3 Bits – Actions & Amendments

3 Bits periodically provides three bite-sized items of interest about climate news.

1. Restore Colorado.  Restore Colorado is a new program focused on sequestering carbon in the soil using techniques such as cover crops, amending soil with compost, and providing technical assistance for regenerative agriculture. Customers at participating restaurants may opt to pay a 1% fee which are then distributed to Boulder County farmers and ranchers. An organization called Mad Agriculture works with the farmers and ranchers to provide guidance on the restoration projects. This public-private venture also receives support from Zero Footprint, Boulder County, and the Department of Agriculture’s Office of Urban Agriculture & Innovative Production. Farm to restaurant, and back to the farm!

2. DOE Big Solar Bet. The Department of Energy announced that with investments of $562 billion by public and private players, the US could significantly reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and increase solar power to 37% of total energy use by 2035 and 44% by 2050. The US currently gets 3% of its energy from solar. Such an undertaking would require massive investments in infrastructure, including the bedeviling challenges of storage and transmission. There are other hurdles as well – the country would have to invest heavily in domestic solar panel manufacturing if it is to ween itself off its dependency on the communist Chinese and distance itself from the human rights issues surrounding the use of forced labor. Tax credits would also need to be continued in order to stimulate critical mass in the segment.  Recently, 748 solar companies banded together to urge Congress to extend and increase tax credits and to invest in solar power grid infrastructure.

3. Saving Bristol Bay. Bristol Bay, Alaska, is widely known as the best and most important wild salmon habitat worldwide. It supplies over half of the world’s wild salmon.  Bristol Bay is also vital to the culture and sustainability of 30 Native American tribes that live in the watershed, and supports over 14,000 jobs in fishing, tourism, and related businesses. However, the Pebble Limited Partnership has been pushing to obtain mining rights to an estimated $300 billion of gold and copper buried in the Bristol Bay watershed. Among the many ecological nightmares that would occur with Pebble Mine’s proposed operations would be a pit mine with a surface measuring greater than a square mile and a depth of one-third of a mile. The Biden administration is starting to take protective action and has filed a motion in the United States District Court for Alaska to reverse actions by the previous administration to eliminate environmental protections for Bristol Bay. This would be the first of many steps to put permanent protections in place for this essential jewel. Interestingly, in 2020, environmentalists, fishing industry leaders, and Native Americans were joined by Donald Trump, Jr. in their strong opposition to the proposed mine.

(Sources: Boulder Daily Camera, Restore Colorado web site, Wall Street Journal, NYTimes, SaveBristolBay.org)

3 Bits shares pertinent news from the ocean of climate-related news and information. While the urgency surrounding climate change demands attention, CCC also wants to showcase where progress is being made and where committed organizations and people are doing their part. We hope you find 3 Bits to be interesting and informative.