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House Votes To Stop EPA From Regulating Greenhouse Gases

The Republican-controlled House has voted to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases that scientists say cause global warming.

The 249-177 vote added the regulation ban to a sweeping spending bill that would fund the government through Sept. 30. The restriction is opposed by the Obama administration, which is using its regulatory powers to curb greenhouse gases after global warming legislation collapsed last year. The administration also says the ban would cost thousands of construction jobs.

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Environmental Impact Study on Alberta Oilsands too “pro-industry”

Recently, federal documents have revealed some truths about Alberta’s oilsands industry and the impact that it has been creating on the environment. Officials from Environment Canada reviewed the original documents and warned that it reflected the view of oil companies instead of the facts.

“The package should deliver neutral, balanced and factual information,” said the analysis. “Currently, much of the language is too pro-industry, and would make the government to be perceived as bias and thus not credible or serving the public good.”

The documents warn that some climate change and water quality policies are unproven and could drive up production costs in the oilsands by as much as $20 per barrel of oil, while creating new pollution that affects air quality.

When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, the document explained that even though the industry has dropped emissions per barrel of oil over the last two decades, the overall emissions have actually tripled since 1990 and is likely to continue to rise.

“The rapid development of the oilsands has led to a number of environmental challenges affecting the land, water and air,” said the analysis.

And while all of this is going on, in a separate report put out by The Canadian Press, The Conference Board of Canada says Alberta’s oilsands shouldn’t be singled out as the reason for the country’s poor record on greenhouse gas emissions. This private sector think tank says road transportation accounted for 18 percent of total Canadian Greenhouse-gas emissions…yes that right the same road transportation the oilsands production is providing the fuel for.

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HFC’s Are Actually A Global Warming Gas

In the 1980’s, environmental groups celebrated the ban of ozone-destroying CFC gases. These chlorofluorocarbon gases were used in air-conditioning and refrigeration units before they were found to badly harm the ozone layer and were subsequently banned under the 1987 Montreal protocol.

They were replaced by HFCs – hydrofluorocarbons – which are gases that have far less effect on ozone but have since been revealed as extremely powerful greenhouse gases. This is a slap in the face to the organizations who trumpeted the use of HFC’s.

A study out this week will warn that, by 2050, HFCs could account for up to 19% of global warming. “By 2050, the contribution of HFCs to global warming will be more than that of current global CO2 emissions from houses and office buildings,” said Guus Velders of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, who did the research.

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EPA Rules Greenhouse Gases Harmful to Humans

This just in, water is wet, fire is hot and greenhouse gasses are dangerous to humans. After a long discussion with Captain Obvious the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just ruled that six greenhouse gases, are harmful to human health. Carbon dioxide along with five other greenhouse gases will be listed with the other pollutants controlled by the Clean Air Act.

The official EPA report lists greenhouse gases as being responsible for increasing drought, flooding, heat waves and wildfires, increase in sea level rising, increased storm intensity, and finally damage to water resources, agriculture and ecosystems.

While no decision has been made on how greenhouse gases should be regulated, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has already suggested that each state will be allowed to produce greenhouse gas regulations of their own.

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Disney Going Green

Disney is going green! The empire that produces serious amounts of waste is now saying that it plans to cut carbon emissions by half by 2012, and ultimately achieve net zero direct greenhouse gas emissions and landfill waste. This is a tall order for Disney, who have theme parks, cruise lines and retail stores.

Beth Stevens, senior vice president of environmental affairs, said Disney has “not put a definite time horizon” on taking emissions to zero.

“We set those [goals] because they were very aspirational,” Stevens said. “We thought it was important – to communicate a sense of commitment.”

The goal is that by 2013, Disney will cut solid waste to landfills by half of what it produced in 2006, which Ecorazzi reports, was a staggering 300,000 tons of garbage.

Do you think they can do it? These are lofty plans but we’re hoping Disney will turn a new environmental leaf.

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EPA Wants Companies to Audit Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Environmental Protection Agency is working with the federal government to require companies to start disclosing the amount of greenhouse gases they release into the atmosphere.

On Tuesday, the EPA proposed mandatory reporting of the gases blamed for global warming from approximately 13,000 companies that are large emitters of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, such as oil refiners and automobile manufacturers, in the U.S. Under the new regulations, companies would be required to begin auditing their own greenhouse gas emissions as of 2010.

“We do not expect to have a significant impact on small businesses,” said Dina Kruger, the director of the agency’s climate change division.

Currently, the EPA only requires reporting of greenhouse gases only from power plants. It also releases an annual inventory that merely estimates the CO2 released from other large corporations such as those in transportation and electricity production.

“Our efforts to confront climate change must be guided by the best possible information,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a statement announcing the proposed regulation.

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NASA Orbiting Carbon Observatory Fails

The NASA Orbiting Carbon Observatory that we reported on yesterday which launched today has apparently failed.

The observatory satellite launched on schedule at 4:55am ET this morning in California but the fairing, which is the structure designed to protect the Orbiting Carbon Observatory as it blasts through the atmosphere, failed to separate from the satellite.

This resulted in the observatory being unable to maintain an orbit and consequently is currently somewhere in the ocean near Antarctica. Satellite launch fail.

The NASA Mishap Investigation Board is currently trying to work out what went wrong.

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