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President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree ordering the Russian government to work towards meeting the 2015 Paris Agreement to fight climate change, but stressed any action must be balanced with the need to ensure strong economic development. Russia, the world’s 4th largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has previously signalled its acceptance of the accord even as environmentalists have criticised Moscow for shunning compulsory emissions targets for companies backed with fines. In a decree published on Wednesday, a public holiday in Russia, Putin formally ordered the government to work towards a cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 of up to 30% below emission levels in 1990. - Reuters
Royal Dutch Shell Plc will push for the reversal of President Donald Trump’s rollback of methane emissions rules and the introduction of carbon pricing when Joe Biden moves into the White House next year. “Some of the regulatory rollbacks that we’ve seen under the current administration haven’t actually benefited our industry,” Shell U.S. President Gretchen Watkins said Tuesday on a webcast hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership. The easing of direct regulation of methane emissions put the energy industry in a “backwards-facing position,” while the absence of carbon pricing makes it harder to incentivize new technologies like carbon capture, Watkins said. “Whoever is in the White House, we will work constructively with them and are actually very much looking forward to building that relationship with the new administration that’s coming in in January,” she added. - Bloomberg
Occidental Petroleum Corp OXY.N on Tuesday laid out a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at its operations to net zero by 2040, becoming the latest oil and gas company to set long-term climate goals. Oil and gas producers, under pressure from investors who want to see the industry operate more cleanly, have announced new emissions targets this year even as they have slashed spending and production following a coronavirus-driven plunge in crude prices. Occidental will provide detail on its net-zero target by the end of November when it releases its sustainability report, Chief Executive Vicki Hollub said on an earnings call with analysts. - Reuters
In a last-minute push to achieve its long-sought goal of allowing oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, the Trump administration on Monday announced that it would begin the formal process of selling leases to oil companies. That sets up a potential sale of leases just before Jan. 20, Inauguration Day. The Arctic refuge is one of the last vast expanses of wilderness in the United States, 19 million acres that for the most part are untouched by people, home instead to wandering herds of caribou, polar bears and migrating waterfowl. It has long been prized, and protected, by environmentalists, but President Trump has boasted that opening part of it to oil development was among the most significant of his efforts to expand domestic fossil fuel production. - NYTimes
The White House has removed the scientist responsible for the National Climate Assessment, the federal government’s premier contribution to climate knowledge and the foundation for regulations to combat global warming, in what critics interpreted as the latest sign that the Trump administration intends to use its remaining months in office to continue impeding climate science and policy. Michael Kuperberg, executive director of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which produces the climate assessment, was told Friday that he would no longer lead that organization, people with knowledge of the situation said. According to two people close to the administration, he is expected to be replaced by David Legates, a deputy assistant secretary at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who previously worked closely with climate change denial groups. - NYTimes
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