"Energy and Global Warming News for April 13"
Over the past 10 weeks, the Environmental Protection Agency has been pumping out proposals and directives on everything from climate change toIn one high-profile move last month, the EPA said it will launch detailed reviews of permits for mountaintop coal mining operations, which can have profound effects on nearby waterways.
By moving so quickly, President Obama’shas in effect reproached the Bush administration for dawdling on climate change. In calling for tougher regulations, it has also criticized Bush officials for catering to businesses and industry.
The White House is expected to sign off this week on the most important finding the EPA will make in his administration (see “EPA makes landmark finding: Global warming threatens public health and welfare“).
Elisabeth Rosenthal writes at DotEarth:
Little concrete progress was achieved at the climate talks that ended here this week, but theas its attempts to negotiate a new climate treaty by the end of this year became vividly clear in the corridors of the Maritim Hotel Conference Center.
A host of developing countries, from China to Bolivia to the Philippines, took to the podium to insist that developed countries cut their emissions very rapidly by far more than they had planned. Most said the appropriate figure would be at least a 40 to 50 percent reductions compared to 1990 levels by 2020.
Note to Rosenthal, NYT: It is time to start writing about China differently. It is I think absurd to continue to lump China in the same sentence or the same “developing country” category as the likes of Bolivia or Philippines, given that China can pretty much single-handedly finish off the climate and that China is a hyper developing, exporting giant that is a leader in many clean technologies (see one example below).
For a different, albeit more fanciful take, see Andrew Jones’ “Developed World Strikes a Climate Deal with Developing World (in a sim at least).”
Legislation and Policy
E&E Daily (Subs. Req’d)
A battle is taking place in Maryland over federal and state energy regulation. The federal regulators have been blamed for high energy prices, and delaying additional generation projects.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and the state’s energy providers are in the final round of a battle over legislation that would reverse a decade of electricity deregulation and put the state back into the power business.
Maryland’s electricity prices, among the highest in the nation, have angered the public and politicians, and the recession has left about 200,000 of the state’s residential customers behind on their electric bills. Officials are fearful that Maryland — which must import about 30 percent of its power — may run short by 2012 if new generation is not added or if several major transmission projects are delayed.
Of Maryland’s total summertime power generation capacity, 7 percent was built within the past 10 years.
New York Times
President Obama came to office promising swift and comprehensive action to combat global climate change, and the topic remains a surefire applause line in his speeches here and abroad.
Yet the administration has taken a cautious and rather passive role on the issue, proclaiming broad goals while remaining aloof from details of climate legislation now in Congress.
I think this is a typically misleading article from the NYT. Climate legislation was never going to be easy, but in any case nothing that has happened recently suggests any increased caution by team Obama (see George Stephanopoulos, Nate Silver, and Marc Ambinder all seem confused about global warming and budget politics and Obama says his energy plan and cap-and-trade “will be authorized” even if it’s not in the budget “and I will sign it” “” Washington Post confused.)
New York Times
Senior Chinese officials outlined on Friday how they aimed to turn their country into the world’s largest producer of electric cars, including a focus on consumer choice rather than corporate subsidies.
Speaking at a conference at the government’s prestigious Diaoyutai guesthouse here, the officials acknowledged that their efforts faced challenges in terms of the cost and safety of electric cars. They promised a nationwide effort by manufacturers, universities, research institutes and government agencies to overcome these obstacles.
A biennial report released April 1 by a team of experts that advises California’s governor suggests that climate changes are poised to affect virtually every sector of the state’s economy and most of its ecosystems. Significant impacts will likely occur under even moderate scenarios of global greenhouse emissions and associated climate change, but without action, severe and costly climate change impacts are possible across the state.
Days after the Obama administration unveiled a push to combat climate change, Indian officials said it was unlikely to prompt them to agree to binding emission cuts, a position among emerging economies that many say derails effective action.
‘If the question is whether India will take on binding emission reduction commitments, the answer is no. It is morally wrong for us to agree to reduce when 40 percent of Indians do not have access to electricity,’ said a member of the Indian delegation to the recently concluded U.N. conference in Bonn, Germany, which is a prelude to a Copenhagen summit in December on climate change. ‘Of course, everybody wants to go solar, but costs are very, very high.’
For India, I don’t an emissions cut is required any time soon, so this is a bit of a red herring.
The Copenhagen Climate Convention is months away, but likely DOA already. Here’s why.
The Copenhagen Climate Convention is still eight months off, but it already looks likely that the follow-up to the Kyoto Climate Protocol will end without agreement on dramatic new action to curb global greenhouse gas emissions. The reason? American politics.
Good to see the MSM finally catch up to CP (see “Obama can’t get a global climate treaty ratified, so what should he do instead? Part 1“).
In an interview with Fareed Zakaria, Secretary Chu likens the earth to the “Great Ship Titanic,” which will take 50 years to turn around.
“Nobel physicist Steven Chu is out to revitalize U.S. industry and save the world””if he can.”
In this interview with Sharon Begley, NYT columnist Thomas Friedman says, “You’ll know the green revolution has been won when the word ‘green’ disappears.”
“Evidence of ice loss from both poles this week has sparked fresh fears that global warming is progressing faster than scientists had predicted.
Arctic ice has thinned dramatically, as well as shrinking in area, according to US research. Thin seasonal ice, which melts and refreezes each year, now makes up about 70 per cent of the Arctic winter ice, up from about 40 to 50 per cent in the 1980s and 1990s, leaving far less of the older, thicker ice that is harder to melt.
In the Antarctic, an ice bridge connecting an island to the Wilkins ice shelf – a sheet of ice about the size of Northern Ireland – shattered as scientists monitored it through satellite observations.”
The Sydney Morning Herald
“Every patient with an incurable illness will ask how long they have to live. The answer goes something like this: ‘No one can say how long you may live, because every individual is different, but focus on the changes you observe and be guided by those. When things start changing for the worse, expect these changes to accelerate. So the changes that have occurred over a year may advance by the same degree in a few months, then in weeks. And that is how you can judge when the end is coming.’”
Compiled by Max Luken and Carlin Rosengarten and Joe Romm