Setting a Price on Carbon Will Help US End Oil Addiction – Not Just Combat Climate Change

by Matthew McDermott, New York, NY on 07.22.10
photo:  Carina via flickr

There’s lots of overlap between ending our oil addiction in the United States and combating climate change, with setting a price on carbon (regardless of the mechanism used, be it cap and trade, a carbon tax, or something else) mostly being cast as being a solution for reducing the impacts of global warming. This is certainly true, but it also could go a long way towards reducing our oil usage as well.

Perhaps its hugely obvious to say, but I’ll still say it again. When burned in an internal combustion engine, gasoline and diesel fuel emits lots of carbon into the atmosphere–19.4 pounds of CO2 per gallon of gasoline and 22.2 pounds per gallon for diesel fuel in fact, according to the official EPA stats.

Externalizing Pollution Costs Means We All Pay For Them
To refresh your Economics 101 terminology, those carbon emissions (and the other air pollutants released from burning gasoline) are a negative environmental externality. In other words, they are quantifiable financial costs associated with the purchase and use of gasoline which aren’t incorporated into the price consumers pay.

In fact, those not-included (externalized) costs are an economic burden upon society because of the myriad impacts that unchecked carbon emissions are creating, directly and indirectly, in terms of rising global temperatures, ocean acidification, spreading tropical disease, decreased crop yields leading to more hunger and poverty, et cetera, et cetera–TreeHugger has documented all of these and the associated environmental degradation ad infinitum.

The externalized costs of pollution, when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions at least, can affect people literally on the other side of the world from where the polluting product is produced or consumed–with in many cases those people least able to adapt being the greatest affected. Indonesian farmer, photo:  Danumurthi Mahendra via flickr.

Consumers Have Inaccurate, Incomplete Information
Not including these costs in the price consumers pay also creates a situation of imperfect information being made available to purchasers. In other words, the price paid does accurately represent the true cost of the good. By pushing part of the true cost of oil off to society as a whole (externalizing it) you’ve created a market failure that needs to be rectified if the entire market system enterprise is to work.

This is where setting a price on carbon comes in. Whether established as a carbon tax or through a carbon trading system, this price on carbon will, yes, increase the cost of gasoline, diesel, and all the other uses for oil.

Price Pollution & The Economy Will Adjust to Be Less Polluting
To an oil addicted society this may seem like self-imposed pain–admittedly there will be an adjustment period to go through (if certainly not one which can’t be managed)–but it is both good and necessary for both the economy and the environment.

From a theoretical perspective, incorporating the cost of carbon pollution into the price consumers pay for products derived from oil gives them fuller information, which allows the free market to function more efficiently–and there’s nothing most economists like better than a well functioning market.

From a practical perspective, raising the price of goods made from oil brings the comparative cost of them more accurately in line with those made from non-polluting materials, which are often now more expensive because of the de facto subsidy petroleum and other fossil fuels currently receive.

Effects Will Go Well Beyond Which Goods We Buy
This in turn will gradually shift consumer spending, habit and preference towards goods which are made from materials with no or lower carbon emissions. It will encourage city and town planning towards patterns which support more walkable and bikeable communities. It will encourage both public and private transit to be powered by low-carbon sources of energy. It will encourage long-distance shipping to be done similarly, in turn likely stimulating more localized and regionalized economies–with long distance shipping occurring only for those goods which either can only be produced in certain locations due to geography or where, even including the cost of transport, some competitive advantage still keeps costs lower.

Oil (and other fossil fuels) may well still be used for some products and applications once the now-externalized cost of carbon emissions are included in the price, if there simply isn’t another good option for the task at hand, but the price of those products will more accurately reflect the environmental cost of doing so and their use likely curbed substantially.

The economy will adjust to the new conditions, adapting and innovating products because of the new pricing. The balance of jobs will shift, with jobs being lost in production of fossil fuels and new ones created in other areas, balancing them. Just like the environment adapting to changes, the economy will as well. And at least one aspect of humanity’s impact on the planet upon which we, and the economy, utterly depend will be lowered.

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More practical eco tips to save money and environment

Green Life is all about finding practical ways for individuals to improve their ecoTude through action.

Handy Borax Tips

Posted: 10 May 2010 03:13 AM PDT

Borax is a substance commonly found as a component in cosmetics, detergents, pesticides, enamel glazes and other household cleaners.  It is also known as sodium borate or sodium tetra borate.  It appears as a soft white powdery substance which is colorless and can easily be dissolved in water.  Borax is naturally produced mineral sediments as […] Related posts:

  1. Health-friendly Ways to Deal with Mold in Your Home
  2. Earth-friendly Oven Cleaning
  3. Top 3 Fastest & Easiest ways to Cleaning Shower Glass Doors
Eco-friendly Graphic Designing

Posted: 10 May 2010 03:01 AM PDT

Promoting greener image in the community is a way of creating awareness for the environment.  But by helping create a greener product, you initiate the steps of actually saving it from gradual damage.  Graphic designers can also make this step in saving the environment.  Small business owners and freelance designers can make simple changes to […] Related posts:

  1. Eco-Friendly Printing and Office Tips
  2. Don’t hit Print too quickly
  3. Eco-Friendly Furniture – Tips & Ideas
Green Car Washing

Posted: 09 May 2010 08:10 PM PDT

Preserving and maintaining a clean and healthy environment to live on is an investment we can make for ourselves and the future generations to come.  There are so many methods wherein we can contribute to a cleaner and greener world.  Recycling, waste management, or energy conservation is just some ways wherein we can protect our […] Related posts:

  1. Green Washing Machines
  2. 5 New Green Tips to Sustaining our Waterways
  3. Get a Front-Loading Washing Machine

Green choices long term solutions – ecotude

A Choice Beyond Organic Produce

Posted: 09 May 2010 08:40 AM PDT

The term organic was once a desirable word to hear when paired with food produce, healing products and cosmetic items, to name a few combinations.  Unfortunately, it has been abused and misused to varying degrees that just about any manufacturer can slap on the label and take advantage of the organic bandwagon.  And so, organic […] Related posts:

  1. The Organic Advantage and the Labeling Confusion
  2. Become Organic and Start Going Green
  3. Is Organic Baby Food Harmful?
Greening Your PC – Old Tricks and New Tips

Posted: 08 May 2010 09:49 PM PDT

Did you know that a standard desktop personal computer can use 60-300 watts in normal operating mode while it can consume as much as 750 watts when used to play video games?  Yes, said energy consumption is equivalent to a standard-sized refrigerator. Personal computers leave their marks on the environment due to their use of electricity […] Related posts:

  1. Make Your Computer Use Earth Friendly
  2. Energy Efficiency Tips for Going Green in Your Home Office
  3. Tips in Greening your Small Business

Target Puts Recycling Bins In All Its Stores

Date: 07-Apr-10
Country: US
Author: Brad Dorfman

Target Puts Recycling Bins In All Its Stores Photo: Stelios Varias
Shoppers exit a Target store with their purchases in Fairfax, Virginia, in this February 4, 2010 file photo.
Photo: Stelios Varias

Discount retailer Target Corp expects to have recycling bins in all its stores by Tuesday as it tries to gain “green” credibility from consumers looking to be more eco-friendly.

The No. 2 U.S. discount retailer does not think the recycling stations will drive additional traffic to its more than 1,700 stores, but it hopes they will help improve satisfaction for the customers who come in, Shawn Gensch, Target vice president for brand marketing, said in an interview.

The company, which says it will be the first major retailer to offer “multiple recycling options” for customers, already has taken steps like recycling or reusing items like packing boxes and hangers to reduce waste in its supply chain.

But those types of initiatives occur behind the scenes, while the recycling bins will be something the average customer can see and use, Gensch said.

“We’ve been doing a lot of those initiatives and we never really brought it outside of the back room,” Gensch said,

Putting the recycling bins in stores for items like plastic bags, beverage cans and bottles, mobile phones and MP3 players is one step Target is taking during April, which has been designated “Earth Month” and is a time when many marketers try to emphasize eco-friendly initiatives.

Target expects the recycling program to pay for itself, with the company being able to sell some of the materials, like the plastic bags, to companies that will turn the materials into other products, Gensch said.

Recycled materials will be sent back to Target’s distribution centers on trucks already making deliveries to the stores, the company said.

(Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

EPA Highlights Recycling Opportunities During National Cell Phone Recycling Week

Release date: 04/01/2010

Contact Information: Latisha Petteway, petteway.latisha@epa.gov, 202-564-3191 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is encouraging citizens to recycle their cell phones during the second annual National Cell Phone Recycling Week, April 5 – 11, 2010. This joint effort with the EPA’s Plug-In To eCycling program and leading cell phone manufacturers, retailers, and wireless service providers will increase awareness about the importance of cell phone recycling to save energy and conserve natural resources.

“Every recycled cell phone makes a difference,” said Maria Vickers, acting director of EPA’s Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery. “The energy saved by recycling even one cell phone is enough to power a laptop for 44 hours.”

EPA and its Plug-In partners, including AT&T, Best Buy, LG Electronics, RecycleBank, Samsung Mobile, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, are sponsoring promotional activities across the country to highlight the many easy opportunities to turn in phones for reuse and recycling and provide a call to action. If Americans recycled the approximately 130 million cell phones that are disposed of annually, enough energy would be saved to power more than 24,000 homes in a year. Currently, only about 10 percent of cell phones are recycled.

Reusing or recycling cell phones helps the environment by saving energy and conserving resources. Cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) are made of precious metals, copper, and plastics. Recycling or reusing these devices conserves materials, prevents air and water pollution, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions that occur during manufacturing and processing. For every 1 million cell phones recycled, we can recover 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver, 33 pounds of palladium, and 35,274 pounds of copper.

Donating working cell phones or PDAs can also have social benefits for communities. Many existing recycling programs donate cell phones that are in good working order to charities or provide them to the public for discounted sale.

Plug-In To eCycling works with companies to offer consumers more opportunities to donate or recycle their used electronics. Since the program began in 2003, Plug-In To eCycling partners have recycled more than 360 million pounds of electronics, including televisions, computers and cell phones.

More information on cell phone collection centers near you: http://www.epa.gov/cellphones

Today is World Water Day; The Most Beautiful Waves Ever…Catch ‘Em Again! (Slideshow)

by Jaymi Heimbuch, San Francisco, California on 03.22.10

clark little waves slideshow phot

Today is World Water Day and we wanted to give you a reason to show this precious resource some extra love. We really didn’t have to look far…in fact, we just had to rewind to last year. Clark Little is a photographer with a gift for capturing the ocean at its most extraordinary. We highlighted his incredible photos last March, and if you missed it then, you definitely don’t want to miss it this time. Check out some of the most breath-taking photos of waves you’ll ever see.

Most Beautiful Waves...Ever

The clash of time vs. common sense

Why do you think we have to wear gloves and masks when using these toxic cleaning products?

As we are exposed to so many harmful toxins, be prepared for the worst.  Sadly, my partner’s friend lost a child to bleach in the home.  The story too sad to repeat in detail but you can likely imagine the burns to the clothes and worse his body.

You can easily and quickly control the products you use to avoid these horror stories happening to someone you love http://optimum.nontoxichomes.info

At the very least, read Dr. Sears thoughts on avoiding a trip to the Emergency Room… CSea

_______

Al Sears, MD
11903 Southern Blvd., Ste. 208
Royal Palm Beach, FL 33411
March 17, 2010

Dear CSea,

There’s a powerful substance every hospital in the country carries in their ER to treat poison victims.

It’s so potent that one gram of it – an amount the size of your fingernail – can absorb enough toxins to fill the square footage of four tennis courts.

I’m talking about activated charcoal.

It’s a form of carbon that’s been processed into a fine, black powder. It’s odorless, tasteless, and safe to consume. And it’s more readily available than you think.

You can take charcoal to wipe out decades of toxic heavy metals that may have been building up in your body. Harmful metals like arsenic, copper, mercury, and lead.

You’re exposed to these toxins every single day. They enter your body through the air you breathe, the water you drink, the food you eat, and even through your skin.

Very few doctors realize how powerful this stuff is as a way to detox. In fact, many doctors fail to see the benefit of detoxification at all. Mainstream medicine often depicts detox believers as wacko, left-wing tree huggers who don’t know what they’re doing.

That’s a shame, because activated charcoal is the single best supplement for enhancing detoxification. And it could one day save your life.

An activated charcoal detox leaves you feeling like a new person – pumped up, recharged, and bursting with energy. As if you were suddenly 20 years younger.

You can find it at any health-food store. It’s relatively inexpensive and easy to take. In fact, because it’s a powder, you can take it just like you would your favorite protein drink.

I regularly use charcoal as part of my personal detox plan. And I recommend it to patients I see in my clinic.

It’s best to use a powder form, mixed into a liquid. Tablets or capsules take too long to absorb and release the activated charcoal. And the dose is usually too small to do the job.

Take 20-30 grams a day of powdered activated charcoal (in divided doses) mixed with water over a period of 1-2 weeks.

We’re currently testing a powdered charcoal drink mix that will be included in the Primal Force line of supplements. It’s not quite ready yet, but once it is, you’ll be the first to know.

In the meantime, you can look for activated charcoal powder in your local health-food store.

I recommend getting it in bulk sizes of one pound (454 grams) or more.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

You may searching for ideas about green living ideas at home, Join a community organization for conservation eco.nomics.edu, or wanting to build a solar panel system for your home. A first step in preserving the planet for one purpose is to do some simple and easy methods around your home.

Think about it!…Tons of highly toxic  Greenhouse gases are continually being released into the planets atmosphere that are destroying our green earth and heating it up at a rate faster than our one small planet can absorb and filter it out. Here are a few great green ideas and solutions:

1. First Reduce

Reduce! Our Landfills Are Overflowing...


To become one planet one people, we  need to look ways that aim at reducing our wasteful habits and trying to reuse items we use everyday rather than discarding them into the trash, for the times ahead are troubling for our economy and have a huge impact on the environment in which we live on our planet.

2. Next Reuse

Before you discard them try to find uses for your items that may be broken.

Plastic utensils that you may not use in the kitchen anymore  that are not dangerous, and are safe to use may be just what your kids are looking for to put in their play-dough set or play kitchen.

A few ideas:

Common Reusable Items

  • Buying items secondhand like bicycles, clothing, books and games is a great way to reuse stuff. Here are other fun ideas to prolong the life of our things:
  • Sew colorful patches onto a pair of jeans, a jacket or a backpack that has a hole in it.
  • Hold a clothes-swapping party. Invite friends to come over with clothes they no longer wear. Put all the clothes in the middle of the room and start swapping! Donate unwanted items to charity.

3. Finally Recycle

Plastic comes from crude oil and paper comes from trees. By recycling just these two items in your household, you’re helping to save two of the Earth’s valuable resources and reducing your home’s carbon dioxide emissions.

Recycling saves natural resources like minerals, water and timber. By decreasing the need to extract and process virgin materials, recycling helps reduce or eliminate pollution associated with those activities.Composting at home is one of the easiest, most effective and environmentally-friendly ways of recycling green (organic) rubbish.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

To make sure you keep in the mindset of all one planet one people, try to do the 3 conservative and easy things to do every day and you will be surprised at how much waste you keep out of the landfills and stay in line with the one planet mindset.

Its so easy and you can feel so good inside your soul that you are helping to preserve the one planet we live on for the future of our one planet and one people. The most important thing is to just do it! Every little bit helps the planet as a whole…

Peace And Blessings To One Planet Earth!

The Dirty Dozen Toxins

http://www.thegreenguide.com/health-safety/dirty-dozen-decoder

This is an interactive tool provided by National Geographic to better understand the chemicals in our daily products.

When you go to the link above, select any of  12 toxins for more education.

Christmas Bird Count: Is that Two Turtle Doves or One?

Barred Owl

by Roberta Cruger, Los Angeles on 12.25.09

Barred owl photo by Glenn Tepke for Audubon Society

It’s time for the 110th Christmas Bird Count, the annual holiday tradition when tens of thousands of volunteers, from Alaska to Antarctica, look and listen for birds, counting populations for researchers. The National Audubon Society organizes the CBC, tracking species from mid-December to January 5 for the season’s yearly bird census. You can even do it from a feeder. So where are the six geese a-flyin’?

Volunteer citizen scientist counting birds. Photo by Amy Kovach courtesy of Audubon Society

Participants throughout the US, Canada and 19 other countries in the Western Hemisphere count birds over a 24-hour period along a specified route in a 15-mile (24-km) circle. Armed with binoculars, bird guides and checklists, the volunteer bird watchers, birders and families join scientists, identifying and recording different species to be analyzed for changes. Some watch feeders at home in specific designated areas while the majority observes in the field, compiling data on thousands of birds from a partridge in a pear tree to four calling birds.

Vanishing Purple Finch

Vanishing Purple Finch photo by Ashok Khosla for Audubon Society.

It all began on Christmas Day in 1900, when an ornithologist at the American Museum of Natural History, Frank Chapman, was concerned about declining bird populations from bird hunting. So he organized an alternative bird “hunt,” in New York City’s Central Park and Princeton, New Jersey. This Christmas Bird Count was so successful it solved the problem (back then). The Audubon Society continued the event when it was formed in 1905 and it’s grown bigger each year. Unfortunately, the birds haven’t of late.

Three French Hens…Two…One…

Analyses of data collected by citizen scientists from the past 40 years of Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count (CBC) reveal a troubling 58 percent of the 305 species on the continent have shifted significantly north in winter since 1966, some by hundreds of miles. Movement was detected among species of every type, including more than 70 percent of highly adaptable forest and feeder birds.

Research has contributed to the first State of the Birds Report in 2009 from the US Department of the Interior. The CBC analysis has revealed the impact of climate change on bird populations. With habitat destruction and warming temperatures, a majority of US birds have moved further north and inland in an attempt to adapt.

Boreal Chickadee

Boreal Chickadee headed north. Photo by Jeremy Yancey for Audubon Society

Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, and Boreal Chickadee have retreated dramatically north into the Canadian Boreal, moving their range between 279 to 433 miles. Red-breasted Merganser, Ring-necked Duck, and American Black Duck, normally found in the south, have taken advantage of warmer winter waters, shifting north by an estimated 182 to 317 miles. Grassland species, such as Eastern Meadowlark, Vesper Sparrow, and Burrowing Owl were actually unable to move because habitat areas disappeared. As a result, so may they.

Yellow billed Magpie

Yellow-billed Magpie on the move. Photo by Ashok Khosla for Audubon Society

One third of the California native bird species will experience significant reductions in geographic ranges over the coming decades due to the negative impact of climate change, according to Audubon. The California Gnatcatcher could lose up to 56 percent of its range, the Chestnut-backed Chickadee range could diminish as much as 49 percent, and Yellow-billed Magpies, which live in the Central Valley and Coast, could lose as much as 75 percent of its range.

Sign Audubon’s petition to lawmakers urging them to adopt mandatory measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to switch to clean renewable energy, end dependence on oil, and other measures in order to ensure the health and survival of bird populations.

Is that seven swans a-swimming–or six? Check to see if there’s still a bird count near you.

More on bird counting:
The Case of the Vanishing Birds
The Big Deal With Citizen Science
Bird Watching: Not Just for Dorks Anymore

Know the benefits / savings; share with everyone that drives

The 4 Pillars of Sustainability: Food, Energy, Transportation, Social Responsibility

City or rural countryside, most action for sustainable living falls into one of these 4 categories.

Marye Audet

By Marye Audet
Lancaster, TX, USA | Sat Oct 03 09:00:00 GMT 2009Marye Audet

When you hear the phrase “sustainable living” what do you think of? Do you think of a farm, or a small homestead, or even a Little House on the Prairie episode?

Living gently on the earth is possible anywhere. People often wonder how you can practice sustainable living when you live in the city or a highly populated urban area. It is just a matter of thinking outside the box. Sustainable living is a state of mind.

Can You Live Sustainably in the City?

In some ways, living in the city makes it easier, especially with public transportation. You can grow vegetables in containers on your balcony or shop at farmers markets. There is always a way if you look for it.

Check your lifestyle and see how you can make changes no matter where you live. Like all things, the sustainable living lifestyle is made up of a series of habits and small actions that add up to a big impact over time. It is hard to make huge lifestyle changes but by understanding the principles of the sustainable lifestyle you can make small permanent adjustments to the way you live.

Everyone Can Do Something

If you can make one small change every month in one of these areas you will have made 48 positive changes in your impact on the environment in one year. In 10 years that is 480 positive changes and a really huge impact.

Making those small changes are easy to do. Try making one change a week or one change a month. Keep it doable for you. In 21 days it becomes a new habit. Too often we make these huge changes in our lives and they only last for a few weeks.

Take it slow, make it easy, and make it permanent.

The 4 Categories of Sustainable Living

Everything needed for a lifestyle of sustainability falls into one of the following categories.

1. Food

The way we eat has a huge impact on the environment, either positive or negative. Make small changes in your eating habits to make a big impact on the eco-system. Eating sustainably is not something that just people who live in the country can do. It is more about the choices you make everyday in your own life.

Choosing foods that keep your body healthy, that are free of toxins, and that are local can keep thousands of tons of carbon emissions out of the atmosphere every year. When food is shipped from one place to the other the carbon footprint becomes bigger and the food loses nutrients in the time consuming process.

For some, this will mean eschewing meat, perhaps all animal products. For others it will mean buying organic, and still others will lower their impact by eating less meat, or hunting, or raising their own.

Packaging not only adds to the overall impact of your food because it eventually ends up in the landfill but also because it has to go through the manufacturing process. Trees are cut to make paper, factories must be supplied with power, and gallons of toxic inks used to get that colorful cereal box on the store shelves.

Learn to make your own bread and baked goods or can and preserve fruits and vegetables. The more you do for yourself the smaller impact you have, the more money you save, and the more confident you will become.

2. Energy

Energy is what makes our world go ’round. There are two kinds:

  • Renewable energy is that which has been in use since time began. Renewable energy is the kind that you use when you are is hand chopping vegetables rather than using a processor or using solar panels to supply light to your home. Renewable energy does not impact the environment much if at all.
  • Non-renewable energy is that which has only been used for the past hundred and fifty years or so. Coal, gasoline, and other petroleum products become depleted as they are used. Once they are gone, they are gone. The impact on the environment both in gathering the product and in manufacturing it is huge. Generally non-renewable energy sources also leave a residue of pollutants and toxins in the environment.

3. Transportation

Transportation once meant walking from one place to another. Later horses, wagons, and bicycles were added and allowed people to travel longer distances. It was the bicycle that had one of the biggest impacts on society, as a matter of fact. Bikes allowed the middle and lower classes to move out of the cities and commute during the late Victorian era.

Cars, planes, ships, and trains all need high amounts of non-renewable resources to get from one place to another. The less these vehicles are used the fewer carbon emissions there are. Shopping locally is important for the economy but also for the savings in transportation costs and pollution. Take this quiz to find out your transportation footprint.

4. Social Responsibility

The last pillar of sustainability is one you don’t hear about in that context so much, and that is social responsibility. Social responsibility is the mentality that all organisms are interconnected and exist because of the synergy between them. When I buy clothing that is made by a local seamstress I may pay more for the item but I know that the purchase contributes in a positive way to the earth as a whole.

Donating to a food pantry, knowing your neighbors, pitching in and helping out, and being aware of how your life impacts others positively or negatively are all important ways of protecting the environment and sustainable living.

Everyone Can Do Something

U.S. To Track Greenhouse Gases For First Time

Date: 23-Sep-09
Country: US
Author: Tom Doggett

U.S. To Track Greenhouse Gases For First Time Photo: Lucas Jackson
A layer of smog can be seen above Manhattan through the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York May 21, 2009.
Photo: Lucas Jackson

WASHINGTON – The U.S. government will begin requiring big companies to monitor and report greenhouse gas emissions, officials said on Tuesday, a move that could make it easier for federal regulators to cut emissions if Congress does not pass a climate change bill.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said its new reporting system will help it understand where greenhouse gas emissions originate and ultimately help reduce emissions.

“This is a major step forward in our effort to address the greenhouse gases polluting our skies,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. “The American public, and industry itself, will finally gain critically important knowledge and with this information we can determine how best to reduce those emissions.”

The EPA said its reporting system will cover 85 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions spewed by roughly 10,000 facilities. An oil refinery, power plant or other facility would have to report its polluting data if its carbon dioxide emissions totaled at least 25,000 tons a year.

A 25,000 ton annual carbon dioxide threshold is comparable to the emissions from 131 rail cars of coal consumed, 58,000 barrels of oil consumed, or the emissions from the annual energy use of about 2,200 homes.

“The public has both a need and a right to know about the country’s biggest emitters,” said Mark MacLeod, director of special projects at Environmental Defense Fund. “The transparency provided today will inform smart policy that targets the biggest sources of heat-trapping emissions.”

The global warming pollutants covered under the EPA’s reporting system include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and hydrofluorocarbons.

The new reporting system takes effect in January 2010 and large emitters are required to file their annual emissions data in 2011. Vehicle and engine manufacturers outside of the light-duty sector will begin phasing in their emissions reporting with the 2011 car model year, the agency said.

The EPA has said it would prefer Congress to cut U.S. emissions, but the agency has taken action that will allow it do to so if necessary.

Democratic U.S. Senators plan to propose a bill this month to slash U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, a bill that is expected to face stiff opposition. The House of Representatives has already passed a climate change bill.

President Barack Obama, citing in part the EPA’s action, told the United Nations that “the United States has done more to promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution in the last eight months than at any other time in our history.”

(Editing by David Gregorio)

EPA could create U.S. CO2 cap-and-trade: Sierra

Tue Sep 8, 2009 11:45pm BST
Photo

By Peter Henderson

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would step in and regulate carbon dioxide emissions by creating a cap-and-trade system or take other measures if Congress fails, but is likely to wait for 2010 elections, the head of the Sierra Club said on Tuesday.

The possibility of an end-run around Congress makes the prospect of U.S. carbon emission regulation likely despite current legislative debate, although President Barack Obama would prefer Congress lead the way, Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope told the Reuters Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit in San Francisco.

“I would guess that between now and the (2010) midterms, you will see two things happen. One, EPA will begin actively regulating all of the other kinds of problems with coal fired power plants,” Pope said, naming mercury emissions, particulate matter and mountaintop removal mining as examples.

“They will begin to create a context in which all the clunkers (coal plants) are going to get retired anyway. And they will lay the ground work for establishing carbon emissions standards for all large sources of carbon dioxide,” he said.

The EPA would use Clean Air Act authority to create a cap-and-trade system that allows polluters to buy and sell rights to emit greenhouse gases, or the agency could take other measures, such as regulatory caps on carbon from power plants and factories.

The Clean Air legislation gives the EPA broad discretion to regulate air pollution, and the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that carbon dioxide is a pollutant.

The U.S. Senate has made healthcare a higher priority than climate change legislation, and sharp division over how to regulate greenhouse gas emissions that stoke global warming has left a murky picture of if and when the United States will act, especially as international climate change talks in December in Copenhagen loom.

“It’s not clear to me that we will get a bill on the president’s desk before Copenhagen,” he said.

Obama might end up having to push most of his agenda through regulation if he is stymied by Congress.

“EPA has the authority to do the cap and trade piece. And if they can’t get it (through Congress), frankly the other thing you have to look at is, they have a pretty big problem with the deficit. And properly designed, a cap auction system will generate a lot of revenue without congressional action,” said Pope.

But the EPA has neither the resources nor the desire to act ahead of Congress on carbon regulations, he added.

“They think it’s a basic public policy choice and they don’t think they should make basic public policy choices. They think they’re there to follow basic public policy choices that Congress made… but if Congress doesn’t solve this problem, they will have no choice but to solve it,” he said.

(Reporting by Peter Henderson and Laura Isensee; Editing by Mary Milliken; editing by Carol Bishopric)

12 Major US Companies backing climate legislation

traffic-jamAre you wondering who would be open to hear about the toxic carbon reduction we provide?

Twelve major U.S. companies delivered an open letter to the U.S. Senate urging legislators to pass comprehensive climate change legislation that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, drive investment in technological innovation and solutions, and jumpstart a clean energy economy.

In the letter, Bumble Bee Foods, Dell, DuPont, FPL Group, Google, HP, Johnson Johnson, Johnson Diversey, Levi Strauss Co., Nike, PG Corporation and Xanterra Parks and Resorts noted that they have all reformed their business practices in order to curb emissions, which has been good for the climate and business. They are urging Congress to do the same.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) president and CEO Carter Roberts also urges the Senate to pass meaningful climate legislation this year. According to the conservation organization, every region in the U.S. is experiencing significant, adverse impacts from climate change including more severe droughts, floods, heat waves and wildfires. WWF believes these impacts will worsen during the course of the century if action is not taken to slow climate change.

WWF also said passage of U.S. legislation is a key step towards gaining agreement from all nations to reduce global emissions during international climate negotiations set for December in Copenhagen. The organization recently launched a national public awareness campaign to urge voters to contact their Senators in support of the climate legislation.

The campaign officially kicked-off with TV ads debuting in five states that will be key to passage of a climate bill in the U.S. Senate: Alaska, Indiana, Maine, Montana and North Dakota.

Sources: Environmental Leader & WIH Resource Group

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