San Jose, CA

San Jose, CA Next City To Ban Natural Gas

The ultra-left environmental group, Sierra Club, claims that 50 other California cities are also considering a ban on natural gas, the cleanest, cheapest and most resilient source of energy on planet earth. 

So far, San Jose is the largest city in the U.S. to ban natural gas. The only by-products of burning natural gas are water and CO2, which is used by plants to generate oxygen. There are enough proven reserves currently in production that could power the entire U.S. for at least 80 years, and more reserves are being discovered every year.  New scientific discoveries have demonstrated that hydrocarbon fuels are continually regenerated within the earth.

The object of Sustainable Development, aka Technocracy, is to create artificial shortages in critical resource that subsequently demand limited allocation. Of course, the ‘managers’ will be the U.N. and NGOs and not citizens or private companies. ⁃ TN Editor

 

San Jose, CA Mayor Sam Liccardo and other city council members approved a proposal to prohibit natural gas infrastructure from being installed in many new residential buildings. The measure covers single family homes, accessory dwelling units and low-rise multi-family buildings.

The ordinance would require all new multi-family buildings to have 70% electric vehicle (EV) capable parking spaces, at least 20% EV ready spaces and at least 10% EV supply equipment spaces. 

A final ordinance is expected to be approved in October, going into effect on January 1. The council’s intention is to expand the ban to include more buildings, and it has requested check-ins from city staff over the next several months with recommendations for the expansion, a mayor’s office spokesperson told Smart Cities Dive. They are also examining offsetting the cost of solar and battery storage installations in affordable housing.

 

San Jose’s ban comes just after Berkeley, CA passed a natural gas ban that will also take effect on January 1. San Jose is the largest city to advance this type of ordinance. It aims to reduce emissions from buildings, which are considered the largest emissions producers along with transportation.

Other U.S. cities also are pushing for greater building electrification to get away from fossil fuel use. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan proposed a tax on heating oil providers to help 3,000 homes transition from oil to electric heat. This spring, San Francisco Mayor London Breed proposed a plan to transition buildings over 50,000 square feet to 100% renewable energy by 2030. That occurred just after Chicago became the largest U.S. city to commit to 100% renewable energy use by 2035.

A number of climate and environmental advocacy groups, including the Sierra Club, are in favor of San Jose’s move.

“As gas companies and their shady front groups continue to use sketchy tactics to hold communities back from realizing their clean energy realities, leaders in over 50 California cities are moving ahead on similar strategies to end their reliance on gas in their homes and businesses,” said Matt Gough, senior campaign representative for the Sierra Club’s My Generation campaign.

But opponents of natural gas bans warn that these moves could harm citizens because natural gas provides a lower priced, more efficient type of energy.

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nature's rights

Nature’s Rights Movement Will Destroy Concept Of Private Property

This new legal precedent would completely reshape city, county and state permitting and zoning decisions as it decouples private property rights of humans by giving similar rights to nature. ⁃ TN Editor
 

When members of the White Earth band of Ojibwe in Minnesota take out their canoes to harvest wild rice, they’re gathering a source of nourishment and following a tradition that has connected them to the land for generations.

But to the White Earth people, manoomin isn’t just a resource to be used—it’s an independent entity with the right “to exist, flourish, regenerate and evolve.”

Other tribes and even some cities also are embracing the idea that Mother Nature has —setting the stage for court battles that could shake governments, businesses and the environmental movement.

Earlier this year, voters in Toledo, Ohio, passed the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, which declared “irrevocable rights for the Lake Erie Ecosystem to exist, flourish and naturally evolve.” The measure would give the ecosystem legal standing, which means that the lake—with help from a human guardian—could enter the court system as a plaintiff and sue polluters.

Recognizing “rights of nature,” as the concept is known, also would shape city and state permitting and planning decisions. And it might become a powerful tool in fighting climate change and habitat loss.

But it’s still uncertain if any of the forms the movement has taken—protecting specific watersheds, habitats and species—will prove most effective as a legal tactic. And critics in business and government contend that overly broad declarations could paralyze important development and infrastructure if entire habitats are rendered untouchable.

“Our legal system gives corporations rights, but treats nature as property that can be exploited,” said Tish O”Dell, Ohio organizer with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, which helped back the ballot measure. “If we don’t have the right to clean air and clean water in the Constitution, that was because our Founding Fathers couldn’t even fathom that would be something you’d need to write in.”

But the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, one of a handful of such measures enacted across the country, is being challenged in court. Drewes Farm Partnership, an Ohio business, asserts the measure is unconstitutional and would harm agriculture and other interests in the region. That challenge is currently awaiting a ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

Some state attorneys general, agricultural interests and business groups say recognizing rights of nature would make businesses and governments vulnerable to lawsuits over almost any action with an impact on the environment. Thomas Fusonie, a lawyer representing one of the plaintiffs in the Lake Erie lawsuit, said the Toledo measure would allow any city resident to sue “any business or government within the watershed for really undefined potential violations.”

“When you’re talking about the right for soil or mosquitoes to naturally evolve, people are going to have different views on what might violate that,” Fusonie said. “You can’t do anything to the land. You can’t farm it, you can’t put new roads in, you can’t do landscaping.”

Several U.S. tribes already have enacted rights of nature laws, pointing out that indigenous people have long treated nature as a shared resource that must be preserved.

“These are the natural laws that have always existed prior to the poisoning of the land by the extractive industry,” said Casey Camp-Horinek, a councilwoman in the Ponca Nation in Oklahoma and a leader in the rights of nature movement. “If you eat, if you breathe, if you drink water, then it’s an undeniable connection between human and nature.”

In 2017, the Ponca Nation became one of the first tribes in the country to enact a rights of nature law, an anti-fracking measure aimed at protecting the tribe from an increasing number of earthquakes and rising cancer and asthma rates.

Soon after, the White Earth band of Ojibwe enacted its own law recognizing the rights of wild rice, as well as its freshwater resources and habitats. The Ojibwe signed a treaty with the federal government in 1837, granting it access to wild rice on ceded territory.

But that treaty means nothing if there is no wild rice left to be harvested, said tribal attorney Frank Bibeau.

“Wild rice has a right to exist, it has a right to flourish,” Bibeau said. “We have a right to defend it and protect it.”

For the tribe, harvesting wild rice is not just a matter of economic or nutritional importance, but a continuation of cultural and spiritual practices. It also carries strategic value, as the tribe’s treaty guarantees continued access to the resource, and protecting the rice means protecting the water on which it grows.

“Wild rice is the most important cultural aspect of our livelihood,” Bibeau said. “Our migration path took us here to the Great Lakes, where the food grows on the water. If we can protect the water, then we’re probably protecting everything else.”

The White Earth band is hopeful it can use the law to block future threats to the resource, such as oil pipelines and mines. But like many other aspects of tribal law, questions of jurisdiction remain a challenge.

“It’s very difficult to get standing (to sue),” said Rain Bear Stands Last, executive director of the Global Indigenous Council. “When you come to  protection or protection of rivers or salmon, you can go into a tribal court theoretically with a case, but you actually would have to get the defendant to show up. … The tribe doesn’t have jurisdiction outside the boundaries of the reservation.”

Bear Stands Last helped assemble support in 2016 for the Grizzly Treaty, a document signed by more than 200 U.S. and Canadian tribal nations recognizing the grizzly bear’s right to exist in a healthy ecosystem. That coalition won a court victory in 2018 that overturned the Trump administration’s attempt to remove Endangered Species Act protections for the bears.

It isn’t clear whether a tribe’s treaty rights—or its connection to a resource that crosses boundary lines—are enough to establish jurisdiction.

The rights of nature movement started in 2006 with a law in Pennsylvania’s Tamaqua Borough to prevent the dumping of toxic sludge. Since then, about two dozen communities have crafted their own measures, including an anti-fracking provision in Pittsburgh, a ballot measure to stop aerial pesticide spraying in Lincoln County, Oregon, and a climate bill of rights that banned fossil fuel extraction in Lafayette, Colorado.

Advocates on both sides say the movement is poised to face crucial questions about its place in U.S. law in the years ahead.

“The law as we know it recognizes the earth and ecosystems as human property,” said Shannon Biggs, a co-founder of Movement Rights, which advocates for nature’s rights. “Corporations can frack in communities or blow off the tops of mountains—that’s a privilege that’s been granted to corporations in this country. That’s not going to go easily.”

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green bonds

Virtue Signaling With Long-Term ‘Green Bonds’

‘Green Bonds’ are the increasingly popular instruments to finance Sustainable Development, Green Economy and Green New Deal, aka Technocracy, but wrongly-diverted money only causes greater economic dislocation. ⁃ TN Editor
 

While still small, sustainable financing is growing. There’s been $165 billion of so-called “green”-bond issuance from companies and countries this year – more than double 2016’s total – according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

And, under pressure from ‘the people’ demanding policymakers “do something” to save the world from almost certain climate-driven doom, Bloomberg reports that central banks are putting their money-printing malarkey to work in sustainable financing, opening up a new source of demand for the budding asset class.

Most major central banks have signed on to promote sustainable growth, offering incentives that encourage green financing.

“Central banks are important institutional investors, and the fact that they are participating in this market, it gives the market almost like a seal of reliability and maturity,” said Christian Deseglise, global head of central banks and global sponsor of sustainable finance at HSBC Holdings Plc, the biggest underwriter of the bonds this year.

“It’s not so much about adding demand, because we already have demand,” he said. “It’s the quality of that demand that’s really important.”

The European Central Bank has been buying the debt as part of its asset repurchase program.

Hungary and France’s central banks have each created funds dedicated to ecological investments.

Now Peru is considering buying green bonds, too.

While the Federal Reserve, with nearly $4 trillion on its balance sheet, is notably absent from the Network for Greening the Financial System, regional branches have published research on the topic, and Chairman Jerome Powell maintains that it’s a “longer-run issue.”

However, as Bloomberg notes, pricing and liquidity are still limiting factors. As green bonds become more mainstream, investors are offered little additional incentive to buy them as they price comparably to non-green debt.

“As soon as the green-bond market becomes sizable you’ll see central banks investing more in green bonds,” according to Massimiliano Castelli, head of sovereign strategy at UBS Asset Management.

Of course, as most are aware, “green”-bonds are largely a marketing gimmick, and if central banks really do escalate their buying, then you don’t need a crystal ball to forecast that there will be a rise in companies’ “Greenwashing” their issuance – using green labels to spend on not so green things!

Nevertheless, The San Francisco Fed is quick to explain the ‘benefits’ of these “Green bonds” – and

The Forest Resilience Bond (FRB) is a financial tool that enables private invest­ment in forest enhancements on public land. The FRB promises to accelerate the pace and scale at which critical work to restore the health and functioning of the nation’s forested landscapes is undertaken.

It does so by engaging private capital to cover the upfront cost of activities to improve forest health and by bringing together stakeholders that benefit from this work to share in the cost of reimbursing investors over time. These beneficiaries sign contracts that jointly cover the project cost plus a modest return to investors, meaning that no one stakeholder shoulders the burden of repayment alone. The result is a collaborative finance model that yields clear ecological, social, and financial returns.

While perhaps less obvious, the FRB model also unlocks opportunities for positive social impact in rural communities across the country. In addition to the direct impact of job creation, FRB projects can catalyze infusions of capital into rural areas by sending signals to the market that there is a steady supply of raw material to fuel forest-based industries. Against a backdrop of declining rural prosperity, this article envisions how the FRB could play a role in assisting rural areas – especially those with historically forest-based econo­mies – transition to a more resilient ecological and economic future.

What differentiates the Forest Resilience Bond (FRB) from other approaches is not only its use of investor capital to fund restoration quickly and at scale, but the collaborative model of cost sharing between beneficiaries.

This approach engages a range of stakeholders to split the cost of repaying investors and involves them in project development. As such, the FRB model encourages a collaborative systems-level response to forest health challenges that makes use of funds, experience, and expertise from a range of public, private, and civic stakeholders.

Or, put another way, it’s a public-private partnership that levers taxpayer funds to support ‘green’-led initiatives, without the need for voting (because the central banks are unelected!)

So, to summarize, the concept of “green”-bonds is becoming more and more mainstream – who cares if we don’t get any yield, at least we are signaling just how virtuous we are – and as various ‘wealthy’ western nations hit the monetary and fiscal policy wall, the rhetoric around “People’s QE” or a Modern-Monetary-Theory-driven (MMT) redistribution spreads positively among many (especially the socialism-supporting Millennials).

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