Tim McDonnell
Tim McDonnell
Covering climate/energy/corona in MENA/global @qz -- aka survival on messed-up planet. Previously @NPR, @MotherJones, @natgeo, @FulbrightPrgrm. Also bread.Source
Cairo, Egypt
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China’s new carbon market isn’t designed to fix climate change

China’s new carbon market isn’t designed to fix climate change

China opened the world’s largest carbon trading market on July 16, more than a decade after its government first proposed the idea. The market covers about 2,200 power plants that account for 40% of the country’s world-leading carbon footprint, and may expand over time to cover other high-emissions sectors like steel and cement production. Like the European Union’s carbon market, the basic idea is that each plant will be allotted a certain number of carbon pollution permits and have to pay for additional ones if its emissions run over. That cost, in theory, should lead sector-wide...

Jul 19
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Biden’s infrastructure bill will make or break his climate legacy

Biden’s infrastructure bill will make or break his climate legacy

By Climate reporterMarch 23, 2021President Joe Biden is turning to his next legislative priority, a $3 trillion pair of infrastructure bills that put climate change front and center. As first in the New York Times on Mar. 22, funding will be directed to the electric grid, energy-efficient affordable housing, electric vehicle charging stations, and other clean energy priorities. It follows a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package earlier this month.The infrastructure package shows that Biden is taking a different approach to the climate crisis than Barack Obama. Rather than centering his...

Mar 23
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Global spending on renewables is quickly catching up to oil and gas

Global spending on renewables is quickly catching up to oil and gas

By Climate reporterMarch 22, 2021Saudi Aramco is tightening its belt. , the world’s largest state-owned oil company reported a 44% decline in net profits in 2020 thanks to the pandemic. With global oil demand to bounce fully back until at least 2022, the company said it will shave up to $10 billion off its capital spending plans this year.It’s not alone. ExxonMobil a similarly-sized spending cut earlier this month. Globally, fossil fuel companies’ spending on “upstream” activities (finding and producing oil and gas) fell by nearly one-third in 2020, according to a new from Rystad Energy, a...

Mar 22
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American oil and gas companies are asleep at the wheel on methane emissions

American oil and gas companies are asleep at the wheel on methane emissions

By Climate reporterNovember 23, 2020In the global race to eliminate the world’s greenhouse gas footprint, some sources of emissions are easier to fix than others. One of the lowest-hanging fruits should be methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, which occur at every stage of production and distribution either through leaks or intentional flaring. Yet US oil and gas companies—the world’s largest producers of both products—have demonstrated once again that they’re not interested in fixing the problem.On Monday, 62 oil and gas companies representing 30% of global oil and gas...

Nov 23
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What happens if a president-elect dies before inauguration?

What happens if a president-elect dies before inauguration?

By Climate reporterNovember 7, 2020In the nearly three months before inauguration day on Jan. 20, there are still a few more hoops for Joe Biden to jump through before taking office: the official electoral college vote on Dec. 14, followed by the congressional certification of that vote on Jan. 6.It may seem morbid, but given that Biden, at 77, will be the oldest president-elect in history and is running in the midst of a pandemic, it’s worth clarifying what would happen if he dies before taking office.If Biden were to die before December’s electoral college vote, the Democratic National...

Nov 7
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Here are the wildly different questions asked in Trump and Biden’s dueling town halls

Here are the wildly different questions asked in Trump and Biden’s dueling town halls

By October 16, 2020US presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden participated in the second presidential debate on Thursday, this time held virtually to accommodate safety considerations following Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis earlier this month.Just kidding. The candidates appeared in dueling town halls , fielding different questions from different people in mutually exclusive forums that forced the American people to watch one town hall or the other, or worse, both back to back.There is perhaps no greater metaphor for the state of US politics than bifurcating one of the last...

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October 16, 2020
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RBG’s replacement could undermine the most important climate ruling

RBG’s replacement could undermine the most important climate ruling

By Climate reporterSeptember 22, 2020If US president Donald Trump succeeds in replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court this year, one of the early cases the new justice is likely to hear could be pivotal in the climate debate. And if the Court rules in favor of the Trump administration, the decision would blunt one of the government’s sharpest tools for fighting climate change.Next month, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals will hear a brought last year by a group of mostly Democrat-led states against the administration’s effort to roll back Obama-era regulations on carbon emissions...

September 22, 2020
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Covid-19 cases may be undercounted by 50-fold in LA County, antibody surveys show

Covid-19 cases may be undercounted by 50-fold in LA County, antibody surveys show

On Monday, researchers in California preliminary results from one of the first US surveys to test a random group of people for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. Serologic surveys are a tool epidemiologists can use to deduce how many people have really contracted the virus, including people who never felt sick or who did but were never able to get a diagnostic test.The survey included 863 adults in Los Angeles County, selected from a market research database to reflect the overall demographics of the county. The results of their , conducted on April 10 and 11, show that between 2.8% and 5.6% of the...

April 20, 2020
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