Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
If you make a contribution of $150 or more, you will become an official “Friend of the Planet” and receive a Friend of the Planet T-shirt or water bottle. You can also submit opinion essays to us for our consideration for posting on our new “Bright Ideas” op-ed page.
Senate Majority Leader McConnell Signals It Passed Photo: Andrew Harnik, AP
The $2 trillion stimulus package the Senate passed unanimously late last night contained neither the funding the President sought to fill up the tank on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve nor the provisions that would have required the airline industry to become more sustainable in exchange for large grants. As a result of this “draw” with the fossil fuel and airline industries, the leaders of both the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council issued statements expressing their support for the bill, citing its relief to workers, but also signaling a desire that further stimulus packages result in a more sustainable economy and a cleaner energy future.
Why This Matters: The most important thing, in the end, was the aid that workers, small businesses, hospitals, and state and local governments so direly needed at this moment. The fact that some of the green provisions were included in the conversation about this bill was a sign that the message about sustainability is breaking through. Now was not the time to fight to the death for them. The leaders of the major green groups recognized that on greening the stimulus, a draw was good enough. But the fight must go on.
Europeans Debating Greening Their Stimulus Packages To Meet Paris Agreement
Reuters reported that a number of European countries recognize that they will need an economic stimulus package like the one making its way through Congress in the U.S., but are looking to make them count toward their billions they have promised to reduce carbon emissions as part of the Paris Accord. Even the countries with traditionally tight government spending like Germany see the benefit of using this moment when the fiscal spigot is open to fund projects such as renewable energy and public transportation. On Tuesday, even the conservative government in the U.K. “urged governments to ‘look to green stimulus.'” Until now, European governments had been reluctant to issue bonds to pay for climate projects (i.e. “green debt”) but now, according to the Reuters story, “Germany plans to issue a green bond in the second half of 2020 as does Italy; other candidates are Spain, Sweden, Denmark, and Britain.”
Will It Finally Be Infrastructure Week When Stimulus 4 Rolls Around?
The U.S. financial markets may also be signaling it is time for “green infrastructure” spending in the next recovery package Congress takes up — so the environmental groups may have some allies when the battle resumes. In a commentary piece in Barron’s on Tuesday, two venture capitalists argued that the coronavirus has exposed the extent to which local governments are now on the front lines of American life. And municipalities need a significant federal shot in the arm. The authors point out that “[f]or the same price as the proposed support for the airline industry ($50 billion), about 85% of the nation’s sewage overflow problem could be eliminated. That would improve drinking water, public safety, property values, fishing and recreational economies, and environmental quality for the residents of 32 states.” And they argue that with interest rates so low, now is the time for state and local governments to borrow from the federal government to make these green infrastructure investments.
As Forbes reported, the death rates in Italy, Spain and France—the countries with the highest coronavirus death tolls globally—have slowed in the last couple of days, showing that countries’ national lockdown policies may be working to curb the rate of devastation. In New York state (the center of the nation’s outbreak), deaths rates dropped for […]
After a resident of the Park tested positive last week for COVID-19, the Interior Department finally closed Grand Canyon National Park to the public after the local health officials in Arizona called for it given the increase in the county’s numbers of positive tests and a large outbreak of the virus on neighboring Navajo Tribal lands.
Why This Matters: Again the Trump Administration was behind in recognizing the coronavirus threat to communities near national parks.