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2013 SkS Weekly News Roundup #6

Posted on 9 February 2013 by John Hartz

  • 45% cut in emissions allowance proposed
  • A baffling response to Arctic climate change
  • Climate change and the blizzard
  • Cyclone absolved in record sea ice melt 
  • It's still business as usual for China and U.S.
  • Keystone XL decision coming in 'Near Term'
  • New EPA leader sure to draw fire
  • New report presents pathway for U.S.
  • Outgoing EPA chief convinced Obama serious on climate change
  • U.S. carbon emissions fall
  • U.S. ‘Divestment’ movement gaining momentum

45% cut in emissions allowance proposed

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the country’s first regional system for capping carbon emissions and creating a market in carbon allowances, proposed a fundamental change on Thursday to increase electrical utilities’ incentive to cut emissions from fossil-fuel plants by raising the cost of compliance.

States’ Group Calls for 45% Cut in Amount of Carbon Emissions Allowed by Felicity Berringer, New York Times, Feb 7, 2013

A baffling response to Arctic climate change 

The Arctic may seem like a distant place, just as the most extreme consequences of our wasteful use of fossil fuels may appear to be in some distant future. Both are closer than most of us realize .

The Arctic is a focal point for some of the most profound impacts of climate change. One of the world's top ice experts, Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University, calls the situation a "global disaster," suggesting ice is disappearing faster than predicted and could be gone within as few as four years.

A baffling response to Arctic climate change by David Suzuki, The Brantford Expositor, Feb 3, 2013

Climate change and the blizzard

Climate change may or may not have helped generate the nor'easter lashing the East Coast this weekend. Such storms happen with some regularity, after all. But the amount of snow the storm called "Nemo" ultimately dumps, and the extent of flood damage it leaves in its wake, may well have ties to global warming, climate scientists suggested.

Climate Change And The Blizzard: Nor'easters More Fierce With Global Warming, Scientists Say by Lynne Peeples, The Huffington Post, Jan 8, 2013 

Cyclone absolved in record sea ice melt

The scientists conclude the cyclone reduced the final September ice extent by almost 60,000 square miles (150,000 square kilometers), an additional 5 percent. However, they point out that 2012's record loss was 18 percent greater than the previous low, set in 2007.

"Thus without the storm, 2012 would still have produced a record minimum," the Outgoing EPA chief convinced Obama serious on climate change authors report in their study, which appears online this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Arctic CSI: Cyclone Absolved in Record Sea Ice Melt by Becky Oskin, OurAmazingPlanet, Feb 1, 2013

It's still business as usual for China and U.S.

Despite claims of concern over climate change and progress toward cleaner economies, the trajectory of their CO2 emissions is not bending down fast enough.

For U.S. and China, world’s biggest climate polluters, it’s still business as usual by Maria Gallucci and Paul Horn, Inside Climate News, Feb 4, 2013

Keystone XL decision coming in 'near term'

Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday promised a "fair and transparent" review of a Canadian company's plan to pipe oil from western Canada to refineries in Texas.

In his first comments about the controversial Keystone XL pipeline since becoming secretary of state, Kerry said he is waiting for a review begun by his predecessor, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and hopes to make a decision in the "near term." The State Department has jurisdiction over the $7 billion pipeline because it crosses an international border.

Kerry: Keystone XL Decision Coming In 'Near Term' After 'Fair And Transparent' Review by Matthew Daly, The Huffington Post, Feb 8, 2013

New EPA leader sure to draw fire

Whoever gets the job will face circumstances that have become familiar: criticism from the right as going too far in pushing job-killing regulations, and criticism from the left as not doing enough to crack down on polluters.

New EPA leader sure to draw fire as environmental fights intensify by Rob Hotakainen & Erika Bolstad, McClatchy Newspapers, Feb 4, 2013

New report presents pathway for U.S. to reach 17 percent emissions target

New analysis by the World Resources Institute finds that the United States is currently not on track to reach its stated goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent by 2020 (below 2005 levels), but it has the tools to get there. The new report, Can the U.S. Get There from Here? explores specific steps the Administration and states can take to reduce U.S. emissions, without Congressional action.

New Report Presents Pathway for U.S. to Reach 17 Percent Emissions Target, News Release, World Resources Institute, Feb 6, 2013

Outgoing EPA chief convinced Obama serious on climate change

The departing chief of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa P. Jackson, says she cringes whenever she is asked if President Barack Obama's truly serious about confronting climate change.

Of course he is, she tells them. "I don't think you need clues. The president has been really clear ... I'm not sure how much clearer he could be."

Outgoing EPA chief convinced Obama serious on climate change by John Shiffman, Valerie Volcovici & Patrick Rucker, Reuters, Feb 4, 2013

U.S. carbon emissions fall

America's carbon dioxide emissions last year fell to their lowest levels since 1994, according to a new report.

Carbon dioxide emissions fell by 13% in the past five years, because of new energy-saving technologies and a doubling in the take-up of renewable energy, the report compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) said.

US carbon emissions fall to lowest levels since 1994 by Suzanne Goldenberg, Guardian, Feb 1, 2013

U.S. ‘Divestment’ movement gaining momentum

A months-old national campaign to convince U.S. colleges, universities and city governments to withdraw investments from the world’s largest oil and gas companies has seen some notable initial successes.

On Tuesday, a city supervisor in San Francisco introduced resolutions calling on the city’s retirement fund to “divest” all money it has in fossil fuel companies and gun manufacturers. That followed a significant recent decision by the city of Seattle’s two-billion-dollar retirement fund to actively shed its stocks in companies that contribute to climate change.

U.S. ‘Divestment’ Movement Gaining Momentum by Carey L. Biron, International Press Service (IPS), Feb 8, 2013

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Comments 1 to 3:

  1. The Arctic Hurricane of Aug6 (right on the border between a Cat2 and Cat3) may be absolved as the cause of the incredible ice melt but such storms do not only "churn up" the arctic water.  A counter clockwise rotating air system induces similar counter clockwise currents in surface water.  Coriolis shunts moving water to the right; that is to say, away from the centre of the storm.  The only source of water I can see to replace this outflowing water is from the deeper, warmer, saltier water which lies under the surface water.  In addition, the larger the surface waves induced, the larger the internal waves between water layers of different densities.  These waves, presumably break when they reach shallow water, just as surface waves do,  Except instead of mixing air and water (surface waves) they mix the layers of different densities.  I think it might be a little early to absolve hurricanes of causing accelerated melting.

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  2. Is there a mistake in the wording of the headline/article? I cannot for the life of me understand how cutting allowed carbon emissions even more is supposed to encourage electric utilities to comply. If anything, it would give them incentives to defeat all legal proposals to make them pay for the externalities of their industry -- something they have already shown themselves very good at doing.

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  3. John, "emissions" is misspelled in this line: "45% cut in emmissions allowance proposed."

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    Moderator Response: [DB] Spelling issues resolved.

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