CLIMATE CHANGE ROUNDUP: Climate Change Adaptation Arrives

By Published On: August 7, 2009

California became the first state in the nation August 3 to draft a climate change adaptation plan that outlines not only how to cut greenhouse gases, but what changes must be made to maintain public health and welfare as Earth warms up. “In keeping with the governor’s effort to fight climate change head on,” said state secretary of natural resources Mike Chrisman in announcing the draft plan, “re-examining the way we work and making adjustments accordingly is in many ways the most important thing we can do.” The plan outlines a series of actions needed to deal with climatic changes, from preparing public health officials to deal with hotter temperatures to changing zoning plans in coastal areas to account for rising sea levels. The plan said that the state should aim to cut per capita water use by 20 percent by 2020 to deal with changing precipitation patterns and should move to 33 percent renewable energy by then. It also called for developing new water infrastructure, enhanced fire-fighting capabilities, and changes to land development patterns to account for climate change. The state is planning to hold a hearing on the document August 12 in Sacramento and another meeting at a date to be determined in Los Angeles. It can be downloaded from the state’s climate change web portal. * * * * Washington appears poised to enact a bill that would infuse another $2 billion into the federal cash for clunkers program, which provides incentives to motorists of up to $4,500 to turn in their old cars for scrap and purchase more fuel efficient models. A bill that passed the House late last week would take $2 billion of money earmarked to promote renewable energy under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act and move it to the cash for clunkers program, which burned through its $1 billion budget appropriation in its first week of operation. The $1 billion fueled the purchase of an estimated 250,000 new vehicles. Clunkers are eligible for the rebates as long as they get 18 miles to the gallon or less. Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger stated August 5 he supports extending the program, but not all his party brethren agree. A comment made by Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) in the House debate over the program wound up on John Stewart’s Daily Show. “Maybe we should have a cash for cluckers program,” the Texas Republican joked, “and just pay people to eat chicken.” President Obama, however, congratulated the House for voting to extend the program saying not only will it help the auto industry, but cut greenhouse gases and help end dependence on foreign oil. * * * * The Sierra Club August 3 requested U.S. attorney general Eric Holder to investigate a Washington lobbying firm for allegedly forging letters on National Association for the Advancement of Colored People letterhead opposing climate change legislation. Bonner & Associates allegedly sent forged letters to Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) urging him last June to vote against the American Clean Energy & Security Act of 2009, HR 2454. Bonner allegedly sent the letters from an NAACP chapter in Perriello’s Charlottesville, Virginia, district, along with additional forged letters on letterhead from the local Latino issues group Creciendo Juntos. Bonner allegedly signed the letters with fictitious names, leading the company to be dubbed as the “Forgery Group” in blogosphere discussions of the incident. Bonner was a subcontractor to a firm lobbying on behalf of the pro-coal group, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. The coalition disavowed the letters. Bonner & Associates owner Jack Bonner blamed a temporary employee for the letters, which apparently had little impact. Perriello wound up voting for the bill. After the story broke, additional forged letters sent to other lawmakers surfaced. * * * * While the nation marvels at cash for clunkers and laughs about cash for cluckers, what California needs is more electric fork lifts, not for lifting silverware but in warehouses, said the California Air Resources Board August 5. Air regulators are interested in getting utilities and warehouses to team up in replacing fossil fuel-fired forklifts with electric models under the state’s recently adopted low carbon fuel standard. Doing so would help cut greenhouse gases, according to the Air Board. The Air Board wants ideas on how to spur more use of electric fork lifts and big motorized sweepers and scrubbers by August 31. It also wants to bolster electrification of truck stops to enable truckers to plug in their rigs to get the power they need for air conditioning and heat while they take breaks instead of idling their engines.

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