Energy & Environment

How the 'Nuclear Option' May Help the Environment

The environment may be one of the biggest winners from the recent procedural changes invoked by Senate Democrats.

According to The Hill, “President Obama’s second-term regulations on climate change — is likely to have a better shot at surviving legal challenges once Obama’s nominees are confirmed for the crucial U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.”

“Green groups suffered a major defeat at the circuit court last year when rules to cut soot-and smog-forming power plant emissions that cross state lines were shot down.”

“Advocates are hoping to avoid a similar defeat when the separate, upcoming carbon emissions standards face litigation at the court, which is a near certainty.”

In addition, “It may free Obama up to be more ambitious about putting forward folks that share [the administration’s] philosophy and be less fearful because of the 60-vote threshold.”

EPA Rule Could Produce Fire Hydrant Shortage

Reps. Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) “introduced legislation this week to block an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that would require fire hydrants to use lead-free pipes starting next year,” The Hill reports.

“Johnson says that ruling would cause an immediate shortage of fire hydrants across the country, as any that are ready for installation would not meet the EPA’s new requirement… The law requires drinking water to be transported in lead-free pipes, and the guidance said the EPA would apply this same requirement to water that comes out of fire hydrants.”

UN Climate Talks Are Breaking Down Again

As the UN Climate talks enter their second week, it is apparent that all is not well. The sticking point: “Poor countries argue that richer countries are responsible for most of the carbon-dioxide already the atmosphere, so they should pay for the damage caused by global warming. The rich countries, for their part, point out that you also have to look at future emissions when divvying up blame — which puts the spotlight on fast-growing nations like China and India.”

The Washington Post summarizes the breakdown in five charts:

  1. The U.S. and Europe are responsible for nearly half of the man-made carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere — but that’s changing fast.
  2. Developing nations are now responsible for the majority of emissions each year.
  3. China now emits as much carbon dioxide per person as the European Union.
  4. Wealthy nations continue to “outsource” some of their carbon to poorer nations.
  5. And, by the way, the world is still nowhere close to meeting its climate goals.