Other stories below: Judge rules town can ban hydrofracking; GM to Gingrich: You can put a gun rack in a Volt
Katherine Bagley, InsideClimate News
A number of prominent U.S. climate scientists who identify themselves as Republican say their attempts in recent years to educate the GOP leadership on the scientific evidence of man-made climate change have been futile. Now, many have given up trying and the few who continue notice very little change after speaking with politicians and their aides.
“No GOP candidates or policymakers want to touch the issue, and those of us trying to educate them are left frustrated,” Kerry Emanuel, an atmospheric scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a registered Republican, told InsideClimate News. “Climate change has become a third rail in politics.”
Heading into the 2008 presidential election, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the Republican nominee, warned about the dangers of global warming. He was one of a group of moderate Republicans who used to be leading climate action advocates, acknowledging the scientific consensus on climate change and the need for federal policies to address it….
Brigham Young University geochemist Barry Bickmore is a Mormon and active Republican, serving as a county delegate for the GOP from 2008 to 2010. Bickmore first got involved with his party’s handling of climate change when he and other scientific colleagues in the state banded together to try to stop a 2010 Utah resolution that cast doubt on climate science and urged the Environmental Protection Agency to halt its efforts to regulate carbon emissions. The scientists said the resolution was riddled with scientific errors, but it won passage anyway….
Much of the focus behind Canada’s push to build a new oil pipeline to the West Coast has been to diversify its markets, to reduce its reliance on the U.S. as a customer. The Canadian government says it wants to start selling oil to China and South Korea.
But there are strong indications that California could be the ultimate destination for much of the oil shipped on the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.
Analysts say California could see as much as half of the oil transported out of the tar sands of northern Alberta to a port on the coast of British Columbia, where it would be loaded onto tankers for destinations as yet unknown.
After the release in December of a University of Calgary study on the economics of transporting Canadian oil, energy economist Michal C. Moore, senior fellow at the university and a former California energy commissioner, predicted that half of Northern Gateway’s oil would go to “under-utilized California refineries,” the Calgary Herald reported, with the other half going to northern Asia.
Enbridge Inc., which is seeking to build the $5 billion, 731-mile pipeline, has by no means ruled out deliveries to the U.S. West Coast.
In a victory for opponents of the drilling process known as hydrofracking, a New York State judge ruled on Tuesday that the upstate town of Dryden in Tompkins County can ban natural gas drilling within its boundaries.
In August, Dryden’s Town Board used its zoning laws to pass a drilling ban, one salvo in a battle that is playing out nationwide as energy companies move to drill in densely populated areas. A month after the ban’s passage, Anschutz Exploration Corporation, a Colorado driller with 22,200 acres under lease in the town, filed a lawsuit arguing that the town’s authority did not extend to regulating or prohibiting gas drilling.
In a decision issued on Tuesday, Justice Phillip R. Rumsey of State Supreme Court said that state law does not preclude a municipality from using its power to regulate land use to ban oil and natural gas production. The ruling is the first in New York to affirm local powers in the controversy over drilling in the Marcellus Shale, a gas deposit under a large area of New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
General Motors Co. chided Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s suggestion that the Volt is an “Obama car.”
“You can’t put a gun rack in a Volt,” Gingrich said in a line that drew cheers at a speech in Georgia this weekend, and is now appearing in his stump speech. “We believe in the right to bear arms and we like to bear the arms in our trucks.”
GM spokesman Selim Bingol responded to Gingrich in a new GM blog: “Newt Gingrich has taken up saying that ‘You can’t put a gun rack on a Volt.’ That’s like saying ‘You can’t put training wheels on a Harley.’ Actually, you can. But the real question is ‘Why would you?’ In both examples: It looks weird. It doesn’t work very well, and, there are better places for gun racks and training wheels — pickup trucks and little Schwinns, respectively.”
Bingol added: “Seriously, when is the last time you saw a gun rack in ANY sedan?”
GM sells hundreds of thousands of trucks annually, and many owners install gun racks.
As governments bicker over who should do what to slow the pace of global warming, the U.N.’s climate chief is increasingly looking to business leaders to show the way forward to a low-carbon future.
Christiana Figueres told The Associated Press that her efforts to reach out to high-profile executives from companies such as Coca-Cola, Unilever and Virgin Group represent “a deeper recognition of the fact that the private sector can contribute in a decisive way.”
Since the start of 2012, the Costa Rican head of the U.N. climate agency has met corporate leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos and on a cruise to Antarctica organized by Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project.
“I’m hoping to accelerate what I call the push and pull process,” Figueres told the AP in a phone interview Tuesday from her agency’s secretariat in Bonn, Germany.
Once rhetoric surrounding a brewing “carbon trade war” has cooled, non-EU countries are likely accept charges against carbon emissions on their flights arriving in and departing from the European Union.
Opposed countries including the United States, China and India are meeting in Moscow this week, disgruntled over the perceived injustices of the EU scheme which applies a charge on the entire carbon emissions of flights including those parts outside EU airspace.
At most they will likely warn the EU, and demand that the U.N. body, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), resolves the problem.
The plea to ICAO will be in vain: it would be difficult to make a binding sanction stick against the EU, which would only accept an ICAO compromise launching a global scheme to curb emissions from aviation – something it has failed to do in 15 years.