, you know, not wanting to be impolite, there’s a lot of talk, but not much action.”

    This is action, he said. Not as much as Europe, and Americans still spew twice as much heat-trapping gases per person as Europeans, Hare said. The U.S. has also put more heat-trapping gas into the air over time than any other nation.

    Before the law, Climate Action Tracker calculated that if every other nation made efforts similar to those of the U.S., it would lead to a world with catastrophic warming — 5.4 to 7.2 degrees (3 to 4 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial times. Now in the best case scenario, which Hare said is reasonable and likely, U.S. actions, if mimicked, would lead to only 3.6 degrees (2 degrees Celsius) of warming. If things don’t work quite as optimistically as Hare thinks, it would be 5.4 degrees (3 degrees Celsius) of warming, the analysis said.

    Even that best case scenario falls short of the overarching internationally accepted goal of limiting warming to 2.7 degrees warming (1.5 degrees Celsius) since pre-industrial times. And the world has already warmed 2 degrees (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the mid-19th century.

    Other nations “who we know have been holding back on coming forward with more ambitious policies and targets” are now more likely to take action in a “significant spillover effect globally,” Hare said. He said officials from Chile and a few Southeast Asian countries, which he would not name, told him this summer that they were waiting for U.S. action first.

    And China “won’t say this out loud, but I think will see the U.S. move as something they need to match,” Hare said.

    Scientists at the Climate Action Tracker calculated that without any other new climate policies, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in 2030 will shrink to 26% to 42% below 2005 levels, which is still short of the country’s goal of cutting emissions in half. Analysts at the think tank Rhodium Group calculated pollution cuts of 31% to 44% from the new law.

    Other analysts and scientists said the Climate Action Tracker numbers makes sense.

    “The contributions from the U.S. to greenhouse gas emissions are huge,” said Princeton University climate scientist Gabriel Vecchi. “So reducing that is definitely going to have a global impact.”

    Samantha Gross, director of climate and energy at the Brookings Institution, called the new law a down payment on U.S. emission reductions.

    “Now that this is done, the U.S. can celebrate a little, then focus on implementation and what needs to happen next,” Gross said.

    Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

    Source: newsy.com

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    Oil industry gears up to tap U.S. climate bill for carbon capture projects

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    A Shell employee walks through the company’s new Quest Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) facility in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada, October 7, 2021. REUTERS/Todd Korol

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    Aug 15 (Reuters) – Tax credits in the $430 billion U.S. climate and tax bill set to be signed into law this week will kickstart carbon sequestration projects, say oil and gas proponents, offsetting startup costs for some of the anti-pollution initiatives.

    Carbon capture and storage hubs that take gases from chemical, power and gas producers and oil refineries have become the energy industry’s preferred way to combat climate warming. But large-scale development has snagged over costs and lack of guaranteed revenue.

    The Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, which was approved by lawmakers last week, provides a tax credit of up to $85 per ton for burying carbon dioxide produced by industrial activity, and up to $180 per ton for pulling carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air.

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    The bill also greenlit new leases of federal land for oil and gas development, without considerations of climate impacts. Importantly, it automatically approved high bids from a November 2021 offshore auction that included a drilling project intended for a carbon-burying scheme. read more

    “It’s a pretty big deal,” said Tim Duncan, chief executive of Talos Energy Inc (TALO.N) , an offshore oil and gas producer that is building a business around carbon sequestration. Talos has launched four projects and signed up big backers including Freeport LNG and Chevron Corp (CVX.N) .

    “This is going to unlock a significant amount of emissions that could become economic for capture,” added Chris Davis, a senior vice president at Milestone Carbon, which develop carbon projects for mid-sized companies.

    CONTINUED STRUGGLES

    Over the last two decades, companies have tentatively tried and largely struggled to make a business from using CO2 to boost oil production. More recently, big investors want firms to address global warming, and the oil industry aims to show it takes climate change seriously.

    There are carbon sequestration hubs proposed around the world – in Alberta in Canada, Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and Huizhou, China. Another type of carbon capture, which directly catches the greenhouse gas from the atmosphere rather than industrial production, also are being considered. read more

    A massive expansion of carbon capture is vital to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, according to energy consuming nations advocate, the International Energy Agency (IEA). The sector must go to storing 7.6 billion tonnes a year from around 40 million tonnes currently. read more

    The new tax incentives mean “a number of small to mid-scale projects have a better chance of becoming economical,” said Frederik Majkut, a senior vice president for energy services company Schlumberger’s (SLB.N) Carbon Solutions business.

    There are some 5 billion tons of carbon released in the United States annually that could be captured by these sequestration schemes. Previously, very little of that could be captured economically, said Milestone’s Davis said.

    “With $85 a ton, I think you can get another billion tons,” he said. “It starts to look like an attractive investment.”

    BIGGER PROJECTS

    Larger projects, such as that advanced by Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) , which floated a $100 billion plan for a massive carbon hub serving refineries and chemical plants, will need carbon taxes and other initiatives, said analysts.

    Widespread deployment of these industrial hubs will require additional policy support from the Biden administration, an Exxon spokesperson said of the bill’s climate provisions.

    Smaller projects are more likely to advance but still face hurdles including underground pore rights and permits, said Tracy Evans, chief executive of CapturePoint, which struck a partnership with pipeline operator Energy Transfer(ET.N) for a Louisiana hub.

    Currently, permitting for carbon injection wells can take years to secure. And while offshore auctions cover large blocks, aggregating smaller tracts of private land owners onshore can slow the process, he said.

    “It will drive more investment in the space for sure,” Evans said.

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    Reporting by Liz Hampton in Denver, additional reporting by Sabrina Valle in Houston
    Editing by Marguerita Choy

    Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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    Celebrities: The Climate Consequences Of Their Private Jet Use

    By Rodney Young
    August 14, 2022

    Taylor Swift isn’t the only celebrity facing backlash for their private jet usage.

    There may be bad blood between environmentalists and pop princess Taylor Swift.

    Yard, a sustainability marketing agency based out of the United Kingdom, found Swift to be the biggest celebrity polluter of the year based on her private jet usage in the first seven months of 2022.

    After pulling data from Celebrity Jets, a source for tracking the use of private jets by celebrities, Yard found Swift’s private jet flew 170 times out of the first 200 days this year.

    A spokesperson for Swift released a statement after that report was released, saying, “Taylor’s jet is loaned out regularly to other individuals, to attribute most or all of these trips to her is blatantly incorrect.”

    However, Swift isn’t the only celebrity facing backlash for their private jet usage.

    Yard’s top celebrity carbon dioxide offenders are:

    Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather comes in second on the list, emitting more than 7,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide this year.

    Mayweather is followed by Jay-Z, whose jet has taken 136 flights.

    A-Rod with 106 flights.

    Blake Shelton, with more flights than A-Rod at 111 but with longer flying times.

    Steven Spielberg, Kim Kardashian, Mark Wahlberg, Oprah Winfrey, and rapper Travis Scott also made the list.

    Additionally, Kylie Jenner and Drake garnered intense public criticism after it was revealed that their private jets logged trips as short as 17 minutes and 14 minutes.

    Deputy Director of UNC Institute for the Environment, Dr. Sarav Arunachalam, joins Newsy to explain the environmental cost of owning and overusing a private jet.

    Source: newsy.com

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