Washington: Kirkland Community Invited to Conversation about Climate Protection

Climate change, global warming, and the greenhouse effect may or may not be on the minds of all Kirkland citizens, but the City is hoping to raise awareness and inspire action about how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Kirkland. Through a public participation event, participants will be presented with the City’s climate protection efforts and asked to prioritize what actions they are willing to take to reduce their carbon footprint (a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide produced by a person). 

Using automatic voting devices similar to those on television game shows, participants will answer questions associated with ways to protect the climate through commuting, energy efficiency, waste reduction and more.  The Climate Protection Community Conversation will be held on Tuesday, February 24, 6 to 8:30 p.m., Kirkland City Hall, Council Chambers, 123 5th Avenue.  Due to a limited number of voting devices, reservations are being requested.  Please contact Erin Leonhart, Intergovernmental Relations Manager at 425-587-3009 or eleonhart@ci.kirkland.wa.us This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  to register.  For information about Kirkland’s sustainability (“green”) initiatives, visit www.ci.kirkland.wa.us/kirklandgreen.

Advertisements

EPA sets fuel efficiency hearing

David Shepardson | Detroit News

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to move quickly to consider a request by California and 13 states to impose a 30 percent reduction in tailpipe emissions by 2016 — a measure that would require automakers to dramatically boost the efficiency of light trucks and passenger cars.

The EPA has set a public hearing on the issue on March 5 and will take public comments through April 6.

The hearing comes on the heels of President Barack Obama’s decision last month to order the EPA to reconsider the Bush Administration’s decision to deny California and the other states a waiver under the Clean Air Act to implement new standards.

In a Friday notice about the public hearing, the EPA repudiated its prior denial saying it “significantly departed from EPA’s longstanding interpretation of the Clean Air Act’s waiver provisions and from the agency’s history.”

California had been granted more than 50 waivers over the past 30 years and never received a complete denial. California’s waiver would require automakers to boost fuel economy to a fleetwide 35.7 miles per gallon by 2016 and 42.5 mpg by 2020.

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said the agency would conduct an “impartial review” of California’s request.`

“It is imperative that we get this decision right, and base it on the best available science and a thorough understanding of the law,” Jackson said.

Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, said that if the states get EPA approval, they would immediately put their requirements into effect with no changes in the ramp up until 2016.

The standards — drafted in 2004 — were supposed to begin with the 2009 model year.

“Nothing I saw changed the views that I had before is that there’s a lot of great technology that we need to bring on,” Nichols said in an interview this week after touring the Washington Auto Show.

The EPA said the agency is specifically seeking comment on automaker lead time.

California has said its requirements would reduce auto sales by 4.7 percent by 2020 because complying with the new standards would increase the average cost of vehicles. “Our standards are not the problem. Our standards are part of the solution if we do it right,” Nichols said.

Sue Cischke, Ford Motor Co.’ group vice president for sustainability, environment and safety, said the automaker would face significant hurdles in complying.

Continue Reading Here.

Mississippi: Population helping drive climate change concerns

 

PAUL SIMS | Starkville Daily News

Population is one factor driving global climate change concerns, a Mississippi State University professor said Monday.  Dr. Roger King, a William L. Giles Distinguished professor and director of MSU’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, spoke to Starkville Rotarians today from his background as chief technologist for Earth Science Applications with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.  King cited statistics which showed that in mid-2003, some 6.2 billion people inhabited the planet and the United States had about 290 million residents. As of Friday, the global population figure stood at approximately 6.7 billion and the U.S. number was about 305 million.
The global population increase over roughly the last five years is about 474.1 million. Projections show that by 2025, some 8 billion people will live on the Earth.  “According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, scientific evidence confirms that human activities are a discernible cause of a substantial part of the warming experienced over the 20th century. New studies indicate that temperatures in recent decades are higher than at any time in at least the past 1,000 years. It is very unlikely that these unusually high temperatures can be explained solely by natural climate variations,” the report entitled “Climate Change Impacts on the United States” from 2000 reads.
Other documents and information on the subject of global climate change can be found through http://www.climatescience.gov/.
One point King made about the greenhouse effect is that “if it didn’t exist, we wouldn’t exist,” he said. If greenhouse gases were not in place, the planet could not capture heat, King said.   “The plant has got to warm up or we can’t live,” he said.  “It’s very much a system,” he said and noted that it’s important to monitor what happens in systems.  King noted that 2007 was the eighth warmest year on record and ice mass in at least one location is changing.  “It’s a very challenging thing to look at this,” he said.

Fires, floods pressure Australia govt on climate

James Grubel | Reuters

Australia’s deadliest wildfires increased pressure on the national government to take firm action on climate change on Monday as scientists said global warming likely contributed to conditions that fuelled the disaster.

At least 130 people were killed in wildfires, set off by a record heatwave in southern Victoria state over the past week days, while large areas of Queensland state remain flooded by tropical downpours.

Scientists said Australia needed to prepare for more extreme weather events due to global warming, while the Greens and environmentalists said the fires and floods proved the government needed to toughen its targets to curb Greenhouse emissions.

“It’s very clear, both globally and in Australia, there has been a warming trend since about 1950,” leading Australian climate scientist Kevin Hennessy told Reuters.

“In a nutshell we can say the heatwaves and the fires we’ve seen in Victoria recently maybe partly due to climate change through the contribution of increased temperature.

“Going forward, we anticipate there will be continued increases in greenhouse gases and that locks in a certain amount of warming, and in the case of southern Australia further drying, and this will increase the fire weather risk.”

Australia is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change because of its hot, dry climate, with the nation’s south in prolonged drought and temperatures tipped to rise by 3 degrees Celsius by 2050 across the tropical north and desert interiors.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has set a target to cut overall greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent by 2020, and will only cut further, to about 15 percent, if there is widespread international agreement on tougher action.

But Green groups want Australia, which creates about 1.5 percent of global emissions, to cut emissions by at least 25 percent by 2020 as an example to the developing world, particularly India and China, about the need to take firm action.

Greens climate spokeswoman Christine Milne said all Australians had been deeply touched by the fire tragedy and the increased risk of fires from global warming.

Continue Reading Here.

 

NaturalNews

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a strong warning that global warming will have “substantial human health impacts” within the next few decades. The warning came in a report released only days after the same agency declined to regulate global warming-causing greenhouse gases as pollutants under the Clean Air Act.

“Today typifies the climate-change schizophrenia in the Bush administration,” said U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey, chair of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. “On one hand, government scientists are saying that global warming poses grave threats to our health and our welfare, and, on the other hand, [there] are White House political hacks following the oil industry’s bidding to do nothing.”

The EPA report warns that rising temperatures will cause air quality to worsen in Eastern cities, as well as more deaths among the elderly, the poor and inner-city dwellers during future heat waves.

“It’s going to be hotter; it’s going to be hotter sooner in the year than it was in the past,” said co-author Kristie Ebi. Young people now living near Washington “[are] going to look back and think back about how nice the summers used to be,” she said. “Within 20, 30 years, on average, the [public] should notice that it’s warmer.”

Global warming is also likely to lead to more frequent and powerful hurricanes, dwindling water supplies in the West, loss of coastal land to rising sea levels and storm surges, and the more rapid spread of food- and water-borne illnesses.

According to the EPA’s former deputy associate administrator, Jason K. Burnett, the president’s deputy chief of staff for policy originally approved an EPA decision to regulate greenhouse gas emissions as air pollutants, a move supported by several cabinet members and senior administration officials. Before the decision could be made official, however, the White House prohibited the EPA from taking action.

Global Warming Suit Settled

Wired PR News.com

An environmental lawsuit against the federal government in 2002 has been settled.  As reported by the Associated Press (AP), the suit alleged that two U.S. agencies financed projects oversees that would cause environmental and economic harm due to a change in the global climate.

As part of the settlement, the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. and the Overseas Private Investment Corp. will reportedly provide financing for renewable energy projects to the tune of $500 million, and consider the amount of greenhouse gas emissions equated with further projects they assist with. Michelle Chan of Friends of the Earth, one of the organizations that brought forth the lawsuit, is quoted in the AP report as stating, “This settlement is a substantial victory for our climate… It will force federal agencies to move away from fossil fuel projects and account for the climate impacts of their lending.”

Emissions trading ‘won’t hurt inflation’

Garry Shilson-Josling | Sydney Morning Herald

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is confident the government’s scheme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will not cause inflation to overheat and force it to raise interest rates. Tucked away in the back of the quarterly statement on monetary policy on Friday was an analysis of the likely effect of the government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS). The centrepiece of the CPRS is an emissions trading scheme that will ration the right to emit greenhouse gases. Trading in permits is slated to begin in September 2010. The RBA is interested in the scheme because it will drive up the price of emissions-intensive goods and services as businesses bid for increasingly scarce permits. The desired effect will be to encourage energy efficiency and a switch to alternative energy sources. The undesired effect will be a rise in the general price level. “Assuming an initial permit price of roughly $25 per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted (or the carbon dioxide equivalent of other greenhouse gases, CO2-e), the retail prices of electricity and gas are estimated to increase by around 18 per cent and 12 per cent respectively,” the RBA said. Electricity and gas together account for 2.5 per cent of the consumer price index (CPI). The RBA estimates the first round of price rises will add 0.4 percentage points to the index in the first few quarters after emissions trading begins. By way of comparison, the GST added three percentage points to the CPI over the year following its introduction in 2000 and the spike in petrol prices added 0.9 percentage points over the year to last September. The RBA said it expected price rises from the CPRS after the first round to moderate as permits were gradually rationed, despite some possible volatility now and then.

Continue Reading Here.