US - Federal Policy

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Congress should stop interfering in Europe's aviation carbon pollution policy

Jake Schmidt of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) shines some light on an important issue lurking in the dark corners of a huge bill being considered by Congress right now.  The bill would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – the US agency that regulates airlines. A  little-noticed provision in the House version of the bill would try to block a program in the European Union (EU) to tackle climate pollution from aircraft coming into and leaving the EU.  Why would Congress try to stop other countries from tackling climate change? 

Presidents of U.S. and Russia Agree to Step Up Cooperation in Bering Strait Region

President Barack Obama and President  Dmitry Medvedev of Russia on Thursday (26 May 2011) in a joint statement noted the "effects of climate change and other pressures on the common natural and cultural heritage of the Bering Strait region" and the "significance of unique Arctic ecosystems." The two leaders recognized the "importance of cooperation to protect nature and natural resources ... and to apply effective strategies aimed at sustainable development" in the region.  They declared their "intention to deepen cooperation...including the expansion of interaction between the national agencies that are responsible for the specially protected natural territories/areas of both countries..."

U.S. National Academy of Sciences Presents "America's Climate Choices"

Just days after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration called April “a month of historic climate extremes across much of the United States," the National Academy of Sciences released a report today (12 May 2011) describing the opportunities Americans have to prepare for a future where such conditions are more frequent and severe -- and to reduce the risks of much greater climate disruption in the future. Texas Congressman Joe Barton, remains unmoved -- despite a commitment made in late 2009 to accept the academy's findings, and despite extraordinary drought conditions in his home state.

In Earth Day Proclamation, Obama says Climate Change requires International Leadership and Local Action

A day after taking a jab at "climate change deniers in Congress," President Obama today (22 April 2011) issued an Earth Day proclamation that featured climate change.  "Today, our world faces the major global environmental challenge of a changing climate," he said.  He added that the U.S. can be a leader in addressing the problem and that "global action on clean energy and climate change must be joined with local action."

A Look Back at Earth Day 2000 and Climate Change: "Plus ça Change, Plus C'est la Même Chose"

On 18 April 2000 the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under President Bill Clinton, Dr. D. James Baker, marked Earth Week with remarks in New Orleans about climate change.  "Ignoring climate change will likely be the most costly of all possible choices, for our children and us," he said. During the intervening 11 years, climate science has advanced and the impacts of climate change are increasingly evident; but national policy has not kept pace. As Cajuns would say, "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."

Pay Now, Pay Later: A State-by-State Assessment of the Costs of Climate Change

The American Security Project on 19 April 2011 released a series of 50 reports -- one for each state -- on the economic consequences of not sharply curbing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing the pace of climate change.  "There will be costs to our economic security from climate change—and significant ones at that—if we do nothing but continue business as usual," says Christine Todd Whitman, President of The Whitman Strategy Group and co-chair of the Republican Leadership Council.

On Monday (18 April 2011) Thousands of Young Americans Take Their Views on Energy Policy to White House, Congress & Business

On the fourth and final day of Power Shift 2011 -- an event held biennially in Washington, DC, to mobilize young Americans in support of sharp improvements in U.S. energy policy -- many of the over 10,000 participants will rally on Monday (18 April 2011) at the White House.  The morning rally will be followed by a march to the Chamber of Commerce and other business adversaries; and a second march to the Capitol for visits with Congressional members and staff.

Power Shift 2011 in Washington, DC, April 15-18: "Every Generation Needs a New Revolution"

Thousands of young activists are gathering in Washington, DC, this weekend to promote a national shift away from our heavy dependence on fossil fuels, by promoting conservation, energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy.  After several days of events ranging from workshops and panels to films and a job fair, Power Shift 2011 will culminate on Monday (18 April 2011) with a rally at the White House followed by two marches, one to Capitol Hill and the other march "from one corporate polluter's office to another" in downtown Washington.  Participants will spend Monday afternoon visiting their members of Congress.

Extreme Texas Drought & Wildfires Sharpen Contrast Between Texas Congressional Delegation's Climate Views and Conditions at Home

On Thursday 7 April 2011, all but one of the Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas voted for H.R. 910 to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases.  The measure passed the House. EPA's authority to regulate the gases under the Clean Air Act rests on an "endangerment finding" that determined that emissions of those gases threatens the health and welfare of Americans with a wide range of impacts, including more frequent and severe droughts and wildfires.  Texas just experienced its driest March on record, nearly 98% of the state is experiencing drought conditions and the Texas Forest Service said yesterday (9 April 2011) that fire conditions today "could shape up to be among the worst in Texas history." 

With Budget Cuts Looming, U.S. Launches National Climate Assessment

A U.S. Federal advisory committee concluded on Wednesday (6 April 2011) a three-day meeting marking the formal launch of the National Climate Assessment. In a process that will extensively engage Americans around the country, the assessment will produce a draft landmark report on the impacts of climate change on the U.S. for public review during the latter part of 2012 and a final report by mid 2013.  However, from the outset, budget cuts threaten the effort.

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