Bipartisan agreement on climate action, and other less awesome trends
VIDEO OF THE DAY
How Much Energy Does the US Use? The Atlantic Cities. August 5, 2013.
Lobbyists cast long shadows over Sacramento during the first half of this year. The Western States Petroleum Association, alone, wrote a check for $2.3 million.
But a new PPIC poll suggests lobbying on behalf of climate deniers is a waste of money in the Golden State. 79% of Californians surveyed urge the state to address global warming immediately, even if it requires money and more regulation. Only 11% believe global warming will never happen. Cal’s native sons and daughters love renewable energy. See how much they love wind here and solar here and here. In large numbers they oppose offshore oil drilling and expanding hydraulic fracturing, although a proliferation of both appears inevitable.
Surprisingly, California’s well-informed public needs to become better informed about cap-and-trade.
Fracking off the coast of California is more widespread than previously known. It’s been occurring off shore for at least 15 years and the California Coastal Commission claims ignorance of the activity. Companies prospecting for oil have used hydraulic fracturing on at least a dozen occasions without a permit in the Santa Barbara Channel but no studies have been conducted to determine how these proceedings have impacted the marine environment. In a different matter, the Bureau of Land Management announced natural gas drilling in California would be the subject of a new detailed study.
California’s high-speed rail is on schedule to leave the station, despite signs in the Central Valley crying out: “No to high-speed rail.”
One of every 50 registered vehicles in California is a hybrid. At $4 per gallon, the price of gasoline makes purchasing a hybrid an ‘easy sell’ and Californians are just gobbling them up.
Here, in the U.S., manufacturers of EVs recognize charging stations as an integral component for expanding their market and many have hired consulting firms to approach employers to install charging stations on site—treating the re-charge as a cost-effective workplace benefit. Still, with more than 40 models and sales of 298,000 hybrid cars this year alone, one has to wonder if EV manufacturers are green with envy.
Four former administrators of the EPA, all proud Republicans, argue for immediate government action to address global warming by endorsing President Obama’s climate plan. Their statement couldn’t be more timely and prophetic.
NOAA’s 2012 State of the Climate, an annual scorecard compiled by 384 scientists from 52 countries, reveals ‘a cascading set of abnormal trends,’ all of which contributed to making 2012 one of the warmest years on record. For a comprehensive list of the key indicators and trends causing worry and concern, look here.
Two studies published in Science, examining the changes wrought by global warming, are commanding a great deal of attention. The first concerns velocity and how changes in climate—occurring 10 times quicker than any climate shift in the past 65 million years—are imposing stressors on the globe’s ecosystems making it difficult for many species to adapt and survive. The second study examines the correlation between higher temperatures and international violence. An excellent assessment of that study can be found here.
More and more frequently, the risks associated with climate change are being calculated in terms of dollars and cents. Last year, more than half of global asset managers and almost a quarter of asset owners confessed that apprehension over climate change influenced their investment and divestment decisions. Relying on a compendium of studies, including the 2006 Stern Review, an article in Forbes speculates the cost of offsetting the effects of a 2°C temperature rise will be 2% of global GDP per year.
Finally, allegations that the Environmental Impact Statement for KXL assembled by Environmental Resources Management (ERM) and commissioned by the State Department was marred by a conflict of interest seems to have borne fruit. Opponents of the pipeline want a redo and the Hill reports that an inquiry into ERM’s findings is underway. Some view this new action by State as another strong indication that support for KXL is waning and in serious jeopardy.
QUOTES OF THE DAY
"Climate change will not be resolved overnight, but it will be engaged over the next three years – that I can promise you." EPA head, Gina McCarthy in her first official speech as head of the agency.
“The only uncertainty about our warming world is how bad the changes will get, and how soon. What is most clear is that there is no time to waste.” Former administrators of the EPA, William D. Ruckelshaus, Lee M. Thomas, William K. Reilly and Christine Todd Whitman making a case to address climate change immediately.
"What concerns me most about climate change now is the stark contrast between the apathy of the public and the troubling facts that we climate scientists have established and that President Obama clearly recognizes." Richard C. J. Somerville in his essay, “Concerns of a Climate Scientist.”
The Electric Car is Here to Stay. MIT Technology Review. August 5, 2013.
2012: BROAD MONITORING OF THE CLIMATE SYSTEM. SOURCE: State of the Climate in 2012. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. August 2013.
SEA LEVEL RISE. SOURCE: State of the Climate in 2012. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society August 2013.
Californians and the Environment. July 2013. PPIC.
FRACKING IN CALIFORNIA
TRANSPORTATION IN THE GOLDEN STATE
A BIPARTISAN RECOGNITION OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Op Ed. A Republican Case for Climate Action. William D. Ruckelshaus, Lee M. Thomas, William K. Reilly and Christine Todd Whitman.
NOAA and SCIENCE
Natural Systems in Changing Climates. Science. August 2, 2013.
STUDY. Changes in Ecologically Critical Terrestrial Climate Conditions. Noah S. Diffenbaugh and Christopher B. Field. Science. August 2, 2013.
STUDY. Quantifying the Influence of Climate on Human Conflict. Solomon M. Hsiang, Marshall Burke, Edward Miguel. Science. August 1, 2013.
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