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Hot, dry, and windy conditions in south-central Oregon continue to sustain and spread the Bootleg fire—the largest fire (by area) currently burning in the United States. Smoke from the fire is visible in this image, acquired with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on July 18, 2021. Nearly two weeks after the fire ignited, it has burned 467 square miles (1,209 square kilometers)—about equivalent to the area of the cities of Los Angeles or Phoenix. Huge smoke plumes have degraded the air quality in communities to the north, northeast, and east of the fire. Forecasters called for areas to the southeast and southwest to see air quality affected next, as the wind direction was expected to shift overnight on July 19. NASA Earth Observatory image by Lauren Dauphin, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS LANCE and GIBS/Worldview. Text by Kathryn Hansen.

Climate Change

300,000 Gallons Of Diesel Dumped Near Mississippi River, Extreme Weather In 2021

Below are three short summaries of recent renewable energy and climate-related news from NexusMedia.

Pipeline Dumps 300,000 Gallons Of Diesel Near Mississippi River

The Meraux pipeline spilled 300,000 gallons of diesel fuel a few hundred feet from the Mississippi River last week from rupture at known but unrepaired corrosion damage, E&E reports. PBF Energy Inc. officials knew of the corrosion damage in the 42-year-old pipeline more than a year ago, but did not repair the 22 feet by 2 feet section of pipe so corroded it was only one-third of its original thickness. That the pipeline wasn’t fixed is “maddening,” Pipeline Safety Trust executive director Bill Caram to E&E. “Now we have over 300,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled, a mere few hundred feet from our treasured Mississippi River.”

Source: E&E 

Extreme Weather Hit Home For 40% Of U.S. Population In 2021

More than 40% of people in the U.S. live in a county hit by climate-related extreme weather in 2021, a Washington Post analysis of federal disaster declarations found. Additionally, more than 80% of people living in the U.S. experienced a heatwave, which is not considered a disaster, but is the most deadly form of severe weather. The widespread, sometimes overlapping, and increasing disasters are a testament to the way climate change “has loaded the weather dice against us,” climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe told the Post. Wildfires, flooding and landslides, hurricanes, and other severe storms are all made worse or more frequent by climate change, primarily caused by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels.

The analysis does not include the megadrought parching vast swaths of the West. In Louisville, Colorado, Mayor Ashley Stolzmann lost much of her town to the Marshall Fire last week. “When I lay awake the first night, not able to sleep from the fire, when I was evacuated from my house,” she told the Post, “the first thing I thought of is: I need everyone to reduce their carbon emissions.”

Sources: Washington Post $; Climate Signals background: 2021 Western wildfire seasonFlooding2021 Atlantic Hurricane seasonWestern droughtExtreme heat and heatwaves

US Became World’s #1 LNG Exporter In December

The United States exported more LNG than any other nation for the first time in December. More than 7 million tons of liquified methane-based gas left U.S. shores, more than Qatar or Australia. LNG was first exported from the lower 48 states just six years ago. Demand for U.S. LNG in Europe and Asia is driving up methane-based gas prices for U.S.consumers and LNG exports face increasing criticism from consumer, climate, and environmental justice advocates. In North America, 80% of increased methane pollution from 2000 to 2017 was driven by fossil fuels, and the U.S. fracking boom in particular.

Record-breaking LNG exports undermine the Biden administration’s climate goals, especially its pledge to cut methane pollution by 30% by 2030, the main target of its highly-touted Global Methane Pledge  — between extraction, transportation, and combustion, methane pollution threatens to make gas more climate-heating than coal.

Source: CNNBloomberg $, S&P GlobalAl JazeeraWorld Oil; Coal comparison: S&P Global

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