In a sunken ocean liner
In 1934—lighter than air!—Fred Astaire!—
In the depths of the Great Depression.
From Frederick Seidel, "Dick and Fred," in Ooga-Booga (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006)
- Bill Baue & Jackie Cook, Ceres, Mutual Funds and Climate Change: Opposition to Climate Change Resolutions Begins to Thaw (April 2008)
"This report is the fourth by Ceres examining the mutual fund industry’s proxy voting practices on climate change shareholder resolutions. This new analysis of the voting records of 1,285 mutual funds from 62 leading mutual fund firms indicates that the industry’s previously icy attitude on climate resolutions is beginning to thaw, and that many on Wall Street are starting to realize the financial risks and opportunities from climate change.
"This review, covering 2004–2007, shows that historic opposition toward such resolutions is softening, with some fund firms, such as Goldman Sachs, supporting many climate resolutions outright and others, such as Fidelity and Janus, abstaining on most or all resolutions after opposing them in the past."—Executive Summary.Read the rest of this post . . . .
- Mara Baum, 2006 Mark Ginsberg Sustainability Fellow, U.S. Green Building Council, Green Building Research Funding: An Assessment of Current Activity in the United States (2007)
"This report is intended to aid the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Research Committee's effort to create a national green building research agenda identifying critical gaps in scientific and technical information needed to drive market transformation towards the adoption and evolution of sustainable building design, construction and operations practices in the United States. It outlines recent green building research and tracks federal, state and trade association contributions to green building research funding."—Executive Summary.
- Catherine Brahic, NewScientist Environment, Nuked Coral Reef Bounces Back (April 14, 2008)
"Three islands of Bikini Atoll were vapourised by the Bravo hydrogen bomb in 1954, which shook islands 200 kilometres away. Instead of finding a bare underwater moonscape, ecologists who have dived it have given the 2-kilometre-wide crater a clean bill of health."
- President George W. Bush, The White House, Taking Additional Action to Confront Climate Change (April 16, 2008)
"Today, President Bush announced a new national goal to stop the growth in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. This new goal marks a major step forward in America's ongoing efforts to address climate change. If we fully implement our strong new laws, adhere to the principles the President outlined, and adopt appropriate incentives, we will put the United States on an ambitious new track for greenhouse gas reductions. The growth in emissions will slow over the next decade, stop by 2025, and begin to reverse thereafter, so long as technology continues to advance. Taken together, these landmark actions will prevent billions of metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere."—Fact Sheet.
- Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Cost Estimate: S. 2191, America's Climate Security Act of 2007 (April 10, 2008)
"S. 2191 would set an annual limit or cap on the volume of certain greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted from electricity-generating facilities and from other activities involving industrial production and transportation. Under this legislation, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would establish two separate regulatory initiatives known as cap-and-trade programs—one covering most types of GHGs and one covering hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)."
- Rebecca F. Denlinger et al., National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC), Chemical, Biological, and Radiological Events and the Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Final Report and Recommendations by the Council (January 8, 2008)
"The National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) convened a Working Group to study the impact of chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) events on the critical infrastructure worker, and to make recommendations to the White House and the Department of Homeland Security that will strengthen our nation’s ability to respond to a CBR event. The timing and methodology of such an event is difficult to predict, and estimates on its impact are wide-ranging. However, there are specific principles that, when effectively implemented, will improve our ability to identify, respond to, and recover from an attack on our critical infrastructure. The NIAC designed this report to identify attributes of different chemical, biological, or radiological event scenarios, identify key elements necessary to sustain critical infrastructure operations, and to make recommendations that will improve our ability to contain the impact, recover from its consequences, and restore the nation’s critical infrastructure to a pre-event state."—Executive Summary.
- Environmental Defense Fund, Fight Global Warming
"We've launched this campaign as a wake-up call. Global warming is the most serious environmental challenge of our time. It is more urgent and its dangers are more fundamental than most Americans realize. This campaign seeks to educate Americans about how quickly we must act, and give concrete steps that people can incorporate into their lives to fight global warming."—About Us. Includes news, the scientific basics of global warming, and a climate blog.
- Environmental Law Institute, Planner’s Guide to Wetland Buffers for Local Governments (March 2008)
"America’s local governments know their lands and are familiar with their critical role as the primary regulators of land use and development activities. Many local governments also know their waters and wetlands, and most have authority to regulate land uses in order to conserve and protect these important community assets. While many publications assist local governing boards with land use planning and zoning, this publication compiles the scientific literature on wetland buffers (the lands adjacent to wetland areas) and identifies the techniques used and legislative choices made by local governments across the United States to protect these lands."
- Dan Farber, ed., Security v. Liberty: Conflicts Between Civil Liberties and National Security in American History (Russell Sage Foundation 2008)
"Threats to national security generally prompt incursions on civil liberties. The relationship has existed since the presidency of John Adams and has continued through two World Wars, the Cold War, Vietnam, and to the present day. Though this historical phenomenon is commonplace, the implications of that history for our post-9/11 world are less clear.
"In the long run, if we are to cope with present and future crises, we must think deeply about how our historical experience bears on a changing world. This book, published by the Russell Sage Foundation, addresses the past and present relationship between civil liberties and national crises, with contributions from leading legal scholars and historians. They seek both to draw historical lessons and to explore how the present situation poses unique issues. The contributors include Alan Brinkley, Daniel Farber, Stephen Holmes, Ronald D. Lee, Jan Ellen Lewis, L.A. Powe, Jr., Ellen Schrecker, Paul M. Schwartz, Geoffrey R. Stone, and John Yoo."—SSRN Abstract.
- Michael G. Faure, Professor of Comparative and International Environmental Law, Maastricht University & Jason Scott Johnson, Robert G. Fuller, Jr. Professor and Director, Programme on Law, the Environment and the Economy, University of Pennsylvania Law School, The Law and Economics of Environmental Federalism: Europe and the United States Compared (January 2008)
"This article describes the evolution and key features of the centralized environmental regulatory systems that emerged in the United States and Europe during the latter half of the twentieth century. It applies insights from the positive economic analysis of regulatory centralization in an attempt to explain a striking paradox found in both the European and American centralized environmental regulatory regimes: the fact that in both systems, centralized environmental regulation has been adopted not as a solution for transboundary pollution (interjursidictional externalities), but rather for pollution that is primarily local. The paper develops a positive account that explains the tendency of centralized environmental regulation to focus so paradoxically on localized pollution as due to inherent pressures for regional protectionism and redistribution within a (federalized) political system. Normatively, we provide an up-to-date survey of the theoretical and empirical work on the race-to-the-bottom story, and then apply normative economics to develop insight into the relative normative desirability of environmental regulatory centralization in the U.S. versus Europe. We believe that the relatively less centralized European system may have economic justification. On the other hand, the enlargement and increased economic integration of Europe raise some interesting questions, both normative questions regarding the desirability of centralized European environmental regulation, and positive questions regarding the future of European environmental law."—Abstract.
- David B. Hunter, The Implications of Climate Change Litigation for International Environmental Law-Making (American University, Washington College of the Law Research Paper No. 2008-14) (July 15, 2007))
"Climate advocates are increasingly raising specific climate change concerns before domestic courts, human rights tribunals, international commissions and other national and international decisionmaking bodies. Win or lose, these litigation strategies are significantly changing and enhancing the public dialogue around climate change. This article discusses the awareness-building impacts of climate litigation as well as related impacts such strategies may have on the development of climate law and policy. The article argues that litigation's focus on specific victims facing immediate threats from climate change has increased the political will to address climate change both internationally and nationally. It has also shifted the debate towards questions of compensation and adaptation, and has brought new and democratic voices to the climate policy debate. As a result, climate litigation is leaving an important imprint on climate policy regardless of whether a tort action in the United States or the Inuit human rights claims, for example, ultimately prevail - and as demonstrated by the recent US Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, some climate claims will prevail, setting important precedents for the future direction of climate law and policy."—Abstract.
- Journal of Regional Environmental Change, Call for Papers
"The mission of the journal is to publish scientific research and opinion papers that improve the understanding and the extent of environmental changes, their causes, their impacts on people, and the options for society to respond. Solutions are needed most at the regional level, where physical features of the landscape, biological systems, and human institutions interact."
- Heidi Frostestad Kuehl, UPDATE: A Basic Guide to International Environmental Legal Research (April 2008)
"International environmental law is an ever-changing, constantly expanding, and intriguing topic for international legal research. When decisions and collaborations occur between nations across international boundaries and treaties or agreements are made to cooperate for environmental concerns, disputes inevitably transpire because of trade implications for the respective nations, safety concerns and cleanliness of environmental resources among shared borders, or problems with enforcement mechanisms for liability under agreements or treaty provisions relating to the environment. The vastness of this area of international law includes the environmental sub-issues of population, biodiversity, global climate change, ozone depletion, preserving the Antarctic regions, movement of toxic and hazardous substances, land or vessel-based pollution, dumping, conservation of marine living resources, trans-boundary air and water pollution, desertification, and nuclear damage, among others. To begin research in international environmental law, a researcher should have a basic understanding of international law and authority: for example, knowledge of treaty research and an awareness of the types of international agreements and their effect in nations of the world as result of reservations, understandings, or declarations. As noted in this research guide, the number of international environmental treaties is manageable by sub-topic, so identification of the appropriate sub-topic or category of international environmental law is essential to narrowly tailor research and avoid getting bogged down in the wealth of information. Like many areas of international law, regulation and implementation of the treaty terms are at the national level. Thus, some knowledge and research of foreign laws in the countries of focus for a research problem is necessary for thorough research and analysis. This guide will provide an overview of the key terms, general starting points by sub-topic of international environmental law and correlating treaties and agreements, a summary of the essential websites and secondary sources for international environmental legal research, and an approach for researching the primary law of foreign jurisdictions for this topic. Finally, an overview of the prominent international organizations and correlating documentation produced for international environmental law and blogs for current awareness in this field will be provided for a comprehensive overview."—Introduction.
- National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT), Everyone's Business: Working Towards Sustainability Through Environmental Stewardship and Collaboration (March 2008)
"Our key message is straightforward. EPA should reframe its mission with stewardship
as the unifying theme and ethic and EPA should strive to become the
world’s premier stewardship model and catalyst."—Executive Summary.
- New York Academy of Sciences Harbor Consortium, Safe Harbor: Bringing People and Science Together to Improve the New York/New Jersey Harbor, Collaborative Problem Solving Using An Industrial Ecology Approach (January 2008)
"The New York/New Jersey Harbor Watershed is a highly complex environment encompassing one of the largest cities in the world, as well as suburban, rural, and agricultural regions; a wide range of topography; several large and important rivers; a major port; and a population of nearly 14 million people. Like all complex, urban watersheds, the Harbor Watershed is contaminated both from historical
pollution and from ongoing pollution. This contamination and its associated problems for fish, wildlife, and humans continue to impact every aspect of the Watershed’s functions. The Watershed community has come to understand the importance of the Harbor for quality of life, and efforts have been underway for 30 years to reverse the trend of further degradation and to work towards identifying ways to improve the Harbor. This monumental task is one that could be undertaken only in a stepwise fashion, with each effort building on previous work. Ten years ago, it was suggested that the time had come, and the tools were emerging, to look at Harbor Watershed contamination more holistically, using work already available and ongoing to identify actions that could curb the flow of contamination to the Harbor. Furthermore, it was agreed that it was time to test a new paradigm for achieving successful policy change. The region’s stakeholders who were going to be asked or required to change their practices needed to be at the table."—Executive Summary.
- Rocky Mountain Climate Organization (RMCO)
"Climate disruption is not an ordinary environmental issue, and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization is not an ordinary environmental group. Because addressing climate change will take awareness and commitment by all parts of our society, RMCO is organized to have the credibility and ability to reach out and be persuasive to people across all political, economic, and geographic spectrums in the Rocky Mountain region."—About Us. See the recent report by Stephen Saunders et al., Hotter and Drier: The West's Changed Climate (March 2008).
- Renate Schubert et al., German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), Climate Change as a Security Risk (2008)
"Without resolute counteraction, climate change will overstretch many societies’ adaptive capacities within the coming decades. This could result in destabilization and violence, jeopardizing national and international security to a new degree. However, climate change could also unite the international community, provided that it recognizes climate change as a threat to humankind and soon sets the course for the avoid-ance of dangerous anthropogenic climate change by adopting a dynamic and globally coordinated climate policy. If it fails to do so, climate change will draw ever-deeper lines of division and conflict in international relations, triggering numerous conflicts between and within countries over the distribution of resources, especially water and land, over the management of migration, or over compensation payments between the countries mainly responsible for climate change and those countries most affected by its destructive effects.
"That is the backdrop against which WBGU, in this flagship report, summarizes the state-of-the-art of science on the subject of 'Climate Change as a Security Risk'. It is based on the findings of research into environmental conflicts, the causes of war, and of climate impact research. It appraises past experience but also ventures to cast a glance far into the future in order to assess the likely impacts of climate change on societies, nation-states, regions and the international system."
- United Nations, Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Bangkok Climate Change Talks (AWG-LCA 1 & AWG-KP 5) (March 31 to April 4, 2008)
"The first round of United Nations climate change talks in 2008 got under way in Bangkok at the end of March, with the tough but successful negotiations in Bali still fresh in everyone’s memory. Parties had agreed at Bali to jointly step up international efforts to combat climate change and get to an agreed outcome in Copenhagen in 2009.
"The talks in Bangkok thus marked the beginning of a new negotiating phase, drawing delegates from 162 countries tasked with fleshing out the Bali Road Map. This involved drawing up a work programme to craft a future international climate pact that will successfully halt the increase in global emissions within the next 10-15 years and dramatically reduce emissions by mid-century. The two-stranded talks also involved taking forward important work under the Kyoto Protocol process."
- United Nations, Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Report of the Conference of the Parties on its thirteenth session, held in Bali from 3 to 15 December 2007 (FCCC/CP/2007/6 and Adds. 1 & 2) (March 14, 2008)
"The conference culminated in the adoption of the Bali Roadmap, which consists of a number of forward-looking decisions that represent the various tracks that are essential to reaching a secure climate future. The Bali Roadmap includes the Bali Action Plan, which charts the course for a new negotiating process designed to tackle climate change, with the aim of completing this by 2009. It also includes the AWG-KP negotiations and their 2009 deadline, the launch of the Adaptation Fund, the scope and content of the Article 9 review of the Kyoto Protocol, as well as decisions on technology transfer and on reducing emissions from deforestation."
- United Nations, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Technical Paper on Climate Change and Water (April 2008)
"Observational records and climate projections provide abundant evidence that freshwater resources are vulnerable and have the potential to be strongly impacted by climate change, with wide-ranging consequences on human societies and ecosystems."—Executive Summary.
- United States Army Corps of Engineers & United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Army Corps and EPA Improve Wetland and Stream Mitigation (March 31, 2008)
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released a new rule to clarify how to provide compensatory mitigation for unavoidable impacts to the nation's wetlands and streams. The rule will enable the agencies to promote greater consistency, predictability and ecological success of mitigation projects under the Clean Water Act."—Press release.
- United States Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration (EIA), Federal Financial Interventions and Subsidies in Energy Markets 2007 (Report no. SR/CNEAF/2008-01) (April 2008)
"This report responds to a request from Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee that the EIA update its 1999 to 2000 work on Federal energy subsidies, including any additions or deletions of Federal subsidies based on Administration or Congressional action since 2000, and providing an estimate of the size of each current subsidy. Subsidies directed to electricity production are estimated on the basis of generation by fuel."
- United States Department of Homeland Security (DHC), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), FEMA Strategic Plan, Fiscal Years 2008–2013: The Nation’s Preeminent Emergency Management and Preparedness Agency (FEMA P-422) (January 2008)
"The FEMA Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2008–2013 outlines a clear road to building a stronger, dynamic, and innovative New FEMA that fulfills its vision of becoming the Nation’s Preeminent Emergency Management and Preparedness Agency. The Plan outlines strategic goals, objectives, and strategies, providing a solid framework that enables everyone in FEMA to envision how their individual contributions can help implement FEMA’s vision and mission. FEMA has already begun to address the challenges involved in transforming the agency, as evidenced by more proactive federal responses to disasters across the Nation. FEMA’s partners and stakeholders recognize that FEMA is now stronger, better organized, and more capable of performing its critical mission."
- United States Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration, Trains Transporting the Most Toxic Hazardous Materials Must Use Safest, Most Secure Route (April 16, 2008)
"Railroads will be required to route every train carrying the most toxic and dangerous hazardous materials on the safest and most secure route under a new federal rule announced today by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters."
- United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Environmental Indicators Gateway
"The Environmental Indicators Gateway features information on EPA's environmental indicator projects. These projects provide information on environmental conditions and trends over a range of geographic scales and time periods. The Gateway provides summaries of the indicator projects and links to the related reports and Web sites developed by each project. You can search these summaries by geographic location, keyword, and topic."
- United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), EPA Progress Report 2008: Pacific Southwest Region (EPA-909-R-08-001) (2008)
"Cutting tons of pollution from power plants, turning food waste into energy, preserving threatened waterways, and reducing exposure to toxics in beauty salons—just a few of the issues highlighted in the newly released 2008 environmental progress report. The illustrated report takes an in-depth look at many of the important environmental issues facing Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, 146 tribes, and several Pacific Islands."—News release (April 15, 2008)
- United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2006 (EPA 430-R-08-005) (April 15, 2008)
"An emissions inventory that identifies and quantifies a country's primary anthropogenic1 sources and sinks of greenhouse gases is essential for addressing climate change. This inventory adheres to both 1) a comprehensive and detailed set of methodologies for estimating sources and sinks of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, and 2) a common and consistent mechanism that enables Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to compare the relative contribution of different emission sources and greenhouse gases to climate change."—Executive Summary.
- United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Air and Radiation, Climate Protection Partnerships Division, National Awareness of Energy Star
®for 2007: Analysis of CEE Household Survey (2008)
"Public awareness of the Energy Star label has grown to more than 70 percent in 2008, an increase of about 20 percentage points over the last five years, according to a report released today. In many major markets where local utilities and other organizations use Energy Star to promote energy efficiency to their customers, public awareness of Energy Star is even higher, averaging nearly 80 percent."—Press release (April 10, 2008)
- United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, Air Quality Assessment Division, Latest Findings on National Air Quality: Status and Trends through 2006 (EPA-454/R-07-007) (January 2008)
"EPA expects the air quality to continue to improve as recent regulations are fully implemented and states work to meet national ambient air quality standards. Among these rules are: the Clean Air Interstate Rule, the Clean Air Mercury Rule, the Tier II Vehicle and Gasoline Sulfur Program, the Heavy-Duty Highway Diesel Rule, the Clean Air Nonroad Diesel Rule, and the Mobile Source Air Toxics Rule."—Highlights.
- World Health Organization, World Health Day: Protecting Health from Climate Change (April 7, 2008)
"Scientists tell us that the evidence the Earth is warming is 'unequivocal.' Increases in global average air and sea temperature, ice melting and rising global sea levels all help us understand and prepare for the coming challenges. In addition to these observed changes, climate-sensitive impacts on human health are occurring today. They are attacking the pillars of public health. And they are providing a glimpse of the challenges public health will have to confront on a large scale, WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan warned today on the occasion of World Health Day."—News release.