The United States experienced its warmest year yet in 2012, with the highest surface temperatures since record keeping began in the mid- or late 1800s, according to the annual “State of the Climate” report released today. Last year also ranked either eighth or ninth in highest surface temperatures worldwide, depending on which of the four data sets considered by the report were used. The report, posted online today by the American Meteorological Society, was authored by an international group of nearly 400 scientists, with those from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center serving as its lead editors.
California needs to set more aggressive targets for renewable energy, aiming to mandate as much as 90 percent of power by 2050, community advocates said here yesterday. A state official, however, said it’s not feasible. Members of a committee representing low-income and minority populations, which is advising the California Air Resources Board as it plans future moves, raised the issue when asking how soon the state will cut fossil fuel-derived electricity generation.
Wind energy was the fastest-growing source of electricity in the United States last year, installing enough capacity to power 15 million homes, the Energy Department announced today. It accounted for 43 percent of all new U.S. electric generation capacity and $25 billion in new investment in 2012, the annual DOE wind market report says. The report was prepared in partnership with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
The climate is changing at a pace that’s far faster than anything seen in 65 million years, a report out of Stanford University says. The amount of global temperature increase and the short time over which it’s occurred create a change in velocity that outstrips previous periods of warming or cooling, the scientists said in research published in today’s Science.
Several House Democrats yesterday introduced legislation outlining ideas for energy tax reform, including ending tax incentives for oil companies and providing breaks for certain clean energy technologies. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) introduced the oil bill, H.R. 2956, which he said would raise about $2.4 billion per year. The bill would eliminate a variety of tax breaks — such as the intangible drilling costs deduction and section 199 domestic manufacturing deduction — for the five largest oil companies. It emerged from a competition he held among constituents to suggest ways to save the government money.
As Capitol Hill Republicans prepare to make the case to their constituents over the August recess that President Obama’s Climate Action Plan will ruin the U.S. economy, four former U.S. EPA administrators from their party wrote in an editorial today that the plan would “ensure a strong economy along with a livable climate.” Former Administrators William Ruckelshaus, Lee Thomas, William Reilly and Christine Todd Whitman — who all served under Republican presidents — praised Obama in a New York Times op-ed piece for directing their former agency to regulate carbon dioxide from new and existing power plants under the Clean Air Act.
“There hasn’t been a lot of investment in the grid for the last two decades,” said Michael Goggin, a senior analyst at the American Wind Energy Association, a trade group. “We just don’t have a strong grid that’s built out in the parts of the country where there are a lot of wind resources.” The transmission grid was built a generation ago for coal, nuclear and hydropower plants without renewable energy in mind. It makes transmission from wind farms in rural areas difficult and costly.
A group of Democratic governors yesterday lent their support to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, praising him in a letter for moving ahead with carbon dioxide reductions because “Congress has failed to take meaningful legislative action on this issue.” “While too many still refuse to acknowledge the overwhelming scientific consensus of human-caused climate change, the devastating impacts of climate change in our states are all too real,” said the 14 governors.
EACH of us took turns over the past 43 years running the Environmental Protection Agency. We served Republican presidents, but we have a message that transcends political affiliation: the United States must move now on substantive steps to curb climate change, at home and internationally.
The Interior Department raised $3.8 million in its first competitive auction for offshore wind development yesterday off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, an encouraging sign for the nascent energy source, officials said. The agency’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management preliminarily awarded Deepwater Wind New England LLC a 25-year lease to build wind farms in a 257-square-mile wind energy area about 10 miles south of the Rhode Island shore.