Friday, January 31, 2014

WIMS Environmental HotSheet 1/31/14

<> Broad Coalition of Stakeholders Announce Effort to Ensure Affordable and Reliable Energy- The Partnership for a Better Energy Future, which comprises groups representing consumers and businesses from sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, refining and mining, will serve as the leading voice in support of a unified strategy and message in response to the Obama Administration's GHG regulatory agenda.

<> EPA Commits to Deadline for Final Action on Coal Ash Rule - EPA will take final action on coal ash standards by the end of the year, according to a settlement reached by EPA and groups involved in a lawsuit against the agency. The consent decree, filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, requires EPA to publish notice of a final action by Dec. 19, 2014.

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders responded today to the consent decree filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that establishes a deadline of December 19, 2014, for the Environmental Protection Agency to take a final action on the coal ash rule that was proposed in June 2010. The committee leaders called on the Senate to. . . 

<> EPA Releases Climate Assessment Update To National Stormwater Calculator (HQ) - EPA released phase II of the National Stormwater Calculator and Climate Assessment Tool package. The updated calculator includes future climate vulnerability scenarios. The calculator is a desktop application that estimates the annual amount of stormwater . .

<> EPA and Freddie Mac to Cut Carbon Pollution and Increase Affordability of Multifamily Buildings (HQ) - WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s Energy Star program and Freddie Mac have signed an agreement that will help to cut carbon pollution while increasing the affordability of multifamily housing properties. The agreement outlines strategies to save water, energy and money for multifamily property owners and residents. . .

<> White House Releases Implementation Plan for the National Strategy for the Arctic Region- Today the White House released the Implementation Plan for the National Strategy for the Arctic Region. The Administration solicited input from Alaska Natives, the State of Alaska, Congress, academia, industry and others to develop an Implementation Plan that sets forth the guidelines for Federal Departments and Agencies to execute the National Strategy for the Arctic Region.

<> Ground-breaking new study reports double-digit growth in market performance of "eco-labels"- GENEVA—January 31, 2014—Private sector sourcing commitments are driving major market growth for sustainable commodities, according to the State of Sustainability Initiatives (SSI) Review 2014 published today by an alliance of international organisations.   The SSI Review 2014 provides a bird's eye view of market and performance trends of the 16 most prevalent. . .

Cardin, Collins Lead Senate Effort To Protect Advanced Biofuel Incentives That Move Beyond Corn-Based Ethanol - Writing in support of advanced biofuel incentives that move beyond corn-based ethanol, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) and eight of their senate colleagues have urged Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy to reconsider proposed reductions to the volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

<> Ban Ki-moon selects Bloomberg as cities and climate change envoy - Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg will be announced as the UN's special envoy for cities and climate change in the next 24 hours.

<> Rep. Henry A. Waxman Announces Plans to Retire from Congress - Rep. Henry A. Waxman, a senior Democrat from California, who has played a leading role in the enactment of major health, consumer protection, environmental, telecommunications, and good government laws, released the following statement announcing his decision not to seek reelection to the House this fall.

·          Statement from the President on the Retirement of Representative Henry Waxman - Early in the 20th Century, Henry Waxman's grandparents came to America, the land of opportunity, and found a place where they could build a better life for themselves and their families.  Over the course of 40 years in Congress, their grandson has fought to give every American family that same chance.  Thanks to Henry's leadership, Americans breathe cleaner air, drink cleaner water. . .

<> Human cause of global warming is near certainty, UN reports - 30 January – Global warming is unequivocal, human influence has been the dominant cause since the mid-20th century, and atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, already at levels not seen in at least 800,000 years, will persist for many centuries, the final version of the latest United Nations report on climate change warned today.

<> Securing crop biodiversity is key to feeding world's growing population– UN study - 30 January – Seeking to ensure that the world can feed a fast growing population, expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, the United Nations today published voluntary international standards to improve conservation of the crops that are crucial to food security by preserving biodiversity in gene banks and in the field.

<> Launching scientific advisory board, Ban urges bridging gap between science, policy - 30 January – The United Nations must use science and technology to strengthen its policy-making on sustainable development, reducing inequality and eradicating extreme poverty, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said launching his advisory board of scientists.

<> Next up for Keystone XL: the question of national interest will show that the tar sands pipeline must be rejected – NRDC's Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, Director International Program, Washington, D.C. As the assessment of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline enters the final stages with the release of the final environmental review, there are a lot of questions about what we can expect. Bottom line: the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is a project that brings risk with no reward.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department is poised to issue an environmental review of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline that will likely say the project will not appreciably increase carbon emissions, sources said late Thursday, forcing President Barack Obama closer to a tough decision.

<> China sets new world record for solar installations - Source: Guardian - China installed a record 12GW of solar power in 2013, doubling its rate of solar installations, according to preliminary figures. This is more than has ever been installed by any country in a single year and means that China installed three times more solar energy in 2013 than the total UK solar capacity.