New oil drilling, if it happens, is many years away, while cap-and-trade legislation is here and now
By Philip Elliot, AP
Reversing a ban on oil drilling off most U.S. shores, President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced an expansive new policy that could put new oil and natural gas platforms in waters along the southern Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and part of Alaska.
Speaking at Andrews air base outside Washington, Obama said, “This is not a decision that I’ve made lightly.” He addressed the expected outcry from disappointed environmentalists by saying he had studied the issue for more than a year and concluded it was the right call given the nation’s voracious thirst for energy and the need to produce jobs and keep American businesses competitive.
“We’re announcing the expansion of offshore oil and gas exploration but in ways that balance the need to harness domestic energy resources and the need to protect America’s natural resources,” Obama said, standing in front of a Navy F-18 fighter scheduled to fly on Earth Day with a half-biomass fuel mix.
The president said his decision is part of a broader strategy that also includes expanding the production of nuclear power and clean energy sources, to “move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels and foreign oil to one that relies more on homegrown fuels and clean energy.”
Read the rest of this story at CNS News.
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By Jonathan Leake
The chairman of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has used bogus claims that Himalayan glaciers were melting to win grants worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Rajendra Pachauri’s Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), based in New Delhi, was awarded up to Â£310,000 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the lion’s share of a Â£2.5m EU grant funded by European taxpayers.
It means that EU taxpayers are funding research into a scientific claim about glaciers that any ice researcher should immediately recognise as bogus. The revelation comes just a week after The Sunday Times highlighted serious scientific flaws in the IPCC’s 2007 benchmark report on the likely impacts of global warming.
The IPCC had warned that climate change was likely to melt most of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 – an idea considered ludicrous by most glaciologists. Last week a humbled IPCC retracted that claim and corrected its report.
Since then, however, The Sunday Times has discovered that the same bogus claim has been cited in grant applications for TERI.
One of them, announced earlier this month just before the scandal broke, resulted in a Â£310,000 grant from Carnegie.
Read the rest of this story at the Sunday Times.
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White House Calls Agreement With China, India and South Africa a ‘First Step’
By Alessandro Torello and Stephen Power
The White House said Friday that U.S. President Barack Obama, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and South African President Jacob Zuma reached a “meaningful agreement” for combating climate change. The deal was described by an administration official as “not sufficient to combat the threat of climate change but it’s an important first step.”
The White House official said developed and developing countries have agreed to listing their national actions and commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There will be a mechanism to funnel money to help developing nations pay for technology and projects to cope with the affects of climate change, such as rising sea levels.
The agreement sets a target of two degrees Celsius for the increase in global temperatures. Countries are supposed to provide information on the implementation of actions to cut carbon dioxide emissions through national communications, with provisions for international consultations and analysis under clearly defined guidelines, the official said.
Details of the language on verification of steps to curb greenhouse gases â€“ which could be critical to political acceptance of the agreement in Congress â€“ weren’t immediately available. The so-called transparency issue was a critical stumbling block in discussions between the U.S. and China.
The administration official said “no country is entirely satisfied with each element but this is a meaningful and historic step forward and a foundation from which to make further progress.”
Earlier Friday, Mr. Obama met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and the two leaders indicated they are close to agreement on a new arms-reduction treaty.
But on the climate issue, disagreements over fundamental issues continued into the evening Friday, despite efforts by the Danes and others to broker compromises.
“It is now clear there won’t be a comprehensive accord,” Italy’s Environment Minister Stefania Prestigiacomo said. “There will be a text that refers to next year for a comprehensive agreement,” she said.
Read the rest of this story at Wall Street Journal.
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By James Delingpole
Climategate just got much, much bigger. And all thanks to the Russians who, with perfect timing, dropped this bombshell just as the worldâ€™s leaders are gathering in Copenhagen to discuss ways of carbon-taxing us all back to the dark ages.
Feast your eyes on this news release from Rionovosta, via the Ria Novosti agency, posted on Icecap. (Hat Tip: Richard North)
A discussion of the November 2009 Climatic Research Unit e-mail hacking incident, referred to by some sources as â€œClimategate,â€ continues against the backdrop of the abortive UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen (COP15) discussing alternative agreements to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that aimed to combat global warming.
The incident involved an e-mail server used by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich, East England. Unknown persons stole and anonymously disseminated thousands of e-mails and other documents dealing with the global-warming issue made over the course of 13 years.
Controversy arose after various allegations were made including that climate scientists colluded to withhold scientific evidence and manipulated data to make the case for global warming appear stronger than it is.
Climategate has already affected Russia. On Tuesday, the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) issued a report claiming that the Hadley Center for Climate Change based at the headquarters of the British Meteorological Office in Exeter (Devon, England) had probably tampered with Russian-climate data.
The IEA believes that Russian meteorological-station data did not substantiate the anthropogenic global-warming theory. Analysts say Russian meteorological stations cover most of the countryâ€™s territory, and that the Hadley Center had used data submitted by only 25% of such stations in its reports. Over 40% of Russian territory was not included in global-temperature calculations for some other reasons, rather than the lack of meteorological stations and observations.
The data of stations located in areas not listed in the Hadley Climate Research Unit Temperature UK (HadCRUT) survey often does not show any substantial warming in the late 20th century and the early 21st century.
The HadCRUT database includes specific stations providing incomplete data and highlighting the global-warming process, rather than stations facilitating uninterrupted observations.
On the whole, climatologists use the incomplete findings of meteorological stations far more often than those providing complete observations.
IEA analysts say climatologists use the data of stations located in large populated centers that are influenced by the urban-warming effect more frequently than the correct data of remote stations.
The scale of global warming was exaggerated due to temperature distortions for Russia accounting for 12.5% of the worldâ€™s land mass. The IEA said it was necessary to recalculate all global-temperature data in order to assess the scale of such exaggeration.
Global-temperature data will have to be modified if similar climate-date procedures have been used from other national data because the calculations used by COP15 analysts, including financial calculations, are based on HadCRUT research.Â
Read the rest of this article at the London Times.
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Highlights social injustice of proposed climate change policies
The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) announced today that they have joined the No Cap and Trade Coalition in the fight against cap-and-trade legislation and the proposed Copenhagen climate treaty. The coalition is comprised of over 30 state and federal public policy groups and think tanks and maintains a website at www.NoCapAndTrade.com.
Niger Innis, national spokesperson for CORE, will become a spokesperson for the No Cap-and Trade Coalition, helping to spread the message that this dangerous public policy will impede social justice, transfer wealth from the United States to foreign countries and potentially strip the United States of its sovereignty.
â€œCORE is committed to the coalitionâ€™s efforts to stop cap-and-trade as well as the Copenhagen treaty,â€ said Niger Innis. â€œThis endeavor is a continuation of an almost three year effort that CORE has made in its national energy campaign â€“ CORE believes that access to affordable energy is a civil and human right and will work with the No Cap-and-Trade Coalition to spread this message.â€
â€œThe No Cap-and-Trade Coalition is very excited about working with CORE and having Niger Innis as a spokesperson,â€ said Jeff Davis of Minnesota Majority, the coalitionâ€™s organizer. â€œWe believe his message that cap-and-trade schemes will be devastating to all Americans, but with a disproportionate impact on the poor in this country, will resonate with all people, regardless of politics.â€
On December 7, 2009, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will begin a conference in Copenhagen, Denmark where President Obama intends to consent to an operational agreement with immediate effect if the proposed treaty canâ€™t be agreed upon. The treaty, or any similar executive agreements, could result in a massive transfer of wealth from the United States to third world countries, tax hikes, price inflation, job losses and more damage to the faltering American economy. A draft of the treaty includes establishing a new world government along with a world energy tax. Were such a treaty ratified, it could be a threat to the sovereignty of the United States.
If domestic cap-and-trade legislation were passed, it could result in a loss of 1.9 million American jobs in 2012 and 2.5 million American jobs by 2025. From 2012-2019, the CBO estimates direct government spending at $822 billion with revenue at $845 billion from taxes on energy producers.
The No Cap-and-Trade Coalition has launched a petition on its website at www.NoCapAndTrade.com and through it, has transmitted over 150,000 citizen messages to the president and Congress in opposition to cap and trade schemes. Member organizations have been independently working in the fight against cap-and-trade and the Copenhagen treaty and some are running advertisements to educate the public.
CORE plans to help the No Cap-and-Trade Coalition work with lawmakers to understand that only through the free-market development of technology and the refinement of conservation endeavors, can the United States achieve a sustainable energy policy for this generation and generations to come.
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By Chris Buckley and Alister Doyle
U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday next month’s climate talks in Copenhagen should cut a deal with “immediate operational effect”, even if its original aim of a legally binding pact is not achievable.
Obama was speaking after talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao in which he said the world’s top two greenhouse gas emitters had agreed to take “significant” action to mitigate their output of carbon dioxide.
“Our aim (in Copenhagen) … is not a partial accord or a political declaration but rather an accord that covers all of the issues in the negotiations and one that has immediate operational effect,” Obama said.
Denmark, host of the Dec. 7-18 climate talks, welcomed Obama’s comments and said it expected the United States and all developed nations to promise firm emissions cuts and new cash to help the poor cope with global warming, even if no treaty text could be agreed.
Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen won backing on Sunday from Obama and other leaders at an Asia-Pacific summit for his scaled-down plan for a politically binding deal, with a legally binding one delayed until 2010.
“The American president endorsed our approach, implying that all developed countries will need to bring strong reduction targets to the negotiating table in Copenhagen,” he told about 40 environment ministers meeting in the Danish capital.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also keen that the momentum for a deal should be maintained.
“We will make very clear that we continue to support ambitious goals for Copenhagen,” she told reporters before a cabinet meeting.
“We must do everything to ensure that we move quickly to get a binding agreement. Even if this can’t be reached in Copenhagen, it can’t be pushed back forever.”
Read the rest of this article at Reuters.
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Orange County Register Editorial
In a major blow to the campaign against the presumed threat of global warming, world leaders acknowledge that a legally binding global treaty won’t be approved at next month’s 192-nation climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The concession Sunday significantly delays U.N. efforts to orchestrate a treaty to limit greenhouse gases to replace the Kyoto treaty, which expires in 2012. Nations like the United States and poorer nations share the blame for the missed deadline. Their concerns are similar to our own.
Developed nations are reluctant to limit domestic greenhouse gas emissions for fear of harming their already slumping economies. They also resist subsidizing poorer nations’ efforts. Meanwhile, developing nations, like China and India, refuse to adopt restrictions unless wealthier nations like the U.S. compensate them for the cost.
This could be a long-term standoff. It’s an understandably worldwide reluctance to commit what increasingly looked like economic suicide.
The proposed 20-percent greenhouse-gas reduction by 2020 would mean the U.S. returning to 1977 emission levels. That would “radically change both the U.S. economy and our personal lives,” according to the National Center for Policy Analysis, a nonprofit organization of energy and environmental policy experts and scientists.
“Car and truck miles traveled would have to be reduced by one-third (or fuel efficiency improved by one-third, difficult to achieve in 10 years), which would seriously reduce travel and transportation, and likely force changes in automobile design that consumers would not like,” the NCPA says. The amount of coal burned to create electricity would have to be cut in half without feasible alternatives to pick up the slack.
Such concerns so far block congressional efforts. Senators from industrial, carbon-emitting states are reluctant to impose regulations that will put their constituencies at an economic disadvantage.
“If we passed a bill that the rest of the world didn’t follow,” observed Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, “then Uncle Sam could soon become Uncle Sucker and export all of our jobs to China.”
Â Read the rest at Orange County Register.
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By Juliet Eilperin
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) will go ahead and mark up climate legislation in her committee Tuesday, she announced Monday morning, even if the Republicans try to block her.
Under committee rules and precedent, two members of the minority are customarily required in order to provide a quorum for a markup. But Boxer and her aides will rely on a provision in the rules that will allow the Democrats to proceed as long as a majority of committee members are present, and can report out the bill if a majority is present and votes in favor of the bill. Democrats outnumber Republicans on the panel by a ratio of 12 to 7.
While committee Republicans have objected that the Environmental Protection Agency has not performed a full economic impact analysis of the bill authored by Boxer and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.), Boxer rejected this complaint in a statement.
“This bill has had comprehensive legislative hearings, with 54 expert witnesses in nine panels. Committee rules provide that the Chairman’s Mark be circulated three days before a business meeting, and we released it, along with the EPA’s economic analysis, ten days before the markup,” she said. “No climate bill has ever had this level of review and the Obama administration stands behind the EPA’s analysis.”
“We urge Ranking Member Inhofe, with the utmost respect, to bring the committee Republicans back to work on this issue. We will give them the opportunity, as we proceed this week, to reconsider their decision,” she added. “We look forward to working with them if they decide to participate, but if they do not, we will move forward in accordance with the rules of the Senate and of this committee.”
Matt Dempsey, spokesman for the committee Republicans, said the minority was united in its opposition to moving forward.
Read the rest of this article at Washington Post.
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