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News articles on politics
Mongabay.com news articles on politics in blog format. Updated regularly.
(03/20/2007) After losing a series of lawsuits to protect endangered species, the Bush administration moved to reinterpret the Endangered Species Act so that it would only apply to areas where species are at risk, not areas where they are thriving or have already disappeared.
Timber industry teams with greens on new anti-illegal logging bill
(03/15/2007) A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers introduced a bill to ban the use of illegally-harvested timber and wood products. Led by Congressmen Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Robert Wexler (D-FL), and Jerry Weller (R-IL) the legislation would make it a crime to import, export, possess, purchase or sell illicit timber.
Bush administration cuts funding for geothermal energy
(03/13/2007) The Bush Administration is seeking to eliminate federal funding for geothermal energy research according to a report from Reuters. Oddly, the move comes as the White House has made a push for renewable energy to reduce dependence on foreign oil imports. Apparently the administration appears to be focused on biofuels as liquid fuels and nuclear for electricity generation.
Bush administration issues gag order on polar bear discussions
(03/08/2007) The Bush administration has banned discussion of polar bears, sea ice, and global warming among officials traveling overseas according to environmental groups and the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Ozone ban has been more effective in fighting global warming than Kyoto Protocol
(03/05/2007) The 1987 Montreal Protocol, which restricted the use of ozone-depleting substances, has helped slow the rate of global warming in addition to protecting the ozone layer, report scientists writing in a paper published online in the early edition of PNAS.
U.S. GHG emissions to rise 20% by 2020
(03/03/2007) The United States expects to emit 19 percent more greenhouse gases in 2020 than it did in 2020 according to a report from the Associated Press. The draft report, which is still in progress and is more than a year late, projects 9.2 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2020, a 19 percent increase from 7.7 billion tons in 2000, if the Bush Administration climate policy proceeds as planned.
Environmental controversy brews over TXU deal
(03/02/2007) Initially hailed as a victory for the environment, the private equity deal to acquire Texas-energy company TXU Corp is now facing criticism from some green groups reports the Saturday issue of The Wall Street Journal.
Al Gore wins Oscar but does not announce presidential bid
(02/25/2007) Al Gore won an Oscar for his global warming documentary but did not announce a bid for the 2008 presidential election. Speculation had been rife that he might use the Academy Awards platform -- with more than one billion people said to be watching -- to launch his candidacy for president.
Government subsidies drive deep-sea fish depletion
(02/18/2007) Saturday an international team of economists and scientists called for a ban on government subsidies that drive deep-sea trawling. Biologists say the practice is destroying the world's fisheries.
Societies must adapt to global warming, mitigation alone is not the answer
(02/07/2007) Mankind must prepare for global warming by building resilient societies and fostering sustainable development, says a team scientists writing in the current issue of the journal Nature. The researchers say climate change is inevitable and policymakers should be plan adaptation strategies to minimize the negative impacts of future environmental stresses on society.
Brazil calls out rich countries on global warming
(02/06/2007) Reuters reports that Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva criticized wealthy countries for their contributions to global warming and told them to stay out of Brazil's business when it comes to the fate of the Amazon rainforest.
Global warming report released in Paris
(02/02/2007) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) officially unveiled its long-waited report on global climate change. The report was produced by some 600 authors from 40 countries and representatives from 113 governments reviewed and signed off on the report the course of this week.
California bill would outlaw incandescent lightbulbs to help fight global warming
(01/31/2007) This week California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) will introduce legislation that would ban the sale of incandescent light bulbs in California by the year 2012. Levine says that incandescent light bulbs waste energy and better, more-cost alternatives are available.
Biofuels could decimate environment, stymie developing countries, says report
(01/25/2007) In his State of the Union Address Tuesday night, U.S. President George W. Bush highlighted ethanol fuel production as a means to improve domestic security by reducing dependence on foreign oil while at the same time helping to fight global warming. His call echoes a broader shift in sentiment among business and political leaders who believe that biofuels -- liquid fuels produced 'energy crops' including sugarcane, corn, soybeans, oil palms -- are a key future liquid energy source. In fact, next week, biofuels are likely to take a prominent position at the European Union's 'Sustainable Energy Week' in Brussels when 650 delegates will listen to speeches by the likes of Al Gore and UK foreign minister Margaret Beckett. With all the enthusiasm it may seem that biofuels are the end-all solution. A new report argues that this is not the case. In its briefing, 'International trade in biofuels: Good for development? And good for environment?' the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) cautions policymakers not to get caught up in all the hype. IIED warns that serious concerns still remain when it comes to the widespread adoption of these renewable energy sources.
Pentagon pushes land conservation, partners with green groups
(01/24/2007) The Pentagon is actively funding conservation efforts around military bases in an effort to stem urban sprawl and other threats to facilities, according to an article in today's issue of The Wall Street Journal. Congress has budgeted more than $40 million in the current fiscal year for the Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative, which works with environmental groups to conserve land around bases. The program is currently working to protect more than 45,000 acres near 30 U.S. bases.
Bush calls climate change a 'serious challenge'
(01/23/2007) In his State of the Union Address Tuesday night, President Bush called climate change a 'serious challenge' that needs to be met by reducing fossil fuel emissions. The president asked Americans to reduce their gasoline use by 20 percent over the next decade and called for increases in automobile fuel efficiency standards and use of alternative energy.
American industry jumps on global warming bandwagon
(01/23/2007) On the eve of President Bush's State of the Union address, American industry is fast-jumping on the global warming bandwagon, according to an article in today's issue of The Wall Street Journal. Yesterday the CEOs of 10 major corporations asked Congress to implement binding limits on greenhouse gases this year, arguing that voluntary efforts to fight climate change are inadequate.
Global warming cap to cost U.S. 0.26% of GDP says Energy Department
(01/23/2007) A proposed cap-and-trade system to curb U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions will cost the U.S. economy 0.26 percent of annual GDP according to a new study by the Department of Energy's Energy Information Agency (EIA). The EIA says that the plan would lead to higher energy prices inlcuding a 5 percent rise in the price of gasoline, an 8 percent climb in the price of heating-oil an 11 percent increase in the price of natural gas and electricity.
Bush administration says polar bears under threat
(12/27/2006) Today the Bush Administration said polar bears are in need of protection. The reason? Global warming. The administration says that climate change is causing sea ice to melt, putting the polar bear in peril.
Bush administration sued for failure to protect sea otter
(12/19/2006) A conservation group filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal district court in Washington, DC, seeking more protection for sea otters in Alaska. The Center for Biological Diversity, a national nonprofit conservation organization that aims to conserve endangered species and wild places, says that the Bush administration has failed to designate critical habitat for sea otters in southwest Alaska, despite the species' listing as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act in August 2005. Sea otter populations have decline by 90 percent in some areas according to the group.
President Museveni needs to do what's best for Uganda
(12/15/2006) In recent months Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has moved to destroy some of Uganda's last remaining primary rainforests to give land to politically-connected plantation owners. Personally intervening in two disputes, one in Mabira Forest Reserve and the other on Bugala island in Lake Victoria, Museveni has argued that his country urgently needs such projects to industrialize and bring a better quality of life to Ugandans. He would be wrong.
Nuclear war could cause global cooling (i.e. block global warming)
(12/11/2006) Nuclear war would disrupt global climate for at least a decade according to new research presented Dec. 11 at the annual meeting of American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. The research, based on findings from historic volcano eruptions, found that a small-scale, regional nuclear war could produce millions of tons of 'soot' particles that could block solar radiation, in effect, cooling the planet.
Nairobi talks made progress on forest conservation for global warming emissions credits
(12/05/2006) Tropical deforestation is one of the largest sources of human-produced greenhouse gases yet it has no place in existing climate agreements. This has been a point of contention in negotiations as the United States has objected to some developing countries -- notably Brazil and Indonesia -- to be getting an apparent "free ride" on deforestation-related emissions in addition to emissions from fossil fuel sources. Recent negotiations have looked at this issue from a different perspective, one where developing countries would be paid by industrialized countries for reducing their deforestation rates. Globally the payoff could be immense, extending well beyond helping mitigate global warming emissions to safeguard biodiversity and important ecological services. Leading scientists have called such plans a "win-win" scenario for all parties and even the World Bank and U.N. have voiced support for the concept.
Supreme Court to decide on global warming issue
(11/29/2006) America's highest court will decide whether the U.S. government should regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The case, known as Massachusetts v. EPA pits the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an agency charged with protecting the environment, with the auto and power industries and 10 states against a dozen mostly northeastern and western states and 13 environmental organizations. The EPA opposes regulation of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas scientists say contributes to global warming, arguing that CO2 is a naturally occurring gas that does not fit the U.S. Clean Air Act's definition of a pollutant.
EU toughens rules on global warming
(11/29/2006) Wednesday the European Commission demanded stricter limits on climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions for the 2008-2012 period. According to a report from Reuters, only Britain's carbon dioxide cap was accepted by the commission, though other EU governments can challenge the Commission's ruling in court. Germany vocally objected to the decision with German Minister of the Economy Michael Glos calling it 'totally unacceptable.' France, Lithuania, and Slovakia also objected according to reports.
Inhofe doesn't attend climate change meeting but issues statement on children's book
(11/17/2006) James Inhofe, the outgoing chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, dismissed the United Nations climate meeting in Nairobi as "a brainwashing session" and released a statement attacking the body's new children's book on the climate change. The Oklahoma Republican, who was the second largest recipient of campaign contributions from oil and gas companies during the 2004 election cycle, has been a vocal opponent of the idea that humans are contributing to global warming, a stance that puts him in opposition with the majority of climate scientists. Inhofe didn't bother to attend the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which ends tomorrow, but he did find time to issue the following statement on "Tore and the Town on Thin Ice", the new children's book from the U.N.
Election results means U.S. climate action likely by 2010
(11/15/2006) "Enactment of mandatory U.S. climate action is plausible by 2008, and likely by 2010," says a new report from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. The Pew Center, which brings together business leaders, policy makers, scientists, and other experts to discuss climate change, says that "the new Democratic congressional majority puts control of the agenda in the hands of policymakers who, to a large extent, favor climate action."
Sweden doing most to fight global warming, Saudi Arabia the least
(11/14/2006) Sweden, Britain and Denmark top the list of countries doing the most to address global warming, while the United States, China, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia rank as doing the least according to a new report released by environmental groups. Still, warns the report, even the best ranking countries are not doing enough to stave off climate change.
U.S. stymies attempt to crack down on illegal logging
(11/14/2006) Monday the United States stymied an attempt by timber exporting and importing nations to establish new trade rules to tackle illegal logging, according to a report from Reuters. The news agency said that the U.S. may have neutered the initiative by insisting that all agreements had to be voluntary and failing to show up a Houses of Parliament meeting where proposals for the 2008 G8 summit in Tokyo were being developed.
United States acting unethically on global warming says new report
(11/08/2006) A new paper argues that ethics, human rights, and justice should be key components to international negotiations on global warming. It says that some countries, notably the United States, are currently taking positions that are "ethically problematic" and may violate basic human rights of people living in other countries.
Africa will suffer dearly from global warming
(11/06/2006) Already the world's poorest continent, Africa will suffer dearly from global warming unless greenhouse gas emissions are cut by an eventual 80 percent, according to a report from the U.N. issued on the eve of a global climate conference in Nairobi, Kenya.
Australia says global warming pact pointless without India and China
(11/01/2006) Australia said there is "no point" of Australia signing the Kyoto Protocol on global warming unless it applies to China and India too, according to the BBC News web site
Avoided deforestation could send $38 billion to third world under global warming pact
(11/01/2006) Avoided deforestation will be a hot point of discussion at next week's climate meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. Already a coalition of 15 rainforest nations have proposed a plan whereby industrialized nations would pay them to protect their forests to offset greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, last month Brazil -- which has the world's largest extent of tropical rainforests and the world's highest rate of forest loss -- said it promote a similar initiative at the talks. At stake: potentially billions of dollars for developing countries. When trees are cut greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere -- roughly 20 percent of annual emissions of such heat-trapping gases result from deforestation and forest degradation. Avoided deforestation is the concept where countries are paid to prevent deforestation that would otherwise occur. Policymakers and environmentalists alike find the idea attractive because it could help fight climate change at a low cost while improving living standards for some of the world's poorest people and preserving biodiversity and other ecosystem services. A number of prominent conservation biologists and development agencies including the World Bank and the U.N. have already endorsed the idea.
Blair: U.S. must act on global warming
(10/30/2006) Delaying action on global warming will take the planet into "dangerous territory" warns a new report released Monday by the British government. In The Sun Tony Blair, Britain's Prime Minister called the report "the important document on the future" he's read since becoming Prime Minister.
Energy development threatens Pumalin nature sanctuary in Chlie's Pantagonia
(10/27/2006) The Pumalin nature sanctuary, 700,000 acres of dense, primordial green, belongs to a wealthy American named Douglas Tompkins. The biodiversity of the place is staggering. Half the plants here grow nowhere else on the planet. Soaring above the forest canopy are Pumalin's prized alerce trees, known as "the redwoods of the Andes." The Linnaean name for the alerce is Fitzroya cupressoides; Charles Darwin named the tree for Robert FitzRoy, captain of the HMS Beagle, when he visited Chile in the 1830s. The alerce can grow as high as 200 feet. Smitten by its light weight, straight grain, and resistance to rot, loggers loved it almost to death. The alerces in Pumalin are some of the last survivors, and the near destruction of the tree is a kind of Chilean morality tale, for this is a country whose economy is based, to an extreme degree, on the extraction of raw materials and the destruction of natural resources.
Brazil says no to rainforest privatization plan, asks Gore for help
(10/18/2006) On Tuesday Brazil rejected a alleged British proposal to fight climate change by 'privatizing' parts of the Amazon rainforest, according to Reuters. In an editorial published on the opinion page of Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, Environment Minister Marina Silva and Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said that the Amazon was 'not for sale'. Their comments were expected since Brazil has long objected to internationalization of the Amazon, seeing such attempts as a threat to its sovereignty. The 'Amazon privatization' report, which originally appeared in Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper on October 1, 2006, said that David Miliband, Britain's Environment Secretary, planned to propose an initiative that would turn parts of the Amazon into an 'international trust' wherein credible buyers could lockup parts of the rainforest for preservation. However, shortly after the article was published, Miliband's office strongly rejected the story.
No mention of climate change in new hurricane research report
(09/29/2006) Strangely missing from a new hurricane research report from the National Science Board, a policymaking body of the National Science Foundation (NSF), is any mention of climate change.
California Oil Tax Pits Venture Capitalists Versus Big Oil
(09/27/2006) Oil firms are locked in a fierce battle with venture capitalists and environmentalists over Proposition 87, California's proposed oil tax, according to an article in today's issue of The Wall Street Journal. California votes on the initiative November 7.
Bush administration blocks report linking hurricanes to global warming
(09/27/2006) The Bush administration blocked release of a report suggesting that global warming is contributing to the frequency and strength of hurricanes, the journal Nature reported Tuesday. According to Nature, a panel of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists drafted a February report that linked recent hurricane activity to human-induced climate change. When the study was scheduled to be released in May, officials at the Commerce Department rejected the report on technical grounds and prohibited its publication.
California sues Bush administration forest law repeal
(09/21/2006) Yesterday California sued the Bush Administration over its repeal of the Clinton Administration's "Roadless Rule". According to a release from state Attorney General Bill Lockyer, "The Northern Federal District of California ruled the U.S. Forest Service violated federal environmental laws by stripping national forest roadless areas of protection from road-building and logging without performing any environmental analysis of the consequences. The court ordered the immediate reinstatement of protections for nearly 50 million acres of remaining undeveloped forests."
California sues automakers over global warming
(09/21/2006) California sued six of the world's largest automakers over greenhouse gas emissions charging that pollution their vehicles have caused billions of dollars in health damages. Auto industry representatives said the action was political and just in time for November elections.
$230B for moon return but only $30M for deep ocean research?
(09/19/2006) Unless you're a space buff, you probably missed the latest news from Mars. The Rover mission has now determined that a promontory scientists call "McCool Hill" is 85 feet taller than nearby "Husband Hill." Stop the presses! Exploring new frontiers in the quest for knowledge has inspired humans for centuries, and today's extraterrestrial search for alien life forms and clues to our origin, captures the public's imagination like few others.
Americans believe hot weather, hurricanes linked to global warming
(08/23/2006) As first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina nears, a just-released Zogby poll shows that not only are Americans more convinced global warming is happening, they are also linking recent intense weather events like Hurricane Katrina and this summer's heat wave and droughts to global warming.
Bush Administration doing little to treat "addiction to oil"
(08/09/2006) The Bush Administration is doing little to treat America's "addiction to oil" according to an article in today's Wall Street Journal. In his January 31 State of the Union address, President Bush said it was time to do something about America's dependence on foreign oil. Rising oil prices and unrest in the Middle East are of growing concern in the United States which leads the world in oil consumption -- the vast majority of which comes from overseas, especially the Middle East.
Small farmers good, big farmers bad for forest conservation say researchers
(08/08/2006) DResearchers presenting today at two symposia at the Ecological Society of America meeting in Memphis, Tennessee argue that the rural farmers are not necessarily at odds with efforts to preserve biodiversity in developing countries.
Exxon's PR firm using cheap-looking YouTube video to bash Gore
(08/03/2006) A Washington, D.C., public relations and lobbying firm whose clients include oil company Exxon Mobil may be responsible for a cartoon video that makes fun of Al Gore according to an article in today's issue of The Wall Street Journal.
World's largest cities sign climate pact
(08/02/2006) While the Bush administration refuses to take legistlative steps to fight climate change, 22 of the world's largest cities joined forces Tuesday in a global warming pact aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Launched by former President Bill Clinton's foundation, the initiative will provide technical assistance to help cities become more energy efficient and allow them to pool their resources to reduce the cost of energy-saving product purchases.
NASA no longer seeks to 'understand and protect' Earth
(07/22/2006) The New York Times reports that NASA no longer seeks to 'understand and protect' Earth according to its mission statement. The Times found that the American space agency modified its mission statement in early February 2006, deleting the phrase 'to understand and protect our home planet'.
Bush Administration misleads public on deforestation effort
(05/21/2006) The Bush Administration is misleading the American public and the United Nations about its efforts to address tropical deforestation according to analysis by the Tropical Forest Group, an environmental advocacy group based in Santa Barbara, California. The Tropical Forest Group alleges that the US Tropical Forest conservation Act (TFCA), a key initiative to reduce carbon emissions and tropical deforestation, has been neglected for a year and a half despite recent claims by the Bush Administration that it was actively supporting the program.
Congress deals blow to bioenergy market
(05/16/2006) In a set back to the growing biofuels market and American energy consumers, House Majority Leader John Boehner said Monday he will not push legislation to reduce the U.S. tariff on ethanol imports. Thus, the United States will keep its 54-cent-a-gallon tariff on imported ethanol despite a warning from the Department of Energy that domestic ethanol supplies will fall short this summer and will need to reply on foreign fuel.
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