Environmental News: California Chemical Bill, Self-Service Electric Cars in Paris, Hillary's Ties to Oil Lobbyists, World's Biggest Wind Farm

More environmental news from around the internet.

Will California Swallow A Poison Pill This Christmas Season?

When the author of a landmark piece of green legislation withdraws his support for a program he himself created and demands its withdrawal, it’s a pretty sure sign that industry interests have pulled a fast one.

That’s the case with California’s “Green Chemistry Initiative,” a signature push by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to crackdown on the toxic chemicals that are ubiquitous in consumer products, as reported by Nikki Gloudeman on Change.org last week.

Yesterday, in a letter to the Governor, 33 organizations demanded that the law be withdrawn. The letter, signed by groups including the Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice, Breast Cancer Action, and Science and Environmental Health Network,  summarized building opposition from a wide swath of experts in a diverse range of fields. Lawmakers, public health advocates, scientists, public utility managers and medical doctors wish a strong Green Chemistry Initiative would pass, one that would model consumer protection legislation for the rest of the country. But the way the law stands, they cannot support it….

Court Gives Green Light to EPA Carbon Pollution Standards, Rejects Polluters’ and Climate-Deniers’ Claims

Big news today from the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, which just gave the green light to implementing EPA’s first carbon pollution standards in January.  The court flatly rejected attempts by America’s biggest carbon polluters and the State of Texas to block all of EPA’s efforts to begin curbing the dangerous pollution that causes global warming under the nation’s clean air laws….

Forests Will Save the Northern Spotted Owl, Not Guns

The northern spotted owl is an icon of the conservation movement.

Twenty years ago, when the medium-sized raptor landed on the federal threatened species list, the innocuous-seeming bird touched off the infamous timber wars of the Pacific Northwest, as noted by Oregon’s The News-Review in a recent retrospective. On one side, inflamed protesters staged sit-ins in trees to stop old-growth logging and protect the birds. On the other side, the timber industry and its allies wore t-shirts that read “Save a Logger, Eat an Owl.” The owl became a symbol for everything that was changing in the industry, even when it had nothing to do with the logging restrictions eventually put in place to protect the owl’s critical habitat….

EU, South Korea Lead Efforts to Derail Pacific Tuna Rescue Plans at Hawaii Summit

Greenpeace is disappointed with the failure of governments attending the week-long meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) to agree to measures to halt the decline of Pacific tuna stocks. A group of Pacific Island Countries (1) had proposed an historic measure that would have closed international waters between their borders to all destructive tuna purse seine fishing. The distant-water fishing nations at the Hawaii meeting also rejected other measures designed to address tuna declines, clamp down on pirate fishing and halt biodiversity loss….

Hillary Clinton Has Deep Ties to Oil Lobbyist for TransCanada Pipeline

Before Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, she was running for President.

Before Paul Elliot became chief DC lobbyist for TransCanada, he was national deputy director of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. TransCanada is the company seeking the State Department’s approval to pipeline up to 900,000 barrels a day of the dirtiest oil on the planet from Alberta through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas to reach Gulf coast refineries.

Could this be a problem?…

1 Simple Way to Save the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge From Drilling

If you didn’t know that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge just turned 50, don’t worry, there is still time to get a nice gift. What ANWR really needs is a status update —and not on Facebook. A growing campaign is calling on Obama to designate ANWR a national monument to help keep it out of reach of the drilling industry’s oily hands….

Ecosia Revamps Green Search Engine

The green search engine Ecosia has this week announced a major revamp of its site, adding new functions to the service which helps raise funds for rainforest conservation….

The organisation announced last week that it has raised more than $160,000 (£103,000) for the WWF over the past year as a result of its pledge to donate 80 per cent of its revenue raised from search-related advertising to environmental projects….

World’s Biggest Wind Farm One Step Closer to Reality

Somewhere out there in Oregon, green job seekers are cheering. The world’s largest wind farm has just cleared another hurdle, with yesterday’s announcement by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu that a partial guarantee for a $1.3 billion (yes, billion) loan has been finalized.  The 845-megawatt behemoth, called the Caithness Shepherds Flat project, will be sited in eastern Oregon and bring hundreds of new construction jobs to the area…..

100 Rally to Protest Walker’s Rejection of Rail Money

More than 100 people joined Monday in a protest against Governor-elect Scott Walker’s rejection of a federally financed high-speed rail line….

Deepsea Desperation: Greenpeace Game Mocks the Oil Industry

Spending this holiday season challenging the might of the global oil industry might seem a little odd, but now you can at least do it from the comfort of your living room, thanks to Greenpeace’s Deepsea Desperation free downloadable board game, created by game designers Terror Bull Games. Released under a Creative Commons license, this irreverent print-and-play game satirises and dramatises the battle to protect the Arctic from the oil industry and the creation a network of global marine reserves….

Campaign for a Ban on Wild Animals in Circuses

Using animals in circuses is widely recognised as unethical, cruel and archaic. A government consultation earlier this year found that 94.5% of people responding supported a ban on using any species of wild animal in circuses. Defra has recently said it will make a decision in the new year as to whether or not such a ban will be implemented. So, these final few days of Parliament before Christmas are crucial….

Feds Release Draft Plan to Guide Solar Energy on Public Lands Across the West

The Interior Department released an environmental study today that is viewed by conservation groups as a welcome shift in solar siting strategy away from the “fast-track” process.

The draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), a document totaling more than 10,000 pages, aims to drive solar energy development to areas that would reduce impacts on wildlife, water and the environment….

California Carbon Trading Scheme Approves Market Rules

The launch of a new regional emissions cap-and-trade scheme centred on California moved a major step towards reality yesterday when regulators approved the rules governing the proposed carbon market….

Paris to Introduce Self-Service Electric Car Scheme

First Parisians were urged to get on their bikes with an innovative self-service cycle scheme. Now residents of the French capital and tourists who embraced the Vélib bicycle hire scheme will soon be able to zip around town in environmentally friendly electric cars for less than the price of the average bottle of vin de table….

Global Clean Power: A $2.3 Trillion Opportunity

Over the last half decade, the clean energy economy has emerged around the world as a major new opportunity for investment, manufacturing, jobs and environmental protection.

Global Clean Power: A $2.3 Trillion Opportunity (PDF) examines private investment in clean, renewable energy assets through 2020 under three policy scenarios: Business-as-usual: no change from current policies; Copenhagen: policies to implement the pledges made at the 2009 international climate negotiations in Copenhagen and; Enhanced clean energy: maximized policies designed to stimulate increased investment and capacity additions. The underlying data for this report were compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the world’s leading provider of news, data and analysis on clean energy and carbon market finance and investment….

Photo Credits: Port of San Diego; USFWS Pacific; USFWS Headquarters; Mike De Sisti/JSOnline; pixor; Keith.Fulton

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