March 18, 2010
A UN study of population trends for Arctic wildlife released this week found some good and a bunch of bad in climate-related conditions for cold weather creatures. Bowhead whales, white-tailed eagles, and the Atlantic Puffin are gaining in numbers. The numbers of Atlantic cod, lemmings, the brown bear and the polar bear in the western Hudson Bay are declining.
The mixed results aptly illustrate trends on climate policy in Washington. This week Senator John Kerry said a proposal that he’s been drawing up with Senators Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman will likely be ready to introduce next month. That’s good.
But a report in E&E on March 17, based on interviews with people who attended a closed door meeting that the three senators held with industrial trade associations, described the proposal this way: “The bill calls for greenhouse gas curbs across multiple economic sectors, with a 2020 target of reducing emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels and an 80 percent limit at mid-century. In a bow to industry demands, the senators’ proposal would pre-empt U.S. EPA climate regulations under the Clean Air Act and halt dozens of state climate laws and regulations now on the books.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s top lobbyist promptly declared the Senate proposal was “largely in sync” with his organization’s goals.
There also was action this week on Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski’s resolution to block the EPA from regulating greenhouse. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents 11 major carmakers, formally opposed the resolution over concern it would derail federal efforts to raise fuel efficiency standards.
Here at USCAN we introduced a global climate calendar that highlights important events leading up to Cancun. We’re also spotlighting in our Hot Pubs section “The Good Haul,” EDF’s strong report on reducing freight’s health and environmental consequences. Send us notices of your reports so we can feature them on the USCAN Web site.
Lastly, Mother Jones and a notable group of news organizations this week launched the collaborative Climate Desk. “As global warming is the biggest challenge of our time,” writes Mother Jones reporter Kate Sheppard, “we thought it only appropriate that we pool our resources to explain and explore how the world is adjusting to this new reality.” The news desks involved are the Center for Investigative Reporting, Grist, The Nation Institute, Slate, The Atlantic, Wired, and WNET. “
Until next week take care, Keith Schneider