January 15, 2009
US Climate Action Partnership climate change plan launched -- behind the times
The US Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a coalition of business, environmental and other interests, unveiled its "Blueprint for Legislative Action" climate change program today, which features a cap-and-trade approach to reducing GHG emissions. USCAP link to 28 page Blueprint USCAP Executive Overview The cap-and-trade proposal is, of course, by now mainstream thinking -- and unsurprising given the Environmental Defense economic incentive approach to environmental problems. The USCAP plan is based upon an 80% reduction of 2005 GHG emissions by 2050. Note that this goal falls far short of more ambitious proposals already made in Congress and is woefully inadequate to meet the 350 ppm, 1 degree C criterion for climate change mitigation policy proferred by James Hanson, et al. to avoid dangerous global warming impacts.
The Blueprint apparently represents two years of work by USCAP members
building on their January 2007 Call for Action, which articulated principles for climate change mitigation efforts and made recommendations urging “prompt enactment
of national legislation in the United States to slow, stop and reverse
the growth of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the shortest time
The Blueprint responds to requests by federal policymakers for a detailed
consensus to help inform climate change legislation. USCAP acknowledges that it does not include all stakeholders and interests. It characterizes the Blueprint as an "integrated package of policies [providing] a pragmatic pathway to achieve aggressive
environmental goals in a responsible and economically sustainable
manner." 4 page
Excerpts from Executive Overview:
The United States faces an urgent need to reinvigorate our nation’s
economy, enhance energy security and take meaningful action to slow,
stop and reverse GHG emissions to address climate change.
USCAP agrees that the science is sufficiently clear to justify
prompt action to protect our environment. Each year of delayed action
to control emissions increases the risk of unavoidable consequences
that could necessitate even steeper reductions in the future, with
potentially greater economic cost and social disruption.
To address these challenges successfully will require a fundamental
shift in the way energy is produced, delivered and consumed in the US
and around the globe. Thoughtful, comprehensive and tightly linked
national energy and climate policy will help secure our economic
prosperity and provide American businesses and the nation’s workforce
with the opportunity to innovate and succeed.
While we recognize that achieving the needed emission reductions is
not free of costs, we also believe well-crafted legislation can spur
innovation in new technologies, help to create jobs, and increase
investment and provide a foundation for a vibrant, low-carbon economy.
change presents a global problem that requires global solutions. USCAP
believes that international action is essential to meeting the climate
challenge. U.S. leadership is essential for establishing an equitable
and effective international policy framework for robust action by all
major emitting countries. For this reason, action by the U.S. should
not be contingent on simultaneous action by other countries. In our Blueprint we offer a set of principles to guide Congress and the Administration to address the global dimension of this problem.
Cap-and-Trade System Design
believe the strongest way to achieve our emission reduction goals is a
federal cap-and-trade program coupled with cost containment measures
and complementary policies for technology research, development and
deployment, clean coal technology deployment, lower-carbon
transportation technologies and systems, and improved energy efficiency
in buildings, industry and appliances. In a cap-and-trade system, one
allowance would be created for each ton of GHG emissions allowed under
the declining economy-wide emission reduction targets (the “cap”).
Emitters would be required to turn in one allowance for each ton of GHG
they emit. Those emitters who can reduce their emissions at the lowest
cost would have to buy fewer allowances and may have extra allowances
to sell to remaining emitters for whom purchasing allowances is their
most cost-effective way of meeting their compliance obligation. This
allows the economy-wide emission reduction target to be achieved at the
lowest possible cost.
Targets and a Timetable for Action
Emission Reduction Targets
- 97%-102% of 2005 levels by 2012
- 80%-86% of 2005 levels by 2020
- 58% of 2005 levels by 2030
- 20% of 2005 levels by 2050
USCAP believes the legislation should establish a mandatory, national
economy-wide climate protection program that includes aggressive
emission reduction targets for total U.S. emissions and for capped
sectors (see sidebar). Equally important, it is imperative that the
costs of the program be manageable. USCAP believes the recommended
targets are achievable at manageable costs to the economy provided that
a robust offsets program and other cost containment measures, along
with other critically important policies as recommended in the Blueprint
are enacted. In addition, Congress should require periodic assessment
of emerging climate science and U.S. progress towards achieving
emission reduction targets, and social, environmental and economic
impacts in order to determine if legislative revisions are necessary to
improve the nation’s climate protection program.
Scope of Coverage and Point of Regulation
recommends the cap-and-trade program cover as much of the economy’s GHG
emissions as politically and administratively possible. This includes
large stationary sources and the fossil-based CO2 emitted by fuels used
by remaining sources. The point of regulation for large stationary
sources should be the point of emission. The point of regulation for
transportation fuels should be at the refinery gate or with importers.
Congress should establish policies to ensure carbon-based price signals
are transparent to transportation fuel consumers and other end users,
thereby encouraging them to make informed GHG-reduction choices.
Emissions from the use of natural gas by residential and small
commercial end users can be covered, for example, by regulating the
utilities that distribute natural gas, often referred to as local
distribution companies (LDCs).
Offsets and Other Cost Containment Measures
Adequate amounts of offsets are a critical component of the USCAP Blueprint.
Emissions offsets are activities that reduce GHG emissions that are not
otherwise included in the cap. USCAP recommends all offsets meet strong
environmental quality standards (i.e., they must be environmentally
additional, verifiable, permanent, measurable, and enforceable). We
recommend that Congress should establish a Carbon Market Board (CMB) to
set an overall annual upper limit for offsets starting at 2 billion
metric tons with authority to increase offsets up to 3 billion metric
tons, with domestic and international offsets each limited to no more
than 1.5 billion metric tons in a given year.
In addition, the CMB should oversee a system-wide strategic offset
and allowance reserve pool that contains a sufficiently large set of
additional offsets and, as a measure of last resort, allowances
borrowed from future compliance periods that could be released into the
market in to prevent undue economic harm in the event of excessively
high allowance prices, especially in the early years of the program.
USCAP recommends other measures to limit allowance price spikes and
volatility including unlimited banking of allowances and effective
multi-year compliance periods.
Allocation of Allowance Value
allowances in an economy-wide cap-and-trade system will represent
trillions of dollars in value over the life of the program. USCAP
believes the distribution of allowance value should facilitate the
transition to a low-carbon economy for consumers and businesses;
provide capital to support new low- and zero-GHG-emitting technologies;
and address the need for humans and the environment to adapt to climate
USCAP recommends that a significant portion of allowances should be
initially distributed free to capped entities and economic sectors
particularly disadvantaged by the secondary price effects of a cap and
that free distribution of allowances be phased out over time.
The Blueprint identifies principles to guide the fair and
equitable allocation of allowances to: end-use consumers of
electricity, natural gas, and transportation fuels; energy intensive
industries that face international competition; trade-exposed commodity
products; competitive power generators and other non-utility large
stationary sources; low-income consumers and workers in transition;
programs to achieve technology transformation; and adaptation needs of
vulnerable people and ecosystems at home and abroad. A significant
portion of emission allowance value should also be allocated to
electric and natural gas LDCs, which are cost regulated, to dampen the
price impact of climate policy on electricity and small natural gas
customers, particularly in the early years of the emission constraint.
Credit for Early Action
USCAP recommends a
robust program to provide credit for early action for those who have or
will take early actions to reduce emissions. This is an important
cost-containment mechanism for early actors to ensure they will not be
at a relative disadvantage compared with those who wait to take action.
believes that policies and measures that are complementary to a
cap-and-trade program are needed to create incentives for rapid
technology transformation and to ensure that actual reductions in
emissions occur in capped sectors where market barriers and
imperfections exist that prevent the price signal from achieving
A robust technology
transformation program that results in substantial investment in new
technologies is a critical complementary measure to a national strategy
to cap and reduce GHG emissions. USCAP recommends a program that
features federal support for emerging technology research and early
demonstration and deployment of new technologies.
USCAP recommends that Congress
provide needed regulatory certainty and substantial financial
incentives to facilitate and accelerate the early deployment of carbon
capture and storage (CCS) technology, including addressing financial
and regulatory barriers that could delay wide-spread deployment. USCAP
recommends implementing CO2 emissions standards for coal plants
initially permitted after January 1, 2015, subject to Congress
providing adequate funding for CCS and needed regulatory certainty
being in place; and retrofit requirements for coal plants initially
permitted after January 1, 2009 and prior to January 1, 2015, subject
to deployment thresholds being met.
Achieving the USCAP economy-wide
emission reduction targets and timetable will require a systematic
approach that involves fuel providers, vehicle and equipment
manufacturers, consumers and other end users, and public officials who
set policy direction and plan and manage transportation and related
infrastructure and land use. The systematic approach recommended by
USCAP includes improving both fuel and vehicle GHG performance
standards, as well as improving the efficiency of the transportation
Buildings and Energy Efficiency
one of the most immediate steps Congress can take to begin to address
climate change is to enact policies and measures that improve the
energy efficiency of the U.S. economy. We recommend aggressive
promotion and implementation of GHG reduction programs including state-
or utility-sponsored conservation and efficiency programs, tightened
building codes and standards, and appliance efficiency standards.
Collectively, these programs will help drive investment in
cost-effective energy efficiency by encouraging utilities and consumers
to improve efficiency when the cost of doing so is lower than the cost
of an equivalent amount of energy in the form of electricity or natural
January 15, 2009 in Air Quality, Climate Change, Economics, Energy, Governance/Management, Legislation, Sustainability, US | Permalink
January 14, 2009
EU Pesticide Ban advances through EU parliament
Yesterday, the European Parliament voted to ban highly toxic pesticides unless their effects can be proven to be negligible. If endorsed by 27 EU ministers, countries with similar geography and climate could decide
whether farmers may use specific products. This implements an agreement negotiated in December that substantially reduced the number of substances to be banned. December agreement
The EU will list EU-approved
"active substances," excluding 22 ingredients that are classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic
or toxic to reproduction. The chemical "blacklist" includes eight substances used in the
manufacture of herbicides, 11 used in fungicides and three in
insecticides, many of them produced by German chemical giants Bayer and
BASF -- including Ioxynil, Amitrol and Iprodion. That list will provide the basis for national EU governments to approve pesticides nationally or, via mutual recognition with 120 days, in the north, center, and south regions of the EU. Currently, approvals apply only for individual countries and there is no deadline set for mutual recognition approvals.
Already licensed pesticides remain available until their 10-year
authorization expires, avoiding a sudden large-scale
withdrawal of pesticides from the market.
EU countries will be allowed to ban a product, because of specific environment or agricultural circumstances. Also, certain restrictions will be put on pesticide use, including banning most aerial
crop-spraying, strict conditions on pesticides use near aquatic environments and drinking water supplies, and buffer zones requirements around water and protected areas along
roads and railways.
January 14, 2009 in Agriculture, Air Quality, Biodiversity, Economics, EU, Governance/Management, Land Use, Legislation, Sustainability, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, Water Quality | Permalink
January 11, 2009
States Set for Clean Energy Lobbying on Hill
Larry Kopp/Seth Allen, The T.A.S.C. Group
Ph: 646-723-4344/ cell: 917-282-2357
Clean Energy States Alliance
To Hold Congressional Briefing on Capitol Hill
CESA Will Propose New Federal/State Partnership for Green
DC, January 9, 2009: Clean Energy
States Alliance (CESA) will hold a congressional briefing on Tuesday, January
13 on the strategic role of states in supporting clean energy. The event is co-sponsored
by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and will be held from 2:00
to 3:30 p.m. at 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill. CESA will
present policy recommendations for the Obama administration and outline a new
federal/state partnership for moving forward with effective clean energy
economic stimulus. The key is distributing federal funds for clean energy
investment directly through the many existing state clean energy funds and
"For years, the states have been funding clean energy
projects and have taken the lead in green collar job creation," said CESA
President, Lewis Milford. "The federal government should use the many
existing state clean energy funds as vehicles to quickly and efficiently deploy
the green stimulus investment."
Speakers for the briefing include: Lewis Milford, President
and Founder of Clean Energy States Alliance and Clean Energy Group; Janet
Joseph, Director of Clean Energy Research &Market Development, New York
State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA); Tom Plant, Director
of Colorado Governor's Energy Office; Rob Sanders, Sustainable Development Fund
Manager, The Reinvestment Fund and Peter West, Director of Renewable Energy,
Energy Trust of Oregon.
The briefing coincides with a press conference and panel
event CESA has scheduled for the morning of January 13 at the National Press
Club. The press breakfast will start at 9:30 a.m. and run through 11:00 a.m. At
the event, CESA will release a new report which highlights its national database
of nearly 50,000 state funded renewable energy projects. The projects in the
database have a capacity of 1.7 Gigawatts and generate 5.3 million megawatt
hours of electricity each year, enough to power 500,000 homes. As of 2007, 12,000
state renewable energy projects have been completed and state clean energy
funds have invested $1.5 billion and leveraged an additional $2.5 billion in
Much of the innovative and effective activity to advance
clean energy has taken place at the state level. By supporting creative
finance, policy, and market initiatives, the states have been serving as
laboratories where ideas for implementing clean energy can be tested and proven
in the real world. In many cases, the states have established special funds to
promote renewable energy and other clean energy technologies. CESA will also
honor five state clean energy programs with the inaugural "State Leadership in
Clean Energy Awards" at the event. Representatives from CESA and the winning programs
will be present.
The CESA and EESI briefing is open to press. Anyone interested
in attending the event and scheduling interviews with CESA representatives must
Larry Kopp/Seth Allen, Office: (646) 723-4344, Cell: (917)
About Clean Energy States Alliance
Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) is a national nonprofit
organization that works with clean energy funds and state agencies to expand
the nation's clean energy infrastructure and advance markets for clean energy
technologies. CESA provides information and technical services to its members
and shares its knowledge with the federal government and influential
policymakers. CESA's member states manage programs that will invest nearly $6
billion in the next ten years to support clean energy. Clean Energy Group (CEG)
created CESA in 2002 and now manages it.
January 11, 2009 in Air Quality, Climate Change, Economics, Energy, Governance/Management, Legislation, Sustainability, US | Permalink
January 08, 2009
EU study shows that aerosol pollutants have been underestimated
According to a recent study by Hoyle and colleagues, funded in part by the EU, levels of global secondary organic aerosol (SOA) in the Earth's
atmosphere have increased by 60 per cent since pre-industrial times, suggesting that the effects of SOA have
been previously underestimated. Since aerosols cool the atmosphere, this and similar studies suggest that the warming effect of CO2 and other greenhouse gases may be underestimated by current atmospheric models, including that used by the 4th Assessment Report of the International Panell on Climate Change.
is made up of fine particles and droplets suspended in the atmosphere
and is the product of many complex photo-chemical processes. It affects
the climate by increasing the reflection of the sun's rays and so cools
the Earth's surface. It also contributes to atmospheric haze, as well
as having an impact on human health.
has been a considerable change to the composition and magnitude of
emissions from human activities since pre-industrial times. This study,
partly conducted under the EU-funded EUCAARI project1,
investigates changes affecting the distribution and global burden of
organic aerosols since 1750. The increase is believed to be due to
rises in industrial or fossil fuel emissions rather than increases in
processed meteorological data from 2004 using a computer model. They
modelled SOA formation from the by-products of mainly biogenically
emitted (produced by plants and animals) substances such as
monoterpenes, isoprene, benzene, toluene, xylene and other volatile
The experiments also compared data from 1750 and 2004 to assess the
effects of increases in ammonium sulphate aerosol. The present day
global warming effects of SOA were calculated including the radiative
effects of aerosols, clouds, light scattering and absorption by gases,
at 40 levels of the lower to middle atmosphere.
Among the results were:
- The production of SOA increased from about 43 teragrams (1
Tg = 1012 grams) a year to 69 Tg a year since pre-industrial times,
leading to an increase in the global annual mean SOA burden from 0.44
Tg to 0.70 Tg, or about 60 per cent.
- Emissions from fossil and biofuel burning contribute twice as much to the SOA increase as biomass burning emissions.
- The increases are greatest over industrialised areas, as well as
over regions with high emissions of precursor gases that will cause the
formation of SOA.
- The increase is mainly caused by emissions of primary organic aerosols (POA) from fossil fuel and biofuel burning.
- The largest distribution increases in SOA at surface levels are in
the biomass burning regions of South America, Southern Africa and South
East Asia, as well as industrialised areas such as Europe and the East
Coast of America.
- Increases higher in the atmosphere were seen in the northern
Hemisphere, where significant increases were found at polar latitudes,
while very small increases were found at high southern latitudes.
- Radiative forcing was much stronger over industrialised areas, in
eastern Europe and on the east coast of the US. Radiative forcing
(measured in watts per square meter) provides a simplified means of
comparing the various factors that are believed to influence climate
As yet, very few radiative forcing estimates of
SOA exist and no radiative forcing estimates were provided for SOA in
the latest IPCC report. The authors believe that the radiative forcing
of SOA was previously underestimated and these results may improve
estimates of future climate change.
(European Integrated project on Aerosol Cloud Climate and Air Quality
Interactions) is supported by the European Commission under the Sixth
Framework Programme. See: www.atm.helsinki.fi/eucaari/
Hoyle, C.R., Myhre, G. , Berntsen, T.K. and Isaksen, I.S.A. (2008).
Anthropogenic influence on SOA and the resulting radiative forcing. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions. 8: 18911-18936.
January 8, 2009 in Air Quality, Climate Change, Energy, EU, Physical Science | Permalink
January 04, 2009
A new study by Stanford
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Mark Jacobson entitled “Review
of Solutions to Global Warming, Air Pollution, and Energy Security” Jacobson study link comprehensively analyzes various energy solutions, addressing
associated impacts on water supply, land use, wildlife,
resources, and pollution. Ultimately, the study finds that “In sum, the use
of wind, CSP, geothermal, tidal, solar, wave, and hydroelectric to provide
electricity for BEVs [battery-electric vehicles] and HFCVs [hydrogen fuel cell
vehicles] result in the most benefit and least impact among the options
considered. Coal-CCS and nuclear provide less benefit with greater negative
impacts. The biofuel options provide no certain benefit and result in
significant negative impacts.”
January 4, 2009 in Agriculture, Air Quality, Climate Change, Economics, Energy, Governance/Management, International, Physical Science, Sustainability | Permalink
Biofuel Soars on Air New Zealand
Due to the poor EO/EI ratio of biofuel and its competition with food crops, most of us are skeptical about widespread use of biofuel to meet transportation needs. However, air transportation is one of the few sectors where finding alternative energy sources is difficult. So, the recent and forthcoming tests of various biofuels in the air transportation sector are noteworthy, especially when strict conditions are placed on biofuel production. In one recent test, Air New Zealand set three requirements for sustainable biofuel:
(1) the fuel source must be environmentally sustainable and not compete with existing food resources;
(2) the fuel must be a drop-in replacement for traditional jet fuel
and technically be at least as good as the product used today; and
(3)the fuel must be cost competitive with existing fuel supplies and be readily available.
Environmental News Service reported in more detail:
A passenger jet
with one of its four engines running on a biofuel blend today completed
the world's first commercial aviation test flight to test a biofuel
made from jatropha. The test flight was a joint initiative with partners Boeing,
Rolls-Royce and Honeywell's UOP. The two hour Air New Zealand test flight was powered by a
second-generation biofuel made from the seeds of the jatropha plant
that could reduce emissions and cut costs. The flight was the first to
use jatropha jatropha seed oil as part of a biofuel mix [50% jatropha, 50% jet fuel]....
Air New Zealand test plane (Photo courtesy Air New Zealand)
Jatropha seed pods (Photo courtesy Air New Zealand)
Jatropha is a plant that produces seeds that contain inedible lipid
oil that is used to produce the fuel. Each seed produces 30-40 percent
of its mass in oil and jatropha can be grown in a range of difficult
conditions, including arid and otherwise non-arable areas, leaving
prime areas available for food crops....
The jatropha used on Tuesday's flight was grown in Malawi, Mozambique
and Tanzania, the airline said. The criteria for sourcing the jatropha
oil required that the land was neither forest land nor virgin grassland
within the previous two decades.
Jatropha grows on poor soil and in arid climates not suitable for most
food crops. The jatropha farms that grew the seeds for this test flight
are rain-fed and not mechanically irrigated.
The test flight partners engaged Terasol Energy, a leader in
sustainable jatropha development projects, to independently source and
certify that the jatropha-based fuel for the flight met all
sustainability criteria. Once received from Terasol Energy, the jatropha oil was refined
through a collaborative effort between Air New Zealand, Boeing and
refining technology developer UOP. The process utilized UOP technology
to produce jet fuel that can serve as a direct replacement for
traditional petroleum jet fuel.
Air New Zealand aims to meet 10 percent of its fuel needs through sustainable biofuel by 2013. In February, Virgin Atlantic was the first airline to test a commercial
aircraft on a biofuel blend, using a 20 percent mixture of coconut oil
and babassu oils in one of its four engines. In January, two more airlines will test their biofuel blends.
Continental Airlines on January 7 will conduct a test flight powered by
a blend involving algae and jatropha. The flight will be the first
biofuel flight by a commercial carrier using algae as a fuel source,
the first using a two-engine aircraft, and the first biofuel
demonstration flight of a U.S. commercial airliner. On January 30, Japan Airlines is planning a test flight from
Tokyo using a fuel based on the camelina oilseed as a way to cut
greenhouse gas emissions.
January 4, 2009 in Agriculture, Air Quality, Asia, Australia, Climate Change, Economics, Energy, Governance/Management, International, Physical Science, Sustainability | Permalink
January 01, 2009
More on Ocean Acidification
OCEAN SCIENCE: Winter Carbonate Collapse
H. Jesse Smith
Anthropogenic fossil-fuel burning is increasing the concentration of
CO2 in the atmosphere, which in turn is causing more
CO2 to dissolve in the ocean, thereby lowering the water's pH.
Such ocean acidification in turn decreases the concentration of carbonate
ion (CO3)2-, which makes it more difficult for
calcifying organisms such as foraminifera, pteropods, and corals to build
their skeletons. So far, most of the attention paid to this process has
focused on the time-averaged chemistry of the ocean, but organisms actually
experience seasonal carbonate and pH variations. McNeil and Matear examine
these variations and show that anthropogenic CO2 uptake is
likely to induce winter aragonite undersaturation in some regions of the
ocean when atmospheric CO2 levels reach 450 parts per million.
These findings underscore the importance of understanding the seasonal
dynamics of marine carbonate chemistry, as natural variability could hasten
the deleterious impacts of future ocean acidification. --
HJS Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 105, 18860 (2008).
January 1, 2009 in Air Quality, Asia, Australia, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Energy, Governance/Management, International, North America, Physical Science, South America, Sustainability, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink
Rate of Calcification of Coral Reefs Declining
Science reports on a new study showing that both rising ocean water temperatures and ocean acidification are causing a reduced rate of calcification of coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef. Coral reefs are threatened by from rising sea-surface
temperatures, ocean acidification (the declining pH of surface seawater
layers caused by the absorption of increasing amounts of atmospheric
CO2), pollution, and overexploitation. Other studies have demonstrated declines in the
coverage and numbers of live coral reefs, as well as reduced coral diversity, but few examined how rates of coral calcification have been
affected. The study by De'ath et al. examined growth patterns of 328 massive Porites corals from the Great
Barrier Reef of Australia and found that their rates of calcification have
declined by nearly 15% since 1990, to values lower than any seen for the
past 400 years. The main causes of this continuing decline appear to be
increasing water temperatures and ocean acidification.Science today link
January 1, 2009 in Air Quality, Australia, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Economics, Energy, Governance/Management, International, Sustainability, Water Quality | Permalink
December 26, 2008
Recent Study Shows Utilities Exploited Free Allowances in EU-ETS
An ECN study analyzing the impact
of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) on electricity prices, in
particular on wholesale power markets across the EU, found that a significant part of the costs of freely allocated
CO2 emission allowances are passed through to power prices, resulting in
higher electricity prices for consumers and additional (‘windfall’)
profits for power producers. The study discusses some policy
implications of the pass-through of these costs, concluding that the
pass-through of CO2 costs to electricity prices is a rational,
carbon-efficient policy, while the issue of windfall profits can be
addressed by either taxing these profits or auctioning - rather than
free allocations - of the emission allowances. What the study didn't consider is the political impact of artificially high electricity prices to meet the modest Kyoto protocol goals in terms of the longer term political will to achieve the far deeper emission cuts necessary to prevent the impacts of global warming from being catastrophic.EU electricity price study
December 26, 2008 in Air Quality, Climate Change, Economics, Energy, EU, Governance/Management | Permalink
December 23, 2008
CAIR Reinstated Pending EPA Revision of Rule
The D.C. Circuit decided today 12/23 decision to temporarily reinstate the Clean Air
Interstate Rule (CAIR),EPA CAIR webpage but the program to reduce power-plant emissions of NOx and SOx will need to be revised due to the court's finding of "fundamental flaws" in the CAIR cap-and-trade provisions. The court on rehearing decided against vacatur, striking down the rule altogether, as its July decision had done. July CAIR decision The industry petitioners, the government, and environmentalists had agreed in their responses to the court that vacatur was not a desirable remedy. The CAIR rule, which takes effect at the beginning of the year, is reinstated until EPA crafts a new
program consistent with the court's determination that allowing utilities to freely trade
SO2 emissions credits, banking early credits and using them in later years, violates the Title IV acid rain provisions of the Clean Air Act. Whether through legislative action or rulemaking, the process of revising the rule is likely to require at least two or three years. The SO2
emissions market reportedly rallied today after the court decision, trading up
from yesterday's close of $148 to more than $200 per allowance,
December 23, 2008 in Air Quality, Cases, Energy, Governance/Management, Law, Legislation, US | Permalink
Here are some of the picks of Change.gov
The “green dream team”
Obama's picks for key members of his energy and environment team have
not just drawn praise -- they've set off a wave of optimism that the
time for serious action on climate change has arrived.
"This is a team with a keen interest in addressing climate change,
and the talent and skills to get the job done," Eileen Claussen,
President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, said in a statement.
"With Steven Chu, Carol Browner, Lisa Jackson and Nancy Sutley at the
helm, President-Elect Obama's Administration will be well-equipped to
tackle the challenge of building a new clean energy future that
preserves the climate while revitalizing our economy."
"These selections form a green dream team that will help
President-elect Obama’s vision for solving our economic and global
warming challenges through clean energy become reality," Gene
Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, was quoted
as saying by Congressional Quarterly's Politics blog.
In the press conference yesterday introducing the new team,
President-elect Obama said of Energy Secretary-desginate and
Nobel-prize winning physicist Steven Chu, "His appointment should send
a signal to all that my Administration will value science, we will make
decisions based on the facts, and we understand that the facts demand
That signal has been heard loud and clear.
"Obama has chosen about the most qualified scientist one can imagine to make the case for putting the E back into DOE," Science Insider, a blog run by the same organization that publishes the influential journal Science, wrote of President-elect Obama's choice to lead the Department of Energy.
Under the headline "Science Born Again in the White House, and Not a Moment Too Soon," Wired
magazine's Science blog wrote that Secretary-designate Chu "recognizes
the need to invest in science, from grade schools to universities to
industry. He sees the imperative for the government to think in new and
big ways about the energy problem. He understands we have to face up to
climate change. And, most importantly, he has ideas about how to get it
all done and the character to make them happen."
Reid Detchon, executive director of the Energy Future Coalition,
praised the creation of a new White House post to coordinate energy and
climate policy, and the choice of Carol Browner to fill it.
"The President-elect's decision...to integrate policy on the
intersection of energy, environment and climate change is both
visionary and overdue," he said in a statement.
"All the agencies of government must be involved, and his selection of
Carol Browner to lead the Council signals the importance he attaches to
an effective inter-agency process."
The National Journal has more responses on its Energy and Environment blog.
December 23, 2008 in Air Quality, Climate Change, Economics, Energy, Governance/Management, International, Law, Legislation, Sustainability, US | Permalink
More reaction on Obama's green team
Statement of Eileen Claussen
President, Pew Center on Global Climate Change
on President-Elect Obama's New Energy and Environment Appointments
December 11, 2008
This is a team with a keen
interest in addressing climate change, and the talent and skills to get the job
done. With Steven Chu, Carol Browner, Lisa Jackson and Nancy Sutley at the
helm, President-Elect Obama's Administration will be well-equipped to tackle the
challenge of building a new clean energy future that preserves the climate while
revitalizing our economy. We look forward to working with the new
Administration to achieve these goals.
December 23, 2008 in Air Quality, Climate Change, Economics, Energy, Governance/Management, Sustainability, US | Permalink
December 22, 2008
Know your source: American Council for Capital Formation contends that CO2 controls will conflict with job creation and economic stimulus plans
E & E:
Can President-elect Barack Obama successfully stimulate the economy,
create jobs and reduce emissions? What are some of the pitfalls of
pursuing a "green" stimulus? During today's OnPoint, Margo Thorning,
senior vice president and chief economist at the American Council for
Capital Formation, gives her take on why some of the incoming
administration's aggressive climate and economic goals may conflict
with each other. Thorning assesses Obama's energy and environment
Cabinet picks and explains how she believes the chairmanship shift in
the House Energy and Commerce Committee will affect the push for
ACCP has been an ExxonMobil-funded, conservative think tank with a climate skeptic slant. For example, in March 2003, Dr. Thorning had this take on the minor cuts required by the Kyoto Protocol:
Given the severe macroeconomic impacts the Kyoto Protocol would
impose on the United States, including reducing U.S. GDP by 1-4
percent, slowing wage growth significantly, worsening the distribution
of income, and reducing growth in living standards, Dr. Thorning called
for a new approach. Voluntary measures to reduce CO2 emissions should
include modifications to U.S. tax policy that reduce the cost of
capital for energy-efficient investments
ExxonSecrets.org reported that American Council for Capital Formation Center for Policy Research has received $1,619,523 from ExxonMobil between 1998-2006. The 2007 report indicates that ExxonMobil still supports ACCF-CPR, again providing a $15,000 additional contribution.
December 22, 2008 in Air Quality, Climate Change, Economics, Energy, Governance/Management, International, Law, Legislation, Social Science, Sustainability, US | Permalink
UNGA Adopts Climate Change-Related Resolutions
Last week, among 34 development-related actions put forward by
its Second Committee (Economic and Financial), the UN General Assembly
(UNGA) adopted a number of resolutions including consideration of the economic
ramifications of climate change.
Among the climate change-related resolutions, the UN General Assembly:
- supported international efforts and funding to prevent and manage
natural disasters, as well as extreme weather patterns;
- stressed the need to further advance and
implement the Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and
Capacity-Building (document A/63/414/Add.7);
- called for urgent global
action to address climate change for the benefit of present and future
generations, and urged parties to the UNFCCC to continue using the
Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change in their work (document A/63/414/Add.4);
- urged all governments,
relevant organizations, UN bodies and the Global Environment Facility
to take timely action to effectively follow-up and implement the
Strategy and the Mauritius Declaration, and called upon the
international community to help Small Island Developing States adapt to
the adverse impacts of climate change (document A/63/414/Add.2);
- encouraged governments to promote sustainable urbanization to improve
the living conditions of vulnerable populations, including
slum-dwellers and the urban poor, and to help mitigate climate change
(UN-Habitat document A/63/415); and
- reaffirmed its partnership with the
Pacific Island Forum through the lens of the serious threats posed to
vulnerable island States by climate change and the global economic
recession (document A/63/L.56).
[UN Press Release]
December 22, 2008 in Air Quality, Climate Change, Governance/Management, International, Law, Legislation, Physical Science, Sustainability | Permalink
December 21, 2008
EPA Overreaches Again on "Interpreting" the Clean Air Act
EPA lost again in the D.C. Circuit on its interpretation of the Clean Air Act in Sierra Club v. EPA, challenging EPA's exemption of facilities from MACT standards during startup, shutdown, or malfunction (SSM). Opinion The damage done in cases such as these where the Bush administration overreached will not be limited unfortunately just to the Bush administration. When the D.C. Circuit gets in the habit of looking at EPA decisions closely and with suspicion, and not crediting the assertions made in DOJ briefs because the arguments that DOJ is pushed to make are simply not credible, the ability of EPA to utilize its expertise to shape coherent regulatory systems out of sometimes less than coherent legislation and the ability of DOJ to command the judiciary's respect suffers. Both EPA and DOJ will need to rediscover that there are legal arguments that should not be made. The bar for the government is and should be higher than that for private parties.
In Sierra Club, the court agreed that, by stripping the protections of an enforceable SSM plan out of the 1994 exemption during recent rule-making, EPA constructively reopened the 1994 SSM exemption so that Sierra Club and others could challenge the legality of the 1994 exemption. Then, on the merits, the D.C. Circuit determined that the SSM exemption is inconsistent with section 112's requirement of continuous compliance with MACT standards and that the general duty not to endanger public health and the environment through emissions of hazardous pollutants does not satisfy the CAA's requirement:
Section 112(d) provides that “[e]missions standards” promulgated thereunder must require MACT standards. 42 U.S.C. § 7412(d)(2). Section 302(k) defines “emission standard” as “a requirement established by the State or the Administrator which limits the quantity, rate, or concentration of emissions of air pollutants on a continuous basis, including any requirement relating to the operation or maintenance of a source to assure continuous emission reduction, and any design,equipment, work practice or operational standard promulgated under this chapter.” Id. § 7602(k). Petitioners contend that,contrary to the plain text of this definition, “EPA’s SSM exemption automatically excuses sources from compliance with emission standards whenever they start up, shut down, or malfunction, and thus allows sources to comply with emission standards on a basis that is not ‘continuous.’” Petrs. Br. at 23.
EPA responds that the general duty that applies during SSM events “along with the limitations that apply during normal operating conditions, together form an uninterrupted, i.e., continuous, limitation because there is no period of time duringwhich one or the other standard does not apply,” Respt.’s Br. at 31. “Although Chevron step one analysis begins with the statute’s text,” the court must examine the meaning of certain words or phrases in context and also “exhaust the traditional tools of statutory construction, including examining the statute’s legislative history to shed new light on congressional intent, notwithstanding statutory language that appears superficially clear.” Am. Bankers Ass’n v. Nat’l Credit Union Admin., 271 F.3d 262, 267 (D.C. Cir. 2001) (citations and quotation marks omitted).
EPA suggests that the general duty is “part of the operation and maintenance requirements with which all sources subject to a section 112(d) standard must comply,” Respt.’s Br. at 33, pointing to section 302(k)’s statement that an “emission standard” includes “any requirement relating to the operation or maintenance of a source to assure continuous emission reduction,” 42 U.S.C. § 7602(k). Section 302(k)’s inclusion of this broad phrase in the definition of “emission standard” suggests that emissions reduction requirements “assure continuous emission reduction” without necessarily continuously applying a single standard. Indeed, this reading is supported by the legislative history of section 302(k):
By defining the terms ‘emission limitation,’ ‘emission standard,’ and ‘standard of performance,’ the committee has made clear that constant or continuous means of reducing emissions must be used to meet these requirements. By the same token, intermittent or supplemental controls or other temporary, periodic, or limited systems of control would not be permitted as a final means of compliance. H.R. Rep. 95-294, at 92 (1977), as reprinted in 1977 U.S.C.C.A.N. 1077, 1170.
“Congress’s primary purpose behind requiring regulation on a continuous basis” appears, as one circuit has suggested, to have been “to exclude intermittent control technologies from the definition of emission limitations,” Kamp v. Hernandez, 752 F.2d 1444, 1452 (9th Cir. 1985).
When sections 112 and 302(k) are read together, then, Congress has required that there must be continuous section 112-compliant standards. The general duty is not a section 112- compliant standard. Admitting as much, EPA states in its brief that the general duty is neither “a separate and independent standard under CAA section 112(d),” nor “a free-standing emission limitation that must independently be in compliance” with section 112(d), nor an alternate standard under section 112(h). Respt.’s Br. 32-34. Because the general duty is the only standard that applies during SSM events – and accordingly no section 112 standard governs these events – the SSM exemption violates the CAA’s requirement that some section 112 standard apply continuously. EPA has not purported to act under section 112(h), providing that a standard may be relaxed “if it is not feasible in the judgment of the Administrator to prescribe or enforce an emission standard for control of a [HAP],” id. § 7412(h)(1), based on either a (1) design or (2) source specific basis, id. § 7412(h)(2)(A), (B).
EPA’s suggestion that it has “discretion to make reasonable
distinctions concerning those particular activities to which the
emission limitations in a MACT standard apply,” 68 Fed. Reg. at 32,590,
belies the text, history and structure of section 112. “In 1990,
concerned about the slow pace of EPA’s regulation of HAPs, Congress
altered section 112 by eliminating much of EPA’s discretion in the
process.” New Jersey, 517 F.3d at 578. In requiring that sources
regulated under section 112 meet the strictest standards, Congress gave
no indication that it intended the application of MACT standards to
vary based on different time periods. To the contrary, Congress
specifically permitted the Administrator to “distinguish among classes,
types, and sizes of sources within a category or subcategory in
establishing such standards,” CAA § 112(d)(1), 42 U.S.C. § 7412(d)(1).
Additionally, while recognizing that in some instances it might not be
feasible to prescribe or enforce an emission standard under § 112,
Congress provided in section 112(h) for establishment of “work
practice” or “operational” standards instead, but, as petitioners point
out, “strictly limited this exception by defining ‘not feasible . . .’
to include only [two types of] situations,” Petrs. Br. 9, and did not
authorize the Administrator to relax emission standards on a temporal
basis. See NRDC, 489 F.3d at 1374. In sum, petitioners’ challenge to
the exemption of major sources from normal emission standards during
SSM is premised on a rejection of EPA’s claim of retained discretion in
the face of the plain text of section 112. “Where Congress explicitly
enumerates certain exceptions to a general prohibition,additional
exceptions are not to be implied, in the absence of a contrary
legislative intent”. NRDC, 489 F.3d at 1374 (quoting TRW Inc. v.
Andrews, 534 U.S. 19, 28 (2001)). The 1990 Amendments confined the
Administrator’s discretion, see New Jersey, 517 F.3d at 578, and
Congress was explicit when and under what circumstances it wished to
allow for such discretion, id. at 582. “EPA may not construe [a]
statute in a way that completely nullifies textually applicable
provisions meant to limit its discretion.” New Jersey, 517 F.3d at 583
(quoting Whitman, 531 U.S. at 485).
Accordingly, we grant the petitions without reaching
petitioners’ other contentions, and we vacate the SSM exemption. See
New Jersey, 517 F.3d at 583 (citing Allied Signal, Inc. v. U.S. Nuclear
Regulatory Comm’n, 988 F.2d 146, 150-51 (D.C. Cir. 1993)).
December 21, 2008 in Air Quality, Cases, Economics, Energy, Governance/Management, Law, North America, Sustainability, US | Permalink
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Not the last word on PSD
According to Trish McCubbin (HT comments on Envlawprofessors), EPA Administrator Steve Johnson issued a memo
Thursday finding that CO2 is not a "regulated" pollutant for purposes of the PSD
program, meaning that new or modified power plants do not have to
install control technology for CO2 emissions. McCubbin points out that the memo responds to a
decision last month by the Environmental Appeals Board in the Deseret
Power matter that raised the issue -- without deciding -- whether CO2 is a
"regulated" pollutant because power plants are required to monitor
CO2 emissions under the 1990 Amendments. Johnson
determined that mere monitoring requirements do not make a pollutant
"regulated" for PSD purposes: he concluded that the PSD BACT and other requirement s are only applicable to pollutants subject to emission limits under other provisions of the
Act. Johnson's memo is on EPA's website: Johnson memo re: applicability of PSD to CO2 . EPA's conclusion may be legally correct, but only because EPA has acted so irresponsibly with respect to regulating CO2. However, there are state programs that do regulate CO2 and thus the Johnson memo is not necessarily the last word on PSD applicability. Remember when state NSR and the national NSR programs parted ways in the mid-1990s. EPA at that time said that a state program with more stringent NSR requirements provided the NSR requirements for purposes of CAA enforcement.
December 21, 2008 in Air Quality, Cases, Climate Change, Energy, Governance/Management, Law, Sustainability, US | Permalink
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Forecast: Cloudy and Rainy
The art and science of climate modeling has improved enormously over the years with both an increasing sophisticated understanding of climatic feedback effects and the empirical knowledge that can set the parameters or values used in the models. A 2005 study by Wentz indicated that global rainfall is increasing about 1.5% per decade, about five times (500%) faster than the value used in the 4th IPCC Assessment Report. A new study by Aumann and his colleagues presented at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union found a strong correlation between the frequency of very high clouds and seasonal variations in the average sea surface temperature of the tropical oceans. For every degree Centigrade (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) increase in average ocean surface temperature, the team observed a 45-percent increase in the frequency of the very high clouds. At the present rate of global warming of 0.13 degrees Celsius (0.23 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade, the team inferred the frequency of these
storms can be expected to increase by six percent per decade. These two studies will help improve climate models since clouds and rain have been "the weakest link in climate prediction," according to Aumann.
December 21, 2008 in Air Quality, Climate Change, Energy, Physical Science, Sustainability | Permalink
December 18, 2008
Dear Readers and Friends:
It is so difficult this time of year to decide how to spend one's limited resources in a way consistent with our duty to reduce human suffering and make the world a better place. It is especially difficult now, when all of us are a bit uncertain about our financial future and have lost a considerable amount of our paper wealth. But, I am concentrating for now on Haiti, the most impoverished nation in the Western hemisphere. Below I post a letter from a friend in Haiti, in the hope that some of you may help in the resurrection of Haiti after this fall's hurricane season. Obviously, my friend is a Christian (as I am), but human need knows no religion. Be assured that any money sent him through the church will be used to meet profound human need, not the promotion of a creed. And, if you are reluctant to send money to a faith-based organization, just let me know and I'll be happy to find a secular route for your gift.
[We] are writing you all with a great mix of emotions – sadness and frustration, great doubts, fear, but also some sense of hope. Many of you already know that in the past five weeks, Haiti was affected by four hurricanes – Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike, resulting in profound destruction throughout the entire country. Chavannes Jean Baptiste, the director of MPP (Mouvman Peyizan Papay–Farmer’s Movement of Papay) noted this past Monday that the situation is without precedent. MPP along with other national and international organizations are beginning to get a grasp of the level of havoc and devastation, but it seems impossible that anyone will ever be able to make a full accounting of the loss of life and property.
Many of the root causes of the poverty in Haiti–weak government, inadequate communication, lack of roads and other infrastructure, virtually non-existent social services–have always kept Haitind other countries with similar conditions, open to the full effects of disasters such as this. These same conditions now make it difficult and in some cases impossible for a quick response to those who need help the most. It is even nearly impossible to know who needs the help the most. In the last two days, I have received reports via e-mail of whole communities without food and water, with no help in sight. Lack of real roads have always been part of the isolation of many of these communities. Now, the serious damage to bridges and other weak points along the roads that do exist has increased the number of people who are isolated from any easy access, as well as deepening the level of isolation for those who have always lived at the limits.
Given all this, [our] sense of sadness is easy to understand. We live along side people who carry on their daily lives with grace, great generosity and wonderful senses of humor, despite the profound limitations. Now, these same people, some of whom are close personal friends, have lost homes and possessions and we know they have no real resources, or hope, for recuperating their losses. We have a great need to help, but we ourselves do not have the ability to provide any help that seems significant, even at the local level. Not even for just the families who are part of MPP – at least 52 families whose homes were flooded last week. Multiply the needs of the folks in Hinche by all of communities in nearly every part of Haiti, you can easily understand our frustration. What can we do? Within the sadness and frustration I also feel some guilt, because we ourselves are safe and suffered no damage at all to our home or even to the project where I work.
We also wonder whether the kind of help that is starting to come could possibly be adequate, given the enormous need. And will the assistance that comes be directed to address some of the root causes of poverty in Haiti? Will the funds help rebuild roads and bridges so that they are better than they were, or will the be used to make the highways and byways merely passable, subject as always to rapid degradation by even normal use? And will the international lending agencies, such as the International Monetary Fund, encourage the Haitian government to create “safety nets” that can help families and communities recuperate losses? Or will they follow their standard policy, insisting on budgetary stringency, regardless of the needs of the most vulnerable–the poor in general, and women, children and the aged in particular?
It is impossible to write about the current catastrophe without mentioning as well the ongoing global wide crises of food prices which are spiraling out of US control. In the project that I help coordinate – the crew prepares and shares two meals a day. We produce all of the vegetables for these meals ourselves, but for the items we can’t produce (corn, rice, coffee, oil etc), we paid a total of around $100 in May. In August, we spent around $135 for the same supplies and in September we spent $175. In a country where over half the population earns less than $US 1.00 a day, the situation was devastating, before the flooding will now die from hunger, giving in at last to ongoing deprivation?
And the fear we feel, where does that come from? Haitians have a marvelous way of dealing with difficult situations that I have come to respect a great deal. They sing, they laugh, they joke and suddenly, the load lightens and the way forward opens up again. There is also a great deal of tolerance, or patience, with unjust conditions. But there are limits. The suffering from the food crisis was becoming nearly insufferable before the hurricanes. If there is not a rapid, reliable and comprehensive response to the current situation, especially by the Haitian government, there will almost surely be massive unrest, probably focused, as always, in Port au Prince, the capital of Haiti.
At the end of such a letter, what could we say about hope that could balance the discouragement I’m sure you can sense in what I write? First and foremost is faith – [our] faith as well as the profound faith of Haitians in general. We do believe in a God who makes a way where there is no way – our God who sent our savior, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross, not only to demonstrate God’s profound solidarity with his chosen people, but also to completely and finally put an end to despair. Because we are Christ followers, we hope, and there is nothing that can separate us from that hope, from the constant renewal of that hope. As [we] and several crew members were heading south, into Port au Prince,... we passed through an area just north of the city of Mirebelais (Mee be lay) where the farmers have access to irrigation. In field after field as we traveled down the road, farmers were out in those fields transplanting rice, hoeing rice, irrigating rice. Just one day after Hurricane Ike had passed through, the fields were already moving from devastation into abundance, farmers moving from being victims to being the agents of their own resurrection. What a miracle. What a God.
Please be part of Haiti’s resurrection. Contributions for the crisis in Haiti may be sent to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA). Please write on the check “DR-000064 Haiti Emergency.” Mail it to:
Presbyterian Church (USA)
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh PA 15264-3700
December 18, 2008 in Africa, Agriculture, Air Quality, Asia, Australia, Biodiversity, Cases, Climate Change, Constitutional Law, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, EU, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, International, Land Use, Law, Legislation, Mining, North America, Physical Science, Social Science, South America, Sustainability, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink
December 17, 2008
27th Annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference
DON’T FORGET TO MARK PIELC IN YOUR
The 27th Annual Public Interest
Environmental Law Conference
Solidarity! United Action for the
February 26th – March 1st
University of Oregon School of Law
Read on for
planning updates and reminders . . .
- Last day to submit panel
suggestions is January 15th, but the sooner the better, as our timeslots are
already starting to fill up. Go to http://www.pielc.org/pages/panel_suggest.html
- Submit artwork for
PIELC 2009 posters and t-shirts now! Email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail them to 1221
University of Oregon School of Law, Eugene, OR 97403, attn: LAW
- Coming in
mid-January, our website will be updated with more travel, lodging, and
childcare options than ever at www.pielc.org.
- Our confirmed
keynote speakers are:
Katherine Redford – Co-Founder and US Office Director of Earth
Rights International, is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of
Law, where she received the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Human Rights and Public
Service. She is a member of the Massachusetts State Bar and served as counsel
to plaintiffs in ERI's landmark case Doe v. Unocal. Katie received an Echoing
Green Fellowship in 1995 to establish ERI, and since that time has split her time
between ERI's Thailand and US offices. In addition to working on ERI's
litigation and teaching at the EarthRights Schools, Katie currently serves as
an adjunct professor of law at both UVA and the Washington College of Law at
American University. She has published on various issues associated with human
rights and corporate accountability, in addition to co-authoring ERI reports
such as In Our Court, Shock and Law, and Total Denial Continues. In 2006, Katie
was selected as an Ashoka Global Fellow.
Riki Ott – Experienced firsthand the devastating effects of the Exxon
Valdez oil spill—and chose to do something about it. She retired from fishing,
founded three nonprofit organizations to deal with lingering social, economic,
and harm, and wrote two books about the spill. Sound Truth and Corporate Myths
focuses on the hard science-ecotoxicology, and the new understanding (paradigm
shift) that oil is more toxic than previously thought. Not One Drop describes
the soft science--the sociology of disaster trauma, and the new understanding
that our legal system does not work in cases involving wealthy corporations,
complex science, and class-action. Ott draws on her academic training and
experience to educate, empower, and motivate students and the general public to
address the climate crisis and our energy future through local solutions. Ott
lives Cordova, Alaska, the fishing community most affected by the disaster.
Stephen Stec – Adjunct Professor at Central European University (HU) and
Associate Scholar at Leiden University (NL). As well as the former head
of the Environmental Law Program of the Regional Environmental Center (REC),
Stec is one of the authors of The Aarhus Convention Implementation Guide and
main editor for the Access to Justice Handbook under the Aarhus Convention. The
subject of the Aarhus Convention goes to the heart of the relationship between
people and governments. The Convention is not only an environmental agreement;
it is also a Convention about government accountability, transparency and
responsiveness. The Aarhus Convention grants the public rights and
imposes on parties and public authorities obligations regarding access to
information and public participation and access to justice.
Fernando Ochoa – Legal Advisor for Pronatura Noroeste a
Mexican non-profit organization and the Waterkeeper Program for the Baja
California Peninsula, and founding member and Executive Director for Defensa
Ambiental del Noroeste (DAN), an environmental advocacy organization. Mr. Ochoa
has helped establish more than 60 conservation contracts to protect more than
150 thousand acres of land in Northwest Mexico. As the Executive Director
of DAN, Mr. Ochoa has successfully opposed several development and industrial
projects that threatened ecosystems in the Sea of Cortes and the Baja
California Peninsula, having saved critical habitat for Gray Whales, Whale
Sharks and other endangered species. His work has set important legal
precedents on environmental law in order for local communities to gain participation
in decision making processes, transparency and access to justice.
Claudia Polsky – Deputy Director of the Office of
Pollution Prevention and Green Technology (P2 Office) in California’s
Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). The P2 Office is
central to the implementation of new (2008) legal authority that gives
California expansive ability to regulate toxic chemicals in consumer
products. Instead of focusing on cleanup of past pollution -- the
historic emphasis of DTSC -- the P2 Office looks to the future by
preventing the use of toxic materials in consumer products and industrial
operations. Ms. Polsky's duties include implementing California’s
Green Chemistry Initiative, overseeing hazardous waste source-reduction
programs, and working with staff engineers to evaluate and deploy new
environmental technologies that reduce the need for toxic chemicals.
The Office's work involves interaction with stakeholders as diverse as
electronics manufacturers, breast cancer activists, analytical chemists, and
venture capitalists. Before joining DTSC, Ms. Polsky worked for the
California Department of Justice, Earthjustice, Public Citizen Litigation
Group, and The Nature Conservancy. She holds an undergraduate degree from
Harvard University, and a J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law, where she was
Editor in Chief of Ecology Law Quarterly. She is also a former Fulbright
Scholar to New Zealand, receiving a Masters of Applied Science in Natural
Gail Small – The director of Native Action, an environmental justice
organization in Lame Deer, Montana. Small's political engagement in energy
issues began in the early 1970s, when she and other high school students were
sent by the tribal government to visit coal extraction sites on the Navajo
Reservation and in Wyoming, after the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) signed
leases opening the Northern Cheyenne Reservation to strip-mining. Small later
served on a tribal committee that successfully fought for the cancellation of
the BIA coal leases. She received her law degree from the University of Oregon
and formed Native Action in 1984. Her work at Native Action includes
litigation, drafting tribal statutes, and creating informational resources for
Derrick Jenson – bio coming soon
SEE YOU THERE!
Questions? Suggestions? Comments? email email@example.com
December 17, 2008 in Africa, Agriculture, Air Quality, Asia, Australia, Biodiversity, Cases, Climate Change, Constitutional Law, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, EU, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, International, Land Use, Law, Legislation, Mining, North America, Physical Science, Social Science, South America, Sustainability, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink
ExxonMobil strikes again!
DOJ just released the news that ExxonMobil has agreed to pay nearly $6.1 million in civil penalties for violating the terms of a 2005 court-approved Clean Air Act agreement. HT Walter James, Environmental Crimes Blog.
The 2005 settlement already required ExxonMobil to pay a $7.7 million civil
penalty, perform an additional $6.7 million in supplemental
environmental projects in communities around the company's refineries,
and install pollution controls at six of its U.S. refineries.
"The Department of Justice will not tolerate violation of our consent
decrees," said Assistant Attorney General Ronald J. Tenpas of the
Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "The
significant penalty in this case shows that non-compliance with
settlement requirements will have serious consequences."
"The 2005 settlement has already resulted in major reductions in air
emissions from the company's refineries, but we need full compliance to
realize all the benefits of the settlement," said Granta Y. Nakayama,
assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance
Assurance. "EPA will continue to enforce against companies that fail to
comply with the terms of court-approved settlements."
The agreement penalizes ExxonMobil for failing to comply with
the 2005 settlement at four refineries in Beaumont and Baytown, Texas;
Torrance, Calif.; and Baton Rouge, La. Most of the penalties are for
failure to monitor and control the sulfur content in certain fuel gas
streams burned in refinery furnaces, as required by the 2005 settlement
and EPA regulations. The other two refineries covered under the 2005
settlement are located in Joliet, Ill. and Billings, Mont.
Between approximately 2005 and 2007, ExxonMobil did not monitor the
sulfur content in some fuel gas streams and subsequent testing revealed
sulfur content in excess of EPA limits. The burning of
sulfur-containing gases emits sulfur dioxide, which can cause serious
The 2005 settlement and today's penalty settlement with ExxonMobil were
reached as part of a broader EPA initiative to reduce air pollution from
refineries nationwide. To date, 95 refineries located in 28 states,
representing more than 86 percent of the nation's refining capacity,
have been required to install new controls to significantly reduce
In a separate action today, EPA and the Justice Department are proposing
amendments to the 2005 settlement that include minor technical changes
and new deadlines for some required activities at ExxonMobil's Joliet,
Billings, and Beaumont and Baytown refineries. The proposed amendments,
filed today with the U.S. District Court in Chicago, are subject to a
30-day public comment period.
For more information on the Petroleum Refinery Initiative:
December 17, 2008 in Air Quality, Cases, Economics, Energy, Governance/Management, Law, US | Permalink