Archive for October, 2010


Support for Propostion 23 drops sharply in new poll
(October 20, 2010)

LA Times

Support for California’s Prop 23 is losing steam as voters worry about its cost to the environment and to the growing solar power industry. The proposition, which would suspend any climate regulation until unemployment reaches 5.5%, has received 37% of public support and 48% opposition, according to recent polls. Many Californians have expressed skepticism about the motives behind the measure, which is primarily being funded by the oil companies Valero Energy Corp and Tesoro Corp.

New Data Highlights Role of Forests in Fight Against Climate Change (October 15, 2010)

U.S. Department of Agriculture

The USDA Forest Service released an estimate that American forests store a total of 41.4 billion metric tons of carbon, and that 192 million metric tons are being added to them each year. The increase is due to the expansion of forest land and increased prevalence of carbon per acre, and is believed to be enough to offset 11% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the country. Other key findings include regional differences in how carbon is stored in carbon pools in the U.S., and differences in the carbon storing capacity of private versus public land.

Forest treatment residues for thermal energy compared with disposal by onsite burning: Emissions and energy return

Biomass and Bioenergy (subscription required)

Woody timber residues provide almost 2% of all energy used in the country. Directing that biomass towards thermal energy, rather than burning it on site, could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help offset fossil fuel consumption.

Introduction to Climate Change

National Science Foundation

This introduction to climate change was provided by the National Science Foundation, which is the foremost source of government funding for scientific research and the most credible source of climate change information available in the U.S.


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Obama Administration Officials Release Progress Report on Work of Climate Change Adaptation Task Force

White House Press Release

The Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force has released a new report that lays out policy recommendations for adapting to climate change and describes how much legislators have already done to address the issue. In addition, the progress report calls easier access to information regarding climate change and suggests that adaptation should be a part of agency planning.

Council on Environmental Quality Issues Guidance on Federal Greenhouse Gas Accounting and Reporting

White House Press Release

President Obama signed the Executive Order on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance (Executive Order 13514) on October 5, calling for a comprehensive record of the green house gas emissions produced by the federal government. The order is in keeping with Obama’s pledge to reduce federal government emissions by 28% in the next decade and to set a positive example for the rest of the nation.

Green Lights for Big Solar Projects on Fed Lands


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved two groundbreaking projects for building solar panels on federally owned land. After years of negotiations, the BLM has yielded tens of thousands of acres of public desert in Southern California to solar power contractors. Once they are completed, Californians can expect to gain enough energy to power over 200,000 households.

Here comes the sun: White House to go solar

Associated Press

In Spring of 2011, the White House will install enough solar panels on its roof to supply energy for the building’s water heating and some of the its electricity. The addition is indicative of efforts to cut back on emissions in the federal government and is expected to influence American households to install their own solar panels.

Why ‘Scientific Consensus’ Fails to Persuade

Science Daily

A new study indicates that cultural values are often more likely to influence which scientists people consider to be credible than the actual science that they produce. The correlation between valuing commerce and industry and being skeptical of environmental risks is a used here as an example. Since people are likely to believe whatever is in their best interest, the study suggests that the surest way to sway people towards good science is to make them realize that it is in their best interest to understand it.

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Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition EPA Comments

(September 13, 2010)

Rural Voices for Conservation outlined three critical factors along with detailed recommendations for the EPA to consider in creating their rules for greenhouse gas emissions from biogenic sources.

1. Identify an appropriate accounting system for biomass that takes into account the lifecycle and net energy characteristics of biogenic sources.

2. Ask the National Academies to evaluate the net impact on the atmosphere of CO2 emissions associated with bioenergy. The study should fill gaps in existing science and go beyond the EPA’s own regulatory impact analysis.

3. Recognize that woody biomass is a source of energy independence and wealth capture in rural communities, supports local jobs, and helps meet forest restoration goals.


Does Healthcare Cash Grow on Trees?

(September 14, 2010)

Ecosystem Marketplace

“More than a third of US forests are family-owned, and most of those owners want to pass their land on to the next generation. Many, however, fear they’ll be forced to sell out if medical expenses get too high. In response, a conservation group and a major insurance company have teamed up to assuage that fear – and preserve the forests – by linking the health of families to the carbon in their forests.”

A new project taking place in Columbia County, OR is addressing issues surrounding the high cost of health care amongst family forest-owners, an issue they identified as of greater concern over the poor economy or job loss. A program to link insurance premiums with the benefits of carbon trading connects businesses interested in purchasing carbon credits with forest-owners, who are then required to follow certain guidelines for sustainable forest management.

Bingaman: Climate Bill Outlook Grim

(September 22, 2010)


“President Barack Obama’s dream of passing a big bill to battle global warming is likely dead for the rest of his term, according to a leading Democrat and long time backer of climate legislation.”

Senator Jeff Bingaman, Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, suggested that the failure of comprehensive climate legislation passing, smaller steps would be taken. He recently led a bipartisan group to introduced a bill requiring utilities to produce 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2021.

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