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U.S. spies urged to assess global warming
Senators of both parties are pushing for U.S. intelligence agencies to assess the danger to the nation’s security posed by global warming.
Sens. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., Wednesday introduced legislation that would “require a National Intelligence Estimate to assess the security challenges presented by the world’s changing climate,” according to a statement from their offices.
National Intelligence Estimates, or NIEs, represent the best information and thinking of the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, distilled by their analysts into a series of key judgments about national security threats and other issues.
The legislation will also fund additional research by the Department of Defense in order to examine the impact of climate change on military operations.
(29 March 2007)
Supreme court rules against Bush in global warming case
James Vicini, Reuters
In a defeat for the Bush administration, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a U.S. government agency has the power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions that spur global warming.0402 04 1By a 5-4 vote, the nation’s highest court said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “has offered no reasoned explanation” for its refusal to regulate carbon dioxide and other emissions from new cars and trucks that contribute to climate change.
The ruling in one of the most important environmental cases to reach the Supreme Court marked the first high court decision in a case involving global warming.
President George W. Bush has opposed mandatory controls on greenhouse gases as harmful to the U.S. economy, and the administration has called for voluntary programs instead of regulation. The states and environmental groups that brought the lawsuit hailed the ruling.
“As a result of today’s landmark ruling, EPA can no longer hide behind the fiction that it lacks any regulatory authority to address the problem of global warming,” Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said.
“Today the nation’s highest court has set the White House straight. Carbon dioxide is an air pollutant, and the Clean Air Act gives EPA the power to start cutting the pollution from new vehicles that is wreaking havoc with our climate,” said David Doniger of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
(2 April 2007)
Also posted at Common Dreams.
Related story at NY Times
The Age of Warming
60 Minutes / Yahoo
Is the planet getting warmer? If so, what might be the consequences and is man to blame? Scott Pelley travels to Chile and Antarctica, meeting with scientists and researchers who have no doubts that global warming is underway, and offer some dire predictions about what lies ahead.
(1 April 2007)
TIME Special section: The Global Warming Survival Guide
David Roberts writes at Gristmill:
This week’s TIME has a big package of stories on global warming. Upping the ante on the de rigueur “10 things you can do,” the magazine offers a whopping 51, an odd mix of large structural reforms and consumer tips like drying your clothes on a clothesline.
Coming in at No. 1? Ethanol. Oy. Then again, a carbon tax comes in at No. 5, so all is not lost. Also earning the DR thumbs up: geothermal heat, urban living, cutting down on meat, supporting farmers markets, and just for the weirdness factor, avoiding left turns.
Elsewhere in the issue, you can find:
- an extensive summary of current efforts to tackle the problem, containing the usual biofuels > clean coal > green building > corporate greening > political climate changing > what about China and India? > rousing conclusion narrative structure,
- a piece by Mark Hertsgaard on adaptation,
- a cool interactive graphic of a green home,
- a short bit on Ed Begley,
- a woefully insufficient blurb on the biofuels vs. food question, and
- a bit on tax incentives for going green.
There isn’t much here that will be new to regular Grist readers — except maybe in Hertsgaard’s piece, which is the best of the bunch — but this is just the sort of magisterial, graphically rich overview that ginormo companies like Time-Warner can produce with their ginormo budgets.
Hopefully it will have a transformative effect on Middle America. Or at least raise an eyebrow or two between episodes of American Idol.
(2 April 2007)