Tuesday, April 21, 2015



The March 22 issue of The Guardian has an article by Simon Bowers titled, Climate-sceptic US senator given funds by BP political action committee.  He wrote, “Jim Inhofe, a Republican senator from Oklahoma who has tirelessly campaigned against calls for a carbon tax and challenges the overwhelming consensus on climate change, received $10,000 (£6,700) from BP’s Political Action Committee (PAC).”  The PAC is funded by senior BP (British Petroleum) staff, including Chief Executive Bob Dudley, and donated $655,000 to political candidates between 2010 and 2014, with over 40 U.S. senators receiving donations.  And this was in spite of the fact that its report BP Energy Outlook 2035 said,To abate carbon emissions further will require additional significant steps by policy makers beyond the steps already assumed, and the Outlook provides comparative information for possible options and their relative impacts on emissions. However, as no one option is likely to be sufficient on its own, multiple options will need to be pursued. This underlines the importance of policymaking taking steps that lead to a meaningful global price for carbon (emphasis added) which would provide incentives for everyone to play their role in meeting the world’s increasing energy needs in a sustainable manner.”
Inhofe, now the Chair of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee,  pulled a stunt in February on the floor of the senate by throwing a snowball at a senate page, and saying before throwing it, “In case we have forgotten – because we keep hearing that 2014 is the warmest year on record – it is very, very cold outside. Very unseasonal.”
Inhofe is unabashed about election campaign financing he receives from the industry. In his 2012 book, The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, he wrote: “Whenever the media asked me how much I have received in campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry, my unapologetic answer was ‘not enough’.”
NOTE: With people like Inhofe in important official positions, fossil fuel companies awash in money, and money playing an ever larger role in U.S. elections, it is no wonder that dealing with the growing threat of climate change is a major challenge.

In March the Yale Center on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication issued a report titled, Climate Change in the American Christian Mind.  The report says, “A fast-growing “greening of religion” movement is unfolding across the United States and around the world (http://fore.yale.edu), with major statements by Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and Indigenous leaders (among others) and substantial efforts by people of faith to address both the causes and consequences of climate change and other pressing environmental problems.
Among Christians, a long-standing debate has centered on the question of whether God gave nature to humans to protect or to use as needed for our own purposes. Is caring for the natural environment a religious responsibility? What is the Christian response to global warming?”
“This report examines the global warming beliefs, attitudes, risk perceptions, policy preferences, and related moral values of three major groups of American Christians – Catholics, non-evangelical Protestants, and born again/evangelical Christians. It also investigates how different American Christians currently view Pope Francis and to what extent he is considered a trusted voice on the issue of global warming.”  
On the question of whether respondents think global warming is happening, 69% of Catholics said yes, 62% of non-evangelical Protestants and 51% of Evangelicals.  These numbers can be compared with 63% of the adult U.S. population as a whole.  “Overall, Pope Francis is the most trusted of several religious leaders as a source of information about global warming.”
NOTE: See the report for more details on the answers to this and other questions.

On April 1, the Guardian Media Group announced that it was divesting itself from investments in fossil fuel companies, saying that the decision is justified on both ethical and financial grounds.  At: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/01/guardian-media-group-to-divest-its-800m-fund-from-fossil-fuels 

The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication has published Climate Opinion Maps of the U.S. at state, Congressional District and county levels with responses to a number of climate related issues.  For example the percentage of adults who thought that climate change was happening in 2014 varied from highs of 81% for DC, 75% for HI,  72% for NY, 70% for CA and 69% for MA to lows of 56% for ND and AL, and 54% for WV; the national average was 63%.  When asked if most scientists think global warming is happening, only 41% of adults said yes and 34% said there is a lot of disagreement.  When asked if they would support a carbon tax if all of the money raised was refunded to every American household, only 44% said yes; 31% were undecided.  
NOTE: There is still a lot of work to do.

The New Yorker for April1 has an article by Andy Borowitz titled, Poll: Americans Starting to Worry About Climate Change Now That It Affects Their Lawns.  A poll in California conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, “rising sea levels, the destruction of habitats, and catastrophic weather conditions, such as hurricanes and tsunamis, have not served as the wake-up call to Americans that their lawns’ unsightly barrenness has.”
“Carol Foyler, a San Mateo resident who has watched her lawn turn from a gorgeous green to a hideous brown during California’s drought, said she blamed scientists “for failing to warn us of the true cost of climate change.”
“They always said that polar bears would starve to death,” she said. “But they never told us our lawns would look like crap.””
Climate Central for April 7 had an article by John Upton titled, How Flood Insurance Could Drive Americans From CoastsSpeaking of the National Flood Insurance Program he wrote, “After hurricanes Katrina and Sandy left the program more than $20 billion in arrears, lawmakers started phasing out longstanding reductions in flood insurance rates for millions of property owners. The falling insurance subsidies are increasing premiums for coastal homeowners, saving public funds and reducing incentives for building in areas vulnerable to rising seas.
But with more than 100 million Americans now living in coastal cities and counties, two climate change experts are urging more far-reaching reforms to the flood insurance program. In a new paper published by Environmental Law Reporter, they say the flood insurance program should be redesigned to actively push American communities away from vulnerable coastlines.”
On April 9 the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) in Catalyst Spring 2015 published an article titled, Powering Ahead in Minnesota.  The article said that UCS worked with the Minnesota governor and legislature in 2007 to pass a renewable energy standard requiring that the state get 25% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025.  Since 2007 the percentage of electricity has grown from 5% to 15%, and UCS is using a new analysis to convince Minnesota legislators to increase the standard from 25% in 2025 to 40% in 2030.  The new standard would,by 2030, drive some $6.2 billion in new capital investments, yield more than $14 million in annual tax payments to local governments, and provide $9 million in annual lease payments to landowners.”

Scientific American for April 13 had an article titled, Have We Passed the Point of No Return on Climate Change?  It concludes that at the current emission rate we could reach 450 ppm CO2 and a 2 degree C temperature increase (since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution) by 2042.  It also reports that in a recent lecture, “World Bank president Jim Yong Kim reported that whether we are able to cut emissions enough to prevent catastrophe likely depends on the policies of the world’s largest economies and the widespread adoption of so-called carbon pricing systems (such as emissions trading plans and carbon taxes). International negotiators meeting in Paris next December are already working to hammer out an agreement mandating that governments adopt these types of systems to facilitate emissions reductions. “A price on carbon is the single most important thing we have to get out of a Paris agreement,” Kim stated.  (emphasis added)  “It will unleash market forces.””
The IPCC is quoted saying, “Without additional mitigation, and even with adaptation, warming by the end of the 21st century will lead to high to very high risk of severe, widespread and irreversible impacts globally.”

The April 16 issue of E&E Publishing had an article by Evan Lehmann titled, PUBLIC OPINION: Support for carbon tax reaches almost 70%.  He wrote, ”A large majority of Americans support taxing carbon emissions, according to polling results released yesterday, and favorability rises to two-thirds if the tax is used to send money back to households.”
“On a carbon tax, the poll found that 61 percent of respondents favor taxing corporations for releasing greenhouse gas emissions. There's stronger support for a carbon tax that provides rebates to American households; 67 percent agree with that policy.
That roughly equates to a revenue-neutral carbon tax, which is being promoted among a small but growing number of Democratic lawmakers and conservative think tanks. The policy is based on the idea that national tax revenue will stay the same with the introduction of a carbon tax, because other taxes, like those on income or corporations, will be reduced.”
"We're tremendously encouraged," Charles Komanoff, director of the Carbon Tax Center, said of the poll's findings. "We're not dumbstruck by it, because we've been sensing a shift in opinion that the tide is moving our way. But it's fantastic to get this kind of confirmation."  Komanoff estimates that the EPA’s Clean Power Plan for existing power plants could be replaced by a carbon tax that started at $2.15 per ton of CO2 and increased by $2.15 per ton every year till 2030 - with the same reduction in carbon emissions.  At: http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060016859
On April 19 the NY TImes posted a 4.4-minute (after a brief ad) video by Erik Braund and Eugene Yi titled, Utility vs. Homeowners over Solar Power.  It describes the attempt by the Hawaian electric company to remain profitable in the face of a great demand by homeowners to install solar panels on their rooftops.  Hawaii has one of the highest electric rates in the country, so it’s no wonder that solar energy looks so good to homeowners. 
NOTE: If batteries get a lot less expensive, many homeowners may disconnect from the grid.  In the meantime, the electric company has the job of keeping the grid operational and of matching the total generation to the total demand at all times.
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. 

Obama Orders Reductions in Federal Greenhouse Gas Emissions
On March 19, President Obama signed an Executive Order, directing federal agencies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by a minimum of 40 percent from 2008 levels, and to increase electricity generation from renewable energy 30 percent, by 2025. This order updates a similar order from January 2010, which called for cutting federal agency emissions 28 percent from 2008 levels by 2020. The Federal Government is the largest consumer of energy in the United States, with 360,000 buildings and 650,000 vehicles. President Obama stated, “America once again is going to be leading by example.” Also on March 19, President Obama met with 14 of the largest federal contractors, including IBM, GE, Honeywell, and Northrup Grumman, who all announced or affirmed accompanying commitments to cut GHG emissions.
For more information see:

President of Vanuatu Blames Climate Change for Large Cyclone’s Devastation
On March 13, category five Cyclone Pam hit the island nation of Vanuatu, destroying roughly 90 percent of buildings and infrastructure in the capital, Port Vila. At least 24 people are confirmed dead, and over 3,300 people have been evacuated from the area. President Baldwin Lonsdale has placed blame for the cyclone on climate change. President Lonsdale stated, “Climate change is contributing to the disasters in Vanuatu. We see the level of sea rise. Change in weather patterns. This year we have heavy rain more than every year.” President Lonsdale has called out to the international community for essential humanitarian aid.
For more information see:

House Budget Calls for Cuts in Climate Change Research at CIA and DOD
On March 17, the House GOP released its budget for fiscal year 2016, with $5.5 trillion in cuts over the next nine years. The budget proposal includes cuts to clean energy loan programs and climate change programs in both the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The budget says, “The [DOD] and the [CIA], two of the most important agencies in our national security apparatus, currently spend part of their budget studying climate change . . . there should be room to cut waste, eliminate redundancies and end the abuse or misuse of taxpayer dollars.” Both the CIA and the DOD have stated climate change is a threat to US military readiness, and a “threat multiplier” around the world.
For more information see:

The Guardian Launches Divestment Campaign
On March 16, The Guardian launched a campaign asking the world’s two largest charitable foundations, the Welcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to divest their endowments from fossil fuels. The campaign, called “Keep it in the Ground,” had 60,000 people join in the first 24 hours. The campaign calls for these two large charitable foundations to divest their stock from the top 200 fossil fuel companies within five years, and immediately put a freeze on any new investments in those 200 companies. “We support divestment as it sends a signal to companies, especially coal companies, that the age of ‘burn what you like, when you like’ cannot continue,” said Nick Nuttall, spokesman for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
For more information see:

Study Shows New Antarctic Melting
On March 16, a study published by Nature Geoscience found that the Totten Glacier is thinning at the fastest rate in East Antarctica. Researchers suggest the glacier is retreating due to warmer ocean water collecting underneath it. The Totten Glacier, which is 90 miles long and 22 miles wide, is losing the “equivalent [of] 100 times the volume of Sydney Harbour [in ice] every year,” according to the Australian Antarctic Division. The Totten Glacier holds back a larger volume of ice, that if free to flow into the ocean could lead to over 11 feet of sea level rise. For the United States, sea level rise from Totten Glacier melting could be 25 percent more than the global average, due to a loss in gravitational pull from Antarctica if sufficient ice melts. Last year, scientists discovered a large part of the West Antarctic ice sheet had begun irreversibly melting (see CCN).
For more information see:

Campaign Launches to Explore Climate Scientists’ Personal Stories
On March 16, Seattle-based climate change education group More than Scientists launched a video public relations campaign, promoting the personal reasons that motivate scientists to combat climate change. The campaign aims to allow the public to see the personal concerns of climate scientists as parents, citizens, and conservationists. The website features over 200 videos with scientists from all over the world in various climate and atmospheric disciplines. Eric Michelman, the founder of More than Scientists, stated, “We want the public to meet the people behind the science and understand why they care about the world we’re leaving to our kids and grandkids.”
For more information see:

LSE Study Says Rich Countries Can Afford $2 Billion in Climate Financing
On March 16, London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment released a working paper finding that developed countries need to provide developing countries $400 billion to $2 trillion annually by 2050, if climate change mitigation costs (as a share of GDP) are spread equally across regions. These estimates are higher than developed countries’ current pledge to provide $100 billion annually for climate financing. However, even giving $2 trillion in financing, the costs to the richer developed countries would not exceed 2 percent of their GDP per year. The paper suggests that the gap between current pledges and the recommended new level could be most effectively met by drawing on more private investment.
For more information see:

Sen. Lindsey Graham Discusses Republican Stance on Climate Change
At an event at the Council on Foreign Relations on March 23, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) discussed his views and those of the GOP regarding to climate change. Graham stated that he thinks the Republican party needs to have an internal debate about climate change, before they can engage in bipartisan conversations about solutions. Graham added, “The problem is Al Gore’s turned this thing into religion . . . climate change is not a religious problem for me, it’s an economic, it is an environmental problem.” Graham noted that among Republicans, conviction about climate change is “all over the board,” and there is a common idea that solutions to climate change will destroy the economy. He has previously said climate change is real, and humans have contributed to it substantially.
For more information see:

City Leaders in Europe Gather to Sign Climate Pledge
Twenty-six European mayors assembled in Paris on March 26 to discuss addressing climate change on a local level. They pledged to reduce emissions in their communities by investing in clean energy and energy efficiency. The leaders wrote, “[The] time has now come for European capitals and metropolises to pool our efforts to tackle climate change. This requires a closer dialogue between cities through a more regular exchange of expertise and good practices.” To achieve their goals, the mayors will focus on three policy issues: transportation, buildings, and energy supply.
For more information see:

Head of U.S. Episcopal Church Says Climate Change Denial is Immoral
In an interview with The Guardian published March 24, Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church, states that climate change denial is a “blind” and immoral stance. “I really hope to motivate average Episcopalians to see the severity of this issue, the morality of this issue,” Bishop Jefferts Schori told The Guardian. The Episcopalian church hosted a webcast on March 24 to kick off a month-long campaign to raise awareness and encourage church members to reduce their personal carbon footprints and lobby government and corporations to take action on climate change.
In related news, on March 23, the Global Catholic Climate Movement launched a petition asking world leaders to take action in climate change, aiming to display “a strong Catholic voice” before climate change talks in Paris later this year.
For more information see:

European Union Carbon Permit Prices Rise After Agreement
On March 25, the European Union’s (EU) emissions trading system (ETS) saw the price of carbon allowances rise to 7.29 euros after European governments agreed to find a market solution to the current oversupply and undervaluation of carbon permits. The new fix would create a reserve where carbon allowances could be added or removed from the market in order to keep carbon prices within an ideal range. “The decision takes away a large chunk of the concern that the legislative changes will be held up for a long time,” said Louis Redshaw, whose company buys and sells carbon permits for other organizations.
For more information see:

NOTE: One of the problems with letting a cap-and-trade system - based on the auction of emission allowances - set the price on carbon emissions is that reducing emissions may cause the market price to drop to the point where there is little further incentive to reduce emissions.  This happened both in Europe and in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in the U.S., where recent prices have been only $2-6 per ton of CO2.  Values that economists give for the social cost of carbon range from $36-200 per ton.

New Study Finds Slowdown in Atlantic Ocean Circulation
On March 23, a study published in Nature Climate Change connected changes in ocean circulation patterns to climate change. It found that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) has weakened, or slowed down, potentially due to additional freshwater in the north Atlantic from the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet. Stefan Rahmstorf, lead author of the study and researcher for the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, stated, “We have detected strong evidence that the global conveyor has indeed been weakening in the past hundred years, particularly since 1970.” Researchers created an index of the AMOC over hundreds of years, determining that the AMOC is weaker than it has been in the last 1,100 years.
For more information see:

Climate Change Increasing the Number of Large Storms in Tropics
On March 25, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science (ARCCSS) released a report finding climate change has increased the frequency of large thunderstorms in the tropics. Dr. Jackson Tan, lead author from ARCCSS, stated, “What we are seeing is more big and organized storms and fewer small and disorganized storms.” These large storms occur roughly five percent of the time but provide over 50 percent of precipitation in tropical regions.
For more information see:

United States Submits Emissions Reductions Plan to United Nations
On March 31, the Obama Administration submitted its plan to cut domestic greenhouse gases to the United Nations, an important step countries must complete before international climate talks in Paris later this year. The United States had previously committed to a 26-28 percent reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, below 2005 levels, by 2025. The new pledge includes a blueprint showing how the United States will meet this emissions target. Jennifer Morgan, Global Director of the Climate Program at the World Resources Institute, stated, “The United States’ proposal shows that it is ready to lead by example on the climate crisis.” Countries responsible for over 50 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions have announced INDCs, including Switzerland, the 28 countries in the European Union, Norway, Mexico, Russia and Gabon.
For more information see:

US and Mexico Announce Cooperation as Mexico Submits Plan to United Nations
On March 27, the Mexican government submitted a plan to the United Nations in advance of the Paris climate talks in December, pledging to hit peak greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2026, with a 22 percent reduction of GHG emissions and 51 percent cut in black carbon emissions by 2030. Additionally, the pledge sets a reduction target for its emissions intensity, with a promised 40 percent cut in carbon pollution per unit of gross domestic product by 2030. Mexico is the first developing country to submit an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution, or INDC, to the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The White House released a joint statement with Mexico, saying, “Mexico is setting an example for the rest of the world by submitting an INDC that is timely, clear, ambitious, and supported by robust, unconditional policy commitments."  
For more information see:

Poll Finds Majority of Americans Support International Climate Agreement
A poll released on March 25, conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group on behalf of the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Sierra Club, found 72 percent of Americans overall support an international climate agreement. The poll found 88 percent of Democrats support an international agreement, while 73 percent of Independents and 52 percent of Republicans are in favor. People aged 18 to 34 were more likely to be in favor at 86 percent, while older age groups (35-49 and 50+) were just below 70 percent in favor. The poll also found women were more likely to support a deal than men, with 79 percent of women in support compared to 63 percent of men. The poll surveyed 1,000 likely 2016 voters, with an “oversample” of 200 women, from January 12-20, 2015.
For more information see:

Oceans May Need Thousands of Years to Recover from Climate Change
On March 30, a study on ocean ecosystems was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The study found that marine life could need at least a thousand years to recover from climate change. Peter Roopnarine, co-author of the study and researcher at the Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Geology of the California Academy of Sciences, stated, “In this study, we used the past to forecast the future. We don’t want to hear that ecosystems need thousands of years to recover from disruption, but it’s critical that we understand the global need to combat modern climate impacts.” Higher temperatures result in decreasing oxygen levels in the oceans, which in the past has decreased ecological biodiversity for millennia.
For more information see:

White House Releases Executive Orders on Public Health and Climate Change
On April 7, President Obama announced a set of new initiatives and executive actions to collect data and spread information about how climate change-associated risks will impact the nation’s public health system. The five executive actions are designed to “identify solutions to minimize impacts,” by gathering more data on health impacts, making current data more accessible, and training future health professionals. In addition, nine private companies, including Google and Microsoft, have pledged to use their technical knowhow to monitor the spread of infectious diseases and methane leaks, and 30 deans of medical, public health and nursing schools, have committed to incorporate the effects of climate change on public health into their schools’ curriculums.
For more information see:

Teens’ Climate Change Lawsuit Progresses in Oregon
On April 7, Judge Karsten Rasmussen from Lane County Circuit Court in Oregon held proceedings on a lawsuit filed by two teenagers claiming that state government officials have failed to stay on target to reach greenhouse gas emission reductions, violating the public trust doctrine. Oregon’s public trust doctrine declares all waterways to be a public resource which needs to be protected for future generations. The case says the state’s failure to stay on track with its pledge to reduce emissions to below 1990 levels by 2050 is a violation of this trust. “The government works for us. If you’re not doing your job, then I’m going to call you out on it,” 19-year-old Kelsey Juliana, one of the teens who filed suit, told Huffington Post in January. The lawsuit is supported by Our Children’s Trust, a Eugene, Oregon-based nonprofit.
For more information see:

Poll Finds Majority of Americans Want Next President to Take Climate Action
On April 3, the Washington Post released a poll finding 59 percent of voters want the next president to be someone who “favors government action to address climate change;” 31 percent of the voters opposed having a president who is favorable towards government action on climate change. Among the 59 percent of voters who want a president who would act on climate change, 68 percent said that action was “extremely” or “very” important to them.
For more information see:

Study Says Canada to Lose 70 Percent of Its Glaciers
On April 6, Nature Geoscience published a study, “Projected deglaciation of Western Canada in the twenty-first century” which predicts Western Canada will lose 70 percent of its glaciers due to rising temperatures. Garry Clarke, lead author of the study, stated, “This is a very conservative scenario . . . all the others lead to total loss of ice in the mountains here.” Clarke added that glacier runoff cools nearby freshwater streams, so that the loss of the glaciers could greatly alter the temperature of streams, potentially negatively impacting salmon populations. Clarke warned the world needs to reach peak greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, because, “The glaciers are responding to climate . . . they don’t have a response to weather.”
For more information see:

Study Suggests Commuters’ Tailpipe Emissions Cancel Out Greener Urban Transit’s Benefits
On April 6, a study on city density and transportation emissions was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study found that cities with high per-capita emissions, such as Denver or Salt Lake City, face an upward battle in reducing emissions because of their sprawling suburbs and the emissions those residents release when they drive to work. Green transportation policies inside cities such as dense housing, better transit and increasing bike lanes are offset by growth in suburban communities. Cities have to reach a critical density of 1,650 people per square kilometer before emissions begin to drastically fall. Researchers used U.S. highway emission data from 1980-2012 to map emission data nationwide and determine the relationship between vehicle emissions and population density.
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Senate Democrats Write Letter to Governors Urging Them to Act on Clean Power Plan
On April 14, five Senate Democrats wrote a letter to the National Governors Association telling them not to listen to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) request for states to “just say no” to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP). McConnell’s letter asserted that the CPP was unlawful and states should not prepare for it until all legal challenges are resolved. The Democratic Senators’ counter-letter urged state governors to devise plans for the CPP. The letter was signed by five Democrats: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
For more information see:

Ontario Announces It Is Joining Quebec and California’s Cap-and-Trade Market
On April 13, Kathleen Wynne, Premier of the Canadian Province of Ontario, announced the province will join Quebec and California’s carbon cap-and-trade market. A cap-and-trade system sets a limit on the total amount of emissions, and allows those that emit more to trade for carbon credits with those that emit less, in a market. The Ontario cap-and-trade system will be fleshed out over the next six months, and is likely to be similar to the Quebec and California systems. Wynne stated, “Carbon pricing is not a sacrifice; it’s an opportunity for all of us to live better.” Once Ontario’s carbon market is up and running, 62 percent of Canada’s population and over half its economy will be covered by cap-and-trade.
For more information see:
NOTE: In the U.S., nine states (VT, NH, MA, MA NY, CT, RI, DE and MD) are members of a carbon cap-and-trade market called RGGI (the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative), which is said to have reduced carbon emissions from large power plants by 40%; however, unlike the California market, RGGI does not cover carbon emissions from transportation - a major emissions source.

EPA Releases 20th Annual Greenhouse Gas Inventory
On April 14, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 20th U.S. Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, a statistical database on emissions “by source, economic sector, and greenhouse gas going back to 1990.” The report found that the United States emitted 6,673 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2013, a two percent increase from 2012 levels but a nine percent decrease from 2005 levels. The largest emitters were power plants (31 percent), transportation (27 percent), and industry and manufacturing (21 percent). The Greenhouse Gas Inventory Data Explorer, EPA’s new interactive web tool, allows users to extract data from the 20-year inventory to compose graphs and examine year-to-year trends.
For more information see:

New Data Show Beginning of 2015 Is Warmest in 136 Years
On April 17, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the global average temperature over both land and ocean for the first quarter of 2015 (January to March) was a record high, unmatched in the last 136 years. For the same time period, global average land temperatures were the warmest since records began in 1880, at 2.86 degrees F above 20th century average temperatures. NOAA also reported March 2015 was the warmest March since records began, with an average global temperature 1.53 degrees F above the 20th century average.
For more information see:

British Fish and Chips in Danger From Climate Change
On April 13, Nature Climate Change published a study about the effects of climate change on fisheries in the North Sea, a region of the Atlantic Ocean located between Europe and the United Kingdom. The study found that temperatures in the North Sea have risen 1.3 degrees C over the last 30 years, threatening species which feature prominently in the diet of United Kingdom residents. Louise Rutterford, lead author of the study at the University of Exeter, stated, “Our study suggests that we will see proportionally less of some of the species we eat most of, as they struggle to cope with warming conditions in the North Sea.” Researchers used climate change and fisheries data from the last 30 years to project the abundance of eight fish species over the next 50 years: dab, haddock, hake, lemon sole, ling, long rough dab, plaice, and saithe.
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Chad A. Tolman

New Castle County Congregations of Delaware Interfaith Power and Light

1 comment:

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