Energy & Environment — Warming brings worse quality of life

Planetary warming is tied to worse well-being, a new analysis finds. Plus: Three House Democrats want answers on carbon offset standards and multiple families are suing the U.S. Navy over contaminated water. 

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Rising temps tied to reduced well-being: analysis

A Gallup analysis found that increasing temperatures appeared to be linked to reduced quality of life, which could indicate people will have lower evaluations of their lives in the future as temperatures continue to rise.

  • The analysis, released Wednesday, was based on data that Gallup collected over a period of 13 years for its annual World Poll.
  • The researchers used geospatial information on 1.75 million respondents from 160 countries who rated their lives during that time period.
  • Gallup also examined 30 years of daily high-resolution temperature data from NASA, using it to map local temperatures in the 30 days before each survey interaction.

The polling and research firm was trying to investigate how high-temperature days — which it defines as days considered outliers to normal seasonal temperatures — impact people’s views of their lives.  

What else? The researchers found that a person’s life evaluation dropped by 0.56 percent every time they experienced a high-temperature day.  

The rating system for a person reporting their quality of life was based on the 10-point Cantril Self-Anchoring Scale. The scale asks subjects to imagine a ladder with steps numbered zero up through 10 and share what step they would consider themselves on.

It’s getting worse: The analysis found that people experienced three times more high-temperature days in 2020 than in 2008, and respondents’ ratings of their lives dropped by 6.5 percent in that time, with controls for location and other factors that influence how people view their lives.  

Gallup’s Bénédicte Clouet and Nicole Willcoxon, who wrote a summary of the findings, said that the 6.5 percent drop is a “meaningful decrease,” since life evaluation has been a relatively stable measure for as long as Gallup has tracked it.  

“As the number of above-normal temperature days continues to grow, the analysis suggests that life ratings will continue to drop, with considerable declines in life evaluations in countries with more frequent high-temperature days,” they said. 

Read more from The Hill’s Jared Gans. 

Trio of Dems call for study on tighter offset standards

Three House Democrats in environmental leadership positions on Tuesday called on the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to examine standards for voluntary carbon offsets.

In the letter, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee; Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Natural Resources Water, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee; and Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, noted that there is no single standard for voluntary carbon offset programs.  

“We must do all we can to implement meaningful solutions to the climate crisis. As natural climate carbon offsets gain popularity, it is essential we understand (1) the current market environment and (2) gaps in protocols for assessing market quality and credibility in order to provide clarity for market operators and transparency for offset purchasers,” the members wrote.  

What are they asking for? The members requested a full GAO study on federal coordination with offset markets, how the actual determination of carbon reductions is quantified, what federal agencies can do to increase transparency in the market and how to prevent fraud and abuse in the market.

Demand has increased recently for carbon offset projects, in which people and institutions reduce carbon emissions elsewhere to compensate for emissions. However, some environmentalists have criticized the process as a form of greenwashing, or marketing that exaggerates environmental friendliness. Greenpeace International has criticized offsets as “a bookkeeping trick intended to obscure climate-wrecking emissions.”   

Read more about the letter here. 

FAMILIES SUE OVER JET FUEL LEAK THAT CONTAMINATED OAHU WATER

Four families filed a federal lawsuit against the Navy on Wednesday over the jet fuel leaks at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility in Hawaii last year that contaminated a water supply in Oahu. 

  • The lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii is the first to be filed over the leaks, according to a statement from law firms Just Well Law and Hosoda Law Group, which are representing the families.
  • The suit alleges that the Navy has yet to fully disclose the scope of contamination, recognize that families are still sick from the leaks or provide appropriate medical care. 

The Hill has reached out to the Navy for comment. 

The Department of Defense announced in March that it would permanently shutter the facility, capping off a contentious fight between the Navy and Hawaii government officials after the state ordered the Navy to halt operations. 

At issue are two separate leaks that happened on May 6, 2021, and Nov. 20, 2021, that released thousands of gallons of jet fuel into the water supply. A report from the Navy released in early July found that contamination caused by these leaks was made worse by a failure by service officials to take charge in the days and months following the leaks.   

The plaintiffs in the case — Patrick Feindt Jr., Nastasia Freeman, Jamie Simic and Ariana Wyatt — allege that they and their children were healthy until they began reporting symptoms like gastrointestinal disorders, burns, rashes, migraines and neurobehavioral changes. 

Read more from The Hill’s Jordan Williams.

WHAT WE’RE READING

  • His family fished for generations. Now he’s hauling plastic out of the sea. (The Washington Post
  • First Solar to build new panel factory following Inflation Reduction Act (CNBC
  • Electric battery maker to locate factory in northern WVa (The Associated Press
  • One of World’s Most Polluted Spots Gets Worse as $1 Billion Cleanup Drags On (Bloomberg
  • Russia deepens Europe’s energy squeeze with new gas halt (Reuters

🍅 Lighter click: A sauce of confusion. 

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Energy & Environment page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.  

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