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LICSN: National Climate Headlines – California, Chrysler, and Obama 12/22/08

from the Long Island Climate Solutions Network:

Happy Holiday Long Island!

Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) has been a major tool for monitoring and reducing national toxic releases.  Now CA plans a major upgrade to the national TRI model – that includes renewable energy and carbon footprints.  Will this be a shopping revolution?

California Launches ‘Green Chemistry’ Initiative. By Margot Roosevelt, LATimes, December 17, 2008. ” California officials launched a sweeping green initiative on Tuesday to inform consumers exactly how hundreds of thousands of products sold in the state are manufactured and transported and how safe their ingredients are… With scanners at stores, or eventually on cellphones, purchasers could compare brands to figure out which one was manufactured, for instance, with coal-fired electricity in China and which one with solar power in California … They could also determine how much greenhouse gas was emitted through its transportation by boat, plane or truck and whether its ingredients were the safest available and could be easily recycled… A more limited regulation by the California Air Resources Board requires stickers on new automobiles rating them on how much smog-forming pollution and how much carbon dioxide, a gas that contributes to global warming, they emit… The proposed ‘Green Chemistry’ initiative comes at a time of growing concern that the federal Toxic Substances Control Act, passed three decades ago, has failed to control an explosion of hazardous materials.”

Chryster Planning Full Line of Electric Vehicles. By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNNMoney, December 19, 2008. “Chrysler is pinning a huge part of its future on a plan to produce a full line of electric vehicles, at a reasonable cost to both the carmaker and the consumer. While General Motors is moving ahead with its Volt electric midsized car, Chrysler says it already has plans in place, not just for electric cars, but also for minivans and even off-road vehicles. Chrysler’s strategy hinges on keeping it cheap. The carmaker will dispense with flashy designs in exchange for low cost and flexibility. And it plans to pile on more electric-powered models quickly once the program launches in 2010.”

California Regulators Approve $1.9 Billion Power Line Needed for Renwable Energy. By Elliot Spagat, AP, December 19, 2008. “ California regulators on Thursday approved a $1.9 billion high-voltage power line, giving a major victory to the San Diego utility that says it needs the transmission route to harness solar, wind and underground heat from a distant desert.”

Advocates for Action on Global Warming Chosen as Obama’s Top Science Advisers. By Juliet Eilperin and Joel L. Achenbach, WashPost, December 19, 2008. “President-elect Barack Obama has selected two of the nation’s most prominent scientific advocates for a vigorous response to climate change to serve in his administration’s top ranks, according to sources, sending the strongest signal yet that he will reverse Bush administration policies on energy and global warming. The appointments of Harvard physicist John Holdren as presidential science adviser and Oregon State marine biologist Jane Lubchenco as head of the NOAA, which will be announced tomorrow, dismayed conservatives but heartened environmentalists and researchers. Like Energy Secretary-designate Steven Chu… Holdren and Lubchenco have argued repeatedly for a mandatory limit on greenhouse gas emissions to avert catastrophic climate change… In 2007, as chairman of the board of the AAAS, Holdren oversaw approval of the board’s first statement on global warming, which said: ‘It is time to muster the political will for concerted action’… While NOAA has traditionally favored commercial fishing interests in policy disputes, Lubchenco has consistently called for conservation measures to safeguard ocean ecosystems in the face of industry opposition… Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists… said, ‘You’ve got people in key places across the administration that get the urgency of the climate issue and get the need for aggressive policy to move climate solutions forward, both in the U.S. and internationally'”

Early Obama Challengers:

Friends of the Earth Calls for Removing Road Building from Obaman Stimulus Plan. By S.A. Miller, WashTimes, December 16, 2008. “Friends of the Earth on Monday attacked President-elect Barack Obama’s call for an economic stimulus package heavy on new infrastructure projects, saying it’s a road to pollution. The 39-year-old environmental group launched a new Web site (www.roadtonowhere.org) and announced plans for ads, grass-roots mobilization and lobbying of Congress to keep new construction of roads out of a stimulus bill. ‘More roads mean more pollution and more dependence on oil — hurting our economy, security and climate,’ Friends of the Earth’s Colin Peppard said. The group said transportation is responsible for 30 percent of the United States ‘ global-warming pollution and nearly 70 percent of its oil use, and that 10 miles of new four-lane highway would result in emissions equivalent to the lifetime emissions of more than 45,000 Hummers. Mr. Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress have made building roads, bridges and schools a cornerstone of a stimulus that could cost between $600 billion and $1 trillion.”

Salazar at Interior: For Greens, Not a Dream Choice. By Bryan Walsh, Time, December 19, 2008. Ken Salazar [Obama’s] new Secretary of the Interior… could represent Obama’s first conflict with the environmental community. The chief complaints about Salazar — a rancher who worked as Colorado’s attorney general before his election to the Senate in 2004 — center on his ties to the ranching and mining industries and some of his votes as a Senator… A relatively conservative Democrat, typical of the new centrist Western wing of the party. Salazar voted in favor of President George W. Bush’s Interior Secretary nominee Gale Norton, who has been roundly criticized for her mismanagement of the beleaguered department.”

Organic Consumers Launch Campaign to Block Vilsack’s Confirmation. Press Release, Organic Consumers Association, December 19, 2008. “Wednesday’s announcement that former Iowa Governor, Tom Vilsack, has been selected as the new Secretary of Agriculture sent a chill through the sustainable food and farming community who have been lobbying for a champion in the new administration. ‘Vilsack’s nomination sends the message that dangerous, untested, unlabeled genetically engineered crops will be the norm in the Obama Administration,’ said Ronnie Cummins, Executive Director of Organic Consumers Association. ‘Our nation’s future depends on crafting a forward-thinking strategy to promote organic and sustainable food and farming, and address the related crises of climate change, diminishing energy supplies, deteriorating public health, and economic depression’… Over the past month, Organic Consumers Association members have sent over 20,000 emails to President-Elect Obama’s Transition Team, calling for the appointment of a Secretary of Agriculture who would develop and implement a plan that promotes family-scale farming, a safe and nutritious food system, and a sustainable and organic vision for the future… The OCA has launched www.StopVilsack.org to mobilize hundreds of thousands of people to oppose Vilsack’s Senate confirmation through an online petition. Additionally, OCA’s nationwide network of 850,000 organic consumers are urging members of Congress to move beyond business as usual and implement a comprehensive strategy for organic food and farming in 2009 and beyond.”

Source: Earth Equity News, from http://www.ClimateCrisisCoalition.org

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