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Investors Warned of Hidden Financial Risks of Water Shortages

From Georgia to California, scarce water a threat to both environmental and financial security

By Lisa Song

Oct 22, 2010

An economic study released yesterday on ongoing and worsening water shortages in municipalities from Georgia to California is sending a warning signal to the investment community and highlighting the link between environmental and financial security.

Called , the study warns investors of the hidden risks embedded in bonds backing public water utilities and municipal power plants, increasingly vulnerable to water shortages due to climate change.

About 4 in 5 Americans get their water from public water utilities, and public power utilities provide electricity to 45 million people. The two industries are closely linked: power plants are responsible for 41% of national freshwater withdrawals, while water companies depend on electricity to transport water from reservoirs to homes.

"Investors should treat water availability as a growing credit risk," said Mindy Lubber, the President of Ceres, in a news conference. "Ample, long-term water supplies are not a guarantee, and (they are at risk) in many parts of the country."

Green Jobs & Clean Energy Gains on the Line in Governors' Races

Clean energy standards in Colorado, Minnesota and other states could be weakened

By Stacy Feldman

Oct 21, 2010

Colorado and other states with ambitious climate change agendas said on Wednesday they fear gubernatorial elections in their states could dial back job-creating clean energy policy.

Several Republican candidates in the 37 governors' races have suggested that they would undo renewable electricity standards (RES) that require a boost in cleaner-burning fuels if elected. They claim such measures harm the economy, chiefly through higher electricity bills, which is especially true in the Midwest and South, where solar and wind still lag behind the rest of the nation.

Colorado's , championed by Gov. Bill Ritter, orders utilities to get 30 percent of power from renewable sources by 2020. Supporters say the policy led to the creation of 20,000 new green jobs since 2004.

Ritter, who is not running for re-election, said it could be under attack.

India First to Track Multi-Trillion Dollar Value of Natural World

Hope that other nations will follow suit and also start accounting for "natural wealth," protect it from damage

by Juliette Jowit,

Oct 20, 2010

India is today expected to become the first country in the world to commit to publishing a new set of accounts which track the nation's plants, animals, water and other "natural wealth" as well as financial measurements such as GDP.

The announcement is due to be made at , and it is hoped that such a move by a major developing economy will prompt other countries to join the initiative.

Work on agreeing common measures, such as the value of ecosystems and their "services" for humans – from relaxation to clean air and fertile soils – will be co-ordinated by the World Bank, which hopes it can sign up 10-12 nations and publish the results by 2015 at the latest.

With 2 Weeks To Go, Green Groups Get Behind Clean Energy Election Push

Green Democratic majority in House riding on nail-biter races

By Elizabeth McGowan

Oct 20, 2010

WASHINGTON—In Gene Karpinski’s eyes, Nancy Pelosi is the most pro-environment speaker of the House ever. And as the president of the League of Conservation Voters, Karpinski doesn’t want to rock that green boat.

Here’s why the arithmetic leading up to the Nov. 2 midterm election makes him nervous: Republicans need to take over just 39 seats in the House to supplant Pelosi, a California Democrat. And political handicappers are predicting a GOP net gain of at least 40 during these tumultuous, tea partying and anti-establishment times.

Is Voluntary Disclosure of Fracking Fluids on the Internet Enough?

Industry says "yes," but environmental groups say voluntary disclosure is insufficient, as national web tool takes shape

By Stacy Feldman

Oct 19, 2010

A coalition of state water regulators is introducing a first-ever national Web tool to post potentially toxic chemicals used in the gas drilling technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on the Internet for all to see.

The Okla.-based says its system will allow drillers to publish chemical recipes used in the new wells they have "fracked." Disclosure will be on a voluntary basis only, it said, but the group is optimistic firms will participate.

"My hope is that if we build it, they will use it," Mike Paque, executive director of the council, told SolveClimate News.

The "chemical registry" for fracking is being funded by the U.S. and is expected to launch at the end of November. "No one else is doing anything more progressive," Paque said.

But environmental groups, who fear fracking fluids are causing irreversible damage to groundwater, say anything voluntary is not likely to be enough. 

In Turkey, Environmental Opposition to Power Plants Invites Defamation Lawsuits

Turkish Law No. 5651 and lawsuits used to muzzle environmentalists

By Julia Harte

Oct 19, 2010

Editor's Note: This is the second of two parts. You can read the first part here.

Haluk Direskeneli says he's  “an engineer, not an environmentalist.” But he's been threatened with a lawsuit for criticizing Turkish energy investors who disregard the environment, as several environmentalists who have opposed power plants have been lately. 

An energy consultant and member of the Chamber of Mechanical Engineers in Ankara, Turkey's capital, Direskeneli says that he doesn't object to power plants as long as they follow environmental regulations.

But after he published an on weaknesses in the licensing process for new power plants in Turkey, he was told to retract it—or prepare for a lawsuit.

Nebraska Senator Asks State Department to Reroute Oil Sands Pipeline

Johanns wants to keep TransCanada's proposed oil artery away from Ogallala aquifer and sandhills

By Elizabeth McGowan

Oct 18, 2010

WASHINGTON—Concern that a proposed oil pipeline could irreversibly damage his home state’s aquifer and most fragile landscape has prompted Nebraska’s junior senator to ask the U.S. State Department to pursue an alternate, more easterly, route.

Republican Sen. Mike Johanns is urging officials to reroute the Keystone XL pipeline north from Steele City, Neb., to the U.S./Canada border in North Dakota instead of Montana.

Such a solution, he says, would keep TransCanada’s pipeline out of Nebraska’s sandhills and away from the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies 78 percent of the water supply and 83 percent of the water for irrigation in the Cornhusker State.

UK Government Approves Eight Sites for New Nuclear Power Stations

Potential sites in England and Wales could be operational by 2025

by Adam Vaughan,

Oct 18, 2010

The government today gave the green light to eight new reactors, in a move that will see the UK push forward with the most ambitious fleet of new stations in Europe.

As , the coalition also confirmed that it is .

The backing for a new generation of nuclear power stations marks a significant political compromise by the climate and secretary, Chris Huhne, after the Liberal Democrats had campaigned against new nuclear in the general election. The Conservatives, however, had backed new nuclear power stations.

Residents Fight Power Plant Plan in Turkey Earthquake Zone

Environmentalists Sued for Defamation

By Julia Harte

Oct 18, 2010

Editor's note: This the first installment in a two-part series.

Ask Turks to name the most beautiful natural places in their country, and they’ll almost inevitably mention Yalova: a small province of resort towns along the southern shore of the Marmara Sea.

Just an hour away from Istanbul by ferry, Yalova’s population of about 200,000 is sustained by its tourism industry. Thousands of visitors flock to the region each summer, drawn by natural wonders such as the Yalova thermal springs. Turkey’s first president, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, built a private pavilion there.

But today, a different kind of thermal presence is concerning the residents of Yalova.

Prop. 23 Is Final Inductee on "Dirty Dozen" List

League of Conservation Voters adds the referendum intended to suspend CA's groundbreaking climate change law

By Elizabeth McGowan

Oct 17, 2010

WASHINGTON— This year, call it the .

The League of Conservation Voters bucked tradition by adding a California ballot measure to its trademark list, reserved until now for members of Congress who consistently vote against clean energy and the environment.

Proposition 23—an oil company-funded effort to repeal the Golden State’s landmark clean energy law—joined 12 senators and representatives as the 13th and final addition to the league’s list for this midterm election cycle.

“I think the eyes of the country and most of the world are watching what happens in California,” LCV president Gene Karpinski told SolveClimate News in a post-announcement interview Thursday.