January 13, 2006
The American Public Supports US Action on Climate Change
I came across a poll from July indicating that "[a]n overwhelming majority of Americans supports the US agreeing to limit greenhouse gas emissions in concert with other members of the G8 Summit." Climate Change Poll So, there is a significant disconnect between the American public and American leaders on responding to global warming. The interesting question is why? In foreign policy, Congress acts contrary to the shared views of the American public and American leaders, perhaps because the leaders do not believe the American public shares their views. Foreign Policy Contrary to Public Opinion Could it be that American leaders do not act forcefully to address climate change because they think that the American public does not support a response?
The new PIPA-Knowledge Networks poll asked, if, at the G8 Summit, “the leaders of these other countries are willing to act to limit the greenhouse gases that cause climate change, President Bush should or should not be willing to act to limit such gases in the US?” Eighty-six percent said that he should. Eighty-one percent of Republicans supported this as well as 89% of Democrats. Virtually all respondents—94%—said the US should limit its greenhouse gases at least as much as the other developed countries do on average. Nearly half—44%—think the US should do more than average. Consistent with this support for international cooperation on climate change, a large majority—73%—said the US should, “participate in the Kyoto agreement to reduce global warming.” Curiously, 43% still assume, incorrectly, that President Bush favors US participation in the Kyoto Treaty and another 14% are not sure. Only 43% are aware that he opposes US participation.
Rising Perception of Scientific Consensus
The perception of a scientific consensus about the reality of global warming has grown sharply over the last year. The percentage saying that “there is a consensus among the great majority of scientists that global warming exists and could do significant damage” has risen from 43% in June 2004 to 52% today. The percentage saying that “scientists are divided on the existence of global warming and its impact” has dropped from 50% to 39%. This is part of a long-range trend: in 1994 only 28% perceived a scientific consensus while 58% assumed that scientists were divided.
This trend is also reflected in greater awareness of global warming or climate change, which appears to have grown over the last year. Asked how much they have heard about “the problem of global warming or climate change due to the buildup of greenhouse gases,” 72% said a great deal or some (22% and 50% respectively), up from 63% a year ago, when 15% said a great deal and 48% some. Those who said not very much or not at all dropped from 38% to 28%. Perceptions of a scientific consensus on climate change continue to be partisan. Sixty-two percent of Democrats perceived a consensus, as compared to just 41% of Republicans. But over the last year there have been sharp movements in both parties, especially Republicans. Among Republicans, the perception of a scientific consensus has risen 11 points (30% to 41%) and the perception of scientists as divided has dropped a remarkable 17 points (63% to 46%). Among Democrats, perceptions of a scientific consensus have risen 7 points (55% to 62%) while perceptions of a division have dropped 6 points (39% to 33%).
Need for Action
Three in four Americans embrace the idea that global warming is a problem that requires action. Only 21% opposed any steps with economic costs. However, those who said some action is necessary were divided between 42% who said the effect of global warming “will be gradual, so we can deal with the problem gradually by taking steps that are low in cost,” and 34% who said the problem is “pressing” and “we should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs.”
Not surprisingly, there is a strong relationship between the belief that there is a scientific consensus and the view that high-cost steps are needed. Among those who believe that scientists are divided, only 17% favored high-cost steps, as compared to 51% among those who perceive there is a consensus.
Perhaps most interesting, when the American public was asked to “suppose there were a survey of scientists that found that an overwhelming majority have concluded that global warming is occurring and poses a significant threat,” the percentage of the whole sample saying that they would then favor taking high-cost steps increased sharply, from 34% to 56%.
Climate Change Legislation
A very large majority of Americans express support for legislation to reduce greenhouse gases. Respondents were told about the targets in one of the key drafts of the McCain-Lieberman legislation (Climate Stewardship Act), which would require large companies to reduce their emissions to 2000 levels by 2010 and to 1990 levels by 2020. An overwhelming 83% said they favored the legislation, with just 13% opposed.
They were then asked if they would favor the bill “if in fact it appears that it would likely cost $15 a month for an average household.” Two out of three (68%) said they would, while 28% said they would not. Democrats were just slightly more willing to accept the $15 cost (72%) than Republicans (67%).
Respondents were asked to consider a variety of possible strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
• 81% supported “tax incentives to utility companies to encourage them to sell environmentally clean energy, such as solar and wind power, to consumers.”
• 81% supported “cash incentives like tax credits and rebates to individual households that upgrade to more energy efficient appliances like refrigerators and air conditioners.”
• 70% favored “requiring that by 2010, half of all new cars produced are hybrid-electric or some other type that is very fuel efficient.”
• 77% favored, “continuing the tax credit for purchasing a hybrid-electric car.”
A majority expresses optimism that steps taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will actually benefit the US economy. Asked to choose between two statements, 71% chose the position that “the US economy will become more competitive because these efforts will result in more efficient energy use, saving money in the long run,” while only 23% chose the position that “efforts in the United States to reduce the release of greenhouse gases will cost too much money and hurt the US economy."
Data Shows Thriving Commercial Market in Great White Sharks
A study by Shivji published in Conservation Biology on January 9 revealed that there is a thriving commercial market in great white shark fins. The study confirms the need for the protection great whites are now given under CITES. Great White Sharks Hunted for Fins
The Coming Apocalypse: Norway Prepares to Save the World from Famine
January 11, 2006
Advice from an Old Grizzly to a Young Grizzly: Stay in the Park
Planet Ark reports that, if the states assume management authority over Yellowstone grizzlies crossing the park's border, they plan to allow hunting of "nuisance" bears:
Millions of tourists visit Yellowstone annually hoping to see the outsize, hump-shouldered bears that were hunted and trapped to near extinction before being classified in 1975 as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.
In the past three decades, the number of grizzlies in Yellowstone and surrounding areas - eastern Idaho, southern Montana and northwest Wyoming - has risen to more than 600 from 136, prompting the government to propose removing that population from the list of protected wildlife.
Public hearings on the proposal began on Monday in Montana and will conclude on Thursday in Idaho. If the measure is approved, which could happen by the end of the year, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming will oversee management of grizzlies that have ventured outside the park.
Each state has crafted a plan to allow hunting of some of those grizzlies under certain conditions, a practice banned for more than 30 years. Each state would have the authority to kill bears considered chronic nuisances to humans or livestock.
Grizzlies, like gray wolves, have been at the center of controversy in Western states ever since they came under federal protection.
The plan to lift the grizzlies' federal protection is opposed by some powerful environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club, which say it is premature to remove the bears' safety net because their long-term success is still not assured.
AALS: Blogging: Scholarship or Distraction
Those of you who are interested in blogging will want to check out Paul Caron's report on this session. Blogging
January 10, 2006
ABA Environmental Law Activities
Environmental Law Activities
January 2006 1/12 Environmental Sciences – Session 3 Hydrogeology Sponsored by the Section of Environment, Energy and Resources Program Description: Join Moderator Susan Bromm of the U.S. EPA in Washington DC and featured speaker Ellen Manges, Program Manager of the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Land Revitalization Office at the U.S. EPA in Washington in a discussion centering around an overview of basic geology, geologic materials, the hydrologic cycle, soil and rock properties, aquifer characteristics, groundwater flow and associated parameters, groundwater quality and fate and transport of contaminants, including practical examples of how these concepts are applied in assessing contaminated sites. Location: Teleconference Time: 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM Contact: Ninah Smith (312) 988-5724 February 2006 2/4 Section Council Meeting Section of Environment Energy and Resources Program Description: Business Meeting Location: Chicago, IL Contact: Ninah Smith (312) 988-5724
2/9 Environmental Sciences – Session 4 Air Quality and Pollution Control Sponsored by the Section of Environment, Energy and Resources Program Description: Moderator Mary Ellen Ternes of McAfee & Taft in Oklahoma City, OK and featured speaker John (Jay) Hoffman, President of Trinity Consultants, Inc. in Dallas will provide an overview of the science and technology of air quality assessment and air pollution control, including identification of commonly regulated air pollutants under the Clean Air Act (including criteria pollutants, hazardous air pollutants and air toxics), techniques for measuring ambient air quality and pollutant emissions from point sources, air pollutant fate and transport modeling, and traditional and evolving air pollution control technologies for stationary and mobile sources. Location: Teleconference Time: 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM Contact: Ninah Smith (312) 988-5724
ഊ2/15 The Post-Katrina Legal Cleanup Sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division, Health Law Section, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, Section of State and Local Government Law, Section of Public Utility, Communications and Transportation Law, ABA Journal, and ABA-CLE. Program Description: When Hurricane Katrina swept through the Gulf Coast in late August, the storm devastated the region's legal system along with everything else. As the attorneys and people of the region continue to sort out the legal system months after the hurricane, their efforts are likely to make new law not only along the Gulf Coast but for the rest of the country. The ABA Journal article and accompanying teleconference will look at specific legal issues facing businesses and individuals in the regions hit by Katrina, Rita and subsequent storms, and how lawyers are seeking to help resolve them. Registration begins January 23, 2006. Location: Teleconference Contact: ABA Service Center 1-800-285-2221
2/23-2/24 24th Annual Water Law Conference: 19th Century Rules for the 21st Century: Are Growth and Development Outpacing Water Law? Sponsored by the Section of Environment, Energy and Resources with The State Bar of California Environmental Law Section , Conference of Western Attorneys General, Native American Rights Fund, Western States Water Council Program Description: The conference will focus on the Nation’s system of water laws in the face of an explosion of population growth and a real estate boom. Speakers will address the central question of whether antiquated laws are flexible enough to provide policymakers with the tools needed to manage our water supplies in the face of increasing demand and urbanization. Location: San Diego, CA Hotel Del Coronado Contact: Ninah Smith (312) 988-5724
3/9-3/12 35 th Conference on Environmental Law Sponsored by the Section of Environment, Energy and Resources Program Description: This conference has such highlights as Ann R. Klee as keynote speaker and a variety of Sessions including: General Session: Change at the Supreme Court: What Does it Mean for Environmental Law?; Session 1: Current Considerations in Corporate Environmental Reporting -- SEC, Sarbanes-Oxley, and Voluntary Disclosure...If Your Head is in the Sand, Then Your Assets (and Your Clients) May be Exposed; Session 2: Enforcement Paradigms for EPA and Regulated Industries - A Comparison of Strategies and Results; Session 3: Taking Stock of the Endangered Species Act; Session 4: Winning the Clean Air Challenge; Practice Development Workshop: Developing Environmental Practice; General Session: Hurricane Katrina: It'sഊan Ill Wind that Blows No Good; Session 5: Practical Considerations and Pragmatic Solutions for the Environmentally Challenged Transaction; Session 6: Climate Change in the Courts: Litigation over Climate Change Liabilities and Policies; Session 7: Coming of Age for Watershed Permitting; and Session 8: Hot Topics; General Session: When and How, if Ever, is it Appropriate for the Government to Insist upon Waiver of Attorney-Client Privilege in Environmental Enforcement Investigations? What Comes Next? Location: Keystone, CO Keystone Resort and Conference Center Contact: Ninah Smith (312) 988-5724
3/23 Environmental Sciences – Session 5 Water Quality and Wastewater Treatment Sponsored by the Section of Environment, Energy and Resources Program Description: Join moderator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies in Washington, DC and featured speakers Bill Hansard, president of Environmental Management Services, Inc. and W. Wesley Eckenfelder, P.E., D.Sc., D.E.E., senior technical consultant at AquAeTer, Inc., both in Brentwood, TN for a discussion on the science and technology of surface water quality and wastewater treatment, including watershed concepts, the measurement of water quality parameters, water quality requirements imposed by the Clean Water Act (e.g. ambient water quality criteria, NPDES permits and total maximum daily loads), point and non-point sources of surface water pollution and conventional and innovative water pollution control technologies used for treating municipal and industrial wastewater. Location: Teleconference Time: 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM Contact: Ninah Smith (312) 988-5724
3/31 Storm Water Permitting and Enforcement: Alice Visits Wonderland Sponsored by the Section of State & Local Government Law Program Description: Storm water regulation and enforcement is a stated priority for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As a result of this increased focus, the EPA has initiated numerous enforcement actions seeking millions of dollars in civil penalties from developers and builders for failing either to secure a storm water permit or to comply with its terms. In 2004, for example, the U.S. Department of Justice and the EPA, along with the U.S. Attorney's office for the District of Delaware, and the states of Tennessee and Utah reached a settlement for storm water violations at Wal-Mart store construction sites across the country. As a result, Wal-Mart agreed to pay $3.1 million civil penalty and reduce storm water runoff at its sites by instituting better control measures. States are also actively involved in the storm water arena. The program should be lively and informative. Speakers will include S. Wayne Rosenbaum, Foley Lardner LLP, San Diego, California, Elizabeth Miller Jennings, Staff Counsel IV, State Water Resources Control Board, Sacramento, California, and John H. Minan, University of San Diego School of Law, San Diego, California. The moderator will be Krista S. Stearns, Boyd, Chandler & Falconer, LLP, Anchorage, Alaska Location: San Diego, CA Wyndham San Diego Time: 1:45 PM to 3:15 PMഊContact: Leigh A. Stewart (312) 988-5649 or Jack Minan (619) 260-4607
4/1 Hot Topics – Environmental Law Sponsored by the Section of State & Local Government Law Program Description: Latest issues relating to environmental law. Location: San Diego, CA, Wyndham San Diego Time: 1:45 PM to 2:45 PM Contact: Leigh A. Stewart (312) 988-5649 or Jack Minan (619) 260-4607 4/1 Section of State & Local Government Law – Environmental Law Committee Business Meeting Location: San Diego, CA, Wyndham San Diego Time: 9:15 AM to 10:45 AM Contact: Leigh A. Stewart (312) 988-5649
4/6 Environmental Sciences – Session 6 Site Remediation Technologies Sponsored by the Section of Environment, Energy and Resources Program Description: Dr. Neil Ram of Roux Associates Inc. in Islandia, NY, will review conventional and evolving remediation technologies used to remove chemical contaminants from soil, groundwater and other media, including problem definition (nature and extent of contamination and subsurface conditions), clean up goals, basic remediation processes and technologies for contaminant removal, extraction, destruction, stabilization and containment, technology selection and steps in remedy design, implementation, operation and maintenance to achieve site "closure." Moderator will be Dan Mueller, P.E. of the Mueller Consulting Group, LLC in Plano, TX. Location: Teleconference Time: 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM Contact: Ninah Smith (312) 988-5724 4/7 Environmental Due Diligence After EPA’s All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI) Rule: How Will AAI Impact Business and Real Estate Transactions Sponsored by the Section of Business Law – Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Committee Location: Tampa, FL Time: 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM Contact: Lawrence P. Schnapf (212) 756-2205ഊ4/8 Annual Review of Hot Topics in Environmental and Energy Law for Business Lawyers Sponsored by the Section of Business Law – Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Committee Location: Tampa, FL Time: 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM Contact: Stephen J. Humes (860) 275-6761
5/11 Environmental Sciences – Session 7 Toxicology and Risk Assessment Sponsored by the Section on Environment, Energy and Resources Program Description: Drs. Jonmaire and Harbison will provide a lively and interesting overview of the science of toxicology and the practice of risk assessment as applied to environmental contaminants, including basic dose/response principles, toxicity of common compounds, assessment of exposure, risk assessment principles and how they have been integrated into the regulatory process and environmental forensics as applied to litigation addressing real world environmental issues and incidents. Speakers are Dr. Paul W. Jonmaire, Ph.D., Ecology & Environment, Inc. in Lancaster, NY and Dr. Ray D. Harbison, Ph.D., Ecology & Environment, Inc. and the University of South Florida College of Public Health in Tampa, FL. Moderator will be James W. Conrad, Jr., Assistant General Counsel of the American Chemistry Council in Arlington, VA. Location: Teleconference Time: 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM Contact: Ninah Smith (312) 988-5724
6/9/06 34th National Spring Conference on the Environment Sponsored by Standing Committee on Environmental Law Program Description: This year's program will address the adequacy of U.S. laws and policies addressing ecosystems and infrastructure. Speakers will assess Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma as cases in point, examining what went wrong and why along the Gulf Coast in the fall of 2005; the role of wetlands in infrastructure preservation; energy infrastructure needs and challenges; risk evaluation and allocation; environmental justice concerns; NEPA issues; the proper roles of private market insurance, public insurance, subsidies and tax policy; and ways in which to appropriately value ecosystems and incorporate that value into infrastructure decision-making. The faculty will feature federal and state government officials, private practitioners, scholars, and representatives from the energy, insurance, and non-profit sectors. Location: University of Maryland School of Law, Baltimore, MD Contact: Mary Jordan Mullinax, 202-662-1694 or email@example.comഊ
8/4 Federalism, Land Use, and the Environment Under the Roberts Court CLE Meeting Co-Sponsored by the State and Local Government Section and the Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law Section in accordance with its CLE Committee and Land Use and Environmental Group Program Description: This seminar will review recent Supreme Court jurisprudence on federal oversight of land use and federalist approaches to environmental regulation, with a particular focus on the new Roberts Court. Location: Honolulu, HI Time: 7:30 AM to 9:00 AM Contact: Steven J. Eagle (703) 993-8054, firstname.lastname@example.org
8/4 The Kyoto – Good for US Business? Sponsored by the Business Law Section – Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Committee Program Description: The Kyoto Treaty does not specifically apply to the US but it applies to the activities of multinational businesses and businesses acting individually in ratifying countries, including in Canada, EU and Asia. New Business, Legal Restrictions, Notice and Disclosure – many transaction opportunities and complexities to be discussed. Location: Honolulu, HI Time: 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM Contact: Jim Harbell (416) 869-5690
8/6 Section Business Meeting Section of Environment, Energy and Resources Program Description: Business Meeting Location: Honolulu, HI Contact: Ninah Smith (312) 988-5724 8/6 Section Council Meeting Section of Environment Energy and Resources Program Description: Business Meeting Location: Honolulu, HI Contact: Ninah Smith (312) 988-5724ഊPublications ARE YOU READY? What Lawyers Need to Know About Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Recovery Produced by the Section of State and Local Government Law Competent legal advice is critical to any government or public authority’s efforts to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from catastrophic events. Yet most attorneys are not familiar with the special legal and practical issues arising from natural catastrophes and terrorist events. This documentary-style video brings together lawyers and other experts from around the nation with experience in responding to catastrophic events. They describe in simple but powerful ways how lawyers can help prepare their communities and the nation for the effects of natural disasters, such as hurricanes, fires, floods, earthquakes, or tornados, and man-made disasters, such as terrorist attacks or biological warfare. Whether discussing the response to an urban forest fire in Albuquerque, the challenge of continuing operations after a disaster on the scale of the World Trade Center collapse, or the destruction caused by a hurricane in Florida, their advice has a practical edge. The Section hopes to stimulate audience members to enhance their community’s preparedness and to increase awareness of the legal resources that are available when planning for and coping with disaster. Pricing: DVD and Videotape are both $25. Ordering Info: Order through the ABA Web Store at www.abaclecatalog.org or by phone at 800-285-2221 and select option 2. To fax an order for Credit Cards only use 312-988-5568. Mail orders can be received at American Bar Association – Financial Services, PO Box 109078, Chicago, IL 60610-9078. http://www.abanet.org/statelocal/home.html The Federal Information Manual: How the Government Collects, Manages, and Discloses Information under FOIA and Other Statutes by P. Stephen Gidiere III Produced by the Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources The Federal Information Manual is about the vast amount of federal information and the legal framework that controls the government’s collection, management, and disclosure of its records. Pricing: $119.95 USD (Regular), $99.95 USD (ABA Member) Ordering Info: Available January 2006 http://www.abanet.org/abastore/index.cfm?section=main&fm=Product.AddToCart&pid= 5350144
Other Activities Award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy Sponsored by Standing Committee on Environmental Law; Co-sponsored by Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Description: Annual award given to one individual and one organization who have distinguished themselves through significant leadership contributions to improvement in the substance, process, or understanding of environmental law or policy. While nominations may honor distinction relating to any environmental subject matter, the awards committee particularly encourages nominations this year that recognize singular contributions to environmental law and policy in the areas of ecological andഊinfrastructure risk analysis, disaster planning, and environmental emergency response efforts. Eligible individual nominees must be lawyers and may include academics, policymakers, legislators, practitioners, members of the judiciary, or journalists. Nominated practitioners must be duly licensed members of a bar association in good standing. Eligible organizations may include non-profits, bar associations, law school clinical programs, legal services programs, tribal nations, and law firms. Persons submitting nominations must be members of the ABA. Deadline for receipt of nominations for 2006 is March 31, 2006. For a nomination packet, please contact Mary Jordan Mullinax, 202/662-1694, email@example.com.