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Archive for August, 2010

Articles

A bitter harvest for wood products (8/22/2010)

The Register Guard

To an industry toughened by three decades of hard knocks, this is still a body blow. The Oregon timber harvest in 2009 was the lowest since the middle of the Great Depression at 2.75 billion board feet, according to a new report by state forest economist Gary Lettman. And the bad news for the industry doesn’t end…

Researchers find carbon offsets aren’t justified for removing understory (8/19/2010)

EE News (subscription required)

Reducing forest fire risk by thinning thickets of understory can have many benefits for communities, but in the short term, providing carbon offsets for this does not appear to be justified, according to government-funded research to be published this fall. During the past four years, a team of researchers tried to quantify how removing smaller fuels from forests and conducting prescribed burns helps stave off intense wildfires and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. If carbon…

Reports

The 9 (Overlooked) Challenges of Alternative Energy

Post Carbon Institute, August 2010

The scramble for alternatives is on. High oil prices, growing concerns over energy security, and the threat of climate change have all stimulated investment in the development of alternatives to conventional oil. Trouble is, many of those scrambling can’t see the forest for the trees and are headed straight for low-hanging limbs, not fruit. In his just-released report, Nine Challenges of Alternative Energy” Lawrence Berkeley staff scientist David Fridley assesses the obvious yet too often overlooked obstacles to the widespread deployment of alternative energies around the world.

U.S. Agriculture & Climate Change Legislation: Markets, Myths & Opportunities

Pew Center on Global Climate Change, July 2010

Any climate and energy legislation will impact U.S. farmers and ranchers, and this paper examines the many legitimate concerns the agriculture sector has with such legislation. There have been a large number of economic analyses, modeling exercises, and reports published in the past several months based on an array of climate policy assumptions, and the resulting scenarios have ranged from realistic to doomsday. The results of these efforts have often been skewed or cherry-picked to support particular arguments. This brief tries to objectively assess the impacts of climate legislation and identify ways that such legislation could be shaped to provide greater opportunities for the sector. U.S. farmers have long exhibited adaptability and entrepreneurship in the face of changing circumstances, and they will be presented with a host of new markets and opportunities with the advent of climate and energy legislation.

Private Forests, Public Benefits: Increased Housing Density and Other Pressures on Private Forest Contributions

USDA, December 2009

Over half (56 percent) of America’s private forests are privately owned and provide a vast array of public goods and services, such as clean water, timber, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities. These critical benefits are being affected by increased housing density in areas across the country. Private Forests, Public Benefits, a USDA Forest Service publication, estimates that housing density will increase on more than 57 million acres of America’s private rural forests from 2000 to 2030. In many areas, the impacts of increased housing density are likely to be exacerbated by additional threats such as wildfire, insect pests and diseases, and air pollution.

Announcements

Climate Planning Funding Opportunity
The Model Forest Policy Program (MFPP) is now accepting applications for the 2011 Climate Solutions University: Forest and Water Strategies (CSU) . Climate Solutions University (CSU) empowers rural underserved communities throughout the U.S. to become leaders in climate change resiliency through natural resource protection. This one year, webinar-based education and coaching process provides $10,000 scholarships and guides communities to form a local stakeholder team; assess their local climate-related risks and opportunities; and create a customized local climate action plan and implementation plan for forest and water protection. Improved land use planning will help prevent flooding disasters, conserve water resources, protect local economies, maintain natural habitat, and sequester carbon. We will select up to 10 rural communities across the U.S. to participate as a group in the 11-month curriculum that begins in February, 2011.

For complete application information, go to: http://www.mfpp.org/Climate_Solutions_University/2011.html
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Websites

Western Climate Initiative

WCI Partners Release Their Comprehensive Strategy to Address Climate Change and Spur a Clean-Energy Economy

Articles

White House Adviser Still Hopes Congress Passes Climate Bill This Year (8/9/2010)

The New York Times

The White House is “deeply disappointed” that Congress hasn’t passed climate legislation but won’t give up on getting it done this year, President Obama’s top climate and energy adviser said yesterday. Carol Browner said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the administration is still holding out hope for a legislative victory on climate and energy, despite the political challenges of passing a controversial bill through the Senate after the chamber returns from its August recess. “The Congress is coming back. We will continue to see if we can get legislation,” she said. “We passed it in the House. We’ll continue to work in the Senate.”

Energy Bill, Focusing on Conservation, Can’t Shake Calls for RES (7/28/2010)

The New York Times

The Senate’s small energy package unveiled last night flirts with Republican opposition and turns its cheek to clean-power Democrats. Its first vote, nonetheless, is planned for next week. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) resisted mounting efforts in his own party to include a renewable electricity standard (RES) in his last-ditch attempt to pass an energy bill this summer, even as several Democratic senators openly questioned his assertions that the electricity standard lacks support.

Western coalition offers cap-and-trade (7/28/2010)

The Register Guard

A coalition of seven Western states and three Canadian provinces on Tuesday offered its most detailed strategy yet for controlling greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change, saying they hope it will stand as a model for national systems in the United States and Canada. At the core of the Western Climate Initiative is a cap-and-trade system that would go into effect in January 2012, gradually ramping down emissions levels. The system, which gives financial incentives to reduce carbon emissions…

Why did the climate bill fail? (7/26/2010)

Grist

With the climate bill officially dead, there’s already a trickle of “who’s to blame and what they should have done differently” pieces. I expect it will soon become a flood. Most of these pieces will focus in the wrong places….

Democrats Call Off Climate Bill Effort (7/22/2010)

The New York Times

The effort to advance a major climate change bill through the Senate this summer collapsed Thursday even as President Obama signed into law another top Democratic priority — a bill to restore unemployment benefits for millions of Americans who have been out of work for six months or more. Bowing to political reality, Senator Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat and majority leader, said the Senate would not take up legislation intended to reduce carbon emissions blamed as a cause of climate change, but would instead pursue a more limited measure focused on responding to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and tightening energy efficiency standards.

Oregon gets $3M for biomass projects (7/8/2010)

Sustainable Business Oregon

Gov. Ted Kulongsoki announed Thursday that Oregon landed $3 million in federal stimulus funds for three biomass projects. The projects…

Reports

National Roadmap for Responding to Climate Change

USDA Forest Service, July 2010

The new USDA Strategic Plan for 2010-1015 sets a departmental goal to “Ensure our national forests and private working lands are conserved, restored, and made more resilient to climate change, while enhancing our water resources.” As a measure of this goal, all National Forests are to come into compliance with a climate change adaptation and mitigation strategy. To guide the Forest Service in achieving this goal, they have developed a Roadmap for Responding to Climate Change. The Roadmap integrates land management, outreach, and sustainable operations accounting. It focuses on three kinds of activities….

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