(December 1, 2010)
After Republican takeover of the house, the 4- year old House Global Warming Committee was cut from the 112th Congress. A republican spokesperson states that the committee was cut in order to reduce waste and duplication in Congress. Some Democrats vow to continue the fight to curb greenhouse gas emissions from the minority over the next 2 years.
(November 28, 2010)
Delegates from over 200 countries began arriving at Cancun for this year’s U.N. climate conference. The primary goal of the conference is to get major economies to extend climate action beyond the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in December 2012. Copenhagen elicited some carbon reduction commitments from the U.S. and China but progress toward those commitments remains ambiguous. A key element of a strong global deal to cut emissions would be an international fund to help developing countries combat climate change and transition to a clean energy economy. International NGOs are pushing for strong climate finance packages to complement carbon reduction commitments.
(November 17, 2010)
A pilot program for greenhouse gas trading in the US- the Chicago Climate Exchange- will close down its cap-and-trade market by the end of the year, due to lack of legislative interest. Mitigation of emissions in farming and forestry through a crediting process will continue until 2012. The Chicago Climate Exchange is part of a larger international company called Climate Exchange, which will continue to operate markets in Europe that are still going strong.
(November 15, 2010)
Despite a plethora of scientific findings, economic models, and plans to fix climate change, there has been a lack of academic explanation into the mounting cultural doubt surrounding atmospheric warming. The social sciences are missing from this particular discussion, which leads to a lack in critical questions about the cultural dimensions of the problem- both defining it and finding solutions.
(November 12, 2010)
The EPA issued guidance documents for the first phase of it’s ‘big polluters rule’ aimed at curbing carbon pollution from large sources, like coal plants. This new rule is geared specifically toward new or expanding plants, requiring these new investments to use “Best Available Control Technology,” or BACT. The BACT determination is set differently for each type of facility based on a number of factors, including cost. The new rule will encourage plant-wide energy efficiency measures, cleaner fuels, and help make clean energy more competitive with fossil fuels.
(November 11, 2010)
Wall Street Journal
Clean Air Act regulations for greenhouse gasses have become a major political issue of late, but initial implementation of these performance standards will only affect sources of pollution that are new or modified.
(November 5, 2010)
Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)
At Copenhagen last year, the U.S. committed to reducing carbon emissions 17% by 2020, and contributing our share of $100 billion annually by 2020 which would help developing countries adapt to climate change, and build a global clean energy economy. Recent studies from the UN maintain that the annual $100 billion goal is possible using revenue from comprehensive legislation discussed in developing countries. The Cancun conference will last from November 28 through December 10.
(November 11, 2010)
Construction has begun on the 26.8 megawatt Lakeview Biomass Cogeneration Plant in Lakeview, Oregon. The plant is expected to bring jobs and improved forest health to Southern Oregon. The plant is expected to finish construction and begin producing power by fall, 2012.
A U.N. study suggests that existing carbon reduction commitments made in Copenhagen last year only provide 60% of what’s needed to avoid 2 degrees Celsius of warming, the “dangerous climate change” threshold that countries agree should not be crossed. Many scientists argue 1.5 degrees Celsius is a more appropriate threshold.
(November 30, 2010)
The Oregon Climate Change Research Institute released a long- awaited 400-page report on the impacts of climate change on the state of Oregon. It states that global warming will affect Oregon substantially. It drew on contributions from 70 university and government researchers throughout the Northwest.
Future regional climate changes (taken from Legislative Summary) include:
- Increases in temperature around .2 to 1 degree F per decade
- Warmer and drier summers
- Evidence that extreme precipitation will increase in the future
- Sea level rise
Key Findings of the report, taken from the Legislative Summary:
- Summer water supply will decrease as a result of reduced snowpack and summer precipitation
- Availability, quality and cost of water will likely be the most limiting factor for agricultural production systems under a warmer climate
- Wildfire is projected to increase in all Oregon forest types in the coming decades
- Frequency and magnitude of coastal flooding events may continue to increase
- Many plant and animal species on land, in freshwater, and in the sea have and will shift their distributions and become less or more abundant
- Changes to the marine environment including increasing water temperatures
- Oregon’s economy, like many other states, is likely to be affected by a changing climate and by policies addressing projected changes
- The important drivers of greenhouse gas emissions are population, consumption, and the emission intensity of the economy
- We are already experiencing the impacts of climate change in Oregon