US - Federal Policy

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Sandy's Wake-up Call: The Future Is Here Early

For the 50 million of us who stood in the path of Hurricane Sandy and the rest who watched its devastation, isn't it time to ask our leaders how we can avoid a future where Frankenstorms like Sandy become the new normal?  We need common-sense strategies to prepare our communities to withstand a future with rising seas and with storms, droughts and wildfires on steroids.  We also must quickly harness American ingenuity to build a world powered by carbon-free energy that will stop pumping steroids into our climate system and lessen future risks.  We must do both and Sandy has reminded us that there's no time to lose. The future is here, a little early.

In Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Group Issues Report Saying Observed Climate Change Impacts "Have Little National Significance"

In 2009, a publicly funded assessment of the impacts of climate change, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, warned in its key findings that "coastal areas are at increasing risk from sea-level rise and storm surge." Now, just days after "Frankenstorm" Sandy pushed the most destructive and costly storm surge on record for the U.S. mid-Atlantic into the region's heavily populated coastal areas, the libertarian Cato Institute is treating Americans to a Halloween trick. It released today (31 October 2012) a slick study masquerading as an updated "Addendum" to the Federal report. In its key findings, Cato entirely drops any mention of storm surges and says the "[i]mpacts of observed climate change have little national significance."

13th National Conference on Science, Policy, and the Environment: Disasters and Environment -- Science, Preparedness, and Resilience

Event Date: 
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 (All day) - Thursday, January 17, 2013 (All day)
Event Location: 
Washington, DC

"On January 15-17, 2013, join over 1,200 leaders from the emergency response, scientific, policy, conservation, and business communities, as well as federal and local government officials, to address themes such as cascading disasters, the intersection of the built and natural environments, disasters as mechanisms of ecosystem change, rethinking recovery and expanding the vision of mitigation, human behavior and its consequences and "No Regrets" resilience."

The Melting North: Arctic Ice and Climate Change

When I was a kid, one of my prized possessions was a globe. No part of that globe fascinated me more than the Arctic, that amazing mass of white covering the top of the world.  But as we load the atmosphere with greenhouse gases, global warming is melting that polar ice.  On 26 August, sea ice extent had declined to 42 percent below the 1979-2000 median -- a reduction of extent equivalent to about one third of the entire land area of the United States. The globe we knew as children is disappearing before our eyes. Our politicians need to have an adult conversation  about these risks while we still have time.

A Tale of Two Droughts: As in '88, Will 2012's Weather Extremes Push Climate Change Higher on the National Agenda?

In 1988, America faced an extraordinary summer heat wave and an extensive drought that  helped to propel climate change into national politics.   Republican presidential candidate George H.W. Bush said that year: "Those who think we are powerless to do anything about the 'greenhouse effect' are forgetting about the 'White House effect.'''  In 2012, even more of the country has been afflicted by drought; and it is another election year.  Might we again hear of the "White House effect" this August? If there is to be any chance for a meaningful national conversation about climate change after the election, we have to hope that the candidates candidly address the issue before the election.

To Politicians Napping on the Fireline: Wake Up, Smell the Smoke and Act on Climate Change

Extraordinary wildfire conditions are among the indications that climate change is well underway in the Southwestern U.S.  Cities and towns in the region are responding, showing leadership where the federal government does not.  Alas, many of our elected representatives in Washington are napping on the fireline. They need to wake up, smell the smoke and take climate change seriously.

Colorado Congressman Wants Federal Support for Fossil Fuels -- and for Coping with their Climate Impacts

Congressman Cory Gardner, a freshman Republican representing a large part of northern and eastern Colorado, is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Gardner along with the majority of committee members, supports expanded U.S. production of fossil fuels. Pollutants released by those fuels are accumulating in the atmosphere and making his state and the rest of the Southwest hotter and drier. Gardner and many of his colleagues deny that fossil fuel use seriously threatens climate, and oppose regulation of greenhouse gases (GHGs) under the Clean Air Act. While they promote policies that undermine Federal efforts to address the threat of climate change, their home states and districts are experiencing weather extremes -- and impacts -- that foreshadow the ultimate consequences of such policies.  The High Park Fire in Gardner's district has torched 87,284 acres, burned 257 houses and has cost $33.5 million to suppress. To the south, in Colorado Springs, the Waldo Canyon Fire destroyed 346 homes this week, and threatens over 20,000 more homes.

U.S. Agency Projects Widening Gap Between U.S. Carbon Emissions from Fossil Fuels and Reduction Commitments

The U.S. Energy Information Administration today (23 January 2011) released its Annual Energy Outlook 2012, with projections of U.S. carbon emissions from fossil fuel use through 2035.  EIA projects that U.S. emissions in 2020 will be 7.5% below 2005 levels, far short of the 17% reduction the U.S. committed to in January 2010 under the Copenhagen Accord of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Video and Statement from Climate Negotiations: Seize the Moment to "Get us Back on Track" and avoid Catastrophic Consequences

Durban, South Africa: Government leaders are still not seeing the big picture—we are here to address catastrophic climate change, WWF said today ahead of the closing of the climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa.

Signed, Sealed and Delivered: Backed by 21,000 Signatures, WWF and ActionAid Call for "Bold Steps" by U.S. Climate Negotiators

On behalf of their organizations and 21,000 petition signers, ActionAid USA and WWF-US today (8 December 2011) delivered a call for "bold steps" by U.S. climate negotiators in Durban, South Africa. 

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