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 mess...read 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.

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