In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Montana court strikes down 440 oil and gas leases in the West to protect the sage-grouse.
  • 9 million renewable jobs per year could be created for five years for less than the US spent in two months, says a new study.
  • The UK has asked the UN that COP26 Climate Summit be moved to November 2021.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Sage-grouse 1, fossil fuels 0

In early May, Electrek reported, US District Court Judge Brian Morris told the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that it failed to adequately assess the environmental impacts of oil and gas leases in Montana. Morris then set aside hundreds of those leases in eastern Montana.

Strike 2 for the BLM and fossil fuels landed yesterday from Judge Morris when he invalidated 440 oil and gas leases sold across the West. Morris ruled that the BLM did not properly follow a plan to protect sage-grouse (pictured) habitat on more than a million acres of public lands.

The lawsuit was filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the Montana Wildlife Federation, the Wilderness Society, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, and Montana Audubon. The US government will now have to return millions of dollars for oil and gas contracts.

The sage-grouse is an iconic bird species of the American West whose numbers have plummeted in recent decades.

Brian Rutledge, director of the National Audubon Society’s Sagebrush Ecosystem Initiative, said:

This court ruling reaffirms that the administration has continued to act in bad faith. A deal’s a deal, and you can’t simply bulldoze the hard fought agreements built across the West to protect the sage-grouse. We’re hopeful that this will lead to the reversal of similarly illegal oil and gas giveaways in more states.

A green energy plan

The Sierra Club, based on new analysis from the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has released a plan for US economic renewal. The environmental group sent a letter to Congress in April detailing stimulus priorities.

The Sierra Club asserts in the report that 9 million jobs could be created every year for the next 10 years “while building an economy that fosters cleaner air and water, higher wages, healthier communities, greater equity, and a more stable climate.” Further, this plan also would enable a 45% reduction in pollution by 2030.

The proposed stimulus plan would cost less than $2.9 trillion to employ over 9 million people every year for five years. That’s less than half the amount that the US government spent on stimulus packages in March and April.

Here’s the breakdown of 9 million jobs per year:

  • 4.6 million jobs per year to upgrade our infrastructure for clean water, clean transportation, and clean energy
  • 3.2 million jobs per year to expand renewable energy
  • Over 700,000 jobs per year to increase energy efficiency
  • Over 500,000 jobs per year to restore our lands and invest in regenerative agriculture.

As the Sierra Club explains, “stimulus investments could help many of the 600,000 unemployed clean energy workers get their jobs back, while over 190,000 unemployed oil and gas workers could be hired each year to close orphaned oil and gas wells.”

COP26 delay

The British government requested a full-year delay for the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow yesterday. It has written to the UN’s climate change secretariat to move it to November 1-12, 2021, due to the pandemic. There was a possibility that the Glasgow summit could be held next spring, but co-hosts Britain and Italy have pushed the date back. The UN is expected to approve the request.

Due to the disruption of the pandemic, countries see the extra time as beneficial to increase momentum and further finalize climate-crisis plans.

The letter to the UN states:

Given the uneven spread of COVID-19, this date would present the lowest risk of further postponement, and the best chance of delivering an inclusive and ambitious COP.

Postponement of COP26 does not mean postponement of climate action. We must scale up action to respond to the climate emergency. It is vital that all Parties increase ambition by submitting enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and long-term strategies that chart a path to net zero; that support is enhanced and the $100 billion climate finance goal is met; and through scaling up action and support for adaptation.

Photo: National Audubon Society

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