Thursday May 14th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
Main Topic: U.S. Oil Companies Set To Get A Big COVID-19 Bailout
Dear Diary: Every time any government throws the public, business and industry a big financial bone due to a crisis some segments get money which isn’t deserved. The burocratic cogs and wheels of oversight just aren’t set up to catch all oversights. Too, because compromises have to be made in association with our two party system, some entities get money, which the other party doesn’t think should be forked out. This is now true for the fossil fuel industry, which most Republicans are squarely behind. Here is more from the Guardian:
US fossil fuel giants set for a coronavirus bailout bonanza
Exclusive: oil, coal and fracking companies in line to benefit from $750bn bond scheme
Fiona Harvey Environment correspondent
Tue 12 May 2020 06.09 EDT Last modified on Wed 13 May 2020 12.08 EDT
American Electric Power’s Mitchell power plant in Moundsville, West Virginia. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters
Fossil fuel companies and coal-powered utilities in the US are set for a potential bonanza under federal government plans for a bond bailout, part of the rescue package for the coronavirus crisis.
At least 90 fossil fuel companies, many of them established giants such as ExxonMobil, Chevron and Koch Industries, stand to gain from the Federal Reserve’s coronavirus bond buyback programme, alongside more than 150 utilities including coal-heavy firms such as American Electric Power and Duke Energy, according to a new analysis.
The bond buyback scheme is expected to be worth at least $750bn (£605bn) altogether and to benefit thousands of companies by the end of September, and the size of the payout that could go to fossil fuels and utilities is as yet unknown. The scheme is to be discussed in the US Senate on Tuesday.
Jason Disterhoft, a senior campaigner at Rainforest Action Network, which conducted the analysis, said public money should be used to bail out companies only with strict conditions attached. “Our concern is that these recovery funds should be prioritising people and communities and they are going instead to big companies to pay down their debts,” he said.
Ten out of the top 40 fracking companies would be eligible to apply, according to the analysis, which examined all US fossil fuel companies and energy utilities to check whether they would qualify under the published scheme rules. It is not known whether any of these companies will apply for the support, though many are expected to do so.
Established giants such as ExxonMobil, Chevron and Koch Industries stand to gain from the Federal Reserve’s coronavirus bond buyback programme. Photograph: Éric Piermont/AFP via Getty Images Advertisement
The plunge in oil prices has thrown oil companies into disarray, while dropping energy use because of the crisis has also had an impact on coal-fired power plants and utilities.
“The recovery is a choice between propping up the fragile fossil fuel industry and building the resilient green economy we need. The list of who is eligible for the Fed’s massive bond purchase programmes, including struggling frackers, coal companies and supermajors, shows what’s at stake,” said Disterhoft.
“Recovery funds have to go to workers and environmental clean-up first, not bonuses or dividends, and companies should be required to stop expanding fossil fuels and phase out their fossil business – otherwise we’re just lighting public money on fire and locking in the coming climate crash into the bargain.”
A separate study last week by economists and Oxford University found that putting public money into a green recovery would produce higher economic returns and create more jobs in both the short and longer term than pouring the same money into the current fossil fuel economy.
Experts and campaigners around the world have called for governments to focus the recovery on greener growth as a way to generate jobs, revive the global economy and prevent greenhouse gas emissions from rising further as the pandemic subsides.
To be eligible for the Federal Reserve scheme – which is to be administered by BlackRock, the asset manager that this year pledged to shift its investment strategy to take account of the climate crisis – companies must have had a BBB-Baa3 or higher credit rating as of 22 March.
There are moves to change the rules to allow companies that had such a credit rating earlier, on 5 March, to apply. According to the analysis, this would allow another oil and gas company, Occidental Petroleum, to qualify.
Sigh. It is high time all governments stop propping up the fossil fuel industry as we have stated time after time on this blog. Essentially, we are financing our own self destruction in the long run. This is much like buying rope for the hangman’s nose. It’s time to spend taxpayer money on other items besides rope.
Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:
(As usual, the most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
Here is more climate and weather news from Thursday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
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Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”