News Release

Do the Climate Solutions Offered Meet the Moment?


STEVE HORN, steve at, @steveahorn
Horn is an investigative climate reporter regularly filing reports for The Real News’ Climate Crisis News Roundup. He writes that with the presidential election three months away, “President Donald Trump is down in the polls, but was up for a speech at a fracking rig in a COVID-19 hotspot, one with no masks in sight. As he spoke, a company with operations nearby and ambitions to boost an obscure drilling technique joined a legion of other companies who have declared bankruptcy.”

Horn’s latest pieces include: “Climate official pushing controversial sun-blocking plan resigns,” which states: “Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (SCoPEx), a controversial program aimed at reversing the climate crisis that we covered here several weeks ago suffered a recent blow after its chairwoman stepped down.

“The program is based at Harvard University and until July 22 had an advisory council chaired by the director of the California Strategic Growth Council, Louise Bedsworth. But after coming under scrutiny both from global climate justice groups and in a June 19 story by The Real News Network, Bedsworth has stepped down from the post.

“The scrutiny was aimed at the technology for which the research group is pushing to develop a governance mechanism, called solar geoengineering or solar radiation management, for reflecting sunlight away from the Earth to halt the greenhouse effect of climate change. That technofix — which involves spraying aerosols into the atmosphere for an indefinite period of time to shield the Earth — is seen by many as both potentially dangerous to deploy and also a way to continue business as usual in emitting greenhouse gases.”

He also recently wrote “California greenlights ‘Orwellian’ solar-powered fracking scheme” and “New DNC Platform Could Make The Bleak Climate Forecast Even Worse,” which states: “The 2016 platform had much more grassroots pressure behind it, and didn’t need to navigate the pressure of an ongoing pandemic. It called for a phaseout of fossil fuel extraction on public lands backed by the ‘Keep It in the Ground’ movement, an end to industry exemptions like the Halliburton Loophole (Biden voted against the 2005 energy bill containing this provision). It said that fracking ‘should not take place where states and local communities oppose it.’ It called for phasing out coal production and ensuring a just transition for industry workers, winding down fossil fuel subsidies and tax breaks, and legal accountability for the fossil fuel industry for misleading the public about the impact of the climate crisis by funding denial campaigns.

“None of that stuff made it into the 2020 draft platform.

“Instead, the 2020 version continues Biden’s call for a ‘double down’ on the expansion of carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) technology, and for ‘breakthrough opportunities’ for ‘direct air capture and net-negative emissions technologies.’ As explained in last week’s edition, CCUS means capturing carbon at the point of emissions at the industrial smokestack, storing it in underground pipelines and then utilizing the CO2 for future industrial processes like cement and plastics production (which are climate change-causing petrochemicals). In the U.S., most of the time the stored carbon is used to extract more oil in a process called enhanced oil recovery.

“In reality, this all will mean more fracking for oil and gas and more growth of the sector overall.

“Some of the people running climate policy for the Biden campaign may explain why this policy platform has arisen. Campaign advisor Heather Zichal, formerly a top climate aide for President Barack Obama, was until recently on the board of directors of gas exporting company Cheniere. Zichal’s fellow campaign advisor, Ernest Moniz, is partial owner of a proposed liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal called G2 Net Zero LNG. He is also currently on the board of directors of the predominantly gas-powered electricity sector giant Southern Company, a major proponent of CCUS and direct air capture.”