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Archive for the ‘Climate Digests’ Category

Climate Change Threatens Health:  Serious Threats Where You Live and What to Do About Them

Natural Resources Defense Council

A new, interactive map-based web program shows links between climate change, pollution, and health risks by tracking the impacts of climate in all 50 states.  “Click on a state on the map for more information on climate-health threats, actions being taken to prepare communities, and what you can do.”

Community-owned wind powers up

August 2, 2011

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Australia’s first community-run wind farm began operation on June 22.  Over the next 12 months, it will produce enough power to provide electricity to 2300 homes.  The project follows in the footsteps of others in Germany and Denmark, where community-based wind projects have long been welcomed.

Greenhouse gas impact of hydroelectric reservoirs downgraded

August 1, 2011

EurekAlert.com

A new study, published in Nature Geoscience this past week, finds that greenhouse gas emissions from hydroelectric plants are actually far less than originally estimated, producing just 1/6 of the carbon dioxide and methane previously assigned to them.  Article in Nature Geoscience: online here.

President Obama Announces Historic 54.5 mpg Fuel Efficiency Standard

July 29, 2011

White House Press Release

The Obama Administration has made an agreement with 13 major automakers to pursue the next phase in the Administration’s national vehicle program, increasing fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025.  The programs are projected to save families $1.7 trillion at the pump, and an average of over $8,000 per vehicle by the year 2025.  The White House has also released a report about the new fuel economy standards, which can be found here (pdf)Update:  Obama plans to unveil new fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty trucks next Tuesday in Virginia (The Hill.com)

Salmon may face greater threat than water shortage

July 25, 2011

San Francisco Chronicle

Growing human populations and climate change pose even more significant threats to California Salmon than a shortage of clean water.  Salmon and humans do not live harmoniously, with salmon numbers running inverse to human numbers in many parts of the world, and California salmon struggling to retain historic runs.  On the other hand, salmon are now being found in waters that were previously too cold for them.

Northwest Forest Plan has unintended benefit – carbon sequestration

July 22, 2011

Oregon State University

Researchers at Oregon State University and the USDA Forest Service Pacific NW Research Station have found that the Northwest Forest Plan has had a significant, albeit unintended, consequence of carbon sequestration on public lands.  The plan was enacted in 1993 and was designed to conserve old-growth forests and protect endangered species such as the Northern Spotted Owl; the original goals had nothing to do with carbon emissions.  From the article/ study:

“When forest harvest levels fell 82 percent on public forest lands in the years after passage of this act, they became a significant carbon “sink” for the first time in decades, absorbing much more carbon from the atmosphere than they released. At the same time, private forest lands became close to carbon neutral.”

Coral reef species may adjust to climate change

July 22, 2011

Sydney Morning Herald

A new study has found that some reefs may be able to adapt and survive in the coming decades if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.  The researchers stated “Our expectation is that some regions are less likely to completely collapse in the next few decades than others.”  It is unknown which regions will fare better, but the capacity for reefs anywhere to adapt is compromised greatly by human activities such as over-fishing, pollution and habitat destruction.

Reports:

Near-Term Opportunities for Integrating Biomass into the U.S. Electricity Supply (pdf, 1.1mb)

Rand Corporation

This technical report finds that coal burning plants facing increasing pressure to reduce emissions are much better off adding biomass to the energy mix than waiting for expensive carbon capture and storage technology.  Biomass from forestry waste, logging residues or commercially produced wood pellets would costs a fraction of what carbon capture and storage technology abatement would, the study finds.

Climate Change Hurts Indian Tribes Disproportionately

August 3, 2011

National Wildlife Federation

“North American Indian Tribes are especially harmed by climate change, as more ecological shifts and more frequent, more extreme weather events occur…”, a new report find.  Indian tribes are more affected by severe weather events than the general population because they tend to rely heavily on natural resources, and are often struggling from a lack of resources to begin with.  The full report is available at the site.

Potential for Biomass and Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (pdf, 4mb)

July 2011

International Energy Agency Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme (IEAGHG)

This study examines how carbon capture systems, which are typically attached to coal plants, can remove CO2 from the air, reducing global emissions, when attached to biomass-burning plants.  The study finds that: “Combining biomass with carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) could result in an annual global saving of up to 10 gigatonnes of negative CO2 emissions by the year 2050, an International Energy Agency (IEA)-commissioned study has predicted” (siliconrepublic.com).

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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.

Articles

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)

Reuters

“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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Aleta, our usual blogger, is on vacation; I (Cass) am attempting to take up the slack, but you she’s much better at this…

Articles

364 days later, looking back at Waxman-Markey (6/25/2010)

One year ago, the stars seemed aligned for Congress to enact a sweeping climate and energy bill. Democrats held large majorities on Capitol Hill, President Obama touted a cap-and-trade plan as one of his top legislative priorities, and the House passed a historic bill setting mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions. A year ago tomorrow….

G-20 Summit on the phase on of fossil fuel subsidies (6/27/10)

Leaders of the world’s biggest economies will pledge on Sunday to phase out subsidies for “inefficient” fossil fuels, in a statement toughened at the last minute at the urging of the United States, Group of 20 sources said.

Websites

CAKE: Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange

A new web page focused on climate adaptation — case studies, examples, science, blog, tweets, and explanations.

Latest Pew Center Analysis of Climate Action in Congress

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Statement of Administration Policy

OFFICIAL RELEASE: Statement of Administration Policy on S.J. Res. 26 – Disapproval of EPA Endangerment Rule and Cause and Contribute Findings

June 8, 2010 — Office of Management and Budget

The Administration strongly opposes Senate passage of S.J. Res. 26, which would undermine the Clean Air Act and hinder EPA’s ability to comply with a Supreme Court ruling on greenhouse gasses (GHGs). The Administration believes that….

Websites

USDA Climate Change Resource Center

The Climate Change Resource Center (CCRC) is a reference Web site for resrouce managers and decision makers who need information and tools to address climate change in planing and project implementation. The CCRC addresses the manager’s question “What can I do about climate change?” by providing information about basic climate sciences and compiling knowledge resources and support for adaptation and mitigation strategies. The site offers educational information, including basic science modules that explain climate and climate impacts, decision-support models, maps, simulations, case studies, and toolkits. The site is a joint project of the Forest Service Research Stations and the Environmental Threat Assessment Centers (WWETAC/EFETAC).

Articles

Effort to Block EPA Fails, Revealing Murky Path for Carbon Bill (6/11/2010)

The New York Times

Senate Republicans failed yesterday to halt the Obama administration’s plan to regulate greenhouse gases, engulfing the chamber in a sprawling daylong debate that bounced from climate skepticism to posters of dead birds smeared in oil. The effort unraveled nearly seven hours after Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) launched her measure seeking to undo U.S. EPA’s scientific findings that carbon emissions endanger human health. It snagged on a procedural vote that fell four supporters shy of reaching the 51 votes needed to proceed, saving senators from a rare roll call on federal plans to reduce greenhouse gases.

Is the Climate Bill Going to Pass? Top 5 Things to Watch (6/7/2010)

Grist

People are constantly asking me, “Is the climate bill going to pass?” The answer is: I don’t know. No one knows. Confident predictions either way are mostly posing. The situation, like so much in politics right now, is incredibly fluid. There are five things to watch in coming months that will give us a better sense of how the bill might fare….

USDA Issues Final Rule for Conservation Stewardship Program (6/3/2010)

USDA News Release

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA published the final regulations governing the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, CSP is a voluntary program that offers payments to producers who exercise good land stewardship and want to improve their conservation performance.

The final rule can be viewed at: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-12699.pdf

Newsletters

Newsletter from Forest Service Climate Change Advisor – climate change update (PDF)

First edition of a newsletter that is distributed by the Forest Service to address concerns and impacts of climate change as they relate to the actions of the agency. This edition provides an introduction to the newsletter by Forest Service Climate Change Advisor Dave Cleaves.

Reports

EPA’s American Power Act Analysis (June 2010)

This analysis models the multi-sector cap-and-trade program, the alternative compliance program for the transportation fuels and refined petroleum products sectors, the competitiveness provisions, and many of the energy efficiency provisions of the APA.

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Websites

Carbon Watch

Tracking the New Currencies of Global Warming

PBS and Frontline World host this website containing up to date information on Climate Change Policy. The site has videos and articles relating to climate change on a global, federal, and state level. The site has a great 20 min. movie by Mark Schapiro about the carbon market in Brazil (The Carbon Hunters).

Articles

Scientists Urge Congress Not to ‘Cook the Books’ in CO2 Accounting for Biofuels (5/24/2010)

E&E News

Climate legislation must include a system to account for greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels and biomass electricity, a group of 90 scientists is urging the Democratic leadership in Congress. Treating all biomass energy as carbon-neutral could undermine the bill’s emission-reduction goals, the scientists wrote in the letter released today.

Reports

Assessing the Benefits of Avoided Climate Change: Cost-Benefit Analysis and Beyond

Pew Center on Global Climate Change, May 2010

In March 2009, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change convened an expert workshop to examine the state of the art, limitations, and future development needs for analyzing the benefits of avoided climate change. Approximately 80 people from academe, federal agencies, and nongovernmental organizations participated. This event was motivated by widespread recognition of two developments: First, policy decisions that result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions are becoming more commonplace across the government. Second, one of the key tools used to analyze such policies, CBA, is challenged by the longterm, global, and uncertain nature of climate change. This page provides the summary report and full workshop proceedings.

Measuring the Green Economy, report

US Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration, April 2010

A report released by the US Department of Commerce. An early attempt to take inventory of how many “green jobs” exist today — and what should count as a “green job.”

The Green Economy: The Race is On

DB Climate Change Advisors, April 22, 2010

This research is focused on three topics:
(1) There is growing business support for tackling climate change and deploying clean technologies, products and services;
(2) Government policy regimes around the world have identified climate change and clean technology as a megatrend as well, and have begun accelerating policies to address this trend (See DBCCA’s “Global Climate Change Policy Tracker: An Investor’s Assessment,” October 2009);
(3) However, this policy action differs at the individual country level, showing that the US is falling behind. This can be seen through renewable energy capacity growth and capital investment relative to the economy.

Announcements

Preliminary Application for 2011 Collaborative Track— Model Forest Policy Program

2011 Climate Solutions University: Forest and Water Strategies

Apply to receive one of ten scholarships to participate in the 2011 Climate Solutions University program. This program offers rural communities the opportunity to protect their natural resources and be part of the climate adaptation solutions urgently needed across the country. The 11 month program is scheduled to begin February, 2011.

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THE NEW CLIMATE BILL!!!

The American Power Act: A New Start for Clean American Power and a New Economy (5/12/2010)

Senator John Kerry’s web site that is currently hosting the new climate bill.

Read the bill.

Read a short summary of the bill.

Read a section by section summary of the bill.

Read a one page explanation of the bill’s support for American manufacturing.

Read a one page explanation of the bill’s section on transportation and refined products.

Read a one page explanation of the bill’s push to free us from our addiction to foreign oil.

Read a one page explanation of the bill’s help for American consumers.

Read the press release announcing the introduction of the bill.

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Websites

Model Forest Policy Program

Local leaders from over 1000 cities and 36 counties have signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, committing their community to designing and implementing climate protection measures. MFPP provides climate conscious communities with sound forest policy recommendations and sustainable forestry educational tools that integrate ecological integrity with economic benefits. We provide an active communication network that connects you to professional policy advisors, current publications, new laws, and enables a rich exchange of information among participants and stakeholders.

The Pacific Forest Trust

The Pacific Forest Trust is the only organization solely dedicated to conserving America’s working forests for all their public benefits – wood, water, wildlife and a well-balanced climate. We strive to keep these vast and vital forests working by pursuing a comprehensive strategy to Retain, Sustain and Gain. This website has a very interesting Publications Link, with article titles such as:

– Forest Carbon in the United States: Opportunities & Options for Private Lands

– Opportunities for Investment: Capital Markets and Sustainable Forestry, and much more!

Articles

Gulf Oil Spill Threatens to Rearrange Washington’s Climate Agenda (5/4/2010)

The New York Times

While the full impact of the huge and spreading oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico isn’t known yet, it is already creating political ripples in Washington, where energy experts, interest groups, politicians and some Capitol Hill aides see the pending legislative agenda being quickly reshuffled for a legislative response to the crisis.

Growth Energy: Purdue Study Shows Land Use Impacts of Corn Ethanol Overstated By CARB (4/29/2010)

Biofuels Journal

Washington, DC—A new estimate of corn ethanol’s impact on land use shows that California’s low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) unfairly penalizes the corn ethanol industry, according to a statement by Growth Energy, the coalition of U.S. ethanol supporters. The new study, led by Purdue University agricultural economics professor Wallace E. Tyner, shows that the Air Resources Board (ARB) significantly overestimated corn ethanol’s Indirect Land Use Change emissions under the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) by more than twice as much.

The Big Question: How Much CO2 Can the Earth Hold? (4/28/2010)

The New York Times

UTRECHT, the Netherlands — The Dutch used to discover new worlds across unexplored seas. Now, they are beginning to trace the edges of a new undiscovered country, and it is right beneath their shores. The Netherlands, a country that chose to build many of its cities below sea level, is famous for its pragmatic, long-term planning. So it should be no surprise that, when it comes to efforts to store carbon dioxide underground for a millennium or more, Holland has been leading the way, planning for years to turn declining natural gas fields off their shores into storage sites.

Senate Climate Bill Trio Headed in Different Directions (4/27/2010)

The New York Times

Prospects for the Senate climate bill grew even dimmer yesterday after the trio working on a comprehensive measure emerged from a closed-door meeting headed in separate directions — both literally and figuratively. Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) made no joint statements following a 45-minute meeting in the Capitol, their first chance to huddle in person since Graham threatened over the weekend to abandon the talks because of the Democratic leadership’s decision to also tackle the hot-button issue of immigration. Instead, each senator went his own way.

23 Energy Policies That Could Save Americans $5 billion a Year (4/27/10)

Center for Climate Strategies

As Sens. John Kerry and Lindsey Graham prepare to unveil their compromise climate and energy plan next week, Congress is getting a detailed look at what stakeholders around the country would like to see. The Center for Climate Strategies analyzed climate actions plans and proposals created in 16 states by teams of stakeholders — leaders of businesses, industries, environmental groups, local governments and others. In a report being announced on Capitol Hill today, it narrowed down the more than 900 policy options to 23 that it dubs the “super options.” In general, those super options have either the greatest greenhouse gas reduction potential or they are highly cost-effective.

Industry, Enviro Groups Spar Over Senate Climate Bill’s Biomass Provisions (4/23/2010)

The New York Times

Environmentalists and the timber industry are taking their long-running battle over biomass energy into the Senate climate debate. At issue is how legislation being written by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) will treat the harvest of forest materials for biomass-power production in the bill’s renewable-energy sections. The bill is scheduled for release Monday.

Utility chief urges Senate bill’s supporters to emphasize job creation (04/23/2010)

E&E News (subscription required)

Senate swing votes for a climate bill can be won by emphasizing long-term payoffs for the U.S. economy, the head of a major electric utility said today. “I think we can really make the case to members of Congress that if we don’t act, we are going to be missing the boat on what is a clear shift in our economy,” said Ralph Izzo, chairman, president and CEO of New Jersey’s Public Service Enterprise Group Inc., or PSEG.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Makes Case for Stronger Rural America (4/21/2010)

USDA News Release

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today testified on the status of the current Farm Bill and the upcoming 2012 Farm Bill before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture. In his remarks, Vilsack provided a national perspective on the challenges facing rural America based on his travels to rural communities throughout the country. He also discussed the state of agriculture today, the need for a strong farm safety net, and new approaches to create income opportunities and generate wealth in a stronger, more prosperous rural America for generations to come.

The Role of Forests in US Climate Policy (October, 2009)

Land Lines (start page 4 of PDF),

Like many schoolchildren, I learned that years ago a squirrel could cross the country from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean never touching the ground, using our magnificent forests as an aerial highway. After massive clearing and development for agriculture, cities, and roads, those forests are now a tattered patchwork, and are nonexistent in many places. More than a squirrel’s dilemma, though, the loss and altering of America’s forests have created both an enormous challenge to climate health and an opportunity for climate policy and action. More than 30 percent of U.S. forests have been converted to other uses….

Reports

Adapting to Climate Change: A Call for Federal Leadership

Pew Center on Global Climate Change, April 2010

This report highlights the important role of the federal government in reducing the vulnerability and strengthening the resiliency of our economy and natural resources in the face of these changes. In addition to managing a significant amount of land and infrastructure that will be affected by climate change, the federal government is uniquely positioned to provide the necessary leadership, guidance, information, and resources. While many efforts to adapt to climate change will occur at the state and local level, the federal government is a critical player in an effective and coordinated approach to climate change adaptation in the United States.

From Shop Floor to Top Floor: Best Business Practices in Energy Efficiency

Pew Center on Global Climate Change, April 2010

In the last decade, rising and volatile energy prices coupled with increasing concern about climate change and growing support for action on energy and environmental issues has driven a surge of corporate environmental commitments. Energy efficiency has emerged as a key component of these commitments. Leading firms that give greater attention to energy efficiency report billions of dollars in savings and millions of tons of avoided greenhouse gas emissions, according to Pew Center’s report “From Shop Floor to Top Floor: Best Business Practices in Energy Efficiency.” This report documents leading-edge energy efficiency strategies, describes best practices, and provides guidance and resources for other businesses seeking to reduce energy use in their internal operations, supply chains, and products and services.

The report was developed over nearly two years of effort, including a detailed survey of the Pew Center’s Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC) members and other leading companies, in-depth case studies of six companies, a series of workshops on key energy efficiency topics, broader research in the corporate energy field, and development of a full-featured Web portal to provide a platform for highlighting and updating key findings from the project as well as providing tools, resources, and other important information. The project was funded with generous support from Toyota.

Announcements

Sally Collins to Speak at OSU — Starker Lecture Series

Sally Collins, Director, USDA Office of Environmental Markets

Investing in Ecosystem Services

  • Thursday, May 6, 2010, 3:30 – 5:00 pm

OSU, LaSells Stewart Center Construction & Engineering Auditorium (Corvallis, OR)

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