Top 5 Friday - November 18

1. A case study on importing or switching from natural gas in real time.

Could oil-rich Alaska be forced to import natural gas? Two utilities are looking into it.

Nathaniel Herz, Alaska Beacon, November 18, 2022

“It’s untenable that, as a utility manager, I have to rely 85% on one fuel. No other place does that,” Tony Izzo, the chief executive of Matanuska Electric Association, said in an interview Wednesday. “So, we need to change it.”

At the same time, said Miller, the Chugach chief executive, natural gas remains the cornerstone of the Anchorage area’s energy industry, and stable supplies must be guaranteed.

“In no way, shape or form should this discussion on natural gas assume that efforts are not being seriously undertaken evaluating alternative sources of generation,” he said. He added: “We’re kind of doing this simultaneously, by looking at wind and solar projects at a utility scale, but recognizing that natural gas is critical to meeting long-term viability needs in the future.”

2. The Paris Agreement Is Working … For Now

Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, November 9, 2022

There’s no particular reason to think that the process should work. The Paris Agreement is little more than a global procedural requirement—a voluntary commitment by every country in the world to do the same homework assignment. And it is not how earlier international environmental treaties worked. The Montreal Protocol, for instance, which successfully phased out the use of ozone-depleting pollutants, worked by imposing a de facto command-and-control scheme across the global economy, limiting how much of certain chemicals could be made and how they could be traded.

But the world has made more progress on climate change over the past few years than it did in the 25 years prior. As David Wallace-Wells recently noted in The New York Times, the world has significantly reduced the possibility of some of the most catastrophic climate outcomes. That’s partially because of technological improvements in wind, solar, and batteries. But it’s also because of a new urgency in how climate change has been discussed since 2015, and since 2018 in particular. You can see the urgency nearly everywhere you look: Since 2020, China has committed to its first net-zero target, the United States has passed the first substantive climate legislation in its history, and the European Union has committed at least 1 trillion euros to a new vision of its economy that it calls the “European Green Deal.”

3. But also there’s a “Doomsday Glacier”?

4. The American Conservation Coalition ID’d some really neat innovative projects this week:

5. Some climate adjacent humor to go with the Twitter chaos we’ve seen this week.


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