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Climate Capsule Week of February 14th
Welcome to the redesigned and online Climate Capsule, National Wildlife Federation’s weekly climate change newsletter! I look forward to any suggestions and feedback about the new look and feel, which aims to make catching up on global warming news faster, easier and more dynamic. Please share the Capsule on Facebook or Twitter!
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This week’s stories:
- Highlight of the Week: Voters to Congress: “Let EPA do its Job”
- Quote: NWF’s Jeremy Symons on the Continuing Resolution
- Economic Story of the Week: Wikileaks Cables Reveal Concerns Over ‘Peak Oil’
- Editorial of the Week: The GOP’s War on the EPA
- Obama Administration Advances on Offshore Wind
- Report: Mass Climate-Related Migration on the Horizon
- Happening this Week
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Voters to Congress: “Let EPA do its Job”
A new poll from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has found that an overwhelming majority of voters want the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to enforce the Clean Air Act and protect public health from harmful air pollution.
NRDC’ surveyed residents in the swing districts of nine House Energy and Commerce Committee members and found that more than 75 percent oppose legislation that would halt EPA action on carbon pollution.
“The bottom line is now clearer than ever: Democrats, Republicans and Independents across America want politicians to protect the health of America’s children rather than the profit-driven agenda of big polluters,” said Pete Altman, climate campaign director at NRDC.
The survey also found that 67 percent of House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI)’s constituents–including 60 percent of Republicans–agreed with the statement that “Congress should let the EPA do its job.” Rep. Upton and Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) introduced legislation that would permanently handcuff the EPA from enforcing the Clean Air Act.
Despite strong polls like this in support of EPA, the House Appropriations Committee majority leadership is working to open new polluter loopholes in the Clean Air Act through the Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year.
“These attacks on the Clean Air Act put polluter lobbyists at the front of the line and move independent scientists to the back,” said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of National Wildlife Federation.
National Wildlife Federation has compiled a breakdown of how the CR is protecting oil companies and jeopardizing the health of Americans.
“The Continuing Resolution’s Clean Air Act prohibitions would place an unprecedented blindfold and gag order on the Environmental Protection Agency. It requires EPA to turn a blind eye to carbon dioxide pollution from smokestacks, in defiance of the Clean Air Act, a Supreme Court order and sound science. EPA’s responsible enforcement and updating of the Clean Air Act are a big part of the legislation’s 40-year successful track record protecting public health and wildlife from pollution.”
– Jeremy Symons, senior vice president for National Wildlife Federation, rebuffing the attacks on the Clean Air Act in the Continuing Resolution spending plan released by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY)
Wikileaks Cables Reveal Concerns Over “Peak Oil”
Diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks have called into question Saudi Arabia’s ability to increase oil production above current levels if needed to stabilize oil prices, stating that the country’s crude reserves may have been overestimated by up to 40 percent. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest exporter of oil and plays a key role in setting global oil prices.
If Saudi Arabia is reaching its point of “peak oil,” that is to say that the country’s oil production has reached its maximum, concerns are growing that global oil prices up will be forced up over time with no way to drive them down.
Even without “peak oil” looming Americans are demanding a clean energy future, a recent Gallup poll finding that 83 percent of individuals want Congress to push forward on an energy bill that provides incentives for using solar and other alternative energy.
The GOP’s War on the EPA
The right to pollute is getting a big push from pals of the fossil fuel industries, most of them aiming at curtailing the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to limit greenhouse gas emissions. West Virginia’s senior Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller would call a two-year timeout on EPA regulations. House and Senate committee leaders Fred Upton (R-MI) and James Inhofe (R-OK) would strip EPA’s authority to limit CO2 and methane under the Clean Air Act. Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso would hurl Congress off the deep end. His legislation would forbid federal greenhouse gas limits under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act…Let’s hope Congress, in a shortsighted venture into EPA-bashing, doesn’t behave similarly with carbon pollution – stubbornly letting it build up, like the national debt, until a crisis forces action more drastic than anyone would like. (More…)
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Department of Energy (DOE) recently unveiled a strategic plan to accelerate the development of offshore wind energy, including more than $50 million in new funding for research and development. The agencies also identified four high-potential, low-impact areas in the Mid-Atlantic to speed up the construction of offshore wind power.
“Offshore wind holds great potential to create jobs, cut pollution, and reduce our reliance on dirty fossil fuels,” said Catherine Bowes, senior policy representative at National Wildlife Federation. “It is time for America to move forward boldly and responsibly with clean energy, and we applaud the administration showing leadership to accelerate offshore wind development.”
National Wildlife Federation along with a coalition of state and national groups recently released the report Offshore Wind in the Atlantic: Growing Momentum for Jobs, Energy Independence, Clean Air, and Wildlife Protection (pdf), which found more than 212 gigawatts of potential offshore wind energy in the Atlantic.
A new report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is warning that extreme weather caused by climate change will displace millions of people over the next half-century.
The report, Migration Due to Climate Change Demands Attention, predicts that between 50 and 300 million people will be forced to relocated within and across borders.
“Protection and assistance schemes remain inadequate, poorly coordinated, and scattered,” said the report. “National governments and the international community must urgently address this issue in a proactive manner.”
Reports from the National Wildlife Federation highlight how global warming brings an increasing amounts of extreme weather events such as droughts, hurricanes, floods and heat waves.
Tuesday, February 15
Hearing: “Environmental Regulations, the Economy, and Jobs,” House Energy and Commerce Subcommitte on Environment and the Economy, 1:00PM, Rayburn 2322.
Hearing: “Green Jobs and Trade,” Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Green Jobs and the New Economy, 2:30PM, Dirksen 406.
Wednesday, February 16
Briefing: Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Development, Environmental and Energy Study Institute, House Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Caucus, California Fuel Cell Partnership, and Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association. 3:00-4:30PM, HVC 201 Capitol Visitors Center. No RSVP required.
Summit: “Virginia Greenforce Community College Summit: Preparing the Virginia Workforce for New Green Jobs,” National Wildlife Federation and Jobs for the Future’s Greenforce Initiative, 9:00AM-4:00PM, Germanna Community College, Daniel Technology Center, 18121 Technology Drive, Culpeper, Virginia 22701, To attend email Jen Fournelle at email@example.com.
Thursday, February 17
Summit: “Michigan Greenforce Learning and Action Network Summit: Advancing Greener Careers and Campuses in Michigan,” National Wildlife Federation and Jobs for the Future’s Greenforce Initiative, 9:00AM-4:00PM, Lansing Community College, West Campus Conference Center, rooms M119-122, Register online here.