February 1 News: How Today’s Sequester Cuts Threaten Energy And Climate Policies

Wildfire protection is among the many investments threatened by the sequester cuts. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

The sequester, a broad spending cut of $1.2 trillion over the next decade, is scheduled to become law at midnight tonight. Part of 2011 Budget Control Act, it was meant to incentivize a now-failed effort to find more well-thought forms of deficit reduction. Here’s previous work from the Center for American Progress on how the sequester’s cuts threaten a host of climate and energy-related 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]

14 Responses to February 1 News: How Today’s Sequester Cuts Threaten Energy And Climate Policies

  1. the army is gonna say, how come we’re fighting fires, floods and feeding people all the time? We got weapons to manufacture. Who’s gonna pay for this?

  2. fj says:

    Great news day but not good news

    Climate change is still not being treated as an extreme long-term crisis.

    The President proposing to double solar by 2020 is doubling a miniscule amount.

    India worrying about $600 billion carbon tax loss instead of the extreme costs of climate change leading to environment and economic collapse is just another dark “money or your life joke” not even equivalent to “he who dies with the most toys wins”.

  3. Will Fox says:

    “February 1 News: How Today’s Sequester Cuts Threaten Energy And Climate Policies”


  4. Jimijamflimflam says:

    It’s just a tiny thing, but the headline states February 1 news. It’s March 1, but hey…

  5. fj says:

    Deutsche Bank analysts seem to have good news about pending quick transitioning to self-sustaining non-subsidized solar . . .

    . . . forgetting that everything we do is subsidized by natural systems and the non-rational myth of market-based economics . . .

    . . . as small expectations lead to great excitement of minutiae after years of impasse and climate — these days — seems beyond incremental.

  6. Joan Savage says:

    USA Today has begun a series, “Weathering Climate Change.”

    I haven’t found a permalink for the series, but here’s one to the kick-off story,
    “Why you should sweat climate change”.

  7. Joan Savage says:

    Correction. The series title is

    “Weathering the Change.”

    To some, that title would be for advice on how to get through menopause.

    I do hope they come up with a more searchable title term or a permalink.

  8. Paul Magnus says:

    Can we really move away for this liquid curse….

    Living in Denial in Norway
    Norway is one of the most wealthy countries on Earth, with the very highest levels of human development, it is among the most generous donors of foreign aid and, for a country of its size, makes enormous efforts to promote peace. A former Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland, has done as…
    Like · · Share

    Climate Portals Norway, on the other hand, is also the largest per capita oil producer outside of the Middle East, producing more oil per capita even than Saudi Arabia, about 150 barrels per person per year from its fields in the North Sea.

    Five million Norwegians also emit 11 tonnes of greenhouse gasses each per year, a little higher than the European mean and twice as high as the global average. The world would surely become uninhabitable if everyone on Earth behaved like Norwegians.

  9. Sasparilla says:

    “The Kansas Senate and House voted down two laws postponing the deadline for compliance with the state’s new renewable energy standard.”

    Great news in Kansas, I was afraid money and power would sidetrack it. The law is a 20% renewable requirement by 2020 (not exactly a heavy duty amount, but significant), but I have a feeling the fossil fuel industry and its lackeys know that with constantly falling prices of renewables this is really their last chances to sidetrack their implementation before the market does it on pure economics alone as time goes on.

    Interesting Norquist (Mr. Republican Vote for a tax increase and I’ll provide a well funded primary challenger is off meddling with green energy requirements at the state level as well).

  10. Sasparilla says:

    Interesting note on the Kansas requirement – which highlights why there was a push by the Fossil Fuel Friends (FFF) to delay it right now – its not just a 20% by 2020 requirement only, its a 15% by 2016 requirement first and that means planning, projects and soon construction start rolling at this point.

    The vote wasn’t exactly overwhelming in the Senate was 17-23 to pass the delay and the House was 59-63, so it was close. Hats off to the legislators that voted to keep that delay away and the folks lobbying them to make it happen.

  11. Sasparilla says:

    Sales numbers for February 2013 for the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt in the U.S. came out today:

    Volt – 1626 (up about 500 from last month)

    Leaf – 653 (about the same as last month but not meeting demand)

    An interesting detail is that the Leaf has been supply constrained (not enough inventory) as they basically sold out their entire inventory (which is the way it has been since its introduction in the U.S.). About 60% of the Leaf sales were the U.S. produced 2013’s as Nissan is switching over to domestic U.S. production (battery and vehicle made down in TN) of the Leaf. Over the coming months we’ll get to see what actual demand of the Leaf is here in the U.S. which will be very interesting.

  12. Paul Klinkman says:

    The way the sequester works with regard to wildfires, is that the money has been cut but the states still have to deal with the problem. A farsighted state will raise taxes. A nearsighted state will burn up and goodbye.

    Texas lost 300 million trees last year to the drought, said a Houston Chronicle story. When all those dead dry trees (firewood) get into a fire the state is likely to get a megafire or two. I can see the Texas legislature not ponying up to replace lost federal funds. Good luck down there!

  13. AJAY JAIN says:

    The Voting Rights Act (VRA) must be upheld by the supreme court: Discrimination is alive today unfortunately; Liberty and justice for all is openly sabotaged and the Supreme Court is inviting trouble of great magnitudnal proportions if it dares to fail its ultimate mandate: to uphold everyone’s constitutional rights. The entire nation will speak against it because the Voting Rights Act (VRA) is not about political parties; the Voting Rights Act (VRA) is about individual rights protection. Bank on it! it is time to review; the Supreme Court’s “entitlements” as, it is no longer acting as an unbiased institution and that, your magistrates , can be amended. get up and do your job or we will make it happen! count on it! Now Even if you are dumb enough to believe that all is OK with the world and there are no reasons to have the voting rights law on the books. Then why are the the parties at opposite end’s on this ? Why are the Republicans in America trying to keep people from the poles ? Well I will tell you what I think. I think there may be a dozen or two, man and women in America that have the means to buy the power it wants to call all shots in this Country. The only way they can obtain this right now is get the people they went in office. To buy them so to say. But they know they can be stopped at the voting polls.They know the more that get out and vote there chances are reduced substantially. George Will knows this and should be ashamed. He say 47 years old. Is that old ? I don’t think so. Look at the constitution, at that II Amendment a lot older right. SS, Medicare, still very new in the big picture. But look at who wants to change them. Not working men and women, no the big bosses. They do not like to mach payments that is what this is all about. They did not like it back in the 1930s and they do not like it now. So Americans do not be fooled and all of you older people that now have this little benefit fight like h— to keep it just as it is. It just might be all there is between eating and striving !!

  14. AJAY JAIN says:

    All the republicans crapping about SEQUESTER cuts on this board and the likes of you in the REPUBLICAN House should move aside in 2014 because the REPUBLICANS are the crux of the problem. President Obama won the elections of 2008 AND 2012 fair and square but the REPUBLICANS are not allowing him to govern through their rule of RECORD number of filibusters in the Senate and the HOUSE of REPUBLICANS has achieved nothing since it came to power in 2010. In 2014 its the REPUBLICAN’s time to go and let OBAMA our democratically elected PRESIDENT rule the country and leave a legacy behind like the achievements of the 2008-2010 years when DEMOCRATS had the House Senate and the Presidency. We want the obstructionist REPUBLICANS out of the way in 2014. We want our House and Senate back in the DEMOCRATIC hands so we can govern and achieve something. All these doomsday fiscal deadlines that REPUBLICANS keep pushing on the country will haunt them in 2014!! Mark my words. March 2nd 2013. Vote Democratic always!