Get Em When They’re Hot: New Climate Reports by ENE, TWS, NASA and WRI
Cap and Trade Receives Passing Grades. After one full year in operation, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative scored strong in Environment Northeast’s evaluation of the design and implementation of the nation’s first mandatory GHG cap and trade system. On 6 out of 10 criteria RGGI received an “A,” with the highest marks awarded for the success of the allowance auctions and the governing structure of the program. ENE identifies the setting of an appropriate cap level requires improvement, to take steps to ensure an overinflated cap does not harm the efficacy of the program.
All ten of the country’s greatest carbon-storing national forests are located in the Pacific Northwest. The ten national forests covering 19 million acres in western Oregon, western Washington, and southeastern Alaska capture approximately 9.8 billion tons of CO2-equivalent – an amount greater than all the CO2 emitted from the burning of fossil fuels throughout the U.S. in one year. The Wilderness Society presented these findings in a paper using data from the U.S. Forest Service.
Gas taxes raising fuel prices to above $8 per gallon may be the best method for achieving meaningful decreases in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. This is the conclusion of a paper recently published by Harvard’s Belfer Center called “Analysis of Policies to Reduce Oil Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the U.S. Transportation Sector.” The report analyzes five policy scenarios for effectiveness in curbing emissions, including fuel taxes, hybrid vehicle tax credits, and cap-and-trade.
NASA has recently determined automobiles to be the largest net contributor to climate change pollution. A paper from scientists at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies examines climate impacts of various economic sectors, accounting for both positive and negative climate forcing due to emission of different gases. NASA argues that climate profiles by economic sector foster better climate policy and easier identification of mitigation opportunities.
The conditions and trends of forests in the Southern U.S. can now easily be tracked thanks to a recent report from the World Resources Institute and a corresponding website: SeeSouthernForests.org. The report predicts that 19 million acres of forest will be converted due to residential and commercial development between 2020 and 2040. Satellite pictures on the website can be used to visualize the changes that have already taken place over the past 30 years.