Tuesday, March 31, 2009

White House Announces International Meetings to Address Energy and Climate Issues

From The New York Times:
The Obama administration announced Saturday that it had organized a series of meetings among representatives of 16 countries and the European Union to discuss energy and climate issues. The meetings, to be held in Washington in April and in La Maddalena, Italy, in July, will seek to resolve longstanding issues that have blocked the development of an international climate treaty.

The participants, who include Chinese and Indian representatives, will also try to create “concrete initiatives and joint ventures that increase the supply of clean energy while cutting greenhouse gas emissions,” according to a White House news release.

The talks, called the Major Economies Meetings on Energy Security and Climate Change, echo in name and goals an initiative begun in the last two years of the Bush administration.

Those meetings gathered developing and developed countries that were the largest emitters of the heat-trapping gases linked to global warming. The meetings were cast by the Bush administration as intended to set long-term goals for reducing emissions and to seek actions that could be taken in sectors of economies like power generation and manufacturing.

The talks organized by the Bush administration were criticized by some small developing countries, European officials and environmental groups as an effort to circumvent global climate negotiations led by the United Nations, although President George W. Bush said at the time that the meetings were intended to support the global talks.

The United States refused to ratify an earlier international agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, objecting that developing countries like China and India were not bound by its restrictions on emissions of heat-trapping gases.

Negotiations for a new global treaty are under way and will culminate in talks in Copenhagen in December.

The president of the National Wildlife Federation, Larry Schweiger, said Saturday that any such meetings were useful as ways to seek common ground among the world’s biggest emitters of heat-trapping gases.

At the time, some environmentalists credited the Bush administration’s effort for initiating direct exchanges about climate with China and India.

But Mr. Schweiger said he expected the Obama administration’s initiative to be more productive.

“It’s a matter of intent,” he said. “I think the Bush administration never intended to come up with a big solution. I think this administration is truly committed to finding a solution for everybody.”

Most Beautiful Waves Ever!

Click here to see the beautiful slideshow Treehugger.com has put together of Clark Little photographs. Enjoy!

Monday, March 30, 2009

President Obama Signs the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009

See the transcript of the signing from the NY Times.

According to the Nature Conservancy, the bill includes:

"The Forest Landscape Restoration Program (FLRP) will provide new authority to manage treatment of fire at greater scales across lands managed by the Forest Service and Department of Interior. This important shift in scale and approach will reduce costs by focusing funding on large-scale, collaborative, science-based projects where wildfire risks are high.
The Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) along with Title XII (Subtitle e) of the Omnibus Bill will protect coastal areas with high conservation, recreation, historic and aesthetic value while also providing important support for coastal/marine mapping and climate change adaptation.

The Owyhee Lands Management Act, supported by Senator Crapo, will designate more than half a million acres of Idaho’s Owyhee-Bruneau Canyonlands as wilderness along with 315 miles of National Wild and Scenic Rivers and other environmental protection.

The Washington County Utah Bill will designate more than 260,000 acres of land in Utah as Wilderness and 166 miles of Virgin River and its tributaries and National Wild and Scenic Rivers. This legislation, championed by Senator Bennett, also creates two national conservation Areas in Washington County, creating protections for the desert tortoise and recreational opportunities on 140,000 acres.

Under the leadership of Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Everglades National Park Expansion provision will assure the protection of a key resource in the Florida Bay."