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Welcome to Climate Point, your weekly guide to climate, energy and environment news from around the Golden State and the country. In Palm Springs, Calif., I’m Mark Olalde.
Let's start with some electrifying — perhaps charged — news. Only weeks after California announced a goal to ban the sale of new internal combustion engine cars by 2035, New Jersey began speeding down the same turnpike. E&E reports that the Garden State is the second state to make the commitment, calling for a similar ban, also by 2035. Who's next?
Fossil future. The future of oil, gas and coal continues to get stranger as governments around the world slowly push to break our addiction to hydrocarbons. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that the state's last operational coal-fired power plant shut down the other day, 20 years ahead of schedule. Meanwhile, The Guardian writes that the warming climate is making it more difficult for oil companies to operate in Alaska because the ground under their equipment is thawing. In response, they're looking to install chilling devices to cool the ground so their product, which is causing the warming in the first place, can get to market.
Something to chew on. The Center for Investigative Reporting and PBS NewsHour report that Nicaragua — a beautiful but incredibly poor Central American country — is clearing land for cattle ranches to help feed the U.S. during COVID-19 outbreaks in American meat processing plants. The U.S. has sponsored multiple wars in Nicaragua, including playing a role in the bloody Nicaraguan Revolution. Now, ranchers selling to the U.S. appear to be destroying indigenous communities, killing people and stealing their land to meet demand. U.S. meat importers don't seem to be doing much about it.
Flooding the housing market. Climate change is exacerbating extreme weather, making it costlier for homeowners to keep cleaning up after major storms. An NPR investigation has found that only about half of all states require that information on flood risk be disclosed to buyers. And, they write, "the flood and fire disclosure laws that do exist provide information in confusing ways or give too little information too late in the homebuying process."
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