Environment

AP Photo

China to unveil cap-and-trade, clean energy plans at White House

China will announce Friday it is launching a national cap-and-trade system by 2017, prioritizing renewable energy on its grid and making a “substantial” financial contribution to the fight against climate change as part of bilateral talks between President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Senior administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity so as not to preempt official word from the Chinese, told reporters Thursday that the policy announcements will come as Xi and Obama release a new joint statement on climate action.

The statement will lay out out a “common vision” for United Nations climate negotiations in December, unveil new initiatives to reduce carbon pollution and codify new commitments to climate financing for developing countries.

Pope Francis speaks at United Nations

New York City, September 25, 2015, 8:30 am

Pope Francis to speak before the United Nations General Assembly.

AP Photo

Obama's climate critics seize on poverty passage in Pope's speech

Pope Francis on Thursday urged Congress to take a “courageous and responsible” stand on climate change, but critics of President Barack Obama's climate agenda found support in his call for addressing global warming as part of "an integrated approach" that included combating poverty.

“We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all,” Francis told a joint meeting of Congress.  “I am convinced that we can make a difference and I have no doubt that the United States—and this Congress—have an important role to play.”

Quoting from his May encyclical on climate change, Francis urged “courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a culture of care and 'an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.'”

Study: Global warming, evolution are clipping bees' tongues

WASHINGTON (AP) — Global warming and evolution are reshaping the bodies of some American bumblebees, a new study finds.

The tongues of two Rocky Mountains species of bumblebees are about one-quarter shorter than they were 40 years ago, evolving that way because climate change altered the buffet of wildflowers they normally feed from, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science.

Indonesia pledges to curb emissions growth

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Indonesia, the world's fourth largest country, has pledged to strengthen the protection of its forests and boost the production of renewable energy in its target for a global climate pact.

In a U.N. submission Thursday, Indonesia pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 29 percent by 2030, relative to a business-as-usual scenario without climate action. It pledged to raise that target to 41 percent with international support, including access to finance and clean technology.

AP Photo.

Pope Francis presses Congress for 'courageous' action on environment

Pope Francis on Thursday urged Congress to mount a “courageous and responsible” effort to mitigate humanity's role in environmental damage and climate change, arguing that legislators had a role to play in global leadership on the issues.

While Francis's remarks before a joint meeting of Congress didn't use the words “climate change”, he referenced his May encyclical, Laudato si, which focused on the issue.

“We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. I am convinced that we can make a difference and I have no doubt that the United States—and this Congress—have an important role to play,” he said.

LA River restoration: Critics attack Gehry involvement

Source: 
The New York Times

Architect Frank Gehry’s participation in the project to restore the Los Angeles River area has generated a storm of protest from community leaders, The New York Times reports.

$134M for recovery projects arising from 2010 Gulf oil spill

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A panel on Wednesday approved using $134 million provided by energy giant BP PLC on 10 projects to help the Gulf of Mexico recover from a catastrophic 2010 oil spill.

The approval came from a trustee council made up of Gulf coast states and federal officials overseeing ecological restoration from the offshore spill. About $126 million will go to projects to help sea turtles, fish, vegetation and birds and $8 million on enhancing recreational uses.

Scientists: Drought stressing California's Giant Sequoias

SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — Giant Sequoias growing in California's Sierra Nevada are among the largest and oldest living things on earth, but scientists climbing high up into their green canopies say they are seeing symptoms of stress caused by the state's historic drought.

Patches of brown, dead foliage are appearing more than in past years, say researchers studying the iconic trees, which only grow naturally in the Sierra Nevada. By taking stock of groves that are most vulnerable, scientists say they can better manage the forest through the hotter, drier droughts expected in the future.

firefighter outlined against night blaze
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Republicans rebuff Obama’s wildfire plan, press for action on House bill

Republican lawmakers on Wednesday rejected an Obama administration appeal to change the federal wildfire funding system, saying it failed to improve effective forest management. Instead, they pressed for Senate action on a House-passed bill that the White House "strongly opposes."

On a call with reporters, House Natural Resources Chairman Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., and Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., said any reform to the wildfire system would require updates to how the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service maintain federal forests.

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