Tuesday, September 22, 2015



On August 5 Jessica Jones of the League of Women Voters posted a nice piece titled, Finalized Clean Power Plan Outlines Key Ways to Stop Climate Change.  It starts out, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final version of the Clean Power Plan - the first ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants. The Clean Power Plan takes the necessary steps to reduce this dangerous greenhouse gas effectively protecting our children and future generations from the effects of climate change.”  It goes on to point out some of the key features and benefits of the CPP.

John Sutter of CNN published an article on Aug. 7 titled, What you don't know about America and climate change.  It has 10 questions about American knowledge and attitudes about climate change.  After you select one of two answers for each question, it tells you which one is right.  It’s fun.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a website titled, Are you climate literate? with 30 questions about the climate system, causes of change, and effects of change, whose answers range in value from 10 points to 100.  You can make up game cards with a question on one side of each and the answer on the other, to you can do play it electronically from a set of PowerPoint slides with the questions and answers (along with the sources of information).  The slides can be found on the web at: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/discoverclimate/NOAA_Activity%208_Are-You-Climate-Literate.pdf
The information covered by the questions can be found in Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science.

Lauren Leatherby of NPR’s It’s all politics posted an article on Aug. 11 titled, Where Presidential Candidates Stand On Climate Change.
It has a nice table summarizing the stands of the current 5 Democratic and 17 Republican candidates for president on six issues ranging from saying climate change is real to opposing the Keystone XL pipeline.  Leatherby writes, In early 2014, 71 percent of Americans said the government should do whatever it takes to protect the environment, according to a Pew Research Center poll. Though that number is higher among Democrats — 88 percent — 50 percent of Republicans also said the country should do whatever it takes to protect the environment.”  Sanders hasproposed taxes on carbon emissions and eliminating tax breaks for fossil fuel companies. (emphasis added) Clinton set a goal to produce one-third of U.S. electricity using renewable sources by 2027.”

The New Scientist for August 17 has an article titled, Much of Asia’s Celestial mountain glacier ice could melt by 2050.  It says, “Glaciers are disappearing globally faster than at any time since records began 100 years ago. Most of those in central Asia could be gone by 2050.
The Celestial mountains of central Asia, the Tien Shan range ... have lost 27 per cent of their glacier mass since 1961, thanks to rising summer temperatures, and could lose a further half of what remains by 2050, according to research by Daniel Farinotti of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research in Birmensdorf, Switzerland.  Because meltwater from the glaciers supplies the Fergana Valley, one of the largest irrigated areas on earth, the impact on farmers could be immense. The snow and glacier melt from Tien Shan also provides water to northern China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan.”
“Another study published earlier this month, which looked at the fate of all glaciers over the past century, excluding the troubled Greenland and Antarctic Ice sheets, which are affected by different dynamics, paints an equally gloomy picture.
“The first decade of the 21st century, from 2000 to 2010, saw the greatest decadal loss of glacier ice ever measured,” says lead author Michael Zemp of the World Glacier Monitoring Service at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. “It’s without precedent.”
The analysis relied on 45,000 observations taken since 1894 of 2000 glaciers. Alarmingly, it shows that in the decade from 2001 to 2010, they lost on average 75 centimetres of their thickness each year.
This rate was twice the rate in the 1990s and treble that in the 1980s, demonstrating that the losses are accelerating fast(emphasis added)
It means that globally, we’re now losing treble the total ice volume of the European Alps each year,” says Zemp. “We were shocked.””

Chelsea Harvey has an article in the August 18 issue of the Washington Post titled, Now Google can tell you whether it’s a good idea to put solar panels on your roof.  An engineer at Google has developed a new tool that estimates the amount of energy and savings solar power could generate for any given home. Project Sunroof, which just launched in pilot form on Monday, allows users to search their address and find out the number of square feet available on their roof for solar panels, the number of hours of usable sunlight that could be generated, and the amount of money it could save. It’s currently available for residents of the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno and Boston.”  “The tool uses the same aerial imagery data used for Google Earth to evaluate a rooftop’s solar potential, taking into account factors such as shade from nearby trees or buildings. The tool also factors in local annual weather patterns to make a more informed evaluation about how much sun will be hitting the roof. Once they receive their results, users can input data on their typical energy bills to get better estimates on the amount of money they could save each year by installing solar panels. It also links users to solar providers in their area.”

The August 21 issue of ScienceBlog posted a piece titled, Greenhouse gases caused glacial retreat during last Ice Age.  It reported results of a recent paper in Nature Communications that described an improved method for determining when boulders were exposed as the glaciers that had covered them melted and retreated.  The scientists found a good correlation between the rates of retreat of glaciers around the world after the last ice age and and the concentrations of CO2 found in ice cores.  Because the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have been increasing rapidly since humans began burning fossil fuels and are now 40% higher than they were in 1750, it appears that most of the glacial ice will be gone in a few centuries - with serious consequences for both fresh water supplies and rising sea levels.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has a website titled U.S. Nuclear Power Plants, with a map showing reactor locations and an interactive database with information on the reactors and the safety issues they have had.  I’m particularly interested in the two nuclear reactors in Salem, NJ, just across the Delaware River from northern Delaware, where I live.  Although the reactors are in a neighboring state, more than 71,000 people live within 10 miles of the reactors - most of them in Delaware.  The safety concerns with both Salem Unit 1 and Salem Unit 2 are leakage of radioactivity into ground water, flooding, and outages of a year or more; Unit 1 has also been the object of heightened attention by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).  Both are located near current sea level to take advantage of water from the Delaware River for cooling.  How much can sea level rise before they are inoperable?  What happens to the nuclear waste then?  How would they weather a large storm surge, e.g., during a hurricane?

The August 30 issue of the NY TImes has a short article by Julie Hirschfeld Davis titled, Obama’s Alaska Visit Puts Climate, Not Energy, in Forefront.  She wrote, President Obama will travel to Alaska on Monday to call for urgent and aggressive action to tackle climate change, capitalizing on a poignant tableau of melting glaciers, crumbling permafrost and rising sea levels to illustrate the immediacy of an issue he hopes to make a central element of his legacy.
But during a three-day trip choreographed to lend spectacular visuals and real-world examples to Mr. Obama’s message on global warming, he will pay little heed to the oil and gas drilling offshore that he allowed to go forward just this month, a move that activists say is an unsavory blot on an otherwise ambitious climate record.”
“While Mr. Obama has taken unprecedented steps to reduce the nation’s demand for the fossil fuels that cause climate change, enacting new rules that cut emissions while pressing for a major global accord, he has done far less to shift investment away from oil and gas development. That has boomed during his presidency, bringing economic benefits in the form of jobs and lower electricity prices.”
NOTE: Most Americans did not want to get involved in WWII.  It seemed remote and far away.  But after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt called on all Americans to mobilize, to change the way they lived, and to fully exert themselves to face the increasing threat.  President Obama wants to have it both ways - allowing more oil drilling in the Arctic while Alaska looses an area the size of a football field every day.  This will not suffice.

Vice News for August 31 has an article by Laura Dattaro titled, How Climate Change Impacts Women the Most.  She wrote, The United Nations will finalize in September its Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to eliminate poverty while reducing humanity's environmental discussion, including lessening the harmful effects of climate change.”
“"In the climate change process specifically, we want the normative framework to embed gender equality," said Verona Collantes, a climate change specialist with UN Women, the international agency's gender empowerment organization.”
“Particularly in developing countries, social structures that disadvantage women often put them at higher risks of harm and even death from climate change. For example, because women are frequently responsible for caring for children and the elderly, they're often the last to leave when a disaster strikes. A 2007 study from the London School of Economics found that natural disasters — which are expected to become more severe as the world heats up — are more likely to kill women than men, and that this disparity is largest where women's socioeconomic status is lowest.”
“Women are also largely responsible for tasks that may become more difficult in a warmer world. In 63 percent of households in rural sub-Saharan Africa, for example, women must collect and carry the family's water, according to a 2010 UN report. In only 11 percent of households does this job fall to men.
Climate change, deforestation, and desertification are leading to declining water supplies, the report found, and that means women, and in some cases young girls, might need to spend more time finding water — time that could otherwise be spent on education or earning an income.”
The Sept. 2 issue of BBC News has an article by Matt McGrath titled, Emissions 'far above' 2C target.  A consortium of research institutions called the Carbon Action Tracker (CAT) has analyzed the commitments made so far by 15 governments to limit their carbon emissions, prior to the international agreement in Paris in December.  Of the 56 governments that have published their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions(INDCs) toward keeping the global average temperature increase to 2 degrees C, these 15 account for 65% of the total global carbon emissions.  Eight of them - including those of the U.S., China and the EU - were considered adequate, while seven of them - including those of Canada, Australia and Japan - were considered inadequate to meet the target.  Many countries with significant CO2 emissions - including Indonesia dn Brazil - have not yet published their INDCs.  Bill Hare, a member of Climate Analytics, one of the institutions in the CAT, said, "It is clear that if the Paris meeting locks in present climate commitments for 2030, holding warming below 2C could essentially become infeasible, and 1.5 degrees C beyond reach." 
NOTE: Some low-lying island nations that are particularly vulnerable to sea level rise have urged that the global average temperature increase be limited to 1.5 degrees C to improve their chances of avoiding being totally inundated.

The NY TImes of  Sept. 4 had an article by N. Gregory Mankiw titled, The Key Role of Conservatives in Taxing Carbon.  He writes, Scientists have been telling us for years that the earth is warming and that one of the culprits is human emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. Some believe that global warming has contributed to the current severe drought in California.”
“Policy wonks like me have long argued that the best way to curb carbon emissions is to put a price on carbon. The cap-and-trade system President Obama advocates is one way to do that. A more direct and less bureaucratic way is to tax carbon. When polled, economists overwhelmingly support the idea.
One reason is that putting a price on carbon alters incentives in many ways. It encourages utilities to switch to cleaner forms of generating electricity, like wind and solar instead of coal. It encourages people to buy more fuel-efficient cars, form car pools with their neighbors, use more public transportation, live closer to work and turn down their thermostats. A regulatory system that tried to achieve all this would be heavy-handed and less effective.”
He goes on to say that many conservatives are willing to support a carbon tax so long as it is revenue-neutral, i.e. it does not increase the size or expenditures of government  It happened in British Columbia.
NOTE: Dr. Mankiw is an economics professor at Harvard, and probably knows what he is talking about.

On Sept. 5 Peter Mellgard of The WorldPost posted an article titled, The European Migrant Crisis Is A Nightmare. The Climate Crisis Will Make It Worse.  He wrote,
The hundreds of thousands of migrants arriving in Europe or dying on the way to its shores could be a harbinger of things to come, researchers and policymakers warn, because a potentially greater driver of displacement looms on the horizon: climate change.
As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned at a recent State Department-led conference on climate change in the Arctic, the scenes of chaos and heartbreak in Europe will be repeated globally unless the world acts to mitigate climate change.  "Wait until you see what happens when there's an absence of water, an absence of food, or one tribe fighting against another for mere survival," Kerry said.
World leaders have long warned that natural disasters and degraded environments linked to climate change could -- indeed, have already started to -- drive people from their homes. UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres declared in 2009 that climate change will create millions of refugees and internally displaced populations. "Not only states, but cultures and identities will be drowned," Guterres said.  Displacement is already happening in some parts of the world. Almost 28 million people on average were displaced by environmental disasters every year between 2008 and 2013, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center -- roughly three times as many as were forced from their homes by conflict and violence.”
“Few countries or international organizations are prepared to deal with environmentally displaced people. As a 2011 report from the European Parliament's Directorate-General for Internal Policies detailed, there is no specific legal protection for "environmentally displaced individuals" beyond temporary measures that would prove insufficient if the environmental damage to their homeland endured.“
NOTE: The number of Syrian refugees displaced by the war there is approaching 5 million.  I have looked at the relationship between elevations above sea level and the number of people living below them, and found that a sea level rise of 1 meter (about 39 inches) - quite likely by 2100 - would displace over 100 million people!  Ten meters - possible by 2200 - would displace over 700 million!  We are not prepared.
Michael Mann posted an article on Sept. 21 in EcoWatch titled, Exxon Doubled Down on Climate Denial and Deceit.  He points our that, while Exxon Mobil has been funding attacks on climate change science for more than two decades, its management was warned by its top scientists in 1977 that the continued burning of fossil fuels would increase the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and change the global climate.  The company even sponsored research to find out how rapidly the oceans would take up CO2, so that it could determine how long it had before it had to move away from fossil fuels!

The following items are from the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), Carol Werner, Executive Director. Past issues of its newsletter are posted on its website under "publications"
 at http://www.eesi.org/publications/Newsletters/CCNews/ccnews.htm
EESI’s newsletter is intended for all interested parties, particularly the policymaker community. 

 pastedGraphic.pdfEPA Releases Draft Regulations to Cut Methane Leaks from Oil and Gas Sector

On August 18, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed rule to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. The announcement follows the White House's pledge earlier this year to cut methane emissions from the sector 40 to 45 percent below 2012 levels by 2025. In the proposed rule, EPA set draft standards to detect and reduce methane leaks from new and modified production, processing, and transmission facilities in the oil and gas sector. The draft standards are voluntary for existing sources. Methane, the main component of natural gas, is at least 84 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over a 20 year period. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement, "Today, through our cost-effective proposed standards, we are underscoring our commitment to reducing the pollution fueling climate change and protecting public health while supporting responsible energy development, transparency and accountability."

In related news, a study published on August 4 in the journal Energy Science & Engineering contends that methane leakage data used by EPA and others is underestimating actual emissions. The study by independent researcher Touché Howard found that the Bacharach Hi-Flow Sampler, a commonly-used methane leak detection device, can produce measurement errors. Mismeasurements are always lower than the actual emissions, never higher. An EPA spokeswoman said the agency would review the study "as a part of our routine review of new information and data for potential incorporation in the GHG Inventory."

For more information see:

 pastedGraphic_1.pdfJuly Was Hottest Month On Record:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Japanese Meteorological Society (JMA) all report that July 2015 was the hottest month worldwide on record. According to NOAA data, July's average global temperature was 61.86 degrees F, warmer than the previous record-setting month of July 1998 by 0.14 degrees F. The record July follows record-breaking warm months this year for February, March, May and June. Ocean waters are also experiencing record-setting temperatures; the Pacific measured 1.35 degrees F warmer than the 20th century average. Highlighting some of the worst hit regions, NOAA said, "The average temperature for Africa was the second highest for July on record, behind only 2002, with regional record warmth across much of eastern Africa into central areas of the continent. Record warmth was also observed across much of northern South America, parts of southern Europe and central Asia, and the far western United States."

For more information see:

 pastedGraphic_2.pdfMuslim Leaders Discuss Necessity for Climate Action

On August 18, the International Islamic Climate Change Symposium, a group of 60 Islamic national and religious leaders from 20 countries, published a declaration making climate action a priority. The declaration asks wealthy nations to phase out greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and asks that all nations commit to a zero emissions or a fully renewable energy strategy. Wael Hmaidan, one of the organizers of the declaration and director of Climate Action Network International, said, "Islam is very strong on environmental protection. From the Quran to the hadiths, it really says it is a human responsibility ... that we are tasked with protecting creation and it is part of our duties as Muslims."

For more information see:

pastedGraphic_3.pdfClimate Change Reverses Centuries of Ocean Cooling

On August 17, a study published in Nature Geoscience reported that climate change has reversed a natural cooling trend in ocean temperatures. Volcanic activity has increased the levels of aerosol particles in the ocean, cooling ocean temperatures over the past 1,800 years. The study finds that in the past 200 years, climate change reversed the cooling trend and has significantly increased the ocean's temperature between 0.5 to 1.5 degrees Celsius, up to 20 times more quickly than the ocean had previously cooled naturally. Study co-author Michael Evans said, "Today, the Earth is warming about 20 times faster than it cooled during the past 1,800 years. This study truly highlights the profound effects we are having on our climate today."

For more information see:

pastedGraphic_4.pdfStudy: California Drought Made More Intense by Climate Change

A study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters on August 20 estimated that, due to manmade climate change, the current California drought is 15 to 20 percent more severe than it otherwise would be. "It would be a fairly bad drought no matter what. But it's definitely made worse by global warming," said lead study author A. Park Williams of Columbia University. The study also forecasts that virtually permanent drought conditions in the state will occur by the 2060s, with evaporation of soil moisture overwhelming any rainfall. While this study is not the first to reach similar findings, outside observers noted that the study's data analysis was the most comprehensive to date. The research is "probably the best I've seen on this question," said Stanford University scientist David B. Lobell. A separate report released on August 17 by a team at the University of California, Davis, estimated that the current California drought will cost the state $2.7 billion this year.

For more information see:

pastedGraphic_5.pdfObama Launches Climate Tour with Focus on Greater Accessibility for Renewable Energy

On August 24, President Obama began an 11-day climate tour at the eighth annual National Clean Energy Summit held in Las Vegas, where he encouraged renewable energy as the best way to cut emissions and create new jobs. Obama also discussed new initiatives to increase access to clean energy, including $1 billion in federal loan guarantee authority for distributed energy projects such as rooftop solar. "The revolution going on here is that people are beginning to realize they can take more control over their own energy, what they use, how much, when," Obama said. President Obama will visit locations from the Arctic Circle to the Gulf of Mexico on this tour, discussing renewable energy, climate resiliency and the need for a global deal on climate.

For more information see:

pastedGraphic_6.pdfMayors Launch Social Media Campaign to Raise Awareness about Climate Change

On August 25, the mayors of Philadelphia, Houston, and Los Angeles launched a social media campaign to reduce greenhouse gases in cities throughout the United States, ahead of international negotiations to reduce global climate change to take place in Paris this December. Mayors Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Annise Parker of Houston, and Michael Nutter of Philadelphia said in a statement, "As President (Barack) Obama said at the Clean Energy Summit, the Clean Power Plan and other efforts to produce clean energy are critical for our nation's economy. These efforts are big steps forward, but we need Congress to step up and support binding US greenhouse gas reduction targets." The social media campaign uses the hashtag #ClimateMayors.

For more information see:

pastedGraphic_7.pdfLatinos Increasingly Care about Environmental Issues and Climate Change

On August 18, a GreenLatinos and Earthjustice poll conducted by Latino Decisions showed that Latinos are increasingly concerned about environment issues and the potential impact on their families. Latinos expressed deep concerns over the effects of climate change, with 78 percent of the 1,200 Latinos surveyed saying they have directly experienced climate change effects. In an interview with NPR, Gary Segura, co-founder of Latino Decisions, noted that Latino neighborhoods are heavily exposed to environmental hazards, which may explain why Latinos are worried about the personal effects of climate change. A previous poll conducted by The New York Times in January 2015 also found that Hispanics considered global warming a more serious and personal problem than non-Hispanic whites.

For more information see:

 NOTE: Latinos make up a growing fraction of the U.S. electorate.  Where is the Republican Party on climate change?

pastedGraphic_8.pdfFastest Glacier in Greenland Just Lost another Massive Chunk of Ice

On August 16, members of the Arctic Sea Ice Forum were examining satellite images from Jakobshavn glacier in Greenland when they noticed that between August 14 and August 16, a chunk of ice around five square miles detached from the glacier. If confirmed, this calving event would set a record as the largest observed ice chunk split from Jakobshavn glacier. A 2014 study by Joughin et al., published in The Cryosphere, indicated that the Jakobshavn glacier is one of the fastest melting in the world, shedding ice at average speeds of about 150 feet per day during the summers of 2012 and 2013. In 2014, Joughin said the Jokobshavn by itself had increased sea level by one millimeter from 2000 to 2010, and may continue to do so for the next decade.

For more information see:

pastedGraphic_9.pdfWorld's Forests Face Grave Risk

In several studies published on August 21 in Science, researchers reported that forests worldwide are in danger from the effects of climate change and human intervention. Susan Trumbore, co-author of the studies, wrote in a preamble, "These papers document how humans have fundamentally altered forests across the globe and warn of potential broad-scale future declines in forest health, given increased demand for land and forest products combined with rapid climate change." Each kind of forest, tropical, temperate, boreal, and those planted by humans, are all experiencing above average temperatures, drought, risk of forest fires and threats from invasive species.

For more information see:

pastedGraphic_10.pdfPresident Obama Visits Alaska to Discuss Climate Change 

From August 31 to September 2, President Obama visited Alaska to call attention to the deleterious climate change impacts the state is already facing, such as crumbling permafrost, rising sea levels and eroding coastlines. "I've been trying to make the rest of the country more aware of a changing climate, but you're already living it," Obama said to an audience of 1,000 in the Inuit town of Kotzebue on Wednesday. During the visit, the President announced several policy initiatives aimed to help Alaskans, including a $2 million commitment to help the Denali Commission (a federal agency that manages government assistance in Alaska) to repair coastal villages or help them relocate. Obama's visit to Alaska is part of an 11-day climate-focused tour, which will take the President across the country.

For more information see:

John Kerry Speaks on Climate Change Urgency in Alaska

On August 31, Secretary of State John Kerry addressed an international audience at the 'Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience' (GLACIER) in Anchorage, Alaska, warning that climate change is "happening now" and has a "profound impact on habitat everywhere." Kerry said the Arctic is a "harbinger" of the climate changes which will affect the world, stating, "You think migration is a challenge to Europe today because of extremism, wait until you see what happens when there's an absence of water, an absence of food, or one tribe fighting against another for mere survival." The conference closed with the signing of a declaration calling for urgent action to address Arctic climate change, which was signed by the United States, the European Union, Japan, Singapore and South Korea. China, India and Russia all abstained from signing.

For more information see:

pastedGraphic_11.pdfCalifornia Votes to Divest Its Pension Funds, Worth $500 Billion, from Coal

On September 2, the California Assembly voted 43 to 27 in favor of SB 185 to divest its public pension funds CalPERS and CalSTRS from coal. The two funds together manage close to $500 billion in assets. Kevin de Leon, the bill's sponsor and Senate president pro tempore, said coal stocks have been losing value, and are "inconsistent with our values as a state on the forefront of efforts to address global climate change." Governor Brown has until October 11 to sign the bill. Once law, CalPERS and CalSTRS will have 18 months to divest their thermal coal holdings. CalPERS estimates it has $167 million in coal stocks, and CalSTRS estimates it holds $40 million.

For more information see:

pastedGraphic_12.pdfGeneral Mills Announces New Climate Goals

On August 31, General Mills announced a new goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 28 percent by 2025 across its entire supply chain. The company will invest $100 million in energy efficiency and clean energy measures, and work with suppliers throughout the supply chain to incorporate environmentally sustainable measures into its products. General Mills will also include an additional 250,000 acres of organic farms in its supply chain, and make efforts to ensure its grain and produce is produced using sustainable agricultural practices. CEO Ken Powell said, "We think that human-caused greenhouse gas causes climate change and climate volatility, and that's going to stress the agricultural supply chain, which is very important to us."

For more information see:

 New Study Says Hurricanes Completely Outside Historical Experience May Be Coming

On August 31, a study published in Nature Climate Change found the likelihood of extremely devastating hurricane events, unlike any seen in history, will increase throughout the twenty-first century due to climate change. The risk is especially large in Cairns, Australia, where super hurricanes could generate a 20 foot storm surge; Tampa, Florida, with a potential 19 foot storm surge; and Dubai, where there have never before been hurricanes, could see a 13 foot storm surge. The study states that sea level rise and global warming associated with climate change will bump up the likelihood of these hurricanes, from 1/10,000 years now, to 1/2,500-1/700 toward the end of the century. Study author Kerry Emanuel commented, "Physics says you can have one [of these super hurricanes]. It's not likely, but it's not impossible."

For more information see:

pastedGraphic_13.pdfChina and US Agree to Greater Cooperation on Climate Change

On September 9, Brian Deese, senior advisor to President Obama, met with Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli who agreed to cooperate more closely on addressing climate change. "Climate change is of high importance to China, and we hope to work with other parties including the United States to build a fair, reasonable and win-win global climate governance system based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, equity and respective capabilities," Zhang said. Chinese President Xi will visit the United States this month to continue the dialogue on climate change and promote low-carbon growth. Deese also visited New Delhi to discuss climate change with senior officials, with the ultimate goal of cementing strong partnerships before the Paris conference.

For more information see:

pastedGraphic_14.pdfCalifornia Passes One Climate Bill, Scuttles Another 

On September 11, the California state Assembly passed SB 350 by a vote of 51-26. SB 350 sets several new goals, including increasing renewable energy to supply 50 percent of California's electricty by 2020 and making buildings 50 percent more efficient, also by 2020. The bill, introduced by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon, originally included a provision to reduce petroleum use by 50 percent, but on Wednesday this provision was removed, following intense lobbying by the oil industry. 

In related news on September 10, California state Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) withdrew a request for a vote on her bill, SB 32, saying she will try again in 2016. Sen. Pavley's bill called for an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050. Both Sen. Pavley's bill and Sen. De Leon's included goals outlined by Governor Brown in his inaugural speech earlier this year.

For more information see:

French President Warns International Climate Negotiations Could Fail

On September 7, French President Francois Hollande warned there is potential for the upcoming international climate negotiations in Paris to fail, especially if wealthier nations cannot produce the funds to help less-developed countries combat the effects of climate change. Hollande told a media conference, "Good intentions are there, but we are still far away from a legally binding agreement and financing that is up to the levels needed." In 2009, rich nations committed to give $100 billion annually by 2020 to developing countries to aid them with droughts, floods, and other climate change-exacerbated disasters; however, this goal has not yet been achieved. "Everything depends on this question of finance," Hollande stated, "It's the key."

For more information see:

Pacific Islands Forum Calls for Ambitious Climate Deal

On September 10-11, 16 Pacific nations met for the 46th Annual Pacific Island Forum in Papua New Guinea, where the threat of climate change-exacerbated sea level rise was a major topic. The leaders published a declaration calling for a 1.5 degrees C limit on global warming, and stating that an "ambitious, legally binding agreement," at United Nations climate negotiations in Paris this December is "crucial." Prior to the Forum, some nations were applying pressure on Australia and New Zealand to commit to greater emissions reductions targets and agree to ban new coal mines, but the countries were not persuaded. Both did, however, sign the declaration.

For more information see:

pastedGraphic_15.pdfCourt Denies States Request to Put a Hold on the Clean Power Plan

On September 9, a federal appeals court for the District of Columbia ruled it would not put an emergency stop on the Clean Power Plan, as requested by West Virginia, 15 other states and a coal-mining company, until the regulation is published in the Federal Register. Earlier this year, West Virginia also unsuccessfully led states in a lawsuit to challenge the rule before it was made final. Their main argument is that the ruling will force states to spend enormous public resources to meet the emissions reduction goals and will place a burden on residents and power plants. The Clean Power Plan will be published in the Federal Register by the end of October.

For more information see:

pastedGraphic_16.pdfStudy Finds Developed Countries Owe $10 Trillion Climate Debt

On September 7, journal Nature Climate Change published a study estimating that developed nations owe the world about $10 trillion for their historic contributions to climate change. Study author Dr. R. Damon Matthews stated, "It is important to acknowledge and own up to how much we in the developed world have over-contributed to historical climate changes." To calculate the debt, Matthews took the total carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by high-emitting nations since 1990 and multiplied by $40 per metric ton, the U.S. government's calculated social cost of CO2. Matthews says that these findings could be used to determine how much money should be donated to the United Nations' Green Climate Fund.

For more information see:

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Chad A. Tolman

New Castle County Congregations of Delaware Interfaith Power and Light