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Archive for April, 2013

USFS 2012 Planning Rule Proposed Directives open for comment

(February 15, Comment deadline April 29)

U.S. Forest Service

The U.S. Forest Service has released and is seeking public comment on the proposed 2012 Planning Rule Directives, the key set of agency guidance documents that will direct implementation of the 2012 Planning Rule.

The proposed directives will help the Forest Service achieve the vision articulated in the 2012 Planning Rule – to protect and restore National Forests and Grasslands for the benefit of communities, natural resources and the environment. The Agency’s intent is to ensure an adaptive land management planning process that is inclusive, efficient, collaborative and science-based to promote healthy, resilient, diverse and productive national forests and grasslands.

Comment on the Planning Rule

Ancient Tree Clones To Be Planted In Effort To Restore Forests, Fight Climate Change

(April 22)

Huffington Post

As nurseryman, David Milarch, and his sons became concerned about the condition of the world’s forests, they planned to restore ancient forests with genetically created tree clones. Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, a non-profit group, have developed methods to produce genetic copies of the world’s strongest tress. In recent years, they have focused on towering sequoias and redwoods, considering them best suited to absorb massive volumes of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas primarily responsible for climate change.

Group faults ‘One Size Fits All’ agricultural policy response to climate change

(April 19)

Premium Times

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), one of the world’s most influential international development and environment policy research organisations, has faulted a general agricultural approach to addressing climate change and its impact on food production. According to the independent, non-profit organization, agricultural policies should be drafted to suit specific needs after putting into consideration geological landmarks, climate variations and other factors.

“Current policy narratives limit climate resilience in world’s dry regions,” the organisation said in a report released on Friday titled ‘Current policy narratives limit climate resilience in world’s dry regions’. It added that partial narratives that underpin policy-making prevent people in dry regions from fulfilling their potential to provide food and sustain resilient livelihoods in a changing climate.

Climate change: lessons in cross-sector collaboration

(April 17)

The Guardian

Connect4Climate (C4C), a global partnership program dedicated to climate change, has set out to engage a broader and more diverse audience. Their aim is to  convene different organisations, groups and individuals who wouldn’t normally speak to one another, around the table to talk about climate change. C4C has chosen to prioritize capacity building and creative cross-sector collaboration.

Tare three prevailing truths that shape the work they do: the first is that there have been far too may COP summits. C4C are now heading towards COP19, without a binding global deal on climate. The second is that no one group has the silver bullet to address climate change. Lastly, no single organisation has nearly enough resources to tackle the issue on their own.

Which Government Policies and Other Factors Have Reduced U.S. Carbon Emissions?

(April 17)

The Energy Collective

The U.S. was the largest emitter carbon dioxide (CO2) until 2006 when China’s emissions exceeded the U.S.  U.S. CO2 emissions from the consumption of fossil fuels peaked in 2007 and have declined significantly over the past five years. Recent Federal regulations, including the EPAct 2005, EISA 2007, and the ARRA 2009 (Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Research  and Investment section), have successfully supported the expansion of many renewables and significant energy efficiency improvements.  Besides funding increased R&D of renewables and alternatives to petroleum fuels, these regulations have provided substantial subsidies and loan support for commercial development of clean energy technologies.  In addition, the Federal regulations expanded existing energy programs such as vehicle CAFE fuel efficiency standards and ‘renewable fuels standards’ that mandated biofuels blending.

 

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N.M. announces program to put veterans to work as wildland firefighters

(April 5)

Greenwire via Red Lodge Clearinghouse

The pilot program will recruit 40 veterans, who will be placed on four fire crews available to fight wildfires across the state. The new program is a collaborative effort among the New Mexico State Forestry Division, the Department of Veterans’ Services and the New Mexico Workforce Connection.

Building Natural Carbon: Five Policy Principles

(April 5)

Grist

Driven by the fossil-fueled industrialization of Asia, carbon dioxide levels hit 395 parts per million in 2012, the highest level in four or five million years.  That was an era when sea levels were around 80 feet higher and temperatures up to 10° Fahrenheit hotter. Disruptive climate change is pushing us towards great carbon-reduction. The biocarbon revolution will be driven by public policy, none more important than policies of the federal government.  There is virtually no branch of the federal government where opportunities could not be uncovered.  A starting place is to line out five federal biocarbon policy principles through which substantial biocarbon storage could be realized:

#1. Channel carbon revenues to biocarbon preserving/building activities.

#2. Incorporate explicit biocarbon goals in federal land conservation granting programs.

#3. Incorporate consideration of green infrastructure alternatives in federal granting programs.

#4. Move planning for federal lands and projects into an ecological services framework that includes carbon.

#5. Incorporate carbon reduction in resiliency efforts

New study: A warming world will further intensify extreme precipitation events

(April 4)

National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration

According to a newly-published NOAA-led study in Geophysical Research Letters, as the globe warms from rising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, more moisture in a warmer atmosphere will make the most extreme precipitation events more intense.

The study reports that the extra moisture due to a warmer atmosphere dominates all other factors and leads to notable increases in the most intense precipitation rates.

Percent maximum daily preciptation difference (2071-2100) - (1971-2000).
Percent maximum daily preciptation difference (2071-2100) – (1971-2000).(Credit: NOAA)

The study also shows a 20-30 percent expected increase in the maximum precipitation possible over large portions of the Northern Hemisphere by the end of the 21st century if greenhouse gases continue to rise at a high emissions rate.

New Visions, Smart Choices – Western Water Security in a Changing Climate

Carpe Diem West

Carpe Diem West released a report which spotlights successful, sustainable and economically sensible steps ten communities are taking to make sure they will have water in the decades to come. The report illustrates what communities can do to build a more secure water future and protect our rivers.Local communities are acting to build resilience to help them cope with a changing future.

Oil boom sparks water leasing bill: Proposal would protect rights as demand goes up

(March 30)

Great Falls Tribune

Water rights could be temporarily leased to oil developers or other users under a bill meant to help meet soaring demand for water resulting from the oil development in northeastern Montana. Rep. Bill McChesney, D-Miles City, the sponsor of House Bill 37 would allow water rights holders to lease water for a different use for up to two years, without losing their senior rights. For example, a farmer with a water right for a particular piece of land could decide not to irrigate and lease access to the water for a different kind of use. The oil industry strongly supports the legislation because it streamlines the change-of-use process and and contains safeguards that ensure water is not pirated

Climate change tipping points in fire management

(March 29)

Firescience.gov

Fire management in the Northern Rockies seek to understand how climate changes in fires affect management responses. Researchers created simulations of progressively warmer and drier or wetter climate scenarios for the Western U.S. that represent potential future fire and vegetation dynamics. They concluded that forest cover and structure are influenced by climate and fire regimes and that climate changes can modify fire regimes and facilitate forest to shrub and grassland transitions.

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