Archive for June, 2013

 

Obama’s climate initiatives could shape his legacy (NY Times).

Chevron and a white shoe DC firm do battle over an Ecuadoran lawsuit (Washington Post).

A new paper suggests that pollution may have suppressed North Atlantic storms (NY Times).

Toyota aims for a fuel cell-powered car in 2015 (Bloomberg).

Coal shares plunged in advance of Obama’s climate announcement (Washington Post).

The UK is likely to miss climate change targets (BBC).

Finally. On the 1651st day of President Obama’s time in office, there is optimism on climate change. Obama’s speech yesterday directed the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions on existing power plants, as well as finish regulations on new power plants. This was the most powerful executive action that Obama could make on climate change.

While it was expected that Obama in his second term would perhaps ask the EPA to make some household appliances such as refrigerators and lamps more environmentally friendly, he went much further than that in this speech. When you shut off a light or wash your clothes in cold water instead of hot, you’re hoping it has a trickle-down effect. That effect being that it forces some power plants to close. Obama’s regulation is focused on that initial source as well, and it could be a far easier way to halt climate change rather than trying to change habits.

If you were to nitpick the speech, you’d look at the Keystone XL Pipeline and Obama’s hint that it could be approved since the fuel would just be transported by railroad (adding more emissions) if it didn’t get approved. The president also failed to talk about fracking. A simple change in how the natural gas is taken from the ground could make a considerable difference for the environment.

Aside from those problems, the speech was a good step forward on an issue that has lacked momentum since 2009 when the Senate was close to passing a comprehensive plan. Before yesterday, Obama had new regulations on auto emissions as his biggest climate change achievement. Now, he has regulation of power plants – it’s two steps forward in a fight that’s not done yet. But we have momentum again. Finally.

 

Obama will announce new climate initiatives in a Tuesday speech (Washington Post).

John Kerry pushes India to cut greenhouse gas emissions (NY Times).

Beijing’s pollution is driving out some American expats (LA Times).

Marijuana growing threatens California forests (NY times).

Foreign firms seek African land for biofuel crops (LA Times).

L.A. looks to contaminated wells for drinking water (LA Times).

 

Global CO2 emissions rose by 1.4% in 2012 (Washington Post).

Mayor Bloomberg rolls out a food recycling plan (NY Times).

China outsources its carbon emissions to poorer areas (BBC).

Water management helps Phoenix get by on 8 inches of rain per year (NY Times).

Nuclear power plants are closing faster than expected (NY Times).

Is turning cow dung into electricity just a big pile of manure? (LA Times).

ExxonMobil faces lawsuits over a spill in Arkansas (LA times).

 

Shipwrecks are more frequent in environmentally sensitive areas (BBC).

It will take decades to tear down a California nuclear power plant (LA Times).

L.A. air pollution has declined (BBC).

An Arkansas pipeline spill has caught Keystone XL opponents’ attention (LA Times).

The EPA is the latest agency to misuse public resources (Washington Post).

Abandoned oil wells are a problem in Texas (NY Times).

What’s in a name? Take global warming vs. climate change and you’ll find, there’s actually quite a lot.

The term climate change was made popular in George W. Bush’s administration and is seen as slightly political – as though it isn’t promising as much as the rather loaded global warming term. But, the opposite is the case: Climate change is promising more destruction than just global warming.

As NASA’s website, which explains the difference historically, says:

“Temperature change itself isn’t the most severe effect of changing climate. Changes to precipitation patterns and sea level are likely to have much greater human impact than the higher temperatures alone. For this reason, scientific research on climate change encompasses far more than surface temperature change. So “global climate change” is the more scientifically accurate term. Like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we’ve chosen to emphasize global climate change on this website, and not global warming.”

That’s why climate change is often used on this website. It’s just more accurate. The surface temperature may rise in some places, but just not every year right away. Also, climate change is a far easier defense in everyday conversation. When somebody says: “Wow, it’s been a long time since we had so much snow or so much wind or so much cold,” it’s hard to respond — well, that’s global warming. Although, it kind of is. It’s far easier— and more accurate—to blame it on climate change, which is what you can do thanks to the proliferation of the term.

And climate change has caught on like the unfortunate escalation in wildfires it causes. According to a quick Google search, climate change lands more than 788 million hits on the search engine and 168,000 hits on the news search engine. “Global warming,” however, lands just 251 million hits and more than 74,000 news hits. This seems to be one of the few environmental debates where accuracy has won out.

 

Green certification groups have their differences (NY Times).

Electric cars are getting cheaper (LA times). Bikes are going electric too (LA Times).

Tesla adds more charging stations (Bloomberg).

Fracking in California creates competition for water (NY times).

The UK has huge shale gas resources (BBC).