Policy

UN says CO2 pollution levels at annual record high

GENEVA (AP) — Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere reached a record high in 2013, the U.N. weather agency said.

According to the World Meteorological Organization, the heat-trapping gas blamed for global warming was at global concentrations of 396 parts per million last year.

That is an increase of 2.9 ppm from the previous year, which the Geneva-based agency reported Tuesday was the biggest year-to-year change in three decades.

White House targets 'Waters' bill

The White House on Monday leveled a veto threat against a bill backed by House Republicans to stop the Environmental Protection Agency's "Waters of the U.S." rule, which is intended to clarify federal water pollution jurisdiction over streams and wetlands.

The threat is not likely to be carried out, as the bill is expected to get no attention by the Democratic-led Senate after being passed this week in the House. It was the latest sign of pre-election sparring, however, between the GOP and Obama administration over the rulemaking and its broader environmental policies.

Schwarzenegger hails California green policies in rare political appearance

SACRAMENTO, California (AP) — Arnold Schwarzenegger made a rare political appearance on Monday to promote California's fight against climate change and to unveil his official portrait as governor.

Nearly four years after the Republican left office, his USC Schwarzenegger Institute was hosting the climate symposium that also featured Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat.

The seminar, titled "Lessons from California," highlighted the state's aggressive efforts to tackle issues such as reducing carbon emissions.

US to spend $328 million on conservation easements

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $328 million in funding Monday to protect and restore farmlands, grasslands and wetlands across the country.

The initiative, using money provided in the new five-year farm bill, will buy conservation easements from farmers to protect the environment, help wildlife populations and promote outdoor recreation, the USDA said in its announcement. The agency selected 380 projects nationwide covering 32,000 acres of prime farmland, 45,000 acres of grasslands and 52,000 acres of wetlands.

Top Peruvian foe of illegal logging slain

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Peruvian authorities say an outspoken opponent of illegal logging and three other Ashaninka community leaders have been slain in a remote region bordering Brazil.

The activist, Edwin Chota, had received frequent death threats from illegal loggers he tried to expel from traditional Ashaninka lands for which his community was seeking title.

Ashaninka regional leader Reyder Quiltiquari said by phone Monday that Chota and the others were killed and dismembered a week ago while returning to their community, Saweto, on the Upper Tamaya river.

Water rule goal is clarity, says EPA

Source: 
The Hill

Attempting once again to defuse opposition to its proposed Waters of the U.S. rule clarifying its jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency Monday released a 7-page explanation in a question-and-answer format, The Hill reports.

House Natural Resources hearing on endangered species bills

Washington, September 9, 2014, 10:00 am

House Natural Resources Committee holds hearing on Endangered Species Act bills, including Lesser Prairie Chicken Voluntary Recovery Act of 2014. 

Brookings forum on oil export policy

Washington, September 9, 2014, 2:00 pm

Brookings Institution forum, "Changing Markets: The Future of U.S. Energy Security and Oil Export Policy." Former Obama economic adviser Lawrence H. Summers to speak.

Mass. won’t try environmentalists, because of climate change

Source: 
National Journal

Environmentalists who were planning to use a climate change defense against charges in Massachusetts stemming from their use of a lobster boat to block a coal barge won’t have to, as the prosecutor in the case -- Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter -- has reached a deal with them, motivated by the climate change threat, National Journal reports.

Associated Press

Texas, Indiana take aim at Obama carbon rule

The Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to curb power plant carbon emissions will be challenged on multiple fronts by state regulators who are scheduled to testify before a House subcommittee on Tuesday, with Texas and Indiana calling the plan unfair and impractical, given the nation's current portfolio of existing power plants. 

The proposal "raises substantial questions about fairness," because Texas will be responsible for up to a quarter of the nation's total carbon cuts and the state has concerns that greater natural gas efficiency and renewable generation will work at cross purposes, says Kenneth W. Anderson, Jr.,  a member of the Texas Public Utility Commission, in written testimony made public Monday.

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