Posts tagged: Climate and Energy

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Climate and Energy


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Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

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unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
14 August 2009, 2:35 PM
Secret industry memo reveals "Astroturf" copy-cat incivilities

Unhappy with the Waxman-Markey climate bill, polluting industries are planning their own version of Town Hall disruptions recently seen over health care reform. The goal is to shout down any public discussion of the most important environmental issue facing the world.

Greenpeace obtained a copy of a secret memo allegedly being distributed by the American Petroleum Institute that encourages industry workers to  "aim a loud message at those states’ U.S. senators" with a series of rallies. They want senators to reject "tax increases, and access limitations on jobs and on consumers’ energy costs" and call on sentaors "to oppose unsound energy policy and 'get it right'."

View Bill Walker's blog posts
12 August 2009, 5:05 PM
New standards for soda machines save CO2 equal to 2M cars a year
Flickr: t-dawg

I'm outing myself as a old fogey, but I remember Coke machines like this one. They don't make 'em like that any more—which is a good thing, considering how much energy beverage vending machines use.

As part of its ongoing update of energy efficiency standards for home and commercial appliances, the Department of Energy has issued new rules that will reduce global warming pollution by almost 10 million metric tons over 30 years. That's an energy savings equal to what's used by more than 830,000 American households in a single year, and a carbon dioxide savings equal to that produced by 2 million cars a year.

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
12 August 2009, 12:21 PM
Although public favors bill, Senate is consumed with health care

If the latest Zogby poll is right, Americans have taken a green flip-flop in favor of Congress acting on climate change. The poll says 65 percent of us feel that way, and even believe that jobs growth is tied to clean energy investment.

Most politicians guide their votes on the basis of public opinion, so this would seem a good omen for the climate legislation passed earlier by the House into Senate hands. The "American Clean Energy and Security Act" is in part based on the premise of creating economic growth by fighting global warming.

Trouble is, the Senate is too fixated on health care reform right now to feel any wind shift on climate change. Nor is the Obama administration able to take quality time off from that ruckus to rouse action on ACES. It's supposed to be taken up early next month, but most political wags think it is on a slow, slow track. The hoped-for December deadline for a full Senate vote is in jeopardy.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
11 August 2009, 11:14 AM
Public money, climate change, and a short vacation

See if you recognize any of these names: Bob Inglis, Frank Lucas, Charlie Melancon, Randy Neugebauer, Mike Ross, Adrian Smith, John Tanner. I certainly didn't. They're all members of Congress, all but one from the South, who took a taxpayer-funded trip in 2008  to Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica to see the effects of climate change first-hand... then returned and voted against the Waxman-Markey climate bill in the House. The trip cost, according to the account in Grist, about a half-million dollars, but who's counting? Anything for a nice jaunt to the Antipodes, warming or otherwise. Tut, he said, tut.

View Bill Walker's blog posts
07 August 2009, 12:41 PM
People don't feel a sense of urgency, says report.
Source: Dan Wasserman, Tribune Media Services

Maybe what Jim Inhofe needs is a good therapist.

Inhofe, R-OK, is notoriously the Senate's global warming denier-in-chief. But why? Maybe because he gets big campaign contributions from oil companies. Or maybe he has deep-seated control issues, and the prospect of global warming makes him feel helpless.

That's one explanation suggested in a new report by the American Psychological Association (which of course doesn't specifically discuss Inhofe) on why, in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, many Americans are skeptical or deny the existence of global warming.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
06 August 2009, 11:33 AM
As climate change evidence mounts, some are planning to "adapt"
Are you ready for the summer?

We learned recently that the Bush administration kept photographic evidence of climate change from the American people. The pictures from US spy satellites were declassified by the Obama White House. The anti-science bias of the last administration continues to shock.

As proof of global warming mounts, California is preparing for decreased snow pack in the mountains, flooding on its coast, raging wildfires, and increased infectious disease in cities.

A new report predicts – and warns that the state must adapt to these unstoppable consequences. The report, 2009 California Climate Adaptation Strategy, is still in draft form and open for public comment for the next 45 days. It is the nation’s first such official effort to delineate and plan for impacts associated with global warming.

View Terry Winckler's blog posts
03 August 2009, 2:02 PM
Government has right to force environmental review, says legal action

A troublesome new chapter has opened in the matter of Sunflower Electric's attempt to more than double the electrical output at its existing coal-fired plant in Holcomb, Kansas.

After digging through 10,000 pages of documents, Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman discovered that Sunflower in the past had defaulted on its debt service payments to the federal government, and that as a consequence the federal government now has effective oversight over Sunflower's business decisions, including the attempted expansion of its existing plant.

That means that you and I and all other American taxpayers have a major stake in how that plant performs, financially and environmentally. We have long known that the expansion was a thoroughly bad idea because of the enormous amounts of greenhouse gases it would produce for decades. The revelation of Sunflower's indebtedness to the public could be a key to stopping the expansion.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
31 July 2009, 2:43 PM
Congressman receives forged letters urging "no" vote on climate bill
Congressman Tom Perriello (D-VA)

Like many of his colleagues, freshman Congressman Tom Perriello (D-VA) received thousands of letters, emails, and faxes about the American Climate and Energy Security Act (a.k.a. the Waxman-Markey climate bill). That's nothing unexpected in and of itself. But it turns out that some of those letters were appalling forgeries.

The Charlottesville Daily Progress, which broke the story, reports that an unnamed employee (now ex-employee, supposedly) of a D.C. lobbying firm called Bonner & Associates sent a letter to Rep. Perriello from a non-existent employee of Creciendo Juntos, a nonprofit group that works with the Charlottesville, VA hispanic community. The letter, which included the nonprofit's logo, urged Perriello to vote "no" on the legislation.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
28 July 2009, 1:45 PM
Satellite images show alarming loss of Arctic summer sea ice
Arctic sea ice. Photo: USGS

On July 15th, the Department of Interior, at the urging of the National Academy of Sciences, released hundreds of satellite images that show the impact global warming is having on the Arctic. Though the images have been public for almost two weeks, the story they tell hasn't lost any of its potency. They are a strong indication that the Arctic—a true natural and international treasure—is changing rapidly, perhaps irrevocably.

The Guardian reports that more than one million square kilometers of Arctic sea ice were absent in 2007 compared to 2006. For scale, that's an area significantly larger than the entire state of Texas (a little less than one-and-a-half Texases, to be exact). One pair of images, taken above the town of Barrow, AK in July of 2006 and 2007, clearly shows this dramatic loss of summer sea ice.

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
28 July 2009, 11:48 AM
CA officials rub elbows abroad with the polluters they regulate
The capitol building in Sacramento, CA.

The Sacramento Bee ran an eye-opening investigative report over the weekend. Bee journalists found that California officials tasked with regulating greenhouse gas polluters and crafting the state's policy responses to global warming have been taking all-expenses-paid trips with energy industry lobbyists and company executives.

Say what?!?

This revelation is utterly outrageous and seemingly illegal on its face. But industry, as it often manages to do, identified a loophole in the law and pulled through it.