Friday, March 13, 2009

DN!$$$$ Climate Change WILL DESTROY 1/3 of $$$$$ WEALTH UNLESS....!!!!!

DN!$$$$ Climate Change WILL DESTROY 1/3 of WEALTH $$$$ UNLESS....!!!!!

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***Agriculture would be destroyed and life would be impossible over much of the planet, the former World Bank chief economist said.

"We haven't seen 3C for a few million years, and we don't know what that looks like either."

Lord Stern said new research done in the past two or three years had made it clear there were "severe risks" if global temperature rose by the predicted 4C to 7C by 2100. Agriculture would be destroyed and life would be impossible over much of the planet, the former World Bank chief economist said.

*****Economist Sir Nicholas Stern attacks politicians over climate 'devastation'

Politicians have failed to take on board the severe consequences of failing to cut world carbon emissions, according to Nicholas Stern, the economist commissioned by Gordon Brown to analyse the impact of climate change.

His stark warning about the potentially "devastating" consequences of global warming came as scientists issued a desperate plea last night for world leaders to curb greenhouse gas emissions or face an ecological and social disaster.

More than 2,500 climate experts from 80 countries at an emergency summit in Copenhagen said there is now "no excuse" for failing to act on global warming. A failure to agree strong carbon reduction targets at political negotiations this year could bring "abrupt or irreversible" shifts in climate that "will be very difficult for contemporary societies to cope with".

Climate fears 'being realised''

The worst-case scenarios on climate change envisaged by the UN two years ago are already being realised, say scientists at an international meeting.

In a statement in Copenhagen on their six key messages to political leaders, they say there is a increasing risk of abrupt or irreversible climate shifts.

U.S. high-tech water future hinges on cost, politics

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Anyone who has visited Disneyland recently and taken a sip from a drinking fountain there may have unknowingly sampled a taste of the future -- a small quantity of water that once flowed through a sewer.

Orange County Water District officials say that's a good thing -- the result of a successful, year-old project to purify wastewater and pump it into the ground to help restore depleted aquifers that provide most of the local water supply.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

United Kingdom: Protesters fought the law, but the law fought back ... very, very loudly
Kent police have come under repeated criticism for their heavy-handed approach to policing the event, a protest against the planned £1bn coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth by energy firm E.ON.

*****Some Dems doubt Obama climate plan will pass
Key Senate Democrats on Wednesday cast doubt on whether Congress would approve President Barack Obama's plan to control greenhouse gas emissions without major changes.

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said the White House might have to soften its proposal to minimize the new costs that would be shouldered by heavy manufacturing, coal-fired plants and other businesses.

Obama's plan "as written, probably can't pass here," Conrad said.

Climate scientists gather, and the news is not good
Only months before make-or-break UN climate talks in Copenhagen, an extraordinary conclave of climate scientists gathered here Tuesday to warn that global warming is accelerating more quickly than forecast by a key UN report for policymakers.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded in early 2007 that global warming, if unchecked, would unleash a devastating amalgam

of floods, drought, disease and extreme weather by century's end.

But a welter of new research suggests the impact could be even worse, and will arrive sooner rather than later.

Obama's Polar Bear Action
President Barack H. Obama has overturned matters. Last week, the President issued a memorandum ruling that wildlife expert scientists will have to be consulted if any action takes place that might further endanger listed species.

*****BUSH APPOINTEE WRITTEN, Leaked EPA draft highlights new research on climate risks
Notably, the draft includes no authors from the Obama administration. A Bush administration draft (pdf), written last June, listed acting EPA air chief Robert Meyers, a political appointee, among its authors and contributors.  In the latest 161-page document, dated March 9, EPA officials include several new studies highlighting how a warming planet is likely to mean more intense U.S. heat waves and hurricanes, shifting migration patterns for plants and wildlife, and the possibility of up to a foot of global sea level rise in the next century.

***On Climate Change, Henry Waxman Wants Congress to Act Now [Let's watch him twist in the Special Interest wind!]
He battled Big Tobacco and fought for the "nutrition facts" label now carried on food products. And he became a household name after leading hard-hitting congressional probes into tough subjects: from waste and fraud in Iraq reconstruction and steroids in baseball to the coverup of the friendly-fire death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman and the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Henry Arnold Waxman, 69, is a Democrat from California who has called Congress home for half his life. He has long inspired strong views on Capitol Hill, where some regard him as one of his generation's great lawmakers and a relentless champion for the common good, even as others dismiss him as a partisan pit bull with an insatiable appetite for headlines.

Amazon could shrink by 85% due to climate change, scientists say

Global warming will wreck attempts to save the Amazon rainforest, according to a devastating new study which predicts that one-third of its trees will be killed by even modest temperature rises.

The research, by some of Britain's leading experts on climate change, shows that even severe cuts in deforestation and carbon emissions will fail to save the emblematic South American jungle, the destruction of which has become a powerful symbol of human impact on the planet. Up to 85% of the forest could be lost if spiralling greenhouse gas emissions are not brought under control, the experts said. But even under the most optimistic climate change scenarios, the destruction of large parts of the forest is "irreversible".

Greenpeace energy report projects cheap, clean power -- and more jobs

An environmentalist-sponsored report claims that by 2050, the United States could sever ties with coal and nuclear power, draw nearly all its electricity from renewable sources and cut its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80% –- all with existing technology and with a net gain of 14 million jobs to the domestic economy.

The report, commissioned by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council and conducted by Germany's equivalent of NASA, was released this morning at a press briefing in Washington. It is heavy on charts and supporting data and transparent on some key assumptions. And its sponsors call its findings "conservative."

Nuclear power plants being revived worldwide,0,7790030.story
"People shout about wind power, but it's only providing 2 percent" of Sweden's electricity, said Ake Hjort, a Swedish energy engineer. "To replace one nuclear plant you need 5,000 to 6,000 windmills. For us, it's not a question of wind power or nuclear power but the proper mix."

The heat is on Bill Gates
"the median poor country's income will be about 50 percent lower than it would be had there been no climate change." And that was based on a 3-degree C warming by 2100, about half the warming we are currently on track to reach. A further study led by scientists from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that several regions would see rainfall reductions "comparable to those of the Dust Bowl era." Worse, unlike the Dust Bowl, which lasted a decade or two, this climate change would be "largely irreversible for 1,000 years after emissions stop."

******Green protest at EU HQ, 350 arrested
Green protesters demanding more money to tackle climate change blocked the main entrance to European Union headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday and Belgian police said they arrested more than 350 of them.

"Save the climate, bail out the planet," chanted the group of Greenpeace activists, who chained themselves to the gates outside the EU Council, where ministers were discussing how much the bloc should contribute to a climate change fund.

Effects of global warming accelerating

Experts are meeting in Copenhagen this week in preparation for a global climate change summit there at the end of this year.

The meeting was told yesterday that sea levels this century may rise several times higher than predictions made in 2007.

Power plant protest underscore’s coal’s dangers
But during the protest, something awakened inside me. Seeing Louis and his 9-year-old sister, Claudia, standing there made me want to stop the damage we are doing to the air, land and water they will inherit. The words of Rev. Jeffrey Barz-Snell resonated within me when he ended his address to the small crowd by saying, "We don't want our children to ask us in 10 years why we knew of the dangers of coal but didn't do anything about it."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Leaked EPA document shows greenhouse gas endangerment finding on fast track
The Obama administration is fast-tracking its response to the Supreme Court's 2007 climate decision with plans to issue a mid-April finding that global warming threatens both public health and welfare, according to aninternal U.S. EPA document (pdf) obtained by Greenwire.

****** Carbon cuts 'only give 50/50 chance of saving planet'

The world's best efforts at combating climate change are likely to offer no more than a 50-50 chance of keeping temperature rises below the threshold of disaster, according to research from the UK Met Office.

The key aim of holding the expected increase to 2C, beyond which damage to the natural world and to human society is likely to be catastrophic, is far from assured, the research suggests, even if all countries engage forthwith in a radical and enormous crash programme to slash greenhouse gas emissions – something which itself is by no means guaranteed.

******Scientists on the streets
Scientists are taking an increasingly political stance towards action on climate change. In 2005, the science academies of the G8 countries, plus China, India and Brazil, collectively called for governments to place climate change at the top of the international agenda. By 2008 they were calling for a planned transition to a low-carbon economy. Similarly, this week's international climate change conference in Copenhagen, at which I am speaking, is deliberately organised to try to influence the UN conference in December (also in Copenhagen), which will discuss placing global limits on carbon dioxide emissions. Indeed, the website calls the conference "science for politics".

Yet these are potentially dangerous times for scientists who move into political arenas. There is a serious disconnect. On one side the years drift by and we deliver our ever-starker warnings. On the other, policy-makers, business leaders and wide sections of the public barely acknowledge the dangers we face, never-mind change their actions accordingly. This can lead to desperation: how do we get people to listen?

****100's Eco-activists blockade finance ministers meeting
Hundreds of activists from Greenpeace, the campaigning environmental NGO, blocked all the exits to the EU Council of Ministers building in Brussels on Tuesday (10 March), trapping inside finance ministers from the 27 member states for several hours.

The 340 mostly young protesters from across Europe mounted the direct action, more radical than the many demonstrations that regularly take place outside EU institution buildings in the Belgian capital's European quarter. They were trying to highlight the failure of ministers to commit to funds for carbon emissions reductions and climate change adaptation measures in the developing world.

CLIMATE CHANGE: Acid Oceans Altering Marine Life
Some of the first species impacted by increasingly acidic oceans have been identified just as scientists meet in Copenhagen this week to present new data showing that climate change is far more urgent and serious than current economic problems.

One affected species, foraminifera, a sand grain-sized plankton, is responsible for the sequestration of 25 to 50 percent of the carbon the oceans absorb and thus plays a major role in keeping atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations at much lower levels than they would be otherwise. Now scientists have learned that foraminifera (forams) shells are much thinner in oceans made more acidic by the enormous volumes of CO2 released in the burning of fossil fuels.

***Global warming may trigger carbon 'time bomb', scientist warns

Even modest amounts of global warming could trigger a carbon "time bomb" and release massive amounts of greenhouse gases from frozen Arctic soils, a new study has warned.

Philippe Ciais, a researcher with the Laboratory for Climate Sciences and the Environment in Gif-sur-Yvette, France, told the Copenhagen Climate Congress that billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide and methane could be freed by just a 2C average rise.

***Companies rethink coal plants
Even as demand for electricity rises, energy companies are delaying or scrapping plans for new coal-burning power plants because of the prospect of restrictions imposed by federal global warming legislation.

Power use in the USA could grow 22% during the next 20 years, according to the Energy Department. To help keep the nation's laptops and TVs humming, dozens of new plants that burn coal — by far the nation's largest source of electricity — were in the works.

****How France Sees Its Nuclear-Powered Future
Across the French countryside, within sight of villages and towns, thick clouds of steam rise from giant cooling towers at 58 nuclear energy plants that provide more than three quarters of the nation's electricity. In this, France far outpaces other countries, with Japan second at about 34 percent of its electricity. Nuclear power supplies about 20 percent of the electricity in the United States, where public anxieties and high costs have prevented construction of new reactors since 1979.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Honda prices Insight hybrid in US under $20,000
Honda (HMC) said Tuesday that its Insight hybrid will be priced under $20,000 when it goes on sale in the U.S. later this month, as the No. 2 Japanese automaker takes aim at eco-friendly bargain shoppers.

American Honda Motor said the 2010 Insight will arrive at U.S. showrooms starting March 24 with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $19,800 for the base LX model. The Hybrid EX, which will include some premium features, will have a base price of $21,300, Honda said.

EPA May Require Factories to Report Greenhouse Gas Emissions

March 10 (Bloomberg) -- Chemical, steel, automobile and other energy-intensive factories would have to submit annual reports to the federal government on their greenhouse gas emissions under a proposed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule that lays a foundation for fighting global warming.

About 13,000 facilities that account for as much as 90 percent of greenhouse gas emissions would have to comply, the EPA said in a statement today. The first reports would be submitted in 2011 and cover emissions in 2010, according to the proposal. Car and engine makers would begin their reports for 2011 models.

Restoring Water Quality Protections Will Save Mountains

I can feel the momentum shifting in the fight to end mountaintop removal coal mining.

Last week, bi-partisan legislation to help halt mountaintop mining was introduced in Congress.  The Clean Water Protection Act (CWPA), a bill that would prevent coal companies from legally dumpining mining waste into valley streams, already has more than 150 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives.

As noted by Grist, this important legislation marks a major milestone in the growing national movement to end an environmental atrocity:

The [CWPA] was introduced originally to challenge the outrageous executive rule change by the Bush administration to redefine "fill material" in the Clean Water Act, which has allowed coal companies to blast hundreds of mountains to bits, dump millions of tons of "excess spoil" into nearby valleys, and bury hundreds of miles of streams. An estimated 1,200 miles of waterways have been destroyed by this extreme mining process.

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****Climate scientists warn that world is heading for war of the resources

There is a 50-50 chance of temperature rises reaching dangerous levels over the next century, climate scientists have warned.

Even with heavy cuts in greenhouse gas emissions of 3 per cent a year from 2015, the chance of preventing the temperature rise from exceeding 2C by 2050 is no more than half. And every decade's delay in reducing emissions will cause temperatures to go up by half a degree.

Monday, March 9, 2009

*****Nuclear power industry sees opening for revival
With the Obama administration staking the nation's energy future on clean sources, the U.S. nuclear power industry aims to make a comeback by building dozens of new reactors that supply plentiful, carbon-free electricity.

Waxman makes climate-change mark
House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry A. Waxman, a longtime champion of more stringent environmental standards, is quietly dominating the climate debate even though there are other chairmen with skin in the game.

Congress Holds Series of Climate Change Hearings, President’s Budget Estimates Climate Revenue
While climate change legislation is still being written, a number of House and Senate committees have already begun holding hearings.

The main committees responsible for crafting the legislation are the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Many other committees, however, will have jurisdiction over some piece of the puzzle.

Two hearings by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Environment addressed the roles of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency polices in reducing greenhouse gas emissions under climate change legislation.

***Greenhouse gas threatens ocean food chain

RISING concentrations of acid in the Southern Ocean caused by greenhouse gases are damaging the ability of some sea creatures to form shells, posing a serious threat to marine life, a study by Australian scientists has found.

One of the study's authors, Dr Will Howard, said the findings were the first evidence from nature, rather than a laboratory, that the acidification of the Southern Ocean will potentially have a big impact on marine life.

****Scientists to issue stark warning over dramatic new sea level figures
Rising sea levels pose a far bigger eco threat than previously thought. This week's climate change conference in Copenhagen will sound an alarm over new floodings - enough to swamp Bangladesh, Florida, the Norfolk Broads and the Thames estuary

***Team Obama wants to pursue high-risk, high-reward initiatives on energy
energy experts and officials in the Obama administration see a similar "Sputnik moment," urgent and global in scope, over energy use and climate change. And they want to try some new ventures, similar to efforts in the Cold War, to stimulate technological advances in energy and shift the economy away from oil and coal.

SF CHRONICLE: Obama taking big political risk with budget [A CRUCIFIXION ! Oh boy!] Yes, I'm goading us.  [DAMN US IF WE JUST WATCH]
Amid a cratering stock market, huge job losses and continuing ad hoc bank interventions, President Obama is risking his presidency on the most ambitious remake of the federal government since Ronald Reagan, raising jitters among moderate Democrats and presenting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the most daunting challenge of her career.For liberals who fretted just a month ago that Obama was acting suspiciously centrist, his $3.6 trillion budget is a call to arms. It is also a carefully woven matrix that tackles everything from global warming to health care with new spending and taxes.Pull out one piece, be it a quasi-tax on carbon or an end to charitable and mortgage interest deductions by the wealthy, and either the programs unravel or $1 trillion-plus deficits rocket higher.

****CITIZEN ACTION WORKS!!! Coal plants checked by enviro campaigns, costs

In 2007, the Department of Energy forecast 151 plants would be built in coming years. The agency's latest forecast put the figure at 95.

Soon after the Energy Department released its forecast two years ago, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment became the first agency in the country to reject a permit for a coal-fired power plant, citing carbon dioxide emmissions.

Roadmap for a U.S.-China Partnership on Climate Change
The U.S. and Chinese governments must start right now to build a stronger partnership on energy and climate change. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to China in February provided a welcome opportunity for the two nations to engage on a range of issues that are of strategic importance. Climate change and energy security were top agenda items for the Secretary's discussions, and here's a vote for keeping them there.

President Barack Obama has invited U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the White House next week, the first meeting between the two since Obama took office, Washington's U.N. envoy said on Friday.

Subjects the two would discuss on Tuesday include Sudan, which has expelled 13 aid agencies after President Omar Hassan al-Bashir was charged with war crimes in Darfur by the International Criminal Court, Ambassador Susan Rice said.

They would also talk about efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, the global economic crisis, U.N. reform, climate change and U.N. peacekeeping operations, Rice said in a statement.