Thursday, September 21, 2017

Time to Recharge and Gear Up to Protect EPA Authority, Climate Action Hotline, July 29, 2010

US Climate Action Network

July 29, 2010

Time to Recharge and Gear Up to Protect EPA Authority

A week after Senate Democrats abandoned the work of limiting carbon emissions that are warming the Earth, leaders of the House and Senate introduced separate proposals to reduce the risk of deep ocean energy exploration and production, and advance energy efficiency and cleaner vehicles.

In Washington, some 350 environmental organizations, including the US Climate Action Network, issued a joint statement that made the essential point that rising carbon emissions are fostering an accelerating cascade of dangerous consequences for the environment and the American economy, and the work to change that would continue.

Both points gained fresh legitimacy in science and reality. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this week published State of the Climate 2009, which reported that air temperatures over land, sea-surface temperatures, sea level, ocean heat and humidity were all rising. Arctic sea ice, glaciers, and spring snow cover in the northern hemisphere were declining. And the past decade was the warmest on record.

Science and Reality
Meanwhile, an uncommon heat wave in Russia has led, said some reports, to hundreds of deaths from drowning. We also learned this week that phytoplankton, the microscopic plants that support all life in the oceans, are dying off at a dramatic rate, according to a new study from Dalhousie University in Canada.

It’s understandable that climate advocates who’ve worked so long to tee up federal action to cool the planet are at a spiritual ebb. Until December 2009, when the UN Copenhagen climate summit produced much less than anticipated, the idea of acting to limit carbon was on a roll. High points included 2007 Nobel Prizes for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s breakthrough science and for Al Gore’s astonishing work to elevate global warming to an international priority. They also included Barack Obama’s winning 2008 presidential election, and the formation of global online grassroots climate activism led by and TckTckTck, a project of the Global Campaign For Climate Action.
The Senate decision to drop climate from a comprehensive bill was the latest unmistakable signal that the burst of progress and optimism that led into Copenhagen was a political anomaly and that every step forward for the foreseeable future will be very hard work. The $5 billion in investments in clean energy and energy efficiency proposed this week in the Senate energy package help.

Climate advocates also are mindful of how the fossil fuel and utility industries, and their allies in Congress, are challenging the E.P.A.’s authority to regulate carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act. The Obama administration is using the law to soon produce dramatic reductions in carbon emissions in new vehicles, and is taking aim at large industrial polluters. Defending the agency and the law is shaping up to be the next big environmental clash in Washington.

Today, the EPA issued a formal rebuke to its critics who deny that climate change is real. The agency responded to petitioners who argued the agency’s finding late last year that carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases endangered public health was scientifically flawed. The EPA, which based its regulatory action on the “endangerment finding,” said it found no scientific evidence to support the petitioners’ claims and “that climate science is credible, compelling, and growing stronger.”

Next week is August’s start, a good time for Washington’s environmental community to get out of town, take a break, recharge. Thank you to all of our colleagues fighting so hard at the frontlines of the climate crisis.

Until next week, take care, Keith Schneider

Climate Progress

As early as next week, the Senate Appropriations committee could decide whether to restrict EPA’s ability to limit carbon pollution.   Now is the time to move forwards, not backwards in protecting public health, cutting pollution, and moving to a clean energy future. Send a letter to your Senator and urge him/her to vote against any action that would block or delay the EPA’s ability to regulate the nation’s biggest polluters. Visit for a sample action alert from NRDC.  For more information please contact Kate Smolski: or Jennifer Kurz:

Climate Progress

Dems Unveil Energy, Spill Package Plan to Move it Quickly
The legislation will address a number of issues in response to the BP PLC oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as create an energy-efficiency retrofit program, provide tax breaks for natural gas vehicles and infrastructure, and boost funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, according to the draft summary.

Senators Push for a Renewable Energy Standard
In a letter, 27 Democrats, led by by Sens. Byron Dorgan (N.D.), Mark Udall (Colo.) and Tom Udall (N.M.), made the case for a RES, which would require many utilities to supply escalating amounts of power from sources like wind and solar energy in coming years.

Cap-and-trade Prospects Shaky in Lame Duck
Although many climate advocates are hoping that cap and trade will be addressed in a House and Senate conference bill after the elections, the uphill climb to 60 Senate votes likely won’t get easier during a lame-duck session.

Reid clashes with Democrats and renewable groups over RES
Senate Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a draft summary of their energy and oil spill-response package with an ambitious goal of passing the measure by the end of next week. As expected, the package omits more controversial proposals including a price on carbon and a renewable electricity standard. RES advocates launched a last-minute lobbying blitz this week urging Reid to replace the energy mandate. Environmentalists, renewable energy industries and other proponents insisted that an RES — which would require utilities to generate a minimum percentage of their electricity from sources like wind, solar and geothermal — could win the 60 votes needed to clear the Senate.

Tiny Tax on Wall Street Trades to Pay for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation?
One of the key issues in securing a global climate deal is finding the finances for worldwide climate mitigation and adaption. U.S. Rep Pete Stark, has introduced a bill that would levy the tiny tax on trades of stocks, bonds, foreign exchange, futures and options involving large-scale traders who make more than $10,000 in transactions per year. This revenue could help millions of people in countries vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change.

China to Impose Economic Punishment on Six Companies for Violation of Emission Reduction Regulations
China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection said Friday it would impose “economic punishment” on six companies for violation of emission reduction regulations.  The six companies – five power enterprises and one chemical enterprise – were accused of abnormal operation of desulfurization facilities or of cheating in emission reports, ministry spokesman Tao Detian said.

Guyana and Norway Establish REDD+ Investment Fund
Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo and Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday announced the establishment of the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF), and stated that they have invited the World Bank to act as the fund manager.

Large Developing Nations Push for a Bigger Role in treaty
Ministers of the four so-called BASIC countries (China, India, Brazil, and South Africa meets in Rio de Janeiro to develop a new scientific panel to provide climate change data for and about developing countries

Climate Action Hotline is the new weekly update by the US Climate Action Network. Let us know what you think.
Special Coverage
Video Of The Week
Quote Of The Week
“As we look forward, one thing is clear: the Senate’s job is not done. They must use every opportunity available to address clean energy and climate reform by working to limit carbon pollution and invest in new clean energy sources that are made in America, including protecting the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to crack down on polluters.”

–Joint Statement on Senate Inaction by Environmental Groups, including USCAN.