Archive for December 2009
As 2010begins major GHG emitters face tough reporting requirements from the Environmental Protection Agency that start on Jan. 1.
In addition the agency ended the year by wrapping-up final regulations that slap stringent emission control standards on ocean vessels and marine diesel engines. The rule was proposed in July and applies to U.S. freighters, tankers, container vessels and passenger ships.
It also harmonizes U.S. regulations with international standards for all ships.
Vessel diesel emissions are a major source of pollution in port areas, and stronger standards will help make large ships “cleaner and more efficient, and protect millions of Americans from harmful diesel emissions,” says EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.
The desire is there but not the political savvy, economic ability and the collective will to get a comprehensive and binding global agreement in place. Meanwhile the polar ice caps melt, the oceans continue to rise and degrade, the garbage mounts, species disappear, the oil majors play us like violins with their pricing strategies and Big Coal keeps dirtying the air while destroying mountains and streams.
But the climate talks in Copenhagen narrowly avoided a “complete breakdown,” as President Obama said in a broadcast interview Wednesday, and that’s slightly better than nothing. “People are justified in being disappointed about the outcome,” He acknowledged.
What happens next could turn the initial disappointment and frustration around.
So in the spirit of the season and because I think it’s important and worth preserving, here’s the text of President Obama’s speech in Copenhagen:
The Washington State Algae Alliance, which includes two bioscience firms and the Washington State University, is set to receive $2 million from funding provisions in the 2010 Senate Energy and Water Development appropriations bill.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) was instrumental in securing the funding for the Alliance, which will jointly develop a new algae-based system for the production of sustainable and renewable fuels, chemicals, and chemical intermediates.
While the Copenhagen climate change summit appears destined to dissolve in about the disheartening but expected way that usually occurs when nations, diplomats, scientists and special interests start talking about serious and expensive change, there is some hope coming from another UN body.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is moving on a couple of climate change and food security fronts, including the launch of a multi-donor program to support sustainable, low-emission agriculture practices in developing nations.
FAO announced that Finland, the first country to participate in this program, will kick-in $3.9 million over the 2010-2011 period. A paltry sum indeed but it’s a start and the agency intends to approach other potential donors for further funding under the five-year initiative.
On a separate track, FAO is hooking up with Brazil on a large-scale project to collect data on emissions and deforestation.
From my corner of the universe: The Environmental Protection Agency is doling out more than $16 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to various Pacific Northwest agencies for projects designed to reduce diesel emissions in Washington State.
The projects include the installation of a shore power system at a Tacoma terminal and retrofit and replacement programs for vessels, trucks and rail.
We knew this already but with one bold stroke the Obama administration can now take decisive steps to quell polluting emissions no matter the outcome of the Copenhagen summit or what the Inhofes of the world ignorantly believe: Greenhouse gases are a threat to the environment and public health.
That “endangerment finding” from the Environmental Protection Agency Monday prepares the way for strict regulations to reduce GHG emissions from industrial plants and from the transportation industry.
EPA’s announcement sends a sharp signal to the world that the Obama administration is serious about addressing climate change on both the world stage and within its own borders. It also tells the U.S. Congress that the administration is prepared to contain global warming without congressional action if necessary. It raises the stakes for clean vehicle and cleantech development and also adds another brick in the wall to support rapid congressional approval of comprehensive health care reform.
More importantly the EPA finding goes beyond mere words and underscores a firm break with the policies and inaction of the past decade or so.
Rounding out the top 10 were: POET (#2), Amyris Biotechnologies (#3), BP Biofuels (#4), Sapphire Energy (#5) Coskata (#6), DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol (#7), LS9 (#8), Verenium (#9) and Mascoma (#10).
The rankings were based 50 percent on votes from a 75-member panel of international selectors, and 50 percent on votes from subscribers of Biofuels Digest.