San Francisco Becomes First City To Ban The Sale Of Plastic Bottles

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Plastic pollution is one of the greatest burdens to the environment. Believe it or not, enough plastic is discarded every year to circle the globe four times. Even worse, it is estimated that 50% of the plastic on this planet is used only once before being thrown away.

To curb the issue of plastic pollution, the city of San Francisco has just done something monumental: it has  become the first in America to ban the sale of plastic water bottles. 

The move is building a global movement to reduce the huge amount of waste from the billion-dollar plastic bottle industry which is taking a toll on the environment.

Over the next four years, the ban will phase out the sales of plastic water bottles that hold 21 ounces or less in public spaces. A waiver is permissible if an adequate alternative water source is not available,reports GlobalFlare

Think Outside the Bottle campaign, a national effort that encourages restrictions of the “eco-unfriendly product,” was one of the largest supporters of the proposal.

While the San Francisco ban is less strict than the full prohibitions passed in 14 national parks and a number of universities in Concord, Massachusetts, it is a step in the right direction. 

Those who violate the ban could face fines of up to $1,000. That’s certainly an incentive to invest in a  reusable glass bottle.

The ban is “another step forward on our zero-waste goal,” said Joshua Arce, the chairman of the Commission on the Environment. “We had big public events for decades without plastic bottles and we’ll do fine without them again.”

This isn’t the first effort by the city to curb plastic pollution. In the past, San Francisco banned plastic bags and plastic foam containers. 

By 2020, the city aims to have no waste going to its landfill. Its diversion rate now stands at 80%.

What did the American Beverage Association, which includes Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo, have to say about the plastic bottle ban? The ban is “nothing more than a solution in search of a problem. This is a misguided attempt by city supervisors to decrease waste in a city of avid recyclers.” 

San Francisco may be more recycle-happy than other cities, but plastic pollution needs to be curbed. Perhaps in the future, other cities will follow the city’s bold lead and phase out plastics completely.

Comment your thoughts below and share this positive news!

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Posted by Climate Reality on Saturday, December 26, 2015

PARIS: CLIMENT CHANGE DEAL APPROVED! THANKS OBAMA!

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Paris (CNN)After years of buildup and weeks of negotiations, world leaders accepted the final draft of an ambitious, global climate change agreement Saturday in Paris.

Though hailed as a milestone in the battle to keep Earth hospitable to human life, the plan is short on specifics. It doesn’t say how much each country must reduce greenhouse gas emissions or how nations will be punished if they violate the agreement.

The accord sets a goal of limiting average warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial temperatures — and of striving for a limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) if possible.

“We have set a course here,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said. “The world has come together around an agreement that will empower us to chart a new path for our planet. A smart and responsible path. A sustainable path.”

President Obama is set to speak about the agreement at 5:30 p.m. ET Saturday.

Some major points not addressed

The agreement doesn’t mandate exactly how much each country must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Rather, it sets up a bottom-up system in which each country sets its own goal — which the agreement calls a “nationally determined contribution” — and then must explain how it plans to reach that objective.

Those pledges must be increased over time, and starting in 2018 each country will have to submit new plans every five years.

Many countries actually submitted their new plans before climate change conference, known as COP21, started last month — but those pledges aren’t enough to keep warming below the 2-degree target. But the participants’ hope is that over time, countries will aim for more ambitious goals and ratchet up their commitments.

Another sticking point has been coming up with a way to punish nations that don’t do their part, but observers say that was never really on the table.

Instead, the agreement calls for the creation of a committee of experts to “facilitate implementation” and “promote compliance” with the agreement, but it won’t have the power to punish violators.

‘This didn’t save the planet’

Another issue, according to observers, was whether there would be compensation is paid to countries that will see irreparable damage from climate change but have done almost nothing to cause it.

The agreement calls for developed countries to raise at least $100 billion annually in order to assist developing countries. Members of the scientific and environmental activist communities responded with varying degrees of optimism.

“This didn’t save the planet,” Bill McKibben, the co-founder of 350.org, said of the agreement. “But it may have saved the chance of saving the planet.”

Jennifer Morgan of the World Resources Institute anticipated a “historic agreement that marks a turning point in the climate crisis.”

What happens next?

Even though the text has been agreed upon, there’s still much more that needs to be done before the agreement goes into effect.

The agreement was adopted by “consensus” during the meeting of government ministers. That doesn’t necessarily mean all 196 parties approved it; French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who served as the president of the conference, had the authority to decide if a consensus had been reached.

Individual countries now must individually ratify or approve the agreement in their respective countries.

And the agreement won’t enter into force until 55 countries have ratified it. Those nations must account for 55% of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

That means if the world’s biggest polluters don’t authorize the agreement, enacting it could prove challenging.

China and the United States, respectively, account for about 24% and 14% of total greenhouse gas emissions, according to the World Resources Institute.

The United States has backed off climate change votes in the past.

The Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions was adopted in 1997. The Clinton administration signed the agreement but, fearing defeat, never submitted it to the Senate for ratification.

In China, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress is in charge of approving treaties.

The agreement calls for a signature ceremony in April 2016, and requests that the U.N. Secretary-General keep the agreement open for signing until April 2017.

Fabius released the draft worked out by negotiators Saturday morning. Later in the day, world leaders or their representatives approved it. A crowd erupted in applause once the agreement’s adoption was announced.

‘We need all hands on deck’

World leaders praised passage of the agreement.

“A month ago tomorrow, Paris was the victim of the deadliest terror attack in Europe for more than a decade,” British Prime Minister David Cameron wrote in a Facebook post. “Today, it has played host to one of the most positive global steps in history.”

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon hailed the draft that was put together at the 21st Conference of Parties, or COP21.

“We must protect the planet that sustains us,” Ban said. “For that we need all hands on deck.”

In the streets of Paris, outside the conference, protesters demanded action. #ParisAgreement was trending on Twitter.

“Nous sommes la nature qui se défend!” read one tweet, with a photo of one person dressed as a polar bear and another dressed as a penguin. “We are nature that defends itself.”

Some demonstrators felt differently — they called the agreement insufficient and chanted “it’s a crime against humanity.”

“We have a 1.5-degree wall to climb, but the ladder isn’t tall enough,” Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace said at a press conference. He did call the agreement a “new imperative” and positive step.

2 degrees Celsius threshold

Capping the increase in global average temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius was organizers’ key goal going into the COP21. That level of warming is measured as the average temperature increase since the Industrial Revolution.

Failure to set a cap could result in superdroughts, deadlier heat waves, mass extinctions of plants and animals, megafloods and rising seas that could wipe some island countries off the map.

Scientists and policy experts say hitting the 2 degrees Celsius threshold would require the world to move off fossil fuels between about 2050 and the end of the century.

To reach the more ambitious 1.5 degrees Celsius goal, some researchers say the world will need to reach zero net carbon emissions sometime between about 2030 and 2050.

SOURCE

FALSE: Marco Rubio says humans are not causing climate change

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Scientists have been issuing more new reports on the irreversible effects of climate change in recent weeks. Two groups reported on May 12, 2014, that the global sea level will rise at least 10 feet, accelerating to a dangerous pace after the next century.

Just a day before those reports were released, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., sat down with ABC’s Jonathan Karl on This Week. Talk turned to climate change, where the possible Republican presidential candidate denied a link between humans and the changing environment.

“I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it,” he said. “And I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it. Except it will destroy our economy.”

We’ve noted before that Rubio has disputed the basic science of climate change. So when Rubio said human activity isn’t causing changes to the environment, he’s got it all wrong.

In this case, Rubio framed his thoughts about climate change as his personal opinion. But the causes of global warming are backed up by thorough research, so we didn’t see room for debate in Rubio’s claim.

Rubio’s said before, “I’m not a scientist, man.” So PolitiFact reached out to scientists who could explain the facts behind climate change. We’ve rated similar claims False from Tim Pawlenty and Rick Perry, but we’ll rate it again because it’s a persistent claim we see year after year. Rubio’s staff didn’t return our request for comment.

How our climate is changing

Historically, the earth goes through periods of hotter and cooler temperatures. So how do we know global warming isn’t a natural part of this cycle?

By taking measurements, said Leonard Berry, director of Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Environmental Studies.

“We can measure the fact that the earth is warming. We can measure the fact that the ocean is warming,” Berry said. “While geological history shows warming and cooling periods, as far back as we go, none shows the kind of warming and the kind of changes we’re experiencing right now.”

Scientists trace back this shift to the Industrial Revolution, which began in 1760. Since that period, carbon dioxide rose 40 percent and methane by 150 percent. High levels of these and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere trap heat at the surface of the earth, warming the planet.

By burning fossil fuels, chopping down trees, and using fertilizer, humans have directly contributed to global warming.

The connection between increased levels of greenhouse gases and rising temperature has been confirmed by scientists for over a century, said Jennifer Francis, a Rutgers University marine and coastal sciences professor.

“There is as much uncertainty about this connection as there is about what will happen when you drop an object,” Francis said. “It will fall.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is also on board with human activity as a cause. They reported that were it not for human impact, the likely effect of natural changes to the environment would’ve been one of cooling, not warming. They cite “very high confidence” that human activities caused a change of course.

The U.S. Global Change Research program published a 2014 report on climate change. It doesn’t debate whether human activity causes climate change. Rather, it focuses on what actions to take to lessen its effects.

A May 2013 report analyzing all scientific papers that address the causes of climate change showed 97.1 percent of findings that took a position agree that there’s been a negative human impact on the atmosphere. Comedian John Oliver cleverly addressed the debate’s conclusiveness on a recent Last Week Tonight episode by arranging a representative debate between 97 climate change scientists and three deniers.

As a politician from Florida, Rubio must contend with research that pegs Miami and Tampa as two of the U.S. cities most likely to be impacted by climate change. Rising sea levels will make them more prone to flooding.

“Whatever the cause of climate change, the impacts on Florida are already important and that it would be difficult for responsible people in Florida to ignore that fact,” Berry said.

Our ruling

Rubio said human activity is not “causing these dramatic changes to our climate.” An overwhelming majority of scientists agree that humans, by burning fossil fuels, contribute directly to global warming.

Not only is Rubio incorrect, but he’s ignoring a mountain of concrete, scientific research. We rate his claim False.

CORRECTION: This story was updated on May 15 to clarify that 97.1 percent of the studies that took a position on global warming agreed that there’s been a negative human impact on the atmosphere; more than half the studies did not take a position. Also, the story clarifies that the 2013 report looked at studies, not individual scientists.

Bill Gates: ‘We Need an Energy Miracle’

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In his offices overlooking Lake Washington, just east of Seattle, Bill Gates grabbed a legal pad recently and began covering it in his left-handed scrawl. He scribbled arrows by each margin of the pad, both pointing inward. The arrow near the left margin, he said, represented how governments worldwide could stimulate ingenuity to combat climate change by dramatically increasing spending on research and development. “The push is the R&D,” he said, before indicating the arrow on the right. “The pull is the carbon tax.” Between the arrows he sketched boxes to represent areas, such as deployment of new technology, where, he argued, private investors should foot the bill. He has pledged to commit $2 billion himself.

“Yes, the government will be somewhat inept,” he said brusquely, swatting aside one objection as a trivial statement of the obvious. “But the private sector is in general inept. How many companies do venture capitalists invest in that go poorly? By far most of them.”

Gates is on a solo global lobbying campaign to press his species to accomplish something on a scale it has never attempted before. He wants human beings to invent their way out of the coming collision with planetary climate change, accelerating a transition to new forms of energy that might normally take a century or more. To head off a rise in average global temperatures of 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels—the goal set by international agreement—Gates believes that by 2050, wealthy nations like China and the United States, the most prodigious belchers of greenhouse gases, must be adding no more carbon to the skies.

Those who study energy patterns say we are in a gradual transition from oil and coal to natural gas, a fuel that emits far less carbon but still contributes to global warming. Gates thinks that we can’t accept this outcome, and that our best chance to vault over natural gas to a globally applicable, carbon-free source of energy is to drive innovation “at an unnaturally high pace.”

When I sat down to hear his case a few weeks ago, he didn’t evince much patience for the argument that American politicians couldn’t agree even on whether climate change is real, much less on how to combat it. “If you’re not bringing math skills to the problem,” he said with a sort of amused asperity, “then representative democracy is a problem.” What follows is a condensed transcript of his remarks, lightly edited for clarity.On whether new commitments to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions expected at the United Nations climate-change conference in Paris in December mean the world is now serious about the problem:It’s good to have people making commitments. It’s really good. But if you really look at those commitments—which are not binding, but even if you say they will all be achieved—they fall dramatically short of the reductions required to reduce CO2 emissions enough to prevent a scenario where global temperatures rise 2 degrees Celsius. I mean, these commitments won’t even be a third of what you need.

And one of the interesting things about this problem is, if you have a country that says, “Okay, we’re going to get on a pathway for an 80 percent reduction in CO2 by 2050,” it might make a commitment that “Hey, by 2030, we’ll be at 30 percent reduction.” But that first 30 percent is dramatically, dramatically easier than getting to 80 percent. So everything that’s hard has been saved for post-2030—and even these 2030 commitments aren’t enough. And many of them won’t be achieved.

On why the free market won’t develop new forms of energy fast enough: Well, there’s no fortune to be made. Even if you have a new energy source that costs the same as today’s and emits no CO2, it will be uncertain compared with what’s tried-and-true and already operating at unbelievable scale and has gotten through all the regulatory problems, like “Okay, what do you do with coal ash?” and “How do you guarantee something is safe?” Without a substantial carbon tax, there’s no incentive for innovators or plant buyers to switch.

And for energy as a whole, the incentive to invest is quite limited, because unlike digital products—where you get very rapid adoption and so, within the period that your trade secret stays secret or your patent gives you a 20-year exclusive, you can reap incredible returns—almost everything that’s been invented in energy was invented more than 20 years before it got scaled usage. So if you go back to various energy innovators, actually, they didn’t do that well financially. The rewards to society of these energy advances—not much of that is captured by the individual innovator, because it’s a very conservative market. So the R&D amount in energy is surprisingly low compared with medicine or digital stuff, where both the government spending and the private-sector spending is huge.

On the pace of energy transitions historically:What’s amazing is how our intense energy usage is one and the same as modern civilization. That is, for all the great things that happened in terms of human lifestyle, life span, and growing food before 1800, civilization didn’t change dramatically until we started using coal in the U.K. in the 1800s. Coal replaced wood. But the wave of wood to coal is about a 50- or 60-year wave.If it was just about economics, if we had no global warming to think about, the slowly-but-surely pace of these transitions would be okay. If you look at one of these forecasts, they all say about the same thing: What you look at is a picture that’s pretty gradual, with natural gas continuing to gain at the expense of both coal and oil. But, you know, 1-percent-a year-type change. If you look at that from a greenhouse-gas point of view—if you look at forecasts—every single year we’ll be emitting more greenhouse gases than the previous year.On whether we’ve ever done anything as big, as a species, as what he’s asking for now:Well, sort of no. Because the scale of it is very big. People can talk about the Manhattan Project during World War II—the challenge of “Hey, should we get a nuclear weapon before, potentially, the Japanese or Germans do?” The speed of innovation there really was mind-blowing. And they had to find two paths to get there. One was enriching uranium; the other was breeding plutonium. And, in fact, the first bomb was a uranium bomb; the second bomb was plutonium. Both paths gave them what they’d hoped for. So there’s some amazing things—people look at the digital realm and see the pace of innovation. And that does kind of spoil you, because you can just put something up on the Web, and a hundred million people can download it.
But what we’re asking ourselves to do here is change energy—and that includes all of transport, all of electricity, all of household usage, and all of industrial usage. And those are all huge areas of usage. And somebody’ll say to you, “Well, hey, lighting, LED technology, is going to reduce energy consumption from lighting by over half.” That’s true; it’s a miracle, it’s fantastic. But unfortunately, there’s no equivalent in many of these other things, like making fertilizer or making electricity in a general sense. There’s opportunities to conserve that are really good. But the world is going to consume much more energy 30 years from now than it does today.

An Interview With Bill Gates

On the limits of wind power and solar photovoltaic cells:Wind has grown super-fast, on a very subsidized basis. Solar, off a smaller base, has been growing even faster—again on a highly subsidized basis. But it’s absolutely fair to say that even the modest R&D that’s been done, and the various deployment incentives that are there, have worked well. Now, unfortunately, solar photovoltaic is still not economical, but the biggest problem of all is this intermittency. That is, we need energy 24 hours a day. So, putting aside hydro—which unfortunately can’t grow much—the primary new zero-CO2 sources are intermittent. Now, nuclear is a non-CO2 source, but it’s had its own problems in terms of costs, big safety problems, making sure you can deal with the waste, making sure the plutonium isn’t used to make weapons. So my view is that the biggest problem for the two lead candidates is that storage looks to be so difficult. It’s kind of ironic: Germany, by installing so much rooftop solar, has it that both their coal plants and their rooftop solar are available in the summer, and the price of power during the day actually goes negative—they pay people to take it. Then at night the only source is the coal, and because the energy companies have to recover their capital costs, they either raise the price because they’re not getting any return for the day, or they slowly go bankrupt.
There are many people working on storage—batteries are a form of storage, and there’s a few others, like compressed air, hot metals. But it’s not at all clear that we will get grid-scale economic storage. We’re more than a factor of 10 away from the economics to get that.On the self-defeating claims of some clean-energy enthusiasts:

They have this statement that the cost of solar photovoltaic is the same as hydrocarbon’s. And that’s one of those misleadingly meaningless statements. What they mean is that at noon in Arizona, the cost of that kilowatt-hour is the same as a hydrocarbon kilowatt-hour. But it doesn’t come at night, it doesn’t come after the sun hasn’t shone, so the fact that in that one moment you reach parity, so what? The reading public, when they see things like that, they underestimate how hard this thing is. So false solutions like divestment or “Oh, it’s easy to do” hurt our ability to fix the problems. Distinguishing a real solution from a false solution is actually very complicated.

On the role of private investors:

I think dozens and dozens of approaches should be funded at the R&D level, and then people like myself, who can afford to take big risks with start-up companies, should—because of climate change—be willing to put some number of billions into the spin-offs that will come out of that government-funded activity.

You can’t expect that it will be like a digital thing. So you do have to bring a more patient investor, and even a lower return threshold, to this than to other things. People often talk about, “Well, the solution that gets us beyond the CO2-based energy economy will be a mix of things.” And it will be a mix—but a few will be very big. And so the companies that find whatever turns out to be the mainstream, they will do super, super well. But there won’t be as many successes here as there are in an area like software, where there’s a lot more variety.

On why energy is a global challenge:People can always say, “Well, my country is such a small part of it—why should I make the sacrifice? Because I don’t know for sure that the other countries are going to do their part of it.” We don’t have a world government. Fortunately, we don’t have that many world problems—most problems can be solved locally—but this one is a world problem. Carbon is not a local pollutant. It mixes in the global atmosphere in a matter of days. So it doesn’t really matter whether it’s a coal plant in China or a coal plant in the U.S.—the heating effect for the entire globe is the same.

Share of Fuels in the Global Energy Mix Across Modern History

On the dangerous certainty of environmentalists:The heating levels have not tracked the climate models exactly, and the skeptics have had a heyday with that. It’s all within the error-bar range. To me, it’s pretty clear that there’s nothing that relieves this as a big problem. But when people act like we have this great certainty, they somewhat undermine the credibility. There’s a lot of uncertainty in this, but on both the good and the bad side.By overclaiming, or even trying to ascribe current things more to climate change than to other effects, environmentalists lend weight to the skeptics. Like, in the near term, the Pacific oscillation, this El Niño thing, has a much bigger impact on current weather than climate change has had so far. Now, climate change keeps climbing all the time—it just keeps summing, summing, summing, and adding up. So, as you get up to 2050, 2080, 2100, its effect overwhelms the Pacific oscillation.
So we have to have dramatic change here. It’s unprecedented to move this quickly, to change an infrastructure of this scale—it’s really unprecedented. And, when you turn to India and say, “Please cut your carbon emissions, and do it with energy that’s really expensive, subsidized energy,” that’s really putting them in a tough position, because energy for them means a kid can read at night, or having an air conditioner or a refrigerator, or being able to eat fresh foods, or get to your job, or buy fertilizer.That’s why we really need to solve that dilemma, we need innovation that gives us energy that’s cheaper than today’s hydrocarbon energy, that has zero CO2 emissions, and that’s as reliable as today’s overall energy system. And when you put all those requirements together, we need an energy miracle. That may make it seem too daunting to people, but in science, miracles are happening all the time.On the central role of rich countries:I’m a big believer in foreign aid, but the climate problem has to be solved in the rich countries. China and the U.S. and Europe have to solve CO2 emissions, and when they do, hopefully they’ll make it cheap enough for everyone else. But the big numbers are all in the developed economies, where China’s defined into that term.On whether he’s really read all 36 books by Vaclav Smil, his favorite author and a leading scholar of the history of energy use:
I have read all of Smil. There’s a book about the transition of the Japanese diet. I don’t recommend it.On the limitations of a campaign to force university endowments and other funds to divest from fossil-fuel companies:If you think divestment alone is a solution, I worry you’re taking whatever desire people have to solve this problem and kind of using up their idealism and energy on something that won’t emit less carbon—because only a few people in society are the owners of the equity of coal or oil companies. As long as there’s no carbon tax and that stuff is legal, everybody should be able to drive around. So I’ve been saying, “Hey, come on—broaden your message to be pro–R&D.” And even the same people who are divesting those stocks of energy companies, ideally some of that money would come into this pool that is funding these high-risk innovations. And so that’s a message that I’ve started to get out. I don’t know if that will be successful.

A Short Documentary on TerraPower

On the surprising wisdom of government R&D:

When I first got into this I thought, How well does the Department of Energy spend its R&D budget? And I was worried: Gosh, if I’m going to be saying it should double its budget, if it turns out it’s not very well spent, how am I going to feel about that? But as I’ve really dug into it, the DARPA money is very well spent, and the basic-science money is very well spent. The government has these “Centers of Excellence.” They should have twice as many of those things, and those things should get about four times as much money as they do.

Yes, the government will be some-what inept—but the private sector is in general inept. How many companies do venture capitalists invest in that go poorly? By far most of them. And it’s just that every once in a while a Google or a Microsoft comes out, and some medium-scale successes too, and so the overall return is there, and so people keep giving them money.

On why he thinks Congress may not be hopeless:

The U.S. Congress does support solar and wind subsidies, which have been quite generous. So Congress isn’t completely absent on this. The House actually passed a climate-change bill [in 2009], when it was a Democratic Congress. There’s a class of voters who care about this, that I think both parties should want to compete for. So I don’t think it’s hopeless, because it’s about American innovation, American jobs, American leadership, and there are examples where this has gone very, very well.

On the centrality of government to progress on energy, historically:

Everyone likes to argue about how much the shale-gas boom was driven by the private sector versus government; there was some of both. Nuclear: huge amount of government. Hydropower: mind-blowingly government—because permitting those things, those big reservoirs and everything, you can’t be a private-sector guy betting that you’re going to get permitted. People think energy is more of a private-sector thing than it is. If you go back to Edison’s time, there wasn’t much government funding. There were rich people funding him. Since World War II, U.S.-government R&D has defined the state of the art in almost every area.

But energy moves really slowly. There’s this thing Vaclav Smil says: If Edison were reborn today, he would find our batteries completely understandable, because it’s just chemistry. He would say, “Oh, cool, you found lithium, that was nice.” Nuclear-power plants, he would go, “What the hell is that?” That, he would be impressed with. And chips, which we can use for managing data and stuff, he’d be impressed with. But he could visit a coal plant and say, “Okay, you scaled it up.” He would visit a natural-gas plant and that would look pretty normal to him; he would look at an internal-combustion engine and he wouldn’t be that surprised.

On his faith in human ingenuity:If you told me that innovation had been frozen and we just have today’s technologies, will the world run the climate-change experiment? You bet we will. We will not deny India coal plants; we will run the scary experiment of heating up the atmosphere and see what happens.The only reason I’m optimistic about this problem is because of innovation. And innovation is a very uncertain process. For all I know, even if we don’t up the R&D, 10 years from now some guy will invent something and it’ll take care of this thing. I don’t think that’s very likely, but nobody has a predictor function of innovation—which is weird, because the whole modern economy and our lifestyles are an accumulation of innovations. So I want to tilt the odds in our favor by driving innovation at an unnaturally high pace, or more than its current business-as-usual course. I see that as the only thing. I want to call up India someday and say, “Here’s a source of energy that is cheaper than your coal plants, and by the way, from a global-pollution and local-pollution point of view, it’s also better.”I think if we don’t get that in the next 15 years, then as much as people care about this thing, we will at least run the 2-degree experiment. Then there’s the question of “Okay, do we run the 3-degree experiment? Do we run the 4-degree experiment?”

SOURCE

Obama cancels Arctic drilling lease sales

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The Obama administration took a number of actions Friday to restrict future offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean.

The Interior Department is canceling two lease sales it had planned over the next year and a half for Arctic drilling rights and denying two oil companies’ requests to extend the time on leases that they currently hold.

The decision comes weeks after Royal Dutch Shell pulled out of the Arctic for the foreseeable future, saying the little oil it found in this summer’s drilling is not worth the cost.

The administration said its decisions are based on the current oil markets and low interest in Arctic drilling.

But it’s also a significant action to crack down on one of the most controversial types of offshore oil and gas drilling that has environmentalists fired up in opposition.

“In light of Shell’s announcement, the amount of acreage already under lease and current market conditions, it does not make sense to prepare for lease sales in the Arctic in the next year and a half,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a statement, complimenting her staff’s work overseeing the safety and environmental standards of Shell’s drilling in the Chukchi Sea, about 70 miles northwest of Alaska’s coast.

Shell’s Chukchi lease is due to expire in 2020. Norway’s Statoil had also requested an extension of a lease expiring in 2017 in the nearby Beaufort Sea, which was also rejected.

In letters to each company, the department said they failed to show sufficient plans to take advantage of the leases if their terms were extended.

The decisions were praised by environmentalists who have long called for Obama to block drilling in the Arctic due to its potential environmental and climate impacts.

“Today’s announcement moves us away from old arguments about companies’ unwise investments and toward better choices for the Arctic Ocean,” Susan Murray, vice president of the Pacific for Oceana, said in a statement.

“As Shell found out, the Arctic Ocean is unique and unforgiving,” she said. “Especially in light of economic, technological, and environmental realities, there is no reason to extend leases or hold new sales.”

The announcements are certain to bother the oil industry and Republicans, who have blamed Obama for a strict and unpredictable regulatory environment in the Arctic that makes exploration difficult in one of the most promising untapped regions for oil and gas.

Hilcorp, Eni, BP, Repsol, ConocoPhillips Co. and Iona Energy Co. also currently own drilling rights in the United States’ portion of the Arctic.

The Interior Department has proposed one Beaufort sale in 2020 and a Chukchi sale in 2022 as part of its 2017–2022 leasing program, but it has yet to make the plan final.

 

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POPE FRANCIS: CLIMATE CHANGE IS A PROBLEM

Mr. President, I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution. Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation. When it comes to the care of our common home, we are living at a critical moment of history.

– Pope Francis, words share during his USA trip

Hillary Clinton opposes Keystone XL pipeline

hillaryHillary Clinton said Tuesday she opposes the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, taking sides with progressives who oppose the 1,179-mile project over environmental concerns.
“I think it is imperative that we look at the Keystone pipeline as what I believe it is — a distraction from important work we have to do on climate change,” Clinton told a community forum in Des Moines, Iowa. 
“And unfortunately from my perspective, one that interferes with our ability to move forward with all the other issues,” she said. “Therefore I oppose it.”
The Democratic 2016 front-runner announced her opposition to the project — which is still the subject a years-long State Department review — as Pope Francis landed in the United States, dominating national media attention. 
Clinton had not previously disclosed her position on the campaign trail despite consistent questions about her position on the project, which is widely favored by conservatives but opposed by liberals who believe it will contribute to climate change. In explaining her answer Tuesday, Clinton said she didn’t want to interfere with a review process that started under her watch.
“I was in a unique position as secretary of state at the start of this process, and not wanting to interfere with ongoing decision making that the President and Secretary (of State John) Kerry have to do in order to make whatever final decisions they need,” Clinton said. “So I thought this would be decided by now, and therefore I could tell you whether I agree or disagree, but it hasn’t been decided, and I feel now I’ve got a responsibility to you and voters who ask me about this.”
The issue has become a cause celebre for environmental activists who want the Obama administration to reject the deal, arguing that it deepens the United States’ dependence on oil and contributes to climate change. Others argue that the impact on the environment will be minimal, as the oil will not go unused even if the pipeline is rejected.
Clinton has repeatedly been asked about Keystone on the campaign trail but has never answered directly.
“I am not going to second guess (President Barack Obama) because I was in a position to set this in motion,” Clinton said at a July event in New Hampshire. “I want to wait and see what he and Secretary Kerry decide.”
At the same event, she later added, “If it is undecided when I become president, I will answer your question.”
And throughout much of 2013 and 2014, Clinton criss-crossed the country on the paid speaking circuit and later on her book tour. She was asked about Keystone a number of times, particularly in Canada, where the pipeline would originate. At no point did she take a position, however.
Clinton’s Democratic presidential opponents have opposed the deal. On Tuesday, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, lambasted her for the delay in taking a position. 
“On issue after issue — marriage equality, drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants, children fleeing violence in Central America, the Syrian refugee crisis, and now the Keystone Pipeline, Secretary Clinton has followed — not forged — public opinion,” O’Malley said in a statement.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said he was “glad” Clinton came out against the pipeline.
“As a senator who has vigorously opposed the Keystone pipeline from the beginning, I am glad that Secretary Clinton finally has made a decision and I welcome her opposition to the pipeline,” Sanders said. “Clearly it would be absurd to encourage the extraction and transportation of some of the dirtiest fossil fuel on the planet.”

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VIDEO: Understanding OUR Climate

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If you are interested in understanding how Planet Earth’s climate works, you will want to see this Nova special on looking at Earth from the eyes of NASA’s satellites. It really shows you what is going on with climate and weather and how climate and weather changes. You can then begin to see how human interaction changes the climate and the local weather.  

It is about 2 hours long. Give it a look. It is important that we keep up on how we effect climate and how it will change our lives. We should also instill these ideas in other so they can make educated decisions about energy consumption and what politicians to vote for.