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Despite Electoral Outcomes, Poll Shows Voters Want Clean Economy

By a 22 percent margin, voters support EPA oversight of carbon emissions from power plants, vehicles and other sources

By Elizabeth McGowan

Nov 5, 2010

 WASHINGTON—Environmental organizations fearful of being blamed for Tuesday’s devastating Democratic losses trotted out a poll they say shows support for cap-and-trade legislation did not contribute significantly to the defeat of House incumbents.
 
Those findings come from a who actually cast ballots in 83 battleground House districts nationwide. Washington, D.C.-based Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research conducted the poll Nov. 1 and 2.
 
When voters who chose the Republican candidate were asked to name their biggest concern about the Democrat, only 1 percent cited an answer related to energy or cap and trade. When offered a list of six arguments that Republicans made against Democrats, 7 percent selected what the GOP mislabeled a “cap and tax.” 

 

Commercial Space Tourism May Spike Black Carbon Emissions

Opening of America's first spaceport and expectation of 1000 suborbital flights a year create new source of warming pollution

By Joan Oleck

Nov 5, 2010

Commercial space travel on private rocket ships took a major step toward reality on Oct. 25 with the dedication of a nearly two-mile-long runway at the “operating hub” north of Las Cruces, N.M. Each flight will take passengers 62.5 miles above the Earth into weightless space, remain there four or five minutes, and then return to Earth.

On hand was Sir Richard Branson, chairman of the Virgin Group; Bill Richardson, New Mexico’s governor and the former U.S. Energy secretary; and about 30 civilian “future astronauts” planning space travel via Branson’s company, .

But at a time when a half-dozen U.S. companies are vying to be the first to bring tourists to space, a report to be published in November in the journal warns that fuel emissions from such rocket launches may pose serious consequences for the Earth’s stratosphere—causing as much as a 1-degree Centigrade rise in polar temperatures and a 5 percent to 15 percent reduction in polar ice.

In Elections, "D" for Democrat Brought Doom More than Energy Positions

Environmentalists say public support for clean energy remains strong, though "cap and tax" label fired up the opposition

By Elizabeth McGowan

Nov 5, 2010

WASHINGTON—Smack-down. Shellacking. Drubbing. Pasting. Thrashing. Thumping. Trouncing. Walloping.

Indeed, there are as many words to describe what happened to the Democratic Congress during midterms Election Day as there are analysts to provide Wednesday-, Thursday-, and Friday-morning quarterbacking.

A group of seven environmental advocacy organizations presented one hypothesis to reporters Wednesday afternoon at the National Press Club, and it goes something like this: Energy policy—or lack of it—isn’t what caused voters to ditch enough Democrats to give the GOP a resounding majority in the House and more seats in the Senate. And they say they have the to back it up. (Also See "Poll: Voters Say Economy, Not Energy, Motivated Ballot Decision")

“Obviously, [the elections] were a little disappointing because we did lose a lot of very good friends,” said president Gene Karpinski, adding that jobs and the economy dominated voters’ decisions. “In state after state, some members who voted for clean energy legislation won and some lost.”

Inaction on Climate Change Putting Decades of Human Progress at Risk

Human development report says improving the lives of the world's poorest people is at stake

by Larry Elliott and Mark Tran

Nov 4, 2010

The United Nations warned today that a continued failure to tackle climate change was putting at risk decades of progress in improving the lives of the world's poorest people.

In its annual flagship report on the state of the world, the UN said unsustainable patterns of consumption and production posed the biggest challenge to the anti-poverty drive.

"For human development to become truly sustainable, the close link between economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions needs to be severed," the UN said in its annual human development report (HDR).

In Kansas Coal Plant Battle, Greens See Foul Play

Governor boots KDHE director Bremby as agency weighs coal plant permit before EPA's Tailoring Rule kicks in

By Kevin Murphy

Nov 4, 2010

Environmentalists' hopes that a coal-fired power plant in southwestern Kansas would never get built suffered a possible setback this week with the controversial departure of a state official who gained national attention three years ago when he denied the plant's permit based on its possible effect on climate change.

Rod Bremby, secretary of the (KDHE), was replaced after declining Gov. Mark Parkinson's request he leave to direct the transition team that will see Governor-elect Sam Brownback into office in two months.

Opponents of the proposed plant near Holcomb, Kan., believe he was forced out so that a permit for the plant would stand a better chance of being approved by the KDHE before take effect Jan. 2.

“There isn't anyone in the state who doesn't know what this was about,” said Scott Allegrucci, executive director of the , based in Topeka, Kan.

As Host of Climate Talks, Mexico Faces Domestic Energy Paradox

Mexico champions climate solutions but is also expanding its oil industry and car ownership

By Maria Gallucci

Nov 4, 2010

MEXICO CITY – In the run up to this month’s , Mexico has poised itself as an eager champion of climate change initiatives by rallying its Latin American counterparts to bring environmental policies to the top of their political agendas.
 
Rather than bolster its role as liaison, however, the country should first remedy its own domestic policy dilemma, local environment and energy experts argue. Even while Mexico outlines ambitious goals for climate change, the government is boosting the struggling economy by expanding the state-run oil industry and promoting car ownership.
 
“If Mexico wants to be a leader in the fight against climate change, it has to profoundly rectify its current policies for the energy sector instead of taking the country down the same road of fossil fuel consumption,” said Gustavo Ampugnani of .

California Defends Climate Law, Remains National Bastion of Clean Energy Economy

61 percent of voters say no to referendum that would have suspended the state's landmark climate legislation

By Jennifer Pinkowski

Nov 3, 2010

California voters defended their landmark climate law by yesterday, ending questions over whether the state's 2006 legislation aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions would be suspended until the state unemployment rate fell by more than half.

While election results in the rest of the nation make the outlook for federal climate legislation dim, yesterday's vote in California solidifies the position of the state as the country's bastion of the clean energy economy, whose outsized GDP will unavoidably influence policy and commerce across the nation as its climate law gets implemented.

Some 61 percent of voters rejected Prop. 23. While pre-election polls indicated they were likely to turn down the controversial ballot measure, which was largely funded by out-of-state oil interests, the overwhelming defeat has advocates thrilled.

“It’s clearly a strong victory for clean energy in the face of scare tactics in a weak economy,” said Steven Maviglio, a spokesperson for , the coalition that campaigned heavily against the referendum. The defeat, Maviglio told SolveClimate News, indicates voters believe California can have both “a strong economy and a clean environment.”

As GOP Takes House, VA Clean Energy Champion Perriello Loses Seat

The first-termer is one of many clean energy promoters to fall as Republicans make big gains in Washington

By Elizabeth McGowan

Nov 3, 2010

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia—Rep. Tom Perriello looked so buoyant and sounded so effervescent during his concession speech Tuesday night that backers not yet aware of the final election numbers might have thought the clean energy champion was headed back to a second term in Congress.

But in this third straight, independent-instigated “wave election,” voters booted Perriello and at least 60 other House Democrats out of office.

Though Democrats retained a slimmer Senate majority, the House turnabout erased significant pickups that Democrats made in 2006 and 2008. With the lower chamber flipping to the GOP, Ohio Republican John Boehner is in line to replace California Democrat Nancy Pelosi as House speaker.

Living Planet Report Says Rich Nations Inhabit a "False Paradise"

Populations of tropical species are plummeting and humanity’s demands on natural resources are sky-rocketing to 50% more than the earth can sustain

from

Nov 3, 2010
Map Showing Global Ecological Footprint

Populations of tropical species are plummeting and humanity’s demands on natural resources are sky-rocketing to 50% more than the earth can sustain, according to the 2010 edition of WWF’s – the leading survey of the health of the earth.

The study -- produced in collaboration with the and the -- uses what it terms “a series of indicators to monitor biodiversity, human demand on renewable resources and ecosystem services”.

This “Living Planet Index” reflects changes in ecosystems by tracking trends in nearly 8,000 populations of vertebrate species -- more than 2,500 species of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians. The global index, says the report, shows a 30% decrease from 1970 to 2007; the tropics have been hardest hit, with a 60% decline in less than 40 years.

“There is an alarming rate of biodiversity loss in low-income, often tropical, countries while the developed world is living in a false paradise, fuelled by excessive consumption and high carbon emissions,” according to Jim Leape, director general of WWF International.

Two Companies Seek Trade Secret Status for Fracking Fluids in Wyoming

Disclosure is the rule, anything else is a rare exception, state official says

by Marie C. Baca,

Nov 2, 2010

Two chemical manufacturers are seeking an exemption from new rules in Wyoming that require public disclosure of the chemicals used in , a controversial natural gas drilling process suspected of polluting groundwater.

ChemEOR, based in Covina, Calif., and CESI Chemical Inc., based in Marlow, Okla., have asked the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to grant their fracturing fluids trade secret status, according to state oil and gas supervisor Tom Doll. The designation would still require the companies to share their formulas with the state but would exempt them from making the information available to the public.

"Disclosure is the rule," Doll said. "Anything else is a rare exception, and one we will look at very, very closely."