News briefs: Inspectors slam China’s energy watchdog over pollution failures

Plus: Energy firms stockpiled drilling leases, MIT forms green consortium, Schumer not satisfied with Biden climate moves

Inspectors slam China’s energy watchdog for punting on pollution

China’s energy regulator is talking the talk about fighting climate change, but not walking the walk. That’s the surprise announcement from a team of government inspectors from the nation’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment who have accused the National Energy Administration (NEA) of not making environmental protection a priority despite pledges, especially from autocratic President Xi Jinping, to improve the nation’s heavily polluted air and waterways. The NEA had also failed to rein in coal-fired power capacity in key areas where it was supposed to be strictly controlled under anti-pollution policies, the inspectors said, according to the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post. “The result is that what should have been built was not built but what shouldn’t have been was built,” the ministry said.

MIT to bang industry heads in search for green solutions

A group of mostly household names, including Boeing, Apple, Dow Chemicals, IBM, PepsiCo and Verizon, are among 13 companies assembled by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology “to vastly accelerate large-scale, real-world implementation of solutions to address the threat of climate change,” according to the university, which is known as a hotbed for in tech and industrial innovation. The MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium aims to create cross-sector collaboration to “translate best practices from one industry to the next in an effort to deploy social and technological solutions at a pace more rapid than the planet’s intensifying crises,” MIT announced.

Prepared for the ‘pause’: Energy bigs stockpiled drilling leases

Well, so much for President Biden’s much-ballyhooed executive order to pause oil and gas leasing on federal lands — it turns out the fossil fuel industry has been stockpiling land deals for many years, according to ex-Interior Department officials cited by Bloomberg. The Ohio-sized collection of land in the West is evidence that the oil and gas industry anticipated a “pause” in leasing long ago, said John Leshy, a professor at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco and a former Interior solicitor in the Clinton administration. Companies can still act on the leases and drilling permits they’ve accumulated over the past decade, said Bob Abbey, an attorney who served as land bureau director during the Obama administration.

Schumer: Use Defense Dept. moolah to whip warming

In a sign that much of his party thinks his climate moves are not enough, the Senate’s Democratic Majority Leader Charles Schumer, has called on President Joe Biden to declare climate change a national emergency — and use money from the Defense Department to help fight the crisis. “America knows that we’re in a crisis on climate,” Schumer said, according to The Associated Press, calling for Biden “to tap additional resources [and] give all kinds of loan guarantees.” The suggestions would “get things moving far more quickly than they are moving now,” Schumer added, “and help us really address this most serious crisis.”