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Monday, November 30, 2009

CARB’s Preliminary Draft Cap and Trade Regulation

On November 24, 2009, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released a Preliminary Draft Regulation (PRR) outlining the details of how cap and trade program for global warming pollution may be designed. CARB is seeking comments on the PDR by January 11 and will hold a public workshop in Sacramento on December 14.

The Preliminary Draft Cap and Trade Regulation (PDR) basically lays out most the details of the cap and trade program. For the first time, the PDR establishes an official limit on offsets: 49% of reductions from 2012-2020. Unfortunately, this amount of offsets is so large that the big polluters who are capped may not have to make ANY emission reductions until 2020.

CARB has never held a public workshop on setting an offset limit. CARB recently stated that the Economic and Allowance Advisory Committee will not be doing any work on offsets. CARB will not be doing any economic modeling on various offset limits and their related co-pollutant reduction benefits (as the Board resolution required). The PDR provides no rationale or basis for deciding on a 49% limit.

CARB has proposed that the offset limit be set at 49% of the cumulative annual reductions below the level of emissions in 2012.* According to CARB data included with the PRD, we show graphically below that this large amount of offsets could delay emission reductions in the capped sectors (electricity, transportation fuels, and large industrial sources) until 2017 or later, depending on how the compliance periods are structured.

Many have been confused about how CARB calculates this 49%. Here’s how they do it: CARB estimates that in 2012, the capped sectors in California will emit roughly 433 million metric tons of global warming pollution. Each year, the cap is lowered slightly, resulting in emission reductions. Each year, the emission reduction relative to 2012 gets larger and larger, even though year-to-year it’s the same. For instance, each year from 2016-2020 the annual reduction relative to the emission level from the year before is 11 MMT. However, in 2020, the emission reduction relative to 2012 is 68MMT. CARB has chosen to calculate the offset limit based on the cumulative annual reductions relative to 2012 (249 MMT), instead of the cumulative total of actual reductions occurring each year (64 MMT). Offsets will be doled out across three compliance periods, but un-used offsets from one compliance period will be returned to a general “pool” or may be banked for later use.

Details on the Dec 14th meeting

Copy of the Preliminary Draft Regulation

The offset limit is described (cryptically,as 4% of total emissions--which is the same thing at 49% of reductions-- on p. 42). Offset quality parameters are described on pp. 60-84. Note--CARB suggests that it will accept a limited amount of CDM credits (p. 79) (Source: Erin Rogers)

House Select Committee On Global Warming To Hold Hearing

The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming is holding a hearing explore the recently disputed consensus view that global warming is real and the science indicates that it is getting worse. Chairman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), left, will host two of America’s climate scientists, Dr. John Holdren and Dr. Jane Lubchenco.

Dr. Holdren, right, is the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and was formerly a professor at Harvard University and the director of the acclaimed Woods Hole Research Center.

Dr. Lubchenco, left, is the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United States’ leading climate office.

The past decade has been the hottest in recorded history, with all of the years since 2001 being in the top 10 of hottest, according to NASA. This summer, the world’s oceans were the warmest in NOAA’s 130 years of record-keeping. Meanwhile, global heat-trapping pollution continues to rise.

WHAT: Select Committee hearing on the State of Climate Science

WHEN: 10 AM, Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

WHERE: B-318 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC
and on the web at globalwarming.house.gov

WHO: Dr. John Holdren, Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy
Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Constellation Buys Garrett County, Maryland Wind Project

Constellation Energy has signed an agreement with Clipper Windpower to acquire the Criterion wind project in Garrett County, Md. The $140 million, 70-megawatt wind energy project would be developed, constructed, owned and operated by Constellation Energy. The project would provide enough clean energy to power an estimated 23,000 households. It is one of several clean energy initiatives Constellation Energy has recently completed or proposed across Maryland. The Center supports the project and Constellation's other wind development project.

Under terms of the agreement, Constellation Energy will purchase from Clipper Windpower, the Criterion project and 28 of Clipper’s 2.5-megawatt Liberty wind turbines. The Criterion project has received the necessary state approvals. Criterion’s 2008 state application was the first to win approval under a 2007 state law promoting wind development in Maryland. The Constellation Energy-Clipper Windpower agreement, which is subject to certain terms and conditions, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2010. Commercial operation of the wind energy facility is anticipated in the fall of 2010. The Criterion project has entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative for energy and renewable energy credits produced by the wind facility. Old Dominion is a not-for-profit wholesale power provider serving public electric cooperatives in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. (Fran Maisano)

Climategate Does Not Change The Fact Of Climate Change

You do not have to be a scientist to know that something is up when daffodils start rising in January north of the Mason-Dixon line. Yet global warming and climate change deniers are latching on to the Climate Reseach Unit's (CRU) hacked emails that question some of the many confounding variables involved in climate prediction. Opponents of global warming treaties and cap and trade programs are now using this scandal as a weapon to stop governmental action in addressing the problem. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee ranking minority member James Inhofe is jumping with joy and will surely relish torturing EP&W Chairwoman Barbara Boxer over Climategate. To him this is verification of what he has been championing for years.

Although we support emission reduction targets that come with cap and trade programs, we also know that technology underpins any effort to achieve the targets. This is one reason we support nuclear power as a 'heavy life' vehicle for achieving elimination of several emissions. Combined with conservation, efficiency and renewables, we can protect our 90-mile high atmosphere from overdosing on our 24-7-365 fossil fuel emissions.

CRU is part of East Anglia University in Great Britain and is one of the sources of the oft cited peer reviewed science periodicals used by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that has concluded that global warming is an unquestioned certainty. Unfortunately, hacked emails [1,000 emails and 3,500 additional files were published online] show some researchers suppressing and misstating data. Now this too is an unquestioned certainty and has thrown the climate change debate into a tailspin just days before the much touted Copenhagen, Denmark IPCC meeting that is intended to draft a successsor to the Kyoto Protocol, the current climate change treaty among 192 nations. President Obama will address the meeting on his way to pick up his Nobel Peace Prize.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

China Trumps Obama on Greenhouse Gas Reductions

President Obama offered a 17% reduction in greenhouse gases (GHG) by 2020 and the Chinese counter offered with a 45% reduction in China's 'carbon intensity' by 2020. Carbon intensity was first introduced by the Bush administration in their Clear Skies Initiative. Carbon intensity is a measure that captures the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of gross domestic product. This carbon dioxide poker game between America and China is postering in anticipation of the United Nations climate change talks in Copenhagen in December.

Yet neither nation has any formal structure for attaining these targets. Although Congress has legislation pending that equals President Obama's pledge, the prospects for passage are not very good. The Chinese are balking at any real reduction targets. China believes Western nations created the global warming problem and they are not about to moderate their red hot economic growth to meet any international greenhouse gas reduction targets. In fact, China and African nations are seeking billions in subsidies and technical help from developed nations in exchange for any sort of international climate change agreement. Western nations, whose economies are still struggling with recession, are not inclined to allocate significant subsidies to developing nations. The Center does not see China as a 'developing' nation. If anything, they are quickly becoming the most developed nation on Earth. (Wash Post, 11/26/09)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Obama Seeks 17% Reduction in GHGs in Copenhagen

The White House

President to Attend Copenhagen Climate Talks

Administration Announces U.S. Emission Target for Copenhagen


[Full Statement]

The White House announced today that President Obama will travel to Copenhagen on Dec. 9 to participate in the United Nations Climate Change Conference. The White House also announced that the President is prepared to put on the table a U.S. emissions reduction target in the range of 17% below 2005 levels in 2020 and ultimately in line with final U.S. energy and climate legislation.

In light of the President’s goal to reduce emissions 83% by 2050, the expected pathway set forth in this pending legislation would entail a 30% reduction below 2005 levels in 2025 and a 42% reduction below 2005 in 2030. This provisional target is in line with current legislation in both chambers of Congress.

A host of Cabinet secretaries and other top officials from across the Administration will travel to Copenhagen for the conference. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson are all scheduled to attend, along with Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren, and Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Carol Browner.

The following keynote events and speakers are currently scheduled:

• Wednesday, December 9th: Taking Action at Home, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson
• Thursday, December 10th: New Energy Future: the role of public lands in clean energy production and carbon capture, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar
• Friday, Dec 11th: Clean Energy Jobs in a Global Marketplace, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke
• Monday, Dec 14th: Leading in Energy Efficiency and Renewables, Energy Secretary Steven Chu
• Tuesday, Dec 15th: Clean Energy Investments: creating opportunities for rural economies, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
• Thursday, Dec 17th: Backing Up International Agreement with Domestic Action, CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley and Assistant to the President Carol Browner

[Illustration courtesy WSJ]

Small Wind Makes a Comeback in Rural America

Rural Americans are once again making a commitment to small scale wind power generation. The video below shows Innovative Kinetics installing a small wind turbine.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Large Hadron Collider: How It Measures The Collisions




The Large Hadron Collider, above, is designed to collide two counter rotating beams of protons or heavy ions. Proton-proton collisions are foreseen at an energy of 7 TeV per beam.

• The beams move around the LHC ring inside a continuous vacuum guided by magnets.

• The magnets are superconducting and are cooled by a huge cryogenics system. The cables conduct current without resistance in their superconducting state.

ATLAS

The Atlas is one of two general-purpose detectors at the LHC. It will investigate a wide range of physics, including the search for the Higgs boson, extra dimensions, and particles that could make up dark matter.

With the same goals in physics as CMS, ATLAS will record similar sets of measurements on the particles created in the collisions – their paths, energies, and their identities. However, the two experiments have adopted radically different technical solutions and designs for their detectors' magnet systems.

The main feature of the ATLAS detector is its enormous doughnut-shaped magnet system. This consists of eight 25‑m long superconducting magnet coils, arranged to form a cylinder around the beam pipe through the centre of the detector. During operation, the magnetic field is contained within the central cylindrical space defined by the coils.

More than 1700 scientists from 159 institutes in 37 countries work on the ATLAS experiment.

ATLAS detector
• Size: 46 m long, 25 m high and 25 m wide. The ATLAS detector is the largest volume particle detector ever constructed.
• Weight: 7000 tonnes
• Design: barrel plus end caps
• Location: Meyrin, Switzerland.

Compact Muon Solenoid

The Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment uses a general-purpose detector to investigate a wide range of physics, including the search for the Higgs boson, extra dimensions, and particles that could make up dark matter. Although it has the same scientific goals as the ATLAS experiment, it uses different technical solutions and design of its detector magnet system to achieve these.

The CMS detector is built around a huge solenoid magnet. This takes the form of a cylindrical coil of superconducting cable that generates a magnetic field of 4 teslas, about 100 000 times that of the Earth. The magnetic field is confined by a steel 'yoke' that forms the bulk of the detector's weight of 12 500 tonnes. An unusual feature of the CMS detector is that instead of being built in-situ underground, like the other giant detectors of the LHC experiments, it was constructed on the surface, before being lowered underground in 15 sections and reassembled.

More than 2000 scientists collaborate in CMS, coming from 155 institutes in 37 countries.

CMS detector
• Size: 21 m long, 15 m wide and 15 m high.
• Weight: 12 500 tonnes
• Design: barrel plus end caps
• Location: Cessy, France. See CMS in Google Earth.

Climate Change Emails & Whistleblower Merry-Go-Round

PRESIDENT'S CORNER

By Norris McDonald

The problem with working on environmental and energy issues for 30 years is that you see the same patterns over and over again with each new administration. Now, instead of James Hansen hassling the Bush administration with charges of his speech being limited, we have Laurie Williams and Allan Zabel, EPA attorneys, contradicting EPA and administration policies on climate change. I disagree with Williams and Zabel and believe the Obama administration is on the right track on climate change.

Now the climate change email controversy seems to 'spring up' just days before the United Nations climate change meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark. The hacked emails show pro-global warming scientists suppressing the views of their colleagues who do not believe that such warming is occurring due to man's mechanized emissions. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee Minority Leader James Inhofe is in heaven over the email controversy. We believe climate change is the most important issue facing us today. The atmosphere goes up about 90 miles and you cannot load it with an unlimited amount of man made gaseous emissions without serious consequences.

My frustration is that nothing ever really gets done on these issues. Sure, air pollution has gotten better but I can see the air on way too many days in the summer smog season. There is too much litigation, particularly over EPA programs such as New Source Review. I pine for more success stories, such as the Acid Rain Program, which everybody agrees was successful. But I get frustrated when the mainstream environmental groups oppose President Bush's cap and trade program under his proposed Clear Skies Initiative, but then turn right around and support cap and trade under the current administration. We lost 8 years under former President Bush and now it looks like we could lose four to eight more years due to the same sorts of shenanigans from other players.

DOE Awards $620 Million For Smart Grid Projects

The Department of Energy is awarding $620 million for projects around the country to demonstrate advanced Smart Grid technologies and integrated systems that will help build a smarter, more efficient, more resilient electrical grid. These 32 demonstration projects, which include large-scale energy storage, smart meters, distribution and transmission system monitoring devices, and a range of other smart technologies, will act as models for deploying integrated Smart Grid systems on a broader scale. This funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be leveraged with $1 billion in funds from the private sector to support more than $1.6 billion in total Smart Grid projects nationally.

The demonstration projects announced today will also help verify the technological and business viability of new smart technologies and show how fully integrated Smart Grid systems can be readily adapted and copied around the country. Applicants say this investment will create thousands of new job opportunities that will include manufacturing workers, engineers, electricians, equipment installers, IT system designers, cyber security specialists, and business and power system analysts.

The funding awards are divided into two topic areas. In the first group, 16 awards totaling $435 million will support fully integrated, regional Smart Grid demonstrations in 21 states, representing over 50 utilities and electricity organizations with a combined customer base of almost 100 million consumers. The projects include streamlined communication technologies that will allow different parts of the grid to “talk” to each other in real time; sensing and control devices that help grid operators monitor and control the flow of electricity to avoid disruptions and outages; smart meters and in-home systems that empower consumers to reduce their energy use and save money; energy storage options; and on-site and renewable energy sources that can be integrated onto the electrical grid.

In the second group, an additional 16 awards for a total of $185 million will help fund utility-scale energy storage projects that will enhance the reliability and efficiency of the grid, while reducing the need for new electricity plants. Improved energy storage technologies will allow for expanded integration of renewable energy resources like wind and photovoltaic systems and will improve frequency regulation and peak energy management. The selected projects include advanced battery systems (including flow batteries), flywheels, and compressed air energy systems. (DOE)

DOE and Israel Announce $3.3 Million in Energy Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced a milestone in U.S.-Israel cooperation on clean energy technology. With financial support of DOE and the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructures, the bilateral BIRD Foundation Energy Executive Committee has competitively selected four cooperative clean energy projects in the United States and Israel. This initiative will award up to $3.3 million in U.S.-Israel funding for these four projects.

The four projects selected for award help address critical shared bilateral energy-related goals, while focusing on commercializing DOE technologies. The BIRD Foundation will assist by attracting and incorporating private sector cost-sharing.

The four projects will leverage private sector cost-share for a total project value of $11.6 million:

• HelioFocus Ltd., Ness Ziona, Israel and Capstone Turbine Corporation, Chatsworth, California have been selected for an award of up to $800,000. HelioFocus and Capstone Turbine Corporation will develop and commercialize a micro-turbine to produce electric power from concentrated solar energy. This project includes $2.1 million in private sector cost-share.
• Motorola Israel Ltd., Tel Aviv, Israel and SmartSynch, Inc., Jackson, Mississippi have been selected for an award of up to $900,000. Motorola Israel and SmartSynch will collaborate in the development and commercialization of a platform to enable implementation of a Smart Grid energy management system. This project includes $2.8 million in private sector cost-share.
• Tigo Energy, Kfar Saba, Israel and U.S. Architectural Glass and Aluminum Co., Inc., Alameda, California have been selected for an award of up to $900,000. This project will support the development and integration of a complete Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) system. This project includes $2.3 million in private sector cost-share.
• TransBiodiesel Ltd., Shfar-Am, Israel and The Purolite Company, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania have been selected for an award of up to $700,000. This project seeks to design a biocatalyst comprised of methanol-resistant lipase immobilized on a cost-effective resin for the production of biodiesel at commercial scales. This project includes $1.2 million in private sector cost-share.

The projects are expected to begin in 2010.

Note From Islamic Foundation: Update on Greening Indonesia

Update on Greening Indonesia‏

From: Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences [IFEES]

Salam, Shalom and Peace brothers and sisters in humanity : Hope you are all in the best of health and faith, Insha'Allah. Following the successful launch of "Greening Indonesia", where we hope to plant as many trees as possible, over £2,500 was raised, so we are already half way to reach our target of £5,000 and plant 1000 trees. On behalf of IFEES, we would sincerely like to thank all the attendees and all those who donated and pledged to donate. If you couldn't attend but want to still support the program please donate generously.

If you want more information about the program please contact us and we would be more than happy to discuss. Finally, we would like to congratulate our Director Fazlun Khalid who was recently listed in the "Top 500 influential Muslims in the world. More information (page p147 under the "Science and Technology" section). Have a wonderful Eid al-Adha, Hanukkah, Christmas and may Allah be with all!

Best regards, Admin, Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IFEES). IFEES is a registered UK Charity No: 1041198 Please send correspondence to: IFEES, 93 Court Road, Balsall Heath, Birmingham, B12 9LQ Tel: 0044-(0)121-440-3500 Fax: 0044-(0)-121-440-8144 E-mail

Monday, November 23, 2009

Discussion on Clean Energy Economy at The White House

The Center was invited to participate in an important discussion on America’s clean energy economy at The White House last Friday (November 20, 2009). Speakers included EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Jon Carson, Chief-of-Staff to the Council on Environmental Quality. The forum included a discussion on public health in relation to clean energy and climate legislation. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson answered questions. The video of the event is below:


Friday, November 20, 2009

EPA Launches New Interactive Tool To Measure SO2

New interactive tracking tools are now available on EPA’s Web site to help the public follow nation-wide changes in sulfur dioxide(SO2) emissions from coal-fired power plants. Using interactive charts and Google Earth satellite maps, the public can now observe recent changes in SO2 emissions and other indicators at individual coal-fired power plants in the Acid Rain Program.

The Acid Rain Program was established under the 1990 Clean Air ActAmendments requiring power plants to reduce emissions of SO2 andnitrogen oxides (NOx)—the primary causes of acid rain. Since 1995, the program has achieved significant environmental and public health benefits. In 2008, electric generating units subject to the market-basedcap and trade SO2 program emitted 7.6 million tons of SO2, well below the current annual emission cap of 9.5 million tons.

More information on the interactive tracking tool

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Roland-Holst/Kahrl Climate Study Says Climate Bill Will Create 2 Million Jobs

This study finds that a robust climate bill could boost the U.S. economy by about $111 billion by 2020 and create as many as 1.9 million jobs.

The report, "Clean Energy and Climate Policy for U.S. Growth and Job Creation," is by David Roland-Holst and Friedrich Kahrl of the University of California, Berkeley, in collaboration with Madhu Khanna of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and Jennifer Baka of Yale University. Their findings run contrary to claims made by opponents of climate legislation in the U.S. Senate.

The team's analysis issued in late October 2009 offers a state-by-state look at the economic implications posed by comprehensive federal climate policy.

The study's key findings are:

• "All 50 states can gain economically from strong federal energy and climate policy, despite the diversity of their economies and energy mixes.

• "Contrary to what is commonly assumed, comprehensive national climate policy does not benefit the coasts at the expense of the heartland states.

• "The country as a whole can gain 918,000 to 1.9 million jobs, and household income can grow by $488 to $1,176, by 2020 under comprehensive energy and climate policy."

Hat Tip: Sonja Ebron [Blackenergy]

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

No Climate Agreements From Copenhagen & U.S. Senate

Feedback from President Obama's Asia trip signalled that there will be no climate change agreement from the upcoming Copenhagen, Denmark United Nations conference. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has also announced that climate change legislation will not be brought to the Senate floor until at least the Spring of 2010.

The next annual meeting of U.N. environment ministers is scheduled for December 2010 in Mexico. The U.N.'s existing Kyoto Protocol's curbs on emissions by industrialised countries ends on Dec. 31, 2012. In December 1997, the world agreed on the Kyoto Protocol in the Japanese city of the same name. That deal was then sent to national parliaments for ratification and 187 nations ratified the treaty. Washington never ratified it.

One week of U.N. climate talks in Barcelona from Nov. 2 to 6, the Asia Pacific Economic Partnership (APEC) meetings in Singapore November 8-15 and the upcoming Copenhagen conference from Dec. 7-18 could not produce a framework for an emissions reductions agreement.

China and India want industrialized countries to agree to cuts in CO2 emissions of at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, far more than average cuts included in Congressional legislation. The Boxer/Kerry climate legislation in the Senate requires emissions cuts of 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and the Waxman/Markey legislation passed in the House calls for a 17% reduction by 2020. China, India and African nations also want billions of dollars in aid and new technology. (WSJ, 11/18/09, Time, 11/17/09, Reuter, 10/27/09))

Nuclear Power Part of China/USA Climate Change Mitigation

President Barack Obama and China President Hu Jintao reaffirmed the goals of the recently-concluded Third Executive Committee Meeting of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) to promote the peaceful use of civilian nuclear energy, and “ agreed to consult with one another in order to explore such approaches-including assurance of fuel supply and cradle-to-grave nuclear fuel management so that countries can access peaceful nuclear power while minimizing the risks of proliferation.”
GNEP promotes the peaceful use of nuclear energy in a manner that promotes safety, security and non-proliferation. At an October 2009 meeting of member country countries in Beijing, China , the Executive Committee reconfirmed that the use of nuclear energy is an effective measure against global warming and contributes to greater global energy security. The Executive Committee also recognized that the expansion of the peaceful use of nuclear energy will help lead to the creation of employment and sustainable economic growth.

The Executive Committee explored some Partners’ proposal for renaming the Partnership and noted that the “International Nuclear Energy Framework” (INEF) could be one of the options.

(Emabassy of the U.S., Oct 23, 2009, Grist, Nov 17, 2009)

EPA Proposing Stronger Sulfur Dioxide Emissions Standards

EPA is proposing stronger air quality standards for Sulfur Dioxide emissions (SO2) that are more health protective, as opposed to being technologically based. The proposal also establishes a new national 1-hour monitoring standard, and revokes the current 24- hour and SO2 annual health standards. The Center participated in the EPA conference call to discuss the new SO2 standards

People with asthma, children, and the elderly areespecially vulnerable to SO2’s effects. This new proposal is to establish a new national one-hour SO2 standard, between 50 and 100 parts per billion (ppb). This standardis designed to protect against short-term exposures ranging from five minutes to 24 hours. Monitors would be placed in areas with high SO2 emission levels as well as in urban areas. The proposal also would change the Air Quality Index to reflect the revised SO2 standards.

The Agency first set National Ambient Air Quality standards for SO2 in 1971. EPA set a 24-hour primary standard at 140 ppb and an annual average standard at 30 ppb (to protect health). EPA also set a 3-hour average secondary standard at 500 ppb (to protect the public welfare).

The last review of the SO2 NAAQS was completed in 1996 and the Agency chose not to revise the standards. In the last review, EPA also considered, but did not set, a five minute NAAQS to protect asthmatics at elevated ventilation rates from bronchoconstriction and respiratory symptoms associated with 5-10 minute peaks of SO2.

Additional information

Monday, November 16, 2009

Laurie Williams and Allan Zabel Are Completely Wrong

The Center completely disagrees with the conclusions of Laurie Williams and Allan Zabel regarding their views on the pending climate change legislation. The legislation provides a very good framework for addressing climate change mitigation and we support both bills. Waxman/Markey (H.R. 2454: American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009) and Boxer/Kerry (S. 1733: Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act) are good bills and the Center supports the legislation with the caveat that 97% of the allowances should be allocated free.

Laurie Williams and Allan Zabel are wrong on their three points: 1) The Big Lie, 2) The Big Rip-Off and 3) The Real Solution.

1) This point is wrong because cap and trade will lead to trillions of dollars in investments and innovation. This San Francisco couple appears to be anticapitalist and comparing the legislation to the subprime mortgage disaster is just beyond the pale.

Unfortunately, they do not see that an American cap and trade program will create a global frenzy to turn carbon dioxide (CO2) into a profitable commodity. Profit drives innovation.

2) Offsets are not a rip-off. They are innovative tools for achieving CO2 reductions. Offsets will also create a global frenzy once the United States gives this appropriate signal.

The Center has even established a clearinghouse, the Carbon Mercantile Exchange, to participate in allowance and offset trading. We hope the legislation will allow 'anyone' to participate in trading to get maximum participation just as is the case in the Acid Rain Program.

3) Their 'Real Solution' is a real nightmare. We totally oppose their 'carbon fees (taxes) with rebates' because, even though they say that energy will be affordable via rebates, it is really just a plan to use high prices to drive energy conservation. The Center opposes using price as a conservation driver as a matter of organization policy.

Monthly rebates? We suspect these rebates will not match the high energy prices. Regardless, energy taxes will never pass in Congress anyway so this idea is dead before even arriving.

Their website Carbonfees.org and their video.

Lisa Perez Jackson Is About To Become Center Of Universe

If the Earth is the most important planet in the universe, and if global warming is the most important environmental issue on this planet, then U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, right, is about to become the center of the climate change universe. With Copenhagen being pronounced a bust even before the conference begins and with dim prospects for getting climate change legislation passed in the U.S. Senate, the Environmental Protection Agency becomes the vehicle for implementing national climate change regulations. All acknowledge that legislation would be better than regulations in implementing climate change mitigation. So we would not necessarily want to be in Administrator Jackson's shoes. But then again, maybe she likes litigation.

Although Glenn Beck will lead the assault team, he will not only be joined by conservatives on the right, but environmental justice activists also oppose cap and trade too. Although the Center supports climate change legislation and cap and trade, we will not be much protection for Jackson. Let's hope the other environmental groups will step up to provide more defense against the clear onslaught about to be visited upon the adminstrator. Maybe Al Gore and John Podesta have some new tricks up their sleeves. Or maybe President Obama will pull off some magic at Copenhagen. Is he still going? And does he really want to mix it up with the Chamber of Commerce over climate change when they think it is a jobs killer at a time when jobs are desperately needed? The Center believes cap and trade would be a huge jobs generater, but the Chamber is not listening to us. Good luck administrator Jackson. We are here for you, but we are not that big on litigation. [More from The Wall Street Journal, 11/17/09)

EPA's Green Homes Web Site (Animation)

EPA Web Site Tools to Cut Energy Costs and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Homes

[Click on Picture for Animation]
Home owners, buyers and renters have a new resource for going green indoors and outdoors. EPA’s new Green Homes Web site will help people make their homes greener with tips on reducing energy consumption, carbon footprints, waste generation and water usage, as well as improving indoor air quality.

The latest federal survey of American housing (2007) reported 128 million housing units across the U.S., accounting for nearly 54 percent of national energy use and nearly 31 percent of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, the most common greenhouse gas contributing to climate change.

Many green building practices and technologies have yet to make a dent in the existing residential market, in part because it is hard for people to find clear, consolidated, readily accessible, and credible information. The Green Homes Web site addresses that need by providing guidance on approaches to greening each room of the home as well as the surrounding yard. Information also is available on building new homes and finding an energy efficient mortgage, which takes into account the savings derived from energy efficient homes to enable the applicant to qualify for better terms. Renters will find information to help them identify a green property before moving in and tips for working with their landlord to add green features to an existing property.

Users can also find references, such as a list of common green home terms, and links to dozens of EPA Web sites with more specific information on a wide variety of green home topics.

More Information

Copenhagen Climate Change Conference









The UN Climate Change Conference (COP 15)

begins in Copenhagen,

December 7th to 18th.

Complete with a "countdown clock"

Saturday, November 14, 2009

APEC Drops Targets For Cutting CO2 Emissions

Pacific Rim leaders convinced members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Singapore to drop the idea of putting a concrete target on cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Participants at the 21-member APEC group feared that trying to include such targets would hinder future climate change talks so targets will not be in the final statement for the annual summit.

President Obama even altered his schedule to try to negotiate some sort of agreement concerning CO2 reductions. Unfortunately, this decision at APEC is a big blow to the
pending United Nations climate change meeting in Copenhagen in trying to develop a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. , where hopes have evaporated of a binding global agreement next month in Copenhagen. (WSJ, 11/14/09)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

EPA's Jackson Welcomes 5 Regional Administrators & CFO

Earlier this month, President Obama announced his selections for Regional Administrators in EPA Regions 1, 2, 3, 6 and 9. Regional Administrators for the EPA are responsible for promoting state and local environmental protection efforts and serving as a liaison to state and local government officials.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, left, also welcomed Barbara Bennett to EPA as Chief Financial Officer.

Biographies

Curt Spalding, RA for Region 1: H. Curtis “Curt” Spalding has extensive experience in environmental protection as an advocate, policy analyst and administrator. For almost 20 years, he served as Executive Director of Save The Bay in Rhode Island, a nationally recognized, 20,000-member environmental advocacy and education organization. He established the Narragansett Bay Keeper and Habitat Restoration programs, and oversaw the successful completion of the $9 million Explore The Bay Campaign and construction of the Save The Bay Center at Fields Point in Providence, RI. Prior to joining Save The Bay, Curt was an Environmental Protection Specialist and Presidential Management Intern at EPA’s offices in Boston and Washington, D.C. He received his bachelor’s degree from Hobart College and an M.P.A. from SUNY at Albany in Albany, NY.

Judith Enck, RA for Region 2: Judith Enck has almost 30 years of experience in environmental protection. Most recently she served as the Deputy Secretary for the Environment in New York State since 2007. She has worked as a policy advisor to the Attorney General of New York, Executive Director of Environmental Advocates of New York, and as a Senior Environmental Associate with the New York Public Interest Research Group. She also serves on a number of boards in New York, including the New York State Energy Board and the New York State Superfund Management Board. Judith received her bachelor’s degree from the College of Saint Rose and lives in Poestenkill, New York.

Shawn M. Garvin, RA for Region 3: Shawn M. Garvin has worked for EPA Region 3 for more than 10 years, and currently serves as EPA Region 3’s Senior State and Congressional Liaison. In that position Shawn is the primary point of contact for Congressional delegations and state and local officials throughout the region. He joined EPA in 1997, serving as Special Assistant to the Regional Administrator. Prior to that, Shawn worked for then-Senator Joe Biden and County Executive Dennis Greenhouse. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware.


Al Armendariz, RA for Region 6: Dr. Alfredo “Al” Armendariz is an Associate Professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where he has taught environmental and civil engineering. For the past 15 years, Al worked in a variety of research and academic positions and has published several of his findings. He has worked as a research assistant at the MIT Center for Global Change Science at their Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratory, and as a chemical engineer for the Radian Corporation in North Carolina. In 2002 he joined the faculty at Southern Methodist University and spent a summer on special assignment to EPA’s Dallas office as an Environmental Scientist. Al received his S.B. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.E. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Jared Blumenfeld, RA for Region 9: Jared Blumenfeld has been the Director of the San Francisco Department of Environment for eight years, serving as the primary environmental decision-maker for 28,000 city staff and a $6.5 billion budget. He also managed the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department which oversaw 242 world-class parks and recreational centers like Golden Gate Park, Candlestick Park, and Harding Park PGA golf course. He is a founder of the Business Council on Climate Change, an organization that unites local businesses to confront climate change. Jared received his law degrees at the University of London and the University of California.

Barbara J. Bennett, Chief Financial Officer: Barbara J. Bennett is a global business executive with over 25 years of experience. Most recently, she served as the Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Discovery Communications. From 1990 to 2007, Barbara was a key member of the team that built the parent company of the Discovery Channel into a global media enterprise, with more than 100 channels in 170 countries, reaching one billion subscribers in over 30 languages. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and has completed executive programs at Harvard Business School and Yale University.

EPA Methane To Markets Program Funds 21 New Projects

EPA International Energy Partnership Program Grants Funding To 11 countries

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is supporting the international Methane to Markets Partnership (M2M) by funding 21 new projects that will help 11 countries capture and use methane emissions from landfill, coal, agriculture, oil and natural gas operations. Methane, the primary component of natural gas, traps over 20 times more heat than carbon dioxide, making it a significant contributor to climate change.

The Methane to Markets Partnership is a public-private partnership that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by promoting the cost-effective, near-term recovery and use of methane, while providing clean energy to markets around the world. The M2M Partnership has grown to include 31 partner governments and more than 900 private sector entities, financial institutions, non-governmental agencies and other organizations.

Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, and Russia are receiving grants ranging from $20,000 to $700,000. These projects, totaling nearly $3.3 million, will stimulate clean energy production while achieving greenhouse gas emissions reductions. They will support a wide variety of activities, including development of databases on potential project sites, feasibility studies, and technology transfer. In Bulgaria, for example, EPA will fund (1) a resource assessment of several landfills; (2) the development of business plans for each one; and (3) implementation of a pilot methane capture and use project at the most promising landfill.
Since the launch of the partnership in 2004, EPA has provided almost $13 million for nearly 70 grants to build capacity and promote international capture and use of methane. This work will be highlighted in 2010 when EPA, the Government of India and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry host the 2nd Methane to Markets Partnership Expo on March 2-5, 2010 in Delhi, India. The expo will bring together approximately 1,000 partners and methane experts from around the world to showcase project opportunities and technologies related to the capture and use of methane.

List of 2009 grant awardees and their projects

More Information about the Methane to Markets Partnership

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Center Meets With EPA Office of International Activities

Center President Norris McDonald and Center Vice President Derry Bigby met with Michelle DePass, Assistant Administrator of EPA's Office of International Activities (OIA) yesterday to discuss global environmental issues. McDonald and Bigby described the Center's international work and Ms. Depass described the mission of OIA. Michael M. Stahl, Director, Regional and Bilateral Affairs, also attended the meeting. The 45-minute meeting was informative and we were delighted to visit OIA in the Ronald Reagan Building. According to the EPA website:

EPA's Office of International Affairs (OIA) plays a crucial role in advancing the United States' international environmental priorities. Working with the experts from EPA's other program and regional offices, other government agencies, and other nations and international organizations, OIA identifies international environmental issues and helps implement technical and policy options to address them.

International cooperation is vital to achieving EPA's mission. EPA has established three strategic priority areas for our international engagement:

1. To reduce transboundary pollution;
2. To advance U.S. interests abroad; and
3. To promote good environmentl governance

Senate Finance Committee Holds Climate Legislation Hearing

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, left, held a hearing on "Climate Change Legislation: Considerations for Future Jobs" on Tuesday. Witnesses included:

Mr. Abraham Breehey, Director, Legislative Affairs, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers, Department of Government Affairs, Fairfax, VA

Ms. Carol Berrigan, Director, Industry Infrastructure, Nuclear Energy Institute, Washington, DC

Dr. Kenneth P. Green, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Washington, DC

Dr. Margo Thorning, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, American Council for Capital Formation, Washington, DC

Ms. Van Ton-Quinlivan, Director,Workforce Development and Strategic Programs, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Francisco, CA

Senator was the only Democrat on the Seante Environment & Public Works Committee to vote against S. 1733. His main concerns are protecting the economy and minimizing job losses. The union representative expressed support for S. 1733. The NEI representative describe the role of nuclear in climate change mitigation. AEI opposes S. 1733. PG&E supports S. 1733.

FULL STATEMENTS

Warren Buffet Cornering Train AND Coal Shipment Markets?

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett, left, has purchased Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad for $26 billion. It is the largest acquisition of Buffett’s career.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based BNSF is one of four transcontinental freight railways in the United States, and the second-largest behind Union Pacific. BNSF’s railroad covers much of the Midwestern United States and ships large quantities of coal, grain, and containers annually.

Buffet's purchase of Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad gives him America's largest coal shipping system. Buffet is betting that coal will still be king for producing electricity. Coal is currently used to produce 50% of America's electricity.

Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett’s holding company, has a history of buying well-managed companies with unique competitive advantages. Berkshire currently owns GEICO insurance, MidAmerican Energy, Fruit of the Loom, See’s Candies, and holds minority ownership stakes in other companies such as Moody’s Corp., American Express Co., and The Coca-Cola Co. (The Epoch Times, 11/3/09)

Potomac Edison To Refile Electric Power Line Plans

Potomac Edison plans to restart its proposal to build the Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH) in Frederick County and will file a new application with the Maryland Public Service Commission to build. On Sept. 9, the Maryland Public Service Commission rejected Potomac Edison's application for PATH because it would not be built by an electric company operating within Maryland, as state law requires. The commission did not comment on the need for the upgrade.

It is the last part of a multi-state power line. The 275-mile power line would begin at a substation in southern West Virginia and end at a proposed 50-acre substation near Mount Airy, Maryland called the Kemptown Substation. PATH will serve PJM Interconnection, a regional organization that coordinates power transmission in 13 states, including those through which it passes, and Washington, D.C.

Allegheny Energy, of which Potomac Edison is a subsidiary, and American Electric Power have partnered to build PATH, with Allegheny having sole responsibility for the portion to be constructed in Maryland. Both companies argue that without the new power lines, the region's power grid will not be able to reliably meet electrical demands. The companies say PATH must be constructed by 2014 to keep up with projected demand.

Virginia's State Corporation Commission and West Virginia's Public Service Commission are also considering denial of the project. (Maryland Gazette, 11/10/2009)