USDA is committed to fostering a clean energy economy and to improving the environment by conducting operations in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner, complying with environmental laws and regulations, and leading by example. In order to fulfill its mission of providing leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues, USDA focuses on the future. The Department recognizes the significance of global climate change and how potential impacts such as more frequent or severe weather events can affect our programs and operations.
New America Media
The iSeeChange almanac allows people to make observations about climate change in their own backyards and ask scientists questions directly. NAM’s Ngoc Nguyen spoke with the project’s producer, Julia Kumari Drapkin, about how this experiment in crowd-sourced environmental reporting is spurring conversations about climate change in rural Colorado and elsewhere.
National Science Foundation
Deserts and forests, grasslands, lakes and rivers. Over the past 33 years, long-term ecological research has been conducted at a network of National Science Foundation (NSF) Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites in these and other ecosystems. NSF’s LTER network has an international sister effort. The ILTER, or International Long Term Ecological Research network, is a global consortium of long-term research programs. This year, it marks its 20th anniversary. In recognition of that milestone, NSF’s annual LTER mini-symposium, held this year on Feb. 28, 2013, at NSF headquarters, will highlight the global reach of long-term ecological research.
Natural Resource Report
In an age of interdependence, action at the state level is no longer sufficient, on its own. Nevertheless, when it comes to environmental policy, beginning with domestic reforms, rather than focusing on global treaties, may be the best starting point to fight global warming.
On the one hand, a growing number of countries are passing climate change legislation. This was documented in a recent survey of climate legislation by Globe International, a forum of parliamentarians, and the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics.
On the other hand, there is the slow pace of the international negotiations towards a new climate treaty, the last round of which took place in Doha in December. Negotiators were at pains to highlight the achievements of the Doha summit. There was indeed progress, perhaps even important progress, but unless you are a climate convention junkie it will not have set your pulse racing. The negotiating tracks were streamlined; the hot air issue was resolved; the Kyoto Protocol was extended, but with fewer participants and targets that barely deviate from business as usual.
John Kerry’s confirmation as secretary of state on Tuesday installs a veteran climate champion in a pole position for Barack Obama’s second term. Campaigners hope Kerry will help deliver a win on their signature issue: blocking the Keystone XL pipeline from the Alberta tar sands. Kerry, in his confirmation hearings last week, made it clear he would be deeply involved in the final decision about the pipeline’s fate. Obama has the final word on the pipeline. However, the state department must also sign off on the project, because it crosses the US-Canadian border. Kerry told the Senate he would closely monitor the results of an ongoing environmental review.