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March 15 News: Obama Admin To Fight Climate Change With National Environmental Policy Act

By Ryan Koronowski

"March 15 News: Obama Admin To Fight Climate Change With National Environmental Policy Act"

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Some news that has the National Association of Manufacturers “very freaked out”:

President Barack Obama is preparing to tell all federal agencies for the first time that they have to consider the impact on global warming before approving major projects, from pipelines to highways.

This would impact initiatives such as the planned Port of Morrow coal export facility, the Keystone pipeline, LNG export facilities, highways, and drilling leases. With the House GOP standing in the way of nearly all legislation impacting climate, this would be the executive branch using a Nixon-era law meant to get agencies to weigh the impact of projects on clean air, water, and lands. [Bloomberg]

In a speech planned at Argonne National Laboratory, President Obama will urge congressional action on his $2 billion 10-year Energy Security Trust to fund clean energy transportation research. [LA Times]

At CPAC yesterday, Sen. Marco Rubio attacked “closed-minded” people who “love to preach about the certainty of science with regards to our climate” but do not think the idea that life begins at conception is an “absolute fact.” [Huffington Post]

Former GOP Rep. Bob Inglis pitches a carbon tax as a market approach that accounts for “the true cost of the fuels we use”without growing the size of government and practices reasonable risk avoidance. [Washington Post]

In alarming news for the fragility of the Arctic ice pack, a large fractures have appeared in the wake of a large storm north of Alaska and Canada. [Climate Central]

The budget released last night by Senate Democrats contains funding for climate adaptation, smart grid technology, energy research, and mass transit. [E&E News]

Sens Hoeven and Baucus introduced legislation that would give Congress the power to approve the Keystone pipeline yesterday. [Reuters]

After a review from the Dept. of the Interior found that it was not remotely prepared for harsh conditions, Shell is barred from returning to the Arctic to drill for oil. [Guardian]

Californians have installed 1.5 gigawatts of rooftop solar — which is as much power generated by three medium-sized coal-fired power plants. [LA Times]

A study found that the sickness that wind farm opponents talk about could be more placebo than fact. [Guardian]

The Vatican accepts the reality of climate change, and thinks that everyone should do something about it before it’s too late. [Catholic Online]

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43 Responses to March 15 News: Obama Admin To Fight Climate Change With National Environmental Policy Act

  1. BillD says:

    OK, Marco. I will grant you that from a scientific point of view, life begins at conception. Will you now agree that human-caused climate change is a scientific fact?

    • SecularAnimist says:

      BillD wrote: “from a scientific point of view, life begins at conception.”

      Actually, from a scientific point of view, life begins about 4 billion years ago. On Earth, anyway.

    • fj says:

      and the earth is round

      • Colorado Bob says:

        Actually, from a scientific point of view, the egg, and the sperm must be alive to complete the feat of conception.

        Dead eggs, and weak sperm do not make life as we knew it. .

        • fj says:

          But the really important question is does the sperm have person hood?

          Of course this is true which means that it has soul.

          Now this is crucial, and very important to truly understand thoroughly, because what this means is that going forward we must keep with the natural order of things and all future presidents must be people of color.

          • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

            ‘Every sperm is sacred’, and Onan resides in Hell, ie at Tea Party Headquarters.

  2. BillD says:

    Using NEPA in the fight for action against climate change is a very good idea. Now the right wingers can again say that we should shut down the US EPA.

    • Sasparilla says:

      That’s okay BillD, they have already been saying that for the last couple of years – with the House making demonstration votes on the matter, if memory serves…

  3. Colorado Bob says:

    Perry spent 30 years in Pennsylvania with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He came out of retirement and now travels the state as an advocate for the National Wildlife Federation’s global warming campaign.
    Climate change, he told a group of about 30 people, is the defining issue of his lifetime.
    Even though man-made climate change, so far, has “only” raised the global temperature by 1.5 degrees in the last 100 years, it’s already having profound impacts on wildlife, he said.
    “There are no deniers in the natural world,” he said.
    Already, he said, robins are migrating farther north. Butterflies are setting off on their own long-distance migration 24 days earlier. Tree swallows are laying eggs nine days earlier.

    Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/826247_Biologist-offers-warning-about-global-warming.html#ixzz2Nc9PqDvg

    • Sasparilla says:

      Fantastic article Colorado, thanks for posting it.

      • Colorado Bob says:

        Sas -
        “There are no deniers in the natural world,”
        “The animal, plant and insect kingdoms aren’t interested in public policy. They don’t read political blogs. They adapt because they have to. They must change to survive.”

        Summer of 2007 in southern Idaho -
        The head of the US Forest Service:
        “Their are no climate deniers working the fire lines tonight.”

    • J4zonian says:

      I believe the warming so far is .8C.

      You have to make sure you specify C or F (or K ;) ) because most Uhmerkins think only in terms of F degrees and have no concept about the scale of C or how it translates into Uhmerkin, that is, F.

  4. Colorado Bob says:

    Ancient underwater forest off Alabama is much older than scientists thought

    The ancient forest found 60 feet underwater about 10 miles offshore of Alabama is much older than originally thought.
    I collected samples of the trees during an AL.com scuba diving expedition to the forest. Those samples were sent to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for radiocarbon dating and found to be more than 50,000 years old

    http://blog.al.com/wire/2013/03/ancient_underwater_forest_off.html

    • Sasparilla says:

      Another fascinating article, apparently the forest was covered in sand/mud at the time it was immersed and it has preserved it, when they cut the pieces open you could smell fresh wood.

  5. Paul Klinkman says:

    I checked out the Arctic ice fracturing. We’re going to have a hotter one in the Arctic this year.

  6. Robert in New Orleans says:

    I am not a betting man, but looking at the Arctic Ice that is cracking already (see link to Climate Central),I would wager that we just might see another record breaking ice loss year.

    In fact I am going to say that the Arctic will be ice free (during the end of the summer melt season) within three years.

    With the rate of exponential climate change starting to climb like a rocket, the worse case secnarios, projections and forcasts should be moved up a few decades or so.

    Agree or diagree?

    • Sasparilla says:

      I agree (2016/2017), we’re at the end game for the initial Arctic Ice Cap melt out:

      http://economicdemocracy.org/eco/images/2012.volume.final.jpg

    • Joe Romm says:

      I have a large bet for 2020 to that effect.

      • Sasparilla says:

        I think its highly likely that you’ll win with ease, unfortunately.

        (barring some major volcanic eruptions)

      • Artful Dodger says:

        I’m not a fan of these bets, since the stakes are in $$ which is the intangible which drives the actual cause of sea ice decline. Instead why not bet for something visceral like:

        “Beginning today, every day that the sea ice extent (SIE) is below 1 million square kilometers in extent, you will not drive a personal automobile powered by fossil fuel, or fly in an airplane. For every day SIE is over 1 M sq km, I will not drive or fly.”

        Any takers? BTW, this is no suckers bet. I bought my last tank of gasoline 12 months ago today. I’m ready to rumble if you are!

  7. Joan Savage says:

    The Bloomberg reporter is mistaken about this being a “first time” that the White House has told federal agencies to consider the impact on global warming before approving major project.

    It may just be the first time that businesses who contract with federal agencies see this might be a solid factor in project approval.

    A draft NEPA guidance on climate change was issued by the White House in 2010.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ceq/20100218-nepa-consideration-effects-ghg-draft-guidance.pdf

    In 2011 the White House issued the FEDERAL AGENCY CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION PLANNING, Implementing Instructions

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ceq/adaptation_final_implementing_instructions_3_3.pdf

    Surprise, not.

    • Colorado Bob says:

      JS -
      There’s a lot brains on the net , but you always bring it, clear , on point, and worth our attention.

      Here’s yer “Atta Gitl”.

  8. fj says:

    Seems that Bloomberg News clearly demonstrates the type of responsible climate change coverage you get without fossil fuel industry corruption.

  9. Sasparilla says:

    “Natural gas: commodity market’s ‘sleeping giant’”

    Interesting article on natural gas here:

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/natural-gas-commodity-markets-sleeping-giant-2013-03-15?link=MW_popular

    From the 2nd page:

    ” Coal power plants are being scheduled to close in big numbers, setting the stage for large expansion of natural gas-fired power plants, Hastings said. By late 2014, the first evidence will really kick in and by 2015, “the new period for natural gas will have started.”

    The EIA estimates that coal will lose 25.5 gigawatts of summer capacity between now and 2016, while gas-fired generators gain 36.6 gigawatts, according to Hastings — and those estimates may be conservative compared with independent ones, he said. ”

    Natural Gas prices in the U.S. will go back up (purely on the cost to burn, Coal is already cheaper than natural gas, but add in the enviro costs etc. and its not, yet) – hopefully Natural Gas can kill off alot of coal plants before that happens.

  10. fj says:

    It should be clear by now that exposure to climate change is pretty much universal especially with regards to Federal approval of major projects.

    Hopefully this will offset the considerable advantage the fossil fuel industry has spreading misinformation costing mere $millions with $billions in return on investment.

    The importance of being numerate:

    One thousand millions equals one billion.

    One thousand billions equals one trillion.

  11. Aldous says:

    “Phoenix’s multiple vulnerabilities, which are plenty daunting taken one by one, have the capacity to magnify one another, like compounding illnesses. In this regard, it’s a quintessentially modern city, a pyramid of complexities requiring large energy inputs to keep the whole apparatus humming.”

    Phoenix represents what could happen at other metropolises around the world if climate change is not addressed. It is a real time case study of the effects of climate change.

    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/15126-phoenix-in-the-climate-crosshairs-we-are-long-past-coal-mine-canaries

    • Colorado Bob says:

      A-
      I read this story this morning , the little water war lords in Arizona, will die off fast.
      It’s an important story thanks for the link everyone here should read it.

  12. Beth says:

    Yikes – read the scary comments under the Bloomberg article, which narrowly defines NEPA as:

    “…a Nixon-era law that was first intended to force agencies to assess the effect of projects on air, water and soil pollution.”

    Can anyone imagine the Congress we have today actually PASSING (even proposing?) this forward-thinking law, which covers Climate Change perfectly?

    TITLE I

    CONGRESSIONAL DECLARATION OF NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY

    Sec. 101 [42 USC § 4331].

    (a) The Congress, recognizing the profound impact of man’s activity on the interrelations of all components of the natural environment, particularly the profound influences of population growth, high-density urbanization, industrial expansion, resource exploitation, and new and expanding technological advances and recognizing further the critical importance of restoring and maintaining environmental quality to the overall welfare and development of man, declares that it is the continuing policy of the Federal Government, in cooperation with State and local governments, and other concerned public and private organizations, to use all practicable means and measures, including financial and technical assistance, in a manner calculated to foster and promote the general welfare, to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony, and fulfill the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans.

  13. Joan Savage says:

    Among the many news reports on bedbugs developing chemical resistance, one noted that sufficiently high temperatures are still effective to kill the bugs. I can’t call this much of an advantage to global warming, but there it is.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21778171

    Prof Palli explained: “In places like India, they are not treated as huge problem pests… People drag their furniture out into the Sun… and the bugs will crawl out and die from the heat.”

    Now in the US, he explained, exterminators are employing similar tactics when confronted with the worst infestations.

    “The best option now is to heat the place up to 90-100F (30-35C) so that the bugs will come out and die,” he explained.

    “They take all of the furniture out, and they heat up the house. That seems to be the way to exterminate them if the infestation is bad.”

    • Sasparilla says:

      Interesting Joan, nice link.

      • Colorado Bob says:

        JS -
        In the American alligator , 3F degrees makes the difference between all males, or all females.
        Seemly small numbers make a big difference.

  14. Joan Savage says:

    New Zealand North Island hit by worst drought in 30 years

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21797095

    “Some scientists say the unusually dry weather could be a harbinger of climate change.”

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      ‘Some scientists say…’-the BBC sounds more and more like Fox News every day. On second consideration, the comparison is odious-to Fox News’ detriment.

  15. Raul M. says:

    Climate Central note to the Arctic Ice cracks has a few comments about the ozone hole. In particular there is a mention of the leaves burning due to the increased UV rays in Alaska. And I remember looking at the UV index and seeing the lowest ratings at the higher latitudes. My question is there a separate calculation system used that accounts for enough UV to purn plant leaves but still gives a rating in the very little danger level?
    Because if the UV index is to give a easily identifiable rating as to the danger level somebody forgot to tell the plants.
    Also if someone is to get contact lenses to protect the eyes from UV rays one wouldn’t necessarialy need correction to the lenses so why would a perscription be required for the contact lenses that are only used to protect the vision from UV rays.
    Just thinking.
    Anyway I probably need a teacher to correct my mixtakes in spelling etc.

    • Calamity Jean says:

      The UV index is a measure of UV hazard to humans, a tropical species that has had time to only partially evolve to suit a low-UV polar environment. The plants damaged by UV recently in the Arctic have evolved in low UV and therefore can’t cope with the relatively sudden increase in UV radiation.

      Non-corrective contact lenses would require at least expert fitting because different people have differently curved eyes and need contact lenses curved to match.

  16. Colorado Bob says:

    Joe -
    Two quotes from today -
    “There are no deniers in the natural world,”
    “The animal, plant and insect kingdoms aren’t interested in public policy. They don’t read political blogs. They adapt because they have to. They must change to survive.”

    “There are no deniers in the natural world,”
    Ed Perry spent 30 years in Pennsylvania with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He came out of retirement and now travels the state as an advocate for the National Wildlife Federation’s global warming campaign.

    • Merrelyn Emery says:

      Unfortunately not all can adapt fast enough. But a little good news – an embryo of the gastric brooding frog has been created after extinction 30 years ago. It was news on abc.net.au/news this morning, ME