Clean Energy, International Climate Change, and More Hot Pubs
USCAN MEMBER REPORTS
Clean Cars: A May 2011 report “Summer Gas Prices: Beating the Heat with Clean Cars” by Environment America highlights rising summer gas prices and the need to reduce dependence on oil. The report finds as oil prices continue to rise our environment, health, and national security continues to be at risk. Additionally, if drivers meet the national average 60 mpg, “Americans would save $67 billion at the gas pump and cut gasoline consumption by 17 billion gallons this summer.” As an added benefit, meeting the fuel efficiency standards will also reduce global warming pollution. The report recommends people to purchase cleaner and more efficient cars that run on alternative energy sources. The Obama Administration has acknowledged the need for sustainable transportation methods and is currently in the process of making new fleet wide fuel efficiency and global warming standards through 2025.
RGGI: An May 2011 report “RGGI Emissions Trends Report April 2011 Data & Analysis” by Environment Northeast focused in on emissions from power plants in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). A summary of RGGI and graphs of emission trends are provided within the report. 2011 emissions rose slightly from last year mainly due to warmer summer temperatures and increased demand for air conditioning. The report also found that the switch to natural gas and clean energy technology emits less carbon dioxide and will help the power plants remain below the regional emissions cap. The constant demand for electricity despite the economic downturn also provides hope that emissions will not undergo any drastic changes once the economy stabilizes.
Fossil Fuels: An April 19th report “Fossil Fuels: A Legacy of Disaster” by the Center for American Progress (CAP) examines the dangers associated with fossil fuel dependence and provides reasons for why the United States should transition to cleaner energy technologies. In a Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety and Environmental Education worker safety survey of United Steelworkers-represented oil refineries, “Ninety percent of the 51 refineries reported the presence of at least one of the three targeted highly hazardous conditions.” The study was based upon three targets: “use of atmospheric vents on process units, the siting of trailers and unprotected buildings near high risk process facilities, and the allowance of non-essential personnel in high risk areas.” CAP indicates more funding should be provided to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in addition to support for labor union leaders to ensure the accuracy of worker safety and fossil fuel disasters data reports. Although every work place comes with risks in comparison to natural gas and fossil fuel sources, transitioning to clean energy technology is beneficial for public health, the environment, and the United States economy.
Energy Outlook: An April 26th report “The Annual Energy Outlook 2011” from the U.S. Energy Information Administration provides long term energy projections up to year 2035 based on current laws and regulations. Fifty-seven sensitivity cases and a reference case are enclosed within the report which explores the uncertainties, production, consumption, technology, and future directions regarding the United States energy economy. A majority of the report is focused on shale gas production, gains in usage of natural gas and renewable energy, reduction of fossil fuels, and slow reduction in energy related carbon dioxide emissions. In depth information is available in the “Issues in focus” section of the report.
Climate Legislation: An April 26th report “GLOBE Climate Legislation Study” released by the Global Legislators Organization (GLOBE) provides information on the latest groundbreaking study of climate change. The study is based on legislation in 16 of the world’s largest economies, which include countries such as the United States, China, Australia, and the United Kingdom. This study provides evidence that many developing countries are taking legislative steps to reduce climate change. Consequently, GLOBE claims that more attention should be paid to national level policy and legislative development. Other findings reveal information about Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) and national security structures.
Climate Finance: An April 2011 report “Designing the International Green Climate Fund: Focusing on Results” released by Global Economy and Development at Brookings outlines challenges and recommendations for the Transitional Committee on their April 28 – 29, 2011 meeting to supplement the parameters of the Green Climate Fund that were decided in Cancun last December. The report states that the fund must be aligned to the following principles: balance and inclusion; ownership; transformation; leverage; operational efficiency; and results and learning. Contributors and recipients must merge towards a shared objective to obtain results that will help nations move forward to a sustainable future.
Clean Air: An April report “State of the Air 2011” released by American Lung Association provides an annual update on air quality which includes lists of the nation’s most polluted metropolitan areas. This year’s report finds that the majority of American cities most-polluted by ozone (smog) or year-round particle pollution (soot) have improved, showing continued progress in the cleanup of deadly toxics, thanks to the Clean Air Act. However there is much work left to do, the report reveals that just over half the nation—154.5 million people—live in areas with levels of ozone and/or particle pollution that are often dangerous to breathe.
Public Opinion: An May 16th report “American Climate Attitudes 2011” released by The Social Capitol Project provides an analysis of significant public opinion trends on global warming. This report provides communication and engagement recommendations for climate practitioners based on polling data, research and the authors’ experience as climate and environmental communicators.