Targeting environmental racism, not to mention race

Before we get to this week’s news, we wanted to tell you about some the changes we’re making to the Climate Fwd: newsletter – changes to help understand the climate crisis and what it means for you. Starting next month, Climate Fwd: will delivered twice a week instead of once. And, Somini Sengupta, the Times’ global climate correspondent, will be New guide to the latest news and ideas as the main writer of the newsletter. Stay tuned for more.

Blacks, Latinos, and other people of color are disproportionately exposed to environmental hazards. President Biden has vowed to tackle the problem, but his strategy for identifying areas in need will be colorblind: Race won’t be a factor.

The reason, administration officials said, is the threat of lawsuits and the conservative Supreme Court’s ability to reject a race-based approach to allocating federal benefits. Instead, the White House will focus on economically disadvantaged communities.

Legal Scholars I Interviewed My article this week about the plan agreed. If the government uses the race to determine policy or fund environmental programs, they say, those programs could be taken to court.

However, when I spoke to activists, many expressed concern. They say decades of exposure to environmental hazards stem from historical mistakes like Racist zoning and housing policycannot be effectively addressed by a racially neutral approach.

Can quote: “When you look at the strongest predictor of where industrial pollution is most, race is the strongest predictor,” said Robert Bullard, a professor and pioneer in the environmental justice movement. Best. “Not income, not property value, but race. If you were to leave the race, how would you fix this? “

A food reporter was The original taste of lab-grown meat that companies are racing to bring to market. (She must sign the waiver first.)

Climate-conscious cooking means being creative. So our colleagues in the comments section made a video about an alternative protein source.

The super-drought that has plagued the American Southwest since 2000 has reached another milestone, and that’s no reason to rejoice. A team of scientists studying past, present and future climates in the region has found this two-decade period to be the driest in at least 1,200 years, and says climate change post has a lot to do with it.

These researchers analyzed historical tree-ring data to reconstruct past climates. Plant growth rings, thin or thick, are an accurate measure of soil moisture, and are therefore a good measure of drought. Using that data, the researchers determined several years ago that the current drought is a second and slightly less severe than the 16th-century drought.

But that was before the summer of 2021, when conditions across the West were extremely dry. Last summer put the current drought situation first, as one of the researchers told me about a this week’s post. It is now worse than the 16th century drought and possibly worse than the others that occurred before 800 AD. But we may never know – that’s strange with tree-ring data.

Numbers: The drought in the Southwest region has lasted for 22 years. It’s very likely that it will continue until the 23rd, and just slightly less than 30. They say warming has filled the dice, the researchers say.

California returns as the leader in clean air and climate policies.

For more than 40 years, the state has enacted vehicle pollution regulations in the United States. Under the Clean Air Act of 1970, lawmakers there had special powers to set their own stricter standards for car and truck emissions. Because California’s market is so large and important, automakers have no choice but to pay attention. But that stopped under President Donald J. Trump, who stripped the state of the power to make its own rules.

Now, the Biden administration is restoring California’s special powers. It means a resurgence in the state’s overwhelming influence over pollution rules.

The authorities are also preparing new strict limits on pollution from buses, cargo vans and heavy-duty trucks, the first time exhaust standards have been tightened for the biggest polluters. on the road since 2001. Those regulations will largely be based on California standards.

To find out why it’s such a big deal, you can Read the full article here.

Background: Originally, California was exempt from the Clean Air Act because of special circumstances such as its large population and severe smog problems in the 1960s.

Precise measurements indicate that an increase will occur “no matter what we do about emissions”, a New research confirmed.

Last week, wolves and their supporters won a major victory: A federal court ruled in 2020 to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list. For more on that and a look at what might happen next, you can Read our article about the decision.

There is a new goal in the fight against climate change: widening highways.

For decades, states have spent billions of dollars building new roads and widening existing highways to try to fix traffic congestion. But studies show that widening roads only encourages people to drive more and speeds up the spread to suburbs, increasing planet-warming emissions from cars and trucks.

Now some states are rethinking their approach. As I discovered in a new article, Colorado just issued its first climate rule that will push local transportation planners to redirect funding away from highway widening and toward projects that cut vehicle pollution, such as buses and bike lanes. But it’s a controversial move given that most people still rely on cars to get around.

Why is it important: The new infrastructure law signed by President Biden gives states $273 billion over five years for highways, with some binding conditions. This amount could lead to a significant increase in U.S. emissions if states continue to add new highway lanes, one analysis shows. Colorado will be a test of whether a major change can be made.

Can quote: Highway expansion is “a big blind spot for politicians who say they care about climate change,” said Kevin DeGood, an infrastructure analyst. “Everybody understands that oil pipelines are carbon infrastructure. But the new highways are also carbon infrastructure.”

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