Energy & Environment — Gas prices are reaching a new high and there is no end in sight – Advice Eating

Gasoline prices hit a new high, and a UN agency says the world has a 50 percent chance of temporarily achieving 1.5 degrees Celsius warming in the next few years.

This is Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news on energy, the environment and more. For The Hill we are Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk. Subscribe here.

USA reach record high gasoline prices

On Tuesday, the national average for gas prices hit a new high, a non-inflation-adjusted reading $4.37 per gallonaccording to AAA.

  • Adjusted for inflation, prices still remain below the 2008 peak of $4.11, which would have equated to about $5.37 per gallon in 2022 dollars
  • However, current rates are likely to see another increase ahead of Memorial Day as existing increases are combined with the first summer driving season since 2019 without major COVID-19 restrictions.

There are a few reasons for the likely hikes: AAA spokesman Devin Gladden noted that the European Union’s proposal to ban imports of Russian oil has “introduced more volatility and uncertainty in the market” by tightening supplies.

Demand traditionally spikes in the US near Memorial Day, a three-day weekend that marks the unofficial start of summer — when many head off to the beach and beyond for the year off school.

This year could be a busier weekend than the past two years, when many have been in lockdown due to the pandemic.

And while largely caused by external factors, the high prices are already giving ammunition to Republicans who have tried to blame the Biden administration.

“The American people cannot continue to bear the cost of President Biden’s war on American energy. The average price of gasoline is now $4.37 per gallon. It makes everything more expensive – groceries, diapers, plane tickets, heating our homes, buying cars and much more.”

– Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Panel, said in a statement.

President Biden defended his administration’s energy policy in a new speech Tuesday: “Here at home, US oil and gas production is nearing record levels. In fact, in my first year in office, we produced more oil domestically than my predecessor did in his first year.”

Biden also highlighted actions like being released from the strategic reserve and allowing sales of high-ethanol gasoline in the summer. And he offered criticism of the GOP.

“Republicans would make a lot of finger pointing, but no single solution to actually bring energy prices down,” he said. “They don’t intend to lower energy prices today [and] no shutdown plan to take us to a cleaner, energy independent future tomorrow, so that future American families will no longer be at the whim of dictators on the other side of the world.”

Read more about today’s gas prices and the upcoming price outlook here.

The world may soon reach a major warming milestone

The World Meteorological Organization says there’s a 50 percent chance the world’s temperatures will soon reach 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming — a milestone scientists warn should be avoided in order to avoid the worst effects of the planet prevent climate change.

  • The United Nations agency said in an update released Monday that there is a “50/50 chance” that the annual average global temperature will temporarily exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius of growth for at least one of the next five years.
  • The weather organization also said there is a 93 percent chance that at least one year between 2022 and 2026 will become the warmest year on record, dethroning 2016.

In the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries agreed to work to limit warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, when the global economy was not yet powered by the use of fossil fuels that are warming the planet.

And in a 2018 special report, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned of impacts at 1.5 degrees, including coral reef deaths, crop failures and a several-foot rise in sea levels.

Between 2017 and 2021, there had been only a 10 percent chance that the world would surpass the 1.5 degree milestone.

“This study shows – with a high level of scientific competence – that we are getting measurably closer to temporarily achieving the lower target of the Paris Climate Agreement,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas in a statement.

Taalas called 1.5 degrees of warming “an indicator of the point at which climate impacts become increasingly harmful to humans.”

Read more about the update here.

Carter v. the court

Former President Carter is taking the rare step of interfering in court proceedings and saying an appellate court misinterpreted a conservation law he signed.

  • On Monday, Carter filed a briefing chastising a ruling upholding a Trump-era decision to build a road through a national wildlife sanctuary to allow for medical evacuations nearby.
  • Carter argued in an amicus letter that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling “misinterpreted” the law in question Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILKA).

“The understanding here adopted by the panel majority is not only profoundly wrong, it is dangerous,” Carter wrote.

He wrote that the panel’s findings could be applied to other decisions in the future, thereby circumventing what he described as the law’s intent.

“The secretariat powers recognized by the decision would apply equally to national parks, national forests, national wildlife sanctuaries, and wilderness areas and other protected areas, and to all types of development and mining activities, not just road construction,” he wrote. “Congress’s landmark action – the culmination of years of study and struggle – to designate certain unrivaled lands of national interest for permanent preservation would be negated.”

In its decision, the jury argued that Congress, through the law, enabled then-Home Secretary David Bernhardt to strike a “reasonable balance” between environmental interests and economic and social needs.

But Carter wrote that the mention of “reasonable” social and economic needs in the law describes what the legislation has achieved and does not allow for future decisions that sacrifice conservation in favor of balance.

Read more about his mission here.

INVITATION TO THE VIRTUAL EVENT

The Hill’s Mental Health Summit, Tuesday, May 17 at 1:00 p.m. ET

The pandemic and its toll on Americans’ mental health is often referred to as a “double crisis.” What is being done to address the mental health crisis in our country? During Mental Health Awareness Month, The Hill hosts a discussion of policy recommendations to advance prevention and care for Americans with mental illness. Representative Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), Rep. John Katko (RN.Y.), Dr. Joshua Gordon, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, Russ Glass, CEO of Headspace, and more. Register today.

WADE-ING IN COURT PACK

Several major environmental groups, including Greenpeace, called Monday after the leaked draft decision Roe v. Wade the addition of four seats on the Supreme Court.

Groups that register on call are included Greenpeace USAthat Center for Biodiversitythat Network climate protection, The earth of women, Strengthen our future and ethics of the earth.

  • “The Supreme Court no longer serves the interests of Americans. Our democracy itself is being threatened by a small, partisan group of judges put in power by extremists,” said Ebony Martin, co-executive director at Greenpeace USA, in a statement first reported by The Hill.
  • “The poor and people of color are most at risk, but this court has shown its willingness to face the needs of all Americans. It’s time Congress expanded the Supreme Court to protect our rights, our health, and our communities.”

In their call for more Supreme Court justices, Martin and the other organizations cited last week’s leaked draft Supreme Court Opinion, in which a majority led by Justice Samuel Alito voted to overturn the 1973 decision Roe v. Wade to repeal states from banning abortion. This decision is not yet complete.

Her call also comes as attorneys have raised concerns about what the court’s willingness to overturn previous precedents, as shown in the draft, means for environmental cases.

And it comes as the Supreme Court is considering whether to restrict how the EPA can regulate climate-warming emissions from power plants.

Read more here.

ON TAP TOMORROW

White House Environmental Quality Council Chair Brenda Mallory will testify in a hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

WHAT WE READ

  • Why can’t smog improve air quality in SoCal? Local regulators blame federal government (The Los Angeles Times)
  • ConocoPhillips shareholders vote against new emissions reduction targets (Reuters)
  • Meet the nuclear booster that could depose an energy appropriator (E&E News) Colorado’s snowpack is melting at a ‘ridiculous’ rate (The Denver Post)

ICYMI

And finally, something fancy and offbeat: A damn cool discovery.

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Visit The Hill’s energy and environment page for the latest news and reports. we will see you tomorrow

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