December 6 News: Russia Proposes ‘Fantastically Bad’ 2020 Targets That Would Allow Carbon Emissions To Rise

Russia plans to set itself a binding 2020 goal for carbon emissions, a top climate change official said on Wednesday – the only problem is it would allow them to rise. [Point Carbon]

Global warming is rapidly driving the Arctic into a volatile state characterized by massive reductions in sea ice and snow cover, more extensive melting of the Greenland ice sheet, and a host of biological changes, according to a comprehensive report published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Wednesday. [Climate Central]

President Obama plans to ask Congress for about $50 billion in emergency funds to help rebuild the states that were ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, challenging deficit-minded lawmakers while worrying regional leaders, who complained Wednesday that it was not enough. [New York Times]

President Barack Obama’s envoy at United Nations global-warming negotiations said he’s willing to participate in discussions on the issue of fairness in how nations plan to curb climate change, paving the way for drafting a new treaty by 2015. [Bloomberg]

China has pledged to make its “due contribution” to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and tackling climate change, but said developed countries must do more. [Guardian]

Cheatgrass, an invasive grass accidentally introduced by settlers more than a century ago, is fueling bigger, more frequent wildfires in that empty stretch of the West. [Los Angeles Times]

For decades, the United States has been the land of the gas guzzler. But that’s changed significantly over the past five years. New vehicles purchased in November of 2012 got 24.1 miles per gallon, on average. That includes all new cars, SUVs, and light trucks. By contrast, new vehicles averaged just 20.1 miles per gallon average back in the fall of 2007. [Wonk Blog]

In an effort to speed up development, the U.S. Department of Energy has set a goal to improve battery and energy storage technologies by five times that of today–in the next five years. [Christian Science Monitor]

With many roads and bridges washed away, rescue teams struggled Wednesday to reach isolated villages in the southern Philippines after a powerful out-of-season typhoon tore through the region, leaving at least 325 people dead and several hundred more missing, officials said. [New York Times]

6 Responses to December 6 News: Russia Proposes ‘Fantastically Bad’ 2020 Targets That Would Allow Carbon Emissions To Rise

  1. An additional roundup of energy and climate headlines for 12/6 is posted at

  2. Will Fox says:

    New wind turbines could be cost-competitive with fossil fuels – even without subsidies:

  3. Mark E says:

    Better mileage, as in the WonkBlog link, is great, but if we keep increasing the number of cars overall, what’s the point?

  4. catman306 says:

    Many environmentalists were thrilled last month when California launched its cap-and-trade system to rein in greenhouse gases.

    But not James Hansen.

    Arguably the best-known climate scientist in America, Hansen trashed cap and trade during a talk Tuesday night at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. The system, in which companies buy and sell permits to produce greenhouse gases, is a “half-baked” and “half-assed” way to deal with global warming, Hansen said.

  5. EDpeak says:

    Intersting article in Fortune, found via They seem to miss the fact that many progressive environmentalists have called for cap-and-divident and other variations on the idea of “revenue-neutral to revenue-positive for the lower to middle income families” approaches to environmental policies aimed at reducing GHG emissions.

    Nevertheless, the general idea of bringing environmentalist to join hands with those working for workers’ right (or, those defending the 99% from the class warfare for the 1% (for the 0.1% really)) is a good point. A few quotes

    “As long as the middle class in America continues to face the mounting pressures of ever-increasing healthcare and education costs, declines in housing and retirement wealth, and the prospects of even less economic security—as debates about cutting Social Security and Medicare continue apace—it will be difficult for robust energy and climate policy to generate sufficient popular support to overcome the formidable political obstacles.

    “Americans care deeply about the environment, and most believe that climate change is a real and growing threat. They are acting rationally, however, when they oppose higher energy prices [unless side by side with progressive economic policy] at a time of great economic insecurity.”

    Note in brackets is my own add. See “Cheap gas hurts the middle class” by Jason Scorse at finance.fortune.cnn

  6. Jacob says:

    Would it be fair to call James Hansen the John Brown of his day? (or perhaps there is a more appropriate historical personality for comparison)

    Either way he is a true patriot.