Environment

3D Bedding Sets From Beddinginn.com Available Online Now

PR Web - Tue, 11/11/2014 - 18:47

Beddinginn.com has released its assortment of 3D bedding sets. Moreover, the business has also launched its Black Friday sales of 3D bedding sets.

(PRWeb November 11, 2014)

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Categories: Environment

SEIA Embraces Efforts to Double Renewables Worldwide by 2030

PR Web - Tue, 11/11/2014 - 18:47

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), along with other U.S. renewable power industries, today hailed the goal announced at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing of...

(PRWeb November 11, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/11/prweb12317981.htm

Categories: Environment

Bison Mating Observations Fall Short of Predicting Reproductive...

PR Web - Tue, 11/11/2014 - 18:47

Most mammal reproduction studies aim to not only discover who the fathers are but also to learn why some males sire more offspring than others. Over eight years, the authors of an article featured in...

(PRWeb November 11, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/Mammalogy/11/prweb12308659.htm

Categories: Environment

WaterSmart issues 1 Millionth Home Water Report

PR Web - Tue, 11/11/2014 - 18:47

Commemoration donation to Central Valley Drought Relief Fund

(PRWeb November 11, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/11/prweb12316774.htm

Categories: Environment

How the GOP-run Senate could ruin global climate action here and abroad

Grist.org - Tue, 11/11/2014 - 18:42

After last week’s midterm elections, the Senate is set to be packed with a brand new crop of Republican climate change deniers. They’ll supplement the GOP’s old guard of science skeptics, including Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and James Inhofe (Okla.), who will likely become chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee.

One of the major repercussions of the GOP’s Senate takeover could actually play out overseas, at next winter’s United Nations climate summit in Paris. The Paris meeting is meant to be a forum for countries — especially big polluters such as the United States, the European Union, China, and India — to hammer out an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help poorer countries adapt to global warming.

President Obama has already signaled that his team in Paris will push for an agreement that is not legally binding — unlike the Kyoto Protocol, the last major climate treaty, which the U.S. never ratified — so as to bypass the need for congressional approval. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be other opportunities for the Senate’s new climate denial caucus to shake up the negotiating process — specifically, by attempting to block Obama’s plan to use the Environmental Protection Agency to slash carbon emissions.

The highest hurdle in negotiations like this is something David Doniger of the Natural Resources Defense Council calls “a vicious cycle of finger-pointing,” wherein no country wants to commit to something that the other big polluters can’t, or won’t, commit to. After all, because climate change is a global problem, a climate treaty makes sense only if all the biggest carbon polluters are on board. That means that unless the international community is confident the U.S. will follow through on aggressive climate policies, other countries will be unlikely take meaningful actions to fight global warming.

Climate legislation is a non-starter in the GOP-controlled Congress. Instead, what Obama’s negotiating team will bring to the table in Paris is the president’s plan to use new EPA rules to cut carbon pollution from power plants and vehicles. If the Paris talks do produce an international carbon-cutting agreement, it would likely entail the U.S. and other countries successfully implementing plans like this. So the fate Obama’s EPA rules is a litmus test; it will show whether the U.S. can credibly commit to climate action. And if the U.S. can’t pony up, you can hardly expect China or India to do so.

The Republican leadership has made no secret of the fact that it will be launching an all-out war on Obama’s climate policies; McConnell, who will soon be the majority leader, has said his top priority next year is “to do whatever I can to get the EPA reined in.”

“Anything that undermines the president’s ability to follow through on his climate plan will undermine Paris,” said Jake Schmidt, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s international program. “We expect a full frontal attack from some in the Republican party.”

The power plant regulations, known as the Clean Power Plan, don’t require congressional approval to move forward — in the last decade the EPA has won a series of Supreme Court battles allowing it to use the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. But there are plenty of ways for the Senate to erode international confidence, even before an agreement is drafted.

William Antholis, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, says that the GOP now has a much louder megaphone for its opposition to Obama’s climate initiatives.

“You’ll have a stereophonic response from the Hill,” Antholis said. “We’ll be hearing from both houses their unhappiness with Obama’s plan.”

In a recent blog post, he explained that Republicans could go after the EPA’s funding:

Republican control of the Senate, in particular, would likely lead to more intrusive and time consuming hearings on the EPA, its funding, and the nature of climate regulations. There could be increased efforts to defund the EPA. House and Senate Republicans could make another attempt to strip the EPA of its authority to regulate greenhouse gases … The President could be faced with an unfunded or poorly funded EPA, not to mention large congressional delegations of Republicans on the sidelines in Paris. This would undermine the faith of other climate diplomats.

Additionally, Congress could block appropriations for the U.S.’s contribution to the Green Climate Fund, a U.N.-administered account for climate adaptation in developing countries to which the Obama administration is expected to announce a pledge by the end of the month. This would again send the signal that the U.S. is not as committed to climate action as it is asking other big emitters to be.

One of the most oft-touted excuses politicians use to sidestep climate action is that it’s pointless without similar commitments from China and India. But undermining the EPA is a surefire way to reduce the chances of action by those countries. “Anyone who proposes to block the Clean Power Plan needs to explain how that will encourage China to do its part,” says Doniger.

The upshot is that the weaker Obama appears to be in the run-up to Paris, the weaker you can expect a final agreement to be.

This story was produced as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.


Filed under: Article, Climate & Energy, Politics
Categories: Environment

David Roberts explains postmodern conservatism in 36 tweets

Grist.org - Tue, 11/11/2014 - 18:42

A case that the Supreme Court just agreed to hear is a crucial turning point in the American conservative movement’s ability to assert that black is white and up is down, David Roberts recently argued in a stream of tweets. The case, known as “Halbig,” is a legal challenge to Obamacare. It asserts that, by virtue of what amounts to a typo — one section of the law carelessly refers to “an Exchange established by the State” — all health insurance exchanges must be established by states, i.e., federally established exchanges are illegitimate. That is an inversion of what the law’s authors intended. If the court sides with the plaintiffs, Obamacare will be crippled.

Hilarious watching conservatives argue, not only that the card says Moops, but that Moops is the right answer. Postmodernism lives.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

1. Right has systematically and progressively destroyed the very notion of a nonpartisan arbiter of information.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

2. The implications are epistemologically radical, but it has taken the right a while to truly embrace them. Held back by unspoken norms.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

3. The Halbig argument, in my mind, marks the point at which the right finally & completely embraced postmodernism.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

4. It’s like pointing to an apple and saying, "this is an orange." It takes practice to train your mind to be able to do it.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

5. You have to convince yourself, not so much that an apple is an orange, but that there is no such thing as what the object "really" is.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

6. Or rather, that on the question of what the object is, there are *only* competing answers — no objective fact of the matter.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

7. As you get used to thinking this way, you get more bold, moving from highly contestable interpretations to flat matters of fact.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

8. Halbig is endpoint of that process: arguing that a law says something that literally everyone involved knows it doesn’t.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

9. The key is just to brazen it out, to be unaffected by social disapprobation or scolding.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

10. The right has realized that if you just brazen it out, there’s no authority that can "settle the argument." No ref to make the call.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

11. In this way every dispute, even over matters of fact, becomes a contest of power — loudest, best funded, most persistent voices win.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

12. Most on left are congenitally unable to think this way; still vulnerable to scolding, to exhortations to "be reasonable" from VSPs.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

13. Danger for the right, obviously, is that once you lose your mooring to nonpartisan epistemological standards, you are at sea.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

14. There are no signs or markers against which to steer. Epistemology becomes competing tantrums. Projection & reality blur.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

15. You start thinking you really can "make your own reality," forgetting there’s anything rigid in the world that can’t be wished away.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

16. It can be a successful short-term political strategy, but governing a country that way is disastrous, as history repeatedly shows.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

17. The dilemma the left faces: Cling to standards of reason & discourse the other side rejects, or "join 'em" — fight the same way.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

18. Clinging to standards just seems to lead to sputtering losses. But jettisoning them leads to law of the jungle - fight left can’t win.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

19. Default hope among smarter lefties seems to be that right’s strategy will just burn itself out - but it doesn’t seem to be happening.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

20. Idea that tech+sci advanced society could be dragged down by what is effectively a large-scale cult seems unthinkable.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

21. And I mean "unthinkable" literally — media/political elites do not allow themselves to consider it. Cling to idea of normal politics.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

22. But it’s time to start thinking it. Can’t let the ship sink while we insist, "everything’s fine, this will work itself out."


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

23. Problem is, every institution & practice in US politics is designed *not* to acknowledge radical break in politics. Designed for normal.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

24. Hard to even envision, at this point, what it would look like for elites to say, "enough." The both-sides mentality is so fundamental…


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

25. I trust it’s obvious how all this applies to climate change, but 25 is probably long enough for a tweet essay.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

Oh hell, 26. Problem is, this is not a quirk of the American right but a feature of conservative psychology more broadly.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

27. Modern science is all about probabilities; modern global problems all about uncertainties and risks.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

28. But conservative psychology is notoriously averse to ambiguity. Likes clean lines, hierarchy, clear divisions of good & evil.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

29. IOW, the very nature of global, interconnected, complex modern life rubs conservatives the wrong way (& will more & more).


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

30. So there will only be increasing impetus for cons to retreat into fantasy, into simple morality tales & ideological truisms.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

31. And simple morality tales will always yield more motivated, organized constituencies than "it’s complicated" ever will.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

32. All of this is why I think the Halbig fight is a kind of rubicon. If right can brazen through this, that’s it -- no restraints left.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

33. If US right is unique, it is only in that structure of US gov’t makes it virtually impossible for citizens to assign responsibility.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

34. See: the way the right’s nihilistic oppositionalism has redounded entirely to Obama’s detriment. Low-info voters can’t untangle.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

35. It’s really difficult to see how these trendlines stop or reverse, absent some serious exogenous shock.


David Roberts (@drgrist) November 09, 2014

 


Filed under: Article, Politics
Categories: Environment

Will China help Obama save the planet?

Grist.org - Tue, 11/11/2014 - 18:33

Without active leadership from China and the United States — the world’s biggest economies and carbon emitters — there’s little hope of reaching a global deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at next year’s big climate summit in Paris. That’s why President Barack Obama’s visit to Beijing this week for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit is shaping up to be a big deal for the fight against global warming.

Climate change is, of course, just one part of Obama’s complex agenda in China. But policy experts say his one-on-one meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday could provide much-needed momentum, potentially signaling to the world the extent to which both countries are willing to slash their carbon pollution.

“It is key we get the Chinese on board before Paris,” said Tim Boersma, an energy security analyst with the Brookings Institution. “And whomever comes up with the formula will have produced a brilliant policy move.”

Obama is hoping it’s his team that comes up with the goods. This week’s talks will build on a series of efforts by the two countries to cooperate on climate policy, says Elliot Diringer, the executive vice president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and a former White House senior environmental policy adviser.

“The success of Paris rests very heavily on U.S. and Chinese participation, there’s no question,” he said, adding that Obama’s team “has worked hard to be a consistent partner” to the Chinese. According to Diringer, the hard work has “helped pay off in some renewed trust.”

That trust — basically telling each other “we’re serious, if you are” — seems to be growing. In 2013, U.S. and Chinese leaders signed a bilateral agreement to reduce HFCs, a family of powerful greenhouse gases used in heavy industry. There has also been cooperation on energy security at the highest levels of both governments. The U.S.-China Oil and Gas Industry Forum, sponsored the two countries’ governments, has been meeting for the last 13 years. In 2009, Obama and then-President Hu Jintao announced an agreement to develop China’s immense shale gas resources, conceived in part as a way to help break China’s coal addiction and reduce emissions.

Now, world leaders are hoping to replace the expired Kyoto agreement to curb greenhouse gases with a new treaty that will be negotiated in Paris. Much is unknown about what form the final agreement will take, but a key first step is for individual countries to make declarations about how much they are willing to cut their emissions. The European Union has already come forward with its proposal: Last month, E.U. members agreed to slash emissions by 40 percent by 2030, a figure that environmental groups criticized as not being ambitious enough.

Analysts don’t expect any similarly big announcements to come out of Obama’s meetings in Beijing this week. But Diringer anticipates the countries will privately exchange important information on their intended targets and wait until the end of March to publicly announce how much they intend to cut. “I’d expect a bit of show and tell, but no direct negotiation or deal or target levels,” he added.

Even small maneuvers at such a high-profile meeting can send big signals to the international community, especially if Washington and Beijing publicly commit to getting their emissions targets on the table well in advance of the Paris meeting. Simply putting out a statement outlining a timetable would be a big deal. “A joint declaration by the world’s two largest carbon emitters that they will put ambitious numbers on the table would inject additional momentum heading into Paris,” Diringer said.

As part of its argument for closer climate ties and stronger action, Obama’s team is highlighting an issue the Chinese are already extremely sensitive to: air pollution. Smog routinely blankets Chinese cities, and the environmental crisis has become a political emergency as Chinese officials worry about the potential for escalating social unrest. The issue has already spurred action: China has begun pushing coal-fired power plants out of major cities and is working on plans for a massive, nationwide cap-and-trade program that is slated to start in 2016.

Pushing China to use cleaner energy is a no-brainer for the U.S. administration. Secretary of State John Kerry told a group of business leaders in Beijing ahead of the summit: “This is a win-win-win-win-win, because in every aspect, you gain in health of your population, you gain in environmental protection, long-term responsibility. You gain in security; you gain in energy independence, energy capacity. You gain in health, where you have air that’s cleaner.”

Still, some experts worry that this week’s meetings could actually end up undermining the Paris negotiations. Kyle Ash, a climate policy analyst with Greenpeace, warns that any bilateral arrangements reached between China and the United States over the next year might reinforce the idea that the Paris agreement should be voluntary, since the two biggest emitters would have already signed their own deal. “We hope that the leaders are not going to be using the bilateral relationships to slow progress on multilateral talks,” he said. “It’s a worry because we’re on a tight timeline.”

Regardless of the risks, Diringer says successful climate talks this week will benefit both countries. China wants to be seen as a powerful leader on the world stage, and an engaged global citizen. Meanwhile, “stronger U.S. action has always run up against the claim that China and India aren’t doing anything. An ambitious number from China will make it easier to sell the Obama climate agenda at home.”

And Obama will need all the help he can get. The GOP takeover of the Senate threatens to undermine international confidence in America’s ability to tackle the climate issue at home, a development that could make progress in Paris even harder.

For both the United States and China, says Ash, “success in Paris will be convincing the world that they’re acting at home.”

This story was produced as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.


Filed under: Climate & Energy, Politics
Categories: Environment

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