Posts tagged politics.
Given new evidence on carbon pollution, President Obama should get moving on global warming.
The federal government has proposed a new set of national fracking rules that would weaken disclosure requirements. The proposal allows ‘trade secrets’ to remain unknown from the public, which has distressed environmental groups.
I called it. Last month, environmental groups were doing handstands and backflips over Sally Jewell, who is Obama’s pick to lead the BLM (US Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management).
She used to frack wells for Mobil oil company long before she was CEO of REI.
Last month, I wrote:
…the bigger story is about the left’s environmental heroine, Sally Jewell, who used to frack wells. As new head of the Dept. of Interior, she will (with Obama’s encouragement) - will - allow aggressive fracking on more public lands, possibly much more in our National Parks.
I get asked what I read all the time. I haven’t yet compiled a list of climate/environmental news or blog sites (too lazy, tbh!), though I have a FAQs, made a bookstore, and wrote some book recommendations,
I am subscribed to countless climate listservs, and I skim around 25 climate/environment news websites as part of my daily routine (this doesn’t include work or research, which easily bumps that up to hundreds).
One daily newsletter that I enjoy/viciously-hate is called “Clean Start.” It’s written by the folks at ThinkProgress. Here is a sample of today’s newsletter. Instructions for you to subscribe are at the bottom.
Clean Start From ThinkProgress: Busy Day on the Hill
Welcome to Clean Start from Climate Progress, the exclusive energy newsletter from a progressive perspective. Send feedback and suggestions to email@example.com.
CLEAN START FROM CLIMATE PROGRESS By Ryan Koronowski
* Gina McCarthy Re-Do, Ernest Moniz Vote in the Senate, Keystone in the House *
Democrats of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will attempt yet again to advance the nomination of Gina McCarthy to run the EPA. Last week, not a single Republican bothered to show up for the vote despite the fact that she has answered more than 1,100 of the committee’s questions. Sen. Warren spoke on the Senate floor yesterday demanding a vote on McCarthy, reprimanding Republicans for blocking the business of government and the business of protecting people. Sen. Vitter confirmed late Wednesday that some Republicans will attend today’s vote. At 2 p.m. today, the Senate will likely vote to approve Ernest Moniz, who has been nominated to lead the Department of Energy. Also on the Hill, Republicans in the House will make the case during a subcommittee hearing that building Keystone would bring positive economic spillovers for small businesses and rural communities while the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will vote on H.R.3, a bill to approve Keystone. [The Hill]
* Survey Of Peer-Reviewed Papers Finds 97% Consensus On Human-Caused Global Warming *
A survey of thousands of peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals has found 97.1% agreed that climate change is caused by human activity. Authors of the survey said the finding of near unanimity provided a powerful rebuttal to climate deniers who insist the science of climate change remains unsettled. The survey considered the work of some 29,000 scientists published in almost 12,000 academic papers. [Guardian, Reuters, ThinkProgress]
* Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers Says He Supports NC’s Clean Energy Standard *
Jim Rogers, the CEO of Duke Energy, defended North Carolina’s renewable energy standard at the company’s annual shareholder meeting yesterday. A conservative activist (who has previously asked a question at Disney’s shareholder meeting about liberal bias) asked Rogers about higher energy costs. In response, Rogers said the law prevent utilities from spending too much, and RESs are widespread across the country. He said later he supports the law, which is facing continued threats from ALEC members in the state legislature to repeal it. Earlier this month, a state senate committee chair approved a bill to repeal the RES out of his committee without counting votes and despite loud opposition. [Charlotte Business Journal, ThinkProgress]
* QUICK LINKS *
— For more than 30 years, ocean fish and mammals have migrated away from warming equatorial waters and toward the poles, providing more evidence climate change has already had broad global consequences. [Washington Post]
— George Bush’s EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman said that GOP members of the EPW Committee “looked like sore losers” when they boycotted McCarthy’s vote hearing last week. [National Journal]
— The U.S. military’s programmatic efforts to rely less on fossil fuels are threatened by the sequester. [Medill]
— BP wants British Prime Minister David Cameron to intervene regarding the compensation of businesses affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill. [BBC]
— The GAO finds that the federal government should help local communities adapt to the impacts of climate change. [The Hill]
— The 5th Circuit ruled against a lawsuit filed by Mississippi coastal residents arguing that fossil fuel emissions contributed to the strength of Hurricane Katrina. [Clarion Ledger]
— Organizing for Action called on supporters to press the Republican EPW members for boycotting McCarthy’s nomination hearing. [The Hill]
— Weather prediction is slated to improve significantly following upgrades to the two supercomputers the National Weather Service uses to forecast local, national, and global weather patterns. [Washington Post]
— Spoiled food could be used to power grocery stores’ using clean electricity. [LA Times]
* CALENDAR *
9:00 am: The Woodrow Wilson Center’s (WWC) Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) holds a discussion on a new ECSP report, “Backdraft: The Conflict Potential of Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation.”
9:30 am: The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee votes on the Northern Route Approval Act (H.R. 3), a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project.
10:00 am: The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs holds an oversight hearing entitled, “The 2008 Lacey Act Amendments.” Witnesses and more information will be listed here when available.
10:00 am: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a meeting to consider pending calendar business.
10:00 am: The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation holds an oversight hearing titled, “Invasive Species Management on Federal Lands.”
10:00 am: The Subcommittees on Energy and Power and Environment and the Economy hold a hearing tited “The Fiscal Year 2014 Environmental Protection Agency Budget.” Members will review the president’s FY2014 EPA Budget Request and discuss the agency’s agenda. EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe will be the only witness.
10:00 am: The Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade holds a hearing titled, “If You Build It: Keystone XL Pipeline and Small Business Job Growth.” A live webcast will be here: http://1.usa.gov/Nkrzjh.
10:30 am: The Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements holds a hearing, “Opportunities Lost: Constraints on Oil and Gas Production on Federal Lands and Waters.” http://1.usa.gov/11qKMbp
12:00 pm: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee holds a vote on the nomination of Gina McCarthy to head the EPA.
12:30 pm: The U.S. Army, along with Lockheed Martin and the Department of Defense, will unveil the DOD’s first grid-tied intelligent microgrid integrating renewable resources and energy storage at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Fort Bliss.
1:00 pm: Former Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift, former Republican Congressman and Chair of the House Science Committee Sherwood Boehlert, and NRDC Clean Air Program Director John Walke will offer reactions to today’s Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works vote on the nomination of Gina McCarthy
2:00 pm: The Senate holds a vote on the nomination of Ernest Moniz to head the Energy Department.
5:00 pm: Sen. Lisa Murkowski holds on-the-record pen & pad session to discuss her trip to the Arctic Coucil in Sweden.
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The sequester (a budget deal Obama made with republicans last year) cut more than $115 million from the federal wildland fire program budget, USDA officials have said, at a time when the nation continues to face abnormally dry conditions, particularly in the West, as a result of climate change.
During one of the worst wildfire seasons on record amid a historic drought, the USDA Forest Service ran out of money last year to pay firefighters, operate trucks and fly aircraft. The agency borrowed money from fire management budgets, which help prevent fires, to pay for suppression.
Given the cuts in the Forest Service’s fire budget because of sequestration, and the outlook for significant fire potential in much of the West, that process could play out again, a USDA spokesman said.
“If the U.S. Forest Service exhausts funding . . . for fire suppression in 2013, as it did in 2012, it will be necessary for the agency to transfer funds from other programs to cover fire suppression costs,” said the spokesman, Larry Chambers.
In 2012, extreme weather clean-up cost U.S. taxpayers nearly $100 billion — or $1,100 per taxpayer.
Nope. The recommendations contained in the report are baseless. There is not a single reputable model that shows cutting U.S. emissions by 25-36% will “save lives” as this report claims.
The premise may be true - that US taxpayers are 1) paying via taxes for disasters at unprecedented rates and 2) insurance companies are increasingly pulling out of vulnerable coastal and agricultural areas. These are wicked problems. They need to be addressed. But the solution proffered is utterly false.
To make the leap that both of these complex problems will stop - that lives will be saved if only Obama cuts emissions by x amount - is scientifically inaccurate (even manipulative).
Shame on the NRDC.
A zoom in of Marcos Island, Florida, an upscale community on the Gulf Coast side of the state. The city is was built on marshy barrier islands and is susceptible to beach erosion and sea level rise. It’s surrounded by protected conservation land, marine protected coast land, and was, until today, restricted from rapid development and expansion. The Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, is set to reverse the trend by signing a slate of bills that would allow aggressive development in this and other protected areas around the Everglades. Over 20 environmental regulations and decades of environmental and land conservation battles are about to be destroyed at the stroke of a pen. But, if you’re a real estate developer, it sure is a pretty place to bulldoze…
Moreno, the first Latina to lead the department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in November 2009.
Her tenure spanned one of the worst disasters in U.S. history, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April 2010. Eleven men died in that firestorm.
The Justice Department extracted a record $1 billion civil penalty from Transocean, the rig owner, earlier this year. And a civil trial continues in New Orleans over other environmental damages.
“To date, we have already achieved significant resolutions for liability in the Gulf,” Moreno said in an exit interview with NPR. “We are focused on holding those responsible accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
The unit also successfully defended Obama administration regulations of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, winning a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit last year.
But veterans of the environmental unit worried it had lost some prestige by ceding ground in the massive Gulf oil spill case to the Justice Department’s criminal division, which led a federal task force and prosecuted giant BP and several individual employees in connection with the disaster.
This page examines the science and common arguments of global warming skepticism. Common objections like ‘global warming is caused by the sun’, ‘temperature has changed naturally in the past’ or ‘other planets are warming too’ are examined to see what the science really says.
An excellent resource to bookmark.
New survey from the Center for Climate Change Communication: Extreme Weather and Climate Change in the American Mind.
- About six in ten Americans (58%) say “global warming is affecting weather in the United States.”
- Many Americans believe global warming made recent extreme weather and climatic events “more severe,” specifically: 2012 as the warmest year on record in the United States (50%); the ongoing drought in the Midwest and the Great Plains (49%); Superstorm Sandy (46%); and Superstorm Nemo (42%).
- About two out of three Americans say weather in the U.S. has been worse over the past several years, up 12 percentage points since Spring 2012. By contrast, fewer Americans say weather has been getting better over the past several years - only one in ten (11%), down 16 points compared to a year ago.
- Overall, 85 percent of Americans report that they experienced one or more types of extreme weather in the past year, most often citing extreme high winds (60%) or an extreme heat wave (51%).
- Of those Americans who experienced extreme weather events in the past year, many say they were significantly harmed. Moreover, the number who have been harmed appears to be growing (up 5 percentage points since Fall 2012 and 4 points since Spring 2012).
- Over half of Americans (54%) believe it is “very” or “somewhat likely” that extreme weather will cause a natural disaster in their community in the coming year.
- Americans who experienced an extreme weather event are most likely to have communicated about it person-to-person - either in person (89%) or on the phone (84%).
In an email to supporters on Thursday, Organizing for Action said it was time to call out members of Congress who deny the existence of climate change, saying they had blocked efforts to avoid its most catastrophic consequences.
The email linked to a video mocking Republicans who reject the science on climate change. “Right now, way too many lawmakers in Washington flat-out refuse to face the facts when it comes to climate change,” Jon Carson, executive director of Organizing for Action wrote in the email. “We’re never going to make real progress on this issue unless members of Congress get serious.”
The video mainly features Republican members of the House of Representatives who are notorious for denying the existence of climate change, or positing bizarre notions about its causes.
However, it also includes some national figures such as the Florida senator Marc Rubio and House speaker John Boehner, whose views on climate are not that broadly known. There are no Democrats in the video.
The number of deepwater semisubmersibles and drillships working in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico could rise to 52 in June 2014 and 54 in December 2014 if all of the deepwater rigs currently under contract remain so according to data from Rigzone’s RigLogix database.
Operators with rigs under firm contract in the U.S. Gulf in December 2014 will include BP plc, which will have six rigs, the most from any operator. Royal Dutch Shell plc will have five rigs under firm contract during that time. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. is expected to have four rigs working, followed by Chevron Corp. and LLOG Exploration Co. LLC, with three rigs each under firm contract.
Exxon Mobil Corp., Petroleo Brasiliero S.A. (Petrobras), Plains Exploration & Production Company, and Statoil ASA each are expected to have two rigs under contract in the Gulf of Mexico in December 2014. At that time, BHP Billiton Ltd., Eni S.p.A, and Murphy Oil Corp. will each have one rig under firm contract.
Several of these drillers are foreign oil companies. And many of the permits were fast-tracked by the Obama administration.
The Center for American Progress is a DC based think tank that works on several policy issues, including energy, national security, immigration, education, and health care.
They’re starting to get involved in climate adaptation, which is the process of lowering risk from environmental harms. And they recently published an interesting paper that aims to motivate the Federal Government to invest in America’s infrastructure and resilience policies. For those new to the issues of resilience, this makes for a decent primer. For those familiar with the concepts, the section on making the business case might be most interesting. The paper is here. Below is an edited excerpt:
It is time for a national strategy for infrastructure resilience
There are three parts to forming a national strategy for infrastructure resilience. First, the federal government should launch a national infrastructure-vulnerability assessment that evaluates the ability of the nation’s current infrastructure to withstand climate-related extreme weather. Second, the Obama administration should build on the proposals laid out in its FY 2014 budget and harmonize financial resources to invest in these resiliency projects in a coordinated way. Third, the administration should elevate resiliency as a priority by tasking cabinet-level officials to work systematically with cities and states in directing these resources.
A national strategy is needed to reduce infrastructure vulnerability to climate change. If we don’t, then federal funding for disaster relief becomes much more expensive.
For this reason, it is essential that the federal government tightly link its work on infrastructure investment as an engine of economic prosperity with the expanding priority it has placed on resilience.
We recommend that the president, Congress, mayors, and governors work together to make an immediate commitment to design a national strategy for infrastructure resilience.
To realize this plan, the president should act immediately to:
1. Launch a national infrastructure-vulnerability assessment: Improve the availability and usability of information on infrastructure needs and resilience. It would look systematically at the ability of U.S. transportation, energy, water, communications, and other strategic infrastructure to hold up to both current and future threats.
2. Establish a comprehensive federal infrastructure-investment strategy: This would build on recent commitments in the administration’s budget plan, and would both access new financial tools and better harmonize existing financing authorities within the federal government to more effectively leverage public and private capital in priority-infrastructure investments.
3. Create an infrastructure and resilience council: The council would function as a working group within the president’s own cabinet to support presidential leadership in improving coordination across all federal agencies and in partnering with cities and states to accelerate the development of these priority-resilience projects by increasing public and private investment.
President Obama has already taken important steps to lay the foundation for a national infrastructure-resilience plan. In Executive Order 13514, signed into effect in October 2009, the president called on agencies to “evaluate agency climate-change risks and vulnerabilities to manage the effects of climate change on the agency’s operations and mission in both the short and long term.”
Since 2009 the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force—led by the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy—has been coordinating federal actions to reduce climate-change risks to federal assets and communities.
In February 2013 executive agencies released their plans to begin adapting to climate change. Additionally, the administration has already adopted national-action plans overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency to safeguard our oceans, fresh water, and fish, wildlife, and plants from the worst impacts of climate change. Though agencies have yet to develop a national resilience strategy for public infrastructure, Executive Order 13514 and the real rising risks of climate change give them the clear authority to do so.
Read the rest, here.
Nearly 75% of Americans and 68% of Canadians indicated they “support” or “somewhat support” the project, which would carry heavy crude from the Alberta oil sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast for refining, according to the poll conducted by Ottawa-based Nanos Research.
The poll also asked participants—1,007 Americans and 1,013 Canadians—which was more important: reducing greenhouse-gas emissions or having North America free from oil imports? Both a majority of Americans and Canadians, 63% and 55%, respectively, suggested reducing reliance on oil imports trumped environmental policy.
“Energy security, particularly in the U.S., is driving views on energy issues,” said Nik Nanos, president of Nanos Research.
Environmentalists argue that development of the Alberta oil sands for the crude that Keystone would carry will increase emissions of greenhouse gases.
The Nanos poll contacted Americans between March 28 and April 7, and Canadians between April 6 and April 9.
The Obama administration is, for a second time, reviewing TransCanada’s application to build Keystone after rejecting the project in 2012. Keystone faces stiff opposition in the U.S. from environmental groups and key Democratic policy makers.
Nanos Research conducted the poll and they’re pretty legit. Via WSJ.
Spring floods have arrived. Above, streamgauge data showing today’s floods along the Mississippi River and local tributaries just north of St. Louis Missouri.
Streamgauges small machines placed in a water body, such as a river like the Mississippi, or an aquifer underground. So, streamgauges measure the flow and height of rivers and water supply around the country. They help cities and governments manage dam and levee systems, drinking and agricultural supply, and help emergency crews evacuate homes and businesses when appropriate.
They’re critical infrastructure. And they serve to increase the health, safety, and welfare of 100’s of millions of Americans.
Nearly 400 streamgauges may be shut down due to Obama’s budget cuts. The U.S.Geological Survey (USGS) has a map of gauges scheduled to be shut down, here.