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Remining for the Energy Transition

By Ann S. Maest - Earthworks, January 9, 2024

In this report, Earthworks, Transport and Environment, and Earthjustice highlight the potential of remining to help meet the increasing demand for transition minerals. However, further study and stronger regulations are necessary before this new innovation can support a safe, just, and sustainable clean energy transition.

Developed to assist policy makers and technical experts in initiating discussions with environmental and human rights leaders, as well as representatives of impacted communities, “Remining for the Energy Transition” dissects what is known and unknown about remining today: how renewable energy minerals can be recovered from mine waste deposits, its possible benefits and dangers, and practices that best reinforce gains and mitigate risks.

Remining mine waste is touted as an alternative to virgin extraction for its promise to deliver better community, conservation, and climate outcomes.

But is remining the silver bullet many deem it to be? 

This report highlights its potential to meet some of the demand for transition minerals. Remined cobalt, for example, could power more than 185,000 electric vehicles. However, more work is still needed to ensure remining is safe and sustainable for people, communities, and our planet.

Download a copy of this publication here (PDF).

How Green New Deal from Below Programs Integrate Climate, Jobs, and Justice

By Jeremy Brecher - Labor Network for Sustainability, January 3, 2024

The appeal of the Green New Deal lies in its drawing together the varied needs of diverse constituencies into a common program that realizes them all. Here’s how that works at the sub-national level.

Assembly Bill 525 Offshore Wind Strategic Plan - Volume II: Main Report

By Melissa Jones, Jim Bartridge, and Lorelei Walker - California Energy Commission, January 2024

Assembly Bill 525 (AB 525, Chiu, Chapter 231, Statutes of 2021) directs the California Energy Commission (CEC) to complete and submit a strategic plan for offshore wind development in federal waters off the California coast to the Natural Resources Agency and the relevant fiscal and policy committees of the Legislature.

This strategic plan is the last of four work products the CEC is directed to prepare by AB 525. The strategic plan consists of three volumes: Volume I is an overview report, Volume II is the main report, and Volume III contains the technical appendices.

In preparing the strategic plan, the CEC coordinated with federal, state, and local agencies and a wide variety of stakeholders. As required by AB 525, this strategic plan identifies suitable sea space to accommodate the offshore wind planning goals, includes a discussion of economic and workforce development and port space and infrastructure, and assesses transmission investments, upgrades, and associated costs. In addition, this strategic plan discusses the permitting processes for offshore wind facilities and identifies potential impacts on coastal resources, fisheries, Native American and Indigenous peoples, national defense, and underserved communities. The plan also includes a discussion of strategies that could address those potential impacts such as avoidance, minimization, monitoring, mitigation, and adaptive management.

For more details, see: AB 525 Reports: Offshore Renewable Energy

Download a copy of this publication here (PDF).

Assembly Bill 525 Offshore Wind Strategic Plan - Volume I: Overview Report

By Melissa Jones, Jim Bartridge, and Lorelei Walker - California Energy Commission, January 2024

Assembly Bill 525 (AB 525, Chiu, Chapter 231, Statutes of 2021) directs the California Energy Commission (CEC) to complete and submit a strategic plan for offshore wind development in federal waters off the California coast to the Natural Resources Agency and the relevant fiscal and policy committees of the Legislature.

This strategic plan is the last of four work products the CEC is directed to prepare by AB 525. The strategic plan consists of three volumes: Volume I is an overview report, Volume II is the main report, and Volume III contains the technical appendices.

In preparing the strategic plan, the CEC coordinated with federal, state, and local agencies and a wide variety of stakeholders. As required by AB 525, this strategic plan identifies suitable sea space to accommodate the offshore wind planning goals, includes a discussion of economic and workforce development and port space and infrastructure, and assesses transmission investments, upgrades, and associated costs. In addition, this strategic plan discusses the permitting processes for offshore wind facilities and identifies potential impacts on coastal resources, fisheries, Native American and Indigenous peoples, national defense, and underserved communities. The plan also includes a discussion of strategies that could address those potential impacts such as avoidance, minimization, monitoring, mitigation, and adaptive management.

For more details, see: AB 525 Reports: Offshore Renewable Energy

Download a copy of this publication here (PDF).

Assembly Bill 525 Offshore Wind Strategic Plan - Volume III: Appendices

By Melissa Jones, Jim Bartridge, and Lorelei Walker - California Energy Commission, January 2024

Assembly Bill 525 (AB 525, Chiu, Chapter 231, Statutes of 2021) directs the California Energy Commission (CEC) to complete and submit a strategic plan for offshore wind development in federal waters off the California coast to the Natural Resources Agency and the relevant fiscal and policy committees of the Legislature.

This strategic plan is the last of four work products the CEC is directed to prepare by AB 525. The strategic plan consists of three volumes: Volume I is an overview report, Volume II is the main report, and Volume III contains the technical appendices.

In preparing the strategic plan, the CEC coordinated with federal, state, and local agencies and a wide variety of stakeholders. As required by AB 525, this strategic plan identifies suitable sea space to accommodate the offshore wind planning goals, includes a discussion of economic and workforce development and port space and infrastructure, and assesses transmission investments, upgrades, and associated costs. In addition, this strategic plan discusses the permitting processes for offshore wind facilities and identifies potential impacts on coastal resources, fisheries, Native American and Indigenous peoples, national defense, and underserved communities. The plan also includes a discussion of strategies that could address those potential impacts such as avoidance, minimization, monitoring, mitigation, and adaptive management.

For more details, see: AB 525 Reports: Offshore Renewable Energy

Download a copy of this publication here (PDF).

How Aviation can avoid a Climate Crash

In 2023, organized labor became core to the climate movement

By Katie Myers - Grist, December 20, 2023

2023 was marked by symbiosis between the labor and climate movements. Workers across industries and geographies loudly declared that a world in which their safety and well-being are disregarded is even more dangerous to them and to others in a time of energy transition and climate crisis. After decades of hesitancy, several major unions recognized an urgent need to organize those who will do the hard work of decarbonizing the nation’s economy. It doesn’t hurt that public sympathy, and policy, has grown friendlier toward them. As a result, calls for a just transition rattled union halls and corporate offices as organized labor enjoyed one of its most active years in recent memory and environmental organizations, long uncertain about where unions stood, found new allies.

“The choices and solutions are not really gonna work unless labor is involved with them,” said Dana Kuhnline, director of Reimagine Appalachia. It works with union leaders and environmental grassroots groups to bring good jobs to coalfield communities that need them. “I think that’s a lesson climate activists really have to take to heart.”

The reality of a warming world was a central concern for UPS, Amazon, and airport workers who demanded, and in many cases won, concessions protecting them from extreme heat. But the biggest gains were made by the 150,000 members of the reinvigorated United Auto Workers, or UAW, who made a just transition a key demand in one of the most high-profile strikes of the year. Though the union’s primary demands concerned wages and sick days, no small amount of negotiating focused on the looming transition to electric vehicles. Workers wanted to ensure the factories that will make that happen for Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis will be union shops, with wages and benefits equal to those provided at traditional auto factories. Forty years of internal organizing brought UAW to a place where it was willing and able to address energy transition, whereas in previous years, its leaders had gotten fidgety at the idea. 

Eco Socialism: The Only Way To Save Our World?

COP28: Progress for a just transition but big gaps remain

By staff - International Trade Union Confederation, December 14, 2023

The ITUC welcomes the inclusion of references to labour rights and social protection in the Just Transition Work Programme adopted at the COP28 climate talks and recognition of the continuing work undertaken by trade unions around the world to tackle climate change.

Nevertheless, the absence of any reference to workers and their unions in the key COP28 “Global Stocktake”, which tracks progress in countries around the world, is a significant omission and indicates the scale of the work required to ensure its inclusion in the coming years.

Worrying gaps remain in the global ambition to keep the world temperature rise under 1.5C, and the lack of an overall commitment to fully engage with trade unions in transitioning away from fossil fuels and in other vital areas of climate action will hinder progress, as it risks leaving workers and their communities behind.

While the formation of the Loss and Damage Fund is a positive step, efforts must be made to ensure it is financed adequately to support less wealthy countries to invest in mitigation projects that will reduce the impacts of global warming and undo the damage already being done to lives, livelihoods, infrastructure and the biosphere.

ITUC General Secretary Luc Triangle said: “We are resolute in our commitment to continue and increase our action for a just transition to a sustainable future for humanity and the ecosystem.

“Some progress has been made at this COP, however, much more needs to be done. The fact that certain countries continue to block any reference to unions in the Global Stocktake and elsewhere reflects poorly on those countries and, more importantly, will hold back progress.

“Government climate negotiators have recognised that explicit reference to labour rights, decent work, quality jobs and social protection is necessary. However, sufficient financing must be delivered coherently and the ILO Just Transition Guidelines, agreed by tripartite discussions between union, government and employer representatives, need to be put into practice.”

How Minnesota Unions are Building Power in Their Communities

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