Trump's last-minute Arctic drilling push is failing
Days after Trump tried to stop banks from rejecting Arctic drilling, Bank of America has rejected Arctic drilling.
Hi folks! Remember back in June when my apartment flooded? Well, it’s just been a series of nightmares since then, but yesterday I moved into a new place! The ghosts seem much happier here.
Anyway, in light of all the moving and unpacking, I don’t have too much for you today except some news about the Arctic Refuge and Week 9 book club information. Although, if you would still like your daily dose of me talking about climate change, I’ll be on my favorite public radio program, 1A, this morning at 10 a.m. EST.
If you can’t listen live, the button above will also take you the full segment after it airs. Specifically, I’ll be talking about what climate policy might look like under Joe Biden’s presidency, and I’ll be joined by former EPA Administrator and current NRDC President Gina McCarthy and Greg Bertelson of the Climate Leadership Council.
In the meantime, here’a little news for you while I’m unpacking.
Bank of America has become the sixth and final big U.S. bank to say no to Arctic drilling.
Mere days after we reported that the lame duck Trump administration proposed a rule forcing banks to consider funding oil drilling projects in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Bank of America has announced that it won’t consider funding oil drilling projects in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Bloomberg’s Lananh Nguyen has the story:
Bank of America Corp. said that it won’t provide project financing for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic after facing opposition from environmentalists.
“There’s been misunderstanding around our position, but we have not historically participated in project finance for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic,” Larry Di Rita, the bank’s head of public policy and strategy in Washington, said Monday in an interview. “But given that misinterpretation, we’ve determined that it’s time to codify our existing practice into policy.”
Environmental campaigners have criticized the Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender for its stance. Earlier this month, the Sierra Club singled out Bank of America as “the only major U.S. bank not to rule out financing for the destruction of the Arctic refuge” after its five biggest competitors updated their policies this year.
This means every major American bank has now implemented some sort of policy against oil and gas development in the sensitive Arctic region, which indigenous and environmental activists have been fighting to protect for the last 40 years.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge still isn’t completely safe from fossil fuel extraction. The Trump administration still plans to go through with its last-minute push to sell off drilling leases there before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
It’s unclear, however, to what degree oil companies are actually going to show up to Trump’s sale. “Oil and gas companies aren’t talking publicly about whether they’d bid,” Alaska Public Media reports. And while we won’t see the bids until lease sale day, experts aren’t expecting a huge response, primarily due to the fact that oil drilling in the Arctic doesn’t seem like a very good investment.
“Even though Alaska politicians and industry groups have long fought to get drill rigs on the coastal plain, which is thought to hold billions of barrels of oil, [experts say] there’s currently a thick layer of uncertainty and risk that could lead to limited interest in a lease sale if one happens within the next couple months,” reports APM.
It also doesn’t help that every single major U.S. bank has publicly refused to provide funding for such projects. “Most of today’s likely bidders would need outside financing to actually get anything out of their Arctic leases,” reports Bloomberg Quint.
Public opinion is another potential deterrent. Approximately 70 percent of Americans oppose drilling in the Arctic Refuge, as the consequences would be severe for indigenous people, wildlife, and the climate.
Still, it’s unlikely the Trump administration would go through all the last-minute work of selling off the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge if there weren’t some interest from oil companies. When bids are unsealed on lease sale day, we’ll know which companies those are—and they’ll have to a lot to answer for.
All We Can Save book club: Week 9
Today’s the ninth and second-to-last official day of HEATED’s book club partnership with All We Can Save, an anthology of female climate wisdom edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine Wilkinson.
The section you’ll be reading and discussing in your “circles” this week is “Rise,” which features essays by inspiring leaders like youth activist Alexandria Villaseñor and political scientist Leah Stokes. You can learn more about all the section’s authors in the supplementary materials section below.
Read 1 poem or quote from this section to open.
Share your name + someone who inspires you to rise. (Circle leader should go first and model this.)
Move through 3 generous questions.
If you were to write a letter—a plea—about the climate crisis, to whom would you send it?
Can you imagine the community that will heal the climate crisis? Tell us about what you imagine…
How might we cultivate our widening circles of action?
Read 1 poem or quote from this section to close.
Want to Save Earth? ‘Put Pressure’ on Leaders, Says Teen Climate Activist Alexandria Villasenor, Profile, People, 2020.
New York’s Original Teen-Age Climate Striker Welcomes a Global Movement, Profile, New Yorker, 2019.
Climate activist Alexandria Villaseñor, Speech, UNICEF, 2019.
Colette Pichon Battle
Universal Language, Podcast, Mothers of Invention, 2020.
Black Lives Matter and the Climate, Podcast, How to Save a Planet, 2020.
Climate change will displace millions. Here’s how we prepare, TED Talk, 2019.
Earth at Risk, Keynote, 2014.
Hard Times Require Furious Dancing, Poetry Collection, 2010.
Anything We Love Can Be Saved, Book, 1997.
Leah Cardamore Stokes
A Matter of Degrees, Podcast, Co-Hosted with Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, 2020
How Can We Plan for the Future in California? Op-Ed, The Atlantic, 2020.
The Invisible Power Struggle, Podcast, Why Is This Happening? with Chris Hayes, 2020.
Short Circuiting Policy: Interest Groups and the Battle Over Clean Energy and Climate Policy in the American States, Book, 2020.
Mary Oliver Helped Us Stay Amazed, Profile, New Yorker, 2019.
Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver, Poetry Collection, 2017.
Listening to the World, Podcast, OnBeing, 2015.
Red Bird, Poetry Collection, 2008.
A Feminist Climate Renaissance Conversation, Panel Discussion with Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Favianna Rodriguez, Politics and Prose, 2020.
When Deportation Is a Death Sentence, New Yorker, 2018.
Sarah Stillman: Just Out of Frame, Interview, Guernica, 2015.
Christine E. Nieves Rodriguez
The Seeds We Sow, Documentary Film, 2020.
A Feminist Climate Renaissance, Podcast, Climate One, 2020.
Why community is our best chance for survival—a lesson post-Hurricane Maria, TEDMED Talk, 2018.
A Small Puerto Rico Town’s Makeshift Relief Center, Radio, All Things Considered, 2018.
OK, that’s all for today—thanks for reading HEATED! To support independent climate journalism that holds the powerful accountable—and to receive HEATED’s reporting and analysis in your inbox four days a week—become a subscriber today.
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Stay hydrated, eat plants (I like bananas), do push-ups, and have a great day!
Really enjoyed hearing you on 1A, and so psyched that you will have the MSNBC platform to pump up the crazy Democrats. My elderly mother just eats the Trump-bashing shit up every day, and MSNBC is her gospel. Spread the good word! But I do hope you can come around on the “cash-back carbon pricing,” as we are now calling it in Maine and New Hampshire. You described the mechanism well, I thought. But as the Climate Leadership dude noted, it hasn’t been tried here. Also, It is not regressive - the biggest carbon producers are wealthy households with all their equipment and real estate, and they will be footing most of the bill for costs that the fossil fuel douchebags will pass on, while all of us receive equal per capita dividends. Also, I wonder if you have taken any time with the EnROADS Climate Solutions model developed by MIT and partners. It is an infinitely researched, continually updated interactive tool that depicts the effects on future global temps exerted by any combination of climate policy changes. You can dive as far down as you can imagine into the effects of what you believe to be priority actions and see what they actually come out to do for the big picture. It is mind-bending. And of course one of my points is that pricing carbon is - just as the IPCC and the economists say - pretty profound and fundamental to the overall necessary shit storm of solutions needed to get us down to 1.5. https://www.climateinteractive.org/tools/en-roads/ Thanks so much for being there!
Given the amount of oil available in easier/cheaper to extract and transport areas (eg, the Saudi desert) and the need to reduce emissions from the combustion of fossil fuel, it is not likely that the Arctic resource would be profitable to develop; however, some speculators may be willing to submit “low ball” bids to secure the leases and, when federal policy catches up with the need to ban drilling in the Arctic (once again), these speculators will try to extract compensation from the government for “taking” their property. It’s another opportunity for grift for Trump’s supporters.