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Climate, Health and Equity

DATE POSTED

July 10, 2020


Bad news for the Dakota Access, Atlantic Coast and Keystone XL Pipelines

Written By: Matt James and Traci Siegel

The Climate, Health & Equity Brief is GMMB’s take on the week’s news on the current impacts of climate change. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do so by clicking here.

Hot Topic: Pipelines. In just one week, three of the most controversial pipeline projects across the U.S. have come to a halt, signaling a major win for both the environment and the activists that have long fought pipeline development in their communities.

In South Dakota, a four-year legal battle between the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and developers of the Dakota Access Pipeline finally came to an end, with a federal judge halting development and ordering the pipeline to be drained of oil by August 5, pending environmental review. In Virginia, developers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline decided to cancel the project over continued delays and mounting costs from litigation proceedings. And the Supreme Court rejected a Trump administration request to develop the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, ruling that the pipeline’s impact on ecosystems, drinking water and public health must be evaluated before the project can continue.

In even more good news, Sydney, Australia is now powered entirely by wind and solar sources following a $41 million green energy project. In California, officials have adopted the nation’s first rule requiring all trucks sold in the state to be zero emission by 2045. And a newly announced $2.5 billion philanthropic climate fund will fuel investments in a green COVID recovery and a transition to clean energy across Southeast Asia.

While the fight against the ongoing climate impact of fossil fuels is far from over, this week’s developments illustrate the impact that climate activism, responsible action and the power of philanthropy can bring to the U.S. and world.

Matt & Traci, GMMB

Politics & Economy
A federal judge has officially shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline over significant environmental and health risks, granting a major win to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe following a four-year legal battle to protect their land. (The New York Times)The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which posed significant risks to the environment and wildlife, has officially been canceled by its developers due to litigation and cost uncertainties. (AP News)The Supreme Court has denied a request by the Trump administration to allow construction of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, ruling that it must undergo an environmental review. (CNN)Dominion Energy has secured a nearly $10 billion deal to transfer its natural gas assets to Berkshire Hathaway, reducing its carbon footprint while enabling the continued use of the planet-warming gas. (Los Angeles Times)

Action
In a major effort to curb fossil fuel emissions from the transportation sector, California has adopted the nation’s first rule requiring all trucks sold in the state to be zero-emission by 2045. (Los Angeles Times)

Sydney, Australia is now powered entirely by renewable energy following a $41 million solar and wind project, moving the country closer to its carbon neutrality goals. (EuroNews)

A newly announced $2.5 billion philanthropic climate fund will go towards investments in a green recovery from the coronavirus and a transition to clean energy across Southeast Asia. (Reuters)

Health
New research has found that 14 percent of cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and strokes, and 8 percent of cardiovascular deaths globally are attributable to air pollution exposure. (The New York Times)

A new analysis revealed that at least 6 million more property owners across the U.S. face more substantial flood risk than previously known, with rapidly rising sea levels threatening many more. (CNN)

As the western U.S. faces an already active wildfire season, public health officials warn that smoke exposure is likely to worsen the coronavirus pandemic by increasing virus susceptibility. (The New York Times)

Torrential rains intensified by climate change have led to flooding and landslides on Japan’s Kyushu island, causing at least 61 deaths and hundreds of thousands of evacuations. (Phys.org, Japan Times)

Equity
A recent analysis found that the Small Business Administration approves disaster loan applications for white communities at twice the rate of black communities and covers a higher portion of damages reported by whites than by Blacks. (E&E News)

A new report found that women and girls face a disproportionate burden from climate-induced displacement due to the risk of sexual violence in shelters and the need to take on extra labor to support their families. (Reuters)

Kicker
Up for a planet-loving challenge? Join 250 million global participants going plastic-free in July!

“It’s humbling to see how actions we took four years ago to defend our ancestral homeland continue to inspire national conversations about how our choices ultimately affect this planet.”

–    Mike Faith, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chairman