EPA report on US greenhouse gas emissions and sinks may not tell the whole story

Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), the international agreement that resulted in the Kyoto Protocol and that will convene a new round of talks in Copenhagen later this year, the U.S. is required to report comprehensively each year on U.S.-based emissions of greenhouse gases and on GHG sinks in the U.S.    The U.S. EPA released the report with data and analysis through 2007 today.  The report is voluminous and contains a wealth...

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News Flash: White House Approves Endangerment Finding

ClimateWire (subscription required)  reports; U.S. EPA's proposed endangerment finding cleared the White House review process yesterday, paving the way for an official announcement detailing the threats posed by global warming to both public health and welfare. President Obama's EPA inherited the global warming review following an April 2007 Supreme Court decision that ordered the Bush administration to reconsider whether greenhouse gas emissions are pollutants subject...

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The (Environmental) Wealth of Nations

Costa Rica is taking seriously the idea that national wealth does not solely consist of physical or financial assets but also of environmental goods and natural resources.  As Thomas Friedman explained in yesterday's column: "More than any nation I've ever visited, Costa Rica is insisting that economic growth and environmentalism work together. It has created a holistic strategy to think about growth, one that demands that everything gets counted. So if a chemical fac...

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Is April the New May?

This beautiful spring day seems an appropriate occasion to think about the changing of the seasons.  That's coming earlier and earlier these days. From RealClimate: Did you know that in 1965 the U.S. Department of Agriculture planted a particular variety of lilac in more than seventy locations around the U.S. Northeast, to detect the onset of spring — in turn to be used to determine the appropriate timing of corn planting and the like? The records the USDA have kept ...

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NEPA and terrorism

To what extent does the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have to consider the threat of terrorist attack in the environmental analysis it undertakes for nuclear power plant licensing decisions?  A March 31 decision from the Third Circuit, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, creates a circuit split on that question. In the Third Circuit case, New Jersey argued that the NRC had to consider the risk and consequences of a terror...

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China and Climate Change

In a recent lecture at Berkeley, Orville Schell discussed the attitudes of Chinese leaders toward climate change.  One significant factor is the increased understanding of how vulnerable China's water supply is to climatic changes on the Tibetan Plateau, which is a key source of water for 2 billion Asians.  The speech includes some remarkable photos showing the retreat of glaciers in the Himalayas.  You can see the speech here....

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Customer Impacts From Waxman’s Cap & Trade? Let’s Not Exaggerate

In Wednesday's New York Times, Felicia Barringer reports on pocketbook concerns related to the Waxman-Markey carbon cap and trade proposal as expressed by parishioners at St. Louis' Greater Mount Carmel Baptist Church.  The article contains the following statement, attributed to a representative from the local electric utility: "Jaime Haro, Ameren UE’s director of asset management and trading, said his company paid $30 to produce a megawatt of electricity. The coal ...

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Rx for the oceans

The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative, the merger of the Pew Oceans Commission and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, has issued a new report titled Changing Oceans, Changing World. It lays out an agenda for short-term actions for Congress and the Obama administration. The report's key recommendations will be familiar to those who follow ocean policy. They are substantially similar to the suggestions made by the two earlier commissions in their 2003 and 2004 reports. ...

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What’s new on the Delta?

Quite a bit, and most of the news is bad. American Rivers has declared the Sacramento-San Joaquin the most endangered river in the United States. The longfin smelt has been listed as threatened by the state, but it is not going to be federally listed, at least not yet. Commercial salmon fishing off the California coast is one step closer to being formally closed for 2009. And while late rains have increased water supplies, some farmers are still slated to get little ...

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Cleaning Up the Bush EPA’s Dry Cleaning Rule

The Washington Post reported that EPA "is reconsidering whether to compel dry cleaners to phase out a cancer-causing chemical used in tens of thousands of operations nationwide."  In 2006, the Bush Administration issued an air toxics rule for professional dry cleaners using perchloroethylene in which it tightened technology requirements, but refused to phase out use of the chemical.  This despite the fact that California regulators had already enacted phase outs, havin...

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