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map of groundwater excess and shortfall nationwide
NOAA NASA Earth Observatory images by Lauren Dauphin,
A summer of extreme extremes
August 26, 2021

100% clean energy, not just a PNW thing

Oregon made headlines earlier this year, quietly passing the most ambitious 100% clean electricity standard in the country, but it may not be alone in 2021. On Tuesday this week the US House of Representatives approved the outlines of a $3.5 trillion budget that includes at least $150 billion for a clean electricity standard, part of President Biden’s goal of ending power plant emissions by 2035. States continue to lead in the effort towards clean energy mandates, with four other states making progress just this year. This week, Stanford University became the first university to commit to 100% renewable energy (by 2022).  

Everything but brimstone: fire, flood, drought, and storms are changing intensely and rapidly across the planet 

It’s been a summer of extreme extremes with historically large wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington, but also instances in states less typically in the headlines like Minnesota and Michigan. The climate crisis is driving more frequent and intense extreme weather events with drier drought and wetter rainfall seen across the US and the globe. With drought conditions affecting nearly half the landmass in the US, people in states like North Dakota, Arizona, and California are making hard choices about water use. Other states are experiencing extraordinarily wet conditions, including flooding in Arizona and Tennessee. This summer’s storm season, already more active than previous years, continues to see higher intensity, slower moving storms. As communities remember intense storms and prepare for the changing unpredictability of more frequent hurricanes, these events provide an opportunity to connect climate impacts and daily experiences

Equity in focus: scoring environmental justice, new solar connections, and listening to rural areas

With environmental racism and climate justice moving to the forefront of the climate movement, communities are beginning to see federal prioritization and response to decades of organizing and demands. The White House launched Justice40 earlier this summer, with 21 priority programs to begin enhancing benefits to disadvantaged communities as part of Biden’s pledge that 40 percent of climate, energy and infrastructure spending go to overburdened and marginalized neighborhoods. Hailed as a “big test for environmental justice”, the program includes a range of efforts including reassessing distribution of disaster funding and community listening sessions. Yet many in the private sector remain woefully behind, with a new scorecard published last week ranking 100 companies on environmental racism. Microsoft lands the number one spot in leading on addressing climate and racial equity, and has launched a new project with a Black-owned solar firm

One thing you can do:

Climate Solutions is partnered with a number of organizations pushing for federal climate action including stronger clean car standards and in support of a nationwide clean electricity standard. You can sign on in support via Evergreen Action or the Center for American Progress

 

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Author Bio

Stephanie Noren

Washington Communications Manager, Climate Solutions

Stephanie believes the most effective communication is grounded in two main principles:

  1. Listening and asking questions,
  2. Intentional selection of typeface and use of negative space.

She has a deep history of working in communications, environmental marketing, and behavior change on a variety of topics including climate, waste and recycling, energy efficiency, toxics management, stormwater pollution, and organizational culture. At Climate Solutions, Stephanie works with the Communications team and coalition partners to build interest, awareness, and momentum for issues and action on climate change in Washington State. She’s interested in trying on creative approaches in the ideological battle for a fossil fuel free future that includes seeing, hearing, and working with those who believe differently. 

Prior to Climate Solutions, Stephanie worked for Cascadia Consulting Group, the City of Spokane, a national waste industry professional association, and a Boston-based waste technology startup. She has a degree in Sociology from Gonzaga University and spends her spare time reading, noticing good light, drinking coffee, and chasing park bunnies in Seattle.