Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Google News Alert for: ocean co2 acid fish A Sea Change Informs Us of the Dangers of Waiting Too Long Huffington Post
Google News Alert for: ocean co2 acid fishA Sea Change Informs Us of the Dangers of Waiting Too Long
- Energy and Global Warming News for September 22: Seven green jobs for every job lost in dirty energy sectors; Bill Clinton says, ""I still think the president should try really hard to pass climate change legislation this year."
- Obama tells UN: "The security and stability of each nation and all peoples – our prosperity, our health, our safety – are in jeopardy," will work "at the G20 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies," pledges U.S. action on "slashing our emissions to reach the targets we set for 2020 and our long-term goal for 2050."
- Boxer (D-CA) readies for climate bill introduction, Mid-Oct. markup. Carper (D-DE): "The fact we've slowed down on health care I think gives us a chance to do a better job on the clean energy front."
- Breaking: Federal court says states may sue utilities over GHGs. NY AG Cuomo: "This is a game-changing decision for New York and other states, reaffirming our right to take direct action against global warming pollution from power plants."
- Looks like I'll be covering the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh
- If you want to watch Obama's big UN climate speech Tuesday morning
- The Clean-Energy Investment Agenda
- Lisa Murkowski proposes to fiddle while Alaska burns
Energy and Global Warming News for September 22: Seven green jobs for every job lost in dirty energy sectors; Bill Clinton says, ""I still think the president should try really hard to pass climate change legislation this year."
Posted: 22 Sep 2009 10:01 AM PDT
Obama tells UN: "The security and stability of each nation and all peoples – our prosperity, our health, our safety – are in jeopardy," will work "at the G20 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies," pledges U.S. action on "slashing our emissions to reach the targets we set for 2020 and our long-term goal for 2050."
Posted: 22 Sep 2009 07:24 AM PDT
President Obama's speech on the urgent need for climate action is reprinted in full below with comments and supporting links. Obama's blunt remarks should give heart to all climate science realists — at home and abroad — that he will in fact bring all of his political and rhetorical skills to passing climate and clean legislation in the next several months.
UPDATE: Here is a speech clip.. I'll post a full clip when it's up.
Obama fully understands the catastrophic risk to future generations — and to our generations moral legacy:
In short, we face Hell and High Water.
No question about that (see here). Obama clearly understands the clean energy opportunity:
See ""EIA projects wind at 5% of U.S. electricity in 2012, all renewables at 14%, thanks to Obama stimulus!" and "EIA stunner: By year's end, we'll be 8.5% below 2005 levels of CO2 — halfway to climate bill's 2020 target."
I guess he means the Senate energy committee….
Notice how he links China to the U.S. and separates the country from other developing nations.
Posted: 22 Sep 2009 06:22 AM PDT
The NYT reports (via Climate Wire):
This was the precise argument I made last week for why the Environment and Public Works bill should have a 20% target for 2020. That said, I suspect the Senate will be lucky to pass a 17% bill. And perhaps even EPW won't report out such a bill if "the chairwoman wants to satisfy key moderates on her panel, which include Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Arlen Specter (D-Pa.)."
If Reid and Obama really want it — and if health care reform doesn't collapse entirely — the bill could still come to the Senate floor for a final vote by early December, in time for Copenhagen. After Obama's blunt UN speech, I'd say there is at least a 50-50 chance of that, but, again, I don't think the precise timing is as important as picking the time for a floor debate/vote that would optimize the chance for actually passing.
Here are more details on the timing:
And here's more on the politics:
Breaking: Federal court says states may sue utilities over GHGs. NY AG Cuomo: "This is a game-changing decision for New York and other states, reaffirming our right to take direct action against global warming pollution from power plants."
Posted: 21 Sep 2009 05:39 PM PDT
Take that, delayers!
Again, a federal climate bill would be the best strategy for the country — and the world. But if Congress fails to act — and if fiddlers like Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska block EPA action, then the only place left for recourse will be the courts.
Here are more details on the case from Reuters:
As Greenwire explains:
Kudos to the states who brought the suit and the federal court who decided the case.
Illinois v. Milwaukee.
Posted: 21 Sep 2009 03:30 PM PDT
PRESS AVAILABILITY: I'll be in Pittsburgh Thursday night and all Friday as press — but if there are any press who want to interview me, just shoot me an email..
G20 PREVIEW: I don't normally go to these sort of meetings — CAP's Andrew Light is the international climate expert (and he'll be there, too, and available for interviews). He moderated a discussion with members of the U.N. and CAP previewing what will be discussed at next week's G20 Summit. He explains what to expect in this Clean Skies News interview:
And here's another video if you want the perspective of Sabina Dewan, CAP's Associate Director of International Economic Policy, on the broader questions: What is the G-20 and why is it significant? What are leaders expected to focus on at the upcoming Pittsburgh G-20 meeting? What principles should guide discussions of the global economic recovery?
Posted: 21 Sep 2009 03:08 PM PDT
The webcast will be here: http://www.un.org/webcast/.
Obama should be speaking round 9:30 am EDT depending on length of ceremonial opening. Many of the other speeches –IPCC head Pachauri, China President Hu Jintao Nobelist Wangari Muta Maathai — are also must-see.
I wanted to get this out today so would show up in people's inboxes tomorrow morning. For some background see, "Obama to speak at U.N. special session on global warming."
Here is the full program:
Posted: 21 Sep 2009 02:51 PM PDT
A shrinking cap on emissions and a rising price for carbon dioxide is the sine qua non of enabling a sustained transition to a clean energy economy (see "The only way to win the clean energy race is to pass the clean energy bill"). But it is not the only strategy needed to ensure a rapid transition at the lowest possible cost. CAP's John Podesta, Kate Gordon , Bracken Hendricks, and Benjamin Goldstein discuss what "A Comprehensive Approach to Building the Low-Carbon Economy" would entail in a new report (here) and a post first published here.
The United States is having the wrong public debate about global warming. We are asking important questions about pollution caps and timetables, carbon markets and allocations, but we have lost sight of our principal objective: building a robust and prosperous clean energy economy. This is a fundamentally affirmative agenda, rather than a restrictive one. Moving beyond pollution from fossil fuels will involve exciting work, new opportunities, new products and innovation, and stronger communities. Our current national discussion about constraints, limits, and the costs of transition misses the real excitement in this proposition. It is as if, on the cusp of an Internet and telecommunications revolution, debate centered only on the cost of fiber optic cable. We are missing the big picture here.
Let's be clear: Solving global warming means investment. Retooling the energy systems that fuel our economy will involve rebuilding our nation's infrastructure. We will create millions of middle-class jobs along the way, revitalize our manufacturing sector, increase American competitiveness, reduce our dependence on oil, and boost technological innovation. These investments in the foundation of our economy can also provide an opportunity for more broadly shared prosperity through better training, stronger local economies, and new career ladders into the middle class. Reducing greenhouse gas pollution is critical to solving global warming, but it is only one part of the work ahead. Building a robust economy that grows more vibrant as we move beyond the Carbon Age is the greater and more inspiring challenge.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avert dangerous global warming is a moral challenge, but it is also an economic, national security, social, and environmental imperative. The "cap and trade" provisions, which will set limits on pollution and create a market for emissions reductions that will ultimately drive down the cost of renewable energy and fuel, represent a very important first step and a major component in the mix of policies that will help build the coming low-carbon economy. But limiting emissions and establishing a price on pollution is not the goal in itself, and we will fall short if that is all we set out to do. Rather, cap and trade is one key step to reach the broader goal of catalyzing the transformation to an efficient and sustainable low-carbon economy. With unemployment at 9.5 percent, and oil and energy price volatility driving businesses into the ground, we cannot afford to wait any longer. It is time for a legislative debate over a comprehensive clean-energy investment plan. We need far more than cap and trade alone.
This is not just an exercise in rhetoric. Articulating and elevating a comprehensive plan to invest in clean-energy systems and more efficient energy use will affect policy development and the politics surrounding legislation now moving through the Senate, as well as international negotiations underway around the globe. The current debate, which splits the issue into the two buckets of "cap and trade" and "complementary policies," has missed the comprehensive nature of the challenge and its solutions. It also emphasizes the challenge of pollution control instead of organizing policy for increased development, market growth, reinvestment in infrastructure, and job creation through the transition to a more prosperous, clean energy economy.
This paper lays out the framework for just such an investment-driven energy policy, the pieces of which work together to level the playing field for clean energy and drive a transformation of the economy. Importantly, many elements of this positive clean-energy investment framework are already codified within existing legislation such as the American Clean Energy and Security Act, passed by House of Representatives earlier this year. But with all the attention given to limiting carbon, too little attention has been placed on what will replace it. These critical pieces of America's clean-energy strategy should be elevated in the policy agenda and political debate as we move forward into the Senate, and used to help move legislation forward that advances a proactive investment and economic revitalization strategy for the nation.
Read the full report (pdf)
Posted: 21 Sep 2009 11:12 AM PDT
What makes this move all the more stunning is that Murkowski is painfully aware of how her state is being radically and rapidly ruined by climate change. Indeed, in a 2006 speech on the subject (video here, and it's better than the prepared remarks), she described some of the worst impacts — including devastating wildfires:
Well, apparently her new Arctic policy is to delay the EPA from doing its job and regulating CO2. I seriously hope this means she will be voting for the climate and clean energy bill, since otherwise it would mean that her new Arctic policy is the same as the old one — do nothing and let the whole damn thing melt and burn (see "M..I.T. doubles its 2095 warming projection to 10°F — with 866 ppm and Arctic warming of 20°F").
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
- Energy and Global Warming News for September 21st: Obama to shift focus as climate talks approach
- Japan's carbon cuts may include offsets
- Newsweek gets duped by Big Oil — for real — in worst Big Media story of the year
Posted: 21 Sep 2009 10:21 AM PDT
After months of almost single-minded focus on healthcare, President Obama is about to shift the White House spotlight to global warming — first with a speech to the United Nations in New York on Tuesday, then later in the week at the G-20 economic conference in Pittsburgh.
The renewed emphasis on climate change and reducing carbon dioxide emissions comes at a crucial time: Negotiators are entering the home stretch in a drive to unveil a comprehensive international agreement to curb rising temperatures at a December conference in Copenhagen.
With key divisions remaining among the major industrialized nations, as well as with developing industrial powers and poorer nations, there is concern that negotiations leading up to Copenhagen could be bogging down. Obama administration officials, while admitting the seriousness of the challenges, hold out hope for a deal.
Here are nine hurdles facing Obama and his counterparts….
See also Todd Stern testifies "Nothing the U.S. can do is more important for the international negotiation process than passing robust, comprehensive clean energy legislation as soon as possible…. President Obama and the Secretary of State, along with our entire Administration, are committed to action on this issue."
And here's some good news that the administration is also working the issue behind the scenes:
Climate-change legislation has stalled on Capitol Hill, but the White House's unofficial "Green Cabinet" is quietly trying to revive the effort by lobbying dozens of senators.
President Obama has dispatched Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson to Capitol Hill. White House aides said that they and other executive branch staffers, such as climate-change czar Carol Browner, have met with "dozens" of senators.
They are working to assure key senators – ranging from Senate Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman, New Mexico Democrat, to John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat – that a climate-change bill is viewed as a "priority" by the administration, Capitol Hill sources said.
A White House aide said the "Green Cabinet" is asking senators to support a comprehensive plan – though some vulnerable lawmakers would prefer that the bill be split into more politically tenable pieces – and is asking them to share ideas for what to include in the legislation.
As those meetings take place behind closed doors, some senators are striking deals on individual bits such as coal and nuclear issues, sources on Capitol Hill and in environmental groups say.
It appears that cap-and-trade legislation is turning out to be popular in the states of some conservative Democrats, according to a new poll that Democratic firm Garin Hart Yang conducted on behalf of the Environmental Defense Fund.
In Blue Dog Dem Heath Shuler's North Carolina district, cap and trade is supported by 55% of voters, versus 29% opposed.
In Blue Dog Dem Baron Hill's Indiana district, cap and trade is supported by 45%, versus 30% opposed.
In Dem Rep. Tom Perriello's conservative Virginia district, cap and trade is supported by 42%, versus 25% opposed.
All three voted for the House climate bill, which makes the results not quite as surprising. More interesting would be the results in the districts of the 44 Dems who voted against it.
U.S. President Barack Obama promised strong action on climate change from his first day in office, but he is heading into a series of meetings with other world leaders this month under growing pressure to deliver on his rhetoric.
More than 100 world leaders, including Mr. Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao, are scheduled to meet Tuesday at the 64th United Nations General Assembly to talk about fighting climate change, in a prelude to the Pittsburgh Group of 20 meetings starting Thursday.
While the talk will be about the environment, the substance will be about money. Poor nations say that if rich nations want them to stop burning coal or cutting down forests, they should be willing to pay.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has made global warming a focus, and he is worried that the meeting won't move the ball forward toward a new global climate-change treaty in Copenhagen this December to succeed the Kyoto Protocol.
"We want world leaders to show they understand the gravity of climate risks, as well as the benefits of acting now," Mr. Ban said. "We want them to publicly commit to sealing a deal in Copenhagen."
While he said Tuesday's closed-door meeting was "not a negotiation forum," Mr. Ban said he expected the leaders to "to give their negotiating teams marching orders to accelerate progress toward an…ambitious global climate agreement."
Nepal's sherpa community is sending a piece of rock from Mount Everest to U.S. President Barack Obama to underscore the impact of global warming on the Himalayas.
Environmental group WWF said Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal had promised to carry the "memento" and give it to Obama when world leaders meet in New York next week as "a symbol of the melting Himalayas in the wake of climate change."
The rock was collected from the 8,850 meter (29,035 feet) Mount Everest by Apa Sherpa, who climbed the mountain for a record 19th time in May.
Sherpas, mainly living in Nepal's Solukhumbhu district, home to the world's tallest peak, are known for their climbing skills.
A WWF-Nepal statement said more than 200,000 youth had also signed a petition to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanding action on global warming ahead of crucial climate talks in Copenhagen.
Experts say mountainous Nepal, home to eight of the world's 14 tallest peaks, including Mount Everest, is vulnerable to climate change despite being responsible for only 0.025 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, among the world's lowest.
Average global temperatures are rising faster in the Himalayas compared to most other parts of the world, according to the Kathmandu-based International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).
Reports, pictures, and articles are streaming in from around the world as the more than 2,400 Global Wake Up Call events happen. They are taking place in more than one hundred and twenty countries and we are watching pictures of everyday citizens making the call in Beijing, in monasteries in Nepal, and from rural towns in Australia.
The diversity of the participants and the response they are getting from their calls is truly awe inspiring.
From planting seedlings to acquiring entire groves, forest restoration projects in state parks and on federal lands could soon spring from California's aggressive initiatives to reduce emissions linked to global warming.
Under the state's landmark program, companies looking to offset their climate-change effects for the first time will be allowed to receive credits for financing plantings and restoration in state and federal forests.
The California Air Resources Board on Thursday is expected to endorse those new rules of voluntary participation for all parties: landowners, public agencies and industry.
"There's nowhere else in the world where this type of protocol has been established," said Dave Bischel, president of the California Forestry Association, a timber group.
The campaign to arrest climate change is increasingly enlisting forests, because trees soak up carbon dioxide, a predominant greenhouse gas emitted by factories and cars. The wood continues to store the carbon for decades after being milled into homes or desks
Senate candidate Mark Kirk's changing positions on a "cap and trade" environmental bill are inspiring angry boos from some fellow Republicans and accusations of flip-flopping from Democrats.
Democrats on Friday challenged Kirk, who's serving his fifth term in the U.S. House, to explain why he now opposes a measure that he said three months ago was good for national security.
"It appears that he wants to win an election and he's willing to do that even if it means we have to keep fighting over foreign oil," said Jill Morgenthaler, Illinois' former director of homeland security and an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Congress in 2008.
Kirk was one of just eight House Republicans to vote for the bill in June.
Kirk told the crowd that he supported the cap-and-trade bill because it was the right thing for his congressional district in Chicago's northern suburbs, but that he would oppose it as a senator representing the entire state.
Japan's new government wants to introduce a compulsory cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions as early as the year to March 2012, the Nikkei business daily said on Sunday.
The scheme would be a key part of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's goal to cut such emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, the paper reported on its website without citing sources.
A government panel on the environment is likely to discuss the plan at a meeting later on Sunday, the paper said.
Under the scheme, the government would issue emissions quotas to companies. Firms emitting less than their quotas would be able to sell the surplus, the Nikkei said.
Hatoyama's Democratic Party has said the 25 percent emissions target — tougher than the last administration's — is needed for Japan to play a bigger negotiating role at U.N.-backed climate talks in Copenhagen in December, so that emerging nations such as China and India join a new climate pact that goes beyond 2012.
Even though climate change legislation has stalled in Congress, a senior British official who is working with U.S. policymakers expressed confidence that the bill's prospects are bright.
In an interview with The Hill, United Kingdom Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Miliband said U.S. lawmakers and the White House are committed to moving the bill this year.
Miliband, who met with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) this week, said, "The [climate] bill is being worked on as I understand it, and it will emerge soon."
While acknowledging that President Barack Obama's number one priority in 2009 is healthcare reform, Miliband said, "My sense from talking with the administration is there is a significant amount of commitment to the December deadline."
Posted: 21 Sep 2009 05:31 AM PDT
This Reuters story is not terribly surprising. The country's new target was going to require a lot of effort (see "Japan's new prime minister promises to slash CO2 25% below 1990 levels by 2020 — with domestic emissions trading, clean energy subsidies"). That's especially true given that Japan is some 10% above 1990 levels as of last year. No doubt that's one reason Japan had already made the climate pledge conditional on China, India.
Still, it's not like Americans can criticize the Japanese, given our too weak target (see "EIA stunner: By year's end, we'll be 8.5% below 2005 levels of CO2 — halfway to climate bill's 2020 target"). Here's more:
This is one more reason Copenhagen needs to clean up the Clean Development Mechanism.
Posted: 20 Sep 2009 01:23 PM PDT
So blares the Onion Newsweek headline.
Forget that Big Oil's product is a principal cause of the gravest environmental threat to the health and well-being of humanity (see "Intro to global warming impacts: Hell and High Water"). Certainly forget all the other environmental impacts of oil.
Forget that Big Oil is a principal funder of disinformation aimed at blocking action on global warming — see "Leaked Memo: Big Oil is manufacturing 'Energy Citizen' rallies to oppose clean energy reform and "Even fantasy-filled American Petroleum Institute study finds no significant impact of climate bill on US refining."
Newsweek says we should focus on the truly small stuff:
And not Shell: "Shell shocker: Once 'green' oil company guts renewables effort."
Here is the basis of Newsweek's nonsensical spin:
[Pause for laughter to die down. Pause longer for subsequent crying jag to end.]
Since when was corn ethanol green?
And ExxonMobil is green … for real? Seriously, Newsweek?
Yes, forget the country's biggest oil company has funneled millions of dollars to fund the disinformation campaigns of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Heritage Foundation, all of which continue to advance unfactual anti-scientific attacks as I have detailed recently (see posts on Heritage and CEI and AEI). Chris Mooney wrote an excellent piece on ExxonMobil's two-decade anti-scientific campaign. A 2007 Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) report looked at ExxonMobil's tobacco industry-like tactics in pushing global warming denial (see "Today We Have a Planet That's Smoking!").
The oil giant said it would stop, but that was just another lie (see "Another ExxonMobil deceit: They are still funding climate science deniers despite public pledge"). Newsweek should read this excellent commentary by award-winning journalist, Eric Pooley, "Exxon Works Up New Recipe for Frying the Planet."
But what about nouveau-green Valero? A recent story notes:
And don't get me started on Chevron:
And the piece ends with this whopper:
Not. In fact "Venture capital funding for renewable energy and cleantech startups (which plunged from last October through March) rebounded in the second quarter" with a staggering "$1.2 billion invested in 67 countries."
This is the worst major media story on energy this year.
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