California outlined for the first time the largest U.S. attempt to regulate greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, calling for the creation of a new emissions- trading program and increased renewable-energy production.
All parts of the $1.6 trillion economy, the largest of the U.S. states, would be affected. Utilities, refiners, carmakers, farmers, manufacturers and forest managers would be called on to cut pollution under the draft plan released today by the state Air Resources Board.
The blueprint comes 18 months after Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law requiring the country’s most populous state to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The law is the most far-reaching of any climate-change plan in the U.S., where President George W. Bush’s administration and Congress have resisted mandatory caps on greenhouse gases.
Icelandic authorities said they were forced to shoot a polar bear found wandering on the island in order to protect the public after a plan to anaesthetize the animal was abandoned.
The bear, an adult male weighing around 250 kg (500 lbs), was presumed to have swum to shore from drifting ice. The last time a polar bear came ashore in Iceland was in 1988.
“There was a lot of fog in the area and the bear was moving into the fog. We couldn’t risk losing him and there was no time to wait for anaesthetics, so we had to shoot him. It was for the safety of the public,” Police Superintendent Stefan Vagn Stefansson told Icelandic national radio on Wednesday.
In response to a public outcry at the shooting, the environmental ministry said it would review the incident to see if it could avoid shooting the next bear that lands in the country.
The world’s largest land-based predator lives in the Arctic, depending largely on sea ice to hunt seals.
IT’S just over a month since the US government designated the polar bear as an endangered species. Now the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) stands accused of giving oil companies a “blank cheque to harass polar bears”.
The row revolves around the seven oil companies that paid $2.6 billion in February for the rights to look for oil in the Chukchi Sea, off the coast of Alaska. Some 2000 polar bears live in the region – a significant chunk of the estimated 20,000 to 25,000 bears worldwide, and the companies were worried that environmental groups might take legal action to prevent the animals being disturbed.
But the FWS issued regulations last week permitting firms to disturb “small numbers” of bears and walruses without fear of prosecution as long as they report each incident and take steps to minimise the animals’ stress. If underwater sonar is being used, for instance, engineers must stop surveying should a bear swim close by.
The Bush/Cheney Administration denied global warming for years. Denouncing scientific evidence served this presidential pair and their business partners well. Entrepreneurial enterprises prospered. Profits grew as the icecaps melted.Ocean waters warmed, so too did the hearts of Chief Executives. Corporate coffers swelled. Misters Bush and Cheney benefited.
Therefore, the two and their cronies elected to create an Energy Task Commission comprised of corporate bigwigs. Scientists were barred from these “public” proceedings. Actually, the American people were not allowed to participate in policy decisions that concerned them directly. Environmentalists, oh no. They could not contribute or assist in creating a plan that might save the Earth. Worries about waste were not aired. Increasing the use of electrical and petroleum power were favored. The preponderance of evidence offered in committee focused on commercial financial gains.
Energy guidelines were illusive; possibly, because they were designed to generate more revenue, not to save the planet or preserve our natural resources. Please ponder the records.
A Bush administration report suggests that evidence of global warming has begun to affect animal and plant populations in visible ways, and that rising temperatures in North America are due in part to human activity.
The report to Congress, issued Wednesday, goes further than previous statements by President Bush. He has said more scientific research is needed before he imposes new restrictions on greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.
In 2001, after the release of a National Academy of Sciences report on global warming, Bush said the concentration of greenhouse gases has increased, in large part, because of human activity, but he emphasized that other factors could have influenced warming. Referring to the NAS report, he said, “We do not know how much effect natural fluctuations may have had on warming.”
Several administration officials characterized the study as a routine annual summary of scientific research on global warming. John H. Marburger, the president’s science adviser, said the report has “no implications for policy.”
President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney enacted policies that accelerated climate change. The globe that we inhabit warmed. No one noticed, or at least few complained. Now, even those that worked with Mister Bush and Mister Cheney are screaming, “What were we thinking?” What were they thinking? Even Cheney’s fund manager is up in arms and voicing his outrage.
The oil-based energy policies usually associated with Vice President Dick Cheney have just come under scathing attack. There’s nothing remarkable about that, of course — except the person doing the attacking.
Step forward, Jeremy Grantham — Cheney’s own investment manager. “What were we thinking?’ Grantham demands in a four-page assault on U.S. energy policy mailed last week to all his clients, including the vice president.
Titled “While America Slept, 1982-2006: A Rant on Oil Dependency, Global Warming, and a Love of Feel-Good Data,” Grantham’s philippic adds up to an extraordinary critique of U.S. energy policy over the past two decades.
What Cheney makes of it can only be imagined.
“Successive U.S. administrations have taken little interest in either oil substitution or climate change,” he writes, “and the current one has even seemed to have a vested interest in the idea that the science of climate change is uncertain.”
Yet, “there is now nearly universal scientific agreement that fossil fuel use is causing a rise in global temperatures,” he writes. “The U.S. is the only country in which environmental data is steadily attacked in a well-funded campaign of disinformation (funded mainly by one large oil company).”
Now, the polar bears are endangered. People throughout the nation are experiencing record breaking high and low temperatures. Tornado winds move more rapidly than they have in the past. Snows flakes fall and build incomprehensible banks. Weather is now an enigma. Perchance, some humans think it another enemy. We know not what the day will bring. We are only certain that humans harmed the environment. We do not only warm the planet, we pulverize the ears and organs of those that inhabit this world with us. People such as the President who focus on profits and creature comforts forget, we too are animals. What we cause will have an effect!
We can thank President Bush for lowering the standards that were helping to reverse the damage. This Administration ignored the natural balance and thus hastened the decline. The Bush/Cheney clan denied that humans influence what happens here on Earth. Hence, they allowed actions that reeked havoc throughout the planet. Currently, the two reluctantly admit to the effect humans have on the environment, or at least scientists are forcing them to face what they hid.
In the decade when I was the lead reporter on climate change for this newspaper, nearly every blizzard or cold wave that hit the Northeast would bring the same conversation at work.
Somebody in the newsroom would eye me and say something like, “So much for global warming.” This would often, but not always, be accompanied by teasing or malicious expressions, and depending on my mood the person would get either a joking or snappish or explanatory response. Such an exchange might still happen, but now it seems quaint. It would be out of date in light of a potentially historic sea change that appears to have taken place in the state and the status of the global warming issue since I retired from The New York Times in 2000.
Back then I wrote that one day, if mainstream scientists were right about what was going on with the earth’s climate, it would become so obvious that human activity was responsible for a continuing rise in average global temperature that no other explanation would be plausible.
That day may have arrived.
Similarly, it was said in the 1990s that while the available evidence of a serious human impact on the earth’s climate might be preponderant enough to meet the legal test for liability in a civil suit, it fell short of the more stringent “beyond a reasonable doubt” test of guilt in a criminal case.
Now it seems that the steadily strengthening body of evidence about the human connection with global warming is at least approaching the higher standard and may already have satisfied it.
The second element of the sea change, if such it is, consists of a demonstrably heightened awareness and concern among Americans about global warming. The awakening has been energized largely by dramatic reports on the melting Arctic and by fear – generated by the spectacular horror of Hurricane Katrina – that a warmer ocean is making hurricanes more intense.
Now we know what we always knew, but chose to ignore. Our President and Vice President have profoundly changed our planet. Their energy policies have devastated the world climate. Might we ask; is global warming an impeachable offense?
Each day, the Earth decrees, ‘We must condemn these perpetrators of environmental crimes.’ The winds and waterways are clamoring for justice. They act out seeking long overdue attention. Mother Nature is requesting we help her. She says, ‘Please honor our shared planet.’ Do not do as the self-proclaimed compassionate conservative and his cunning colleague have done. Do not destroy natural resources. Preserve the balance. We might consider that with every tempest, with each extreme temperature change, with rampant animal extinctions the environment is screaming, ‘Prosecute President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney.’ Please, let us heed the call!
Please speak to Senator Barbara Boxer. She is asking for suggestions.