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Environmental Views from the Coast: Public Concern about Local to Global Marine Issues

September 19, 2014 Comments off

Environmental Views from the Coast: Public Concern about Local to Global Marine Issues
Source: Society & Natural Resources: An International Journal

Surveys conducted in 2009–2012 asked residents of eight U.S. coastal regions about ocean-related environmental problems. Analysis of these multiregion data tests how individual characteristics predict views on locally focused marine issues, and whether after controlling for individual characteristics there remain systematic place-to-place variations. We find two kinds of place effects: some related to broad attributes such as resource employment, and others explained by local society–environment relations. Apart from these place effects, the individual-level predictors of coastal environmental concerns resemble those seen elsewhere for non-coastal environmental concerns, including effects from age, gender, and education. Political party, however, proves to be the most consistent predictor across issues from local to global in scale. Significant education effects offer support for an information deficit model of coastal concerns, but the pervasive partisanship and education × party interactions suggest that ideology-linked processes of biased assimilation and elite cues filter how information is acquired.

Paper available free until Dec. 31, 2014.

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Economic growth and action on climate change can now be achieved together, finds Global Commission

September 18, 2014 Comments off

Economic growth and action on climate change can now be achieved together, finds Global Commission
Source: Global Commission on the Economy and Climate

A major new report released by a commission of global leaders finds that governments and businesses can now improve economic growth and reduce their carbon emissions together. Rapid technological innovation and new investment in infrastructure are making it possible today to tackle climate change at the same time as improving economic performance.

The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate comprises 24 leaders from government, business, finance and economics in 19 countries. A year-long study has been conducted by leading research institutes from Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, South Korea, the United Kingdom and United States, advised by a panel of world-leading economists chaired by Lord Nicholas Stern.

Better Growth, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy Report was presented to governments and business and finance leaders at a global launch event at the UN headquarters in New York City, attended by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The report arrives just one week before the UN Climate Summit.

The report finds that over the next 15 years, about US $90 trillion will be invested in infrastructure in the world’s cities, agriculture and energy systems. The world has an unprecedented opportunity to drive investment in low-carbon growth, bringing multiple benefits including jobs, health, business productivity and quality of life.

New From the GAO

September 15, 2014 Comments off

New From the GAO
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Critical Infrastructure Protection: DHS Action Needed to Enhance Integration and Coordination of Vulnerability Assessment Efforts. GAO-14-507, September 15.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-507
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665787.pdf

2. EPA Regulations and Electricity: Update on Agencies’ Monitoring Efforts and Coal-Fueled Generating Unit Retirements. GAO-14-672, August 15.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-672
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665324.pdf

CRS — Clean Coal Loan Guarantees and Tax Incentives: Issues in Brief (August 19, 2014)

September 15, 2014 Comments off

Clean Coal Loan Guarantees and Tax Incentives: Issues in Brief (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Coal represents a major energy resource for the United States. Coal-fired power plants provided approximately 37% of U.S. generated electricity (about 1.5 billion megawatt-hours) in 2012, while consuming over 800 million tons of coal. Power plants that use coal are also a major source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, contributing approximately 28% of total U.S. CO2 emissions in 2012.

As part of federal efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, loan guarantees and tax incentives have been made available to support private sector investment in “clean coal.” Both loan guarantees and tax incentives were included in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT05, P.L. 109-58). Mitigating CO2 emissions has also become the primary focus of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) efforts within the clean coal research and development program (now Coal R&D) within its Office of Fossil Energy. At issue for Congress is the extent to which the private sector has used the financial incentive tools available, and whether they are the right tools for promoting the development of technology to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuel power plants.

CRS — Climate Change and Existing Law: A Survey of Legal Issues Past, Present, and Future (August 20, 2014)

September 15, 2014 Comments off

Climate Change and Existing Law: A Survey of Legal Issues Past, Present, and Future (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research

This report surveys existing law for legal issues that have arisen, or may arise in the future, on account of climate change and government responses thereto.

At the threshold of many climate-change-related lawsuits are two barriers—whether the plaintiff has standing to sue and whether the claim being made presents a political question. Both barriers have forced courts to apply amorphous standards in a new and complex context.

CRS — Climate Change and Existing Law: A Survey of Legal Issues Past, Present, and Future (August 20, 2014)

September 12, 2014 Comments off

Climate Change and Existing Law: A Survey of Legal Issues Past, Present, and Future (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

This report surveys existing law for legal issues that have arisen, or may arise in the future, on account of climate change and government responses thereto.

Two degrees of separation: ambition and reality — Low Carbon Economy Index 2014

September 12, 2014 Comments off

Two degrees of separation: ambition and reality — Low Carbon Economy Index 2014 (PDF)
Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers

The 2014 Low Carbon Economy Index (LCEI) shows an unmistakeable trend. For the sixth year running, the global economy has missed the decarbonisation target needed to limit global warming to 2˚C. Confronted with the challenge in 2013 of decarbonising at 6% a year, we managed only 1.2%. To avoid two degrees of warming, the global economy now needs to decarbonise at 6.2% a year, more than five times faster than the current rate, every year from now till 2100. On our current burn rate we blow our carbon budget by 2034, sixty six years ahead of schedule. This trajectory, based on IPCC data, takes us to four degrees of warming by the end of the century.

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