Monday, February 05, 2007

Eco-shift; the politics of global warming has changed at last!

The upcoming issue of The New Yorker has a short report on the recent changes in U.S. government following the November elections here. Here are highlights with some helpful links:

release last week of the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change represents an important, perhaps even historic, event.

Founded in 1988, the I.P.C.C. is a joint venture of the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization. Every four or five years, it conducts an exhaustive survey of the available data and issues a multi-volume assessment of the state of the climate. By the time the I.P.C.C. publishes an assessment, it has been vetted by thousands of scientists, as well as by the organization’s hundred and ninety-odd participating governments. The process guarantees that I.P.C.C. reports are conservative—indeed, frequently out of date

IPCC link includes the report referenced above, plus a number of other working group reports.

PhysOrg website with news reports about the report. Also the source of the photo above of polar bears on melting icebergs. This website notes about the image, that it was released by the "Canadian Ice Service Friday Feb. 2, 2007 and taken by photographer Dan Crosbie in 2004 shows two polar bears on a chunk of ice in the arctic off Northern Alaska.

Back to the New Yorker article, which moves on to focus on U.S. politics:

As it happens, the release of the report coincides with an important political shift. Though President Bush remains recalcitrant—he could barely bring himself to utter the phrase “climate change” in his State of the Union address last month—the Republican defeat in November has removed from power Congress’s most reliable obstructionists. In the Senate, James Inhofe, of Oklahoma, best known for having declared global warming the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” ceded the chairmanship of the Environment and Public Works Committee to Barbara Boxer, of California. “For the last twelve years . . . all we’ve been talking about is, ‘Is there global warming?’ ” Boxer recently told USA Today. “I’m over it. We need to move forward.” Boxer herself has signed on to a bill, sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, that would cut America’s carbon emissions by eighty per cent by 2050.
On the House side, the Democratic majority has elevated Representative John Dingell, of Michigan, to the chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Dingell assumes the post from Joe Barton, of Texas, whose tenure was marked by a series of investigations (or, if you prefer, witch hunts) targeting prominent climate scientists. Now eighty, Dingell has spent more than half a century in Congress protecting the American auto industry. Nevertheless, he has promised to hold hearings on climate change, and has invited Al Gore to testify. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has gone a step further, creating a Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, reportedly to be headed by Representative Ed Markey, of Massachusetts. “The science of global warming and its impact is overwhelming and unequivocal,” Pelosi said, announcing the committee’s formation last month. “Now is time to act.”

Here is Nancy Pelosi's press release announcing the establishment of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

Link here to an in-depth article from The Washington Post on House actions, titled "House Repeals Tax Break for Big Oil."

And lastly, the New Yorker article discusses the coalition of several large U.S. corporations into the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. Their website includes the names of member organizations, their principles and a report, "A Call for Action," in pdf.

Take a look at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change for more helpful info.

And The New Scientist Climate e-magazine has helpful articles.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science webpage on climate change has helpful articles and links.

And to see the text of bills in the House and Senate introduced since 2007 began, search Thomas with terms ["carbon dioxide" AND reduction AND DATE 2007].

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