Weekend reads: How Amazon addresses climate concerns with same day delivery; Passing Virginia's massive clean energy bill - Sma

GHG Emissions, Regulation, Solar, Sourcing Renewables  -  March 7, 2020

Weekend reads: How Amazon addresses climate concerns with same day delivery; Passing Virginia's massive clean energy bill

It's the weekend! Kick back and catch up with these must-read articles from around the web.

How states can overcome new federal barriers to clean energy (Fortune) In the absence of federal action to address climate change, many states have adopted their own climate goals and established innovative policies that prioritize solar, wind, nuclear, and other forms of clean energy. Combined with actions in the private sector, these policies offer a measure of hope. But now federal regulators have determined that it isn’t enough for markets to be merely neutral on the question of clean energy. Instead, regulators are actively working against states in their efforts to transition from fossil fuels. If left unchallenged, these actions will preserve a broken system, penalizing states that have tried to help clean energy producers thrive in federally regulated energy markets.

Amazon speeds up same-day shipping (The Verge) Amazon has taken heat lately for its contributions to climate change, and the company goes out of its way to address the issue in its blog post announcing this new program. Amazon says that “while it may seem counterintuitive,” this program helps to lower the company’s carbon footprint by reducing the distance drivers have to travel to customers. (The company has also since responded to employee protests with a climate pledge; Amazon founder Jeff Bezos later committed $10 billion to fight climate change.)

Sweeping renewable energy bill poised for final passage (The Washington Post) A sweeping energy bill that supporters said would make Virginia a national leader in addressing climate change passed the state House Thursday amid warnings by critics that it will carry a steep price tag. The legislation, called the Virginia Clean Economy Act, moved to the Senate for its expected final passage. One of the new Democratic majority’s priorities this session, the bill would overhaul how Virginia utilities generate electricity, laying out a path toward zero carbon emissions by 2045.

The Energy Elite Have Started Listening to Their Enemy No. 1 in Houston (Bloomberg) Climate change is a touchy topic in Houston, even if hardly anyone doubts the climate is changing. An already damp city is getting wetter, obvious in the muddy sidewalks and the puddles that linger long after a routine rain. The bigger downpours block highways. The really huge storms—and not just 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, which killed at least 94 people—keep arriving with a size and frequency that meteorologists once insisted was impossible. With initial support from Texas’s governor and U.S. senators (all conservative Republicans), the Army Corps of Engineers wants to spend $23 billion to $32 billion on a coastal bulwark against the rising waters.

Solar power is having a 'teaching moment' (The Hill) Acres of flat rooftops for solar panels, suppliers eager to provide deals and school boards looking to save money down the road have schools emerging as the ideal candidates for solar energy. Science and math teachers are leading the way and using the installation of new solar systems as teachable moments. Dominion Energy in Virginia has created a curriculum and teacher training in partnership with the National Energy Education Development Project. Children get to learn how their school’s solar energy systems work, track energy usage and learn about the properties of the sun. The program, which is now in 18 schools, has been so successful that it’s being expanded into North Carolina and South Carolina.

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