The House passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization bill on Thursday [22 May] that would bar the Department of Defense from using funds to assess climate change and its implications for national security.
The amendment, from Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.), passed in what was nearly a party-line vote. The bill aims to block the DOD from taking any significant action related to climate change or its potential consequences.
None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to implement the U.S. Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, the United Nation’s Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, or the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order 12866.
House leaders abruptly pulled a bill yesterday that sought to honor top scientists after conservative groups expressed concern that President Obama might politicize the position to advance his agenda on climate change
The measure, H.R. 1891, would allow a president to name three scientists as unpaid laureates to inspire school-age Americans to pursue degrees in science and engineering. The bill, introduced by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and co-sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the Science Committee, was scheduled for an easy vote yesterday on the suspension calendar, typically meant for noncontroversial legislation.
That was before conservative advocates noticed it.
OVER the past century Louisiana has lost nearly 2,000 square miles of coastal wetlands, an area the size of Delaware.
The board that oversees the levees protecting New Orleans filed an audacious lawsuit in July demanding that nearly 100 oil and gas firms should either repair the wetlands, or pay damages that could be used for levee upkeep. The defendants are a roll-call of industry giants, including BP (formerly British Petroleum), ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Shell and Chevron.
The suit has been inspired by the successful assault on Big Tobacco in the late 1990s by state attorneys-general, who won a multi-billion-dollar settlement by arguing that cigarette-makers had increased their states’ medical costs. The legal arguments in the levee case are, if anything, even simpler: the oil companies drilled and dug under permits that required them to restore the land to its original condition. Their failure to do so has made Louisiana’s coast more fragile, and that has increased costs for the levee board, which must build taller, stronger structures to protect New Orleans from storms. The fact that regulators haven’t squeaked till now is of no moment, the plaintiffs say.
Depending on your point of view, the suit is either a brilliant scheme to protect the environment or a bonanza for greedy lawyers that will stifle a vital industry and hurt Louisiana’s business-friendly reputation. The Republican governor, Bobby Jindal, immediately denounced it, and seems keen to block it. An association of state levee boards also voted to oppose it. State legislators are discussing ways either to put the kibosh on the suit, or to limit the potential award.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers could get very rich. If the suit succeeds, they stand to pocket 32.5% of the first $100m and smaller slices of anything beyond that. But if they lose, they will get nothing, and would normally be liable for their own expenses. The levee board has tried to protect its lawyers with a “poison pill”: if the board withdraws the suit of its own accord—which could happen if Mr Jindal replaces a majority of members, as he may—it will first have to pay the lawyers their expenses.
The Jindal administration says the real villain of the piece is the federal Army Corps of Engineers, which built most of the levees in south Louisiana.
Another goofy article covering Obama’s to-be-announced climate change. In addition to regulating emissions, he’ll push a few adaptation (e.g., disaster preparedness) plans. One is called “Climate Adaptation Hubs,” which will serve to help the agriculture industry during drought and floods.
To me, the Climate Adaptation Hubs sound like mini-FEMAs for special interest groups looking for easy access to disaster money. Will there be Hubs for communities damaged by floods, storms, and sea-level rise, too??
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…
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%).
The report includes an Executive Summary and a breakdown of results by region and can be downloaded here.
The NSF supports science in universities around the US and is a beacon/model for science around the world - from cancer research to climate change. It is speculated that Coburn has failed over the years to get his pet anti-science bill passed through regular procedural votes, so he’s attaching it to an emergency budget bill which will keep government running only temporarily.
None of the amendments promote economic stability or aim to create jobs.
(M)any of 110 amendmentsoffered by Republicans to the Democratic-authored legislation would amount to giveaways to major industry groups. The amendments, unveiled Thursday, are expected to see floor action by Friday evening.
“Giant corporations are hoping to sneak provisions into the rushed Senate budget bill to undermine the core regulatory protections on which Americans rely to make our country stronger, better, safer, cleaner, healthier and more fair and just,” said Robert Weissman, who serves as co-chair of the coalition and president of Public Citizen.
“The American people aren’t so easily tricked, and they demand Senators vote down these corporate-gift amendments,” he added.
Wyoming’s House of Representatives is the latest legislative body pass a “ag-gag” law, a new breed of legislation which makes it illegal to record video or photograph inside factory livestock farms. From Food Safety News:
In her bill, [Republican Sue Wallis] makes it a crime to “knowingly or intentionally” record images or sounds of an agricultural operation with concealed devices without the consent of the owner. Six months in jail and a $750 fine are provided as penalty. But anyone reporting animal abuse to local police within 48 hours is immune from civil liability.
If the bill passes in Wyoming’s state senate, it would become the fourth state to pass anti-whitsleblower laws. Iowa, Utah, and Missouri all passed similar bills last year, though Wyoming would be the only state to mandate jail time for those (including employees) who film in slaughterhouses.
New Hampshire, Indiana, Nebraska and Arkansas are all also considering their own versions of ag-gag laws. Last year saw 10 states attempting to pass similar piece of legislation, with many backing down after public outcry or worries about the constitutionality of the proposed bills.
Surprise of the year so far. It’ll be interesting to see how enviros will react if/when the national GOP moves towards similar legislation.
Inslee climate change bill passes state Senate
OLYMPIA — The Republican-controlled state Senate on Wednesday passed legislation aimed at developing ways to reduce state greenhouse-gas emissions, and meet targets set by the Legislature in 2008.
Senate Bill 5802 passed by a vote of 37 to 12. The legislation, requested by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, creates a work group that’s supposed to come up with recommendations by the end of the year.
A similar bill was introduced in the House, but Democratic leaders are expected to work with the version that passed the Senate.
Inslee and his staff actively lobbied for the bill and the governor testified at committee hearings in the House and Senate. The measure that passed the Senate removed language talking about problems associated with climate change.
“I really want to take the religion out of carbon and I want to take a good hard look at how we can most effectively meet those goals” set in 2008, said Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, speaking in favor of the bill. Ericksen is chairman of the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee.