In this week's newsletter: Climate change could trigger the next financial crisis, why the plastic problem could get worse before it gets better, appeals court dismisses landmark youth climate case and much more!
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Will Climate Change Fuel the Next Financial Crisis?

One of the most trenchant arguments against climate action is that attempting to create a sustainable world will cause unprecedented and destructive economic chaos- at the Davos Economic Forum this week Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested that Greta Thunberg study economics in college before lecturing world leaders on the need to address climate change- but now an organization that represents the world's central banks has issued a report on financial stability (and the potential for instability) in the climate era.

The book-length report, published by the Bank for International Settlements, in Basel, Switzerland, signals what could be the overriding theme for central banks in the decade to come.

“Climate change poses unprecedented challenges to human societies, and our community of central banks and supervisors cannot consider itself immune to the risks ahead of us,” François Villeroy de Galhau, governor of the Banque de France, said in the report.

Central banks are also under threat from the rise of cryptocurrency, which cut them out of the transactional process entirely. 

By some estimates, global gross domestic product could plunge by nearly a quarter by the end of the century because of the effects of climate change. Central banks have enough trouble dealing with mild recessions, and would not be powerful enough to combat an economic downturn of that scale.

You can read more on the NY Times website here.

Think the Plastic Problem Is Bad Now? It Could Get Worse

As public concern about plastic pollution rises, consumers are reaching for canvas bags, metal straws, and reusable water bottles. But while individuals fret over images of oceanic garbage gyres, the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries are pouring billions of dollars into new plants intended to make millions more tons of plastic than they now pump out.

Companies like ExxonMobil, Shell, and Saudi Aramco are ramping up output of plastic — which is made from oil and gas, and their byproducts — to hedge against the possibility that a serious global response to climate change might reduce demand for their fuels, analysts say. Petrochemicals, the category that includes plastic, now account for 14 percent of oil use, and are expected to drive half of oil demand growth between now and 2050, the International Energy Agency says. The World Economic Forum predicts plastic production will double in the next 20 years.

Since 2010, companies have invested more than $200 billion in 333 plastic and other chemical projects in the U.S., including expansions of existing facilities, new plants, and associated infrastructure such as pipelines, says the American Chemistry Council, an industry body. While some are already running or under construction, other projects await regulators’ approval.

“That’s why 2020 is so crucial. There are a lot of these facilities that are in the permitting process. We’re pretty close to it all being too late,” said Judith Enck, founder of Beyond Plastics and a former regional director for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

You can read more at here.

Appeals Court Dismisses Youth Climate Case

Five years ago, 21 young people sued the US government, alleging that by contributing to climate change, despite knowledge of its dangerous consequences, it was violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property.

The kids were asking the court to compel the government to end fossil-fuel subsidies and adopt policies that would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

But on Friday, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the case, known as Juliana vs. the United States.

"The panel reluctantly concluded that the plaintiffs' case must be made to the political branches or to the electorate at large," the 32-page opinion said.

The decision reverses a ruling by Oregon district court judge Ann Aiken, who found that the case had legal standing. Both the Obama and Trump administrations had tried multiple times to get the lawsuit dismissed.

Our Children's Trust, the non-profit law organization representing the youth plaintiffs, said its fight was not over, though.

"We will be asking the full Ninth Circuit to review the determination that federal courts can do nothing to address an admitted constitutional violation," Andrea Rodgers, the plaintiffs' co-counsel, said in a statement. 

You can read more on the Business Insider website here.

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Solar One Events

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Upcoming Events

E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: Ridgewood
Rosemary's Playground, Fairview Avenue bet Woodbine & Madison Sts, Queens, 10am-4pm, free

E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center: Upper East Side
92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue bet E. 91st & E. 92nd Sts, Manhattan, 10am-4pm, free

Clean Energy Connections: The State of Storage in NY
The WNYC Greene Space, 44 Charlton Street at Varick St, Manhattan, 6:30-9pm, $25 general admission/$15 students with valid ID

Climate-Ready Combined Sewer Overflow Solutions Forum
Elizabeth Public Library, Main Branch, 11 South Broad Street bet Rahway Ave & Rector St, Elizabeth NJ, 6-8pm, free

Public Forum: Waterfront Development, Public Access, and In-water Access
Cornell University College of Architecture, Art & Planning, 26 Broadway bet Beaver St & Exchange Pl, Manhattan, 6-8pm, free

Citywide/Open Waters LTCP Public Meeting: Recommended Plan
CUNY School of Law, 2 Court Square West, 2nd Floor Auditorium, bet 23rd St & Crescent St, Queens, 6:30-8:30pm, free

Anatomy of an Energy Efficient Building
Exhibit Launch
Building Energy Exchange, 31 Chambers Street, Suite 609, between Elk & Centre Sts, Manhattan, 6-8pm, free

The Great Atlantic Liners—A Talk by Bill Miller
The National Lighthouse Museum, 200 The Promenade at Lighthouse Point, Staten Island, 6-8pm, $10 general admission/$5 museum members
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