Wednesday, February 6, 2013

February 6 News: New Report Says White House Has The Tools To Combat Climate Change

A new report from the World Resources Institute has concluded that while the U.S. is not currently on track to meet its international commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent by 2020, the Obama Administration has the tools to reach that target. [WRI]

  • Without new action by the U.S. Administration, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will increase over time. The United States will fail to make the deep emissions reductions needed in coming decades, and will not meet its international commitment to reduce GHG emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.
  • The U.S. EPA should immediately pursue "go-getter" emissions reductions from power plants and natural gas systems using its authority under the Clean Air Act. These two sectors represent two of the top opportunities for substantial GHG reductions between now and 2035.
  • The U.S. Administration should pursue hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) reductions through both the Montreal Protocol process and under its independent Clean Air Act authority. Eliminating HFCs represents the biggest opportunity for GHG emissions reductions behind power plants.
  • U.S. states should complement federal actions to reduce emissions through state energy efficiency, renewables, transportation, and other actions. States can augment federal reductions.
  • New federal legislation will eventually be needed, because even go-getter action by federal and state governments will probably fail to achieve the more than 80 percent GHG emissions reductions necessary to fend off the most deleterious impacts of climate change.

A White House official has confirmed that President Barack Obama will today nominate Sally Jewell, president and CEO of the outdoor and recreational retailer REI, to be the next Secretary of the Interior. [Politico]

Greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants fell 4.6 percent in 2011 from the previous year as plants burned less coal, according to a new report by the Environmental Protection Agency. [HuffPo]

BP has deemed the $34 billion in claims by states and local governments for economic and property damages from the Macondo oil spill to be "substantially" overstated. [Reuters]

The Government Accountability Office has concluded that the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington State "has not been a well-planned, well-managed or well-executed major capital construction project." [NYTimes]

Data from freight railroad operators showed a major decline in the amount of coal transported by train in the U.S. in 2012. Most of the coal burned by U.S. power plants is shipped via rail, so the drop clearly reflects broader market trends. [Climate Central]

A new multimedia show and exhibit in the Compton-Goethals Art Gallery at The City College of New York is dedicated to educating the public about climate change and data. [Climate Central]

A study from the Department of Agriculture just concluded that rising temperatures could cost farmers millions as they battle new pests, faster weed growth, and endure smaller yields as climate change continues. [USA Today]

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