"February 1 News: How Today’s Sequester Cuts Threaten Energy And Climate Policies"
The Ides of March falls on the 15th of March every year, but this year that fateful date and the impending doom it foretells could arrive two weeks early — on March 1, when $85 billion in automatic federal spending cuts are set to occur. The so-called sequester will slash 5.3 percent in funding from every federal program except Social Security and Medicaid. For public health and clean energy programs, the sequester means less protection from air pollution and the health problems associated with it, less assistance after severe extreme weather events, more oil imports, fewer permits for oil and gas production on federal lands and waters, and reduced accessibility to our national parks. In short, it’s clear that sequestration will harm middle- and lower-income Americans.
The Kansas Senate and House voted down two laws postponing the deadline for compliance with the state’s new renewable energy standard. Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist had been instrumental in pushing the bills. [Topeka Capital-Journal]
New research involving analysis of Antarctic ice suggests that the warming trend that ended the last ice age occurred in close conjunction with a spike in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Previous work had raised the possibility that the rise in temperatures and the rise in carbon dioxide had actually occurred roughly 800 years apart. [NYTimes]
A senior White House adviser said Wednesday that President Obama will announce in the next weeks and months decisive actions the executive branch is planning to take to tackle climate change. [Bloomberg]
Deutsche Bank analysts are predicting the global solar PV sector will become a sustainable market without subsidies within a year, citing the arrival of “grid parity,” unexpectedly strong demand and rebounding margins. [Renew Economy]
The Weather Channel has put together a guide to how climate change will effect the temperature and seasons in individual states. [Weather Channel]
Among the sequester’s other victims will be a program tracking U.S. green jobs in the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which will be tabled when the automatic budget cuts take effect today, according to a person familiar with the decision. [Bloomberg]
The sequester also threatens the Department of the Interior’s ongoing efforts to promote renewable energy projects, including wind, solar, and smart grid technology. [Clean Technia]
A new study shows that decline in the populations of wild bees and other insects that serve as pollinators can have devastating effects on crop yields. [The Guardian]
A new economic survey in India is warming that country that adopting a carbon tax of $10 per metric ton would lead to a GDP loss of over $600 billion. [The Hindu]