Green Responses to the National Climate Assessment

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 06 May 2014 15:33:00 GMT

This post collects statements from environmental and progressive organizations in response to the Third National Climate Assessment of the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

Joint statement from Earthjustice, Environmental Defense Fund, Center for American Progress, Natural Resources Defense Council, League of Conservation Voters, League of Women Voters, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club:
The National Climate Assessment provides more stark evidence that climate change is happening now and threatening our health, homes, businesses and communities. It must be addressed immediately. The NCA comes only weeks after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report reaffirmed the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is underway and that carbon pollution from human activity is responsible for it. The message from the NCA is blunt. Without action, the damage from climate change on our communities will worsen, including: more asthma attacks and respiratory disease; threats to our food and water supplies as well as our outdoor heritage; and, more violent and deadly storms that shutter businesses and cost billions of dollars in recovery. Next month, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to unveil an ambitious proposal to set the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants — the largest U.S. contributor to climate change. We applaud the administration for its commitment to protecting our communities and our economy through the National Climate Action Plan, and call on other public officials to support the plan and these life-saving safeguards.

Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune:

Today’s landmark report is a wake-up call that we simply cannot afford to sleep through yet again. American families are already paying the costs of the extreme weather and health risks fueled by the climate crisis. Now, the nation’s most comprehensive study of climate threats shows the toll on our health, our communities, and our economy will only skyrocket across the country if we do not act. We applaud the Obama Administration for listening to these alarm bells, and urge them to continue to take critical, common-sense steps, including the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants. We don’t just have an obligation to future generations to take action now—we will seize an enormous opportunity as we do. By leaving dirty fossil fuels in the ground and continuing the transition to clean energy solutions like wind and solar, we can create good American jobs and power homes and businesses nationwide without polluting our air, water, or climate.

National Wildlife Federation senior global warming specialist Patty Glick, co-author of the Pacific Northwest chapter:

What strikes me most about this report is how many changes we’re already experiencing and how quickly they’ve occurred. The first National Climate Assessment back in 2000 was considered a look into the future, but just 14 years later, we’re no longer just talking about forecasts and models. Today we’re reporting on the changes we’re already seeing in our own backyards, and frankly I’m alarmed at the speed. Compared to previous projections, we’re seeing temperatures rising faster, oceans more quickly becoming acidic, fish and wildlife habitat shifting sooner than many species can adapt. That we’re seeing so many changes so rapidly is a call to act now to prevent these changes from overwhelming us in the future. We must confront the underlying cause of climate change by cutting carbon pollution, investing in clean energy and saying no to dirty energy. And we will also need to step-up efforts to prepare for and adapt to the impacts climate change already is having on our communities and wildlife by promoting climate-smart approaches to conservation.

Green For All Executive Director Nikki Silvestri:

The National Climate Assessment finds what we know to be true. Climate change is real and affects neighborhoods all across the United States – especially those hit first and worst, communities of color and low-income Americans. We are already paying more for heat and air conditioning to stay comfortable during record high or low temperatures. Severe droughts and floods in America’s agricultural areas strain food production. People are losing loved ones and homes due to extreme weather. We can’t disregard the environment any longer. We need to expand jobs in clean energy and make sure disadvantaged communities have a shot at them. We need to encourage people to come together to plant gardens and promote sustainable lifestyles. We also need to prepare ourselves to leap forward into a healthier future after a hurricane, blizzard, or flood — not just bounce back to where we were before. The good news is that our leaders are already acting on climate change. We are excited by the potential impacts of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and support the Administration’s efforts to cut emissions from future and existing power plants. We are eager to see the National Climate Assessment move this work forward, so we can build cleaner, stronger communities.

Environment America Executive Director Margie Alt:

We’ve known for decades that global warming threatens our future. This report shows how our families and communities are being harmed today. Today’s report explains the science behind what farmers, first responders, flood insurers, victims of hurricane Sandy and other major storms have seen firsthand: global warming is increasing the frequency of extreme weather events, contributing to sea level rise, and increasing drought, and no region of the country is off the hook. In less than a month, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to propose limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants for the first time. Despite power plants being the largest source of carbon pollution in the county, they have gone for decades without the kinds of limits they have for soot, smog, and other dangerous air pollution. This isn’t the only action we need to solve the climate crisis. But limiting carbon pollution from power plants is a major step that will move us dramatically closer to staving off the worst impacts of climate change.

Fossil-industry backed Center for Climate and Energy Solutions President Eileen Claussen:

The Third National Climate Assessment makes clearer than ever that climate change is taking a toll here and now, and that it poses growing risks to communities across the country. Based on an exhaustive review of the latest scientific evidence, the report brings it home to Americans that we are not immune to threats posed by climate change to our infrastructure, water supplies, agriculture, ecosystems, and health. The impacts vary from region to region – more competition for water in the arid West, more heavy downpours in the Northeast and Midwest, and rising sea levels fueling powerful storm surges along the Gulf Coast. What is clear is that every region faces impacts that could be costly and severe. Motivated in part by the billions in damages caused by recent extreme weather events, many companies are starting to take action to build their climate resilience, as documented in our “Weathering the Storm” report. Companies, communities, and individuals all need to better manage climate risks, both by reducing carbon emissions and by becoming more climate-resilient. Investments in mitigation will give our adaptation efforts a greater chance of success. We agree with the NCA: More must be done across the public and private sectors to reduce - and to safeguard ourselves against - the rising risks of a warming planet.

Center for American Progress Distinguished Senior Fellow Carol M. Browner (Browner is also on the leadership council of the nuclear-industry group Nuclear Matters):

Once again the scientific community is sounding the alarm, this time with the National Climate Assessment, and reaffirming that carbon pollution is driving climate change, fueling more violent and frequent weather events, and threatening public health. The NCA underscores the urgency to address climate change and the biggest step the Obama administration can take is to set the strongest possible limits next month when they unveil the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants. Tackling climate change will require a comprehensive plan to reduce carbon pollution, improve energy efficiency, and innovate our way to cleaner and safer sources of energy. The EPA and the states must work together to develop solutions that cut carbon pollution and move us toward a cleaner energy future.

American Lung Association Assistant Vice President and Director, Healthy Air Campaign Lyndsay Moseley Alexander:

Today’s Assessment released by the Administration affirms what we’ve long known about the urgent need to address the health effects of climate change. Too often, the health impacts of climate are left out of the conversation. In the new National Climate Assessment, the message is clear: climate change threatens our ability to protect our communities, especially those most vulnerable, against the dangers of air pollution, increased allergens, extreme weather, and wildfire. We must meet the climate challenge now if we want to protect the health of millions of Americans living with asthma and other lung diseases, as well as children, seniors, low income and minority communities. This Assessment comes on the heels of the American Lung Association’s most recent 2014 State of the Air report that found that nearly half of the people in the United States (147.6 million) live in counties with unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution, nearly 16 million more than in the last report. The “State of the Air” report confirms that warmer temperatures increased ozone pollution in large areas across the United States. For example, of the 25 metro areas most polluted by ozone, 22 had worse ozone problems including Los Angeles, Houston, Washington-Baltimore, Las Vegas, Phoenix, New York City, Cincinnati, Chicago, and Philadelphia in large part due to heat waves in 2010 and 2012. Drought and wildfires threaten communities with clouds of dust and smoke that can shorten life. Extreme weather events leave families living in damp homes, inhaling moldy debris and soot as they recover. Longer pollen seasons release allergens that can worsen asthma and other lung diseases. As we see on-going record-setting drought in the West and recent record-breaking rain in the East, we know that these changes already exist. They can get worse. As a nation, we have a very important choice to make. Placing first-ever limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants is a vital step to prevent the worst effects of climate change. We cannot allow politics and pressure from polluters to slow clean-up of carbon pollution. Unless we adopt strong carbon standards, the National Climate Assessment shows that reducing air pollution and protecting our families and our neighbors will become even more challenging.

Natural Resources Defense Council president Frances Beinecke:

Our leading scientists send a stark message: Climate change is already seriously disrupting our lives, hurting our health and damaging our economy,” Beinecke said. “If we don’t slam the brakes on the carbon pollution driving climate change, we’re dooming ourselves and our children to more intense heat waves, destructive floods and storms, and surging sea levels. Fortunately, the Obama Administration is taking action – by setting standards for cleaner more efficient cars and, within weeks, by issuing the first-ever nationwide limits on carbon pollution from our existing power plants. Cleaning up the air is a win-win: It can create thousands of jobs, expand energy efficiency and lower electric bills while improving public health. That’s the climate legacy we can, and must, leave future generations.

Natural Resources Defense Council health and environment program senior scientist Kim Knowlton, co-author of the Human Health Chapter:

This report shows how climate change’s effects are now firmly in the present, posing threats to our health—and that of our children, and their children. Rising temperatures increase the frequency and intensity of dangerous heat waves, worsen illnesses like asthma, contribute to the spread of insects that carry infectious diseases, and fuel more dangerous storms and flooding. We have important opportunities now to limit climate change’s worst effects by cutting carbon emissions. At same time, we can prepare to deal with what’s happening now, and for what’s coming, to protect communities and people.

Union of Concerned Scientists Climate and Energy Program director of government affairs Robert Cowin:

The stakes keep getting higher as emissions increase and as scientists learn more about the risks of climate change. The report clearly outlines the need to make climate resilience a national priority. We’re already feeling the impact of climate change and the costs are formidable. Ideally, we’d have a price on carbon to reduce emissions and help pay for climate resilience measures. In the meantime, Congress can do more to make infrastructure and industry less vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather.

World Resources Institute U.S. Climate Initiative director Kevin Kennedy:

The National Climate Assessment brings to light new and stronger evidence of how climate change is already having widespread impacts across the United States. The report confirms what numerous scientific authorities have been saying: climate change is fundamentally altering our nation’s environment and poses a significant threat to our health and our economy. Thankfully, there are solutions available if leaders act quickly to tackle climate change head on. Further delay will only accelerate climate change and raise the costs of addressing its impacts. Next month, the Obama administration is expected to take a critical step forward by introducing the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants. Power plants produce one-third of U.S. emissions and represent the greatest opportunity for the U.S. to drive down its emissions. This will be a major – though not the only – step along the way to put America on course for a safer, low-carbon future.

World Wildlife Fund vice president for climate change Lou Leonard:

Often we consider climate change tomorrow’s problem, but this report reads like it was ripped from today’s headlines. The assessment paints the clearest picture yet that extreme weather and climate disruption are already here, impacting communities across America, and it’s not pretty. If we want to avoid the dangerous future predicted in this report, we need to start today by doing two things: use the information in the report to prepare our communities for these risks; and change the way our country chooses and uses energy. The Administration’s work to set new standards for old, dirty power plants is a key step toward a renewable energy future and puts our nation on the road to meeting President Obama’s mid-century goal of reducing emissions by 80%. This isn’t a typical climate report. Over the past several years, experts from around the country have contributed to and led its creation: local university professors, experts from state and local agriculture and water resources agencies, and leaders from the private sector. The report was created by America’s best and we need to use it to protect America’s communities and natural wonders. In addition to addressing current and future impacts to our climate and oceans, this is the first national assessment that details response strategies, including the need to avoid the most extreme impacts by rapidly driving down emissions of greenhouse gases. The next steps couldn’t be clearer. We need to use this practical report as a guidebook for preparing local communities for extreme weather and other climate impacts. At the same time, we need to transform the way we produce and use energy, leaving dirty coal, oil and gas behind. There is no time to lose. The longer we wait, the more costs and suffering we will endure.

Connecting the Dots: Flooding, Global Warming, Floodplain (Mis)Management, & National Legislation 5

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 09 Jul 2009 15:00:00 GMT

The United States is getting more heavy storms and major floods these days. Global warming is partly to blame for these heavy rainfall events. Warmer air simply can hold more moisture, so heavier precipitation is expected in the years to come.

National Wildlife Federation will release “Increased Flooding Risk: Global Warming’s Wake-Up Call for Riverfront Communities,” a mini-report detailing:
  • How global warming has caused more heavy rainfall events
  • America’s over-reliance on levees and other strategies for taming rivers
  • Communities that are on the frontlines
  • What must be done to confront the realities of global warming

Perspectives will be provided regarding the latest scientific research on global warming and flooding, the national flood insurance program, and recommendations for how to cope with projected changes and how to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.

Call 1-800-944-8766 pin 39227# just before 11 a.m. (Eastern)

Speakers
  • Dr. Amanda Staudt, climate scientist, National Wildlife Federation
  • David Conrad, senior resource specialist, National Wildlife Federation, Conservation Programs
  • Dr. Will Gosnold, University of North Dakota, professor of Geophysics, Chair of the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering

Dr. Staudt will talk about the latest science on heavy rainfall and increased flooding risk.

Mr. Conrad will talk about what needs to be fixed in national flood insurance program, so that we don’t make the situation even worse.

Dr. Gosnold will explain why flood protection plans should take the implications of more frequent and extreme floods into account, based on his more than 20 years of studying climate change.

Contact: Aileo Weinmann, National Wildlife Federation, 202-538-5038 cell, weinmanna@nwf.org

Environmental Coalition on Baucus-Grassley: 'Pass Clean Energy Incentives; Strip out Provisions that Support Dirty Fuels' 3

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 18 Sep 2008 20:25:00 GMT

A coalition of 16 environmental organizations (and the League of Women Voters) is sending a joint letter to U.S. Senators indicating a joint position on the Baucus-Grassley tax extenders package (H.R. 6049). They write:
On behalf of our millions of members and activists, we urge Congress to pass the clean energy tax incentives included in the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 and strip the bill of incentives for dirty fossil fuels. Congress should take this opportunity to promote a new energy economy and begin the fight against global warming, and not reward the big oil and dirty coal industries.

The organizations are the Alaska Wilderness League, Audubon, the Center for International Environmental Law, Clean Water Action, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Environment America, the Environmental Defense Fund, Friends of the Earth, League of Conservation Voters, League of Women Voters of the United States, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, The Wilderness Society, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The National Wildlife Federation, because of the “sweeping new federal subsidies for oil shale, tar sands and liquid coal refining,” “dirty fuels that will dramatically increase global warming pollution and threaten millions of acres of wildlife habitat,” is sending a letter in unambiguous opposition to Baucus-Grassley.

The text of both letters is after the jump.

September 18, 2008

Pass Clean Energy Incentives; Strip out Provisions that Support Dirty Fuels

Dear Senator,

On behalf of our millions of members and activists, we urge Congress to pass the clean energy tax incentives included in the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 and strip the bill of incentives for dirty fossil fuels. Congress should take this opportunity to promote a new energy economy and begin the fight against global warming, and not reward the big oil and dirty coal industries.

The bill would extend federal tax incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies that have expired or will expire at the end of this year. These incentives must be extended immediately to avoid significant harm to the developing clean energy industries in the United States. The technologies produced by these industries play a vital role in reducing global warming pollution, creating new high-wage jobs in our country, and saving consumers and businesses money on their energy bills.

The extensions would help consumers and businesses reduce their energy consumption immediately, and in so doing blunt the impact of high energy bills. The greater use of energy efficiency and renewable energy spurred by extending the incentives would also decrease demand for natural gas, which in turn would help reduce natural gas prices. High natural gas prices are putting significant upward pressure on inflation and consumer energy bills. The incentives will help create new high-wage jobs in the clean energy technology sector and help the U.S. gain ground on other countries that are already ahead of us in the development and deployment of clean energy technologies.

The renewable energy and efficiency provisions have broad support from the nation’s largest retailers, leading appliance makers, commercial real estate industry, home insulators, architect association, the solar industry, biomass industry, wind industry, and environmental groups. However, the bill currently contains several controversial provisions on dirty fuels that we urge Congress to strip before the bill becomes law. These dirty liquid fuel provisions in the bill would be a major setback in efforts to solve global warming. Extraction of these fuels – tar sands, oil shale and liquid coal – can produce more than twice the amount of global warming pollution as conventional oil. Supporting these fuels through tax incentives is completely at odds with mandatory carbon reductions that we expect Congress will enact in the near future.

The “Refinery Expensing” provision in the bill promotes the production of oil shale and tar sands fuels. This provision expands the Internal Revenue Code Section 179C tax credit to refinery property that is used to directly convert oil shale and tar sands into liquid transportation fuels. The extraction, refining and combustion of oil from shale is likely to generate upwards of four times more greenhouse gasses than conventional fuels and would be mined from some of our most precious wildlands in the Rocky Mountain West.

Tar sands oil from Canada is being extracted from the heart of Canada’s Boreal forest, one of the last large intact ecosystems on Earth. The devastating extraction process turns the pristine forest into a moonscape. Tar sands could be produced in the Western United States as well. Canadian tar sands oil already is being refined in refineries in the Midwest and Rockies regions and makes up 8% of the fuel use in our country. Of the half dozen U.S. refinery expansions in the permitting stage, most are multi-billion dollar expansions to take more tar sands oil from Canada. Supporting these refinery expansions through the tax code will impose high costs on taxpayers when oil companies operating in the tar sands are making record profits.

Provisions that incentivize liquid coal are also problematic. Relying on liquid coal would nearly double the global warming pollution per gallon of transportation fuels and increase the damage of coal mining to communities and ecosystems across the country. This fuel has yet to emerge as a significant transportation fuel in the United States and is not a viable fuel in a world where carbon must be reduced. Congress should therefore not provide any support to the development of liquid coal.

Extending the clean energy tax incentives would maintain the growth of energy efficiency and renewable energy industries, which are essential to reducing global warming pollution. We urge you to support clean energy incentives and strip the dirty fuels provisions before the bill is sent to the president. Sincerely,
Karen Wayland, Legislative Director
Natural Resources Defense Council

Tiernan Sittenfeld, Legislative Director
League of Conservation Voters

Cindy Shogan, Executive Director
Alaska Wilderness League

Jennifer S. Rennicks, Federal Policy Director
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Betsy Loyless,
Audubon

Shawnee Hoover, Legislative Director
Friends of the Earth

Marty Hayden, V.P. Policy and Legislation
Earthjustice
Lynn Thorp, National Campaigns Coordinator
Clean Water Action

Linda Lance, Vice-President for Public Policy
The Wilderness Society

Debbie Sease, National Campaign Director
Sierra Club

Elizabeth Thompson, Legislative Director
Environmental Defense Fund

Steve Porter, Director of Climate Programs
Center for International Environmental Law

Marchant Wentworth, Legislative Representative
Union of Concerned Scientists

Anna Aurilio, Director, Washington Office
Environment America

Judy Duffy, Advocacy Director
League of Women Voters of the United States

Robert Dewey, V.P. Government Relations Defenders of Wildlife

NWF:

Dear Senator: On behalf of our four million members and supporters and the hundreds of thousands of hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts in our ranks, we write in opposition to the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (H.R. 6049). While we strongly favor the critical extensions of incentives for conservation and renewable energy we oppose H.R. 6049 because it includes substantial new subsidies for dirty fuels that will dramatically increase global warming pollution and threaten millions of acres of wildlife habitat. The clean energy tax incentives have passed both the Senate and House several times, and we applaud the Senate’s efforts to move these into law. Unfortunately, by including sweeping new federal subsidies for oil shale, tar sands and liquid coal refining, the bill no longer represents the kind of progress America needs to confront global warming. We specifically oppose:

Refinery Incentives for Oil Shale & Tar Sands: The “Refinery Expensing” provision in the bill promotes the production of oil shale and tar sands fuels. This provision expands the Internal Revenue Code Section 179C tax credit to refinery property that is used to directly convert oil shale and tar sands into liquid transportation fuels.

Oil shale development would put at risk millions of acres of wildlife habitat throughout the Rocky Mountain West important to hunters, anglers and other wildlife enthusiasts. Moreover, producing transportation fuels from oil shale and tar sands would dramatically increase global warming pollution.

Oil shale production is five times more CO2 intensive than conventional drilling and gasoline production. The United States cannot change course on its rising global warming pollution levels while quintupling the CO2 in our tanks.

A viable shale industry would also have significant direct impacts on wildlife, and inevitably collide with consumer water needs in the arid West. Shale production requires five gallons of water to produce one gallon of fuel, and the vast majority of shale is located in arid states with limited water resources. The federal government reports that a viable shale industry would consume upwards of 315 million gallons of water daily – 130 percent of the City of Denver’s daily water use. Combined with the massive disturbance of land and habitat caused by shale extraction, this fuel presents a grave risk to sensitive wildlife habitat in the Rocky Mountain West.

Tar sands production is four times more CO2 intensive than conventional drilling and gasoline production. Tar sands also threaten wildlife habitat as they are currently being mined from Canada’s boreal forest, and could be produced in the Western United States as well. Of the half dozen U.S. refinery expansions in the permitting stage, most are multi-billion dollar expansions to take more tar sands oil from Canada. Supporting these refinery expansions through the tax code will impose high costs on taxpayers when oil companies operating in the tar sands are making record profits.

Incentives for Liquid Coal: the “Carbon Capture and Sequestration Demonstration Projects” and the “Extension and Expansion of the Alternative Fuels Credit” would promote coal to liquid transportation fuels. The production and use of coal-based transportation fuels would more than double the global warming pollution per gallon as compared to conventional gasoline. It would also increase the devastating effects of coal mining felt by communities and wildlife stretching from Appalachia to the Rocky Mountains.

NWF strongly supports provisions in the bill that would extend federal tax incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies that have expired or will expire at the end of this year. These incentives must be extended immediately to avoid significant harm to the developing clean energy industries in the United States. The technologies produced by these industries play a vital role in reducing global warming pollution, creating new high-wage jobs here at home, and saving consumers and businesses money on their energy bills.

The extensions would blunt the impact of high energy bills by encouraging greater use of energy efficiency and renewable energy, and therefore decrease demand for natural gas. High natural gas prices are putting significant upward pressure on inflation and consumer energy bills.

However, the increased global warming pollution and destruction of important wildlife habitat that would result from the oil shale, tar sands, and CTL provisions in H.R.6049 outweigh the benefits of these clean energy incentives. The United States cannot change course on its rising global warming pollution levels while dramatically increasing the CO2 in our tanks. We therefore regrettably urge opposition to the bill.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Larry Schweiger
President & CEO
National Wildlife Federation

NWF Opposes "All Of The Above" Bill; LCV Opposes Even More Industry-Friendly Motion To Recommit 4

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 16 Sep 2008 20:00:00 GMT

As votes near this evening on the “all of the above” Democratic energy package (H.R. 6899), National Wildlife Federation president Larry Schweiger sent a letter to Congress opposing the bill because it lifts the oil shale moratorium. He writes:
The public, including National Wildlife Federation’s four million members and supporters, wants Congress to take the urgent and necessary steps that will give consumers better energy choices, cut oil dependency and cut global warming pollution. While we favor many provisions in the Comprehensive American Energy Security and Taxpayer Protection Act (H.R. 6899), especially when compared to the expected motion to recommit, we oppose the bill because of its provision allowing commercial oil shale leasing. As a result of this provision, the bill fails to address the fundamental challenge of avoiding significant new increases in global warming pollution and protecting important wildlife habitat on our public lands.
League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski issued the following statement opposing the Republican motion to recommit:
Drilling is no longer the issue – unfortunately, both H.R. 6899 and the motion to recommit include drilling. The issue today is whether or not each Member of Congress will stand up for the American people or stand with the oil industry lobbyists.

All summer, Republicans have called for an ‘All of the Above’ plan on energy. Now, presented with a compromise that gives them everything they’ve asked for, the Republican leadership refuses to support it. Instead, they offer a motion to recommit, which will remove every provision from the bill that Big Oil doesn’t like: provisions that reduce tax breaks to Big Oil and extend them to renewable energy companies, increase efficiency, and create the first national renewable energy standard.

How each member votes will highlight the real differences between those in Congress who support clean energy as central to America’s energy future, and those who remain tied to big oil and want to keep us stuck in the past. LCV opposes the motion to recommit and calls on the Members of Congress who support it to stop working for the oil companies and start working for the American people.

NWF: "Train of Storms is Symptomatic of a New Era of Stronger Storms" 8

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 03 Sep 2008 21:56:00 GMT

In a news release, the National Wildlife Federation’s climatologist Amanda Staudt warns that “this hurricane season is a stark reminder of what science tells us to expect from a new era of stronger hurricanes fueled by global warming: higher wind speeds, more precipitation, and bigger storm surge in the coming decades.”

Scientific findings she notes:
  • “The big picture is that global warming is allowing hurricanes to pack a bigger punch. Over this century, windspeeds could increase 13 percent and rainfall could increase 31 percent.”
  • “Even storms that do not reach category 3 and above will hit harder because they will likely bring more rain than a similar storm would have just a few decades ago. It is a law of physics that warmer air is able to carry more water.”
  • “Both Tropical Storm Fay and Hurricane Gustav brought costly flooding, with rainfall totals exceeding 10 inches in some locations. As the remnants of Gustav continue to bring heavy rains, much of the lower Mississippi valley remains under flood watch.”

“We must restore the coastal wetlands, lowlands, and barrier islands that provide the first line of defense against hurricanes,” advises Dr. Staudt. “For example, about half of the wetlands around New Orleans have been lost in recent years. Because scientists estimate that every mile of healthy wetlands can trim about 3-9 inches off a storm surge – and an acre of wetlands is estimated to reduce hurricane damage by $3,300 – we must restore these wetlands.”

For more, read the full NWF report on the influence of global warming on the destruction caused by tropical storms.

National Wildlife Federation: Fay's Floods Are A 'Wake Up Call' 1

Posted by Wonk Room Fri, 22 Aug 2008 17:35:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.

The National Wildlife Federation, which has been warning that global warming is worsening wildfires and floods, describes the triple threat of global warming-fueled tropical storms in a new report:
While Florida and Gulf Coast residents bear the brunt of Tropical Storm Fay, the latest science connecting hurricanes and global warming suggests more is yet to come: tropical storms are likely to bring higher wind speeds, more precipitation, and bigger storm surge in the coming decades.

Watch it:

As Dr. Staudt writes in the report, “Stronger hurricanes, heavier rainfall, and rising sea level: this is what global warming has in store for the U.S. Gulf and Atlantic coasts.”

NWF Campaign Targets 50 House Lawmakers 3

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 13 Nov 2007 21:38:00 GMT

The National Wildlife Federation has launched a campaign to get a total of 218 sponsors for the Waxman (HR 1590, equivalent to Boxer-Sanders) or the Olver-Gilchrest (HR 620, equivalent to McCain-Lieberman) cap-and-trade climate bills. The two bills combined have 170 co-sponsors. NWF is targeting what they call The Final Fifty, fifty legislators who have not co-sponsored either bill.

NWF at Power Shift on Cap-and-Auction 2

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 07 Nov 2007 22:44:00 GMT

At the National Wildlife Federation table at Power Shift Youth Summit:

Q: Does the National Wildlife Federation support the idea of a cap and auction system?

A: Yeah, we’ve been working for a number of years on supporting the best cap-and-trade system possible. We support 100% auction of credits, or if there is distribution, there should only be distribution for public benefit, and want to see good legislation come out of Congress. Our time for strong action is rapidly dwindling and want to see the best legislation we can possibly pass as soon as we can possibly pass it.