Enact a Carbon Tax, Not a Cap-and-Trade System | Henry Auer

The worldwide need to abate emissions of greenhouse gases is becoming more important with every passing year. Nevertheless, the U. S. has never enacted federal legislation that would limit its emissions.

This post describes a proposal for a cap-and-trade market mechanism to lower greenhouse gas emissions in the U. S., presented in a recent op-ed article. Then cap-and-trade is compared with a direct tax or fee on carbon fuels.

It is concluded that a carbon tax or fee is far more advantageous than a cap-and-trade mechanism, for its effectiveness, efficiency and freedom from the need to create a new bureaucracy to oversee its operation. The revenues generated can be applied in a variety of ways that would be politically acceptable. Adoption of a carbon tax or fee in the U. S. is strongly recommended.

Introduction. The nations of the world are currently on a path of emitting greenhouse gases (GHGs) that risks putting humanity in great climatic peril by the end of this century. A principal GHG is carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted when we burn fossil fuels for energy. Annual rates of emission while doing “business as usual” (which assumes no meaningful reductions) or only modest rate reductions lead to unacceptably high levels of total accumulated atmospheric GHGs. It is this accumulated total (not the annual emissions rate) that determines the extent of global warming that we experience. Thus, although it may sound virtuous to reduce annual emission rates, the new GHGs that are still emitted continue to accumulate to ever higher levels. Only global emission rates approaching zero suffice to stabilize the global atmospheric GHG burden, leading to stabilization of global average temperature at some value higher than we have today.

For more on this story, visit: Global Warming Blog by Henry Auer: Enact a Carbon Tax, Not a Cap-and-Trade System.

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As the planet warms, the sea rises. Coastlines flood … How will we face the danger of rising seas?

As the planet warms, the sea rises. Coastlines flood. What will we protect? What will we abandon? How will we face the danger of rising seas?

By Tim Folger
Photographs by George Steinmetz

Picture of Seaside Heights, New Jersey, after Hurricane Sandy

Picture of Seaside Heights, New Jersey, after Hurricane Sandy

By the time Hurricane Sandy veered toward the Northeast coast of the United States last October 29, it had mauled several countries in the Caribbean and left dozens dead. Faced with the largest storm ever spawned over the Atlantic, New York and other cities ordered mandatory evacuations of low-lying areas. Not everyone complied. Those who chose to ride out Sandy got a preview of the future, in which a warmer world will lead to inexorably rising seas.

Brandon d’Leo, a 43-year-old sculptor and surfer, lives on the Rockaway Peninsula, a narrow, densely populated, 11-mile-long sandy strip that juts from the western end of Long Island. Like many of his neighbors, d’Leo had remained at home through Hurricane Irene the year before. “When they told us the tidal surge from this storm would be worse, I wasn’t afraid,” he says. That would soon change.

For more on this story, visit: Rising Seas | National Geographic Magazine.

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UN climate change draft report finds it is 95 per cent likely that global warming is caused by humans | ABC Radio Australia

A leaked draft of a major United Nations climate change report has revealed scientists are 95 per cent certain human activity is causing global warming.

The draft report says it is 95 per cent likely that humans are the principal cause of warming. (Credit: AFP)

The draft report says it is 95 per cent likely that humans are the principal cause of warming. (Credit: AFP)

A leaked draft of a major United Nations climate change report has revealed scientists are almost certain human activity is causing global warming.

Drafts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) fifth assessment report says it is 95 per cent likely that humans were the principal cause of warming.

For more on this story, visit: UN climate change draft report finds it is 95 per cent likely that global warming is caused by humans | ABC Radio Australia.

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Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free Energy Economy Is Inevitable

While a clean energy future is inevitable, questions remain about how quickly we will get there.

The impossible has become inevitable. A carbon-free, nuclear-free energy economy is our future. Despite the energy industry’s hard work to keep energy dirty and damaging, the future will be clean and sustainable. Government is not leading the way. The new energy revolution is coming from the ground up, not the top down.

The United States and world face a series of interconnected crises: climate change caused by carbon-based energies like oil and methane gas; a shrinking supply of carbon fuel that has led to wars for oil and extreme extraction methods using tar sands, hydro-fracking, mountaintop removal and deep off-shore drilling; and proliferation of nuclear weapons of mass destruction and long-term environmental damage from the production of nuclear energy.

For more on this story, visit: Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free Energy Economy Is Inevitable.

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Protecting the Electric Grid From Increasingly Severe Weather Due to Climate Change | The White House

power-electricity-storm-sandy-hurricane-damageThis week marks the tenth anniversary of one of the worst power outages in the United States, during which tens of millions of Americans were affected across parts of Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Severe weather is the number one cause of power outages on the nation’s electric grid, which serves as the backbone of the nation’s infrastructure that delivers electric power to millions of Americans in homes, schools, offices, and factories across the United States.

new report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers and the Energy Department evaluates the economic cost of power outages and calls for increased cross-sector investment to make the electric grid more resilient in the face of increasingly severe weather events due to climate change.

The report provides new estimates of the annual cost of power outages caused by weather.  Between 2003 and 2012 weather-related outages are estimated to have cost the U.S. economy an inflation-adjusted annual average of $18 billion to $33 billion. Annual costs fluctuate significantly and are greatest in the years of major storms such as Hurricane Ike in 2008, a year in which cost estimates range from $40 billion to $75 billion, and Superstorm Sandy in 2012, a year in which cost estimates range from $27 billion to $52 billion.

The costs of outages take various forms including lost output and wages, spoiled inventory, delayed production, inconvenience and damage to the electric grid. Continued investment in grid modernization and resilience will mitigate these costs over time – saving the economy billions of dollars and reducing the hardship experienced by millions of Americans when extreme weather strikes.

The report also identifies strategies for modernizing the grid to better prevent power outages, including working with utilities to harden their infrastructure against wind and flood damage, increasing overall robustness of the grid, and supporting implementation of 21st century technologies that can quickly alert utilities when consumers experience a power outage.

Investment in a 21st century modernized electric grid has been an important focus of President Obama’s administration. The President’s Climate Action Plancalls for upgrading the  country’s electric grid to help make electricity more reliable, save consumers money on their energy bills, and promote clean energy sources.

In addition, the President’s “Policy Framework for the 21st Century Grid,”  set out a four-pillared strategy for modernizing the grid and directed billions of dollars toward investments in 21st century smart grid technologies, and the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocated $4.5 billion to the Energy Department for investments in modern grid technology.

These investments have begun to increase the resilience and reliability of the grid, but more investment is needed to ensure the grid can continue to power the economy in the face  of severe weather. Learn more at http://www.smartgrid.gov/.

Patricia Hoffman, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability at the United States Department of Energy. Jim Stock, Member of the Council of Economic Advisers

For more on this story, visit: Protecting the Electric Grid From Increasingly Severe Weather Due to Climate Change | The White House.

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Confessions of a climate change denier

Defeating climate change doesn’t have to mean dropping everything to become climate activists or ignoring the whole thing altogether. The truth is exactly the opposite: We have to re-learn the climate crisis as one that ties our struggles together and opens up potential for the world we’re already busy fighting for.

via Confessions of a climate change denier – Waging Nonviolence.

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US bank sued over pollution from coal exports

Environmental activists sued the federal government Wednesday over the exports of Appalachian coal to Europe and Asia, arguing it approved a $90 million loan guarantee to one company without considering the implications for air and water pollution along the transportation route.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco says communities near the mines, ports and railways that connect them are all affected, and the U.S. Export-Import Bank was required to review the environmental impacts of its financing decision under the National Environmental Policy Act.

via US bank sued over pollution from coal exports – Connecticut Post.

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Voters think Republican climate dissenters ‘crazy’, bipartisan poll finds | guardian.co.uk

Results show risks that deniers in Congress pose to GOP as majority of younger constituents back Obama’s carbon plans

Republicans in Congress who reject the science behind climate change could soon be reduced to political fossils, with new polling on Wednesday suggesting three-quarters of young voters find such views “ignorant, out of touch or crazy”.

The bipartisan poll conducted for the League of Conservation Voters found solid 80% support among under-35 voters for Barack Obama’s climate change plan – and majority support even among those who oppose the president.

On the flip side the poll found three-quarters of voters, or 73%, would oppose members of Congress who stood in the way of Obama’s climate action plan.

via Voters think Republican climate dissenters ‘crazy’, bipartisan poll finds | Environment | guardian.co.uk.

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Industrial Fossil Fuel Use Drives Climate Chaos | EcoWatch

Increasing global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), a heat-trapping gas, are pushing the world into dangerous territory, closing the window of time to avert the worst consequences of higher temperatures, such as melting ice and rising seas.

Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels have grown exponentially. Despite wide agreement by governments on the need to limit emissions, the rate of increase ratcheted up from less than one percent each year in the 1990s to almost three percent annually in the first decade of this century. After a short dip in 2009 due to the global financial crisis, emissions from fossil fuels rebounded in 2010 and have since grown 2.6 percent each year, hitting an all-time high of 9.7 billion tons of carbon in 2012.

For more on this story, visit: Industrial Fossil Fuel Use Drives Climate Chaos – EcoWatch: Cutting Edge Environmental News Service.

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Climate Change Is Happening Too Quickly for Species to Adapt

A study has shown that the speed of evolutionary change is far outstripped by the rate of global warming, meaning many creatures will face extinction

Among the many strange mantras repeated by climate change deniers is the claim that even in an overheated, climate-altered planet, animals and plants will still survive by adapting to global warming. Corals, trees, birds, mammals and butterflies are already changing to the routine reality of global warming, it is argued.

Certainly, countless species have adapted to past climate fluctuations. However, their rate of change turns out to be painfully slow, according to a study by Professor John Wiens of the University of Arizona. Using data from 540 living species, including amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, Wiens and colleagues compared their rates of evolution with the rates of climate change projected for the end of this century. The results, published online in the journal Ecology Letters, show that most land animals will not be able to evolve quickly enough to adapt to the dramatically warmer climate expected by 2100. Many species face extinction, as a result.

via Climate Change Is Happening Too Quickly for Species to Adapt | Reader Supported News.

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