Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sign on for a Clean Energy Future

US battles for credibility on climate change - 9/18/2009

WASHINGTON (AP) — With Congress moving slowly on a measure to curb industrial greenhouse gas emissions, the United States may find itself with little sway at the coming international conference to construct a new pact aimed at easing global warming.

In less than three months, 120 countries convene in Copenhagen for action on a successor agreement to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

That meeting, a U.N. summit on climate change next week and the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh days later are pressuring and imposing deadlines on Congress and the Obama administration, which has made work against climate change a top agenda issue.

The House passed a bill this year that would set the United States' first federal mandatory limits on greenhouse gases. Factories, power plants and other sources would be required to cut emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and by 83 percent by mid-century. By comparison, Japan is committed to cut its emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.

But with the Senate bogged down in the fight over reforming the health care system, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said this week that the senators might not move on climate legislation until next year.

That was too much for John Bruton, head of the European Union delegation in Washington. He issued a statement that pointed out that by the time the Senate acted, the climate change conference would have been ended, the delegates gone home.

"The United States is just one of the 190 countries coming to this conference," Bruton said, "but the United States emits 25 percent of all the greenhouse gases that the conference is trying to reduce. The full report is here.

Arctic could be free of summer sea ice by 2030
- 9/17/2009

 Framm Strait, Arctic — As the minimum area of summer Arctic sea-ice extent was today reported to have plummeted to the third-lowest level ever in recorded history according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise is hosting world-class sea ice expert Dr. Peter Wadhams, on a mission to conduct research into sea-ice loss in the Arctic Ocean, off the northeast coast of Greenland.

“We’re entering a new epoch of sea ice melt in the Arctic Ocean due to climate change,” said Dr. Peter Wadhams. “In five years’ time most of the sea-ice could be gone in summer with just an ‘Alamo of ice’ remaining north of Ellesmere Island. In 20 years’ time, that will also be gone, leaving the Arctic Ocean completely ice-free in summer. It’s clear we can’t rely on current models of prediction for sea-ice melt, as they have been constantly outpaced since the 1980s.”

Sea-ice extent has been in decline for the last 30 years, but the speed of that decline has accelerated in the last decade and especially so in the last four years, outpacing scientific predictions. In 2007, the area of summer sea-ice extent reached a level that was not predicted to occur until 2080, with 2008 coming in a close second. While this year’s low sea-ice extent did not surpass those of 2007 and 2008, it does suggest another significant acceleration of sea-ice melt in the Arctic Ocean.

“This puts U.S. policy on very thin ice,” said Damon Moglen, Global Warming Campaign Director for Greenpeace in the U.S. “With global warming advancing even more quickly than expected, President Obama needs to lead a far more ambitious, science-based response to the climate crisis.”
The full report from Greenpeace is here.

Obama Promise of Future Includes Clean Energy Revolution - 9/17/2009
President speaks at a rally at the University of Maryland, College Park
President Obama reiterated his promise to build a better future. While health care reform remained the topic of the day, Obama emphasized that the promise includes a clean energy revolution.

Good idea, Prez...Now let's DO IT!

Take action. Call for urgent Congressional approval of a comprehensive clean energy and climate plan that delivers clean energy jobs, less pollution, and a more secure America. Sign on to the CONSEQUENCE Campaign: Clean Energy Jobs NOW...or PAY LATER! Click here and Sign On for a clean energy future.

Just in case you're thinkin', ahhhhh, forget Congress. Let's just wait for the EPA to take care of this the article below, think again, and Sign On!

Energy Industry Stall Tactic: Embrace EPA - 9/18/2009
Groups That Decried EPA Regulation During Senate Climate Change Debate Now See an Opportunity

The EPA’s regulatory process is by nature slow and deliberate, with each regulation taking months to put in place. Once the regulatory process is completed, rules are often held up in years of litigation. And even if a regulation survives that, it can be reversed by a future administration. On the Clean Air Act specifically, the technologies necessary to meet the obligations of the law don’t yet exist for carbon dioxide. Meanwhile, though many did hope at one time for a climate bill this year, one that would give them more long-term certainty about carbon pricing, the House-passed Waxman-Markey climate bill is tougher than what many in the energy industry have lobbied to pass into law. Thus, the prospect of EPA regulations — once so feared by many in polluting industries — is now being welcomed as a stall tactic.

Read the full report by Kate Sheppard here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tar Sands Oil Protest at Niagara Falls

Activists from the group Rainforest Action Network hung a 70-foot banner over the U.S./Canadian border at Niagara Falls on Tuesday in an effort to pressure President Obama, who will host Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper tomorrow, to declare our northern neighbor's low-grade crude oil too dirty to import.[click photo to enlarge]

Canada supplies almost a fifth of U.S. oil imports, more than half of which now comes from the Alberta tar sands, making that region the largest single source of U.S. oil imports. Harper has lobbied hard for maintaining, and even increasing, those numbers.

Obama, in an earlier visit to Canada, signaled some skepticism.
Obama said: "We are very grateful for the relationship that we have with Canada, and Canada being our largest energy supplier, but I think that increasingly we have to take into account that the issue of climate change and greenhouse gases is something that's going to have an impact on all of us and as two relatively wealthy countries, it's important for us to show leadership."
Rightly so. Tar sands are just that—dirt with bitumen mixed in. It requires massive amounts of energy (and, as a result, three times the greenhouse gas emissions) to convert the stuff to crude, and processing it is also dirtier than refining standard petroleum. Read more  here.

A local report published in The Buffalo News is here.

Clean Energy WORKS!

Clean Energy Works is a diverse coalition of more than 60 grassroots organizations representing more than 12 million Americans. They are calling for urgent Congressional action on a comprehensive clean energy and climate plan that delivers clean energy jobs, less pollution, and a more secure America. 

Passing comprehensive energy and climate legislation will:
  • Create and protect millions of good American jobs by spurring investment in the nation's growing clean energy economy
  • Improve our national security by enhancing America's energy independence reducing our dependence on foreign oil and getting America running on clean energy
  • Reduce the carbon pollution that's harming our air and water, and endangering the health of the planet
Clean Energy Works  is a grassroots coalition that includes faith, labor, veterans, environmental, sportsmen, farm, business, youth, and community organizations.

Watch a TV ad from Clean Energy Works promoting strong, clean energy legislation:

The Clean Energy Works Web site is here.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Van Jones leaves White House

White House Adviser Van Jones Resigns Amid Controversy Over Past Activism

Washington Post (Sept. 6, 2009 ) -- White House environmental adviser Van Jones resigned Saturday after weeks of controversy stemming from his past activism.

"On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me," Jones, special adviser for green jobs at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said in a statement announcing his resignation just after midnight Saturday. "They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide."

He continued: "I have been inundated with calls -- from across the political spectrum -- urging me to 'stay and fight.' But I came here to fight for others, not for myself. I cannot in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining my past. We need all hands on deck, fighting for the future."

Jones issued two public apologies in recent days, one for signing a petition that questioned whether Bush administration officials "may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war" and the other for using a crude term to describe Republicans in a speech he gave before joining the administration.

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) called on Jones to resign Friday, saying in a statement, "His extremist views and coarse rhetoric have no place in this administration or the public debate."

Senator Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.) urged Congress to investigate Jones's "fitness" for the position, writing in an open letter, "Can the American people trust a senior White House official that is so cavalier in his association with such radical and repugnant sentiments?" On Saturday, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, wrote on his Twitter account, "Van Jones has to go."

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Friday that Jones "continues to work for the administration" -- but he did not state that the adviser enjoys the full support of President Obama, instead referring questions to the environmental council where he worked.

Jones, a towering figure in the environmental movement, had worked for the White House Council on Environmental Quality since March. He was a civil-rights activist in California before turning his focus to environmental and energy issues, and he won wide praise before joining the Obama administration for articulating a broad vision of a green economy Democrats could embrace.


Van Jones has left the White House and will be back in action amongst the people. This will only create new and better opportunities for this great American and marvelous human being. Watch, listen and learn as he speaks about the climate crisis, the economic crisis, environmental justice, and Green jobs.