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February 6 News: New Report Says White House Has The Tools To Combat Climate Change

By Jeff Spross

"February 6 News: New Report Says White House Has The Tools To Combat Climate Change"

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A new report from the World Resources Institute has concluded that while the U.S. is not currently on track to meet its international commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent by 2020, the Obama Administration has the tools to reach that target. [WRI]

  • Without new action by the U.S. Administration, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will increase over time. The United States will fail to make the deep emissions reductions needed in coming decades, and will not meet its international commitment to reduce GHG emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.
  • The U.S. EPA should immediately pursue “go-getter” emissions reductions from power plants and natural gas systems using its authority under the Clean Air Act. These two sectors represent two of the top opportunities for substantial GHG reductions between now and 2035.
  • The U.S. Administration should pursue hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) reductions through both the Montreal Protocol process and under its independent Clean Air Act authority. Eliminating HFCs represents the biggest opportunity for GHG emissions reductions behind power plants.
  • U.S. states should complement federal actions to reduce emissions through state energy efficiency, renewables, transportation, and other actions. States can augment federal reductions.
  • New federal legislation will eventually be needed, because even go-getter action by federal and state governments will probably fail to achieve the more than 80 percent GHG emissions reductions necessary to fend off the most deleterious impacts of climate change.

A White House official has confirmed that President Barack Obama will today nominate Sally Jewell, president and CEO of the outdoor and recreational retailer REI, to be the next Secretary of the Interior. [Politico]

Greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants fell 4.6 percent in 2011 from the previous year as plants burned less coal, according to a new report by the Environmental Protection Agency. [HuffPo]

BP has deemed the $34 billion in claims by states and local governments for economic and property damages from the Macondo oil spill to be “substantially” overstated. [Reuters]

The Government Accountability Office has concluded that the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington State “has not been a well-planned, well-managed or well-executed major capital construction project.” [NYTimes]

Data from freight railroad operators showed a major decline in the amount of coal transported by train in the U.S. in 2012. Most of the coal burned by U.S. power plants is shipped via rail, so the drop clearly reflects broader market trends. [Climate Central]

A new multimedia show and exhibit in the Compton-Goethals Art Gallery at The City College of New York is dedicated to educating the public about climate change and data. [Climate Central]

A study from the Department of Agriculture just concluded that rising temperatures could cost farmers millions as they battle new pests, faster weed growth, and endure smaller yields as climate change continues. [USA Today]

‹ IMF Chief: ‘Unless We Take Action On Climate Change, Future Generations Will Be Roasted, Toasted, Fried And Grilled’

Speed Trap: Big Oil Profits from High Gasoline Prices ›

13 Responses to February 6 News: New Report Says White House Has The Tools To Combat Climate Change

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    We need to know EPA’s methodology in claiming the 4.6% emissions reductions in US power plants. Are they assuming that substituting natural gas halves emissions? That claim has been hotly disputed, to put it mildly, due to fugitive methane at the source and the plant.

    Can someone determine if EPA is ignoring recent reports from NOAA etc about gas and GHG’s? The 4.6% number would indicate that this is likely, since wind and solar don’t produce enough power yet to achieve that level of reduction.

    • Sasparilla says:

      It’d be nice if the small reduction actually true (and not make believe numbers), but nearly all the shale oil wells just flare off the methane that is extracted as a byproduct of the process and its a lot of wells and of course a lot methane flared…not to mention all the CO2 emissions for that tar sands oil we’re driving around using (I’m sure the EPA doesn’t count that even though it should).

  2. John McCormick says:

    From Climate Central:

    “The EIA data released Tuesday shows that coal had the biggest decline in railcar loadings of any commodity moved by train in 2012, with an 11 percent drop, which amounts to a loss of about 726,000 carloads compared to 2011.”

    We can feel good about the drop in coal transport; i.e.,drop in production. But, it is a fact that rail haulage rates will have to increase to make up for the loss of coal traffic. Higher costs to ship grains, lumber and chemicals.

  3. Colorado Bob says:

    Windfarms break energy record in Spain
    Past three months saw windfarms produce more electricity than any other source for first time, trade body says

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/feb/04/windfarms-break-energy-record-spain

  4. Joan Savage says:

    The USDA released two reports on climate change on Tuesday, the one for agriculture mentioned above, and the other for forests.

    Both full reports are available at
    http://www.usda.gov/oce/climate_change/effects.htm

    • Joan Savage says:

      Titles:

      Climate Change and Agriculture in the United States: Effects and Adaptation

      Effects of Climate Variability and Change on Forest Ecosystems: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis for the U.S. Forest Sector

  5. I COULD RECALL,DURING THE UNFCCC COP15 IN COPENHAGEN, I WAS PRIVILEGED TO BE INVITED AS THE ONLY AFRICAN TO THE MEETING OF SOCIETY OF ENGINEERS OF DENMARK WHERE IT WAS UNVEILED THAT AMERICA HAS THE SOLUTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE – TECHNOLOGY- AS THE SOLUTION TO 1. DE-CARBONIZE FOSSIL FUEL AND GAS, 2. ENERGY EFFICIENCY, 3 RENEWABLE ENERGY. 4. CARBON CAPTURE & STORAGE WERE A FEW TIPS
    THAT WERE RELEASED AT THIS MEETING. I AM NOT SURPRISED THIS NEWS IS COMING OUT NOW TO CONFIRM WHAT I HEARD THAT DAY – REALLY TECHNOLOGY IS ONE OF THE SOLUTIONS TO A CLIMATE SAFE FUTURE- BY VICTOR FODEKE, Ph.D

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      A very fine solution Dr. Fodeke, but why, oh why, if they possess such a fine plan, have the US authorities not put it into action? Where, precisely, in Africa are you from?