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Archive for the 'Global warming' Category

Huffman: Haiyan a climate change ‘wake-up call’

Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, took to the House floor today to say the world should hear Typhoon Haiyan – which devastated part of the Philippines this week – as a “wake-up call on climate change.”

“Thank you Madam Speaker.

“I rise today to once again speak about the issue of climate change, which is affecting every country, but as the World Bank has found, the impacts are not distributed equally. It is likely that the poorest nations on earth will be the hardest hit. The UN ranks the Philippines as the country that is third most vulnerable to the effects of climate change because of its geography, its poverty, and the state of its infrastructure.

“As all of my colleagues know, one of the most powerful storms on record tore through Asia this past week and the Philippines in particular. In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan many thousands are dead and hundreds of thousands more are homeless and desperate for help.

“As we learn more about the devastation there I ask my colleagues to pay careful attention to the words of Yeb Sano who is the head of the Philippines delegation to the United Nations climate talks.

“He says, and I quote, ‘What my country is going through, as a result of this extreme climate event is madness. Typhoons such as Haiyan and its impacts represent a sobering reminder to the international community that we cannot afford to procrastinate on climate action.’

“He’s right. The Philippines tragedy is the latest wake-up call on climate change, so let’s wake up. I yield back.”

Posted on Thursday, November 14th, 2013
Under: Global warming, Jared Huffman, U.S. House | 2 Comments »

Fracking activists to protest Jerry Brown in SF

Anti-fracking activists intend to protest as Gov. Jerry Brown visits the Bay Area this afternoon to sign a regional agreement to align government policy, combat climate change and promote clean energy.

Brown is scheduled to be at Cisco-Meraki’s San Francisco headquarters at 4 p.m. to sign the pact with Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and British Columbia environmental officials.

But the Californians Against Fracking coalition – which includes members of more than 150 groups including MoveOn.org Civic Action, CREDO, Friends of the Earth, Food & Water Watch, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Race, Poverty, and the Environment, and Environment California – say Brown’s support of fracking could undermine any progress the agreement would make.

Brown last month signed into law SB 4 by state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Calabasas, which creates the state’s first rules for hydraulic fracturing or acidation to extract oil and natural gas. Some environmentalists, including this coalition, argue that only a moratorium on these techniques will keep California safe from environmental harms and further the state’s clean-energy goals.

The activists who’ll protest Brown’s appearance today say using fracking, acidization, and other unconventional extraction techniques to access 15 billion barrels of crude oil beneath California would produce nearly as much global warming pollution as the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, and set back the state’s progress on combating climate change.

Posted on Monday, October 28th, 2013
Under: energy, Environment, Global warming, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | 3 Comments »

Google takes heat for Inhofe fundraiser

Mountain View-based Google is taking some heat for hosting a fundraiser for a U.S. Senator who is an outspoken disbeliever in man-made climate change, despite the company’s green rhetoric.

Google’s Washington, D.C., office will host a lunch Thursday, at $250 to $2,500 per plate, to benefit U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., just a month after Google chairman Eric Schmidt said those who deny climate change and global warming are liars.

Climate-change activists plan to picket outside in order to “remind people of Google’s professed culture of ethics, environmental stewardship, and respect for scientific truth which help make Google products so popular,” according to a news release. “They’ll also remind people of Sen. Jim Inhofe’s long record of unethical environmental destruction and promotion of anti-scientific conspiracy theories on behalf of the likes of Koch Industries, his biggest corporate funder.”

The protestors say they’ll deliver 10,000 signatures of people from across the nation calling on Google CEO Larry Page to end his company’s support for politicians like Inhofe.

“We regularly host fundraisers for candidates, on both sides of the aisle, but that doesn’t mean we endorse all of their positions,” a Google spokesperson replied to my email Wednesday. “And while we disagree on climate change policy, we share an interest with Senator Inhofe in the employees and data center we have in Oklahoma.”

Posted on Wednesday, July 10th, 2013
Under: Global warming, U.S. Senate | 6 Comments »

Take the California Carbon Challenge

The same folks who brought you the California Budget Challenge – an online exercise that lets you try to set priorities and balance the state budget yourself – now want you to try your hand at balancing climate change with economic growth.

California Carbon ChallengeThe California Carbon Challenge, by nonpartisan nonprofit Next 10, presents users with more than two-dozen strategies – from developing transit-oriented housing plans, to pay-as-you-drive insurance, to boosting energy efficiency in buildings. The simulator keeps track of the choices being made and their impacts via an interactive meter showing tons of carbon reduced and the costs or savings for those choices.

California has enacted groundbreaking policies that require the state to reduce its carbon emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. The policy options included in Next 10’s Carbon Challenge fall into eight categories: vehicle technologies, driving costs, mass transit, alternatives to driving, green buildings, smart growth, government operations, and energy users and producers. Some of the choices – including time-of-day electricity pricing, or the requirement that state and local agencies use only Zero Emission Vehicles or plug-in hybrids – are not among the state policies being implemented at this time. Other options, like implementing a carbon trading market, are already underway in California.

Site users see pro and con arguments about each policy choice, as well as information about who – individuals, businesses, or government – would bear the possible costs or benefits. Users can leave comments about their choices, find out what percentage of other site visitors chose the same options, and share their decisions on social media and with policymakers.

“We created the California Carbon Challenge to show what the challenges and opportunities for reducing emissions are, and to also engage and inform people who are trying to better understand what these policies do,” Next 10 founder F. Noel Perry said in a news release. “However, we hope this resource can be a learning tool for people in other states and countries who are considering policies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.”

Posted on Thursday, May 30th, 2013
Under: Global warming | 3 Comments »

Al Gore to speak on climate change at Stanford

Former Vice President Al Gore will speak on climate change and take questions from students at Stanford University next Tuesday, April 23.

Al GoreGore, 65, now chairman of the Climate Reality Project, is giving the first Stephen H. Schneider Memorial Lecture, in honor of the Stanford professor and world-renowned climate scientist who died in 2010. The program at Memorial Auditorium is open to the public and will start at 7 p.m., but I think all of the free tickets already have been snapped up. Stanford students and postdoctoral fellows need only their Stanford identification card to be admitted.

“Al Gore worked closely with Steve to sound the alarm about climate change, long before the average person understood there was a problem,” Terry Root, a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, said in a news release.

The institute is sponsoring the event along with the Stanford Speakers Bureau and two student groups: Stanford in Government and Students for a Sustainable Stanford.

Gore’s address will be titled “Peril and Opportunity: Solving the Climate Crisis and Reinvigorating Democracy.”

Gore was a Tennessee congressman from 1976 through 1984, a U.S. Senator from 1985 to 1991 and vice president from 1993 to 2001. He now chairs the Climate Reality Project, a nonprofit devoted to solving the climate crisis, and is the author of “Earth in the Balance,” “An Inconvenient Truth,” “The Assault on Reason” and “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis,” as well as a new book titled “The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change.” He is the co-recipient, with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for “informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change.”

And no, he never claimed he “invented the Internet.”

Schneider at the time of his death was the Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute. His most recent work centered on communicating the possible risks, vulnerabilities and impacts of climate change to ensure that leaders were sufficiently informed to apply smart risk management strategies in climate-policy decision making. He founded the interdisciplinary journal “Climatic Change” and continued to serve as its editor-in-chief until his death. He consulted with federal agencies and/or White House staff in every U.S. presidential administration since the Nixon era, and was an author of the first four assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Posted on Monday, April 15th, 2013
Under: Al Gore, Global warming | 10 Comments »

Study: California can kiss its vineyards goodbye

Awful as some of the climate-change predictions are, this one might hit a lot of Northern California residents where it hurts (assuming their homes aren’t gobbled up by the sea first): Global warming will dramatically impact many of the world’s most famous wine-producing regions, according to a new study.

The first-ever worldwide analysis of climate change’s impact on wine production and conservation, appearing today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests wine production will shift to new areas as climate change makes the existing ones less hospitable.

Researchers found the area suitable for wine production will shrink by as much as 73 percent by 2050 in certain parts of the globe – about 70 percent in Californa – with high potential for stress on rivers and other freshwater ecosystems as vineyards use water to cool grapes or irrigate to compensate for rising temperatures and declining rainfall.

“Climate change is going to move potential wine-producing regions all over the map,” Lee Hannah, the study’s lead author and senior scientist for climate change biology at Conservation International’s new Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Ecosystem Science and Economics, said in a news release.

“These global changes put the squeeze on wildlife and nature’s capacity to sustain human life in some surprising places,” Hannah said. “Consumer awareness, industry and conservation actions are all needed to help keep high quality wine flowing without unintended consequences for nature and the flows of goods and services it provides people. This is just the tip of the iceberg – the same will be true for many other crops.”

The researchers looked at nine major wine producing areas: California, Western North America, Chile, Mediterranean Europe, Northern Europe, Cape Floristic region of South Africa, parts of Australia with Mediterranean climate, parts of Australia with non-Mediterranean climate and New Zealand.

“Chile and California are areas with traditions of irrigation and high Freshwater Impact Index values, indicating that their freshwater habitats may be most at risk as a result of climate change impacts on vineyard water use,” the study found. “Adaptation strategies involving viticulture, vinification, marketing, land use planning, and water management can all help avoid conflicts with conservation objectives in areas of declining as well as expanding suitability.”

Another key finding from the study is that new areas will become more productive, including parts of Western North America and Northern Europe. These places at higher latitudes and higher elevations will become increasingly suitable for wine making and sought after by vineyards as they search for the climatic conditions that are ideal for wine grape growing.

According to the study, the greatest area of increasing wine production suitability is in the Rocky Mountains near the Canadian-U.S. border, putting at risk species such as the grizzly bear, gray wolf and pronghorn.

“Climate change will set up competition for land between agricultural and wildlife – wine grapes are but one example,” said Rebecca Shaw, the study’s co-author and associate vice president for the Environmental Defense Fund’s Land, Water and Wildlife program. “This could have disastrous results for wildlife. Fortunately, there are pro-active solutions. We are creating incentive-based programs with private landowners to provide wildlife habitat as we expand our capacity to feed a growing planet in the future under a changing climate.”

Posted on Monday, April 8th, 2013
Under: economy, Global warming, water | 10 Comments »

Arnold racks up climate change TV series, award

Two years after leaving office, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s climate-change work continues – and continues collecting accolades.

Arnold SchwarzeneggerSchwarzenegger will co-executive-produce a Showtime documentary series on the human impact of climate change. The “Years of Living Dangerously” series is a collaboration between Hollywood and journalists, delivering first-person accounts of those affected by, and seeking solutions to, global warming. Six to eight one-hour episodes will air in 2013.

Also, Schwarzenegger will be honored by the United Nations Correspondents Association as a 2012 Advocate of the Year for his work with R20, the non-profit he founded after leaving office to address climate change at the sub-national level. The award will be presented to him by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York on Wednesday, Dec. 19th.

Not too shabby for a guy who also found time to make a new action film, opening next month.

Besides Schwarzenegger, the Showtime project’s other executive producers are Oscar-winning director James Cameron; former United Artists chairman and CEO Jerry Weintraub; 60 Minutes producers Joel Bach and David Gelber; and climate expert Daniel Abbasi. Stars including actors Matt Damon, Don Cheadle and Alec Baldwin will take part as first-person narrators on the ground; Edward Norton and other names are expected to sign on soon.

Among those reporting from the field will be New York Times journalists including three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof, and columnist Mark Bittman, plus MSNBC host and political commentator Chris Hayes, among others.

“The recent devastation on the East Coast is a tragic reminder of the direct link between our daily lives and climate change,” David Nevins, president of entertainment for Showtime Networks Inc., said in a news release today. “This series presents a unique opportunity to combine the large-scale filmmaking styles of James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub and Arnold Schwarzenegger — arguably some of Hollywood’s biggest movie makers — with the hard-hitting, intimate journalism of 60 Minutes veterans Joel Bach and David Gelber. I believe this combination will make for a thought-provoking television event.”

Posted on Monday, December 3rd, 2012
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Environment, Global warming | 2 Comments »

Dems and allies step up attacks on Dan Lungren

Democrats and their allies are stepping up their attacks on Rep. Dan Lungren, who they see as one of the most vulnerable Republican House incumbents ripe for a turnover.

Dan LungrenLungren, R-Gold River, is being challenged by Democrat Ami Bera, an Elk Grove physician. Lungren beat back a challenge from Bera in 2010, 50 percent to 43 percent, in what was then the 3rd Congressional District, where Republicans held a 3.5-percentage-point registration edge.

And Lungren finished on top in this June’s primary election with 52.7 percent of the vote to Bera’s 41 percent; independent candidate Curt Taras got 3.2 percent and Libertarian Douglas Tuma had 3.1 percent. But Democrats believe a much higher turnout in November, with a ticket led by President Obama, could buoy Bera to victory in the newly drawn 7th Congressional District, which is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched a new online ad Monday targeting Lungren and three other Republican House incumbents (Jeff Denham, Mary Bono Mack and Brian Bilbray) for supporting GOP tax policies:

Today, the League of Conservation Voters named Lungren to its new “Flat Earth Five” program, which aims to defeat five climate change deniers in the House of Representatives this election cycle; the LCV will commit what it calls “significant resources” – at least $1.5 million for television ads, direct mail and phone banking – to these five districts.

At a town hall meeting in 2009, Lungren claimed “ideological bias” is driving efforts to combat climate change. “The science on climate change is as solid as any public policy question will ever get, but Rep. Lungren just won’t acknowledge the facts,” LCV president Gene Karpinski said in a news release.

Although he acknowledged it’s “prudent” to reduce carbon dioxide emissions “without waiting for proof or disproof of global warming,” he has opposed climate change legislation and later in 2009 called the Environmental Protection Agency’s move to regulate carbon a “vicious blow” to Americans’ freedom.

“At this point it’s clear that Lungren’s ideology is failing his constituents – he’s voted against incentives for conservation and renewable energy, and for big polluters and for more oil drilling,” California League of Conservation Voters CEO Sarah Rose said in the release. “Californians in this district deserve better. They deserve a leader that will put them first.”

Lungren joins Reps. Ann Marie Buerkle, R-N.Y., and Dan Benishek, R-Mich., in the “Flat Earth Five” program; two more names will be announced in the next two weeks.

Posted on Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
Under: 2012 Congressional Election, Dan Lungren, Environment, Global warming, taxes, U.S. House | 3 Comments »

Brown plans forum on state’s climate change risks

Gov. Jerry Brown today announced he’ll get together with environmental, business and public health and safety leaders for “The Governor’s Conference on Extreme Climate Risks and California’s Future” on Dec. 15 in San Francisco.

Brown’s office said the conference will focus on the risks of unpredictable and extreme weather events caused by climate change and how our communities can prepare and adapt. It aims to build on the findings of a United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report – to be released later this month – outlining the link between global warming, extreme weather events and their economic impact.

Among those joining Brown at the conference, to be held at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, will be IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri.

Posted on Thursday, November 3rd, 2011
Under: Global warming, Jerry Brown | 2 Comments »

Barbara Lee’s news blitz on AIDS, climate, war

The always communicative Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, is setting a new bar in news-release volume today, with five statements issued by midday.

In order, though not in their entirety:

Barbara Lee (Dec-2010)Lee commemorates World Aids Day. “”In the spirit of World AIDS Day and this year’s theme of Universal Access and Human Rights, I call on my colleagues to take advantage of this moment and come together in a bipartisan manner with the administration to find the will and the funding necessary to stop this disease.”

Lee comments on the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference taking place in Cancun, Mexico. “I urge President Obama and our international counterparts to recommit to the international negotiation process and cooperative efforts to ensure science-based reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions are accomplished in an equitable and verifiable manner.”

Lee, on behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus, speaks in support of The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. “It is unfortunate that in order to pass The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act it comes at the expense of future Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program funding. As more Americans slip into poverty and unemployment remains at painfully high levels, we should not have to choose between feeding poor children or their parents at a time that some in Congress argue for a $700 billion tax cut for the wealthiest Americans.”

Lee announces the launch of her newly redesigned website, featuring a homepage newsflash rotator, an interactive map of the 9th Congressional District and a more user-friendly design.. “I hope everyone will take a moment to explore my website to learn about my work on key issues and discover how to take advantage of the constituent services my office can provide.”

Lee calls for a change of course in Afghanistan, one year after President Obama announced his troop surge there. “There is no end in sight in to the war in Afghanistan and no military solution. The President’s recent decision to extend the timeframe for the transfer of security responsibility to Afghan forces to at least 2014 has put us on the path to another decade of costly and counterproductive military occupation in Afghanistan. Enough is enough. This war is not in the national interest of the United States, nor is it supported by the majority of the American people.”

Let’s all give a shout-out to Communications Director Nicole Williams and Deputy District Director Ricci Graham, perhaps the Bay Area’s hardest-working House communications team. A few more this afternoon, maybe?

Posted on Wednesday, December 1st, 2010
Under: Afghanistan, Barbara Lee, Global warming, U.S. House | 5 Comments »