“Climate change isn’t for the birds” – Politico, 8 September 2014

In addition to affecting food supplies and increasing the likelihood of natural disasters, climate change is drastically impacting wildlife, especially our birds.

Earlier this month, the National Audubon Society published a study, which concluded that half of North America’s bird species will be endangered, and could go extinct, at the century’s end, due to the effects of climate change.

The bald eagle and Baltimore oriole are at a huge risk for endangerment, and Louisiana, Utah, Vermont, Nevada, Idaho, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Washington DC’s state birds are as well. The Audubon’s report comes after a draft of the UN’s climate change report was disclosed, which cautioned about the effects of climate change on people and ecosystems.

President Obama and the EPA are doing everything they can to stop climate change in its tracks, including introducing the Climate Action Plan and the Clean Power Plan Proposal, which are aimed at curbing power plants’ carbon dioxide emissions. Of course, there is pushback from Republicans, conservatives, and coal states, like Colorado, Kentucky, and Michigan where politicians contend that new climate regulations will deplete jobs and increase consumer’s expenses on energy.

For the report, the Audubon studied species prevalent to the US and Canada. Of the 588 species the Audubon chose, the Audubon found that by 2080, 314 of them will be in danger of extremely diminished populations because they will be without over half of their livable geographic range. The lives of these birds are indelibly linked to their physical environment.

Moreover, renewable energy — wind and solar power — also has a lasting impact on birds. Many conservatives and conservationists are calling this, “Obama’s war on birds.”

According to a report published last year by the journal Biological Conservation, around 140,000 to 328,000 birds are killed yearly through contact with wind turbines. In 2013, the Interior Department granted 30-year permits to wind farms that allowed for accidentally killing or injuring bald and golden eagles. There have also been reports of a California-based solar power plant that causes birds to catch on fire while flying.

Conservatives are using the repercussions of renewable energy on birds as more political fodder against Obama and his climate policy. Perhaps this is rightfully so, as Obama hasn’t specifically incorporated flora, fauna, and their ecosystems into his climate policy. At the same time, however, if conservative policymakers — any policymakers, at that — are concerned about the birds, then they should make efforts to integrate climate change into conservation planning. It works both ways.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

September 10, 2014

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“Americans by 2 to 1 Would Pay More to Curb Climate Change” – Bloomberg, 10 June 2014

One of the arguments against Obama’s Climate Action Plan and the EPA‘s Clean Power Plan proposal is that the added cost of clean energy will weigh heavily on the US’s middle class. However, it seems that Americans are prepared to pay more for energy. Obama and the EPA are currently working together to pass new rules that would reduce emissions by 30 percent by 2030, with a focus on coal-fired power plants.

As reported by the Bloomberg National Poll, 62 percent of Americans are willing to pay more for curbing carbon emissions. Forty-six percent of Republicans are also ready to pay more, as well as 82 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of independents.

There remains a margin of Democrats who aren’t in favor of new carbon emission rules, particularly Democratic Senate candidates who represent coal states like West Virginia and Kentucky. But support is mainly divided on party lines: according to the same Bloomberg poll, 70 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of independents would endorse candidates who are in favor of new climate policy—only 28 percent of Republicans would advocate for such policy.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

June 16, 2014

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“Kentucky should embrace climate for change; EPA plan cushions impact on coal-reliant states” – Kentucky.com, 3 June 2014

Kentucky seems to have always been on the same page as the EPA. Last year, the Kentucky Energy and Environment Secretary Leonard Peters submitted a white paper to the EPA, which included suggestions similar to the EPA’s newly proposed Clean Power Plan proposal. Peters’ end-goal was to secure Kentucky’s 220,000 manufacturing jobs from skyrocketing power costs that could take part of the energy industry overseas.

What many fail to understand is that the EPA’s new rules aren’t placing strict carbon limits on existing power plants. States like Kentucky, where coal is the bread and butter of the economy, won’t be forced to close and change their coal-fired power plants.

Rather than shut down existing power-plants, the EPA will give each state an individual target for decreasing carbon emissions by 2030. The EPA will also provide different approaches for the states, such as energy efficiency and converting to renewable energy. Peters promoted these methods in his white paper, agreeing that it will be easy for Kentucky to become more energy efficient, as electricity has always been cheap in the state.

The EPA is giving states like Kentucky more time to employ coal-free energy methods, requiring that Kentucky reduce its carbon emissions by 18 percent by 2030, which will successfully limit emissions. Each state has its own individual percentage.

The EPA’s proposal will reduce the US’s coal-use from 40 percent to 30 percent in 2030. However, in reference to global efforts and the US in particular, the EU’s Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said that such attempts might not be enough to battle climate change.

People from all political parties support curbing greenhouse gas emissions, including 57 percent of Republicans, 76 percent of independents, 79 percent of Democrats, and 50 percent of Tea Party supporters.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

June 10, 2014

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2013. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

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