The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
As governments on every level begin to face the multiple threats that climate change pose, policymakers have debated the most effective method to curb greenhouse gas emissions. States and cities have experimented with cap-and-trade programs, regulatory schemes and varying ways to spur renewable energy growth.
Boulder, Colo. embarked on one such climate experiment in 2007, when it became what is believed to be the the first municipality in the country to adopt a climate change tax.
When environmental advocates started selling cheap solar power to a church in Greensboro, N.C., five months ago, they did it to test the state’s ban on non-utility providers of renewable energy. But now the state’s largest utility, Duke Energy, is fighting back.
As state regulators review the controversial case, the battle lines are clearly drawn. Advocates at North Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network (NC WARN) and members of Faith Community Church support policy change. Duke Energy has responded by asking regulators to impose a stiff financial penalty against NC WARN that could threaten to shut down the organization.
New Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first full day in office will be greeted by hundreds of climate activists who plan to gather at his residence in Ottawa starting Thursday. The protesters will urge the new leader to take an aggressive stance on global warming—starting with halting the expansion of the Alberta tar sands.
It should surprise no one that it took a court order to get the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to begin implementing a wider ban on the insecticide chlorpyrifos, a nerve toxin known to cause a range of serious health problems in people – especially children.
Though pesticide manufacturers, allied agricultural interests and their political pals strive mightily to portray the American regulatory apparatus as overly aggressive, the truth is that we are slow to inconvenience companies that make, sell and apply poisons throughout the environment. This may be especially true in agriculture.
On pesticide regulation in particular, EPA has compiled a record whose hallmarks are delay, missed deadlines and years-long backlogs.
President Obama rejected TransCanada’s permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, ending a years-long fight that helped reinvigorate the environmental movement and slow the momentum of fossil fuel ambitions in North America.
The State Department, which has been reviewing TransCanada’s permit application, decided the pipeline “would not serve the national interest of the United States,” Obama said during a press conference at the White House, adding “I agree with that decision.”
Samples of permafrost soil from deep below the ground in an Alaskan tunnel are providing new clues in the quest to understand what exactly happens as northern regions of the world warm and begin to thaw. FSU doctoral student Travis Drake and Florida State University Assistant Professor in Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences Robert Spencer write in a new paper that permafrost organic material is so biodegradable that as soon as it thaws, the carbon is almost immediately consumed by single-cell organisms called microbes and then released back into the air as carbon dioxide, feeding the global climate cycle.
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2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
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