Welcome to another edition of Climatebase Weekly for Sunday, July 17th, 2022.
Each week we report on critical climate news to help keep you informed — and, we serve up the latest climate jobs to help you make climate your career.
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Sometimes the bad news is the good news. This week, they were again one in the same with the announcement that Senator Joe Manchin would, after receiving every concession he asked for, not vote for the climate provisions of President Biden’s proposed spending bill.
On its face, the Senator’s announcement is disastrous for the planet.
The world’s greatest historical contributor to climate change is woefully far off track from meeting its Paris Agreement. Now, Senator Manchin’s death-by-a-thousand cuts approach will not just derail the United States’ last chance to course correct until the next elections, it will also complete a wasted year and half of critical time to respond to the nation’s greatest crisis.
So, the silver lining?
Now that the Manchin-courting kabuki is a fait accompli, the American climate movement can finally move on to focus its attention on the fights, and opportunities, that matter.
And if climate change can teach us anything, it’s that ignoring an inconvenient reality ultimately gives it room to grow.
Here are three stories from this week that track that growth.
Retired coal plants across the United States are finding new life as hosts for utility-scale renewable energy projects. Just in Illinois, nine former coal plants are set to become solar farms and battery storage facilities, while similar transitions are occurring from Maryland to New Mexico.
The main advantage these stations provide over large renewable energy infrastructure is their existing connections to the grid.
Grid connection has so far proven to be an Achilles’ heel for renewable energy deployment. Wind and solar energy are abundant in remote areas, like the sprawling plains of Montana and Kansas. Unfortunately, that also means they are far removed from the urban centers that make up most of the energy demand.
Transitioning coal plants to clean energy hubs addresses three issues with wind and solar in one.
First, coal plants’ existing connections to the grid allow renewables to be delivered to cities and suburbs without constructing expensive new power lines and sub-stations. That, in turn, means these projects face less NIMBY resistance from residents who are none-too-eager to have their views obstructed by wind turbines and solar farms.
Finally, the conversion of coal to clean energy creates jobs in areas that have been economically impacted by the closure of power plants that at one time supported entire communities.
The newly-formed Chilean government released its draft constitution this week, and it immediately made waves across the world for its many ambitious provisions directed squarely at addressing the climate crisis.
The proposal dedicates one its eleven chapters entirely to “Nature and Environment”, and unequivocally asserts protection of the climate and environment as a central governing principle for the future.
In October 2020, after months of protests that derailed Chile’s plans to host COP25, Chileans voted overwhelmingly to scrap the constitution written by its former autocratic dictator Augusto Pinochet. That set off elections for a new government, resulting in the ascension of 36-year-old leftist Gabriel Boric to President, granting him a mandate to forge the country’s first truly democratic charter.
Chile, like so many countries around the world, finds itself at the center of fluid economic and political dynamics driven by the climate crisis. Chile has the world’s largest known lithium reserves, making it a critical player in the race for materials in the clean energy transition.
But with an eye towards its environmental commitments, the proposed constitution bans mining in glacial and protected areas, and includes a mandate to zero out emissions from the notoriously hard-to-decarbonize mining sector by 2050.
Combine that with a politically-entrenched mining union that has expressed skepticism of the new President’s plans, and the climate-focused government finds itself in front of a tricky road to climate justice.
Check back here in the coming weeks for a deep dive on the draft constitution (with translations from yours truly), and what it could mean for climate politics around Latin America and the world.
The Prime Minister of Japan called for nine shuttered nuclear plants to reopen this week to meet demand from an expected energy crunch this winter.
Japan faces the same dilemma as many other industrialized nations: how to respond to a global energy crunch while staying on track with climate goals.
The response in Japan has yielded a mixed bag, as restart of low-carbon nuclear power have been matched by the announced restart of ten coal power plants.
In recent weeks, fellow industrial powerhouse Germany opted for coal as a temporary fuel while it transitions to clean energy, due in part to its insistence that restarting nuclear is practically impossible.
German power plant operators seem take a different view, citing mistrust that the government won’t change its mind after a nuclear restart and leaving producers saddled with the costs of acquiring new fuel.
These issues have not figured into the Japanese government’s decision, although Prime Minister Kishida did say that regulatory and economic difficulties may emerge in the process.
Nuclear energy is, of course, a sensitive issue in Japan. Former residents have begun to repopulate parts of the exclusion zone around the Fukushima plant, but concerns around environmental damage resulting from meltdown linger.
Check out some of the latest featured jobs below. If you don't see anything that speaks to you, you can always go to Climatebase to explore thousands of other opportunities.
"Mad Capital is a Boulder Colorado based company established to accelerate the regenerative and organic revolution in agriculture! We are working to transition 10M acres of farmland to regenerative and organic production in the next 10 years by providing farmers with strategic financial products and resources. Why it matters - Through our reliance on industrial and extractive agricultural ..."
"We are a research and deployment nonprofit focused on harnessing emerging tech and radical collaboration for a more resilient planet."
"Headway Cooperative is the world's first climate tech co-op. We are 100% developer owned and operated, providing mission-driven software development for data-centric businesses solving climate change. Specializing in utility-scale energy and grid analytics, we partner with high-impact, high-growth companies like GridX that trust us to provide access to exceptional engineering talent and industry expertise."
"Impact Experience builds bridges and deep relationships between impact investors, foundations, corporates, entrepreneurs, artists and local leaders to co-create solutions with marginalized communities."
"We created a new green employee benefit called a carbon savings account (CSA), structured similarly to a health savings account (HSA). Instead of using the funds for eligible healthcare expenses, employees use the funds for eligible home technology upgrades that reduce their utility bills, and therefore their carbon footprint. Scope Zero is an investment vehicle that can scale residential energy ..."
"Lumen Energy is a software company whose mission is to make getting a fully-financed solar system for a commercial building as easy as applying for a credit card. We're a small team from Stripe, Google X and national labs who are committed to clean energy future."
"Rewiring America is a growing nonprofit, working to launch a movement that electrifies everything, starting with our 121 million households. Through accurate, accessible, and actionable data and storytelling tools that power smart, inclusive advocacy and market-transforming partnerships, Rewiring America aims to achieve national emissions goals, improve our health, lower monthly bills, and create millions of clean energy jobs."
"X is Alphabet’s moonshot factory. We are a diverse group of inventors and entrepreneurs who build and launch technologies that aim to improve the lives of millions, even billions, of people. Our goal: 10x impact on the world’s most intractable problems, not just 10% improvement. We approach projects that have the aspiration and riskiness of research with the speed and ..."
"Wildlife Works' mission is to create market-based solutions for wildlife and ecosystem conservation that drives direct financing and self governance for local communities. Our community-centered wildlife conservation projects implement market-based initiatives to protect the planet’s threatened wilderness and endangered wildlife. The company was founded on the premise that if we want wildlife in our world, we have to make it work ..."
"Climeworks empowers people to reverse climate change by permanently removing carbon dioxide from the air. Our vision is to inspire 1 billion people to be climate positive. Since Climeworks was founded in 2009, we have been dedicated to scaling up our direct air capture technology to restore a healthy balance of CO 2 in the atmosphere. Today, as market leader in ..."
They are hiring across the following departments:
"At Novi, our mission is to enable the future of consumer product development for a healthier people and planet. As consumers continue to demand greater transparency and accountability for the products they use, sustainability is no longer optional. That’s why we’ve built a data-rich marketplace and formulation tools that have enabled consumer brands to bring thousands of products to market with ..."
"WAP Sustainability provides clients with the information and tools they need to create credible, measurable and attainable sustainability programs. Our services are driven by sound scientific data and an in-depth understanding of each client’s core business. Based in Tennessee, WAP Sustainability has been helping a global roster of publicly traded, consumer products and building product companies as a sustainability resource ..."
"Circuit’s ultimate goal is to reduce congestion and its harmful effects on the environment and our quality of life. We do this by getting people out of their cars for short trips, encouraging visitors to park once, and by making connections to existing mass transit hubs. We work with innovative cities and forward-thinking advertising partners to offer electric shuttles that ..."
"Electrum is on a mission to empower communities through transparency and choice to enable a better quality of life for all people. Homeowners are often left in the dark when trying to decide how to go solar - that's where Electrum comes in. We've automated the process of going solar and driving down costs and increasing adoption rates. Our online solar ..."
They are hiring for multiple roles across the following departments:
"We are looking for world-class talent to tackle challenging projects that will ultimately enable our planet to be powered with 100% clean energy. First, the good news: Humans have installed a little over 1 TW of cumulative solar capacity over the last 20 years - solar is now the cheapest source of energy generation around the globe. Now, the challenge: Humans have ..."
"Persefoni is the leading Climate Management & Accounting Platform (CMAP). The company's Software-as-a-Service solutions enable enterprises and financial institutions to meet stakeholder and regulatory climate disclosure requirements with the highest degree of trust, transparency, and ease."
"Hempitecture is a Public Benefit Corporation that distributes and builds with sustainable, plant based materials. Our products and methods are plant based, carbon storing, and non toxic."
"The Center for Transportation and the Environment is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to improve the health of our climate and communities by bringing people together to develop and commercialize clean, efficient, and sustainable transportation technologies. CTE collaborates with federal, state, and local governments, fleets, and vehicle technology manufacturers to complete our mission."
"ClimatePartner is a solution provider for corporate climate action: We combine individual consulting with a cloud-based software that is unique on the market. We help our customers calculate and reduce carbon emissions and offset residual emissions. This renders products and companies climate neutral, confirmed by our label. We offer carbon offset projects in different regions and with different technologies and standards. ..."
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