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    Florida’s New Climate Change Law Is About Much More Than Words​

    By Jessica Hullinger,

    2024-05-16
    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0LffOn_0t4kuQg900
    Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

    Current conditions: Areas surrounding Milan, Italy, are flooded after intense rainfall • Chile is preparing for its most severe cold snap in 70 years • East Texas could see “ nightmare ” flash flooding today and tomorrow.

    THE TOP FIVE

    1. Biden expands solar tariffs to include bifacial modules

    The Biden administration is expanding existing solar panel tariffs to include the popular two-sided (or bifacial) modules used in many utility-scale solar installations. The solar manufacturing industry and elected representatives in states that have seen large solar manufacturing investments have been pushing to end the tariffs exclusion. With this move, the Biden administration is decisively intervening in the solar industry’s raging feud on the side of the adolescent-but-quickly-maturing domestic solar manufacturing industry, wrote Heatmap’s Matthew Zeitlin. Bifacial modules are estimated to account for over 90% of U.S. module imports. That amounted to some $4.3 billion of incoming orders in the first six months of last year. Developers who have contracts to buy bifacial panels that will be shipped within 90 days will still be able to import them without duties, and the tariffs also allow a quota of solar cells, which are later assembled into modules, to be imported without charges.

    2. Florida erases climate change from state law

    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis yesterday signed legislation that will result in most references to climate change being removed from state law. While the scrubbing of climate change is leading most headlines, the law does a few other important things, too:

    • It nixes requirements for state government to prioritize climate change when writing energy policy.
    • It removes language that gave state officials the authority to set goals for renewable energy.
    • It bans offshore wind turbines in state waters.
    • It repeals state grant programs that encourage energy conservation and renewable energy.
    • It deletes requirements for state agencies to use environmentally-friendly products and fuel-efficient vehicles.
    • It prevents municipalities from dictating which fuels can be used in appliances like gas stoves.
    • It waters down regulation of gas pipelines and boosts expansion of gas.

    Florida is extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change, from deadly heat waves to stronger and more frequent storms and sea level rise. And most Floridians support state action to tackle the issue. The law will come into effect on July 1.

    3. The North American grid is ready for a ‘normal’ summer

    The North American electric grid has “adequate anticipated resources for normal summer peak load and conditions,” the North American Electric Reliability Corporation said yesterday . The nonprofit reliability organizaton’s chief executive officer Jim Robb said there are “fewer areas at risk than last year, but significant concerns remain at the system’s ability to perform under extreme conditions.” The report lays out summer reliability risks by region, including nuclear plant outages in Ontario, Canada, less-than-expected wind power generation in the middle of the U.S., and a heat wave affecting western states and Mexico.

    Meanwhile, Texas’s main grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), warned that the state could face an electricity emergency this weekend, with power demand expected to creep up toward max supply levels starting Friday night and stretching into Saturday night.

    4. IEA lowers annual oil demand growth forecast

    The International Energy Agency has lowered its forecast for oil demand growth for 2024. In its May report , the agency projects oil demand will grow by 1.1 million barrels per day (BPD), down 140,000 BPD from April’s report. “Poor industrial activity and another mild winter have sapped gasoil consumption this year,” the agency said. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) released its own monthly report on Tuesday, projecting that oil demand will rise by 2.25 million BPD in 2024. “The gap between the IEA and OPEC is now even wider than it was earlier this year,” Reuters said .

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  • 5. Study: Climate change exacerbates brain diseases

    A new study found that extreme heat from climate change is making certain conditions involving the brain and the nervous system worse, including Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and even migraines and strokes. “Many of the components of the brain are, in fact, working close to the top of their temperature ranges, meaning that small increases in temperature or humidity may mean they stop working so well together,” the authors, from University College London , explained. “When those environmental conditions move rapidly into unaccustomed ranges, as is happening with extreme temperatures and humidity related to climate change, our brain struggles to regulate our temperature and begins to malfunction.” The authors note that 20% of the excess deaths that resulted from the 2003 European heat wave were among people with neurological conditions.

    THE KICKER

    Massachusetts is launching a $10 million Climate Careers Fund that will provide no-interest loans to help people pay for training in climate-related jobs from heating and cooling to electric vehicle mechanics.


    Read more: This Is How You Die of Extreme Heat

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