Environmental Policy

Texas files again to block EPA carbon rules
January 1, 2011 09:51 AM - Jim Forsyth, Reuters, SAN ANTONIO

Texas on Thursday filed a fresh motion in federal appeals court to block the Obama Administration's attempts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in the state, one day after another federal court rejected the state's petitions. At issue is the state's lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to prevent the agency from forcing it to issue greenhouse gas permits for its biggest polluters when national carbon rules take effect in January. Until there is a ruling on the case, Texas asked the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to block the EPA's mandate that the state expand its pollution regulations to include greenhouse gases. The Fifth Circuit court denied that request on Wednesday. On Thursday, EPA published in the Federal Register details of its proposed permit rules for Texas to go into effect on Sunday, January 2.

U.S. court rules Texas cannot delay EPA - mandated greenhouse gas rules
December 31, 2010 08:47 AM - Ayesha Rascoe, Reuters, WASHINGTON

A federal court on Wednesday blocked an attempt by Texas to delay the Environmental Protection Agency's plans to impose carbon regulations in the state early next year. The state of Texas is suing the EPA to prevent the agency from forcing it to issue greenhouse gas permits for the biggest polluters when national carbon rules take effect in early January. Until there is a ruling on the case, Texas asked the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to block the EPA's mandate that the state expand its pollution regulations to include greenhouse gases. The court denied the request. The EPA issued a finding last year that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare. Since then the agency has moved forward with developing rules under the Clean Air Act to limit emissions blamed for climate change.

Indonesia moves ahead on climate action
December 30, 2010 06:58 AM - Olivia Rondonuwu and David Fogarty, Reuters, JAKARTA/SINGAPORE

Indonesia has chosen once of its largest and richest provinces to test efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by saving forest and peatlands, a key part of a $1 billion climate deal with Norway. Central Kalimantan province on Borneo island is the second largest producer of greenhouse gases among Indonesia's 33 provinces because of deforestation, destruction of carbon-rich peat swamps, and land use change, the government says. "The assessment showed that Central Kalimantan is a province with large forest cover and peatland and faces a real threat of deforestation," top technocrat Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, head of a special presidential delivery unit charged with managing the Norway deal, said in a statement on Thursday.

Denmark Boasts a 100% Renewable Energy Community
December 29, 2010 02:47 PM - Richard Cooke, Justmeans

Denmark, like, Germany, her neighbor to the south, is a country that takes renewable energy seriously. The wind energy industry alone in Denmark is booming with companies like Vestas and Siemens Wind Power both having production facilities and bases of operation on Danish soil. Denmark's own wind based energy also grows exponentially each year leaving many optimistic that the nation might be one of the few who can achieve 100% renewable energy in the next several decades.

Wind Gets Knocked Out of the Pickens Plan
December 29, 2010 09:58 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit

It was not that long ago when T. Boone Pickens ranked up there on television air time with the Snuggie and the Ped Egg. His commercials, or infomercials, promised that the wind corridor in the central United States, paired with natural gas, would wean the U.S. off of fossil fuel imports and push the country towards energy independence.

Why Didn't Obama Mention Landmark Science Legislation?
December 28, 2010 11:45 AM - Eli Kintisch, Science AAAS

Just before Christmas, President Barack Obama celebrated a string of last-minute legislative accomplishments on tax cuts, gays in the military, the nuclear arms pact, the 9/11 responder bill, and food safety. But 2 weeks after saying that competition on innovation from overseas made this "our generation's Sputnik moment," the White House barely mentioned that key science legislation, the America COMPETES Act, which passed Congress last week amidst the flurry of lame-duck activity.

New legislation places US at forefront of shark conservation
December 27, 2010 03:31 PM - Morgan Erickson-Davis, MONGABAY.COM

Last week the US Senate passed the Shark Conservation Act, which bolsters the prohibition of shark-finning in US waters and puts the US at the forefront of shark conservation.

China to spend $30 billion on water conservation in 2011
December 25, 2010 10:42 AM - Reuters, Beijing

The Chinese government is expected to spend about 200 billion yuan ($30.10 billion) on water conservation projects in 2011, a tenth more than in 2010, the state-run China Daily reported on Saturday. Priority will be given to improving irrigation to ensure grain security and projects to combat drought and floods, the newspaper said. It cited Water Resources Minister Chen Lei as telling a government meeting that some of the investment would come from a 10 percent levy on income earned from the leasing of land. The newspaper did not elaborate. Other funds would go toward renovating water supply infrastructure for main agriculture regions and ensuring safe drinking water for 60 million rural people, the newspaper added.

Obama administration reverses Bush wilderness policy
December 24, 2010 09:03 AM - Keith Coffman, Reuters, DENVER

The Obama administration has restored U.S. land managers' powers to curb development on vast tracts of America's back country, undoing what conservation groups called a "no more wilderness" policy put in place under President George W. Bush. U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced on Thursday that the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will again have the authority to set aside large areas of federally owned territory in the West that it deems deserving of wilderness protection. It would still be up to Congress to decide whether to grant those areas formal wilderness status, putting them permanently off-limits to energy development and other commercial uses.

Europe moves ahead on Cap & Trade, Japan seen shelving carbon emission trading scheme
December 22, 2010 06:49 AM - Kiyoshi Takenaka, Reuters, TOKYO

Japan is likely to shelve a plan to introduce carbon emissions trading as the troubled ruling Democratic Party bows to powerful business groups still recovering from a costly downturn. If confirmed, it would be a massive reversal by the party, which has backed one of the toughest emissions reduction targets of any major economy and said emissions trading was a key way to achieve that goal and drive greater energy efficiency at home. It would also be a blow to hopes more top greenhouse gas polluting nations outside the European Union would usher in emissions trading, after efforts in the United States and Australia were shelved.

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