November 9 News: EPA Head Under Bush Sr. Laments GOP’s Anti-Environment, Anti-Health, Anti-Jobs Stance

Other stories below: Global Wind Power Investments to Total $820 Billion Through 2017; The Developing World Leading on Climate Change?

EPA chief under first Bush laments GOP shift on environment

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency under former President George H.W. Bush on Tuesday called on Republicans to defend clean-air regulations from “demagogic assaults” by members of Congress.

“It’s time once again to put on battle gear, to charge out and remind the country that Republicans, whose party has an admirable record on environmental issues going back to Teddy Roosevelt, in fact still do care about asthma and allergies, about the effects on the young, the ill and the elderly of particulates and hot polluted air, about hospital admissions and lung impairment,” William Reilly said in prepared remarks at a summit on the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act.

Reilly was instrumental in the Clean Air Act amendments, which were aimed at limiting acid rain and air pollution. Reilly called the effort “George H.W. Bush’s monumental contribution to the environment.”

But about 20 years later, Republicans in Congress are targeting the Clean Air Act and EPA efforts to impose a slew of new regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, mercury emissions and other air pollutants.

Reilly, a Republican, defended EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s clean-air agenda.

These rules are grounded in the best available science, and what’s more, given the priority we all hold for the economy, they will result in job creation as companies acquire and install pollution controls,” he said.


Global Wind Power Investment to Total $820 Billion from 2011 to 2017, Forecasts Pike Research

Wind power now accounts for the majority of the world’s non-hydropower renewable electricity capacity. Now that wind power has reached approximately one-fifth of total electricity generation in some countries, most in the energy industry appreciate it as a mainstream technology that is key to not only reducing carbon emissions, but also meeting rapidly increasing electricity demand around the world.

While the global economic recession significantly slowed the pace of new wind power installations in 2010, turbine deployment activity remains strong and overall capacity will continue to rise at a healthy pace. According to a recent report from Pike Research, by 2017 wind power installations will represent a $153 billion global industry, up from $77 billion in 2011. Over that period, the cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts, cumulative investment in new wind power capacity will total $820 billion.

Over that same period, total wind generation capacity, including both onshore and offshore projects, will increase from 235.8 gigawatts (GW) in 2011 to 562.9 GW in 2017.

The Developing World, Leading on Climate Change?

In what may turn out to be one of the abiding ironies of global geopolitics, leadership on climate change seems to have suddenly passed from the developed to the developing world, as has public anxiety about the damaging effects of a changing climate.

As recently as the Copenhagen summit in late 2009, the West blamed large developing countries such as China and India for scuppering the chances of a “grand agreement” to curb the emission of greenhouse gases. Poor developing countries argued they needed the right to pollute in order to catch up to the West in terms of economic development, while the rich nations clucked that the world could ill afford more carbon emissions.

On the flip side, at the Cancun summit a year later, India’s then environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, was pilloried in the domestic press, and accused, by his own admission, of “caving in to the United States” in the final near-consensus plan that was agreed.

How quickly things have changed.

In the unfolding presidential election campaign in the United States, climate change is not a major issue. According to a recent poll, only 59 percent of Americans even believe that the planet is warming, as compared to 79 percent in 2006.

Renewables set to help European utilities’ profits

Three of Europe’s largest utilities, buoyed by government support, expect renewable energy sources plus ongoing cost cuts to help them weather higher wholesale gas purchasing prices and support earnings for the current financial year.

The world’s number one utility by sales, Germany’s E.ON reported Wednesday it produced 7 percent more green power than a year ago while central Europe’s biggest listed company, the Czech Republic’s CEZ, added its renewable power production remained stable.

One of Britain’s six big energy suppliers, Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE), produced 55 percent more renewable energy in the first half of its financial year.

European governments are enticing companies with subsidy systems to expand the use of solar, water and wind power to cut greenhouse gas emissions and assuage public opposition to coal-fired power plants.

Deutsche Bank analyst Hasim Sengl saw “positive developments in the renewable energy segment, especially wind energy” of Germany’s E.ON (EONGn.DE).

Deutsche Bank analyst Martin Brough, referring to SSE, added: “We continue to expect earnings growth to pick up in the coming years as wind farms under construction come on-line and as upstream profits benefit from rising wholesale prices.”

The big issues at the Durban climate summit

Representatives of nearly 200 nations will assemble at the end of November in Durban, South Africa, for their annual summit on climate change.

Following the failure of talks in Copenhagen in 2009 and Cancun in 2010 to agree a successor to the Kyoto Protocol — the only global accord on tackling climate change — diplomats and non-governmental organizations have been managing expectations for the Durban summit.

Rather than a breakthrough, they have emphasized incremental progress and the improvement of existing mechanisms for monitoring and managing climate change.

All observers agree time has run out to get a new version of Kyoto in place before the first commitment period expires at the end of next year.

The European Union has said the world might not be able to agree on a binding climate deal until 2015.

“After Copenhagen, there will probably never be another attempt to agree one global deal all at once,” Tim Gore, international climate change policy advisor at Oxfam, told Reuters. “Durban will be another stepping stone.”

“If we get an EU commitment to continue Kyoto, a signal from the rest of the world that they will undertake legal commitments in the future and delivery in the meantime … then we’ll be making progress toward a sophisticated global architecture for fighting climate change,” he added.

Nebraska lawmakers debate pipeline eminent domain rules

Nebraska lawmakers debated on Tuesday tightening eminent domain rules for procuring land during the second day of a special session to discuss bills related to the proposed $7 billion Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The pipeline’s planned route from Canada to Texas takes it across Nebraska, a move opposed by environmental groups and some property owners who will be affected by the construction.

Nebraska lawmakers are considering five bills to regulate the pipeline and possibly force TransCanada Corp to move its route away from the state’s ecologically sensitive Sand Hills region and Ogallala aquifer, a major source of drinking and irrigation water for several states.

State Senator Bill Avery, speaking at the statehouse on Tuesday, said his bill on eminent domain rules would require a pipeline company to have a state or federal permit before contacting landowners and giving notice that property could be taken via eminent domain rules.

“This bill is to protect Nebraska landowners from the unfair taking of property,” Avery said in morning hearings.

11 Responses to November 9 News: EPA Head Under Bush Sr. Laments GOP’s Anti-Environment, Anti-Health, Anti-Jobs Stance

  1. Paul Magnus says:

    Takes a GOP to get the story angle right.

    Its anti-GOP GOP.

    Time to step the rhetoric up.

  2. Colorado Bob says:

    In fact, local weather is expected to fluctuate more wildly as the global average creeps up.

    The current huge storm in Alaska ….. ” The center of today’s storm moved ashore over eastern Siberia near 12 UTC with a central pressure of 945 mb. “. The 1974 storm , … “November 11 – 12 1974, when the city experienced sustained winds of 46 mph with gusts to 69 mph, a pressure that bottomed out at 969 mb, “.

  3. Colorado Bob says:

    Dry and warm weather conditions the first few weeks of October created ideal wildfire conditions across the Great Basin and Pacific Northwest, contributing to record acreage burned during the month. Over half a million acres burned nationwide during October — more than double the long-term average.

  4. David B. Benson says:

    On an annualized basis, assuming an average of 26% wind, that projected sum is US$5603/kW which is more than enough to construct an NPP which will actually deliver reliable power.

  5. David B. Benson says:

    Today’s TNYT biz pages has an article about auditing energy efficiency improvements for NYC apartments: on average 19% savings on heating costs and 10% savings on electricity.

    I’m impressed.

  6. Colorado Bob says:

    Conservation Scientists ‘Unanimous’ in Expectations of Serious Loss of Biological Diversity, Study Shows
    (583 individuals who had published papers in 19 international journals took part in Dr Rudd’s survey via email. The survey sought to gather opinions on the expected geographic scope of declining biological diversity before posing 16 questions to rank levels of agreement with statements that explored authors’ values, priorities, and geographic affiliation and their support of potential management actions.)
    The results revealed that 99.5 per cent of responders felt that a serious loss of biological diversity is either ‘likely’, ‘very likely’, or ‘virtually certain’. Agreement that loss is ‘very likely’ or ‘virtually certain’ ranged from 72.8 per cent of authors based in Western Europe to 90.9% for those in Southeast Asia.

    Tropical coral ecosystems were perceived as the most seriously affected by loss of biological diversity with 88.0 per cent of respondents who were familiar with that ecosystem type gauging that a serious loss is ‘very likely’ or ‘virtually certain’.

  7. prokaryotes says:

    ​Abraham Lincoln portrait, colorized

  8. prokaryotes says:

    Questions and Answers about Global Warming and Abrupt Climate Change

    Worldwatch has assembled this fact sheet to explain what climate change and global warming are, how these trends affect people and nature, and what people can do to slow warming and climate change.

  9. prokaryotes says:

    Geoengineering – Cecilia Bitz, University of Washington

    Can geoengineering save us from a climate catastrophe?
    Cecilia Bitz, Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington

    Recent climate change in the polar regions has been more rapid than expected, leading to speculation about the possibility of abrupt climate change on the horizon. Arctic sea ice has retreated in summer at an alarming pace, ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula have disintegrated, and nearby shelves appear to be in trouble. Future large loss of ice may provoke desperate actions. I will discuss these and other potential impacts of greenhouse warming that may incite nations to geoengineer. True abrupt change would mean the system’s trajectory cannot be reversed by simply cooling the planet, even if done so slowly.

    The difference in trajectories is known as hysteresis. If the Earth system were to pass such a tipping point, then the climate may need to be cooled well-below preindustrial levels in order for it to recover.

    Some have argued that the climatic response to the anthropogenically enhanced greenhouse effect cannot be wholesale eliminated by geoengineering scenarios, especially at a regional scale. I will review the current literature on climate model projections of geoengineering scenarios and discuss their success at reversing climate change and diffusing catastrophe.

  10. prokaryotes says:

    Climate Change – Abrupt and Irreversible Changes Expected in Future

    Human-induced climate change and global warming are a huge, highly topical and rapidly changing environmental issue that humanity is facing today. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report published in year 2007 strongly confirmed that climate change due to human activities is happening and that its consequences are likely to be serious. In this article we will try to figure out the abrupt and irreversible climate changes that may happen in future.

    Our climate is a very complex system of natural cycles and sub-cycles that interact with each other to create a life supporting environment, a place where different life forms can sustain and grow. These complex systems do not vary in a smooth and unique manner so its impacts are difficult to extrapolate. Such is the case with climate change.

    Outlined below are the climate changes that may happen in coming decades due to human induced global warming:

    Rapid disappearance of polar ice sheets and melting of glaciers due to global warming.
    Slowdown or Cessation of the Atlantic Meridional Circulation or MOC (Thermo-Haline Circulation or THC).
    Increasing burden on natural resources associated with rapid urbanization, industrialization and economic development.
    Significant loss of biodiversity in ecologically rich regions.
    Changes in wind patterns, affecting extra-tropical storm tracks and temperature patterns.
    Increasing burden from malnutrition, diarrhoea, cardio-respiratory and infectious diseases.
    Large scale changes in vegetation such as desertification of fertile land, reduced fertility of soil.
    Abrupt and irreversible trends in atmosphere and ocean circulation patterns.
    Increased melting of Greenland Ice Sheet, West Antarctic Ice Sheet.
    Changed frequencies and intensities of extreme weather events e.g greater heat stress, droughts, floods in low lying areas, tropical cyclones or hurricanes.
    Hundreds of millions of people will be exposed to increased water stress.
    Up to 30% of species at increasing risk of extinction.
    Reduction in quality of life due to increased hot days and reduced cold days followed by increased insect outbreaks.
    Increased salinization of fresh water resources leading to scarcity of fresh water.

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