Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Pulitzer Prize Anyone??? Only if you write by March 12th

Well, no prize, but...You can become a Pulitzer Center Citizen Journalist!!! 

 

  • Read the corresponding coverage at Pulitzer’s website. Your article should draw on information from the Pulitzer Center articles; but you may also include include original reporting of your own or firsthand experiences. The goal is to provide fresh insight in a compellingly written article.
  • Share your perspective on the issue and write your best article at Helium by March 12th.

March 5, 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 | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Petition Filed Seeking CEQ Guidance on Climate Change Analyses Under NEPA

On Thursday, the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Sierra Club filed a formal legal petition with the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) seeking to assure that climate change analyses are included in all federal environmental review documents.  Petition The petition builds on the success of environmental groups in recent cases where federal courts found that climate change issues need to be considered during environmental impact review.  Rather than continue to address this on a piecemeal case by case basis, the petition seeks to create systematic review of climate change in NEPA documents.
 
Specifically, the petition requests CEQ:
  • Amend the definitions of "significantly" and "effects" as well as the provision on environmental consequences to assure NEPA implementing regulations require climate change effects be addressed in environmental assessments and environmental impact statements; and
  • Issue guidance to assure that climate change effects be addressed at each stage of the NEPA from categorical exclusions to the ROD.
  • Issue a handbook to guide agencies in this process
 

March 2, 2008 in Biodiversity, Climate Change, Environmental Assessment, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, Law, Physical Science, Sustainability, US, Water Resources | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Election 2008 -- The Candidates Speak in Their Own Words -- Part II:Hillary Clinton

During the last year, Foreign Affairs published a series of pieces on the 2008 presidential election, allowing candidates to frame their foreign policy in their own words. Foreign Affairs Election 2008 I am reviewing those pieces for discussions of global environmental issues, including climate change.  I find this a particularly useful approach because it allows candidates to move beyond sound bites and into the substance of what they believe. 

I expect to look at all of the current candidates: Democratic and Republican. The first candidate I am reviewed was Barack Obama. Today's post is Hillary Clinton.

Here's the foreign policy of Hillary Clinton with respect to the environment (especially global warming) in her own words:

The tragedy of the last six years is that the Bush administration has squandered the respect, trust, and confidence of even our closest allies and friends. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the United States enjoyed a unique position. Our world leadership was widely accepted and respected, as we strengthened old alliances and built new ones, worked for peace across the globe, advanced nonproliferation, and modernized our military....At the same time, we embarked on an unprecedented course of unilateralism:..Our withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol and refusal to participate in any international effort to deal with the tremendous challenges of climate change further damaged our international standing....At a moment in history when the world's most pressing problems require unprecedented cooperation, this administration has unilaterally pursued policies that are widely disliked and distrusted....

We need more than vision, however, to achieve the world we want. We must face up to an unprecedented array of challenges in the twenty-first century, threats from states, nonstate actors, and nature itself...Finally, the next president will have to address the looming long-term threats of climate change and a new wave of global health epidemics....

But China's rise is also creating new challenges. The Chinese have finally begun to realize that their rapid economic growth is coming at a tremendous environmental price. The United States should undertake a joint program with China and Japan to develop new clean-energy sources, promote greater energy efficiency, and combat climate change. This program would be part of an overall energy policy that would require a dramatic reduction in U.S. dependence on foreign oil....

We must find additional ways for Australia, India, Japan, and the United States to cooperate on issues of mutual concern, including combating terrorism, cooperating on global climate control, protecting global energy supplies, and deepening global economic development...

As president, I will make the fight against global warming a priority. We cannot solve the climate crisis alone, and the rest of the world cannot solve it without us. The United States must reengage in international climate change negotiations and provide the leadership needed to reach a binding global climate agreement. But we must first restore our own credibility on the issue. Rapidly emerging countries, such as China, will not curb their own carbon emissions until the United States has demonstrated a serious commitment to reducing its own through a market-based cap-and-trade approach.

We must also help developing nations build efficient and environmentally sustainable domestic energy infrastructures. Two-thirds of the growth in energy demand over the next 25 years will come from countries with little existing infrastructure. Many opportunities exist here as well: Mali is electrifying rural communities with solar power, Malawi is developing a biomass energy strategy, and all of Africa can provide carbon credits to the West.

Finally, we must create formal links between the International Energy Agency and China and India and create an "E-8" international forum modeled on the G-8. This group would be comprised of the world's major carbon-emitting nations and hold an annual summit devoted to international ecological and resource issues.

February 23, 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 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 18, 2008

ExxonMobil Deliberately Misled Blogosphere About Funding Global Warming Denialists

Yesterday's post on ExxonMobil (2/17/08)  highlighted that it had funded the Frontiers of Freedom and its Center for Science and Public Policy (CSPP link ) during 2006, contrary to its claim that it was not funding global warming denialists.  You may wonder about the context in which ExxonMobil made this claim.


Remember last year when the IPCC 4th Assessment report came out – the Guardian wrote a story about American Enterprise Institute soliciting result-oriented denialist analyses of the IPCC report and that report included information about ExxonMobil’s funding of AEI. Guardian 2/2/07 Report.  During conversations in late January and early February, 2007 with me and other bloggers, Maria Surma Manka from Green Options [Giant Part I Post; Giant Part II Post], Jesse Jenkins from Watthead [ExxonMobil Posts], Tom Yulsman from Prometheus [Post on earlier conversations -- I can't recall whether Tom participated in the February call, but I believe he did], Stuart Staniford from The Oil Drum [ExxonMobil AEI Post], Ken Cohen, ExxonMobil’s Vice President for Public Affairs had assured us that ExxonMobil was no longer funding controversial denialist groups like Competitive Enterprise Institute and it did not fund AEI with the intent that they engage in denialist analyses.  The first conference call occurred in late January and the second on the same day that the Guardian story and the IPCC report came out.

 

Cohen spent considerable time before the IPCC report came out in January 2007 trying to convince us that ExxonMobil was changing its Neanderthal stripes, truly accepted that anthropogenic global warming was a serious problem, and was ready to take a responsible role in the future discussions of how to reduce GHG emissions. Admittedly Cohen did that in the truly diplomatic way of saying that ExxonMobil had not effectively communicated its position that anthropogenic global warming is real and that GHG emissions need to be reduced.

 

During the February call, Cohen knew that the Guardian’s report about ExxonMobil’s funding of AEI and AEI’s alleged solicitation of result-oriented denialist analyses threatened to undercut public perception of ExxonMobil as a responsible actor. Indeed, those reports ended up on CNN. So, Cohen went out of his way to schedule this call about the Guardian’s allegations.

 

As Maria recounted that discussion:

“We had no knowledge that this was going on,” insisted Cohen. He explained that Exxon funds a lot of different groups, and “when we fund them, we want good analysis." Exxon does not condone what AEI did, but Cohen confirmed that it does continues to fund AEI, although other groups like the Competitive Enterprise Institute are not funded by them anymore.

Cohen assured us that Exxon is “trying to be a constructive player in the policy discussion and not associate [themselves] with those that are marginalized and are not welcome in that discussion.” The IPCC report “is what it is,” and Exxon does not believe in engaging in scientific research that preordains an answer. Cohen:

…that's the issue with AEI: Are they preordaining an answer?…I can understand taking a market approach or a government interventionist approach, but this is not a question of trying to find who’s right or who’s wrong. Let’s let the process work.

But, I asked, how can you grant AEI nearly two million dollars (n.b. slsmith -over the entirety of AEI operations, not annually) and not know what they’re doing with the money? Turns out that Exxon conveniently funds the “general operations” of AEI, not specific programs that would allow them to track how the money is being used. Perhaps Exxon needs to think hard next time before it funds an organization so clearly disinterested in constructive solutions.

Cohen was consistently explicit in Exxon's position that global warming is happening and mainly caused by human activities. If that is true, then how will Exxon fight the huge misperception that it’s still the planet's largest naysayer? Cohen conceded that the company needed to do a better job of communicating its position on global warming, rather than allowing a fact sheet or news release on their website to do the work.

 

Cohen kept telling us that the 2006 contribution report was coming out, but declined to give us any specifics about ExxonMobil’s contributions to AEI or other groups, but he said Competitive Enterprise Institute was no longer funded.  Cohen continued to defend AEI as a responsible, albeit very conservative, think tank doing legitimate policy research. And frankly, I supported him on that score during the calls because at least some of the work done by AEI is just that. And I was not nearly as skeptical as others about ExxonMobil's protestations of innocence.  See my post on the AEI matter ELP Blog Post on AEI

 

Here’s why yesterday I called ExxonMobil’s behavior in early 2007 deliberately misleading. Initial Post on 2006 Funding Report  

 

As the quoted material above indicates, Cohen in early February 2007 led us to believe that ExxonMobil was no longer in the denialist camp and did not condone AEI soliciting denialist analysis (if indeed that’s what they had done). He claimed that ExxonMobil no longer associated with marginalized denialist groups. He suggested that the 2006 report would indicate that ExxonMobily had disassociated itself from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which brought us the classic, sadly humorous “Carbon dioxide: they call it pollution, we call it life!” TV commercials. You tube link to CEI Energy commercial.

 

From this discussion, it seems clear that Cohen knew precisely which “public information and policy research” organizations that were funded by ExxonMobil during 2006. Yet, while he perhaps sat with the 2006 report in front of him and refused to release its contents, the 2006 contribution report later showed that in 2006 ExxonMobil provided $ 180,000 to Frontiers of Freedom and the CSPP, the policy center it created with ExxonMobil's funding several years ago. P.S. Cohen denied funding CSPP in an e-mail today, but unless my sight is failing: CSPP is reported as the Science and Policy Center under Frontiers of Freedom Download 2006 ExxonMobil's "public information and policy research" contributions If that’s not supporting denialists and associating with marginalized denialist groups, I don’t know what is!


Take a good look at the high quality analysis of global warming that CSPP provides:

 

(1) the amicus curiae brief filed in Mass. v. EPA by lawyers from the Competitive Enterprise Institute

(2) Dr. Ball's The Science Isn't Settled powerpoint presentation - Dr. Ball is the Chairman of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project which describes its first project on understanding climate change as "a proactive grassroots campaign to counter the Kyoto Protocol and other greenhouse gas reduction schemes." NRSP describes Dr. Ball as the "lead participant in a number of recent made-for-TV climate change videos, The Great Global Warming Swindle."

(3) Joe Daleo's Congressional Seminar on global warming in March 2007 devoted to disputing the IPCC's report and arguing that anthropogenic global warming from greenhouse gas emissions are not a real problem.

(4) CSPP's May 2007 rebuttal of Al Gore's testimony, which suggests there is no scientific consensus that CO2 emissions are causing global warming

(5) a nonsensical piece on "Gore's Guru," positing that because Dr. Revelle, who died in 1991, had cautioned in 1988 and 1991 against drawing rash conclusions about global warming might still take that position.  I call it nonsensical because Dr. Revelle suggested that we wait 10-20 years to see if the trends continued.  We've waited and now we've answered that question: between 1998 and 2008 we witnessed incredibly dramatic global warming and the scientific community has spent the last 10-20 years studying whether indeed human-caused GHG emissions are responsible for much of that warming.  We and ExxonMobil know its answer to that question.


Obviously, the blogosphere is not the only group worried about ExxonMobil's funding choices.  Britain's national academy of scientists, The Royal Society,  in September 2006 took ExxonMobil to task about its funding of denialist groups.  Royal Society letter

Well, maybe ExxonMobil finally pulled the plug on FF and its “Science and Policy” center in 2007 (and so Cohen was just tap-dancing around the embarrassing, but not on-going, reality of funding denialists). Although, FF's CSPP might survive: it apparently does have funding from two major tobacco companies!

Maybe ExxonMobil has rethought its policy on funding organizations whose primary contribution to the climate change discussion is to distribute continued attacks on those who conclude that the current state of climate science supports an effective policy to reduce GHG emissions.  I’d like to think so – but we won’t know until ExxonMobil releases its 2007 contributions report. I requested that Cohen release it to me; he declined.

However, even if it had defunded FF and CSPP (and other denialist groups), I’m not sure I’d believe that ExxonMobil hadn’t found new denialist outlets to fund.

 

If the Guardian and other media or the blogosphere produce a big enough stir on this story, perhaps it will. But I am astonished that, just as it was selling itself as a responsible player on global warming, ExxonMobil would act so irresponsibly and so deceptively. And I am deeply embarrassed at my naievete in believing what Ken Cohen and ExxonMobil were selling about ExxonMobil’s born again conversion to a responsible position on anthropogenic global warming.

 

Watch out, though, ExxonMobil knows that the question is no longer whether global warming is real, but what to do about it. You can bet it is smart enough and devious enough to fund a lot of “public information and policy research” that will muddle policy discussions about global warming legislation and may assure that not much is done to regulate GHG emissions from oil and gas and that what is done doesn’t cut hardly at all into ExxonMobil’s astounding profits: $41 billion for 2007 and almost $ 12 billion in the 4th quarter of 2007 alone. ExxonMobil profits post


I have a modest suggestion for ExxonMobil: do not fund organizations whose published information, analysis, and research on global warming or climate change has primarily sought to undercut the conclusions reached by the joint statement published in 2005 by 11 national academies of science, including the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, India, Brazil and China .  That statement is linked here:   Joint Science Academies' Statement: Global Response to Climate Change


Unless and until ExxonMobil stops funding the sort of stuff that Center for Science and Public Policy is peddling, I hope that the new President and Congress will not believe a single word that is said about global warming policy by ExxonMobil or any of denialist and anti-regulatory "public information and policy research" organizations it funds.

 

 

Continue reading

February 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 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Foreign Affairs - The Candidates in Their Own Words --

During the last year, Foreign Affairs published a series of pieces on the 2008 presidential election, allowing candidates to frame their foreign policy in their own words. Foreign Affairs Election 2008  I am reviewing those pieces for discussions of global environmental issues, including climate change.  I find this a particularly useful approach because it allows candidates to move beyond sound bites and into the substance of what they believe. 

I expect to look at all of the current candidates: Democratic and Republican. The first candidate I am reviewing is Barack Obama.  I chose Obama first in part because I am torn between Clinton and Obama.  Although I respect John McCain's leadership on climate change, I could not vote for a Republican after the 1994 - 2006 Republican congressional legacy and the debacle of Bush's presidency for virtually every freedom and human need.  I also disagree with McCain's position on Iraq.

In his own words, Barack Obama primarily addresses climate change as a matter of global policy.  He ties the US response to global warming to his overall foreign policy in this way:

Strengthened institutions and invigorated alliances and partnerships are especially crucial if we are to defeat the epochal, man-made threat to the planet: climate change. Without dramatic changes, rising sea levels will flood coastal regions around the world, including much of the eastern seaboard. Warmer temperatures and declining rainfall will reduce crop yields, increasing conflict, famine, disease, and poverty. By 2050, famine could displace more than 250 million people worldwide. That means increased instability in some of the most volatile parts of the world.

As the world's largest producer of greenhouse gases, America has the responsibility to lead. While many of our industrial partners are working hard to reduce their emissions, we are increasing ours at a steady clip -- by more than ten percent per decade. As president, I intend to enact a cap-and-trade system that will dramatically reduce our carbon emissions. And I will work to finally free America of its dependence on foreign oil -- by using energy more efficiently in our cars, factories, and homes, relying more on renewable sources of electricity, and harnessing the potential of biofuels.

Getting our own house in order is only a first step. China will soon replace America as the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Clean energy development must be a central focus in our relationships with major countries in Europe and Asia. I will invest in efficient and clean technologies at home while using our assistance policies and export promotions to help developing countries leapfrog the carbon-energy-intensive stage of development. We need a global response to climate change that includes binding and enforceable commitments to reducing emissions, especially for those that pollute the most: the United States, China, India, the European Union, and Russia. This challenge is massive, but rising to it will also bring new benefits to America. By 2050, global demand for low-carbon energy could create an annual market worth $500 billion. Meeting that demand would open new frontiers for American entrepreneurs and workers.

February 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 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Candidates Compete for Green Title

After the Bush administration legacy, it is refreshing to see both Democratic and some Republican candidates competing for the title of Mr. or Ms. Green. See the comparison in Grist.

February 6, 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 | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Ninth Circuit snuffs U.S. Forest Service's "Healthy Forest Initiative" rule

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Sierra Club v. Bosworth that the U.S. Forest Service erred by engaging in certain fuel reduction and prescribed burn projects without analyzing the resulting environmental impacts as required by federal law.

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December 6, 2007 in Cases, Environmental Assessment, Forests/Timber, Law | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ruth Norton Smith (Nov 27, 1921 - Oct 14, 2007)

Ruth Norton Smith died peacefully in Boulder, Colorado  on Sunday, October 14, 2007 after enjoying her full measure of life. 

Ruth was born in Oklahoma on November 27, 1921 in a tent in Oklahoma.  She was raised during the Depression years, moving frequently as her family farmed and followed the tunneling, mining, and other work available to her father.  Ultimately, her family settled in southern California.  There Ruth met the love of her life, Herbert Frank Smith, a carpenter and union organizer, whom she married on June 4, 1941. 

In WW II, while her husband served in the Navy in the South Pacific, Ruth became a Rosie the Riveter, building bombers, and then joined the Women’s Army Corps, serving as a nurse.  After the war, they settled in the Los Angeles area, where she became a real estate broker and the mom of two children, Greg in 1948 and Susan in 1953.

In 1955, her family moved to Colorado where she worked side by side with her husband to build two of the largest home-building companies in Colorado, Happy Homes and Fireside Homes, and a prominent real estate firm.  When she left real estate and home-building in the late 1960s, Ruth became a political and market researcher for Research Services, Inc. and later became a researcher for the U.S. Census Bureau, from which she retired in 1989.

Ruth was a life-long Democratic political activist with a passion for peace, civil rights, and all aspects of social justice.  She served in every capacity: running political campaigns, serving as a precinct committee woman, county, congressional district, and state delegate, pollwatcher, and election judge.  She worked with Metro Denver Fair Housing center as a realtor, helping the first African-American families in Jefferson County to find housing.  She volunteered with youth mentoring programs in Four Points and with Metro Denver Urban Coalition, Another Mother for Peace, Meals on Wheels, and countless other organizations. 

Ruth was too busy with her family, volunteer work and career for many hobbies.  She thrived on the stimulating conversations born by inviting friends and guests from all over the world and from every walk of life to dinner.  She also found great pleasure in reading, traveling and attending theatre and opera performances.

Ruth was a warm, intelligent, extroverted vibrant woman who loved and was loved by virtually everyone she met.   Her loss will be sorely missed by the many friends and family she has left behind, including her sister Lorene, her brother Fred, her son Greg, her daughter Susan, and her grandchildren Clint Smith, Brent Smith, Nathanial Smith-Tripp and Sarah Smith-Tripp.  Her family and friends will gather at Mt. Vernon Country Club on Sunday, October 21, 2007 at 10:30 am for a celebration of her life.  The family requests that no flowers be sent and suggests donations to Meals on Wheel or a charity of your choice.

October 18, 2007 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 | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Thank you to Read/Write Web

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Who Owns the Arctic?

With the Russian flag planting last monthn and Canada promising to build military bases, the race for the Arctic has begun in earnest.  Some of the better news articles can be found below.  A most intriguing suggestion by my Energy Law students is that the Arctic Circle indigenous peoples, who currently have six non-voting participants in the Arctic Council, could seek recognition as a sovereign nation -- and assert claims against all of the current claimants.  That would certainly change the terms of debate!

Arctic_claims

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September 19, 2007 in Air Quality, Asia, Climate Change, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, Governance/Management, International, Law, North America, Sustainability, US | Permalink | TrackBack (1)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

9th Circuit Requires Preliminary Injunction of Restoration Logging

The Ninth Circuit reversed denial of a preliminary injunction to halt the Mission Brush project in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest, in which the Forest Service planned to allow selective logging to restore the forest to historic conditions. The court held that plaintiffs had demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of both their NFMA and NEPA claims. The Forest Service decision relied on unverified assumptions that the logging would improve habitat for sensitive old-growth dependent species used to measure diversity and failed to discuss scientific uncertainty about its impact assessment.  Land_institute.pdf 

July 10, 2007 in Biodiversity, Cases, Environmental Assessment, Forests/Timber, Law, Physical Science, Sustainability, US | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 6, 2007

Vote for Children's Safe Drinking Water

Welcome, SusanSmithDrinkWaterforLife
Our Money. Your Ideas. Your Decision.
My Current Vote
Children's Safe Drinking Water
Votes this round: 512  |  Send to a Friend

Project ID: 01250
Date Posted: 7/02

Supporting Organization
US Fund for UNICEF

Project Description:
For Two Cents We Can Change the World. Four thousand children die needlessly every day from drinking contaminated water. It's a tragedy that hundreds of millions of people obtain their drinking water from polluted sources such as muddy rivers, ponds, and streams. This public health crisis can be addressed today through an innovative and low-cost technology that effectively purifies and cleans water while removing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Right now millions of people in Africa, Asia, and the Americas are being reached by a not-for-profit project, but millions more are in need. Help us reach a goal of providing 2 billion liters of safe drinking water. For only two pennies a day a child can have safe drinking water. We'd love to hear your thoughts. In fact, Give Us Your Two Cents Worth. Thank you.

Member: gsallgood


About Me:
My mission is to prevent the sickness and death that occur in the developing world from drinking unsafe water. I'm lucky to spend much of my life building partnerships to provide a low-cost technology to purify water. I never get tired of seeing filthy and highly contaminated water miraculously turn into clear and safe water. And, what's most satisfying is to provide children with their first drink of truly clean and purified water. Now we've developed a way for everyone to get involved. We can make, transport, and deliver the technology on a sustainable basis for only pennies per person. In fact, for just two cents we can provide purified drinking water for a person for a day. Two Cents to Change a Life. Please consider joining our project: "Give Your Two Cents Worth.


Hear From The Fulfilling Organization

1.1 billion people around the world do not have access to clean water. As a result, 5,000 children die needlessly every day. In poor, rural communities, the only source of water is often miles away and the grueling task of collecting it often falls to young girls.

In the mountain village of La Horca, Nicaragua, Rosibel Gonzalez, 12, traveled 7.5 miles each day to fetch water for her parents and five siblings. Waking up before dawn, she walked to the creek before school and carried back a bucket of water on her head. She repeated the task after school and again before bed. But because the water she fetched came from the same source used by village livestock, it was dangerous to drink. When Rosibel's little brother, Wilber, was only eight months old, he and other villagers contracted cholera. That's where UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, came in. UNICEF provided a new solar-powered water pump and filtration system to bring clean water directly into La Horca's 35 homes. Now, Rosibel and her entire village have safe water to drink and Rosibel is left with plenty of time to study and play with her little brother.

With a presence in 156 countries, UNICEF is striving to duplicate this success worldwide. By voting for this project, you can help UNICEF save millions of children's lives. We know what needs to be done, we just need your help to do it. Only 2 cents will purchase one water purification tablet to clean 5 liters of water, $48 can purchase a portable latrine and $5,000 can buy a solar water pump, like the one installed in Rosibel's village. UNICEF partners with communities to provide these and other innovative, low-cost and life-saving solutions for the world's most vulnerable children and their families.

July 6, 2007 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 | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Zoellick becomes World Bank president

The Executive Directors of the World Bank yesterday unanimously selected Robert Zoellick as the 11th President of the bank for a five-year term.

The President of the bank is ex-officio President of the International Development Association (IDA) and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the Administrative Council of the International Centre of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

This announcement affects every aspect of environmental, energy, and resources law, of course, due to the Bank's pivotal role in financing development -- and thereby setting development policy throughout the world.  So, who is this masked man?

Here's the Bank's bio:

Professional History of Mr. Robert B. Zoellick

Mr. Zoellick, a U.S. national, is currently Vice Chairman, International, of Goldman Sachs Group, and a Managing Director and Chairman of Goldman Sach’s Board of International Advisors. He has served in a number of senior positions in successive US administrations, including as Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of State, and as U.S. Trade Representative (2001-05). He also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Policy, US Department of Treasury, and Undersecretary for Economic and Agricultural Affairs and Counselor in the U.S. State Department. He was Executive Vice President of Fannie Mae (1993-1997), the large U.S. mortgage finance corporation, as well as Vice President and Assistant to the Chairman and CEO. In addition, he served as Olin Visiting Professor, U.S. Naval Academy, as Senior Advisor, Goldman Sachs, as Research Scholar, Belfer Center, Harvard University, and previously on three corporate boards, as well as numerous research and non-profit boards.

Mr. Zoellick has a J.D., magna cum laude, Harvard Law School, and a M.P.P. (in public management and international issues) from the Kennedy School of Government. In addition, Mr. Zoellick has received numerous distinguished service awards.

Read between the lines: Zoellick is a Bush loyalist and true believer in globalization for the benefit of corporate interests and the wealthy.  Wouldn't it be refreshing sometime for the World Bank to be led by someone who is committed to reducing international poverty and who has on the ground development experience -- rather than ideological theorizing and strategizing experience.

Unfortunately, and I say this as an alumna of both, Zoellick's Kennedy School and HLS credentials just mean he's smart, not moral or committed to the public he is supposed to serve.

June 26, 2007 in 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 | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Supreme Court Declines Cert re: preliminary injunction detour around administrative record

On Friday, the Supreme Court denied cert in Earth Island Institute v. U.S. Forest Service, 442 F.3d 1147 (9th Cir. 2006).  The Forest Service had sought to eliminate plaintiff's dodge of record review in NEPA cases by filing a preliminary injunction based on non-record evidence.  This, of course, has always been a favorite approach for plaintiffs who secure the necessary experts only after losing before the agency.  Even though it was the 9th Cir., the Supreme Court doesn't seem concerned about stopping the practice.

Westlaw's note:

The United States Supreme Court has denied certiorari in a case in which the Ninth Circuit held that environmental groups were entitled to a preliminary injunction barring the United States Forest Service from proceeding with logging projects in fire-damaged portions of the Eldorado National Forest. In approving the restoration projects, the Forest Service abused its discretion in its estimates of the likely tree mortality from the forest fires, the Ninth Circuit held. The Court also found that the Forest Service did not take the requisite "hard look" at the effects of the projects on the California spotted owl, or conduct population surveys for the hairy woodpecker and Williamson's sapsucker.

The Forest Service charged in its petition for certiorari that the Court of Appeals erred by relying on declarations filed by the environmental groups in the district court, rather than confining its review to the administrative record, in determining that the groups had shown a likelihood of success on the merits. The Forest Service also claimed that the Ninth Circuit found that the groups could satisfy the "irreparable injury" prong of the test for obtaining a preliminary injunction by showing only a "possibility" of such injury. Finally, the Forest Service claimed that the Ninth Circuit had erroneously discounted competing interests in the use of forest lands under multiple use principles and the Forest Service's balance of those competing uses, in weighing the balance of harms and the public interest.

March 24, 2007 in Cases, Environmental Assessment, Forests/Timber, Law, Sustainability, US | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 2, 2007

Forest Service LRMPs Do Not Require ESA Consultation

Forest Guardians v. Forsgren, (C.A.10 (N.M.)) March 1, 2007: Endangered Species - Forest Service had no duty under Endangered Species Act to consult with Fish and Wildlife Service regarding Land and Resource Management Plan.

The Forest Service had no duty under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service on the question of whether the Land and Resource Management Plans (LRMPs) for national forests could jeopardize the continued existence of Canada Lynx, which had been listed as a "distinct population segment" under the ESA. The environmental groups, which sought to compel consultation, did not allege any activity, project, or program authorized, funded, or carried out by the Forest Service that might constitute "action" within meaning of the ESA.

March 2, 2007 in Biodiversity, Cases, Environmental Assessment, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, Law, Sustainability, US | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Spirit of the Eagle

This blog is devoted principally to the professional or academic aspects of environmental law, policy, science, and ethics.  But like any blogger, I do have a life.  Anyone interested in the slightly less academic side of me is welcome to visit Spirit of the Eagle, my personal blog.

February 26, 2007 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 | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 16, 2007

No Comfort Here: We Can't Confidently Predict Ice Sheet Behavior

Climate change policymakers are struggling with how to deal with scientific uncertainty.  We're sure now that we have to pursue both GHG reduction efforts as well as adaptation.  The latter depends particularly upon having a relatively narrow range of estimated impacts.  But, with the IPCC 4th reports reluctance to guess about ice sheet behavior and include those estimates in its analysis of sea level changes, policymakers end up with a very broad range of sea level change estimates....from 1-2 feet by 2100 to  several meters.  We may adapt adequately to the former with moderate efforts (though seemingly herculean to some) and be satisfied with limiting GHG reductions to those necessary to hold SST change to 2 degrees.  Changes of the latter magnitude, however, would likely be catastrophic and thus require immediate, massive global efforts to reduce GHG emissions as quickly as feasible.

The significance of ice sheet behavior to policy has resulted in substantial research efforts that have been bearing fruit in the last year or two.  But recent studies suggest that the IPCC's uncertainty about ice sheet behavior is justified -- and may not be resolved quickly enough to allow us to make policy based on a narrow range of estimated sea level change.  So what are we to do?  It's the traditional problem of scientific uncertainty rearing its ugly head -- just at the time when we are convinced that something needs to be done, but now we have to decide what to do and how quickly it must be done.

The temptation is to say as much as feasible.  But that begs the cost question, which defines our sense of what is feasible.  So, we need to set "technology-forcing" or what I'd prefer to call "technology-facilitating" goals and let the genius of the market find ways to meet them.  And the goals need to be set not based on what we guess is the central tendency of estimated climate impacts, but based on the higher end of estimated climate impacts --not based on a worst case scenario, but based on a moderately worse case scenario.  To me, this is James Hansen's recommendation to hold SST increase to 1 degree by the end of the century.    Now, what does that require?  I don't know....but I'd like the answer to that question.

Here's the latest from the AAAS meeting: 

Clues to Sea Rise May Lie Beneath Antarctic Glaciers

[PHOTOGRAPH] Antarctic ice sheet in West Antarctica [Photo courtesy of NASA]

[PHOTOGRAPH] One of two images captured by MODIS [Photo courtesy of NASA]

[PHOTOGRAPH] One of two images captured by MODIS [Photo courtesy of NASA]’

Images courtesy of NASA

A network of rapidly filling and emptying lakes lies beneath at least two of West Antarctica’s ice streams, according to new research published online today by the journal Science, at the Science Express website.

More than 100 subglacial lakes have already been discovered, but the new ones are particularly interesting because they occur below fast-moving ice. Though it’s too early to say exactly how this liquid water is affecting the rates of ice flow above, understanding the behavior of these fast-moving ice streams is essential for predicting how Antarctica may contribute to sea level rise.

Helen Fricker of the University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography and colleagues analyzed elevation data recorded by NASA’s Ice Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) collected over the lower parts of the Whillans and Mercer Ice Streams. These are two of the major, fast-moving glaciers that are carrying ice from the interior of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to the floating Ross Ice Shelf.

“We’ve found that there are substantial subglacial lakes under ice that’s moving a couple of meters per day. It’s really ripping along. It’s the fast-moving ice that determines how the ice sheet responds to climate change on a short timescale,” said Robert Bindschadler of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, one of the study’s coauthors.

“We aren’t yet able to predict what these ice streams are going to do. We’re still learning about the controlling processes. Water is critical, because it’s essentially the grease on the wheel. But we don’t know the details yet,” he said.

Bindschadler presented the findings at a news briefing for reporters on Thursday, 15 February, at the AAAS Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California. In coordination with the briefing, NASA released satellite images of West Antarctica.

Glaciologists have known that water exists under ice streams, but the observation of a system of water storage reservoirs is unprecedented. The surprising thing about this discovery is the amount of water involved, and the pace at which it moves from one reservoir to another, according to Fricker, the lead author.

“We didn’t realize that the water under these ice streams was moving in such large quantities, and on such short time scales,” Fricker said. “We thought these changes took place over years and decades, but we are seeing large changes over months.”

The authors identified numerous spots that either rose or deflated from 2003 to 2006, likely because water flowed into or out of them. Water would be capable of this because it is highly pressurized under the weight of the overlying ice.

The three largest regions are between approximately 120 and 500 square kilometers, while the others are widely scattered and smaller. One of the large regions, referred to as Subglacial Lake Engelhardt, drained during the first 2.7 years of the ICESat mission, while another, Subglacial Lake Conway, steadily filled during the same period.

“I’m quite astonished that with this combination of satellite sensors we could sense the movement of large amounts of water like this. From 600 kilometers up in space, we were able to see small portions of the ice sheet rise and sink,” Bindschadler said.

Studies of the subglacial environment are rare, being expensive, risky and labor-intensive. Bindschadler explained that before the ICESat mission, researchers would typically have to drill holes in the ice streams in order to study what was occurring beneath them. These holes, generally just about 4 inches in diameter, provided a much more limited view of the entire ice stream than the satellite images do.

“Until now, we’ve had just a few glimpses into what’s going on down there. This is the most complete picture to date what’s going on beneath fast flowing ice,” Bindschadler said.

Added Fricker: “The approach used for this work provides glaciologists with a new tool to survey and monitor the nature of the subglacial water system and to link these observations to the motion of the ice sheet. We still don’t know how the subglacial water system varies on longer time-scales from decades to centuries. To do this, we need to continue monitoring the ice streams with ICESat and future follow-on missions.”

Kathy Wren
       

15 February 2007 3:24 pm




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February 16, 2007 in Climate Change, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, Governance/Management, International, Legislation, Physical Science, Sustainability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Biodiversity conservation

A couple of articles caught my eye recently.  One in Nature argues that phylogenetic diversity (a measure of how distantly species are related) should be considered in addition to using number of species to identify  "hotspots" that deserve priority in conservation efforts. [see Science news report  below].  Another Nature article described rapid biodiversity assessments, conflicting ideas on how to set biodiversity conservation priorities, and the utility of these assessments in priority setting [see excerpt below].


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February 15, 2007 in Biodiversity, Economics, Environmental Assessment, Governance/Management, International, Physical Science, Sustainability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Effects of Global Warming on Wildlife

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Follow the Bouncing Global Warming Legislation Ball

Here's a copy of the CRS report on current global warming legislation:

Climate Change: Greenhouse Gas Reduction Bills in the 110th Congress

Introduction

Climate change is generally viewed as a global issue, but proposed responses generally require action at the national level. In 1992, the United States ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which called on industrialized countries to take the lead in reducing the six primary greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by the year 2000.  For more than a decade, a variety of voluntary and regulatory actions have been proposed or undertaken in the United States, including monitoring of power plant carbon dioxide emissions, improved appliance efficiency, and incentives for developing renewable energy sources. However, carbon dioxide emissions have continued to increase.  In 2001, President George W. Bush rejected the Kyoto Protocol, which called for legally binding commitments by developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.  He also rejected the concept of mandatory emissions reductions. Since then, the Administration has focused U.S. climate change policy on voluntary initiatives to reduce the growth in greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast, in 2005, the Senate passed a Sense of the Senate resolution on climate change declaring that a mandatory, market-based program to slow, stop, and reverse the growth of greenhouse gases should be enacted at a rate and in a manner that "will not significantly harm the United States economy and will encourage comparable action by other nations. A number of congressional proposals to advance programs designed to reduce greenhouse gases have been introduced in the 110th Congress. These have generally followed one of three tracks. The first is to improve the monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions to provide a basis for research and development and for any potential future reduction scheme. The second is to enact a market-oriented greenhouse gas reduction program along the lines of the trading provisions of the current acid rain reduction program established by the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. The third is to enact energy and related programs that would have the added effect of reducing greenhouse gases; an example would be a requirement that electricity producers generate a portion of their electricity from renewable resources (a renewable portfolio standard). This report focuses on the second category of bills. Proposed Legislation in 110th Congress In the 110th Congress, four bills have been introduced that would impose controls on emissions of greenhouse gases. A comparison of major provisions is provided in Appendix 1 S. 280, introduced by Senator Lieberman, would cap emissions of the six greenhouse gases specified in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, at reduced levels, from the electric generation, transportation, industrial, and commercial sectors -- sectors that account for about 85% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The reductions would be implemented in four phases, with an emissions cap in 2012 based on the affected facilities' 2004 emissions (for an entity that has a single unit that emits more than 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent); the cap steadily declines until it is equal to one-third of the facilities' 2004 levels. The program would be implemented through an expansive allowance trading program to maximize opportunities for cost-effective reductions, and credits obtained from increases in carbon sequestration, reductions from non-covered sources, and acquisition of allowances from foreign sources could be used to comply with 30% of reduction requirements. The bill also contains an extensive new infrastructure to encourage innovation and new technologies. S. 309, introduced by Senator Sanders, would cap greenhouse gas emissions on an economy-wide basis beginning in 2010. Beginning in 2020, the country's emissions would be capped at their 1990 levels, and then proceed to decline steadily until they were reduced to 20% of their 1990 levels in the year 2050. The EPA has the discretion to employ a market-based allowance trading program or any combination of cost-effective emission reduction strategies. The bill also includes new mandatory greenhouse gas emission standards for vehicles and new powerplants, along with a new energy efficiency performance standard. The bill would establish a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and a new low-carbon generation requirement and trading program. S. 317, introduced by Senator Feinstein, would cap greenhouse gas emissions from electric generators over 25 megawatts. Beginning in 2011, affected generators would be capped at their 2006 levels, declining to 2001 levels by 2015. After that, the emission cap would decline 1% annually until 2020, when the rate of decline would increase to 1.5%. The allowance trading program includes an allocation scheme that provides for an increasing percentage of all allowances to be auctioned, with 100% auctioning in 2036 and thereafter. The cap-and-trade program allows some of an entity's reduction requirement to be meet with credits obtained from foreign sources and a variety of other activities specified in the bill. H.R. 620, introduced by Representative Olver, is a substantially modified version of S. 280. Using the same basic structure as S. 280, the emission caps under H.R. 620 are more stringent. Reductions from affected sectors (electric generation, transportation, industrial, and commercial) would be set at 2004 levels in 2012 and then steadily decline until the cap is equal to about one-fourth of facilities' 2004 levels. Although H.R. 620 permits affected entities to comply with the reduction requirements with credits from foreign sources, sequestration, and reductions from non-covered entities, these sources are limited to 15% of the source's reduction requirement.

Appendix 1.

Comparison of Key Provisions of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Bills

Topic
S. 280 (Lieberman)
S. 309 (Sanders)
S. 317 (Feinstein)
H.R. 620 (Olver)
Emission reduction/ limitation scheme Absolute cap on total emissions from all covered entities in the electric power, transportation, industry, and commercial sectors. Absolute cap on total emissions economy-wide. Absolute cap on total emissions from covered electric generators. Absolute cap on total emissions from all covered entities in the electric power, transportation, industry, and commercial sectors.
Specific emissions limits Beginning in 2012, emissions from covered entities are capped at 6.13 billion metric tons, minus 2012 emissions from non-covered entities.
Beginning in 2020, emission cap declines to 5.239 billion metric tons, minus 2020 emissions from non-covered entities.
Beginning in 2030, emission cap declines to 4.1billion metric tons, minus 2030 emissions from non-covered entities.
Beginning in 2050, emission cap further declines to 2.096 billion metric tons, minus annual emissions from non-covered entities.
Beginning in 2010, emissions economy-wide to be reduced 2% annually.
Beginning in 2020, emission cap on economy-wide basis set at 1990 level, with declining emission caps of 26.7% below 1990 levels in 2030 and 53.3% in 2040.
Beginning in 2050, emission cap set at 80% below 1990 levels.
Beginning in 2011, emissions from affected electric generators capped at 2006 levels.
Beginning in 2015, emissions from affected electric generators capped at their 2001 levels, declining 1% annually until 2020.
Beginning in 2020, emission cap declines 1.5% annually.
Beginning in 2012, emissions from covered entities are capped at 6.15 billion metric tons, minus 2012 emissions from non-covered entities.
Beginning in 2020, emission cap declines to 5.232 billion metric tons, minus 2020 emissions from non-covered entities.
Beginning in 2030, emission cap declines to 3.858 billion metric tons, minus 2030 emissions from non-covered entities.
Beginning in 2050, emission cap further declines to 1.504 billion metric tons, minus annual emissions from non-covered entities.
Greenhouse gases defined Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). Same six gases as S. 280. Same six gases as S. 280. Same six gases as S. 280.
Covered entities In metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents: any electric power, industrial, or commercial entity that emits over 10,000 metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent annually from any single facility owned by the entity; any refiner or importer of petroleum products for transportation use that, when combusted, will emit over 10,000 metric tons annually; and any importer or producer of HFCs, PFCs, or SF6 that, when used, will emit over 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. EPA promulgates rule within two years of enactment that applies the most cost-effective reduction options on sources or sectors to achieve reduction goals. Any fossil fuel-fired electric generating facility that has a capacity of greater than 25 megawatts and generates electricity for sale, including cogeneration and government-owned facilities. In metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents: any electric power, industrial, or commercial entity that emits over 10,000 metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent annually from any single facility owned by the entity; any refiner or importer of petroleum products for transportation use that, when combusted, will emit over 10,000 metric tons annually; and any importer or producer of HFCs, PFCs, or SF6 that, when used, will emit over 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.
Responsible agency Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
General allocating and implementing strategy A tradeable allowance system is established: EPA shall determine allocations based on several economic, equity, and sector-specific criteria, including economic efficiency, competitive effects, and impact on consumers. Allowances are to be allocated upstream to refiners and importers of transportation fuel, along with producers of HFCs, PFCs, and SF6, and downstream to electric generation, industrial, and commercial entities.
Allocations to covered entities are provided at no cost.
Tradeable allowance system permitted. In implementing reduction program, EPA shall select the most cost-effective emission reduction strategies.
EPA shall allocate to various sectors and interests any allowances that are not allocated to affected entities, including households, dislocated workers, energy efficiency and renewable energy activities, sequestration activities, and ecosystem protection activities.
Tradeable allowance system is established. Allocations to existing sources based on historic electricity output, and includes allowance allocations for incremental nuclear capacity and renewable energy, along with sequestration and early action provisions.
From 2011 on, an increasing percentage of all allowances are to be auctioned, with 100% of allowances auctioned in 2036 and thereafter.
A tradeable allowance system is established: EPA shall determine allocations based on several economic, equity, and sector-specific criteria, including economic efficiency, competitive effects, and impact on consumers. Allowances are to be allocated upstream to refiners and importers of transportation fuel, along with producers of HFCs, PFCs, and SF6, and downstream to electric generation, industrial, and commercial entities.
Allocations to covered entities are provided at no cost.
Public sale/auction of allowances EPA shall determine the number of allowances allocated to the Climate Change Credit Corporation (CCCC) (established by the bill).
EPA shall allocate to the CCCC allowances before 2012 to auction to raise revenue for technology deployment and dissemination.
The CCCC may buy and sell allowances, and use the proceeds to reduce costs borne by consumers and other purposes. (See “Revenue recycling” below.)
EPA may choose to provide for trustees to sell allowances for the benefit of entities eligible to receive assistance under the proposal (see above). From 2011 on, an increasing percentage of all allowances are to be auctioned, with 100% of allowances auctioned in 2036 and thereafter.
Revenues from the auction are to be deposited in the Climate Action Trust Fund created by the Department of the Treasury.
EPA shall determine the number of allowances allocated to the Climate Change Credit Corporation (CCCC) (established by the bill).
The CCCC may buy and sell allowances, and use the proceeds to reduce costs borne by consumers and other purposes. (See “Revenue recycling” below.)
Cost-limiting safety valve No explicit provision. No explicit provision.
However, if the President determines a national security emergency exists, the President may temporarily adjust, suspend, or waive any regulation promulgated under this program (subject to judicial review).
No explicit provision.
However, limited borrowing against future reductions is permitted if EPA determines allowance prices have reached and sustained a level that is or will cause significant harm to the U.S. economy. Also, EPA may increase to 50% the share of international credits that can be used in such cases.
No explicit provision.
Other market trading system features Up to 30% of required reductions may be achieved through credits obtained through pre-certified international emissions trading programs, approved reduction projects in developing countries, domestic carbon sequestration, and reductions from non-covered entities.
Borrowing against future reductions is permitted.
Market trading systems incorporated into Renewable Portfolio Standard and new low-carbon generation requirement. Up to 25% (50% for new affected units) of required reductions may be achieved with credits obtained through EPA-approved foreign government programs developed under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) protocols.
Limited borrowing against future reductions is permitted if EPA determines allowance prices have reached and sustained a level that is causing or will cause significant harm to the U.S. economy. Also, EPA may increase to 50% the share of international credits that can be used in such cases.
Up to 15% of required reductions may be achieved through credits obtained through pre-certified international emissions trading programs, approved reduction projects in developing countries, domestic carbon sequestration, and reductions from non-covered entities.
Borrowing against future reductions is permitted.
Banking Banking of allowances is permitted; allowances may be saved for use in future years. No specific prohibition on banking. Banking of allowances is permitted; allowances may be saved for use in future years. Banking of allowances is permitted; allowances may be saved for use in future years.
Early reduction credits and bonus credits Entities with registered emission reductions achieved before 2012 may receive allowances for them, including reductions achieved under more stringent mandatory state programs.
For the time period 2012-2017, entities that have entered into an agreement with EPA to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2012 are entitled to additional allowances to cover their additional reductions and are allowed to achieve 40% of their reduction requirement (as opposed to 30%; see above) through international emissions trading and projects, sequestration, or reductions by non-covered entities.
Reductions previously achieved under state programs that are at least as stringent as a federal trading program may be recognized by the federal program.
Entities that demonstrate reductions achieved early (but not before 1992) that are as verifiable as reductions under a federal trading program may be recognized by the federal program.
Entities with reductions achieved from 2000 through 2010 shall receive credits under specific criteria, including EPA rules that ensure reductions are real, additional, verifiable, enforceable, and permanent, and that they were reported under either 1605(b) of the 1992 Energy Policy Act, or according to a state or regional registry. Quantity of credits given is limited to 10% of the 2011 allowance allocation. Entities with registered emission reductions achieved before 2012 may receive allowances for them.
For the time period 2012-2017, entities that have entered into an agreement with EPA to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2012 are entitled to additional allowances to cover their additional reductions and are allowed to achieve 35% of their reduction requirement (as opposed to 15%; see above) through international emissions trading and projects, sequestration, or reductions by non-covered entities.
Revenue recycling Revenues generated by allowance auctions and trading proceeds are received by a new Climate Change Credit Corporation (CCCC). Activities to be funded include mechanisms to reduce consumer costs and to assist dislocated workers, low-income persons, and affected communities, along with programs to encourage deployment of new technology and wildlife restoration. Allocations to the CCCC are to be determined by EPA based on the funding needs of the advanced technologies demonstration and deployment programs. Further, at least 50% of revenue received must be used for technology deployment. Allowances may be allocated by EPA to households, dislocated workers, energy efficiency and renewable energy activities, sequestration activities, and ecosystem protection activities. Revenues generated from the auction are to be deposited in the Climate Action Trust Fund created by the Department of the Treasury. Activities to be funded include an Innovative Low-and Zero-emitting Carbon Technologies Program, a Clean Coal Technologies Program, and an Energy Efficiency Technology Program, along with research and development.
Adaption and mitigation activities to be funded include affected workers and communities, and fish and wildlife habitat.
Revenues generated by allowance auctions and trading proceeds are received by a new Climate Change Credit Corporation (CCCC). Activities to be funded include mechanisms to reduce consumer costs and to assist dislocated workers and affected communities, along with programs to encourage deployment of new technology and wildlife restoration.
Penalty for non-compliance Excess emission penalties are equal to three times the market price for allowances on the last day of the year at issue. Existing enforcement provisions of Section 113 of the Clean Air Act are extended to program. $100 per excess ton indexed to inflation plus a 1.3 to 1 offset from future emissions allowances. If the market price for an allowance exceeds $60, the penalty is $200 per excess ton, adjusted for inflation. Excess emission penalties are equal to three times the market price for allowances on the last day of the year at issue.
Other key provisions Provisions include studies of research on abrupt climate change and impact of climate change on the world's poor, among others, and creation of a national greenhouse gas database.
A new Innovation Infrastructure is created, along with program initiatives to promote less carbon-intensive technology, adaption, sequestration, and related activities.
Requires periodic review of target adequacy by the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere.
Provisions include mandatory greenhouse gas emission standards for vehicles by 2010, for new electric powerplants that begin operation after December 31, 2011, and a new energy efficiency performance standard.
Establishes a Renewable Portfolio Standard and credit program.
Establishes a new low-carbon generation requirement and trading program.
Requires periodic review of target adequacy by the National Academy of Sciences.
Establishes program to encourage offsets from the agricultural sector. Offset credits available for agricultural, forestry, grazing, and wetlands management, sequestration projects, or practices that meet specific criteria in the proposal.
Offset credits also available for approved emission reduction offset projects from a variety of activities listed in the proposal.
Requires periodic review of target adequacy by EPA taking into account the recommendations of a newly established Climate Science Advisory Panel.
Provisions include studies of the impact of climate change on coastal ecosystems and communities, and the world's poor, among others; assessment of adaptation technologies; and creation of a national greenhouse gas database.
Requires periodic review of target adequacy by the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere.

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February 8, 2007 in Climate Change, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, Governance/Management, International, Legislation, North America, Sustainability, US | Permalink | TrackBack (0)