NRDC in the News Weekly Highlights: March 7, 2016

1. Rhea Suh spoke to Bloomberg BNA about the implications of the Paris Agreement for businesses and financial markets worldwide. “The fact is that the world is now saying this is the direction we are going in; the markets are listening. And frankly, the markets weren’t just listening because of Paris; the markets were already pivoting before Paris,” she said.

2. Indian officials this week launched a program to protect citizens from extreme heat waves which had killed over 2,500 people in their country last year. The Associated Press quoted Anjali Jaiswal, who said, "If you want to save lives you have to be prepared. When it comes to protecting communities and people, it takes leadership."

3. Jake Schmidt and others set high expectations in advance of Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit to Washington this week. Jake correctly predicted in the Washington Post that Canada would agree to the Obama Administration’s targets for reducing methane emissions from oil and gas operations. Franz Matzner lauded the anticipated meeting to Bloomberg BNA, saying “We're looking at the dawn of a new level of cooperation,” spotlighting an Arctic drilling ban as a top priority.

4. David Doniger spoke further on the bilateral agreement to cut oil-and-gas methane emissions by at least 40 percent by 2025 telling Politico, “No credible plan to combat climate change can ignore methane emissions, which are the second largest industrial source of climate-changing pollution after power plants." Bloomberg cited David in saying that going forward, the majority of the upstream petroleum industry’s methane emissions will come from the existing sources targeted by Obama and Trudeau, rather than the existing sources for which the EPA has already proposed regulations.

5. The Atlantic’s “CityLab” reported on a new food waste report from NRDC and a host of collaborators. Dana Gunders told CityLab that cutting food waste would require a paradigm shift in consumer attitudes on top of a suite of policy solutions along the supply chain. Dana also spoke to CNBC, saying, "Our whole food system is based on maximizing profit. It's not based on maximizing food use," and a 2012 food waste report from NRDC was cited by USA Today and Vox.

6. Yang Fuqiang was quoted by Reuters estimating that a target energy consumption cap set by China for the first time is conservative. While the proposed target would cut energy intensity by 15 percent, he believes that an 18 percent cut is feasible because, as Barbara Finamore told China Daily, “China has already been taking a slew of actions to cut its use of coal, which is responsible for about 80 percent of its CO2 emissions…”

7. The firing of the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s longtime executive director drew criticism from environmental groups due to a concern that the board is “kicking him out to replace him with someone who's industry friendly and less committed to environmental regulations," said Morgan Wyenn to the Associated Press.

8. “Communities are left testing their soil, testing their children, testing their homes and saying, well, how come I see these contaminations?" contended Miriam Rotkin-Ellman in Reuters, as the test results on soil from neighborhoods near two Portland glass factories accused of spewing toxic metals into the air for years are due to be released. The results may indicate that emissions were far higher than previously reported by the factories.

9. Mae Wu joined the “Brian Lehrer Show” on WNYC 93.9 FM to discuss the discovery of elevated levels of lead in drinking water at schools in Newark. Between Flint and Newark, she said, we’ve reached a point where lead contamination of drinking water is no longer “out of sight, out of mind...the only real way to deal with this problem is to get the lead pipes out of the ground.

10. Henry Henderson told Michigan Public Radio, that he hopes the court will quickly respond to a City and State motion to dismiss NRDC’s Flint lawsuit filed in January, saying “The water remains too dangerous for Flint residents to drink, cook in or bathe in….it’s a scandal.” The local and state government’s requests come on the heels of a lawsuit that NRDC is litigating, as reported by CNN and others. And Dimple Chaudhary told Environment and Energy Daily how troubling she found it that the EPA didn’t enact emergency action in Flint until January of this year when we had petitioned the agency to do so last October.

11. The appliance manufacturing trade association has proposed that utilities compensate consumers for the purchase of more efficient appliances to help comply with the clean power plan. Bloomberg quoted Noah Horowitz tentatively supporting such proposals, saying, “These programs can make a lot of sense when well-designed and sufficient care is taken to make sure the claimed savings are accurate.”

12. Andrew Wetzler was heartened by the news that the Louisiana black bear is no longer threatened, officially. “There is a rewilding of America going on,” he told the Christian Science Monitor.

13. Sharon Buccino appeared on RT’s “Watching the Hawks” (segment begins at 16:30) to talk about Utah Congressman Rob Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative. “Federal lands belong to all of us and are held in trust for all of us,” she said. “The drive to extract resources was dominant in the past but now we look to these lands for so many other uses, whether it’s recreation, ecology, safe drinking water, or clean air.”

14. Noah Horowitz informed the San Jose Mercury News that new efficiency standards the U.S. Department of Energy proposed last month for CFL and LED bulbs would set the bar so high it's unlikely that many CFLs will be able to meet it. “The net effect is everything is going to be an LED,” he said.

15. Noah Long spoke to Greentech Media about Oregon’s landmark bill passed this week to eliminate coal purchases by 2035 and double its renewable energy target to 50 percent by 2040. "In my view, this bill does everything Oregon has legal authority to do to cut the market out from underneath coal plants from other Western states.”

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