The lead editorial from the New York Times on January 27, 2009 lauds President Obama for repudiating the Bush administration’s passive approach to climate change. Calling the decision one “of great significance,” the Times praised Mr. Obama for his commitment to countering the rise in greenhouse gases, and for his willingness to use the regulatory levers of the government to fight global warming. While hailing Mr. Obama’s imposition of regulations, the Times notes that he still must make major investments in renewable technologies and, eventually, unlock private investment by putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions. Nevertheless, the Times crows, “this is a wonderful start.”
As reported in this article from the New York Times, on Monday, January 26, 2009, President Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider California’s request for a waiver to restrict greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks more stringently than the limits specified by Federal laws. The move represented a break with the Bush administration’s environmental policy, which several times disallowed the waiver. Obama also directed the Transportation Department to write rules to implement a 2007 law mandating a 40% gain in gas mileage for autos an light trucks by 2020. The 2007 bill had no regulation to enforce it.
A week ago on January 20th, 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America. That evening, numerous balls were held around Washington D.C. to celebrate President Obama’s historic victory. One of them, the Green Inaugural Ball, was hosted by a solar-powered data center, AISO.net. All aspects of the ball were planned with the environment in mind, from the organic food and beverages to printed materials made of recycled paper. While the President did not actually attend this ball, it wasn’t because he doesn’t support protecting the environment and fighting climate change. Just 6 days into his presidency, Obama has already started to take action on these issues. (More to come on this later)
This New York Times article reports on research done at the University of Washington in Seattle and at the NASA Goddard Space Institute in New York that will soon be published in the journal Nature. The scientists used satellites to interpolate temperatures between sparse weather stations. They determined with a high level of confidence that warming is occurring in Antarctica just as it is in the other six continents. This finding validates the reliability of the models that scientists use to predict the earth’s response to greenhouse gases. Apparent cooling in parts of Antarctica had called these models into question, and global warming skeptics grasped at the anomaly. The new research found the average warming across Antarctica to be 0.18 degrees Fahrenheit over the period 1957 – 2006, comparable to the warming measured globally. The scientists acknowledge that more work is needed to determine how much of the warming is due to natural climate swings and how much to carbon dioxide. A third scientist, at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, called the climate dynamics in Antarctica “complex,” but noted that his own findings, using different techniques and assumptions, accorded well with the results obtained in the latest research.
Every time a new article is posted to ClimateYou, we contribute to the problem very problem we write about (global climate change). Believe it or not, maintaining a blog and website is associated with greenhouse gas emissions. While the magnitude of the emissions from an individual website like ClimateYou is rather small, you may be surprised to learn how large a contribution to climate change a collection of blogs, such as all those on WordPress, has. Check out this article from Slate.com to learn more about carbon footprint of blogs and ways to make your blog green.