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Archive for March, 2010

Web Sites

Climate Progress

An insiders view of climate science, politics, and solutions.

Dr. Joseph Romm is the editor of Climate Progress and a Senior Fellow at the American Progress. In 2009, Time magazine named him one of the “Heroes of the Environment” and “The Web’s most influential climate-change blogger.”

Environment Polling Report

Aggregation of recent polls regarding climate change and public policy.

Nature Reports Climate Change

A free-access web resource from Nature Publishing Group, Nature Reports Climate Change is dedicated to authoritative in-depth reporting on climate change and its wider implications for policy, society and the economy. Nature Reports Climate Change complements Nature‘s existing coverage of climate change, both in print and online. With global coverage, here you will find unique news and features from freelance and staff reporters, comment and analysis from leading climate experts, book and arts reviews, research highlights, and more.

Strook Climate Change News Center

Stroock’s (environmental law) Climate Change Practice Group advises businesses seeking to navigate the maze of new laws and regulations and to capitalize on emerging opportunities. This blog site has posts related to EPA Energy News, Policy News, and general climate change related news issues.

Articles

Wyoming wants more carbon dioxide (3/16/2010)

The New York Times

Eight years ago, the Salt Creek oil field here was pretty much played out….Since then, Anadarko has pumped more than 10 million tons of CO2 into the ground, and the company now estimates that Salt Creek’s production will last until at least 2050 and yield 800 million more barrels of crude.

Obama hosts senators for climate talks, attacks on the Clean Air Act persist (3/15/2010)

1 Sky

This week, President Obama renewed his commitment to passing comprehensive climate and energy legislation by holding a White House meeting with top cabinet officials and key senators. At the same time…

Wyden’s Oregon management bill bows to general applause (3/11/2010)

E&E News (subscription required)

A rare agreement between the timber industry and environmentalists is helping propel legislation from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) that would restore and manage more than 8 million acres of national forests in Oregon.

Secretary Vilsack Announces Details and Objectives of USDA’s Office of Environmental Markets (3/10/2010)

USDA News Release

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced new details about the functions and objectives of USDA’s Office of Environmental Markets (OEM). OEM, now part of USDA’s Natural Resources and Environment mission area, will work to carry out USDA’s climate and rural revitalization goals by supporting the development of emerging markets for carbon, water quality, wetlands and biodiversity.

Duke Energy to burn biomass at two coal plants. (3/10/2010)

Charlotte Observer

Duke Energy plans to run two of its coal-burning power plants partly on wood, a switch that will help the utility meet North Carolina’s green-energy law.

Key Senators Make Their Pitch for Climate and Energy Bill (3/10/2010)

The New York Times

Closed-door talks extended to both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue yesterday as President Obama, key senators and industry officials searched for an elusive agreement on comprehensive energy and climate change legislation.

DOE Says Stimulus Program Past Its Growing Pains (3/5/2010)

The New York Times

Bureaucratic issues that have limited the distribution of economic stimulus funds to support energy efficiency programs have largely been resolved, the Energy Department said yesterday, but key senators remain unconvinced.

Northwest home to “Top 10” carbon-storing forests (3/4/2010)

The Wilderness Society

Ten national forests in the Pacific Northwest and southeast Alaska are ranked as the top carbon-storage forests in the United States, according to an analysis released last week from the Wilderness Society. Willamette National Forest in Oregon ranked as the top carbon piggy bank, while the Olympic National Forest…..

Weather vs. climate, and what a difference a few degrees can make (2/25/2010)

Pew Center

There seems to be some confusion out there about weather vs. climate. For example, a Virginia Republican Party video urged citizens to call their Congressmen and tell them how much global warming they got during the big snowstorm a couple of weeks ago. But that doesn’t really make any sense….

In Brief: Clean Energy Markets: Jobs and Opportunities (2/2010)

Pew Center

This brief discusses how investment in clean energy technologies will generate economic growth and create new jobs in the United States and around the globe.

Reports

Room to Grow: How California Agriculture Can Help Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Berkeley Law/UCLA Law

This policy paper is the third in a series of reports on how climate change will create opportunities for specific sectors of the business community and how policy-makers can facilitate those opportunities. Each paper results from one-day workshop discussions that include representatives from key business, academic, and policy sectors of the affected industries. The workshops and resulting policy papers are sponsored by Bank of America and produced by a partnership of the UC Berkeley School of Law’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment, UCLA School of Law’s Environmental Law Center & Emmett Center on Climate Change and the Environment, and the California Attorney General’s Office.

Adapting agriculture to climate change

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

ABSTRACT: The strong trends in climate change already evident, the likelihood of further changes occurring, and the increasing scale of potential climate impacts give urgency to addressing agricultural adaptation more coherently. There are many potential adaptation options available for marginal change of existing agricultural systems, often variations of existing climate risk management. We show that implementation of these options is likely to have substantial benefits under moderate climate change for some cropping systems. However, there are limits to their effectiveness under more severe climate changes. Hence, more systemic changes in resource allocation need to be considered, such as targeted diversification of production systems and livelihoods. We argue that achieving increased adaptation action will necessitate integration of climate change-related issues with other risk factors, such as climate variability and market risk, and with other policy domains, such as sustainable development. Dealing with the many barriers to effective adaptation will require a comprehensive and dynamic policy approach covering a range of scales and issues, for example, from the understanding by farmers of change in risk profiles to the establishment of efficient markets that facilitate response strategies. Science, too, has to adapt. Multidisciplinary problems require multidisciplinary solutions, i.e., a focus on integrated rather than disciplinary science and a strengthening of the interface with decision makers. A crucial component of this approach is the implementation of adaptation assessment frameworks that are relevant, robust, and easily operated by all stakeholders, practitioners, policymakers, and scientists.

Carbon Geography: The Political Economy of Congressional Support for Legislation Intended to Mitigate Greenhouse Gas Production

The National Bureau of Economic Research

ABSTRACT: Stringent regulation for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions will impose different costs across geographical regions. Low-carbon, environmentalist states, such as California, would bear less of the incidence of such regulation than high-carbon Midwestern states. Such anticipated costs are likely to influence Congressional voting patterns. This paper uses several geographical data sets to document that conservative, poor areas have higher per-capita carbon emissions than liberal, richer areas. Representatives from such areas are shown to have much lower probabilities of voting in favor of anti-carbon legislation. In the 111th Congress, the Energy and Commerce Committee consists of members who represent high carbon districts. These geographical facts suggest that the Obama Administration and the Waxman Committee will face distributional challenges in building a majority voting coalition in favor of internalizing the carbon externality.

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Web Sites

Oregon Climate Change Research Institute

The Oregon Climate Change Research Institute (OCCRI), based at Oregon State University (OSU), is a network of over 100 researchers at OSU, the University of Oregon, Portland State University, Southern Oregon University, and affiliated federal and state labs. In 2007, the Oregon state legislature created OCCRI and tasked it with: fostering climate change research among faculty of the Oregon University System (OUS); serving as a clearinghouse for climate information; and providing climate change information to the public in an easily understandable form.

NASA: A Warming World

Global Climate Change — NASA’s Eyes On the Earth

NASA has launched a new Web page to help people better understand the causes and effects of Earth’s changing climate. The new “A Warming World” page hosts a series of new articles, videos, data visualizations, space-based imagery and interactive visuals that provide unique NASA perspectives on this topic of global importance.

Center for Climate Strategies

The Center for Climate Strategies (CCS) is helping many public officials and stakeholders in the United States and other countries respond to the challenges posed by global warming and related opportunities for economic development, clean energy, and a safer environment. The map below shows climate action plans underway or completed by U.S. states since 2000, many through CCS processes.


Articles

Senators to propose abandoning cap-and-trade (2/27/2010)

The Washington Post

Three key senators are engaged in a radical behind-the-scenes overhaul of climate legislation, preparing to jettison the broad “cap-and-trade” approach that has defined the legislative debate for close to a decade. The sharp change of direction demonstrates the extent to which the cap-and-trade strategy has become political poison.

Republicans bash USDA’s investment in climate research (2/25/2010)

The New York Times

The Agriculture Department’s fiscal 2011 budget request includes a number of programs intended to address the potential impact climate change could have on farmers and ranchers. It would devote $52 million to climate change programs…..

Carbon Pricing Sticks Out as Senate Climate Bill’s Main Obstacle (2/24/2010)

The New York Times

Senate advocates of comprehensive global warming and energy legislation are stuck on a fundamental question: How should they structure the first-ever price on greenhouse gas emissions?

Waiting to Inhale: Deep-Ocean Low-Oxygen Zones Spreading to Shallower Coastal Waters (2/23/2010)

Scientific American

OCEANS: Low-oxygen zones threaten Pacific Northwest

Federal Agencies Now Have To Start Thinking About Climate Change (2/22/2010)

The New Republic

The Obama administration announced Thursday that it has drafted rules (pdf) that would require federal government to take climate change into consideration for the first time when judging actions under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

As Energy Initiatives Stall on Hill, Obama Reshapes Regulatory Landscape (2/18/2010)

The New York Times

President Obama has copied the page from his predecessor’s playbook on how to push an energy and environment agenda. Whether intentionally or not, Obama’s tactics have mirrored President George W. Bush’s: Try to work with Congress, but also act unilaterally.

Nike, Starbucks help launch push for climate change bill (2/16/2010)

The Oregonian

Nike and other businesses, including Starbucks and Portland’s Gerding Edlen development firm, called on Congress to approve comprehensive climate change legislation this year and said a “clean energy economy” is the next great economic boom.

Forest fire emissions data revised (1/29/2010)

The Register-Guard

An OSU study finds that previous estimates of carbon given off during four forest fires were too high.

Urban ‘green’ spaces may contribute to global warming, UCI study finds (1/19/2010)

UC Irvine News Release

Turfgrass management can create more greenhouse gas than plants remove from atmosphere

Reports

Macroeconomic Analysis of the Wisconsin Clean Energy Jobs Act

Center for Economic Analysis, Michigan State University

The Center for Climate Strategies performed a macroeconomic analysis of recently proposed legislation in Wisconsin, the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA). The specific focus is on employment and gross state product growth. The measures in the CEJA were drawn from the Governor’s Global Warming Task Force Report created under Executive Order 191.

Forest Fire Impacts on Carbon Uptake, Storage, and Emission: The Role of Burn Severity in the Eastern Cascades, Oregon

Ecosystems, 10.1007/s10021-009-9285-x

ABSTRACT: This study quantifies the short-term effects of low-, moderate-, and high-severity fire on carbon pools and fluxes in the Eastern Cascades of Oregon. We surveyed 64 forest stands across four fires that burned 41,000 ha (35%) of the Metolius Watershed in 2002 and 2003, stratifying the landscape by burn severity (overstory tree mortality), forest type (ponderosa pine [PP] and mixed-conifer [MC]), and prefire biomass. Stand-scale C combustion ranged from 13 to 35% of prefire aboveground C pools (area – weighted mean = 22%). Across the sampled landscape, total estimated pyrogenic C emissions were equivalent to 2.5% of statewide anthropogenic CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes for the same 2-year period. From low- to moderate- to high-severity ponderosa pine stands, average tree basal area mortality was 14, 49, and 100%, with parallel patterns in mixed-conifer stands (29, 58, 96%). Despite this decline in live aboveground C, total net primary productivity (NPP) was only 40% lower in high- versus low-severity stands, suggesting strong compensatory effects of non-tree vegetation on C uptake. Dead wood respiratory losses were small relative to total NPP (range: 10–35%), reflecting decomposition lags in this seasonally arid system. Although soil C, soil respiration, and fine root NPP were conserved across severity classes, net ecosystem production (NEP) declined with increasing severity, driven by trends in aboveground NPP. The high variability of C responses across this study underscores the need to account for landscape patterns of burn severity, particularly in regions such as the Pacific Northwest, where non-stand-replacement fire represents a large proportion of annual burned area.

Quantification of employment from biomass power plants

Renewable Energy: An International Journal Aug2008, Vol. 33 Issue 8, p1922-1927

ABSTRACT: One of the attractions of developing bioenergy systems is the potential for job creation and economic development of rural economies. This paper seeks to quantify the expected employment impacts of individual bioenergy developments. The assessment includes agricultural labour growing energy crops for SRC and miscanthus options, transport and processing of the feedstock, staffing at the thermal conversion plant, employment within the equipment supply chain and the induced employment impact. Power only bioenergy systems are shown to typically create 1.27 man years of employment per GWh electricity produced, regardless of technology or scale of implementation. CHP systems can create more than 2 man years of employment per GWh electricity produced, although most of this enhanced economic impact can be attributed to the fact that a comparative analysis per unit of electricity produced ignores the heat output of the system.

Announcements

The Economics of Climate Regulatory Policy

Free Webinar: Thursday March 4th, 2010 3pm-4.30pm EST

Climate change policies all involve some form of regulatory change or intervention in the marketplace. Such interventions are often feared because they are new and different. Moreover, new regulations are frequently challenged on the basis of their apparent costs, especially by those representing the industries, activities, or markets to be regulated. This free webinar is the first in a planned year-long series of joint offerings on aspects of the economics of climate change sponsored by The E.P. Systems Group, Inc. and the Center for Climate Strategies. It will address….

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