California farmers’ tequila dreams- POLITICO – POLITICO

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California farmers’ tequila dreams- POLITICO  POLITICO

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DESPERATE TIMES — How bad is California’s drought? Bad enough to make farmers turn to tequila.

About 40 farmers and distillers gathered last week at an inaugural agave symposium at the University of California, Davis, to explore the prospects of growing agave in California and making alcohol from it.

Stuart Woolf, who grows almonds, pistachios and tomatoes, has a 1.5-acre test plot of about 900 agave plants at his farm on the southwest side of the Central Valley.

“Can we grow a bigger plant, with more sugar, with drip irrigation just using a little water?” he’s asking. “More distilled spirits per acre than they can in Mexico?”

Agave isn’t an ideal crop — like grapevines and nut trees, it takes several years to mature to the point where it can be harvested. And unlike grapes and nuts, once it’s harvested, that’s it — you have to plant a new one if you want more.

But it uses far less water than those crops. In Mexico it often isn’t irrigated at all. Early estimates are that agave in California can thrive on less than 1.5 inches of water per acre per year, compared with 48 inches for almonds. It could be a good crop for areas that are being taken out of production due to water shortages.

“That’s kind of the excitement, is here’s a crop that generally doesn’t need much water,” said UC Davis grape-growing, wine and chemical engineering professor Ron Runnebaum, who organized the one-day event. “We just need to understand if we can do something similar in California, considering our different growing conditions.”

It’s a sign of the times. The latest drought is entering its third year, right on the heels of another one that ended in 2016.

Southern Central Valley farmers are by now accustomed to receiving little to no water from the system of canals and reservoirs that was built to supply 3 million acres of farmland, but the shortages are spreading further north than usual, affecting rice as well as tree and row crops.

“I think that when we look back at 2021 and 2022, we will determine that it was the two-year period that broke our water supply system, exposing all its shortcomings,” said Jeffrey Mount, a senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center.

Endangered-species rules that the Trump administration approved to make it easier for farmers to pump more water during wet periods are still in effect, but it’s been too dry for them to apply. Last year’s infrastructure law has billions of dollars for Western water projects, but the biggest storage proposals have been stuck on the drawing board for decades. California farmers are also facing looming restrictions on groundwater pumping that could force half a million acres","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.ppic.org/publication/water-and-the-future-of-the-san-joaquin-valley/","_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc25540000","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc25540001","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>half a million acres of irrigated land out of production.

All those factors are driving interest in drought-tolerant crops like agave, particularly as a way to get some value out of the land that’s already being fallowed due to water shortages.

“This is all about adaptation at some level,” Woolf said. “I’m not going to bet on the state to adapt and figure out our problems. I’d rather be making my own decisions on figuring out how to do it.”

To be sure: This is all very nascent. Woolf estimates there are only about 40 acres of agave in California, and only 10 of them old enough for harvesting. Don’t bet on agave just yet.

“I’m rooting for chickpeas myself,” said UC Davis agricultural economist Dan Sumner. “I like them, and they don’t use a lot of water and they have lots of attributes, but they’re not going to be the next pistachio, which is a billion-dollar crop. I suspect agave’s not going to be the next billion-dollar crop, either, but I could be wrong.”


Welcome to the Long Game, your source for news on how companies and governments are shaping our future. Team Sustainability is editor Greg Mott","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://twitter.com/gwmott","_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc25560000","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc25560001","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Greg Mott, deputy editor Debra Kahn","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://twitter.com/debra_kahn","_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc25560002","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc25560003","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Debra Kahn and reporters Lorraine Woellert","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://twitter.com/Woellert","_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc25560004","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc25560005","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Lorraine Woellert and Jordan Wolman","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://twitter.com/jordanwolman","_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc25560006","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc25560007","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Jordan Wolman. Reach us all at gmott@politico.com","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"mailto:gmott@politico.com","_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc25560008","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc25560009","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>[email protected], dkahn@politico.com","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"mailto:dkahn@politico.com","_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc2556000a","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc2556000b","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>[email protected], lwoellert@politico.com","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"mailto:lwoellert@politico.com","_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc2556000c","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc2556000d","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>[email protected] and jwolman@politico.com","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"mailto:jwolman@politico.com","_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc2556000e","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc2556000f","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>[email protected].

Want more? Don’t we all. Sign up for the Long Game","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.politico.com/newsletters/the-long-game","_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc25560010","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc25560011","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Sign up for the Long Game. Four days a week and still free!


ESG UNDER FIRE — Green investing is taking hits from Republicans — and Wall Street is being conciliatory, Adam Aton reports for POLITICO’s E&E News.

Some of the world’s biggest financial firms — including JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. — assured Texas officials this month that they support fossil fuels, according to documents Adam obtained under the state’s open records laws.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar in March asked 19 financial firms for information on whether they were boycotting fossil fuel companies. Most responded by affirming they remain committed to investing in fossil fuels — with some firms detailing millions of dollars’ worth of specific projects they’re financing.

The letters illustrate the crosscurrents facing Wall Street as it tries to make money from all sides of the energy transition.

Credit Suisse Group AG, for instance, wrote that “we remain a committed lender to the Oil & Gas sector and are actively engaged with our clients in their transition efforts.”

But, the investment bank wrote, it is obligated also to strive for net-zero emissions — or else “there could be reputational or other adverse business or financial consequences.”

Adam has more of the story here","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.eenews.net/articles/whats-next-for-climate-minded-investing/","_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc25590000","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc25590001","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Adam has more of the story here.


POWER CRUNCH — It’s a Gordian knot: The extreme weather that we’re trying to stave off by reducing power-sector emissions is in itself threatening to derail clean-energy progress.

Texas, the West and Midwest are bracing for potentially dangerous and costly blackouts this summer due to extreme weather and volatile gas prices — but regulators are split on how to keep the power on now and in summers to come, as POLITICO’s Catherine Morehouse reports.

The response is being reliably politicized, with Republican appointees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission arguing for a slower transition to clean energy, while Democrats point out that hot weather will disrupt all types of power plants.

Another episode like Texas’ rolling blackouts last year or California’s in 2020 — regardless of the cause — will further dampen confidence in building a zero-carbon grid despite decarbonization being essential to mitigating even worse extreme weather events, said Daniel Brooks, vice president of integrated grid and energy systems at the Electric Power Research Institute.

“The biggest concern is that you do have another wide-scale event that does erode that confidence of society and the electric sector being able to be that foundation for decarbonizing,” he said.

Read more from Catherine here.

CAUSE FOR TECHNO-PESSIMISM — Iowa agribusiness mogul Bruce Rastetter wants to capture carbon from ethanol plants across the Midwest and pipe it to North Dakota to be permanently sequestered underground. Sounds like a potential solution, right?

As Ariel Wittenberg reports for POLITICO’s E&E News, he’s getting pushback not only from environmentalists who argue that carbon-capture helps prop up coal, oil, natural gas and some biofuels like ethanol that should be on their way out because of their climate-warming emissions.

Farmers who own the land above the proposed pipeline routes are also up in arms, citing environmental concerns and opposition to having their land seized.

The swell of on-the-ground resistance to the project is a warning sign: Pipelines, electric transmission lines, offshore wind farms and everything that may power a future low-carbon economy — it’s all hard to build in America.

Read more from Ariel here.


— Is the Gulf of Mexico finally ready for offshore wind? POLITICO’s Kelsey Tamborrino takes a look","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/30/energy-wind-gulf-of-mexico-00035446","_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc255f0000","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc255f0001","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>takes a look at the region’s favorable tailwinds.

— German police raided Deutsche Bank","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.ft.com/content/ff27167d-5339-47b8-a261-6f25e1534942","_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc255f0002","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc255f0003","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>raided Deutsche Bank and its subsidiary DWS over greenwashing claims, the Financial Times reports.

— A protester smears cake on the Mona Lisa","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-61635822","_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc255f0004","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc255f0005","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>smears cake on the Mona Lisa to call attention to theEarth’s environmental plight.

— Climate watchdogs are warning that the World Cup in Qatar won’t be carbon neutral, despite FIFA’s claims. Color us shocked. Bloomberg is on it","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-30/fifa-world-cup-s-green-claims-are-misleading-report-says","_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc25600000","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"00000181-6884-dfb3-abe5-6cfc25600001","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Bloomberg is on it.

Source: politico.com

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Hi there, I am Amanda and I work as an editor at impactinvesting.ai;  if you are interested in my services, please reach me at amanda.impactinvesting.ai

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