Archive for October, 2010

Faulty cement was one cause of the BP well explosion, says the commission investigating the incident (NY Times).

Electric vehicle sales could be slow, says a report from JD Power (LA Times). This article wonders if a Nissan-GM rivalry could hurt electric vehicles as a whole (MSNBC).

Some companies want their greenhouse gas emissions data kept secret (MSNBC).

Here’s the EPA’s press release on proposed fuel efficiency standards for trucks and buses.

With the election coming up, it’s sad to think of how far the climate change call has fallen in the past two years – as the climate has reached its tipping point. Were the disastrous storms not enough? The floods, the deadly heat waves, the hurricanes – those are harbingers of what will become normal.

No, sadly, it was not. And the public’s appetite for dealing with climate change has dropped. This New York Times article looks at how people need to change in order to then deal with global warming.

“It requires a shift in our values to reflect what scientists have been telling us for years,” he added. “The certainty of climate change must shift from that of being a ‘scientific fact’ to that of being a ‘social fact.’ ”

How do you help make it social fact? Go to the polls Tuesday and vote – and make sure climate change is an important issue in your mind when you choose a candidate.

The clean energy industry worries that federal funds may dry up (Washington Post).

Residents in Idaho don’t want heavy oil drilling equipment transported on their roads (NY Times).

Industry and environmentalists alike worry about cuts at New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (NY Times).

Things have been rocky at the UN biodiversity conference (BBC).

A report says Brazil and India lead the way in considering the economic value of nature (BBC).

The Obama administration is planning for fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy duty trucks (MSNBC).

The Arctic of old may not be coming back (MSNBC).

New green hand sanitizers let you clean on the go without ingredients such as toxic triclosan.

A handful of links as we head into the weekend.

The Washington Post has this article on Prop 23 in California. The NY Times has this article on climate change skeptics who try to conserve energy.

A U.N. report stresses the economic value of nature (Washington Post). One area is the impact of water supply on municipal bonds (NY Times).

The Washington Post looks at the politics behind President Obama’s decisions on oil drilling.  This Post article looks at the rise of natural gas.

The Boston Globe has a lengthy article about successful legislation 20 years ago to fight acid rain, and wonders if its lessons are being ignored today.

The EPA recommends halting a mountaintop mining project in West Virginia (NY Times).

The IPCC prepares for a new climate change assessment (BBC). A UN meeting on biodiversity begins today (BBC).

Rhode Island’s East Bay communities look to develop a wind farm (Providence Journal). A study looks at why insects are attracted to wind turbines (BBC).

Massachusetts prepares to open charging stations for electric cars (Boston Globe).

Companies are starting to disclose more about what’s in their household cleaning products (MSNBC).

This L.A. Times column recounts the author’s experience with different green living strategies.

Western politicians take aim at the Endangered Species Act’s protection of wolves (LA Times).

Aim for a “tree-free” home; choose reusable alternatives to paper products or recycled paper.

The government lifts the deepwater drilling ban in the Gulf of Mexico (LA Times).

The L.A. Times looks at some highly creative approaches to green energy.

The EPA struggles to give fuel ratings to electric cars (NY Times).

The Fertile Crescent isn’t so fertile anymore (NY Times).

The New Yorker’s lengthy expose (linked by Terry on Monday) is a fascinating account into the Senate’s failure to pass a climate change bill this session. By the end of the article, the blame pie can be equally shared among the politicians, but what the article really shows is how hands-off the Obama administration is in all of this.

From love of offshore drilling to a lack of staffing in environmental adviser Carol Browner’s office, President Obama abandoned his campaign rhetoric that climate change was THE top priority. It’s priority fell behind many other reforms such as finance and health-care.

But it’s not just the lack of support from the White House that killed the bill – the administration also had a lack of communication with Sens. Kerry, Graham and Lieberman and was often working against them.

This (announcing offshore drilling was open) was the third time that the White House had blundered. In February, the President’s budget proposal included $54.5 billion in new nuclear loan guarantees. Graham was also trying to use the promise of more loan guarantees to lure Republicans to the bill, but now the White House had simply handed the money over. Later that month, a group of eight moderate Democrats sent the E.P.A. a letter asking the agency to slow down its plans to regulate carbon, and the agency promised to delay any implementation until 2011. Again, that was a promise Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman wanted to negotiate with their colleagues. Obama had served the dessert before the children even promised to eat their spinach. Graham was the only Republican negotiating on the climate bill, and now he had virtually nothing left to take to his Republican colleagues.
Later, the White House is accused of linking Sen. Graham to a “gas tax,” which ended up just about killing the deal since the Republican was horrified by the backstabbing. Also not to be left out of the blame pie are party leaders Sen. Mitch McConnell (pushed the just say ” no” policy to all Democrats) and Sen. Harry Reid (who in his own interest tried to push a nonexistent immigration bill ahead of climate change).
In the end, however, while the lack of passing a bill hurts, this bill (which had been picked over by big oil, big business and other utility companies) might have been somewhat toothless if it was passed.

The New Yorker has a fascinating account of the Senate climate bill’s demise.

The Boston Globe has this lengthy article on Cape Wind’s cost, while the projects developers signed a 28 year lease with the federal government (MSNBC).

The Globe’s magazine publishes a green issue.  The Washington Post looks at green remodeling of homes.

The L.A. Times has this editorial on U.S. energy policy.

A Hungarian town may face another wave of red sludge (MSNBC). The site had been on a watch list of risky locations (NY Times).

A proposed $22 billion clean energy city in the UAE has been delayed and revised (MSNBC).

This week’s UN climate talks yielded no breakthroughs (BBC). Prospects appear dim for next month’s meeting in Cancun (NY Times).

Shipping emissions was an area of contention (BBC).

Vacancies are keeping RI’s Coastal Resources Management Council from conducting any business (Providence Journal).