Published Jun 17 2009 by Energy Bulletin
Archived Jun 17 2009

United States - June 17

by Staff

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Obama targets US public with call for climate action

Suzanne Goldenberg, Guardian
Climate impacts report warns of flooding, heat waves, drought and loss of wildlife that will occur if Americans fail to act on global warming
The Obama administration is poised for its most forceful confrontation with the American public on the sweeping and life-altering consequences of a failure to act on global warming with the release today of a long-awaited scientific report on climate change.

The report, produced by more than 30 scientists at 13 government agencies dealing with climate change, provides the most detailed picture to date of the worst case scenarios of rising sea levels and extreme weather events: floods in lower Manhattan; a quadrupling of heat waves deaths in Chicago; withering on the vineyards of California; ...

Today's release is part of a carefully crafted strategy by the White House to help build public support for Obama's agenda and boost the prospects of a climate change bill now making its way through Congress.
(16 June 2009)

Not-So-Dirty Plant Encourages Coal Stalwarts

Emily Badger, Miller-McCune Magazine
Despite the hopes of environmentalists, coal's not going away any time soon. A revived 'clean coal' demonstration plant is getting a reasonably warm welcome.

A stalled plan to build a carbon capture and sequestration coal plant in Illinois — what would be the first commercial-scale "clean coal" R&D plant of its kind in the U.S. — has been revived by new Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Chu announced on Friday that the DOE plans to direct up to $1 billion from the stimulus bill toward the FutureGen plant, a five-year-old joint public/private project that was abandoned by the Bush administration in early 2008. President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocated $3.4 billion for the development of carbon capture and sequestration technology, or CCS, which would enable coal-fired power plants to capture their carbon dioxide emissions and store them deep underground.

Supporters from both industry and environmental groups say the technology offers one of the best chances to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a time when the global economy is still too heavily dependent upon coal to stop using the fossil fuel altogether. But the idea of "clean coal" — particularly as it has been marketed by industry — remains controversial among groups that are unsure if CCS will work and argue "clean coal" is still not as clean as alternative forms of solar or wind energy.
(15 June 2009)

S.F. OKs toughest recycling law in U.S.

John Coté, San Francisco Chronicle
Throwing orange peels, coffee grounds and grease-stained pizza boxes in the trash will be against the law in San Francisco, and could even lead to a fine.

The Board of Supervisors voted 9-2 Tuesday to approve Mayor Gavin Newsom's proposal for the most comprehensive mandatory composting and recycling law in the country. It's an aggressive push to cut greenhouse gas emissions and have the city sending nothing to landfills or incinerators by 2020.

"San Francisco has the best recycling and composting programs in the nation," Newsom said, praising the board's vote on a plan that some residents had decried as heavy-handed and impractical. "We can build on our success."

The ordinance is expected to take effect this fall.

The legislation calls for every residence and business in the city to have three separate color-coded bins for waste: blue for recycling, green for compost and black for trash.

Failing to properly sort your refuse could result in a fine after several warnings, but Newsom and other officials say fines will only be levied in the most egregious cases.
(10 June 2009)
Long overdue. Kurt Cobb discusses the prospects for more of the same in his most recent essay, Peak Oil, Sustainability and the Problem of Freedom. -BA