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John Kerry: We need to remove CO2 from the atmosphere



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John Kerry, President Joe Biden‘s climate czar, during the world leaders’ virtual climate summit on Thursday talked about how getting carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere will be critical in combatting climate change, even if the United States achieves net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

“You said twice [that] getting to net-zero is going to be hard, really hard,” Biden’s Special Envoy for Climate said to a reporter at one point during the summit, on Earth Day. “And I would just remind everybody that that will depend on whether or not we have some breakthrough technologies and breakthrough innovations.”

“But even if we get to net-zero, we still have to get carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere,” he continued, adding that “this is a bigger challenge than a lot of people have […] really grabbed onto yet.”

Along with reducing carbon dioxide emissions to reach net-zero, environmentalists and scientists have said that removing the massive amount of carbon dioxide that humans have already been emitting into the atmosphere will be critical in fighting climate change. The goal would be to reduce the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere to a “safe” level, which scientists have generally placed around 350 parts per million. According to Carbon Brief, the concentration as of March 2021 has reached about 417ppm, a 50% increase over the 1750-1800 average.

The World Resources Institute, a global environmental nonprofit, illustrated six possible ways to remove carbon from the atmosphere. These include: a variety of ways to increase the amount of carbon stored in soil, Bio-energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), direct air capture technology, carbon mineralization, a number of ocean-based carbon removal concepts, and planting more forests.

There also exists a possibly lucrative opportunity for certain businesses to make lots of money by utilizing air-captured carbon in certain products and services, which, according to a 2019 report from Vox, could potentially create a $1 trillion market by 2030.

Kerry’s comments came on the same day that Biden pledged to slash U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to 52%—compared to 2005 levels—by 2030, as part of a broader goal of achieving net-zero emissions in the country by 2050.

RELATED: Biden vows to cut nearly half of greenhouse emissions by 2030

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.

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TX farmers fight to block USDA from using race in distributing farm aid



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“When natural disasters strike, they don’t discriminate based on race and sex. Neither should the Department of Agriculture.” That’s the message from a group of farmers written in a court filing made public Monday.

Just The News reports on a group of white farmers in Texas who are asking a federal judge to block the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from using race, gender or other “socially disadvantaged” traits to determine who gets disaster and pandemic farm aid and how much, arguing the agency’s current administration of eight emergency funding programs is unconstitutionally discriminatory.

According to Just the News, the USDA’s program appears to be rooted in an executive order that President Joe Biden signed. The lawsuit names the USDA and Biden Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The farmers bringing the action include Rusty Strickland, Alan and Amy West and Bryan Baker, all of Texas.

The farmers, represented by the nonprofit legal firm called the Southeastern Legal Foundation, asked a judge to issue an emergency injunction from the U.S. District Court in Amarillo, Texas, to stop any additional awards from being made on the basis of race and gender or other liberal standards.

“Enjoining USDA from using race, sex, or progressive factoring when administering the programs is warranted because Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their claims that: (1) the programs, as currently administered, are unconstitutional; (2) USDA lacks statutory authority to run the programs in their current form; and (3) USDA failed to adequately explain changes in calculating payments when implementing progressive factoring,” the motion stated.

The farmers said the Biden administration has taken roughly $25 billion in disaster and pandemic aid approved by Congress for farmers in eight programs and devised a system to make awards based on race, gender or other “socially disadvantaged” traits. Such decision-making violates the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment and the Administrative Procedures Act.

“The Constitution promises equal treatment to all Americans regardless of their race or sex,” the court filing also reads. “It also promises the separation of powers. USDA broke both promises through the disaster and pandemic relief programs challenged here.”

The farmers said they can prove that “USDA gives more money to some farmers based on” race, gender or other factors never approved by Congress.

“USDA does this by first defining farmers who are black/African-American, American Indian, Alaskan native, Hispanic, Asian-American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, or a woman as ‘socially disadvantaged,’” the court filing said. “Then, it provides farmers who qualify as socially disadvantaged more money for the same loss than those it deems non-underserved, along with other preferential treatment”

Just the News explains the request for an injunction relies in part of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision last year banning racial preferences in college admissions. It even quoted from the high court’s declaration that “eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it.”.

“Disasters don’t discriminate and neither should USDA. In fact, the Constitution prohibits it,” the lawyers said in a statement. “That is why our brave clients – a group of Texas farmers that includes three white men who received significantly less money in disaster relief funds from USDA than if they had been of a different race or sex – filed this case and are asking the court to stop USDA’s blatant discrimination.”

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