Civilian Climate Corps programs take off in states across the country
But those plans face an uncertain path on Capitol Hill after the program was removed from Democrats’ landmark climate bill this summer, as The Climate 202 previously reported.
Regardless of the standoff in Washington, states across the country have already launched similar programs to hire young people to tackle climate issues within their borders. These state programs could eventually provide a powerful model for a civilian climate body at the federal level, proponents argue.
“States have consistently stepped up to pick up the slack on climate when the federal government has fallen short,” said Casey Katimsgeneral manager of the American Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. “So the states are stepping up to lead, but the administration can always look at what it can do.”
From Maine to California, at least eight states have launched versions of Climate Corps programs, many of which are integrated into state governments and receive federal funding from US Corps.
Here is an overview of these programs and how they could one day inform a federal initiative:
California and edible food recovery
Long an environmental leader among states, California established the first national Climate Corps program in 2020.
The California Climate Action Corpsheaded by a state office called California Volunteers, favored the promotion of edible foods. That means fellows have sought to divert food from landfills — a major source of climate pollution — to Californians struggling with food insecurity.
“There’s a huge push to make sure food doesn’t end up in landfill, where it can cause more greenhouse gas emissions, rather than with the people who need it most. “, said josh fridayCalifornia Service Manager.
In 2016, the Golden State passed ambitious legislation that calls for reducing organic waste disposal by 75% by 2025. Organic waste in landfills accounts for about 20% of California’s methane, which is more than 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide in its first 20 years in the atmosphere.
Maine Energy Conservation and Home
In July, the Maine legislature allocated modest funding — $200,000 — to launch the Maine Climate Body.
In a state that experiences cold, snowy winters, the program will focus on energy efficiency and energy conservation, helping residents save money on utility bills while heating their homes.
“There is an urgent need to help people save money on fuel this winter and stay warm and safe,” said Kirsten Brewerwho coordinates the program under the aegis of Maine Volunteerthe state services commission.
Maryalice Croftonexecutive director of Volunteer Maine, said she and Brewer are still reviewing proposals for pilot projects that could be up and running by January.
Crofton added that she is “very interested” in hiring social workers who could help low-income residents take advantage of discounts for weathering their homes, including the Weather Reduction Act incentives. ‘inflation.
Colorado and Wildfires, Drought Mitigation
In Centennial State, which is particularly vulnerable to severe wildfires and extreme drought, the Colorado Climate Body sought to mitigate the dangers of these climate change fueled disasters.
Members of the corps, led by Serve Colorado in the Office of the Lieutenant Governorhelped thin forests and educate landowners about wildfire risk.
“Over the past few years we have seen the worst wildfires in Colorado history,” Colorado said. Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera, citing a grass fire last year that burned down hundreds of homes and forced thousands to evacuate. “So that’s part of the reason Serve Colorado has really stepped up to address these issues.”
Corps members also helped install low-flow showerheads and more efficient faucets and toilets, in a bid to “help reduce water use and save money in the Coloradans.” on utility bills,” Primavera added.
Michigan and the White House’s Next Steps
In September, Michigan announced $1.3 million in federal funding to support the Michigan Climate Corps AmeriCorps program.
Although applications for new funding are expected this month, the program has already used previous funding to partner with Wayne State University to help Detroit residents protect their homes from flooding, said Virginia “Ginna” Holmesgeneral manager of the Michigan Community Service Commission.
Meanwhile, advocates have continued to urge Congress and the Biden administration to create a civilian climate corps at the national level. If no clear legislative pathway emerges, the president could sign an executive order directing relevant federal agencies to set up the program, some supporters say.
A White House The spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
FERC Chairman Richard Glick ‘confident’ on Senate reconfirmation
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission President Richard Glick expressed cautious optimism Thursday that the Senate will reconfirm him as head of the federal pipeline regulator, who has taken a more active role in climate policy under his leadership.
“I’m told there are a lot of people — the White House, Senator Schumer, others — working hard for confirmation,” Glick said during the interview. American Renewable Energy Council‘s Grid Forum, referring to the Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.).
“They are confident, and so I will remain confident,” he added.
At the urging of Glick, a Democrat, FERC said in February it would review the impact of pipelines and other natural gas projects on climate change and environmental justice communities. But the commission quickly backtracked in the face of opposition from fossil fuel industry groups, Republican lawmakers and Senator Joe Manchin III (DW.Va.)
President Biden appointed Glick to continue leading the commission in May. But the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resourceschaired by Manchin, has not yet scheduled a confirmation hearing and time is running out before the Senate adjourns at the end of the year.
Spokespersons for Manchin and Schumer did not respond to requests for comment.
Zinke’s Washington scandals follow him on the Montana House run
Some Montana Republicans are hesitant to back the former interior secretary ryan zinke in his bid to represent the state in the U.S. House, citing his scandals under the Trump administration, Ben Lefebvre reports for Politico.
Zinke resigned in 2018 under a cloud of ethics investigations, including inquiries related to his Montana real estate dealings and his conduct in office. He narrowly survived the Republican primary in June, but now Republicans in Montana appear divided, the former governor Marc Racicot and former Secretary of State Bob Brown writing in a joint editorial that they will vote for the Democratic candidate Monique Tranel on Zinke because of the controversies.
Meanwhile, John LambZinke’s libertarian opponent, said Zinke asked him to leave the race and instead endorse it – a sign that Zinke knows the race is close and he cannot risk losing votes from the GOP for the benefit of a third-party candidate.
Zinke criticized Tranel for supporting renewable energy projects and the Green New Deal, blaming Democrats for recent spikes in inflation. Despite their apprehensions, Republicans could still lend their support to Zinke in November as part of their broader campaign to take control of the House.
Carcinogenic pesticides have polluted local rivers for decades, DC says
DC Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) announced a lawsuit against the chemical maker on Thursday Velsicolalleging the company knowingly contaminated the Potomac and Anacostia rivers with cancer-linked pesticides, the Washington Post Kyle Swenson reports.
At a press conference, Racine said the company had known since 1959 that a product it made to kill insects could cause cancer. He said Velsicol opted for a campaign of “misinformation and deception” and sold the product until 1988, when the federal government banned it.
Racine added that the alleged contamination continues to harm people and ecosystems in the region, especially in low-income black and brown communities.
Velsicol representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Germany got rich from exports and cheap Russian gas. Now that could drag Europe down.
Germany has established itself as the economic engine of Europe by relying on cheap Russian energy and manufacturing exports. But the energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine has challenged this economic model, with potentially serious consequences for the rest of Europe, Anthony Faiola and Vanessa Guinan-Bank report for La Poste.
Before the war, Russia supplied more than half of all natural gas in Germany, including for the high-energy production of ammonia for fertilizers, rubber for sneakers and coatings for cars. Today, as Germany seeks to entirely replace Russian gas imports, its economy is collapsing.
If the country continues on this path, economists say it could face a recession as early as next year, dragging the rest of Europe down with it. Already, analysts are warning that energy prices are likely to remain high for years.
For now, Germany’s energy reserves are teeming with increased imports from Norway and the Netherlands. Germany is also burning more coal and oil, with plans to reactivate old coal-fired power plants that could threaten the country’s climate goals.