Ecology, Climate Change and Related News

Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

Category Archive: Policy

  1. Clarion call for scientists: ‘Use your voice … or lose it’

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    …There’s a growing chorus of researchers arguing now that they must speak out. “If you’re a climate scientist at this critical time you don’t have Miranda rights,” Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory atmospheric scientist Benjamin Santer told a Capitol Hill audience this week. “You don’t have the right to remain silent.”

    …”We encourage scientists to speak up and communicate both about the meaning and the value of the science that they are working on,” AGU Executive Director Christine McEntee said in an interview. It’s also important, she said, for scientists to share what they know with the public and policymakers “so science can be used as a factor in decision-making.”…

    three former EPA officials who urged the Trump administration in an essay published yesterday in The New England Journal of Medicine to take “to heart” lessons from President Reagan’s initial attempts to weaken the agency’s scientific work (Greenwire, March 2)….

    …In a paper published last month in the journal Scientific Reports, Santer and his colleagues fact-checked EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s congressional testimony on global warming and concluded that his claims about the climate system were wrong (Greenwire, May 25). “Now at this time, with folks dismissing scientific evidence and understanding, it’s critically important to use your voice — use it or lose it if you’re a climate scientist,” Santer said this week in an interview….

  2. Sweden Passes Ambitious Climate Law to Be Carbon Neutral by 2045

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    Pacific Standard

    Sweden passed a new Climate Act on Thursday, legally binding the country to reach net-zero emissions by the year 2045. The act, which passed in parliament by a vote of 254 to 41, is even more ambitious than what the Scandinavian country pledged under the Paris Agreement: Under the new act, Sweden will reach carbon neutrality five years earlier.

    According to a recent analysis, Sweden is one of just three European countries with climate policies in line with the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement. The country has had a carbon tax in place since the 1990s and has invested heavily in wind and solar since the early aughts. Sweden derives only 25 percent of its energy from fossil fuel....

    The new legislation… goes into effect in 2018…


  3. California’s Delta Poised to Become Massive Carbon Bank

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    Matt Weiser June 9 2017  Water Deeply  see full article here

    A newly certified carbon trading protocol could help solve a number of problems in the West’s largest estuary, including flood risk, water pollution, habitat loss and threats to a critical freshwater supply.

    The largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas, the Delta is a network of some 70 islands protected by more than 1,000 miles of levees. The soil on these islands is some of the richest farmland in the world because it is composed of organic material: decaying plants that accumulated over millennia.

    But when the levees were built 150 years ago to create farms, this dried out the soil, causing it to oxidize and decompose. As a result, the surface of many islands has slowly sunk below sea level. This results in a stronger leverage force on the levees, making them more vulnerable to failure. That’s a problem because the Delta is also the source of freshwater for 25 million Californians and more than 3 million acres of farmland. If numerous islands flooded due to levee failures, seawater could rush into the estuary and compromise the freshwater supply…

    Campbell Ingram: For every inch of elevation that you don’t lose in a given year due to ongoing agricultural practices, you’re not increasing hydrologic pressure on the levee. And for every inch that you then accrete in elevation, you’re reducing that pressure. It’s a slow process, but it’s at least moving in the right direction.

    A wetland compared to a monoculture of corn is typically going to have higher biodiversity, more use by waterfowl and amphibians and giant garter snakes. You can have some water quality benefits. And obviously the greenhouse gas emissions reduction and subsidence reversal….

    The Air Resources Board recently put out their latest scoping plan, and in that they describe a target of 15,000 to 30,000 acres of managed wetlands in the Delta in the next 13 years. This is one of the best uses of the western Delta because of its importance to the water supply….

  4. Pittsburgh and Paris join over 200 cities and states supporting Paris Climate Accord

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    June 8 2017 Full article here

    Yesterday, the mayors of Pittsburgh and Paris co-authored a New York Times editorial rejecting Trump’s efforts to pin the two cities against each other on climate change.

    Additionally, 12 states (California, New York, Washington, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia) plus Puerto Rico created the US Climate Alliance, committed to upholding the Paris accord. These states represent 97 million Americans – 30% of the national population.

    More than 1,000 U.S. governors, mayors, investors, universities, and companies joined the “We Are Still In” campaign, pledging to meet the goals of the Paris agreement. And California Governor Jerry Brown has effectively become America’s unofficial climate change ambassador….

  5. What price are Californians paying to fight climate change?

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  6. Analysis: Meeting Paris pledges would prevent at least 1C of global warming

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    6 June 2017 17:17 Carbon Brief  See full story here

    President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change has raised questions about the effectiveness of the accord, and how that will change without the US. In his announcement, Trump incorrectly claimed the deal would avoid just 0.2C of warming. In fact, nine separate studies show, on average, that full implementation of current climate pledges would avoid 1C of warming, compared to a business-as-usual world.

    An analysis by Carbon Brief finds that if the US reneges on its Paris pledge and takes no action to reduce emissions, it could result in around 0.2C to 0.3C additional warming, whereas a delay in implementation of four or eight years would have minimal impact.

    Carbon Brief explains how these temperature estimates are made and explores the impacts of Paris, with and without US participation….


  7. Bipartisan lawmakers plead for climate research funds

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    Kellie Lunney, E&E News reporter  Wednesday, June 7, 2017  see article here

    Nineteen House Democrats and Republicans are urging appropriators to reject a Trump administration budget proposal to slash funding for an Interior research program that studies climate change. The lawmakers, who hail from Alaska to Vermont, want their colleagues to support and fully fund the “reputable” and “important work” of eight regional climate adaptation centers located throughout the country and housed within the U.S. Geological Survey.

    The Trump administration is requesting $17.4 million for the “National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers” in fiscal 2018, about $8 million less than what the hubs received for fiscal 2017. The fiscal 2016 enacted funding level for the climate science  centers was $26.4 million, which the April omnibus reduced to $25.3 million.

    “These CSCs [climate science centers] have helped natural and cultural resource managers assess climate related vulnerabilities in their local jurisdictions as a first step in enhancing preparedness,” wrote the members, who included Reps. Jared Polis (DColo.) and Don Young (RAlaska), in a letter yesterday to House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert (RCalif.) and ranking member Betty McCollum (DMinn.)….

  8. California signs deal with China to combat climate change

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    See full article here- The Hill

    California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed an agreement to work with China to lower greenhouse gas emissions Tuesday, just days after President Trump pulled the United States out of an international climate change agreement.

    The agreement, though nonbinding, aims to expand cooperation between China and California on renewable energy, zero-emission vehicles and low-carbon urban development, Brown’s office said. It will establish a joint working group of Chinese and Californian officials to come up with ways to work together, and to invest in programs that would cut carbon emissions.

    Brown signed the pact with Wan Gang, China’s minister of science and technology, before meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

    “California is the leading economic state in America and we are also the pioneering state on clean technology, cap and trade, electric vehicles and batteries, but we can’t do it alone,” Brown said Tuesday. “We need a very close partnership with China, with your businesses, with your provinces, with your universities.”…

  9. Bloomberg delivers U.S. pledge to continue Paris climate goals to U.N.

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    Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg submitted a statement to the United Nations on Monday that over 1,000 U.S. governors, mayors, businesses, universities and others will continue to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement abandoned by President Donald Trump last week.

  10. State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2017

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    June 2, 2017  new Forest Trends report

    As of 2016, offsets equivalent to 1.1 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions (BtCO2e) have been transacted voluntarily – through sales to governments, companies, and individuals as well as intermediary brokers – according to the latest annual State of Voluntary Carbon Markets report from Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace, released today at the Innovate4Climate conference in Barcelona.

    Entitled “Unlocking Potential,” the new report finds that voluntary buyers in 2016 paid $191.3 million (M) to offset 63.4 million metric tonnes of CO2 (MtCO2e). Concerned citizens, corporations, and sub-national governments moved ahead with their battle against climate change by purchasing voluntary carbon offsets from projects that reduce emissions through forest protection, renewable energy, and other means.

    Still, transaction volumes on the voluntary markets shrank 24% from 2015 to 2016, and demand did not meet supply of these offsets, as 56.2 MtCO2e were left unsold in project developer’s portfolios – some from previous years.