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As the year winds down, it’s a good time to take stock of climate policy in the United States. Here’s a quick round up of what happened -- or didn’t happen -- in 2011.
The year began with big questions about what the Obama Administration and states would do to address climate change and clean energy, absent a comprehensive federal climate policy. This year’s record was decidedly mixed. Not as much happened as some would have liked, but it was in total better than many feared as the year began.
Shale gas is a game-changer for global energy supply. It is already transforming the U.S. energy outlook, and is expected to deliver over 40% of domestic gas production by 2025 (Figure 1). Other countries and regions, notably Europe and China, may soon follow suit, in a repeat of the early 20th century oil rush.
Opinion is bitterly divided, however, over the environmental risks and benefits of this abundant new source of energy – so much so, that the different sides struggle to agree even on basic facts. The debate is raging over two key issues – on-the-ground impacts to water, air, communities, land use, wildlife, and habitats; and the broader energy and global warming implications of developing shale gas.
A Special Letter from WRI Interim President Manish Bapna
Sara-Katherine serves as an Objective Coordinator II for WRI’s Climate and Energy Program, where she supports the work of both the Vulnerability & Adaptation and US Climate Objective teams.
New rules from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce mercury and other toxic air emissions will affect dozens of antiquated power plants currently operating without pollution controls. These
rules have stirred debate in some circles as to whether retrofitting or retiring...
While there has been little progress on national climate policy this year, California has quietly continued to make strides in implementing its comprehensive greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction program. Last month, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted to finalize the regulations instituting California’s new greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program. This program is one key element of California’s comprehensive program to implement the Global Warming Solutions Act (or AB 32), which was signed into law in 2006 by Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent proposed greenhouse gas emissions standards for new and modified power plants to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.
This map identifies the hotspots where urban and suburban development are putting forests at risk in the southern United States.