Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I turned 39 (2014)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Environmental Policies

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A Boston GLOBE EDITORIAL
"Capture carbon, but then what?"
December 2, 2007

TURNING coal into gas before burning it is an excellent way to reduce its toxic pollutants, including mercury, and capture its carbon dioxide emissions, the most important greenhouse gas. But this is beneficial only if there is a practical way to put the CO{-2} away forever - either deep underground or under the ocean. That is why state officials should require a full-bore environmental review of a plan by a power generator in Somerset to begin gasifying coal at its plant there.

The Somerset facility, which produces enough power for about 120,000 households, is under strict orders by the state to cut down, by 2010, in the sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, soot, mercury, and other toxic pollutants it emits. The plant's owner, NRG Energy Incorporated, proposes to meet the requirements by first gasifying the coal before burning it. This would greatly reduce those pollutants, but it would do nothing to curb carbon dioxide unless there is an affordable way to sequester it securely.

Unfortunately, no one has done any studies whatsoever of potential sequestration sites in Massachusetts. Coal mines in Pennsylvania or locations in New York state might eventually prove suitable, but even they have not been tested thoroughly. Building and operating a pipeline system to transport CO{-2} from the Somerset plant to distant mines or other geological formations could be prohibitively costly. Unless a more feasible option arises, the plant's carbon-capturing strategy would amount to little more than catch-and-release.

The company also proposes to reduce its carbon footprint by replacing some of the coal with biomass - in the form of logging residue, urban tree-trimming waste, stumps, pallets, and demolition debris - or biodiesel from soy or palm oil. Biomass is considered carbon-neutral because the plant material gets its carbon from the atmosphere, instead of releasing it from deposits deep in the ground. But the company has made no commitments on how much if any of the coal would be replaced by biomass.

In August, the state Department of Environmental Protection issued draft approvals for NRG's plan without asking the firm to meet the full reporting requirements of the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act. The state should call for such a review. That way, NRG would have to do an analysis of the project's impact on greenhouse gas emissions and spell out possible mitigation measures. If biomass is to be used as a way to reduce the plant's carbon emissions, the state should require both a detailed plan for where such material will come from and a commitment from NRG on how much coal will be replaced.

Simply reducing some pollutants isn't enough. The state should not be approving power-plant upgrades that would hasten the climate catastrophe of global warming.

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www.net.org/warming/docs/ipcc-thermometer-fact-sheet.jpg
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"Don't blame the MTC"
The North Adams Transcript - Letters
Monday, December 3, 2007

To the Editor:

The Friday, Nov. 30, editorial, "Energy Inefficiency," explored the issues surrounding a regional and specifically Massachusetts energy plan, picking up on a recent article describing the Green Communities Act passed by the House this session.

The Transcript and The Boston Globe report criticism of the handling of the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust Fund by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC) and single out the provision within the legislation to move the management of the fund and "green energy" programs to the new Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

There are well over fifty other provisions in the Green Communities Act which merit media reporting on issues as diverse as fair compensation for clean electricity generation, development of natural-gas-fired combined heat and power plants, ratepayer advocacy and creation of municipal electric utilities.

It is ironic that MTC is being criticized now that it is gradually overcoming policy vestiges from the Romney administration and is on track for fair and expeditious development of renewable energy projects, education and research in the commonwealth.

The complaint that few businesses and citizens knew about the MTC renewable energy programs must surprise many in Western Massachusetts. This region has been an early adopter with an exemplary balance of grants to public buildings, private businesses and residential electric customers.

Praise goes to the Transcript for thorough reporting on the projects at Jiminy Peak and Mass MoCA. Given the limited funding of the Renewable Energy Trust, those are big projects. There are many other smaller projects. The notion that MTC is at fault for not funding megawatt-size projects is a function of means, not technical scope or desire. Many Western Mass. participants in MTC grant programs came to them from environmental motives and leveraged public funds with their own to complete them.

Now that energy prices are skyrocketing, there is a pronounced surge in requests for MTC assistance from entities for whom cost savings are penultimate in mind. Their disappointment that the agency does not pay the full tab for a wind or solar or biomass project and that there is a long line of worthy grant applications ahead of them has led to this unfair criticism of the MTC.

The MTC has a limited budget funded by a small surcharge on electric bills. A much larger surcharge supports the state's Energy Efficiency Fund. The Renewable Energy Trust Fund is $25 million per year; the Energy Efficiency Fund is $120 million per year. The bulk of this money is disbursed directly by utilities. They, too, are inundated with requests and could be criticized for lackluster PR and tardy performance.

The original Green Communities Act had mandated that control of these energy efficiency moneys would be taken from the utilities and contained in the new executive office, but that provision was struck out in the legislation passed. In fact, the new Green Communities Act allows the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to disburse Renewable Energy Trust funds to utilities. It remains to be seen whether this new cabinet level office can do a better job than the MTC on "green energy" and whether its oversight of utility investments will be thorough.

The Transcript editorial expressed the concern that no coordinated effort is being made to address the region's need for clean energy. The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA — www.nesea.org) for over 30 years has led the charge in developing infrastructure and strategy for the region. The NESEA annual conference in Boston every March is an extraordinary gathering of energy experts from the public, private and academic sectors which draws participants from around the country and globe.

The MTC has been a major sponsor of this conference, as well as other important venues for clean-energy job creation in the commonwealth at the University of Massachusetts and MIT. There is a coordinated effort. In recent years, the MTC has been a leader in that effort, including hosting the first regional Modern Grid Conference in Lenox in the spring of 2005, at which power-generation experts from the Midwest, Mid Atlantic States and Northeast gathered to plan for a more reliable and greener electric grid.

It is unfortunate that the media reports unsubstantiated complaints about the MTC but neglects the evidence of consistent technical and policy stewardship by this public agency.

It is important to disclose that my firm works with MTC grantees on photovoltaic projects and, as a member of NESEA, the Solar Energy Business Association of New England (SEBANE — www.sebane.org) and national solar organizations, participates in policy discussions on "green energy" with the MTC and its counterparts in other states.

The best state programs in both energy efficiency and renewables are administered by public agencies staffed by career civil servants. Where policy and programs are controlled by political appointees or subject to heavy handed governance by politically appointed boards, these public funds lose objective, rational implementation. They should not be controlled by the utilities themselves.

The MTC has room for improvement in reducing bureaucracy. A careful study of the agency's red tape will reveal politically-tied knots. With greater autonomy and authority, it could proceed to greater successes. Hopefully the Massachusetts Senate and the Patrick administration will resist pressure from special interests, change the Green Communities Act and create in the MTC an apolitical public agency which is a model for clean energy development.

Christopher Derby Kilfoyle
Stamford, Vt.

The writer is president of Berkshire Photovoltaic Services in Adams, Massachusetts.

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Rising oil costs expected to increase heating costs in Mass.
The Associated Press
Tuesday, December 04, 2007

BOSTON (AP) — Rising oil prices are expected to boost heating oil costs by nearly $1,000 for the average Massachusetts family this winter.

A coalition of business, labor and community organizations bases its estimate on the state's average heating oil price last week. The average is 39 percent higher than it was during the same week a year earlier.

The coalition, called the Massachusetts Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance, says that increase translates to nearly $1,000 more for a family's winter heating bill, compared with a year ago. That figure assumes a family will refill a 250-gallon oil tank four times over the winter.

In Massachusetts, nearly a third of all households depend on fuel oil, kerosene or propane for heat.

About 42 percent in the state rely on natural gas for heat, and they're expected to see about a 10 percent increase in heating costs this winter.

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US Wants to Negotiate New Climate Pact
US Insists It Wants to Join Climate Negotiations, but Still Resists Mandatory Emissions Cuts
By MICHAEL CASEY
The Associated Press
BALI, Indonesia

American delegates at the U.N. climate conference insisted Monday they would not be a "roadblock" to a new international agreement aimed at reducing potentially catastrophic greenhouse gases.

But Washington refused to endorse mandatory emissions cuts, which are seen by many governmental delegations at the meeting as crucial for reining in rising temperatures.

Faced with melting polar ice and worsening droughts, delegates from nearly 190 nations opened the two-week conference with pleas for a new climate pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. That deal required the 36 signatories to cut emissions by 5 percent.

A key goal of the conference will be to draw in a skeptical United States, now the sole industrial power that has refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, citing fears it would hurt the U.S. economy because cuts aren't required of rising economies like those in China and India.

"We're not here to be a roadblock," Harlan L. Watson, a top U.S. climate negotiator, told reporters. "We're committed to a successful conclusion, and we're going to work very constructively to make that happen."

The Americans, however, were forced to repeatedly defend their refusal to embrace emission caps after Australia's new prime minister signed papers Monday to ratify the 1997 Kyoto agreement reversing the decision of his nation's previous, conservative government.

Delegates in Bali erupted in applause when Australia's representative, Howard Bamsey, told the session that his country was jumping on board.

Still, the United Nations acknowledged no pact can be effective without the Americans, and the European Union said it expected the U.S. delegation to play a constructive role in the days to come.

"There is no doubt that the U.S. has to play a key role in the post-2012 agreement," said Artur Runge-Metzger, the EU's climate chief. "I think what the rest of the world would like to see is a credible effort, a credible commitment from the side of the U.S. to resolving this major challenge."

Conference leaders urged delegates to move quickly to launch negotiations on a climate agreement that many hope will be completed by 2009.

Among the most contentious issues are whether emission cuts should be mandatory and how much up-and-coming economies like China and India should have to rein in their skyrocketing emissions.

Also on the table are efforts to curb deforestation and help for the world's poorest countries to adapt to a worsening climate.

"The eyes of the world are upon you. There is a huge responsibility for Bali to deliver," said Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the conference. "The world now expects a quantum leap forward."

The conference opened as momentum grows around the globe in support for dramatic steps aimed at stopping a rise in temperatures that many scientists fear could lead to swamped coastal areas and islands, the loss of species, economic havoc and a spike in natural disasters such as storms, forest fires and droughts.

The meeting is the first major climate conference since former Vice President Al Gore due to arrive next week and a U.N. scientific council were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their environmental work.

Confronted with the past year's scientific reports on the climate problem, the Bush administration has signaled a willingness to play a larger role in negotiations.

The American delegation presented a statement detailing measures the U.S. is taking, such as promoting energy efficiency and cleaner technologies. Yet, it remains opposed to mandatory emission cuts on an international level and scoffed at the notion of taking any action to immediately phase out use of fossil fuels.

The meeting's goal of simply launching negotiations didn't sit well with the Athabaskan Arctic Council's representative.

James Allen said native communities in Canada and Alaska are seeing their ice environment melt away and that the warming climate has also led to an invasion of spruce beetles that has destroyed several hundred acres of forest and led to increasing wildfires.

"We would like to see things happen a lot faster," Allen said. "The effects are happening now. We don't have time to debate these issues. People's lives are at stake."

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On the Net:

U.N. Climate Change Conference: http://unfccc.int/2860.php

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UN Kicks Off Bali Climate Conference
UN Kicks Off Global Warming Conference to Build New Climate Agreement
By JOSEPH COLEMAN
The Associated Press
BALI, Indonesia

Faced with melting polar ice caps and worsening droughts, climate experts at a massive U.N. conference Monday urged quick action toward a new international pact stemming an increasingly destructive rise in world temperatures.

A key goal of the two-week conference, which opened with delegates from nearly 190 countries in attendance, will be to draw a skeptical United States into an agreement to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other so-called greenhouse gases.

While the U.S. delegation declared it would not be a "roadblock" to a new agreement, Washington remains opposed to steps many other countries support, such as mandatory emissions cuts by rich nations and a target for limiting the rise in global temperatures.

The American position suffered a blow Monday when the new Australian prime minister signed papers to ratify the Kyoto Protocol climate pact. The move leaves the U.S. the world's top emitter of greenhouse gases as the sole industrial power not to have joined.

Conference leaders urged delegates to move quickly to combat climate change.

"The eyes of the world are upon you. There is a huge responsibility for Bali to deliver," said Yvo de Boer, the executive secretary of the conference. "The world now expects a quantum leap forward."

The conference kicked off amid growing global momentum for dramatic action to stop rising temperatures that scientists say could lead to swamping of coastal areas and islands by higher oceans, the wiping out of species, economic havoc and a spike in natural disasters such as storms, fires and droughts.

The Bali meeting will be the first major conference of its kind since former Vice President Al Gore due to arrive next week and a U.N. scientific council won the Nobel Peace Prize in October for their environmental work.

The immediate aim will be to launch negotiations toward a pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012, and set an agenda for the talks and a deadline. The U.N. says such an agreement should be concluded by 2009 in order to have a system in place in time.

Among the most contentious issues ahead will be whether emission cuts should be mandatory or voluntary. Also to be tackled will be to what extent up-and-coming economies like China and India will have to rein in their skyrocketing emissions, and how to help the world's poorest countries adapt to a worsening climate.

The American delegation was clearly on the defensive in Bali, presenting a statement detailing the ways the U.S. is fighting global warming without submitting to mandatory emissions targets.

"We're not here to be a roadblock," insisted Harlan L. Watson, the senior U.S. climate negotiator. "We're committed to a successful conclusion, and we're going to work very constructively to make that happen."

Confronted with the scientific reports of the past year, the Bush administration has signaled a willingness to play a larger role in the negotiations, and U.N. officials agree they must craft a post-Kyoto framework that Washington will go along with.

Australia abandoned the anti-Kyoto alliance with the U.S. on Monday, when new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd signed the paperwork to ratify the pact. Delegates in Bali erupted in applause when Australia's delegate, Howard Bamsey, told the plenary that Canberra was jumping on board.

Environmentalists at the conference cited what they saw as growing international momentum for tougher safeguards against global warming. Even critics of the Bush administration pointed out that many individual states, such as California, were on the forefront of cutting emissions.

"Despite the failure of the current president to take serious action on global warming, the political landscape in the United States is shifting dramatically in favor of mandatory limits on global warming pollution," said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists, citing upcoming action in the U.S. Congress.

Trying to fend off charges that America is not doing enough, Bush said last week a final Energy Department report showed U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas, declined by 1.5 percent last year while the economy grew.

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Delegates to the U.N. Climate Change Conference chat before the opening meeting Monday, Dec. 3, 2007, in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia. Delegates and scientists opened the biggest-ever climate change conference Monday, urging rapid progress in building a new international pact by 2009 to combat global warming, or risk economic and environmental disaster caused by rising temperatures.
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Can Climate Progress Succeed Without U.S.?
On Eve of Bali Talks, World's Top Greenhouse Gas Emitter Still Won't Sign Kyoto Protocol
By MARGARET CONLEY
BALI, Indonesia, Dec. 3, 2007—

The United States stands alone as the last major industrialized country not to have ratified the Kyoto Protocol, after Australia's announcement Monday that it would now sign the pact.

Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol was the first official act of the new Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. It was announced by Australia's representative, Howard Bamsey, at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which began Monday in Bali, Indonesia.

"Australia making that announcement was fantastic, and there was very long applause in the room," UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer told ABC News.

"The day as a whole got off to a good start with very enthusiastic introductory statements, people pointing to the scientific evidence that we now have and the need to move forward on that," he said.

Delegates from 187 countries flew to Bali for two weeks of talks on how to tackle global climate change issues.

At a press conference Sunday, de Boer said that "earlier spring, melting glaciers, longer droughts and changing rainfall patterns" are signals that have raised public awareness about climate change.

Some of the 10,000 people registered to attend the conference arrived today on bikes, an eco-friendly gesture encouraged by the Indonesian government. They met in the heavily secured Bali International Convention Center to discuss and debate climate change, its impact and what is to follow of the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

The pact, ratified by more than 170 countries and made during a U.N. conference in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, went into force in 2005. It was a long-debated agreement and commitment by the developed nations to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Industrialized countries are required to reduce emissions to at least 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012.

Will the U.S. Now Sign?

In a statement, the White House reacted coolly to Australia's announcement that it would sign the pact.

"The challenges of climate change are big, and serious. The next step is to reach agreement in Bali on a negotiating roadmap for a new post-2012 framework. We look forward to continuing to work together constructively with Australia, as we have in APEC, the Asia Pacific Partnership, and the Major Economies process," said Kristen Hellmer with the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

De Boer believes the United States could now be more active in climate change discussions. "Today [the United States] was very encouraging and open about their willingness to engage in formal negotiations," de Boer told ABC.

The Kyoto Protocol was ultimately rejected by the U.S. Congress because developing nations such as China and India were exempted from limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

Developed and underdeveloped countries disagree about who should be responsible for what in terms of preserving the environment. But most at the conference agreed that a breakthrough on a roadmap for climate change within the next two weeks is vital for the global economy, food and water security, and survival.

"This is going to affect future generations very importantly. I think if we do manage to put a process in place here in Bali, and two years later that process results in a really ambitious climate change regime, then our children and grandchildren will look back and say grandma and granddad really did do something to avoid us being confronted with severe impacts of climate change.

"And if we don't manage to launch a process here and we don't manage to conclude negotiations in 2009, I think that your grandchildren will have a very different view of you," de Boer added..

De Boer emphasized that this conference could not solve climate change problems or find agreement on previously raised specifics, such as the proposal to halve emissions, by the middle of the century.

Likening the situation to Neil Armstrong's moon landing statement in reverse, de Boer said, "We've taken a giant leap for man but a very small step for mankind," explaining that enormous strides have been made in measuring the effects of climate change but not on acting on those calculations.

De Boer called Bali a landmark meeting at which politicians are going to have to face the message from scientists and be asked important questions.

"What is your response to what the scientists are telling you? What are you going to do about this?" de Boer said. "I hope there will be a bold answer."

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"Arctic ice melt spurs a dire new warning"
By Seth Borenstein, Associated Press, December 12, 2007

WASHINGTON - An already relentless melting of the Arctic greatly accelerated this summer, a warning sign that some scientists worry could mean global warming has passed an ominous tipping point. One even speculated that summer sea ice would be gone in five years.

Greenland's ice sheet melted nearly 19 billion tons more than the previous high mark, and the volume of Arctic sea ice at summer's end was half what it was four years earlier, according to new NASA satellite data obtained by the Associated Press.

"The Arctic is screaming," said Mark Serreze, senior scientist at the government's snow and ice data center in Boulder, Colo.

Just last year, two top scientists surprised their colleagues by projecting that the Arctic sea ice was melting so rapidly that it could disappear entirely by the summer of 2040.

This week, after reviewing his new data, NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally said: "At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions."

So scientists in recent days have been asking themselves these questions: Was the record melt seen all over the Arctic in 2007 a blip amid relentless and steady warming? Or has everything sped up to a new climate cycle that goes beyond the worst-case scenarios presented by computer models?

It is the burning of coal, oil, and other fossil fuels that produces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, responsible for man-made global warming, scientists say.

For the past several days, diplomats have been debating in Bali, Indonesia, the outlines of a new climate treaty calling for tougher limits on these gases.

Yesterday, Senator John F. Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, said that a delegation from China, one of the biggest producers of the gases linked to global warming, told him at the international climate-change conference that it was ready to cut greenhouse gas emissions if the United States first set mandatory reductions of its own - a plan the Bush administration has consistently rejected.

The message from China "was very, very significant," Kerry told reporters in a teleconference yesterday. "Every country there [at the Bali conference] emphasized the importance of the US to lead. Up to now, our absence has been an excuse for countries to postpone action."

John Donnelly of the Boston Globe staff contributed to this report.

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"Global warming is worsening"
The Berkshire Eagle - Editorial
Thursday, December 13, 2007

'The Arctic is screaming." That's the opinion of Mark Serreze, a senior scientist at the federal government's snow and ice data center in Colorado, and he ought to know. His remarks are based on new climate figures that show that the melting of Arctic ice accelerated so greatly this summer that some scientists believe global warming may have passed the point of no return.

Whether global warming has passed what the Associated Press describes as an "ominous tipping point" is still debatable, no matter what the figures say. But it is also true that those numbers keep getting worse. And they won't get better if countries with emerging economies, such as China and India, don't put the brakes on their own growth.

Coincidentally, the releasing of the new climate figures coincides with a meeting in Indonesia where government diplomats have been debating the outlines of a new climate treaty that calls for tougher limits on the burning of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Let's hope someone at that conference is listening.

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"For U.S., Policy Discord Plays Out at Bali Climate Change Talks"
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 11, 2007; A16

BALI, Indonesia, Dec. 10 -- Congressional Democrats, in the person of Sen. John F. Kerry, and the White House took their disagreements over global warming policy halfway around the world as United Nations-sponsored climate change talks got into high gear Monday.

Kerry (D-Mass.), who traveled roughly 20 hours on commercial flights to get here and was making the same journey back for a series of Senate votes Tuesday, met over the weekend with representatives of more than a dozen countries, including Australia, China, Germany, Indonesia and Japan, held a news conference, and delivered a speech before a packed room of nongovernmental officials before heading back to Washington.

"The issue here is, are we serious about the process?" Kerry said in an interview near the end of what he called his "20 minutes in Bali" trip. About 10,000 delegates have gathered in an effort to map a path toward an international pact to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

"If scientists say a two-degree Celsius rise above pre-industrial levels could lead to disastrous consequences, then I think we have an obligation to embrace that goal, and you have to embrace the truth about how you get there," Kerry said.

Kerry's comments came on the same day the Bush administration's chief climate negotiator, Harlan L. Watson, rejected a specific temperature rise or emissions reduction target. Even as many American lawmakers, business leaders and environmentalists insisted the United States is poised to change its climate policy, administration officials reiterated that they are willing only to embrace open-ended talks.

The draft text U.N. officials unveiled Monday includes language calling on industrialized countries to cut emissions between 25 percent and 40 percent by 2020; Bush officials rejected that proposal, along with language calling for all developed countries to adopt national emissions goals.

"We don't think it's prudent to start out with a set of numbers," Watson said Sunday. "We're here to talk about the differences and try to resolve them. That's what negotiations are all about."

Kerry, at his news conference, described how various federal, state and local officials have taken action on greenhouse gas emissions. "We wanted to bring the message to Bali the United States is going to be at the table," he said. "The United States is going to lead."

The senator, who added that he believes the Bush administration intended to negotiate in "good faith," is the sole standard-bearer for Congress at the massive meeting of nearly 190 countries. About a dozen senators and House members had planned to attend, but most are stuck in Washington dealing with legislation.

In Washington, several Democrats said they were hoping all the delegates -- including the Americans -- would take a cue from last week's vote by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to endorse a bill that calls for mandatory emission cuts.

The bill "signals a rapidly growing commitment in Congress and across America to capping our greenhouse gas emissions so that we can avoid the dangerous consequences of inaction," committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said in a statement.

But the top Republican on Boxer's panel, Sen. James M. Inhofe (Okla.), questioned the effect of last week's action on the climate bill.

"Democratic attempts to influence the U.N. Climate Conference, much like the entire conference itself, are more theatrics than substance," Inhofe said in a statement. "To pass the bill, Democrats were forced to sidestep several contentious issues, such as the devastating impacts this bill would have on the loss of millions of American jobs to countries like China and the impacts of skyrocketing energy costs, especially on the poor."

One frustrated lawmaker devised an alternative way to be a presence at the Bali talks. On Tuesday, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), who chairs the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, will give a speech from a virtual podium on the Web site Second Life, using an animated version of himself known as an avatar.

"I want the Bali conference to know there are leaders in the United States who care about what is happening to the planet, and are prepared to meet the challenge," Markey said in an interview. "Instead of offsetting the carbon footprint of my flight to Bali, I'm going to upload my avatar and I'm going to Bali with no footprint at all."

Markey said he was confident that his avatar -- which will speak from a virtual Bali stage provided by the British nonprofit group OneClimate -- will persuade other delegates that he and other U.S. politicians care about global warming. The avatar, which has extremely long legs and a shapely torso, is not exactly a replica of the congressman.

"I'm wearing a green tie because I'm Irish," he said, laughing when pressed about his virtual counterpart. "Any resemblance between me and my avatar is completely coincidental."

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A major United Nations-sponsored conference on climate change is underway in Bali, Indonesia, to negotiate an accord on greenhouse gas reduction.
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"International Impasse Deepens at Climate Talks"
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 13, 2007; 2:09 PM

NUSA DUA, Indonesia, Dec. 13--An international impasse deepened here Thursday over U.S. refusal to accept specific targets in a "road map" toward reaching a worldwide climate agreement by 2009, as European leaders threatened to boycott the parallel process that President Bush launched with great fanfare a month and a half ago.

Throughout a week of negotiations on the island of Bali, Bush administration officials have steadily resisted a United Nations proposal calling on industrialized countries to accept a goal of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 25 to 40 percent by 2020. In retaliation, several European officials said they may not attend the next installment of the White House-sponsored "major economies meeting" on global warming, which is set to resume next month in Honolulu.

In an interview Thursday, German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said it would not make sense for Bush to continue those talks unless negotiators make significant progress here in defining the range of emissions cuts they need to consider.

"If we will not find a solution here in Bali, I cannot see what we should negotiate in the major economies meetings," Gabriel said. "If you want to organize a road map, you should know where is the destination."

In a sign of how badly relations have deteriorated between the United States and other nations over the climate issue, delegates to the U.N.-sponsored talks in Bali burst into applause Thursday night when former vice president Al Gore blamed the Bush administration for jeopardizing the negotiations and alluded to the end of Bush's term in office in just over a year.

In a 48-minute speech, Gore urged delegates here to "go far, quickly" in reducing greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming, saying they should forge ahead with a consensus statement and leave "a large open space in your document" to allow a future U.S. president to work more aggressively to curb global warming.

"My country's been responsible for obstructing the process here in Bali, we know that," he said to an overflow crowd, many of them forced to sit on the floor. "Over the next two years the United States is going to be somewhere where it is not now. You must anticipate that."

Gore added that he understood how some delegates might be tempted to abandon the process altogether, but he cautioned that if the talks collapse, "the entire world could lose momentum and could lose progress."

Instead, Gore suggested that they "negotiate around this enormous obstacle, this elephant in the room."

It was not immediately clear whether the speech by Gore, who on Monday collected a share of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo for his activism on global warming, would have an impact on the talks, which are deadlocked over the question of how much industrialized and developing nations must each do to reduce global warming pollution. While some U.S. supporters, such as Canada and Japan, have backed the administration's negotiating stance, America's European allies were making a concerted effort to distance themselves.

Administration officials, for their part, said at a news conference that they remain committed to producing a document that would allow both industrialized and developing nations to explore a range of options aimed at curbing dangerous climate change.

"There's a strong determination to reach that outcome here," said Paula Dobriansky, the U.S. undersecretary of state for democracy and global affairs, who heads the administration's delegation in Bali. "We still have some work to do, today and tomorrow."

James L. Connaughton, who chairs the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said the proposal to "magically find an agreement" by setting a range of emissions targets at the outset of a two-year negotiating process "in itself is a blocking effort."

"We will lead. The U.S. will lead," Connaughton said. "But leadership also requires others to fall in line and follow."

Only a handful of countries have expressed an interest in following America's lead in the Bali talks. Everton Vieira Vargas, one of Brazil's senior delegates to the Bali talks, said rapidly industrializing nations such as his own should not be expected to make significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions if the United States is unwilling to commit to serious reductions.

"I am of the view any success in this process is directly linked to industrialized countries taking deeper and more robust obligations under the Kyoto Protocol," Vargas said, referring to the 1997 climate pact that takes effect next year and expires in 2012. "Ironically, one country that's not part of the Kyoto Protocol is trying to get the same responsibilities as developing countries. It sounds strange to us."

Connie Hedegaard, Denmark's minister for climate and energy, said in an interview Thursday that including short-term emissions reduction targets of at least 25 percent in any final agreement here remains "one of the bottom lines the European Union has got."

"It's not some figures taken at random," she said. Referring to scientific reports of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the Nobel Prize with Gore, Hedegaard added that the 25 percent target "reports very specifically back to what the IPCC tells us."

Gabriel said the short-term emissions targets of Germany, Denmark and others reflect the reality that industrialized nations will be unable to reduce their emissions in half by mid-century -- a goal backed by many scientists -- if they do not begin to make serious cuts soon. "This near-term target is not a political question, it is a question of mathematics," he said.

John Coequyt, an energy specialist for the advocacy group Greenpeace USA, said the Europeans were signaling they might abandon Bush's upcoming "major economies" climate meeting because "it's the only piece of real leverage that they have" with the United States.

Still, some world leaders said they remained optimistic that negotiators could broker a deal at the last minute. The talks are scheduled to end Friday.

"At least we now agree climate change is a damaging environmental threat," said Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. "We agree something has to be done."

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"Bali breakthrough launches climate talks"
By David Fogarty, Evening of 12/15/2007

Nearly 200 nations agreed at U.N.-led talks in Bali on Saturday to launch negotiations on a new pact to fight global warming after a last- minute reversal by the United States allowed a breakthrough.

Washington said the agreement marked a new chapter in climate diplomacy after six years of disputes with major allies since President George W. Bush pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, the main existing plan for combating warming.

But despite its dramatic turnaround in the meeting, which approved a "roadmap" for two years of negotiations to adopt a new treaty to succeed Kyoto beyond 2012, the White House said it still had "serious concerns" about the way forward.

"This is the defining moment for me and my mandate as secretary-general," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said after making a return trip to Bali to implore delegates to overcome deadlock after the talks ran a day into overtime.

Ban had been on a visit to East Timor. "I am deeply grateful to many member states for their spirit of flexibility and compromise," Ban told Reuters.

The roadmap widens Kyoto to the United States and developing nations such as China and India. Under the deal, a successor pact will be agreed at a meeting in Copenhagen in late 2009.

The deal after two weeks of talks came when the United States dramatically dropped opposition to a proposal by the main developing-nation bloc, the G77, for rich nations to do more to help the developing world fight rising greenhouse emissions.

But the White House voiced reservations about future talks. Negotiators "must give sufficient emphasis to the important and appropriate role that the larger emitting developing countries should play," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

The United States is the leading greenhouse gas emitter, ahead of China, Russia and India.

Indonesian Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar, the host of the talks, banged down the gavel on the deal to rapturous applause from weary delegates.

"All three things I wanted have come out of these talks -- launch, agenda, end date," Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told reporters.

The accord marks a step toward slowing global warming that the U.N. climate panel says is caused by human activities led by burning fossil fuels that produce carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.

Scientists say rising temperatures could cause seas to rise sharply, glaciers to melt, storms and droughts to become more intense and mass migration of climate refugees.

'U.S. HUMBLED'

"The U.S. has been humbled by the overwhelming message by developing countries that they are ready to be engaged with the problem, and it's been humiliated by the world community. I've never seen such a flip-flop in an environmental treaty context ever," said Bill Hare of Greenpeace.

The European Union, which dropped earlier objections to the draft text, was pleased with the deal.

"It was exactly what we wanted. We are indeed very pleased," said Humberto Rosa, head of the European Union delegation.

German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel was cautiously optimistic: "Bali has laid the foundations ... it was hard work and exhausting. But the real work starts now."

But a leading Indian environmentalist was disappointed.

"At the end of the day, we got an extremely weak agreement," said Sunita Narain, head of the Centre for Science and the Environment in New Delhi. "It's obvious the U.S. is not learning to be alive to world opinion."

Agreement by 2009 would give governments time to ratify the pact and give certainty to markets and investors wanting to switch to cleaner energy technologies, such as wind turbines and solar panels.

Kyoto binds all industrial countries except the United States to cut emissions of greenhouse gases between 2008 and 2012. Developing nations are exempt and the new negotiations will seek to bind all countries to emission curbs from 2013.

DAY OF DRAMA

In a day of drama and emotional speeches, nations had berated and booed the U.S. representatives for holding out. A wave of relief swept the room when the United States relented.

"The United States is very committed to this effort and just wants to really ensure we all act together," said Paula Dobriansky, head of the U.S. delegation.

"With that, Mr. Chairman, let me say to you we will go forward and join consensus," she said to cheers and claps.

James Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said: "This is not a step taken alone by America. This is a step taken by all the countries that the time had come to open a new chapter."

-- For Reuters latest environment blogs click on:

http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/

(Reporting by Adhityani Arga, Sugita Katyal, Alister Doyle, Emma Graham-Harrison, Ed Davies, Gde Anugrah Arka and Gerard Wynn; Editing by Alister Doyle and Michael Winfrey)

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"Bali Forum Backs Climate 'Road Map': U.S. Accedes on Aid Pledges, Wins Fight to Drop Specific Targets for Emissions Cuts"
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 16, 2007; A01

NUSA DUA, Indonesia, Dec. 15 -- Delegates from nearly 190 countries emerged from a final 24 hours of bruising negotiations Saturday with an agreement on a new framework for tackling global warming, one that for the first time calls on both the industrialized world and rapidly developing nations to commit to measurable, verifiable steps.

The deal, which will form the basis for a two-year, U.N.-sponsored process aimed at forging a binding international climate pact by the end of 2009, could transform the way rich and poor nations work together to preserve a rapidly warming Earth, observers said. But it also postpones many tough decisions and provides more incentives than penalties when it comes to addressing global warming.

The consensus document was accepted by acclamation following an acrimonious confrontation between the U.S. delegates and leaders of developing nations, who bluntly accused Washington of pressing them for commitments while refusing to make its own. Finally, after a succession of delegates lambasted the American position, the U.S. delegation acceded to language pledging industrialized countries to provide quantifiable technological and financial aid to less well-off nations, including the economically burgeoning China, India and Brazil.

In a session marked by high drama and temporary setbacks, the developing nations also agreed to take specific steps to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions with the assistance of wealthier nations.

"Bali has delivered what it needed to do," U.N. climate chief Yvo de Boer said in a final news conference Saturday night. "That road forward is ambitious, it is transparent, and it is flexible."

Bush administration officials, who fought to keep mentions of specific emissions targets out of the document, said they were pleased with the progress that had been made. The agreement will guide negotiators in their quest to produce an accord outlining how deeply the industrialized countries should cut their emissions between 2012 and 2016, after commitments made under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol expire. The United States never accepted that pact.

"We, in coming here to Bali, have not foreclosed options," said Paula J. Dobriansky, U.S. undersecretary of state for democracy and global affairs. "We have our work cut out for us. There's a real need to look at the developed countries and the developing countries, especially the major emerging economies, and pull together on behalf of the planet."

The consensus among the delegates here, however, came about only after two weeks of tense and emotional discussions that included last-minute exhortations by former vice president Al Gore and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as well as a final confrontation in which the developing nations took turns chastising the United States for not, in their view, doing its part.

Despite the difficult bargaining that lies ahead to produce an actual treaty, several participants said the conference's success in reaching a compromise showed that politicians across the ideological and geographical spectrum no longer feel they can afford to ignore public concern over global warming.

"As we saw in the room today, the political price for blocking things has come up in recent months," said Connie Hedegaard, the Danish climate and energy minister, whose government will host the 2009 treaty talks.

Among other things, Hedegaard was referring to the moment when the Bali session nearly collapsed after Dobriansky told delegates that the United States was "not willing to accept" language calling on industrialized nations to deliver "measurable, reportable and verifiable" assistance. Her comments sparked a stunning round of boos and hisses from the audience and sharp rebukes from representatives of developing countries.

Marthinus van Schalkwyk, South Africa's minister of environmental affairs and tourism, called Dobriansky's comments "unwelcome" and questioned why Washington was not doing more after leaders from emerging economies had dropped their resistance to taking measurable and verifiable steps to reduce their emissions.

"It has never happened before," van Schalkwyk said of his and other developing countries' willingness to be monitored. "A year ago it would have been unthinkable."

In rapid succession, an array of developing nations reprimanded the Americans.

"If you cannot lead, leave it to the rest of us. Get out of the way," declared Kevin Conrad, Papua New Guinea's ambassador for climate change.

In many ways, the Bali "road map" agreement marks a turning point in how the North and South will seek to curb rising greenhouse gas emissions, participants and observers said. Rapidly industrializing nations such as China and Brazil pledged to account for their global warming contributions as long as developed nations provide them with clean energy technology and help bolster their ability to respond to climate change.

By contrast, the Kyoto Protocol exempted emerging economies from any climate obligations, even though they are poised to overtake industrialized nations in greenhouse gas emissions within a matter of years.

"What we've seen disappear today is what I would call 'the Berlin Wall of climate change,' " the United Nations' de Boer said. "This document opens up the possibility of countries who are seeing their economies grow rapidly move into a new spectrum level of commitment, supported by developed countries."

The agreement also establishes a mechanism for giving tropical nations financial compensation for preserving their rain forests and calls for expanding financial aid for countries struggling to adapt to climate change.

"We want to do our part," said Conrad, of Papua New Guinea, which has led the fight for a program to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. "It's just a matter of how do we do our part, in an equitable way."

While the Bush administration made some concessions, it also scored a key victory by eliminating explicit language calling on industrialized countries to cut their emissions 25 to 40 percent, compared to 1990 levels, by 2020, a high priority for the European Union. Eventually the Europeans relented, settling for a footnote in the document's preamble that refers to a section in the 2007 scientific report of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). That section suggests that cuts that deep will be required to keep Earth's average temperature from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels.

Hans Verolme, who directs the World Wildlife Fund's climate change program, said the compromise produced a consensus, but "in the process, we lost substance" in specifying how much developed nations must cut emissions.

James L. Connaughton, who participated as chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said reducing developed countries' emissions by even 25 percent over the next 13 years was not achievable. "We want to be ambitious, but cuts that deep, that fast, are beyond reach."

In a statement Saturday, moreover, the White House said it had "serious concerns" about how future talks would "differentiate among developing countries" in terms of demanding cuts.

Denmark's Hedegaard said the road map's most valuable feature is that "the doors are not shut" to a future pact prescribing deep emissions cuts. But she added: "The whole document shows how many stones there are still on this road that need to be removed. . . . There is still no guarantee we will succeed in getting a new global agreement in 2009."

While the United States took most of the public hits here, other nations raised roadblocks of their own along the way. Russia repeatedly questioned the emissions reduction targets outlined by the IPCC, and Canada and Japan also pushed for less specific commitments. India resisted any pledge to make emissions commitments under the new pact, insisting that it should be compensated for forests it has protected in the past.

"We still have an imperfect document," said Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists. "Now the hard part really starts. How do you put flesh on the bones of that?"

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Boston Globe Editorial: Short Fuse
December 18, 2007

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Environment: Death by deregulation

What's a ton of toxic chemicals between friends? According to the Government Accountability Office (the last honest watchdog in Washington), the Bush administration in 2006 pressured the Environmental Protection Agency to weaken requirements on industry to report the use or release of poisonous chemicals into the environment. The EPA complied, allowing shorter, less detailed reports for the first time since 1988 if the amounts released were under one ton. As a result of the regulatory change, 22,000 fewer reports will be required from industry each year. Reducing government paperwork is a good thing, but shouldn't there be an exception for substances like sulfuric acid, mercury, and dioxin? Just asking.

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Energy: Bad news from New Hampshire

The energy bill passed by the US Senate last week could have been stronger had it not been for the votes of New Hampshire Senators John Sununu and Judd Gregg. The two voted against extending tax breaks for wind and solar, which would have been paid for by ending $13 billion in tax breaks to the oil and gas industries. Supporters of the stronger energy bill needed 60 votes to shut off debate, but got just 59. So either senator could have been a profile in courage, and the better bill would have passed. Sununu said he voted as he did to avoid a Bush veto and continued standstill on energy reform. According to the watchdog website opensecrets.org, Sununu has received $210,000 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry, and Gregg $84,000. Apparently neither man has much in common with constituents who want relief from Big Oil's chokehold.

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"Good bill used badly"
The Berkshire Eagle - Editorial
Friday, December 21, 2007

The federal energy bill signed into law this week is a good piece of legislation that will be counterproductive if it is used as an excuse to prevent states from taking bolder action. Only a day after the bill acquired the necessary signature of President Bush, the federal Environmental Protection Agency did just that by cutting the legs out of an effort by 17 states, including Massachusetts, to set tougher standards on emissions of greenhouse gases.

The bill requires automakers to achieve an industrywide average fuel efficiency standard for cars, SUVs and small trucks of 35 miles per gallon by 2020. This modest achievement, which will cut down on carbon dioxide emissions and ultimately force Detroit to start producing the kinds of cars that may actually make it competitive and drag it out of bankruptcy, was impossible under a Republican Congress, which was more intent on opening the Arctic Wildlife Reserve to oil drilling than it was in cutting down on our use of oil. The bill also includes incentives for the development of alternative energy sources, though too much assistance is devoted to helping farmers in politically important Midwestern states produce corn ethanol, which is not a cost-efficient source of alternative fuel.

EPA Administrator Stephen L. Jackson wasted no time in denying the 17 states seeking to establish their own fuel efficiency standards the necessary federal waiver, asserting that the federal law made the effort unnecessary. Mr. Jackson is the same Bush administration bureaucrat who is dragging his feet on addressing global warming even after the U.S. Supreme Court embarrassed the agency by trying to prod it into action.

Mr. Jackson's decision may seem to be an odd one coming from an administration that regularly proclaims the rights of states, but ideology takes a back seat when it comes to protecting the White House's pals in industry. Automakers were concerned that if California, which was carrying the ball in the effort, and the other 16 states were able to establish tough, mandatory emission standards they would be forced to build cars to meet them even if federal standards were different. Doing so, of course, would dramatically reduce the emissions fueling global warming and would enable Detroit to catch up to Honda, Toyota and the other foreign car-makers whose good mileage and other desirable qualities have enabled them to begin dominating the marketplace, Detroit, however, remains incapable of seeing the picture and its Washington enablers refuse to administer the needed tough love.

Of the 17 states, eight of them are in the Northeast, with all of the New England states except New Hampshire signed on. States in this region have been at the forefront of the environmental movement, as high fuel costs and the prevailing winds carrying pollution from the Midwest provide an incentive many states don't have. While the energy bill represents progress, it isn't enough progress to satisfy the 17 states seeking tougher standards.

California will appeal the ruling, but that process is lengthy and it may be necessary to wait for regime change. Leave it to the White House to use a good bill for bad purposes.

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GLOBE EDITORIAL
Sue the EPA, for earth's sake
December 27, 2007

IN THE 37 years since the Clean Air Act gave smog-plagued California the right to set tougher antipollution standards than the federal government, Washington has granted the state 50 waivers, never flatly rejecting one. Never, that is, until last week, when the Environmental Protection Agency turned down California's bid to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of cars by requiring higher fuel efficiency. Sixteen other states, including Massachusetts, have indicated they would adopt the California rules. The states should now take the EPA to federal court, where judges have been sympathetic to states' efforts to take the lead on global warming.

The EPA action comes despite overwhelming support for the waiver from the agency's technical and legal staffs. Smelling a rat, Representative Henry Waxman of California has already called for a congressional investigation into the circumstances behind the huge disconnect between the advice of the staff and the decision of the EPA administrator, Stephen L. Johnson.

The rat that Waxman will find without much effort is politics. When California Senator Barbara Boxer, who chairs the environment committee, had earlier quizzed Johnson about pressure from the White House on the California decision, he evaded the questions.

The White House has clearly been under pressure from automakers, who had resigned themselves to the tougher efficiency standards in the energy bill Bush signed last week, but don't want to contend with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's rules. The energy bill calls for raising the standard for cars from 27.5 miles per gallon now to 35 by 2020. The California standard requires 36 miles per gallon by 2016.

The Bush administration says the fuel standard in the energy bill eliminates the need for the California rules and spares the industry from having to engineer cars to meet two different efficiency tests. But if 17 states, with about half the nation's drivers, see greater urgency than Washington does in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, they deserve the right to take action. Federal environmental laws should be floors, not ceilings, for reducing pollution.

The Bush administration tried to escape any duty to address the global warming caused by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by saying that the gases are not within the purview of the Clean Air Act. Last spring, however, the Supreme Court ruled that the administration was wrong - that EPA has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide. The decision will buttress the case of the 17 states when they appeal EPA's rejection of the waiver on fuel efficiency. Regrettably, the appeal process will delay the day when Detroit finally learns that the Terminator - and the leaders of 16 other states - really do mean business on global warming.

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"Legislative leaders remain apart on state energy policy"
By Peter J. Howe, (Boston) Globe Staff, January 3, 2008

Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi are heading toward a tussle over state energy policy as the Senate takes up its version of DiMasi's bill to promote "green power" and conservation.

As the Senate Ways and Means Committee prepares to roll out a reworked version today of the DiMasi-backed energy plan House members approved in late November, Murray and her leadership team are backing, in broad strokes, several of DiMasi's goals.

They include boosting wind, solar, and hydroelectric power, and mandating that utilities do their best to offset growth in energy demand by promoting conservation.

But Murray's measure, which goes to senators for a vote Wednesday, also thwarts several DiMasi priorities in a bill that the speaker called the House's "signature accomplishment" in 2007.

Among other changes, the Senate bill scraps DiMasi's $2,000 state income tax break for hybrid car buyers, which Murray said the state can't afford. She also rejects DiMasi's effort to weaken the state Ocean Sanctuaries Act, an environmental protection measure, to clear the way for offshore wind farms such as Boston construction mogul Jay Cashman's planned 120-turbine project in Buzzards Bay and a smaller project off Hull.

And Murray also rides to the res cue of the state Renewable Energy Trust, which is funded by a 25-cent-a-month tax on utility bills and has faced widespread criticism for failing to generate significant amounts of renewable energy in Massachusetts.

DiMasi, with support from Governor Deval Patrick, would have effectively turned over the trust fund's $25 million annual revenues to Patrick's administration to spend. But Murray's bill ensures the fund stays independent, under a new advisory board with limited powers that would be appointed by Beacon Hill leaders. The Senate would even let the trust expand by creating a way for the state's 40 publicly owned municipal electric departments - which currently don't assess the utility tax and thus can't obtain trust grants - to join the trust program if they collect the 25-cent tax and send it to the trust.

Senator Michael W. Morrissey, a Quincy Democrat who is cochairman of the Legislature's energy committee, said that overall "we don't think there's a lot to fight about" when Murray and DiMasi negotiate a final compromise. But, Morrissey added that DiMasi's bill "is only a fraction of what was originally reported out of our committee. He had some good ideas. He had some bad ideas, too." The bad ideas "disappeared" in the final Senate draft, Morrissey said.

Murray said she is optimistic the Senate can approve the bill next week and soon after that work out a compromise between the two chambers' versions, so a final bill can be sent to Patrick. But based on past frustrations negotiating bills with DiMasi, Murray said, "You never know, really. The ones you think will be no problem end up sitting [in the House] for months."

After a first year in office during which Patrick had difficulty getting bills through the Legislature and with a bitter fight looming over his proposal for three resort casinos, the governor's aides are eager to get a wide-ranging green energy bill through the Legislature.

DiMasi spokesman David Guarino said yesterday the speaker was generally aware of the Senate's plans but had not seen a final draft of the bill. "We're encouraged that there appears to be 90 percent or so where they agree with the speaker's bill, and we'll look forward to seeing what comes out of their debate," Guarino said.

Representative Brian S. Dempsey, a Haverhill Democrat who cochairs the energy committee with Morrissey, said he anticipates "an interesting give and take" with the Senate, especially over the renewable energy trust, which is overseen by the quasi-public Massachusetts Technology Collaborative in Westborough. "We need to have a focused effort on energy in the state, and not potentially a quasi-public agency going one way and the administration another," Dempsey said, explaining why the House wanted to give the governor control over the $25 million trust fund.

But Murray said the DiMasi bill went too far in stripping the Westborough agency of control over the energy trust. "They can be cumbersome, but it wasn't the Senate's intent to blow them up or dismantle them," she said.

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Peter J. Howe can be reached at howe@globe.com.

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"Coal-to-gas plan drawing fire: Activists say Senate's incentive proposal doesn't do enough"
By Robert Gavin, (Boston) Globe Staff, January 3, 2008

The Massachusetts Senate is considering incentives worth tens of millions of dollars to boost controversial technology that converts coal to cleaner burning synthetic gas, but would still spew greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, environmental advocates said.

The proposal is under consideration as Senate bill writers put finishing touches on comprehensive energy legislation, scheduled for debate next week.

A recent draft of the bill would require utilities to purchase an unspecified percentage of power from coal gasification and other alternative energy sources, potentially generating a windfall of $50 million to $100 million a year for power producers using the technologies, according to Environment Northeast, an advocacy group in Boston.

The alternative-energy requirements would be separate and in addition to mandates requiring utilities to buy electricity from so-called renewable sources, such as wind and solar power.

Environmentalists argue that providing similar incentives for coal gas would undermine a key reason for promoting renewable sources: cutting carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming.

Mandating that utilities buy power from alternative sources acts as a subsidy because it guarantees a market for the power, even if it costs more. It can also mean higher rates for customers.

"We've taken such a leading role in climate change policy, and here we are supporting coal," said Shanna Vale, staff attorney at Conservation Law Foundation, an environmental advocacy group in Boston. "It just goes against the goals Massachusetts has set."

If the alternative-energy requirements are adopted, among the biggest winners would be NRG Energy Inc., a merchant power company in Princeton, N.J., which operates a coal-burning plant in Somerset. NRG has proposed using plasma gasification, a technology which relies on extremely high heat to convert coal and organic materials, such as wood and sawgrass, to synthetic gas. The gas would be burned to fuel the power plant.

NRG says synthetic gas burns much cleaner than coal, cutting pollutants such as sulfur and mercury by 95 percent. But environmentalists contend a plant using it would still emit tons of carbon dioxide. The draft bill would require coal gasification to prevent the release of carbon dioxide to qualify as alternative energy sources, but doesn't set specific carbon dioxide reductions. That would be determined later by environmental regulators.

At a minimum, environmentalists said, technologies should produce less carbon dioxide than natural gas to qualify for public support.

Burning coal gas produces twice as much carbon dioxide as natural gas, according to Environment Northeast. At least 60 percent of carbon dioxide would have to be captured to cut emissions below those of natural gas.

"Its not clean energy unless you require greenhouse gases to be reduced," said Sam Krasnow, policy advocate at Environment Northeast. "This is a huge black coal mark that threatens to undo all the progress we're making."

State Senator Michael W. Morrissey, Senate chairman of the Legislature's energy committee, said the final version of the bill remains under discussion. Ultimately, he said, it could set a minimum standard for cutting carbon dioxide emissions, or eliminate the section on alternative energy altogether.

"There seems to be a lot of interest in that section of the bill," said Morrissey, a Quincy Democrat, "and there will be a full and open opportunity to debate it."

NRG's coal-gasification proposal has been the subject of criticism. State regulations require the company to find a cleaner-burning fuel by 2010 or shut down its coal-fired plant in Somerset. In the fall, it received preliminary approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection for its plan for plasma gasification, but the Conservation Law Foundation has petitioned for a more extensive environmental review.

A decision from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs on that petition is expected as soon as today.

John O'Brien, senior vice president of government and regulatory affairs at NRG, said plasma gasification is one of several technologies NRG is developing at its power plants across the country as it seeks alternative energy sources while cutting carbon dioxide and other emissions. Renewable materials, such as wood and sawgrass, will account for about 35 percent of the feedstock for the synthetic gas at the Somerset plant, O'Brien added.

"We are working hard to reduce our carbon footprint," O'Brien said.

Another company that could benefit from the legislation is GreatPoint Energy Inc., a Cambridge firm with technology to convert coal to clean-burning methane gas while preventing the release of carbon dioxide. GreatPoint is building a demonstration gasification plant at another site in Somerset.

Andrew Perlman, GreatPoint's chief executive, said he agrees the state should set tough greenhouse gas and pollution standards before providing incentives.

"This would be great for our company," Perlman said, "if the Legislature puts in controls to prevent dirty versions of the technology."

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Robert Gavin can be reached at rgavin@globe.com.

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"Stand up and be counted"
TheTranscript.com - Editorial
Thursday, January 3, 2008

Tonight's the night in Savoy, and those who oppose Minuteman Wind's plan to build five turbines on West Hill had best step forward during the special town meeting at the firehouse if they want to block the project.

The vote will be on a new town bylaw regulating windmills, but everyone knows it will be the first showdown on whether the Minuteman proposal will fly.

So far, the project has the backing of the Selectmen, the town assessor and several residents who have taken the time to write or call their local newspaper. With only one exception, other than members of the town Planning Board, the residents who don't like the project have chosen to remain anonymous — and they have sent out reams of anti-windmill material under the simple name "Savoy Neighbors."

They no longer have that luxury. Town meeting is the place where, if people want to be heard, they must stand up and give their names. If they don't or won't, they deserve to be voted down. The bylaw needs a two-thirds majority to pass, so, if there really is a large group of residents who don't want windmills in town, they will have a fighting chance to vote the proposal down.

The Transcript has consistently been against large windmill projects that tear up the terrain, grant huge tax subsidies to out-of-state (and out-of-country) corporations and provide a negligible amount of electricity.

This project is relatively small — five turbines — and, according to the developer, would connect to the grid via power lines already on the property. The financially-strapped town stands to benefit a great deal if Minuteman can live up to its projections of paying over $200,000 per year in annual payments in lieu of taxes, once the project is complete.

Wind turbines are going to be built in Berkshire County — our state government is doing its best to see to that — and this is one of the less noxious proposals thus far put forward. But Savoyans are the ones who will have to live with the project. The general public isn't likely to see these turbines. Residents who live along Loop Road and their children attending Savoy Elementary School will, as will neighbors in Hawley.

More windmill showdowns are certain to come, first with the upcoming vote on the Planning Board's proposed bylaw and later, if all goes well for Minuteman, with an environmental impact report and other necessary permitting. But tonight's vote will set the tone. Whether you're for or against this project or other wind projects down the line, now is the time to make your voices heard.

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Savoy, Massachusetts
Residents take steps toward wind power
By Bonnie Obremski, North Adams Transcript
Friday, January 04, 2008

SAVOY — Savoy has leapt closer to welcoming wind turbine development on its ridgelines.

Voters who attended last night's special town meeting decided by secret ballot 155-56 to adopt a turbine-regulating bylaw in an approval that satisfied the required two-thirds majority.

"Congratulations to us all," Harold "Butch" Malloy said, beaming as neighbors congratulated him on his efforts to pass the bylaw, which he wrote using a state-designed template, though it was modified by the Selectmen on the meeting floor.

Townspeople nearly unanimously agreed with the Selectmen to increase the distance between each turbine and any other occupied structure from 1.5 times the height of a turbine to 2.5. Residents also agreed with the Selectmen's decision to expand the surety section of the bylaw that outlines what would happen if a developer fails to complete a project or abandons it.

Additionally, the Selectmen made a change that increased the area a developer needs to map on a site plan from a 500-foot radius from a proposed wind farm to 1,500 feet. Other amendments corrected spelling errors in Malloy's bylaw.

"Now we'll begin working on our special permit application," said Don McCauley, president of Minuteman Wind LLC of Framingham, smiling. He added that he might have found a way to cut the turbine delivery time down from the estimated three years he had earlier reported to the Selectmen.

Minuteman intends to build a five-turbine, 12.5-megawatt wind farm on 290 acres of Malloy's land on West Hill at a cost of about $22 million. It has proposed making a payment in lieu of taxes to the town of about $220,000 per year, which would be subject to negotiation.

Technically, the bylaw is not official until the state attorney general's office approves the document. State officials have 90 days to review the bylaw. Selectman Joseph Bettis Jr. said the bylaw will become official if the review period ends without comment from the state.

"I would like to thank every single person in the town of Savoy for coming out here in this cold weather," said Diane Malloy, Butch Malloy's wife, as her husband shook hands and embraced his supporters. Children scampered through the fire station, spinning pinwheels one parent had brought for them.

Few of the people opposed to adopting the bylaw waited to learn the results of the vote. About half of the 211 voters and their children left after casting their ballots.

Only a handful of people spoke during the meeting's discussion period. Most asked what the Planning Board intends to do with its wind turbine bylaw, which the board has said will protect the interests of residents better than Malloy's.

Planning Board Chairman Jamie Reinhardt said he hoped to put the board's bylaw to a vote at another special town meeting some time in the next four weeks. The vote would specify that the board's bylaw would supersede Malloy's if passed. The board's bylaw would not allow Minuteman's project to go forward because the company plans to build turbines taller than that bylaw's 300-foot limit.

One person asked what would happen if Minuteman submits its application under Malloy's bylaw only to have the Planning Board's bylaw pass shortly afterward. The town's attorney said he did not know.

Other residents asked for clarification about the payment in lieu of taxes proposition. The Selectmen explained, saying that the negotiated amount would increase annually to accommodate rises in the cost of living.

The meeting ended after about an hour and a half when the firemen raised the garage doors and evicted the remaining celebrants to make way for trucks parked outside in below-freezing temperatures.

Malloy, shielded by only a sweater, kept his grin.

"I'm going home, hanging out with my kids and I'm finally going to relax a little," he said. "Congratulations to the people of Savoy for supporting renewable energy. This little town is going to make a huge difference."

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"Cape Wind proposal clears big obstacle: Agency calls impact on environment minor"
By Beth Daley, (Boston) Globe Staff, January 15, 2008

The nation's first proposed offshore wind-energy project cleared its most formidable hurdle yesterday as the US Minerals Management Service declared that the wind farm off Cape Cod would have little lasting impact on wildlife, navigation, and tourism.

The agency's nearly 2,000-page draft environmental impact statement makes clear that the federal government is inclined to approve construction of the 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound, 5 miles from the nearest coastline, unless major new concerns arise during a public comment period. Federal approval would probably come late this year or early next year, and remaining state permits are not expected to be a major obstacle, given that Governor Deval Patrick is in favor of the project.

With rising oil and natural gas prices enhancing its financial feasibility, the wind farm, expected to cost more than $1 billion, could be operating by 2011, its developer, Cape Wind Associates, said yesterday.

Jim Gordon, president of Cape Wind, expressed glee during a news conference yesterday, saying, "Any rational observer will understand that this project is not going to produce a negative environmental impact. . . . This report validates that this is the right project in the right place at the right time."

The Minerals Management Service reviewed Cape Wind's impact on noise, coastal vegetation, wildlife, fisheries, tourism, and aviation, as well as other issues. Wildlife and fish would be affected minimally, except for a "moderate" impact on some birds, the report said. And, Rodney Cluck, who oversaw the agency's review, said, "we feel we can mitigate most of those" effects. The report determined there would be a "minor" impact on tourism.

The altered ocean view from boats was the only "major" impact the federal analysis cited - although the analysis did not attempt to weigh the 440-foot-high wind turbines' aesthetics, a subjective issue at the heart of opposition to the project since it was proposed in 2001.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who would be able to see the wind farm on the horizon from his family's Hyannis compound, and former governor Mitt Romney maneuvered to kill the project on several occasions because of fears that the turbines would be unsightly, hurting tourism and property values.

But Romney's successor and environmentalists celebrated the draft decision yesterday, calling it a fundamental step in getting the project built and furthering the state's goal to become a hub of clean energy. The wind farm is expected to generate, on average every year, the equivalent of 75 percent of the energy needs for Cape Cod and the Islands and offset emissions of nearly a million tons of carbon dioxide, the key global warming gas.

"Publication of the draft federal environmental impact statement is a significant step for this project and indeed for renewable energy more broadly," Patrick said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, the lead opposition group to Cape Wind, said the federal agency's report "missed the mark" and the group was assembling a team of specialists to review the project.

In a statement, the alliance noted that the federal review concluded that electricity generated by the wind turbines is projected to cost twice the current price in Southeastern Massachusetts. Audra Parker, director of strategic planning for the alliance, said there were also serious concerns about hazards to air traffic. "Public safety is a significant issue," she said. "Public safety could trump renewable energy."

US Representative William Delahunt, Democrat of Quincy and a wind farm opponent whose district includes the Cape and Islands, released a letter yesterday sent to him Jan. 11 by the acting director of the Federal Aviation Administration, which said the wind farm could have "previously unidentified adverse effects" on planes from Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket. Last night, an FAA spokeswoman said the agency was still reviewing the Cape Wind project.

For environmentalists, one of the most contentious issues has revolved around the wind farm's potential harm to birds, which could be killed by the turbines' fast, rotating blades. That concern led Massachusetts Audubon two years ago to call for more study of the project.

The Minerals Management Service report suggested there could be some bird deaths but that the number is not likely to be large. It concluded the federally endangered roseate tern would not be affected as some environmentalists had feared, because the bird tends to hug the coast.

Jack Clarke, director of public policy and government relations for Massachusetts Audubon, said the federal report appears to satisfy his group's concerns. "They have done an adequate and thorough job of reviewing the potential environmental impacts with regard to avian life," he said.

The report notes that eggs and larvae of bottom-dwelling fish will experience some harm from construction of the wind farm. But it found that fish will probably not be harmed from the sound, vibration, and lighting from the wind farm's operation.

The report did say there would be a moderate impact on the Figawi Race - a three-day sailing event on Nantucket Sound each year that draws thousands of sailors and visitors.

State agencies and the US Environmental Protection Agency, which previously raised concerns about the project's impact, especially on birds, said they would review the report and make comments at hearings in March or in writing before the public comment period expires March 20.

Kennedy's office issued a statement saying that the senator would review the report to "see if it adequately addresses the many concerns raised by this project."

The wind farm's twisting path over the last six years has drawn national attention, especially as a suite of politicians has tried various maneuvers to block it in Congress. None has succeeded. Supporters say opponents are mostly wealthy landowners with "not in my backyard" syndrome. Those against the project say the developers are staking private claim to a cherished public resource.

Congress gave the Minerals Management Service authority over the Cape Wind project - and all offshore wind farms - as part of the 2005 Energy Policy Act. The US Army Corps of Engineers had issued a mostly positive draft environmental impact statement, but it did not have the authority, for example, to work out lease payments or look at the project's technical aspects. So the minerals agency undertook a new review.

The agency is expected to charge Cape Wind lease payments. Maureen Bornholdt, the agency's program manager for alternative energy and alternate use, said the amount of payments would not be determined until later.

The project still needs nine state and local permits, including a license and water quality certificate from the state Department of Environmental Protection; highway access permits from the Massachusetts Highway Department; and state railway crossing approval and local permits from Yarmouth and Barnstable.

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Beth Daley can be reached at bdaley@globe.com.

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BARBARA KATES-GARNICK, Op-Ed, The Boston Globe
"Presidential politics and the price of energy"
By Barbara Kates-Garnick, February 4, 2008

WITH THE economy tanking on the eve of Super Tuesday, what should the presidential candidates candidly be saying about the cost of transforming the energy sector of our economy while still achieving overall economic growth? Over the last 30 years, urgency about energy has been cyclical, sparked by crises abroad and our nation's addiction to oil.

In 2007, something fundamentally changed. In large part thanks to former vice president Al Gore, America collectively "greened." Now, the wolf is at the door since the United States can no longer pay the price of deferring or delaying energy transformation - we must reduce our increasing energy consumption and wean ourselves from fossil fuels.

A review of energy policy over the last 25 years reveals a set of lost opportunities and a lack of political will. Yes, we broke the link between energy consumption and economic growth in the industrial sector. But even with energy price volatility, the United States consumed more energy and did not develop green buildings (buildings account for 40 percent of the economy's total energy demand). Nor did we clamor for hybrids (transportation makes up 28 percent of our energy consumption) or invest in smart utility technology so that consumers could receive price signals to monitor and adjust energy use.

Yes, we attempted retail electricity deregulation, with success still elusive for a variety of complex reasons, and, yes, we moved to ethanol, which itself creates a myriad of other environmental problems. But the power of the energy lobby remained strong. Factor in another costly problem, failing infrastructure - in many of our cities, our natural gas pipes and electric lines are aging - and the country will be faced with an even larger energy bill.

The next president will face hard realities: We need to have a better mix of fossil fuels, nuclear power, and renewables, such as solar and wind power; government and the private sector need to devise a workable framework where incentives bolster technology more than they do today; and we must recognize our energy interdependence. Billions of people in the developing world will become greater energy consumers, and their demand will increase the price we pay for energy.

On the Democratic side, there is a commitment to addressing climate change, embracing new technologies, and implementing energy efficiency, but little focus on how to pay for these changes. Hillary Clinton gets to the granular level of energy policy while Barack Obama considers climate change to be a moral challenge.

On the Republican side, John McCain does not want his leadership on this issue to be considered a sign of weakness, as a capitulation to global forces. Mitt Romney, the only candidate who walked away from signing on to an actual plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions regionally, is putting his Olympian faith in a "Manhattan Project" of new energy technology, which means a new bureaucracy and overhead costs before any benefits are realized.

Candidates need to be extremely straightforward in saying that implementing long-term goals will cost consumers today and tomorrow. They need to squarely indicate that delay or failure in implementing changes will have a long-term impact on the US competitive position.

While an April 2007 ABC News/ Washington Post/Stanford University poll shows that 94 percent of those surveyed indicated that they were willing to make lifestyle changes, only 45 percent were willing to tolerate any personal sacrifices. In other words, obvious policy options - drastic increases in energy prices to alter the trend toward ever more consumption, mandated restrictions in the use of energy or acceleration in the substitution of renewables - are either politically unpalatable or impossible to achieve in the short term.

Whoever emerges after Election Day cannot put energy and the environment on the back burner. Delay and deferral are two options that the economy can no longer sustain. Most important, there needs to be transparency in decision and policy making, where all interests receive equal consideration.

Decisions can never again be made in backrooms where resources are squandered in court cases rather than spent in problem solving. The term "energy independence" needs to be banished from a candidate's lexicon, replaced by "energy interdependence" in the global economy. Rather than ignoring this issue as we did for the past 30 years, we need a laser focus of intellectual and financial capital for the next 10. The candidate who gets this message will demonstrate his or her leadership potential to the next generation.

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Barbara Kates-Garnick is a former commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities and a former Keyspan executive.

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(A Boston) GLOBE EDITORIAL, April 22, 2008
"Earth Day 2008"

THE GOOD NEWS is that when Earth Day is celebrated a year from now, the most environmentally destructive president in history will no longer be in office. Senator Hillary Clinton criticizes Senator Barack Obama for saying that even a President McCain would be an improvement over President Bush. But when it comes to concern for the environment, Obama is right.

Improving on Bush's record is a low bar, however - too low. Yes, the country needs a president who will reverse Bush administration rules allowing coal miners to destroy Appalachian mountaintops and oil companies to drill in protected lands. But even more, the United States and the world need a president with the vision to make this nation an international leader in confronting climate change, which is already thought to be a factor in the droughts that are one cause of worldwide food shortages and price increases.

So far, candidates Clinton, Obama, and McCain have all promised some form of mandatory cap and trade system to limit greenhouse gas emissions. This is a step Bush always shrank from, even though a study released yesterday by the Environmental Defense Fund says that capping carbon dioxide would cost US households less than 1 percent of their income over the next 20 years.

But when both Democratic candidates pledged in last week's debate not to increase taxes on the broadly defined middle class, they seemed to rule out, for instance, any hike in the gasoline tax as a way to reduce consumption and fund conservation or research in renewables. McCain would go so far as to encourage more driving - and more emissions - by suspending 18 cents of the gas tax in the summer.

While none of the three candidates would snigger at energy conservation, as Vice President Cheney did, as a "sign of personal virtue," they also do little to press Americans to reduce their carbon footprint beyond asking them to use different light bulbs.

Fast-growing countries like China and India, which have the potential to send climate change into overdrive, will not alter their course if the United States maintains a wasteful and heavily polluting lifestyle while preaching conservation to others. The cap and trade system is not enough. At some point, a candidate should step forward and tell home truths about climate change, just as Obama did about race. The way the campaign is going now, next Earth Day will see a president with a better environmental record, but not necessarily a president with a mandate to forestall the turn toward a "different planet" feared by scientists.

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A polar bear walked in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in this 2003 photo. Global warming has had a negative effect on the animal's habitat, melting the frozen Arctic Ocean. (Subhankar Banerjee/Associated Press)
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Thaw in Arctic ice could spur inland warming, study finds: Melting may signal trouble for ecosystems"
By Deborah Zabarenko, Reuters, June 11, 2008

WASHINGTON - If Arctic sea ice starts melting fast, polar bears and ring seals wouldn't be the only creatures to feel it: A study released yesterday suggests that it could spur warmer temperatures hundreds of miles inland.

That means a possible thaw in the long-frozen soil known as permafrost, which in turn could have severe effects on ecosystems, human infrastructure like oil rigs and pipelines, and the release of more global warming greenhouse gases in Russia, Alaska, and Canada, the scientists said.

The study is particularly pertinent because of last year's record melt of Arctic sea ice, when ice cover in the Arctic Sea shrank to 30 percent below average. Another record melt is forecast for this year but it is unknown whether this is the beginning of a trend.

"Our climate model suggests that rapid ice loss is not necessarily a surprise," said David Lawrence of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, an author of the study.

"When you get certain conditions in the Arctic - thin ice, a lot of first-year ice (as opposed to older, sturdier ice) - that you can get a situation where . . . you get a rapid and steady loss over a period of five to 10 years," Lawrence said by telephone from Colorado.

In such a period of rapid ice loss, autumn temperatures along the Arctic coasts of Russia, Alaska, and Canada could rise by as much as 9 degrees, the study's climate model found.

Last year's temperatures from August to October over land in the western Arctic were also unusually warm, more than 4 degrees above the average temperatures for 1978-2006, raising questions about the relationship between shrinking sea ice and warmer land temperatures.

The effects of melting are already evident in parts of Alaska, the scientists said: As pockets of soil collapse as the ice it contains melts, highways buckle, houses are destabilized, and trees tilt crazily in a phenomenon known as "drunken forests" when the earth beneath them gives way.

"There's an interconnectedness about the Arctic," Lawrence said.

"When sea ice retreats and retreats very rapidly, it impacts other parts of the system, like warming temperatures over land. And warming temperatures over land can also accelerate the degradation of permafrost, particularly permafrost that's warm right now."

The research will be published Friday in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

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"State starts a green era: Law encourages renewable sources; Utilities expected to help cut costs"
By Beth Daley, (Boston) Globe Staff, July 3, 2008

Governor Deval Patrick signed a landmark energy bill yesterday that does away with long-standing obstacles to building renewable power projects in Massachusetts and making homes and businesses more energy efficient.

The Green Communities Act was hailed by environmentalists as among the most innovative efforts in the nation to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and to encourage use of clean technologies that don't contribute to global warming.

The law will probably result in utilities' designing customized plans for homeowners and businesses to cut energy costs and providing rebates to pay for measures such as installing insulating windows and more efficient boilers. Homeowners and businesses will be able to rent solar panels from utilities to avoid expensive up-front costs, and the law makes it easier for homeowners who have installed wind turbines or solar panels to sell surplus energy.

Supporters said the new law could save hundreds of millions of dollars through energy efficiency, helping to hold down consumers' electric bills as energy prices are skyrocketing.

"I am here today to sign into law the best clean energy bill in America," a jubilant Patrick said during a signing ceremony at the Museum of Science. "Climate change is the challenge of our times, and we in Massachusetts are rising to that challenge."

Massachusetts has long been a leader in energy legislation, and it is taking part in a regional effort to reduce greenhouse gases from power plants. Patrick has set an aggressive goal to increase solar power in the state by 600 percent in four years.

The law "maintains Massachusetts' status as a state leader," said Patrick Hogan of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, a Virginia-based environmental policy think tank.

Business leaders praised the legislation, saying it could stabilize electric rates in New England, already among the highest in the nation. Utilities, including NStar and National Grid, said they have long focused on energy efficiency but are eager to ramp up the effort, as well as to provide solar power to customers.

"It pushes us to a new level," said Tom May, NStar's chief executive. "We get to cross the street to our customer side and help them with energy choices . . . such as windmills in a neighborhood or solar panels. It's helping them reduce their carbon footprint."

Among the law's major provisions:

A requirement for utilities to invest in energy efficiency when it is cheaper to do so than it is to buy power. Historically, companies would simply buy more power when demand went up, which over time would lead to construction of very costly and polluting power plants. Now, utilities will have to invest in energy efficiency if to do so is equal to or cheaper than buying power. The law will also use at least 80 percent of the revenue from the regional effort to cap power plant emissions for efficiency programs, such as home energy audits to identify how to save on energy bills.

"The cleanest power plant is the one that never gets built," said Sam Krasnow, attorney for Environment Northeast, a research and advocacy group. "Energy efficiency is the cheapest and cleanest energy resource available."

Several efforts to promote renewable power. Utilities would have to enter into 10- or 15-year contracts with renewable energy developers, an effort to help those developers get financing from banks. The Patrick administration is particularly proud of a provision that lifts a prohibition on utilities owning solar electric panels and allows them to rent the panels to customers. The law is designed to allow utilities to recoup the cost of panels over time from rental fees while the customers reap energy savings.

Utilities will have to purchase a greater amount of their electricity from renewable power sources than under current law. By 2030, utilities would buy 25 percent of their power from renewables.

It is unclear whether that goal, one of the most ambitious in the nation, can be met, however. The current requirement of 3.5 percent has not been met, partly because of the difficulty in siting renewable projects. The utilities instead pay a fee to the state.

The creation of "Green Communities." The state will commit $10 million annually to help communities figure out ways to become more energy efficient or invest in renewables, including giving them no-interest loans. New buildings in the state will have to meet updated building codes with energy-savings provisions.

The energy bill encountered some controversy during the two years it took to become law. Early versions guaranteed a market for coal gasification, a technology that is cleaner than conventional coal-burning power plants but still emits large amounts of carbon dioxide.

The final language would give financial incentives to gasification technologies only in limited cirumstances and only to those that capture and store the carbon dioxide underground.

Environmentalists had nothing but praise for the law yesterday, saying it was a paradigm shift in the way energy will be created, bought and sold.

"This is a tremendous advancement that comes not a moment too soon, given rising energy prices and the climate crisis," said Sue Reid, a lawyer with the Conservation Law Foundation.
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Beth Daley can be reached at bdaley@globe.com.
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"Climate conference sees progress on plan"
By Arthur Max, Associated Press, August 23, 2008

ACCRA, Ghana - Delegates at a key UN climate conference made headway yesterday on a plan to encourage developing countries to regulate carbon emissions by focusing on their largest industries.

The emerging plan sidesteps objections from countries like India and China, which refuse to accept national targets for the overall emission of the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

How to get developing countries to commit to reducing pollution levels has deeply divided countries seeking to craft a new climate change agreement to succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

The meeting of 1,600 delegates and environmentalists from 160 countries was the third conference this year working on the accord, due to be adopted in Copenhagen in December 2009.

The Accra meeting also was discussing ways to integrate the conservation of the world's ever-shrinking forests into the Copenhagen agreement, as well as studying ways to raise and distribute the tens of billions of dollars needed annually to help poor countries deal with the consequences of climate change.

Under the Kyoto pact, only 37 industrial countries committed to meet specific targets. Together, they were required to cut emissions by an average 5 percent from 1990 levels by 2012. The United States refused to participate in the Kyoto regime because it excluded China and other large newly powerful economies from obligation.

Korea, which is not one of the 37, surprised delegates by announcing that next year it will adopt a target for reducing its carbon emissions by 2020, but declined to give specifics. This year, South Africa also said it would embrace self-imposed targets, peaking its emissions by 2025.

Under the "sectoral approach" now taking shape, developing countries would set pollution targets for specific industries, like cement, steel, or aluminum. Unlike the 37 industrial countries, they likely would not be punished for missing their goals.

"Something quiet but quite dramatic is happening," said David Doniger of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "People are now talking about the same idea in the same language."

India voiced reservations, but did not reject the concept. As for China, Doniger said the plan fit neatly with Beijing's intention to increase the efficiency of its key industries, which produce the bulk of its carbon emissions.

Details of any agreement on the new approach would be complex and difficult to reach, and it is only one of many disputed components of a post-2012 pact.

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"Efforts turn to storage for renewable energy"
By Carolyn Y. Johnson, (Boston) Globe Staff, September 1, 2008

FLORIDA, Mass. - Deep within a mountain here, the state's eighth-largest power plant kicks into action with a thunderous clatter. A reservoir at the summit drains through a pipe in the mountain, loosing a torrent of water that spins two massive turbines, and then flows into the Deerfield River.

At night, the plant flips into reverse and pumps river water back to the top of the mountain, using more energy than it makes.

This hydropower system may seem more like a failed attempt at a perpetual motion machine than a power plant. But the Jack Cockwell Pumped Storage facility is state-of-the-art bulk energy storage, an underappreciated technology that will be essential if renewable energy generation is to increase dramatically.

While most of the attention to alternative energy focuses on wind turbines and solar panels, actually turning them into mainstream sources of power will require cheap and efficient ways to store large amounts of energy. That is creating a push for new and better technologies everywhere from MIT to local startups that are now maturing. Earlier this year, the US Department of Energy established an Electricity Advisory Committee and directed it to focus in part on research and development of storage technologies.

"Storage is a critical component. As a technology area ripe for innovation and investment, it's huge - it's a holy grail," said Nick d'Arbeloff, executive director of the New England Clean Energy Council, an organization that promotes the renewable energy sector.

Windmills and solar panels, icons of the clean energy movement, come with an Achilles' heel: breezes start up or die down unexpectedly, and the sun may be swallowed by a cloud when energy demand is highest. That vulnerability matters far more when renewable energy makes up a significant amount of the power flowing onto the electricity grid - a scenario now mandated by a state law requiring that a quarter of energy come from renewable sources by 2030.

Sporadic energy production is a challenge for the grid, because it depends on a delicate balance between supply and demand. As more renewable energy comes online, grid managers need to figure out a way to smooth out the bumps - to take advantage of gusty days, or compensate for cloudy, windless ones.

In March, for example, when wind generation hit a high in Spain, the national grid had to cut the output from wind farms because the grid didn't have enough energy from other sources to ensure that its supply would stay balanced if the wind suddenly died down.

"Most people think this is wonderful - we're going to make all these windmills and save the planet," but that oversimplifies the problem, said Bradford Roberts, chairman of the Electricity Storage Association, a trade group. Even with more turbines, fossil fuel plants can't just shut down.

"Because the wind may go away, you have to keep controllable energy sources running," he said.

Energy storage can buffer those fluctuations. For example, the Jack Cockwell plant, owned by Brookfield Renewable Power, is effectively a mountain-sized, 600 megawatt battery that makes on an average day enough energy to power 200 New England homes for an entire year. It "charges" at night when energy is cheap and fewer people are using it; then it discharges during the day when energy prices and demand are higher. It also acts as a reserve, kicking into action to meet a sudden surge in demand.

Although Jack Cockwell and other similar plants were built more than three decades ago, "there have not been any other solutions that have emerged that look better, and people have been trying for a long time," said Philip Giudice, the state's commissioner of the division of energy resources. "I think we're ripe for all kinds of new solutions."

Even the new solutions seem a tad antique.

One cutting-edge technology is basically a flywheel, a disc that spins at high speeds using electricity, then generates electricity as it slows back down.

"People say, 'How do they work?' and I say 'The concept goes back to biblical times," said Gene Hunt, director of corporate communications for Beacon Power Corp. in Tyngsborough.

Others, like General Compression Inc. in Newton, plan to make wind more reliable by using windmills to compress air in an underground space; then let the air out to generate electricity whenever it is needed. That's taking a page from a storage method even a child could understand - blow air into a balloon and later, let it whiz out.

"The electric power industry takes a long time to change because you don't want the lights to go off," said Richard Baxter, senior vice president of Ardour Capital Investments LLC.

"We are at a point now where a lot of new energy storage technologies are becoming commercial, and they are being rolled out and tested."

Storage, some believe, is a key factor that will turn renewables into a mainstream source of energy generation.

For example, Daniel Nocera, an MIT chemistry professor, reported recently in the journal Science that his laboratory had devised a new way to store solar energy, by using the sun's rays to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, creating a fuel that could be recombined to generate energy at night in a fuel cell.

"If you can only use photovoltaics when the sun's shining, that's not good," Nocera said. "If you can make a cheap, affordable, easy-to-use storage mechanism, then it's a 24-7 industry; then people start investing and driving technology."

Batteries, from lead acid to more futuristic types, are being tried, too.

But progress has been relatively slow "because of how difficult the problem is," said Donald Sadoway, a professor of materials chemistry at MIT who is working with a graduate student in his lab to develop a battery that could be used for large-scale utility storage. Other types are already being integrated into wind farms and electricity grids.

"I don't want to say this is as complicated as getting humans on the moon, but it is a major challenge and we don't have a NASA price-point here," he said. "You've got to get the electricity back to the grid at pennies a kilowatt-hour."
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Carolyn Y. Johnson can be reached at cjohnson@globe.com.
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"Manhattan-size section of Arctic ice shelf breaks off: Scientists says it is further evidence of warming climate"
By Charmaine Noronha, Associated Press, September 4, 2008

TORONTO - A chunk of ice shelf nearly the size of Manhattan has broken away from Ellesmere Island in Canada's northern Arctic, another dramatic indication of how warmer temperatures are changing the polar frontier, scientists said yesterday.

Derek Mueller, an Arctic ice shelf specialist at Trent University in Ontario, said that the 4,500-year-old Markham Ice Shelf separated in early August and the 19-square-mile shelf is now adrift in the Arctic Ocean.

"The Markham Ice Shelf was a big surprise because it suddenly disappeared. We went under cloud for a bit during our research and when the weather cleared up, all of a sudden there was no more ice shelf. It was a shocking event that underscores the rapidity of changes taking place in the Arctic," said Mueller.

Mueller also said that two large sections of ice detached from the Serson Ice Shelf, shrinking that ice feature by 47 square miles - or 60 percent - and that the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf has also continued to break up, losing an additional eight square miles.

Mueller reported last month that 7 square miles of the 170-square-mile, 130-feet-thick Ward Hunt shelf had broken off.

This comes on the heels of unusual cracks in a northern Greenland glacier, rapid melting of a southern Greenland glacier, and a near record loss for Arctic sea ice this summer. And earlier this year a 160-square mile chunk of an Antarctic ice shelf disintegrated.

"Reduced sea ice conditions and unusually high air temperatures have facilitated the ice shelf losses this summer," said Luke Copland, director of the Laboratory for Cryospheric Research at the University of Ottawa. "And extensive new cracks across remaining parts of the largest remaining ice shelf, the Ward Hunt, mean that it will continue to disintegrate in the coming years."

Formed by accumulating snow and freezing meltwater, ice shelves are large platforms of thick, ancient sea ice that float on the ocean's surface but are connected to land.

Ellesmere Island was once entirely ringed by a single enormous ice shelf that broke up in the early 1900s. All that is left today are the four much smaller shelves that together cover little more than 299 square miles.

Martin Jeffries of the US National Science Foundation and University of Alaska Fairbanks said in a statement Tuesday that the summer's ice shelf loss is equivalent to over three times the area of Manhattan, totaling 82 square miles - losses that have reduced Arctic Ocean ice cover to its second-biggest retreat since satellite measurements began 30 years ago.

"These changes are irreversible under the present climate and indicate that the environmental conditions that have kept these ice shelves in balance for thousands of years are no longer present," said Mueller.

During the last century, when ice shelves would break off, thick sea ice would eventually reform in their place.

"But today, warmer temperatures and a changing climate means there's no hope for regrowth. A scary scenario," said Mueller.

The loss of these ice shelves means that rare ecosystems that depend on them are on the brink of extinction, said Warwick Vincent, director of Laval University's Centre for Northern Studies and a researcher in the program ArcticNet.

Along with decimating ecosystems, drifting ice shelves and warmer temperatures that will cause further melting ice pose a hazard to shipping routes in the Arctic region - a phenomenon that Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper seems to welcome.

Harper announced last week that he plans to expand exploration of the region's known oil and mineral deposits, a possibility that has become more evident as a result of melting sea ice. It is the burning of oil and other fossil fuels that scientists say is the chief cause of manmade warming and melting ice.

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"Report says Arctic's warmth at record high"
By Randolph E. Schmid, Associated Press, October 17, 2008

WASHINGTON - Autumn temperatures in the Arctic are at record levels, the Arctic Ocean is getting warmer and less salty as sea ice melts, and reindeer herds appear to be declining, researchers reported yesterday.

"Obviously, the planet is interconnected, so what happens in the Arctic does matter" to the rest of the world, Jackie Richter-Menge of the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, N.H., said in releasing the third annual Arctic Report Card.

The report, compiled by 46 scientists from 10 countries, looks at conditions in the Arctic.

The region has long been expected to be among the first areas to show impacts from global warming, which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said is largely a result of human activities adding carbon dioxide and other gases to the atmosphere.

"Changes in the Arctic show a domino effect from multiple causes more clearly than in other regions," said James Overland, an oceanographer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle. "It's a sensitive system and often reflects changes in relatively fast and dramatic ways."

For example, autumn air temperatures in the Arctic are at a record 9 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.

The report noted that 2007 was the warmest year on record for the Arctic, leading to a record loss of sea ice. This year's sea ice melt was second only to 2007.

Rising temperatures help melt the ice, which in turn allows more solar heating of the ocean. That warming of the air and ocean affects land and marine life, and reduces the amount of winter sea ice that lasts into the following summer.

The study also noted a warming trend on Arctic land and increase in greenness as shrubs move north into areas that were formerly permafrost.

While the warming continues, the rate in this century is less than in the 1990s due to natural variability, the researchers said.

In addition to global warming there are natural cycles of warming and cooling, and a warm cycle in the 1990s added to the temperature rise. Now with cooler cycles in some areas the rise in temperatures has slowed, but Overland said he expects that it will speed up again when the next natural warming cycle comes around.

Asked if an increase in radiation from the sun was having an effect on the Earth's climate, Jason Box of the Byrd Polar Research Center in Columbus, Ohio, said while it's important, increased solar output accounts for about 10 percent of global warming.

"You can't use solar to say that greenhouse gases are not a major factor," Overland added.

Other findings from the report include:

The Arctic Ocean continued to warm and freshen due to ice melt, accompanied by an "unprecedented" rate of sea level rise of nearly 0.1 inch per year.

Warming has continued around Greenland in 2007, resulting in a record amount of ice melt. The Greenland ice sheet lost 24 cubic miles of ice, making it the largest contributor to global sea level rise.

Reindeer herds that had been increasing since the 1970s are showing signs of leveling off or beginning to decline.

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A BOSTON GLOBE EDITORIAL
"Earth to McCain and Obama"
October 24, 2008

JOHN MCCAIN and Barack Obama were not always oceans apart on the environment. McCain, in his more authentically maverick days, sided with the Sierra Club and the National Wildlife Federation against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Arizona senator has praised the conservationism of Theodore Roosevelt and has complained about brown clouds he woke up to in Phoenix. When McCain and Senator Joseph Lieberman tried in vain to win Senate greenhouse gas emissions caps, Fred Krupp, the president of Environmental Defense, said, "It's the first serious discussion at the federal level. The ballgame is changing."

The ballgame has changed again. The environment is getting shut out. A national poll this summer by the University of Maryland's WorldPublicOpinion.org found that nearly 9 in 10 of McCain and Obama supporters alike favor more solar and wind energy, and only a bare majority of McCain supporters (54 percent) want more nuclear power plants. But McCain's praises of Roosevelt have dissolved into chants of "Drill, baby, drill."

McCain continues to say he opposes ANWR drilling, but his position is belied by his selection of pro-drilling Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. After eight years of Bush officials deleting scientific findings from environmental reports, McCain picked a running mate who ignored her own state scientists and sued the Bush administration for extending protection status to polar bears. Palin also questions protections for beluga whales and salmon. That is quite the brown cloud.

That makes it too easy for Obama, the Democratic candidate, to play the environmentalist. To his credit, he has forcefully said America cannot drill its way into energy independence. He has proposed far more plans to diversify America's energy portfolio, along with millions of "green jobs." But a free pass can make for a sloppy White House if Obama wins.

Obama enjoys the endorsements of the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters, while McCain has raked in $3.5 million in contributions from energy companies in this election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That more than doubles Obama's $1.7 million. But the Democratic Party leadership is hardly immune from influence-peddling by big business, especially where the environment is concerned. And pressure will only build in a down economy.

An Obama administration is not likely to reenact the secretive Cheney energy meetings and delete science reports. But normal lobbying could be quite enough to keep a new White House from demonstrating leadership for the planet.

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"Nuclear powers are urged to disarm: UN chief outlines plan to eliminate weapons stockpile"
By Louis Charbonneau, Reuters, October 25, 2008

UNITED NATIONS - Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged the world's nuclear powers yesterday to take steps to abolish their atomic arsenals and outlined a set of proposals for eliminating all weapons of mass destruction.

The permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, Britain, France, Russia, and China - signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968, pledging to negotiate steps on scrapping their nuclear weapons.

While most of the 192 UN member states have signed the pact, UN officials and signatories without atomic weapons have long complained that the five nuclear powers have yet to abandon their warhead stocks.

In the meantime, India, Pakistan, and Israel are widely seen as unofficial members of the nuclear club. North Korea held a nuclear test in 2006 and Western nations believe that Iran is following in Pyongyang's footsteps, a charge Tehran denies.

"Nuclear weapons produce horrific, indiscriminate effects. Even when not used, they pose great risks," the secretary general told a conference organized by the East-West Institute.

"Accidents could happen any time. The manufacture of nuclear weapons can harm public health and the environment," he said. "Of course, terrorists could acquire nuclear weapons."

While most countries have no plans to obtain atomic weapons, he said some still view possession of such weapons as a status symbol.

"Some states view nuclear weapons as offering the ultimate deterrent of nuclear attack, which largely accounts for the estimated 26,000 that still exist," Ban said.

Arms control specialists have also criticized the Bush administration for refusing to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and launching research on new types of atomic weapons.

This, they say, sends the wrong signal to countries like Iran and North Korea, which feel threatened by Washington.

To help end the impasse on disarmament, Ban presented a number of proposals, including:

The nuclear weapon states should keep their promises to launch negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament.

The permanent Security Council members should open discussions on security issues related to disarmament and should try to assure countries without atomic weapons that they will never be subjected to a nuclear attack.

The test ban treaty should be brought into force, and efforts should be made to establish nuclear weapon free zones around the world, including in the Middle East.

New efforts should be made to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological arms, to prevent terrorists from getting such weapons and to limit conventional arms production and trade.

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"Still today, artists labor to capture Arctic's brilliant light"
By Linda Matchan, Boston Globe Staff, November 9, 2008

ABOVE THE ARCTIC CIRCLE, CANADA - When I returned from a recent two-week trip to the Arctic, a lot of people asked me to describe the landscape.

I tried, but was somehow never able to give them the sound bite I wanted to deliver. The word "beautiful" hardly did it justice. Neither did "awesome" or "jaw-dropping," "glorious" or "breathtaking."

So when I went to see the new exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum called "To the Ends of the Earth, Painting the Polar Landscape," I was fascinated to see artists wrestling with the same kind of challenges.

The exhibition features 17 artists who journeyed to the Arctic and Antarctic in the 19th and 20th centuries to satisfy their muse. One of them was David Abbey Paige, a commercial artist who grew up in Fitchburg and managed to land a gig in 1933 as the official artist for explorer Richard Byrd's second expedition to the Antarctic.

One evening, we learn in the show, Byrd asked Paige to paint a particularly impressive twilight scene. Paige politely declined. "I could paint it, alright, but what's the use?" Paige replied, according to Byrd's diary. "Nobody would believe it. Whoever saw a sky like that? How can you describe a sea that's like no sea ever was or will be again?"

Exactly. It was in the cold, high latitudes I discovered that the alchemy between the landscape, the sea, the drifting ice, the silence, the light, the scale, and the desolation is so powerful and otherworldly that all one can say is: Nobody would believe it.

This doesn't stop artists from venturing toward the north and south poles even now, long after the golden age of polar exploration that inspired the earlier painters, and despite the expense and logistical difficulties of painting on a ship in sometimes turbulent seas and subzero temperatures (a problem cleverly solved by Paige, who worked in pastels, which don't freeze).

"It is so absolutely amazing to travel to where no other soul has been," says Linda Mackie, a Toronto painter and founding member of the international Polar Artists Group, a network of 50 artists passionate about polar landscapes. Mackie uses her art to focus public attention on climate change. "I had my fifth trip to the Arctic this summer, and it was the most emotional," she says.

I took my trip to the Canadian Arctic in September with about 80 other passengers - five of them artists - in a 12-day expedition on a converted Russian research vessel. We traveled to the heart of the Northwest Passage, prime whaler and explorer territory. English naval officer Sir John Franklin got stranded there, prompting rescue missions that met their own unhappy ends. American explorer and scientist Elisha Kent Kane battled the elements by lassoing giant icebergs to haul his 144-ton brig against the mighty surface current.

We visited Bylot Island in Davis Strait, depicted by Canadian painter Lawren S. Harris in a soul-stirring, sculptural painting in the Peabody Essex show; it was inspired by his 1930 trip on a government supply ship. We saw aquamarine icebergs so dazzling and vibrant they seemed to have been lit from within.

One brisk, sunny day we loaded into small rubber landing craft known as zodiacs and tooled around Croker Bay near Devon Island - the largest uninhabited island in the world - where the towering icebergs are so jagged and angular they could be products of Frank Gehry's imagination. Across from me sat Danielle O'Connor Akiyama, a Toronto painter, quietly taking it all in behind huge dark glasses.

The glasses, she told me later, were to mask tears. "The iceberg really ripped my soul," she said. "The light was so pure, so raw."

The light is magical in the far north. It has more clarity than the light we're accustomed to down here, more brilliance, because of the oblique angle at which it hits the earth, the absence of trees or buildings, the lack of pollutants, the abundance of land forms like pitched mountain ranges and icy glaciers with strangely reflective shapes. The light beckons many artists who like to experiment with shapes and shadows, who relish the challenge of painting colors in their purest form and the joy of being surprised by color when, say, a tiny purple saxifrage flower peeks through a landscape of uninterrupted snow.

"The light here gets right into my insides," said Toronto-area artist Pat Fairhead, 81, who was on her "eighth or ninth" trip to the Arctic. She had once hired a helicopter to get an aerial view of a glacier in Davis Strait. "I was as high as a bloody kite!" she says.

In the Arctic, even non-artists like myself can literally see the world in a new light. It's an exhilarating feeling, a little (I think) like being a polar explorer at a time when there are so few new places left to explore, when Google Maps can take you almost anywhere and even remote arctic outposts can be captured on a Webcam.

It's a chance to brush up against life at its most elemental, which stirs the imagination and brings out the artist in all of us. And it doesn't take much imagination to contemplate just how puny and vulnerable you are when you're in a tiny raft in the shadow of an iceberg that was once a morsel of a mammoth ice sheet.

It is humbling. It is - for want of that better word I've yet to find - beautiful. And it may be what prompted David Abbey Paige to tell Richard Byrd in the Antarctic that "nature puts her price on beauty."

"I've knocked around the world looking for things to paint," the artist said. "And I've found that you've got to go far - you've got to leave the beaten path to find beauty like this."

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"EPA, Interior Dept. Chiefs Will Be Busy Erasing Bush's Mark"
By Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, November 28, 2008; A02

Few federal agencies are expected to undergo as radical a transformation under President-elect Barack Obama as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department, which have been at the epicenter of many of the Bush administration's most intense scientific and environmental controversies.

The agencies have different mandates -- the EPA holds sway over air and water pollution, while Interior administers the nation's vast federal land holdings as well as the Endangered Species Act -- but both deal with some of the country's most pressing environmental concerns, such as climate change. And over the past eight years, many career employees and rank-and-file scientists have clashed with Bush appointees over a number of those of issues, including whether the federal government should allow California to regulate tailpipe emissions from automobiles and how best to prevent imperiled species from disappearing altogether.

In June 2007, Obama told reporters in Reno, Nev., that he would not hesitate to reverse many of the environmental policies Bush has enacted by executive order.

"I think the slow chipping away against clean air and clean water has been deeply disturbing," Obama added. "Much of it hasn't gone through Congress. It was done by fiat. That is something that can be changed by an administration, in part by reinvigorating the EPA, which has been demoralized."

Global warming policies are expected to mark one of the sharpest breaks between the Obama and the Bush administrations.

EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson overruled his career advisers in deciding to deny California authority to control tailpipe emissions and rejecting their conclusion that global warming poses a threat to public welfare, and Obama is likely to reverse both of those policies shortly after taking office. This month, the president-elect told delegates to the Governors' Global Climate Summit that he would push for a federal cap-and-trade system designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and then to cut them an additional 80 percent by 2050, targets Bush has never embraced.

"Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response," Obama said in a videotaped message. "The stakes are too high, the consequences too serious."

Jamie Rappaport Clark, executive vice president of the advocacy group Defenders of Wildlife, said that together, the two agencies will help shape the government's response to climate change.

Clark, who headed the Fish and Wildlife Service under President Bill Clinton, is not a formal Obama adviser, but many of her former Clinton colleagues are helping the transition team, including David Hayes, a partner at Latham & Watkins; John Leshy, a professor at the University of California's Hastings College of the Law; and Robert Sussman, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

"EPA will play the lead role in crafting a regulatory response," Clark said. "Interior has a huge role to play in adaptation" -- the effort to cope with climate changes that are already happening, such as drought and more frequent wildfires.

EPA spokesman Jonathan Shradar said Wednesday that the agency is focused on finalizing policies on coal-fired power plants and other matters, but he would not speculate on the task the next administration faces: "We'll let the next team decide what their priorities will be when they get here."

With escalating responsibilities, both agencies will need more resources after years when their budgets shrank, relatively speaking. The EPA received $7.5 billion from Congress in 2008, down from $7.8 billion in 2001. Interior has fared slightly better, getting $11.1 billion compared with $10.4 billion in 2001, but that represents more than a 10 percent cut in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who as chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has feuded with both Johnson and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne over global warming and other issues, said in an interview that she has high expectations of the people who will take their places.

"I'm expecting President-elect Obama to select people who really care about the issues they're in charge of, someone who believes in their mission and not someone who's going to undermine their mission," she said. "That's a sea change."

There is a long list of Democrats vying to take the helm of both agencies. The two leading contenders for EPA administrator are Mary Nichols, a favorite of Boxer's who chairs the California Air Resources Board, and Lisa Jackson, who is in the midst of switching from heading New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection to serving as chief of staff to New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine. Other possible nominees include Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen McGinty; Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles; former Sierra Club president and environmental activist Lisa Renstrom; and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a Pace University law professor and chairman of the Waterkeeper Alliance, another advocacy group.

The list for Interior is almost as long. Two House Democrats, Raul M. Grijalva (Ariz.) and Mike Thompson (Calif.) are contenders, but Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, former Oregon governor John Kitzhaber, National Trust for Historic Preservation President Richard Moe, as well as three former Interior officials -- David Hayes, John Leshy and Clark at Defenders of Wildlife -- have all been mentioned.

Regardless of who takes over at the agencies, the new leaders will face impatient scrutiny from green groups eager to change the government's trajectory on the environment. Frank O'Donnell, who heads the advocacy group Clean Air Watch, ticked off 10 initiatives he expects the new EPA administrator to undertake, including changing rules on emissions from coal-fired power plants and monitoring airborne lead pollution more closely.

"The Bush administration has cut so many special deals for industry that it could be a Herculean effort reversing them all," O'Donnell said. "The new team is going to have to muck out the regulatory stables."
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Staff researcher Madonna Lebling contributed to this report.
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"Massachusetts governor unveils big push for wind power"
By Steve LeBlanc, Associated Press Writer, January 14, 2009

BOSTON --Wind turbines would increasingly dot the Massachusetts landscape under a plan unveiled by Gov. Deval Patrick to ramp up the state's reliance on wind power over the next dozen years.

Patrick said Tuesday he wants the state to be producing 2,000 megawatts of wind electricity annually by 2020, enough to power 800,000 homes -- or about 10 percent of the state's current energy needs. The state has just nine major wind turbines now, producing less than seven megawatts of power annually.

Patrick pointed to recent successes in helping jump-start the state's solar power industry, including the popularity of a state rebate program designed to encourage homeowners to install solar panels on their homes

"Now is the time to turn to wind power," Patrick said.

The country's wind-power capacity has increased by 500 percent in the past 10 years, to just over 21,000 megawatts, according to the American Wind Industry Association. A one-megawatt wind turbine can generate enough electricity in a year to power up to 300 homes for a year.

Patrick's proposal would put Massachusetts among the majority of states with some wind-power production. Texas is tops, with 6,300 megawatts of existing capacity spread over dozens of wind farms.

There are 300 turbines in various planning and permitting stages in Massachusetts, including a proposal by Cape Wind Associates to build 130 windmills across 25 miles of federal waters in Nantucket Sound -- enough to generate an estimated 420 megawatts of power.

Patrick said that increasing reliance on wind power will lure businesses and jobs to the state and help make Massachusetts a leader in clean energy technology. The state has already been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy for one of two wind turbine testing centers.

But wind power has come under fire from those who say the long, spindly-armed turbines mar the landscape and can harm migrating birds.

Critics of the Cape Wind project, including Sen. Edward Kennedy, have battled for years to try to block the project, in part by saying its location in Nantucket Sound will ruin views off of Cape Cod.

But supporters say that wind turbines are inevitable as the state -- and country -- weans itself off carbon-emitting fossil fuels.

"If you look at the environmental impact of coal-fired power plants and think about all the kids who have asthma and the trade-off of getting accustomed to a new landscape for clean energy, the vast majority of Massachusetts residents are ready for that," said Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles.

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"US to test local wells for traces of uranium: Drinking water could be tainted"
By Beth Daley, Boston Globe Staff, March 6, 2009

Thousands of private drinking wells across New England may contain harmful levels of naturally occurring uranium, environmental officials say. Federal researchers are launching a study of 1,600 home wells in Massachusetts to better understand where hotspots might exist.

Uranium - which at high levels can cause kidney problems - has been identified in the region's geology for decades. But most states began closely monitoring it in public drinking supplies only about five years ago, after the US Environmental Protection Agency set new limits and monitoring requirements for the heavy metal.

Since then, more than 70 public water systems in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut have been found to exceed the EPA threshold for uranium consumption, which is 30 parts per billion. Most of those problems have been resolved by treating the water or by switching water supplies, but the discoveries have raised concerns about broader uranium contamination.

Some environmental officials are worried about what's not being tested: the water consumed by the more than 2.5 million people in New England - 400,000 in Massachusetts - who get drinking water from private supplies.

Those supplies are governed by a patchwork of legal rules that often leave testing up to the owner.

The US Geological Survey is launching the home water sample study, which also is examining naturally occurring arsenic, to help figure out where future public water supplies should - and should not - be located.

"We want to find what is out there," said scientist John Colman, who is leading the voluntary study being conducted in conjunction with the state departments of Environmental Protection and Public Health. Colman works for the US Geological Survey in Massachusetts.

In the next 10 days, about 1,600 residents in Essex, Middlesex, and Worcester counties will receive a letter and two plastic bottles to fill with water and send back to Colman free of charge. "It's easy, it's free, and you learn something about your water," he said.

The homeowners were chosen because their well sites represent a broad sample of rock types across the region, Colman said.

All homeowners will get the results along with information about what to do if arsenic or uranium levels are high. If homeowners are concerned about the health effects of arsenic, some will have the opportunity to participate in a study by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. All results of the well and health tests will be kept confidential.

Uranium is naturally found in geological formations across the world. Deposits exist in the rock and can dissolve into the groundwater. Uranium is weakly radioactive, but its greatest health risks are from its chemical toxicity.

Uranium deposits are uneven, which means that one well could have very high levels of uranium while a neighbor's well could have low levels.

US Geological Survey scientists have one clue: Uranium is often found in granite adjacent to what is known as New England's "arsenic belt," a swath of bedrock made up of ancient marine sediments where the poison naturally occurs.

The arsenic belt largely follows a geological fault where two continental plates collided to form the supercontinent Pangea about 600 million years ago. That fault snakes from central eastern Maine, through eastern New Hampshire, and parts of northeastern and Central Massachusetts.

US Geological Survey scientists estimate more than 103,000 people in Eastern New England might be drinking water with harmful levels of arsenic. People who spend a lifetime drinking water with 10 parts per billion of arsenic have an increased risk of developing bladder or lung cancer, according to a report by the National Research Council.

Studies have also linked arsenic in drinking water to neurological problems and developmental delays in children. The EPA strengthened the drinking water standard to 10 parts per billion, down from 50 parts, in 2001, but gave public water systems until 2006 to comply.

Uranium does not seem to be as big a problem as arsenic, although it has not been studied fully. Based on a limited study by US Geological Survey scientists, it appears that about 4 percent of private wells in New England could be affected by high levels of uranium. Arsenic, meanwhile, is likely in about 20 percent of such wells.

"That is still a lot of people," said Joseph Ayotte, a hydrologist and author of the study. He noted high levels of uranium have also been found far from the arsenic belt, in Vermont and Connecticut.

Most ingested uranium leaves the body, although a small amount can be absorbed, carried through the bloodstream and into the kidneys. Studies show that elevated levels of uranium in drinking water can increase a person's risk of kidney damage, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

If people not in the study want to have their water tested, most state environmental and public health agency websites can point them to labs that conduct a series of contaminant tests, often for under $100, environmental officials say.

If high uranium levels are discovered, residents could switch to drinking bottled water (using water with a high level of uranium is not believed to be dangerous for other purposes). There are also several treatment options, some expensive, that eliminate the uranium from the water.

Water contamination by uranium and arsenic is expected to become more prevalent as housing development pushes into rural areas without municipal water supplies. Upwards of 9,000 wells are drilled in Massachusetts alone each year. As water becomes less plentiful, state officials are looking at places to expand public water supplies, possibly in bedrock.

"It's going to take a little bit of time" to figure this out, said Laurie Burt, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection commissioner.

Once results are out, she said, "We will be working with homeowners and communities . . . on areas of concern."
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Beth Daley can be reached at bdaley@globe.com.
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The Boston Globe, Op-Ed, MINDY LUBBER AND PETER GLEICK
"Preventing a water crisis"
By Mindy Lubber and Peter Gleick, March 9, 2009

CALIFORNIANS KNOW all too well that water shouldn't be taken for granted, especially as the state now faces what many are calling "the worst drought in modern times." On the heels of losing more than $260 million last year due to the drought, California farmers are at risk of losing most of their federal water supplies critical for irrigation - a blow that could cause even more severe economic losses this year.

"Water is our life - it's our jobs and it's our food," said Ryan Jacobsen, executive director of the farm bureau in Fresno County. "Without a reliable water supply, agriculture is at great risk."

So are many other industries.

On a warming planet, scientists have said to expect water scarcity problems like these to rise and become even more severe. Consequences for a reeling global economy will be profound.

Water is one of our most critical raw materials - even more important than oil, for there are no alternatives. Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman of Nestlé, one of the world's largest food conglomerates, put it starkly in an article in The Economist in December 2008: "I am convinced that, under present conditions and with the way water is being managed, we will run out of water long before we run out of fuel."

Already, China, India, and the western United States are seeing growth limited by reduced water supplies from shrinking glaciers and melting snowcaps that sustain key rivers. Meanwhile, power generation has been cut back due to more frequent and intense heat waves and droughts in Australia, Europe, and the southeast United States.

A new report by Ceres and the Pacific Institute evaluates water-related risks to eight water-intensive industrial sectors: technology, beverage, agriculture, electric power/energy, apparel, biotechnology/pharmaceuticals, forest products, and mining. Our conclusion is that each of these sectors faces serious near- and long-term economic risks related to their water dependence.

For example, silicon chips, the backbone of our information economy, require huge amounts of clean water to produce. Yet, 11 of the world's 14 largest semiconductor factories are in the Asia-Pacific region where water scarcity risks are especially high.

In the beverage industry, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo bottlers lost groundwater operating licenses in India because of water shortages, and beverage companies, including Nestlé Waters, are facing strong opposition to the building of new bottling plants because of water supply concerns. Water scarcity is forcing up the cost of food. Rice prices soared last year when drought caused the collapse of rice production in Australia. Some 70 percent of global water use supports agriculture.

Few companies and investors are thinking strategically about the profound business risks that will exist in a world with diminishing water supplies. To succeed in a water-constrained economy, it is essential that companies:

. Analyze their entire water footprint.

. Assess physical, regulatory, and public perception risks associated with their direct water use, water use throughout their supply chain, and end product use.

. Align their water footprint evaluations with the company's energy and climate risk assessments.

. Elevate water as a high governance priority for executives and board members.

. Disclose to investors and other outside stakeholders water management strategies, performance data, and goals.

Boost engagement with key stakeholders such as local communities, shareholders, suppliers, government regulators, and employees.

Investors also have a key interest and role in catalyzing companies to look more closely at their potential risk-exposure from water-related challenges. Specifically, investors should:

. Independently assess companies' water risk exposure.

. Demand substantive water risk disclosure by companies they invest in.

. Encourage companies to integrate water issues into their climate change strategies.

Albert Einstein once said, "We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive." While he was speaking of another threat and in another era, Einstein's admonition is appropriate here. Businesses and investors alike need to bring new ways of thinking to using the most essential ingredient of life: water.
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Mindy Lubber is president of Ceres, a coalition of investors and environmental groups. Peter Gleick is president of the Pacific Institute, a research organization dedicated to protecting our natural world, encouraging sustainable development, and improving global security.
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"Massachusetts to get $177M from feds for energy efficiency"
boston.com, March 12, 2009

BOSTON --Massachusetts is set to receive $177 million in federal stimulus dollars for weatherization and energy efficiency grants.

The money is intended to help homeowners add more insulation, seal leaks and modernize heating and air conditioning equipment.

The program will allow an average investment of up to $6,500 per home and will be available for families making up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $44,000 a year for a family of four.

Funding will also be available for rebates to consumers for home energy audits or other energy-saving improvements and for the development of renewable energy projects for clean electricity and alternative fuels.

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"NH getting millions for energy programs"
boston.com, March 12, 2009

CONCORD, N.H. --New Hampshire is getting millions of dollars for energy and weatherization programs.

U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes says the state is receiving more than $49 million in stimulus money, including $23 million the weatherization and $26 million for the state Energy Program.

The weatherization money will support programs to add insulation, seal leaks and modernize heating and air conditioning equipment in homes.

Energy Program money is used for programs including rebates for home energy audits or energy saving improvements, developing renewable energy projects, efficiency upgrades for state and local government buildings and other energy saving efforts.

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"Senate confirms two climate experts"
By Associated Press, March 21, 2009

WASHINGTON - The Senate confirmed on Thursday two leading experts on climate change to represent top scientific positions in the government.

John Holdren became the president's science adviser as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Jane Lubchenco will lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Both have advocated sharp government action on climate change policy and are former presidents of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the nation's largest science organization.

Holdren was a Harvard physicist who went from battling the spread of nuclear weapons to tackling the threat of global warming. As Obama's top science adviser, he would manage about 40 doctorate-level experts who help shape and communicate science and technology policy.

The Senate also confirmed on Thursday former Oregon State University marine biologist Jane Lubchenco to head NOAA, which oversees research and the National Weather Service.

Lubchenco, who specialized in overfishing and climate change at Oregon State University, is the first woman to head NOAA. A member of the Pew Oceans Commission, Lubchenco has recommended steps to overcome crippling damage to the world's oceans from overfishing and pollution and had expressed optimism for change after George W. Bush's presidency.

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The Boston Globe, Op-Ed, BILL MCKIBBEN
"A lemon for New Hampshire"
By Bill McKibben, March 26, 2009

IN AN EFFORT to meet clean-air laws, the Public Service Company of New Hampshire is busy trying to install an expensive scrubber on the smokestack of its Merrimack Station coal-fired power plant in Bow. A group of angry ratepayers is trying to slow it down. And here's the man-bites-dog thing, which makes this one of the more interesting ecological battles underway in the nation: The angry ratepayers are almost certainly the real defenders of the green.

Green as in the environment. But also green as in the stuff the ratepayers of the Granite State are likely to be taking out of their wallets in ever-larger amounts should the utility succeed in stifling any further review, and sticking the scrubbers up on top of the plant.

Under the Clean Air Act, power plants aren't supposed to spew mercury into the environment. That makes sense: Mercury from power plants is why New Hampshire anglers are only supposed to feed their kids 4 ounces a month of the fish they catch. For a long time, PSNH, like many utilities around the country, fended off the mandate to install scrubbers, but finally decided to go ahead and put on $250 million worth of technology, a figure that as construction is about to begin has now almost doubled. It's a couple of decades late, but, hey, better late than never.

In the meantime, though, scientists - and environmentalists - have figured out a more important reason to worry about coal-fired power plants, and that's the carbon dioxide they spew into the atmosphere. This is what causes global warming, and the scrubbers PSNH is talking about will do nothing to remove it from the exhaust. Which is too bad, because if the scientists are right about climate change, soon New Hampshire anglers will be able to catch salt-water species in their own living rooms. That is, mercury is a problem, but carbon is a crisis.

In light of all the new data, it would make real sense to start talking about alternative sources of energy - to begin investigating how to dramatically reduce electric use, and find smaller, more localized sources of power. It makes environmental sense, but also economic sense, because almost everyone now realizes that pretty soon carbon will carry a price. President Obama has called for a bill to cap carbon, and once something like it passes, the cost of coal-fired power will begin an inexorable climb. And by the way, these approaches would eliminate all the mercury - not just the 80 percent the scrubbers will scrub.

So why spend $450 million on new scrubbers if there's a reasonable chance you won't be able to keep the power plant running? Isn't it a little like buying pricey chrome rims for your car the week before inspection, when you're pretty sure the lack of brakes means you aren't going to pass? That's the question a group of big commercial ratepayers in the state are asking. They're led by Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farms, Dean Kamen of Segway, the folks at Timberland - that is, the kind of businesses that have a real future in New Hampshire.

They haven't asked for much - just a 90-day pause while a series of analyses are undertaken to see if the scrubber plan really makes sense. But PSNH has responded with a series of roundhouse punches, claiming the delay will lead to job losses and great expense.

As to the prospect of Obama's carbon regulation, which would make their plant leak money, they have these reassuring words: "Speculation on future federal environmental costs for CO2 is just that - speculation."

Yeah, but even New Hampshire's GOP Senator Judd Gregg has backed carbon-cap regulation. It's not hard to see the writing on the wall. Heck, a few weeks ago congressional leaders began the process of converting their own coal-fired power plant, two blocks from Capitol Hill, over to natural gas - a tack that would be cheaper for Granite State residents as well.

After 40 years of service, the Bow plant represents the best of yesterday's technology. It's as outdated as a hulking old SUV. But the used-car salesmen at PSNH are determined to get it off the lot, so they're hard-selling the nifty new rustproofing. New Hampshire ratepayers better kick the tires a little harder, or they're going to get stuck with a lemon. A lemon with brand-new scrubbers, but still a lemon.
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Bill McKibben is scholar in residence at Middlebury College and co-founder of www.350.org
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"Obama team pushes new role for US in climate change talks"
By Dina Cappiello, Associated Press, March 29, 2009

WASHINGTON - At its first negotiations on climate change, the Obama administration is trying to persuade other countries that the United States does care about global warming and wants to shape an international accord.

After eight years on the sidelines, the United States says it is ready for a central role in developing a new agreement to slash greenhouse gases. But whether the country, which is the second-largest source of heat-trapping pollution, is ready to sign onto a deal by year's end could depend on Congress.

The State Department sent climate envoy Todd Stern to Bonn, Germany, for the first of a series of largely technical meetings that begin today. The talks are intended to lay the groundwork for an agreement to be signed in December in Denmark.

Stern, in a telephone interview Thursday from London, said it was important for him to "make the first statement on behalf of the United States and say we're back, we're serious, we're here, we're committed, and we're going to try to get this thing done."

Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is hosting the Bonn talks, said participants "will be very excited" to hear Stern outline the basic principles that will guide the United States.

Other countries are expecting a new tone after the Bush administration made clear its disdain for any climate discussions aimed at securing a commitment to mandatory greenhouse gas reductions.

This time the US delegation represents the views of a White House committed to mandatory action on climate change. And unlike 1997, when the Kyoto Protocol was drafted, there is now a Democratic-controlled Congress moving to embrace mandatory limits on greenhouse gases.

Back then, the United States lacked support for mandatory actions to achieve the reductions it had signed on to. Congress never ratified that accord, and the Bush administration rejected it outright, citing the lack of participation from developing countries.

But President Obama has acted to reduce US greenhouse gases and wants Congress to pass a cap-and-trade program that would cut global warming pollution 80 percent by mid-century.

"The president has embarked on a strong domestic program already and there is much more coming," Stern said at a briefing Friday in Berlin.

Stern said the US position on an international agreement will be framed by what happens in Congress. The reductions expected to be required by Congress will be the basis for what the country can commit to reducing, he said.

But Congress already is trying to address the recession, healthcare, and other priorities. "This will be a big, big fight to get the domestic piece done," Stern said.

Many European countries want the United States to adopt stronger short-term targets, equal to a 25 percent to 40 percent reduction from 1990 levels by 2020. Obama has called for reaching 1990 levels by then, a roughly 15 percent cut.

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"Arctic Ice Is Melting: The 30-year decline is accelerating, new data show."
The Washington Post (Online), Editorial, A12, Saturday, April 11, 2009

MAKE NO mistake, Arctic Sea ice is melting. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the maximum extent of the winter sea ice cover for 2008-09 was the fifth-lowest on record. Underscoring their point, the agencies added, "The six lowest maximum events since satellite monitoring began in 1979 have all occurred in the past six years (2004-09)."

Global warming is doing a number on Arctic Sea ice. The report noted that the Arctic winter was 1.8 to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average. This and other factors are causing the surface ice to melt. That ice is vital for reflecting the light and heat of the sun. Without it, the heat warms the Arctic Ocean, which then melts the ice below the surface of the water. This, along with older ice moving out of the Arctic, decreases the thickness of sea ice cover, which then melts more easily in the summer. "Ice older than two years now accounts for less than 10 percent of the ice cover," according to the study. "From 1981 through 2000, such older ice made up an average of 30 percent of the total sea ice cover at this time of the year."

These new data come as predictions of an ice-free Arctic Sea during the summer get ever closer. Just two years ago, an NSIDC scientist estimated that worrisome event could happen within 20 to 30 years. Last month, Warwick Vincent, director of the Center for Northern Studies at Laval University in Quebec, told Reuters, "2013 is starting to look as though it is a lot more reasonable as a prediction."

That forecast, if proven true, would have dire consequences for the polar bear. A 2007 report from the U.S. Geological Survey revealed that a melting of Arctic ice caused by global warming would wipe out two-thirds of the world's polar bear population, estimated at 20,000 to 25,000, and all of Alaska's estimated 4,700 polar bears, by 2050. The polar bear is now listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. But we're all threatened as long as the build-up of greenhouse gases renders climate studies and models seemingly obsolete the moment they're released.

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"Congress weighs far-reaching global warming bill"
By Dina Cappiello, Associated Press Writer, April 18, 2009

WASHINGTON --The last time Congress passed major environmental laws, acid rain was destroying lakes and forests, polluted rivers were on fire and smog was choking people in some cities.

The fallout from global warming, while subtle now, could eventually be even more dire. That prospect has Democrats pushing legislation that rivals in scope the nation's landmark anti-pollution laws.

Lawmakers this coming week begin hearings on an energy and global warming bill that could revolutionize how the country produces and uses energy. It also could reduce, for the first time, the pollution responsible for heating up the planet.

If Congress balks, the Obama administration has signaled a willingness to use decades-old clean air laws to impose tough new regulations for motor vehicles and many industrial plants to limit their release of climate-changing pollution.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday said rising sea levels, increased flooding and more intense heat waves and storms that come with climate change are a threat to public health and safety. The agency predicted that warming will worsen other pollution problems such as smog.

"The EPA concluded that our health and our planet are in danger. Now it is time for Congress to create a clean energy cure," said Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., one of the sponsors of the American Clean Energy and Security Act.

If passed, it would the first major environmental protection law in almost two decades. In addition to attempting to solve a complex environmental problem associated with global warming, the bill also seeks to wean the nation off foreign oil imports and to create a new clean-energy economy.

"It's a big undertaking," said the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif. Waxman and Markey presented their 648-page bill last month.

From 1969 to 1980, Congress passed more than a dozen environmental bills tackling everything from air and water pollution and garbage, as well as protections for fisheries, marine mammals and endangered species. In 1990, the Clean Air Act was overhauled to address the problem of acid rain created by the sulfur dioxide released from coal-burning power plants.

"We had two decades of extraordinary legislation and almost two decades of nothing," said Richard Lazarus, a Georgetown University law professor and author of "The Making of Environmental Law." "If this one passes, it will certainly be an outburst."

There are many reasons why Congress' chances to succeed in passing global warming legislation are improved this year, but by no means assured.

After President George W. Bush did little about global warming in his two terms, there is "a lot pent up demand" for action on climate, said William Ruckelshaus, the first administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Both the Democratic-controlled Congress and President Barack Obama agree that legislation is needed to limit emissions of greenhouse gases and radically alter the nation's energy sources. They want to pass a bill by the end of the year.

"For the first time ever, we have got the political actors all aligned," said Lazarus. "That is not enough to get a law passed, but that is a huge start. We haven't been close to that before."

Unlike the 1970s, when the first environmental laws passed nearly unanimously, Republicans are opposed. They question whether industry and taxpayers can afford to take on global warming during an economic recession.

Then there is the question whether the public will have the appetite to accept higher energy prices for a benefit that will not be seen for many years. Climate change ranks low on many voters' priority lists.

Every year since 2001 has been among the 10 warmest years on record. Sea ice in the Arctic and glaciers worldwide are melting.

But the problems are not as apparent as they were in the 1970s, or even the early 1990s, when Congress addressed acid rain and depletion of the ozone layer.

"If carbon dioxide were brown, we wouldn't have the same problem," said Gus Speth, who organized the Natural Resources Defense Council in 1970. "But it's a subtle issue. ... The problems are chronic not acute, and it is largely invisible to people unless they're reading the newspaper or checking the glaciers or going to the South Pole."

In 1969, oil and debris in the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland burst into flames, an incident that led to the passage of the Clean Water Act. That same year, a blowout at an offshore oil platform off Santa Barbara, Calif., spilled millions of gallons of oil onto beaches. And long before that, a smog episode in Donora, Pa., in 1948 killed 20, sparking a crusade against air pollution.

"There was so much evidence -- sort of smell, touch and feel kind of evidence -- that the environment was really in trouble," said Ruckelshaus. "We had real problems, real pollution problems that people could see on the way to work. And there were rivers catching on fire and terrible smog events."

With climate, "you are asking people to worry about their grandchildren or their children," he said. "That is why it will be so tough to get something like this through."
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On the Net:

House Energy and Commerce Committee: http://tinyurl.com/c68ukd

Environmental Protection Agency: www.epa.gov

Natural Resources Defense Council: www.nrdc.org
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Pittsfield, Massachusetts
"On Earth Day, Berkshire County acts locally"
By Benning W. De La Mater, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Wednesday, April 22, 2009

PITTSFIELD — It's Earth Day, a designation designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the water, dirt and rock we live on.

And if the day's founders and followers had their way, every day would be Earth Day.

Locals who devote 365 days a year to making the planet a cleaner and nicer place said we've come a long way in the 39 years since the first Earth Day was celebrated.

The Housatonic River is cleaner than it was 20 years ago. Awareness of the human effects on the environment is on the rise. And society generally is more conscious of Earth's fragility.

"But we still have a long ways to go," said Jane Winn, executive director of the Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT). "The goal is to get more people to think like this for the rest of the year."

Winn belongs to Green Drinks, an environmentally conscious group that gathered at Pittsfield Brew Works on Tuesday night for a monthly meeting in which members network and exchange ideas about the local "green" scene.

Winn said she believes Earth Day has contributed to the environmentalist cause. She calls it a "beacon" from which all environmental work flows.

Earth Day was started as a grass-roots movement in 1970 by Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. That year, more than 20 million people participated in events. Now, the Earth Day Network estimates that 500 million people in more than 175 countries celebrate the day with demonstrations, fundraising events and talks.

Locally, activities are planned for across Berkshire County, including a GPS program at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, concerts and talks at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, and a celebration at the former Notre Dame Church in Pittsfield.

Tom Pecoraro, founder of the Westside Farm Project, is leading a group of people interested in getting an urban garden project under way near the corner of Robbins Avenue and Bradford Street in Pittsfield. Volunteers are encouraged to stop by from 1 to 5 p.m.

The focal point of the local events takes place at Pittsfield's Berkshire Museum at 7 p.m., with distinguished wildlife pathologist Ward Stone of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation leading a lecture titled "Turmoil in the Northeast."

Jamie Cahillane, director of recycling services at the Center for Ecological Technology (CET) in Pittsfield, said the first Earth Day he participated in — 1990 — was a launching point for his career in green technology.

Cahillane said that technology forges progress in a world that was slow to catch on to the negative effects of pollution.

"I've definitely seen a transformation in the last few years," he said. "There's a trend toward more businesses and people being environmentally focused.

"Earth Day is really like the planting of a seed. The work that we do is what has grown from it."
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To reach Benning W. De La Mater: bdelamater@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6243.
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Earth Day highlights

# Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield: Anyone who brings in a cell phone or empty printer cartridge gets in free. There will be free bike checkups from 1 to 4 p.m., while at 2 p.m., "The Greta Garbage Show" puppet show will educate children on how garbage impacts the environment. At 7 p.m., New York State pathologist Ward Stone will lead a lecture titled "Turmoil in the Northeast."

# Clark Art Institute, Williamstown: Members of the Williams College Outing Club will demonstrate how to use a GPS unit to locate geocache from 1 to 4 p.m. The event kicks off the Clark's new geocache program.

# MCLA, North Adams: Events include plantings in the MCLA garden, a carbon footprint discussion, a concert and a scavenger hunt.
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www.topix.net/forum/source/berkshire-eagle/T5CHP7H5AQG584SPK
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"Prospects improve for massive climate bill: Concessions help broaden support for measure"
The Boston Globe, By H. Josef Hebert and Dina Cappiello, Associated Press, June 25, 2009

WASHINGTON - Support among House Democrats appeared to be growing yesterday for a massive climate bill that for the first time would limit the pollution linked to global warming and redirect the nation toward greater use of clean energy.

An agreement on a string of demands sought by farmers and lawmakers from rural areas erased a major obstacle to the legislation. A pair of favorable reports on the economic effect of the bills also have eased some Democratic lawmakers’ concerns, supporters of the legislation said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat of California, has vowed to take up the bill, which would set limits on greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, before lawmakers adjourn at week’s end for their July 4 holiday recess.

A vote was tentatively scheduled for tomorrow.

Most Republicans are expected to oppose the legislation, prompting an intense effort by Pelosi and the bill’s leading sponsors to draw in reluctant Democrats with a string of concessions - mostly aimed at defusing GOP claims that the legislation amounts to a massive energy tax on average Americans and will cut US jobs.

“Both of those bubbles have been bursted,’’ Democratic Representative Michael Doyle of Pennsylvania told reporters yesterday. He said lawmakers are becoming convinced the bill will create “green’’ energy jobs and mitigate the economic impact for energy-intensive industries such as those in his state. “We have been taking people out of the `no’ column, into the `undecided’ column, into the `yes’ column,’’ said Doyle. “The momentum is coming to yes.’’

But some Democrats, especially freshman lawmakers who took seats away from Republican incumbents, were reportedly remaining on the fence.

Among the holdouts have been farm-state legislators concerned that farmers would suffer from high energy costs.

But Democratic Representative Collin Peterson of Minnesota, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, urged support for the bill yesterday after he won several concessions that he said would benefit agriculture and ease the effect of higher energy costs on people living in rural areas.

“We think we have something here that can work with agriculture,’’ Peterson told reporters. “I think we’ll be able to get the votes to pass this.’’

The House bill, covering more than 1,100 pages, would require a 17 percent reduction of greenhouse gases - mainly carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels such as coal - by 2020 from 2005 levels and about an 80 percent reduction by mid-century. While it would cap climate-changing pollution, the bill also would allow polluters to buy and sell emission allowances within the economy as a way to ease the cost of compliance.

A cosponsor of the bill, Representative Edward Markey of Massachusetts. said the White House “is making it very clear they want this legislation.’’

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The shore line from Tuktoyaktuk, in the Northwest Territories, Canada, is shown on Saturday Aug. 8, 2009. The Arctic Ocean has given up tens of thousands more square miles of ice in a relentless summer of melt, as scientists watched through satellite eyes for a possible record low polar ice cap. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
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"Vast expanses of Arctic ice melt in summer heat"
By Charles J. Hanley, AP Special Correspondent, August 9, 2009

TUKTOYAKTUK, Northwest Territories --The Arctic Ocean has given up tens of thousands more square miles (square kilometers) of ice on Sunday in a relentless summer of melt, with scientists watching through satellite eyes for a possible record low polar ice cap.

From the barren Arctic shore of this village in Canada's far northwest, 1,500 miles (2,414 kilometers) north of Seattle, veteran observer Eddie Gruben has seen the summer ice retreating more each decade as the world has warmed. By this weekend the ice edge lay some 80 miles (128 kilometers) at sea.

"Forty years ago, it was 40 miles (64 kilometers) out," said Gruben, 89, patriarch of a local contracting business.

Global average temperatures rose 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degree Celsius) in the past century, but Arctic temperatures rose twice as much or even faster, almost certainly in good part because of manmade greenhouse gases, researchers say.

In late July the mercury soared to almost 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) in this settlement of 900 Inuvialuit, the name for western Arctic Eskimos.

"The water was really warm," Gruben said. "The kids were swimming in the ocean."

As of Thursday, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center reported, the polar ice cap extended over 2.61 million square miles (6.75 million square kilometers) after having shrunk an average 41,000 square miles (106,000 square kilometers) a day in July -- equivalent to one Indiana or three Belgiums daily.

The rate of melt was similar to that of July 2007, the year when the ice cap dwindled to a record low minimum extent of 1.7 million square miles (4.3 million square kilometers) in September.

In its latest analysis, the Colorado-based NSIDC said Arctic atmospheric conditions this summer have been similar to those of the summer of 2007, including a high-pressure ridge that produced clear skies and strong melt in the Beaufort Sea, the arm of the Arctic Ocean off northern Alaska and northwestern Canada.

In July, "we saw acceleration in loss of ice," the U.S. center's Walt Meier told The Associated Press. In recent days the pace has slowed, making a record-breaking final minimum "less likely but still possible," he said.

Scientists say the makeup of the frozen polar sea has shifted significantly the past few years, as thick multiyear ice has given way as the Arctic's dominant form to thin ice that comes and goes with each winter and summer.

The past few years have "signaled a fundamental change in the character of the ice and the Arctic climate," Meier said.

Ironically, the summer melts since 2007 appear to have allowed disintegrating but still thick multiyear ice to drift this year into the relatively narrow channels of the Northwest Passage, the east-west water route through Canada's Arctic islands. Usually impassable channels had been relatively ice-free the past two summers.

"We need some warm temperatures with easterly or southeasterly winds to break up and move this ice to the north," Mark Schrader, skipper of the sailboat "Ocean Watch," e-mailed The Associated Press from the west entrance to the passage.

The steel-hulled sailboat, with scientists joining it at stops along the way, is on a 25,000-mile (40,232-kilometer), foundation-financed circumnavigation of the Americas, to view and demonstrate the impact of climate change on the continents' environments.

Environmentalists worry, for example, that the ice-dependent polar bear will struggle to survive as the Arctic cap melts. Schrader reported seeing only one bear, an animal chased from the Arctic shore of Barrow, Alaska, that "swam close to Ocean Watch on its way out to sea."

Observation satellites' remote sensors will tell researchers in September whether the polar cap diminished this summer to its smallest size on record. Then the sun will begin to slip below the horizon for several months, and temperatures plunging in the polar darkness will freeze the surface of the sea again, leaving this and other Arctic coastlines in the grip of ice. Most of the sea ice will be new, thinner and weaker annual formations, however.

At a global conference last March in Copenhagen, scientists declared that climate change is occurring faster than had been anticipated, citing the fast-dying Arctic cap as one example. A month later, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted Arctic summers could be almost ice-free within 30 years, not at the century's end as earlier predicted.

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"New leader takes reins of Greenpeace"
By Associated Press, November 17, 2009

JOHANNESBURG - An African took over as director of Greenpeace yesterday, bringing experience honed as a teenage opponent of white rule in South Africa and a network of powerful contacts to the battle against global warming.

Kumi Naidoo, 44, the new director, said he had much to learn about the group’s current agenda. But he has already grasped the issues around global warming, an overriding concern of environmental groups.

“We either get it right and all of humanity comes out on the other side with a new world,’’ Naidoo said before he took the Greenpeace helm. “Or we get it wrong and all the world is going to sink.’’

Greenpeace was founded 38 years ago by activists who wanted to stop the United States from conducting underground nuclear tests in a region off Alaska that harbored endangered sea otters.

Gerd Leipold, his predecessor at Greenpeace, said Naidoo’s appointment is a watershed, both because he is the first African and because he is the first executive director to come from outside the organization.

After battling apartheid in South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s, Naidoo led global campaigns to end poverty and protect human rights. Recently, he has led the Global Campaign for Climate Action, which brings together environmental, aid, religious, and human rights groups, unions, scientists, and others and has organized mass demonstrations around climate negotiations.

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boston.com/lifestyle/green/greenblog
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"Boston faces deep risk from sea level rise"
Posted by Boston Globe Business Team, November 24, 2009

Brace yourself Boston: Sea level rise from climate change could jeopardize Hub assets worth $463 billion.

A new report out by World Wildlife Fund and insurer Allianz warns that sea levels could rise along the U.S. coast a whopping 26 inches by 2050 as the world warms. That would place assets worth $7.4 trillion at risk along the US coast.

“With each new study the alarm bells become deafeningly clear that climate change will have devastating consequences for our economy and way of life,’’ said David Reed, senior vice president of policy at WWF.

The report comes several weeks before the world’s nations meet in Copenhagen to work toward a binding agreement to lower greenhouse gases from power plants, cars, and factories that are warming the earth and causing sea levels to rise.

New scientific evidence shows that the pace of warming in some places is outstripping even dire projections.

In the report, Boston is cited as the city with the fourth greatest risk exposure. The top three are Miami with $2.8 trillion; New York-Newark area with $1.8 trillion and New Orleans with $753 billion.

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"Global Warming Report Finds Time Running Out: 26 Scientists Say Assessment Gives World Leaders Solid Data for Climate Summit"
By BILL BLAKEMORE, ABC-News, Nov. 24, 2009 —

There's even less time for humanity to try to curb global warming than recently thought, according to a new in-depth scientific assessment by 26 scientists from eight countries.

Sea level rise, ocean acidification and the rapid melting of massive ice sheets are among the significantly increased effects of human-induced global warming assessed in the survey, which also examines the emissions of heat-trapping gases that are causing the climate change.

"Many indicators are currently tracking near or above the worst-case projections" made three years ago by the world's scientists, the new Copenhagen Diagnosis said.

Nor has manmade global warming slowed or paused, as some headlines have recently suggested, according to the report, which you can see here.

The scientists also calculate that the world's emissions of heat-trapping gases must peak in less than 10 years and then dive quickly to nearly zero, if warming of more than another 2 degrees Fahrenheit above the current annual global temperature is to be prevented after 2050.

Any warming of more than 2 degrees F above current temperatures has been generally agreed among governments around the world to be "dangerous," though what "dangerous" means is still debated.

This is the first comprehensive update of leading peer-reviewed climate science in the three years since the last report of the intentionally thorough and slow-paced Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was finalized.

That report is now widely recognized to be out of date in important ways.

This is because over the past three years, hundreds of new scientific field accounts of global warming's impacts, as well as improved peer-reviewed analyses of global warming itself in both the deep past and the very near future, have depicted earth's atmosphere as far more "sensitive" to the invisible CO2, methane and other human-sourced greenhouse gases than had been hoped.

"Mother nature puts a limit on how long you can dither and procrastinate," climatologist Richard Somerville, one of the study's authors, told ABC News.

'Abrupt or Irreversible Change' If It's 'Business as Usual'
"We found that several vulnerable elements in Earth's climate system -- like the Amazon and other big rain forests, like the great ice sheets that have so much sea level locked up in their ice -- could be pushed toward abrupt or irreversible change if we go on toward 2100 with our business-as-usual increase in emissions of greenhouse gases," he said.

(see: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/Earth2100/story?id=7697237&page=1)

Global Warming Report Out in Time for Copenhagen Summit
Because the next IPCC report is not due before 2013, there had been a growing concern among many of the world's climate scientists that an update of the latest solid data would be needed, he said, if negotiations by the 192 nations gathering at the Copenhagen climate summit, scheduled for Dec. 7-18, were to be based on reality.

By phone from his base at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California, Somerville told ABC News that the 26 authors of the survey all donated their time and expertise.

"The money we needed for basic transportation to get us to and from our big global review session in Copenhagen in March and for basic communication expenses turned up from the Live Earth philanthropy," Somerville said.

Live Earth, founded by producer Kevin Wall, in partnership with former Vice President Al Gore, is a for-profit company that uses concerts, media and other events to encourage awareness worldwide about environmental issues.

"They've had no influence or involvement of any kind with the report itself," he said. "That is entirely under the control of the 26 authors from the eight countries, all widely respected -- and many of them are lead authors of IPCC studies. They're known quantities in the peer-reviewed science world."

Though this report is not "officially" from the IPCC, which makes no provisions for comprehensive mid-term reports halfway through its five- or six-year reporting cycle, Somerville said he and his fellow authors expect that it will be accepted by their peers in climate research around the world.

"This report is firmly based on more than 200 recent peer-reviewed papers clearly listed in the report," he said.

The authors said they were aiming not only at policy makers, but also at the general public.

Common misconceptions about global warming are dealt with in separate side-bar boxes, explaining why, for example, the human-induced warming has not slowed or paused, contrary to some recent headlines.

(see: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/GlobalWarming/global-warming-common-misconceptions/story?id=9159877)

The authors also give a relatively reassuring assessment about the chances of an uncontrollable "runaway" global temperature rise in the near future.

Sea Level, Ice, Acidification, Emission -- New Science

Their findings include:

. Sea Level Rise this century is likely to be "at least twice that projected" three years ago, with enormous humanitarian and economic impacts.

It could well be around three feet before the year 2100, says the report. Just a fraction of that increase in sea level could displace many millions of people and greatly increase vulnerability to storms.

A sea-level rise of 6 ½ feet is now considered by the scientists to be a reasonable "upper bound" of estimates -- a distinct possibility.

Global Warming Report: Ice Sheets, Glaciers Melting Faster Than Predicted

. All ice types, including massive ice sheets, mountain glaciers and Arctic sea ice (frozen sea-surface), are for the most part melting far faster than predicted three years ago.

. Greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming are surging, with global emissions from burning fossil fuels now 40 percent higher than in 1990 and climbing.

Scientists are at constant pains to point out that recent (or any) slight and brief emissions drops in a few countries cause no reduction of the greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere that set the global temperature thermostat.

This is because CO2 emissions stay in the air, on average, for hundreds of years.

Somerville and other scientists say they frequently have to make sure people they talk to understand the difference between "emissions" -- the amount of additional heat-trapping gas humanity puts in the atmosphere per year, and "concentrations" -- the amount of those gases that has piled up in the atmosphere and goes on hanging there for a long time.

Concentrations, which are measured in parts per million, have been rising steadily since the beginning of the industrial age some two centuries ago.

Devilish Coincidence: CO2 Plus H2O Makes Acid

. Ocean acidification has been discovered in the past two years to be rising into fish-rich shallow waters far faster than oceanographers expected. A significant portion of the CO2 emissions that trap heat in the atmosphere are absorbed by the oceans.

By what appears to be a devilish coincidence, this same molecule that warms the atmosphere, CO2, happens, when combined with H20, to form carbonic acid.

Scientists report the sea is already 30 percent more acidic than it was at the start of the industrial age.

A wide range of studies and reports of damage to sea life as a result of this rise in acidity is now coming in from the world's marine biologists.

Relative Good News: 'No Strong Evidence' Overall Tipping Point
There is one piece of relatively good news from the scientists in this report, in regard to what it calls "much talk in the popular media" about the possibility of "runaway" climate change.

It says this would be what's sometimes called "a global tipping point," in which many amplifying feedbacks around the world produce a cumulative effect in which Earth enters a "change in state, carried by its own internal dynamics."

Many amplifying feedbacks are closely monitored by scientists, including thawing tundra and dying forest releasing massive amounts of heat-trapping CO2, and the way in which the growing amount of darkened land absorbs more of the sun's heat, thus further warming the ground and air.

Such a "change of state" could be uncontrollable, and possibly, some have worried, so fast that food supplies and human civilization in general would collapse.

Of this most frightening prospect, the report says clearly: "There is as yet no strong evidence that the Earth as a whole is near such a threshold. Instead 'amplified' climate change is a much better description of what we currently observe and project for the future."

In other words, though painful changes are apparently coming in the next few decades and before there is a chance of getting Earth's rising annual global temperature to level off, there is still time, according to the latest science, to avoid the very worst.

At least, it says, "there is as yet no strong evidence" that such an overall threshold "is near."

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"Copenhagen: the Climate Summit"
By Beth Daley, Boston Globe Staff, December 6, 2009

More than 190 countries will meet in the Danish capital from tomorrow through Dec. 18 to negotiate an international treaty to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The talks are the latest in a series of United Nations meetings dating back to 1992 to respond to man-made global warming, which scientists say is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. Here is a look at the science, the summit, and the stumbling blocks to reaching a deal there.

THE CHANGES
Hotter: Air temperatures have warmed about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 100 years. They are expected to rise 3.1 to 7.2 degrees by the end of the century if worldwide emissions continue to grow unchecked.

Rising seas: Melting glaciers and the larger volume of warmer seawater have contributed to a sea level rise of about .12 inches a year since the 1990s, and sea level is projected to rise 7 to 23 inches, and perhaps more, by the end of the century.

Acidic oceans: Seawater’s absorption of carbon dioxide from the air is causing the ph of the world’s oceans to drop, threatening corals, shell-building animals, and possibly other marine life.

Extreme weather: The frequency and intensity of rainstorms and droughts are increasing in some places.

Changing seasons: Spring is lengthening in some places and starting earlier, in some instances changing bird migrations, egg laying, and flowering of plants.

Species shift: Ranges of plant and animal species are shifting toward the poles.

THE SCIENCE
Doesn’t the climate change naturally?
Yes. Changes in the earth’s orbit and the sun’s intensity, as well as volcanic eruptions, can cause climatic changes. Also, natural fluctuations in the ocean and atmosphere, such as El Niño and La Niña, can affect climate.
So how do we know humans are causing warming?
It's well accepted by scientists that greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, trap heat in the earth's atmosphere and warm the planet. Humans have released more of these gases in the last 100 years by the burning of fossil fuels -- chiefly coal and oil -- amplifying the natural greenhouse effect. Scientists can find no other explanation for the recent temperature rise without including humans' contribution. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body that is the scientific authority on global warming, says most of the global temperature increase since the mid-20th century is very likely due to man.
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Aren’t there many uncertainties?
Yes. Scientists do not fully understand many aspects of climate change, including exactly how the natural system will respond to increased carbon dioxide; regional climatic changes; cooling effects of pollution particles that block the sun; how rapidly the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will melt; and whether hurricanes are gaining in frequency and intensity because of warmer ocean waters. As a result, scientists often give a range of projections about temperature increase, sea level rise, and other climatic changes.
Is New England experiencing man-made climate change?
New England winters have warmed about 4 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 40 years. While it is difficult to “see” the footprint of man-made global warming in smaller geographic regions, scientists strongly suspect some of New England’s warming is probably due to the worldwide phenomenon.
That’s because the temperature increase began accelerating around 1970 -- the same time overall global temperatures did; New England’s increase is lasting longer than previous warm stretches in the past century that were attributed to natural variability; and the entire region has been affected.
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Special report on global warming in New England.
www.boston.com/news/specials/climate_change/
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How much do emissions need to be reduced?
In advance of the Copenhagen meeting, President Obama pledged to significantly lower emissions -- about 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. Some scientists believe even larger cuts are needed -- as much as 80 percent below 1990 levels -- to avoid the worst consequences of global warming. But opponents of government-mandated reductions say strict limits would boost energy prices and dramatically slow economic growth. The US Environmental Protection Agency, recently estimated the economic costs of pending Senate legislation seeking emissions cuts similar to those pledged by President Obama and passed by the House. The agency projected that average household consumption would be reduced by less than 1 percent and that it would cost households about $80 to $111 per year.
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SUMMIT GOALS
Replace previous treaty
Countries are gathering to replace the Kyoto Protocol, the world’s first binding greenhouse gas treaty, which expires in 2012. It is widely expected that world leaders will create a blueprint in Copenhagen and sign a binding treaty next year.
Minimize warming
Limit the world’s warming by no more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) compared to preindustrial levels and stabilize atmospheric carbon dioxide levels at no higher than 450 parts per million. Many scientists say an environmentally sounder goal would be 350 parts per million. (Levels today are at about 383 parts per million).
Ensure reductions from the United States and other developed countries
Win ambitious emission-reduction targets and timetables from the US, the developed world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, which never ratified the Kyoto Protocol, and other developed countries.
Help developing countries reduce emissions
Work with developing countries including China and India to ensure they reduce emissions below business as usual moving forward. China, now the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, recently agreed to reduce its carbon intensity -- or the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of production -- by 40 percent to 45 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, which would slow the increase of carbon emissions but not reduce them because of China's rapid growth.
Financial aid
Win committments from developed, rich countries to contribute billions of dollars to help developing countries adapt to climate change and switch to greener energy sources.
Keep trees from being cut
Hammer out an agreement to prevent deforestation in developing countries by protecting large tracts of forests that absorb carbon dioxide.
Achieving reductions
Most countries, including the United States, are expected to use a cap-and-trade system. This method places a gradually-falling cap on overall emissions from power plants and industry but allows polluters flexibility in how they comply, perhaps by buying credits from cleaner energy sources, investing in more energy-efficient equipment, or finding less expensive ways to offset their pollution -- such as planting or protecting trees that absorb carbon dioxide elsewhere.
OBSTACLES
The United States: It has not passed domestic legislation to lower greenhouse gases, action most other countries want to see before committing to their own goals.
Developing countries: Will become the biggest contributors to global emissions, but they say developed countries have a larger “historical footprint” and thus should make more aggressive reductions -- and give poor countries financial assistance -- more than $10 billion a year in the short term and far more in later years.

SOURCES: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Union of Concerned Scientists; NYTimes (for graphic); University Corporation for Atmospheric Research; United Nations Framework on Climate Change; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; National Geographic
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www.boston.com/lifestyle/green/articles/2009/12/06/climate_change_dec_06_2009/
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(with online video)
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"Climate deal falls short of key goals"
By Juliet Eilperin and Anthony Faiola, Washington Post Staff Writer, A01, December 19, 2009

COPENHAGEN -- President Obama helped broker a climate deal with a group of leading nations that provides for monitoring emission cuts by each country but sets no global target for cutting greenhouse gases, and no deadline for reaching a formal international climate treaty.

The deal falls far short of many countries' expectations for the summit and leaves a comprehensive battle plan for climate change potentially years away. Although the agreement included some major players -- China, India, Brazil and South Africa -- it was not universally agreed upon by the 193 nations attending the summit. In fact, some leaders left early Friday in apparent frustration.

For the Obama administration, the focus of the climate debate shifts to the domestic stage. Though Obama voiced hopes for greater results, the modest agreement may help the administration as it presses Congress to pass landmark climate-change legislation.

By not committing the United States to new standards and by insisting on monitoring cuts made by other nations, the administration can say passage of domestic legislation would not put the United States at a competitive disadvantage with other nations, particularly China.

In announcing the deal, even Obama -- who walked in on a meeting of developing nations to insist on an agreement late Friday -- conceded its limitations. "Today we made a meaningful and unprecedented breakthrough here in Copenhagen," he said. But, he added, "It is going to be very hard, and it's going to take some time" to get a legally binding treaty. That, he said, "was not achievable at this conference."

In the deal, spelled out in a three-page document, each country needs only to list its current domestic pledges for emissions reductions and to promise to allow monitoring of their progress. It also outlines steps to help poor countries go green and prepare for the impact of a warming Earth.

But it sparked a rebellion among more vulnerable nations. They said they could not accept an agreement that lacked deep emissions commitments from the industrialized world.

"The science tells us we must act now, and urgently," said Ian Fry, climate-change representative for Tuvalu, which may be submerged by rising seas in a matter of decades. "To use a Biblical allusion, it looks like we're being offered 30 pieces of silver to bargain away our future. Mr. President, our future is not for sale."

The room burst into applause.

European officials, for their part, made it clear that although America's climate-change goals had improved, compared to where they were under the Bush administration, they still were not in line with those of the European Union and Japan.

"This accord is better than no accord, [but] it wasn't a huge step," said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. "The level of ambition is honestly not what we were hoping for."

Barroso and Swedish Prime Minister Frederik Reinfeldt said the EU would stick to its target of reducing emissions 20 percent by 2020, compared to 1990 levels, rather than going for the 30 percent goal they had pledged in the context of an ambitious agreement.

But Obama, as well as many U.S. environmentalists, said this agreement represents a turning point in international climate policy because it means the developing world, which will account for nearly all the emissions growth in coming decades, has joined in committing to cut carbon output.

"The goal was to get the big emitters in the developing world under the tent with some sort of credible monitoring regime," said David Doniger, policy director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's climate center.

In fact, there was almost no deal in Copenhagen at all. The contentious talks appeared to break down at several points over recent days, with rich and poor countries at odds over nearly every issue. A group of developing nations staged a temporary walk out earlier in the week, and on the last day of the summit the talks seemed on the verge of collapse.

Obama had scheduled a private evening meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, whose nation, other leaders have said, poses the greatest challenge to forging a global pact. China had strongly resisted proposals for independent monitoring of each country's claimed emissions cuts, whereas the United States has said such scrutiny is integral to a meaningful deal. Wen had earlier declined to attend a pre-plenary emergency meeting with Obama and other world leaders, sending an aide instead.

But when Obama arrived for his meeting with Wen, he discovered that the Chinese leader was in a meeting with the leaders of India, South Africa and Brazil. Obama opted to join them, although at one point he threatened to walk out if no deal was reached. There, the final stages of the agreement came together, sources close to the talks said, with Obama discussing specifics.

Both the United States and the major developing nations agreed to list their existing pledges to fight climate change, and promised unspecified action to prevent the Earth's temperature from rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius. In addition, they will provide information on their progress, which would be subject to international consultations and analysis.

To seal the deal, however, the United States had to sacrifice its goal of enshrining a global target of reducing greenhouse emissions in half by 2050 -- something developing countries, concerned the impact this would have on their economies, were reluctant to embrace. The deal also does not set a 2010 deadline for reaching a formal treaty, which several nations had sought.

Ned Helme, president of the Center for Clean Air Policy, said the administration made big concessions because it was unwilling to walk away from the deal.

"Failure was not an option," Helme said, "so this deal traded off cutting global emissions in half by 2050 for a better transparency package that insures those promises will be kept."

Yet some environmentalists questioned how a document with an uncertain mandate could provide the foundation for a legally binding agreement.

"This is a sort of 'incomplete, I didn't turn in my term paper,' when it should have gotten a failing grade," said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists. "It's fill in the blanks, fill in the numbers."

Even on the question of financing to help developing countries cope with climate change, which had appeared to be one of the talks' few tangible outcomes, the document was short on specifics. It included $10 billion in annual funding from rich nations for the next three years but set only an aspirational goal for raising $100 billion in annual funding by 2020.

"It doesn't say what the level of public financing will be," Meyer added. "It could be 2 percent, with 98 percent coming from the carbon markets."

Throughout the negotiations, Obama officials advocated a strong provision to ensure the United States' economic competitors were cutting emissions, saying it was essential to satisfying senators back home, who have yet to pass climate legislation. In an interview before the deal was reached, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) said such language would make the outcome "politically acceptable," adding, "That, in turn, will create momentum for passage of legislation."

"It's important that the world knows the Chinese are keeping the promises they are making," Markey said.

The decision to remove a 2010 deadline for reaching a legally binding treaty was significant, because scientists have warned that the longer nations wait to make deep greenhouse gas emission cuts, the harder it will be to avert dangerous climate change.

The deal does include language calling for completing a scientific review of the accord by 2015, the same year the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will issue a comprehensive assessment of the latest scientific findings on global warming. But the document calls only for "consideration of strengthening the long-term goal" of reducing emissions.

Obama conceded that the commitments included in the deal fell far short of what scientists have said is required to avert dangerous warming.

"We know that they will not be by themselves sufficient to get to where we need to get by 2050," he said. "But I want to be very clear that ultimately this issue is going to be dictated by the science, and the science indicates that we're going to have to take more aggressive steps in the future."
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Staff writers Michael D. Shear and Scott Wilson in Washington contributed to this report.
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A BOSTON GLOBE EDITORIAL
"11th-hour Copenhagen pact better than none, but barely"
December 19, 2009

THE AGREEMENT reached in Copenhagen late yesterday among several world leaders is better than a total collapse of the talks, but it still delays any binding international treaty on emission limits until after 2010. At a time when climate scientists are warning that ice caps are melting and sea levels are rising faster than previously expected, this postponement of solid international commitments bodes ill for the countries most vulnerable to global warming. It also deepens the difficulty of keeping the planet’s temperature increase from exceeding the danger threshold of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above the current average.

The challenge the world’s leaders faced in Copenhagen was to somehow find an equilibrium point for the great imbalances of global warming between the rich world and the poor world. The rich countries are responsible for most of the carbon dioxide that is already in the atmosphere, but it is developing countries that will be adding most to that heat-trapping blanket as they industrialize. Moreover, it is the developing world that will suffer most from the rising sea levels, floods, and droughts that climate change will cause.

Resolving these conflicting grievances and fears with one formula called for Solomonic leadership long before the world’s leaders gathered in Denmark. No one provided it. Instead, the agreement merely makes a loose commitment to future emissions cuts. It promises a fund to help developing countries confront climate change, but exact terms remain unclear.

The task would have been easier if the conference had been held in 2007, before the worldwide recession left the rich countries less able to provide an adequate fund to help developing countries adapt to changes in climate and reduce their own greenhouse emissions. Of course, in 2007 George W. Bush was still president of the United States, blocking any mandatory smokestack emission reductions by Congress, much less an international accord.

China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has at least agreed to slow the rate at which its emissions rise, but it continues to refuse to accept binding reductions and has been reluctant to permit independent monitoring of the measures it undertakes.

Obama administration officials call the agreement “meaningful’’ and “an important first step.’’ That is putting the best face on it. In Copenhagen, the world has collectively kicked global warming down the road.

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"Climate reality: Voluntary efforts not enough"
By Seth Borenstein, Ap Science Writer, December 19, 2009

COPENHAGEN – Around the world, countries and capitalism are already working to curb global warming on their own, with or without a global treaty.

In Brazil more rainforests are being saved, and in Chicago there's a voluntary carbon pollution trading system. People recycle, buy smaller and newer cars, and change lightbulbs.

But the impact of such piecemeal, voluntary efforts is small. Experts say it will never be enough without the kind of strong global agreement that eluded negotiators at the U.N. summit this past week in Copenhagen.

Emissions of greenhouse gases keep rising and so do global temperatures.

Dozens of countries — including the top two carbon polluters, China and the United States — came to the climate talks with proposals to ratchet down pollution levels.

But analysis by the United Nations and outside management systems experts show that those voluntary reductions will not keep temperatures from increasing by more than 1.3 degrees Celsius (2.3 degrees Fahrenheit) compared with now. That's the level that scientists, the United Nations, the European Union and the Obama administration have said the world cannot afford.

Good intentions aren't enough. The deal forged by President Barack Obama with China and several other countries sets up the first major program of climate aid to poorer nations to help them deal with climate change. But it offers few specifics and goes no farther than emissions curbs already pledged. More negotiations are planned for next year.

"It just underlines the heroic effort here that the science says needs to be done; it's not easy," said Alden Meyer, policy director at the Union of Concerned Scientists. "If it were easy, it would have been done. This is a daunting effort."

And no one knew that more than a weary Obama, who 14 hours after arriving in Copenhagen, unveiled the political agreement by saying "more aggressive" emission cuts were needed and so were still-unseen scientific breakthroughs.

"But this is going to be hard," Obama said in a news conference late Friday. "This is hard within countries; it's going to be even harder between countries."

"Hard stuff ... requires going ahead and making the best of the situation that you're in at this point, and then continually trying to improve and make progress from there," Obama added.

Upon announcement of the deal, a team of experts led by an MIT professor made quick calculatons: The average global temperature is likely to rise 3.2 degrees Celsius (5.7 degrees F.) above current temperatures.

So the response from many, but not all, environmental activists and poorer nations was "not enough."

That's not for lack of trying.

The U.S. private sector already has invested hundreds of billions of dollars to cut emissions, and that is probably just the beginning no matter what happened in Copenhagen.

Between 2007 and 2008, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. fell 2.8 percent, though part of that was related to the recession.

A study this year by McGraw Hill Construction said between $36 billion and $49 billion of eco-friendly buildings are under development. That figure is expected to triple by 2013.

The owners of New York's Empire State building spent $13.2 million on environmental retrofits to draw new tenants.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. retrofitted about 500 buildings this year. Part of the project included installing skylights with the goal of cutting up to 75 percent of the energy used to light stores.

In Chicago, a company started a voluntary commodities market to trade credits for reducing carbon pollution. It has reduced carbon dioxide pollution by the equivalent of 400 million metric tons in the six years since 2003. That sounds like a lot, but the U.S. emitted 7.05 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent last year alone.

But the broad range of voluntary carbon reductions falls far short of what's needed to address climate change, energy experts emphasize. To approach anything near the 17 percent reduction in emissions by 2020 that the Obama administration has targeted, a price must be put on carbon emissions, most energy expert acknowledge.

"If there was an easy answer, the countries could agree on it," said Gregg Marland who keeps track of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions at the Oak Ridge National Lab. "There is no easy answer. And there is not a cheap answer. I don't see people going very far voluntarily without incentives to do it, and that comes from government."

In much of the developing world, the biggest carbon problem is destruction of forests. Brazil, a top 10 carbon dioxide polluter, is also one of the leading countries in losing forests, which suck carbon dioxide out of the air.

Mostly by slowing deforestation, Brazil has already pledged to reduce carbon emissions by about 36 to 39 percent by 2020. Last month, Brazil reported its biggest annual decline in deforestation in two decades.

The problem, Obama said, is that "the science compels us to move as rapidly as we can."

That's where 450 parts per million of carbon dioxide comes in. The United States and European Union are aiming not to exceed that level — which corresponds with the projected temperature rise — because it's too dangerous. Some scientists point to 350 ppm as a safer level. This year the world pushed beyond 390 ppm for the first time.

Going above 450 parts per million "will change everything," said NASA climate impacts researcher Cynthia Rosenzweig.

"It's not just one or two things," Rosenzweig said. "There will be changes in water, food, ecosystems, health, and those changes also interact with each other."

At that point, among other things, millions of people would be subject to regular coastal flooding, droughts would cause food shortages, coral reefs would dramatically die off affecting the ocean food chain, and about 20 percent of the world's known species would be significantly endangered, according to Rosenzweig and other climate scientists.

Systems dynamics experts John Sterman of MIT and Andrew Jones of the Sustainability Institute in Vermont compare our carbon problem to a bathtub. Each year we pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, much of it remains there. It lasts for about a century, although about half of the carbon dioxide produced is removed each year by forests and oceans.

Sterman and Jones figure the world can afford to churn out another 920 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide between now and 2050. Holding emissions to that level offers a better than even chance at keeping the world under 450 parts per million and avoiding a crucial temperature rise.

But that will be a challenge. Forty years of pumping emissions at the level we have now would exceed the safe level by more than 50 percent. And that doesn't even account for future levels of greenhouse gases from booming economies like those in China and India.

Ideally, the world should produce 80 percent less in greenhouse gases than we do now, Jones said.

Technically, the delay of at least one year in implementing strict emissions limits — thanks to the nonbinding deal in Copenhagen — may not hurt. But it's a momentum issue and a compounding interest issue, said Achim Steiner, head of the United Nations Environment Program. It's like debt on a credit card: Every time a person puts off paying the balance, it grows bigger and harder to resolve.

Every year of delay means the chance of achieving a stable and healthy climate "is getting smaller and smaller," said Yvo de Boer, head of U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which ran the Copenhagen negotiations.

But as difficult as changing the momentum of atmospheric physics, the political challenge may be worse.

Think of it this way: More than 110 world leaders, an unprecedented number, convened here, with roughly two dozen crafting a weak agreement in less than a day. And yet that deal, the Copenhagen Accord, is the basis for next year's effort which will try again to reach more concrete and dramatic steps, de Boer said.

"We should be conscious of the huge challenge that lies ahead of us," de Boer said. He doesn't expect the hands-on help of world leaders next year.

Yet de Boer is optimistic.

"I think science will drive it," de Boer said. "I think business will drive it. I think society will drive it."
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AP writers Dina Cappiello, Joseph Hebert and Steven Manning in Washington, Frank Bajak in Bogota, and Chris Kahn and Anne D'Innocenzio in New York contributed to this report.
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"Global warming close to becoming irreversible - scientists"
By Nina Chestney | Reuters – March 26, 2012

LONDON (Reuters) - The world is close to reaching tipping points that will make it irreversibly hotter, making this decade critical in efforts to contain global warming, scientists warned on Monday.

Scientific estimates differ but the world's temperature looks set to rise by six degrees Celsius by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are allowed to rise uncontrollably.

As emissions grow, scientists say the world is close to reaching thresholds beyond which the effects on the global climate will be irreversible, such as the melting of polar ice sheets and loss of rainforests.

"This is the critical decade. If we don't get the curves turned around this decade we will cross those lines," said Will Steffen, executive director of the Australian National University's climate change institute, speaking at a conference in London.

Despite this sense of urgency, a new global climate treaty forcing the world's biggest polluters, such as the United States and China, to curb emissions will only be agreed on by 2015 - to enter into force in 2020.

" We are on the cusp of some big changes," said Steffen. "We can ... cap temperature rise at two degrees, or cross the threshold beyond which the system shifts to a much hotter state."

TIPPING POINTS

For ice sheets - huge refrigerators that slow down the warming of the planet - the tipping point has probably already been passed, Steffen said. The West Antarctic ice sheet has shrunk over the last decade and the Greenland ice sheet has lost around 200 cubic km (48 cubic miles) a year since the 1990s.

Most climate estimates agree the Amazon rainforest will get drier as the planet warms. Mass tree deaths caused by drought have raised fears it is on the verge of a tipping point, when it will stop absorbing emissions and add to them instead.

Around 1.6 billion tonnes of carbon were lost in 2005 from the rainforest and 2.2 billion tonnes in 2010, which has undone about 10 years of carbon sink activity, Steffen said.

One of the most worrying and unknown thresholds is the Siberian permafrost, which stores frozen carbon in the soil away from the atmosphere.

"There is about 1,600 billion tonnes of carbon there - about twice the amount in the atmosphere today - and the northern high latitudes are experiencing the most severe temperature change of any part of the planet," he said.

In a worst case scenario, 30 to 63 billion tonnes of carbon a year could be released by 2040, rising to 232 to 380 billion tonnes by 2100. This compares to around 10 billion tonnes of CO2 released by fossil fuel use each year.

Increased CO2 in the atmosphere has also turned oceans more acidic as they absorb it. In the past 200 years, ocean acidification has happened at a speed not seen for around 60 million years, said Carol Turley at Plymouth Marine Laboratory.

This threatens coral reef development and could lead to the extinction of some species within decades, as well as to an increase in the number of predators.

As leading scientists, policy-makers and environment groups gathered at the "Planet Under Pressure" conference in London, opinions differed on what action to take this decade.

London School of Economics professor Anthony Giddens favours focusing on the fossil fuel industry, seeing as renewables only make up 1 percent of the global energy mix.

"We have enormous inertia within the world economy and should make much more effort to close down coal-fired power stations," he said.

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell favours working on technologies leading to negative emissions in the long run, like carbon capture on biomass and in land use, said Jeremy Bentham, the firm's vice president of global business environment.

The conference runs through Thursday.

(Editing by Alessandra Rizzo)

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"Sea Level Could Rise 3 Feet by 2100, Climate Panel Finds"
By Justin Gillis, The New York Times, August 19, 2013

An international panel of scientists has found with near certainty that human activity is the cause of most of the temperature increases of recent decades, and warns that sea levels could conceivably rise by more than three feet by the end of the century if emissions continue at a runaway pace.

The scientists, whose findings are reported in a draft summary of the next big United Nations climate report, largely dismiss a recent slowdown in the pace of warming, which is often cited by climate change doubters, attributing it most likely to short-term factors.

The report emphasizes that the basic facts about future climate change are more established than ever, justifying the rise in global concern. It also reiterates that the consequences of escalating emissions are likely to be profound.

“It is extremely likely that human influence on climate caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010,” the draft report says. “There is high confidence that this has warmed the ocean, melted snow and ice, raised global mean sea level and changed some climate extremes in the second half of the 20th century.”

The draft comes from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of several hundred scientists that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, along with Al Gore. Its summaries, published every five or six years, are considered the definitive assessment of the risks of climate change, and they influence the actions of governments around the world. Hundreds of billions of dollars are being spent on efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions, for instance, largely on the basis of the group’s findings.

The coming report will be the fifth major assessment from the group, created in 1988. Each report has found greater certainty that the planet is warming and greater likelihood that humans are the primary cause.

The 2007 report found “unequivocal” evidence of warming, but hedged a little on responsibility, saying the chances were at least 90 percent that human activities were the cause. The language in the new draft is stronger, saying the odds are at least 95 percent that humans are the principal cause.

On sea level, which is one of the biggest single worries about climate change, the new report goes well beyond the assessment published in 2007, which largely sidestepped the question of how much the ocean could rise this century.

The new report also reiterates a core difficulty that has plagued climate science for decades: While averages for such measures as temperature can be predicted with some confidence on a global scale, the coming changes still cannot be forecast reliably on a local scale. That leaves governments and businesses fumbling in the dark as they try to plan ahead.

On another closely watched issue, the scientists retreated slightly from their 2007 position.

Regarding the question of how much the planet could warm if carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere doubled, the previous report largely ruled out any number below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The new draft says the rise could be as low as 2.7 degrees, essentially restoring a scientific consensus that prevailed from 1979 to 2007.

But the draft says only that the low number is possible, not that it is likely. Many climate scientists see only a remote chance that the warming will be that low, with the published evidence suggesting that an increase above 5 degrees Fahrenheit is more likely if carbon dioxide doubles.

The level of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, is up 41 percent since the Industrial Revolution, and if present trends continue it could double in a matter of decades.

Warming the entire planet by 5 degrees Fahrenheit would add a stupendous amount of energy to the climate system. Scientists say the increase would be greater over land and might exceed 10 degrees at the poles.

They add that such an increase would lead to widespread melting of land ice, extreme heat waves, difficulty growing food and massive changes in plant and animal life, probably including a wave of extinctions.

The new document is not final and will not become so until an intensive, closed-door negotiating session among scientists and government leaders in Stockholm in late September. But if the past is any guide, most of the core findings of the document will survive that final review.

The document was leaked over the weekend after it was sent to a large group of people who had signed up to review it. It was first reported on in detail by the Reuters news agency, and The New York Times obtained a copy independently to verify its contents.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change does no original research, but instead periodically assesses and summarizes the published scientific literature on climate change.

The draft document “is likely to change in response to comments from governments received in recent weeks and will also be considered by governments and scientists at a four-day approval session at the end of September,” the panel’s spokesman, Jonathan Lynn, said in a statement Monday. “It is therefore premature and could be misleading to attempt to draw conclusions from it.”

After winning the Nobel Peace Prize six years ago, the group became a political target for climate doubters, who helped identify minor errors in the 2007 report. This time, the panel adopted rigorous procedures in the hope of preventing such mistakes.

Some climate doubters challenge the idea that the earth is warming at all; others concede that it is, but deny human responsibility; still others acknowledge a human role, but assert that the warming is likely to be limited and the impacts manageable. Every major scientific academy in the world has warned that global warming is a serious problem.

The panel shifted to a wider range for the potential warming, dropping the plausible low end to 2.7 degrees, s after a wave of recent studies saying higher estimates were unlikely. But those studies are contested, and scientists at Stockholm are likely to debate whether to stick with that language.

Michael E. Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University, said he feared the intergovernmental panel, in writing its draft, had been influenced by criticism from climate doubters, who advocate even lower numbers. “I think the I.P.C.C. on this point has once again erred on the side of understating the degree of the likely changes,” Dr. Mann said.

However, Christopher B. Field, a researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science who serves on the panel but was not directly involved in the new draft, said the group had to reflect the full range of plausible scientific views.

“I think that the I.P.C.C. has a tradition of being very conservative,” Dr. Field said. “They really want the story to be right.”

Regarding the likely rise in sea level over the coming century, the new report lays out several possibilities. In the most optimistic, the world’s governments would prove far more successful at getting emissions under control than they have been in the recent past, helping to limit the total warming.

In that circumstance, sea level could be expected to rise as little as 10 inches by the end of the century, the report found. That is a bit more than the eight-inch increase in the 20th century, which proved manageable even though it caused severe erosion along the world’s shorelines.

At the other extreme, the report considers a chain of events in which emissions continue to increase at a swift pace. Under those conditions, sea level could be expected to rise at least 21 inches by 2100 and might increase a bit more than three feet, the draft report said.

Hundreds of millions of people live near sea level, and either figure would represent a challenge for humanity, scientists say. But a three-foot rise in particular would endanger many of the world’s great cities — among them New York; London; Shanghai; Venice; Sydney, Australia; Miami and New Orleans.

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"Sea-level rise accelerating, say scientists"
By Richard Ingham, AFP, May 11, 2015

Paris (AFP) - Sea-level rise is accelerating, not declining as some have hoped, scientists said on Monday citing meltwater from Earth's ice sheets as the likely cause.

In 2013, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the global mean sea level rose by 19 centimetres (7.6 inches) from 1901-2010, an average 1.7 mm (0.06 of an inch) per year.

This accelerated to 3.2 mm per year between 1993 and 2010, the IPCC said in its landmark Fifth Assessment Report.

But in 2014, another study raised a big question.

In the past decade, it said, sea-level rise had been much lower than the previous decade.

That raised hopes in some quarters that, far from being an inexorably rising threat, sea levels could fluctuate in response to some hidden but natural variability.

The new study deals a blow to this scenario.

Both the IPCC estimate and the 2014 paper were based on satellite observations of sea levels.

But they were unable to take an important variable into account: something called vertical land motion.

This is natural movement in the height of the Earth's land surface, which can happen through subsidence, earthquakes or uplift.

For instance, parts of the northern hemisphere are still rising after the end of the last Ice Age -- the land was crushed by glacial weight and even today is slowly "rebounding," thousands of years after the ice melted.

The new study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, takes land movement into account, along with an important statistical tweak -- hourly data from a network of tide gauges deployed around the world's oceans.

It finds that the overall rate of sea level rise between 1993 and mid-2014 is between 2.6 and 2.9 mm per year, with a margin of error of plus or minus 0.4 mm.

The bad news is that the first six years of the satellite data -- 1993 to 1999 -- is the period that is most affected by these corrections.

For those six years, estimates have to be scaled down by 0.9-1.5 mm a year.

That mean in more recent years the rate of sea-level rise has actually increased rather than declined, according to the paper, led by Christopher Watson of the University of Tasmania, Australia.

The acceleration "is higher than the observed twentieth-century acceleration but in reasonable agreement with an accelerating contribution from the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets over this period," the team said.

It is also consistent with the IPCC's projections for an additional 0.07 mm rise in the early decades of the 21st century, they added.

The IPCC projected that the global mean sea level would rise by between 40 and 63 cm by the end of this century, depending on how much heat-trapping carbon gases are emitted.

These figures do not include margin of error. At the top end of the range, the 63 cm could be as high as 82 cm.

- Complex calculations -

Ocean rise has huge implications for the hundreds of millions of people who are coastal dwellers.

Their cities could be threatened by ground erosion, flooding and storm surges, and their groundwater imperilled by saltwater intrusion.

But it is also one of the most vexed questions in climate science, given the many uncertainties.

Computer models have to try to estimate how much of the rise is due to thermal expansion -- warming of the water -- or to runoff from ice sheets, glaciers or permafrost.

They also have to calculate the extreme time it takes for a vast body of water to respond to temperature change.

The IPCC said the loss of Greenland's icesheet had probably increased from 34 billion tonnes per year in the decade to 2001 to 215 billion tonnes a year over the following decade.

In Antarctica, the rate of loss likely increased from 30 billion tonnes a year to 147 billion tonnes a year over the same timescale.

----------

"Earth posts hottest August on record and 16th straight month of unsurpassed heat"
By Jason Samenow, The Washington Post, 9/21/2016

Record-breaking heat has never persisted on the planet so long.

Not only did Earth witness its hottest August on record, according to NOAA, but it also extended its streak of record-warm months to 16. Such a lengthy period of record-setting warmth is unprecedented in 137 years of temperature observation, NOAA said.

August's average temperature was 1.66 degrees above the 20th century average, 0.09 degrees above the previous warmest August -- set just one year ago.

Unusually warm conditions covered most of the globe. "Five of the six continents had at least a top ten warm August, with Africa and Asia observing a record high average temperature for August since continental records began in 1910," NOAA reported.

The summer period — encompassing June through August — was also warmest on record, 0.07 degrees warmer than the summer of 2015, the previous recordholder.

"It is plausible that this summer was the warmest in thousands of years, perhaps even longer," climate scientist Michael Mann of Penn State University told USA Today.

As every month this year has established a new record for warmth, it follows that 2016 ranks as the warmest on record year-to-date, a substantial 0.29 degrees warmer than 2015 -- the previous record-holder for the January-August period.

"[A]ll six continents had at least a top three warm January-August period, with North America, Asia, and Oceania experiencing a record high average temperature for January-August since continental records began in 1910," NOAA said.

The early months of 2016 recorded some of the biggest temperature departures from normal or anomalies ever observed.

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“Carbon pricing is key to climate change fight”
The Berkshire Eagle, Letter to the Editor, November 30, 2016

To the editor:

A big thank you to The Berkshire Eagle for its ongoing reporting on climate change. It seems that more and more of us are realizing that this is not a far away threat.

Many experts are calling for a price on carbon as the best first step to shift the economy towards a carbon free future. On Oct 14 and 15, we had the privilege to attend a day of training and then work with Citizen's Climate Lobby (CCL) in Washington. In more than 300 meetings that day we spoke to members of Congress and/or their aides about CCL's proposal of a revenue neutral carbon fee and dividend. CCL is working with members of both parties, realizing that for any carbon fee legislation to pass, bipartisanship is essential.

Over the past years, these meetings have built trusting relationships, safe spaces in which to explore the market-based idea of carbon pricing. Apart from being encouraged by the openness of most offices, the day of "lobbying" also made us realize that our representatives need us, their constituents, to provide them with ideas and support to make big decisions.

It was empowering to work with a large group of people who take their civic responsibility so seriously and make the most of its power.

Uli Nagel, Lee & Judy Fox, Lenox

----------

“Trump meets with Princeton physicist who says global warming is good for us”
By Chris Mooney, The Washington Post, January 14, 2017

Yes, Donald Trump met with Al Gore. But on Friday, according to the Trump transition, the president-elect met with William Happer, a Princeton professor of physics who has been a prominent voice in questioning whether we should be concerned about human-caused climate change.

In 2015 Senate testimony, Happer argued that the "benefits that more [carbon dioxide] brings from increased agricultural yields and modest warming far outweigh any harm."

While not denying outright that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will warm the planet, he also stated that a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide would only cause between 0.5 and 1.5 degrees Celsius of planetary warming. The most recent assessment of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change puts the figure much higher, at between 1.5 degrees and 4.5 degrees C.

"All trees, and many other plants, wheat, rice, soybeans, cotton, etc, are handicapped because, by historical standards, there currently is too little, not too much, CO2 in the atmosphere," read a slide contained in Happer's testimony.

"A dispassionate analysis of the science indicates that more CO2 will bring benefits, not harm to the world," he also stated in that testimony.

Happer is not wrong that carbon dioxide appears to bolster plant growth — the greening up of the Arctic has, indeed, been observed. But that comes with many other consequences, including melting of glaciers and thawing of permafrost, which can emit still more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

"While we are perhaps lucky that CO2 has this effect on plant physiology, in addition to being a greenhouse gas, it is not our 'get out of jail free' card when it comes to our ongoing emissions of CO2," climate scientist Richard Betts of the U.K.'s Hadley Centre wrote on the subject earlier this year.

Happer is an eminent physicist who held prominent positions at the Department of Energy, as well as at his university, and has 200 scientific publications to his name. But in 2009 testimony he went even farther in countering the scientific consensus on climate change, asserting that "The current warming also seems to be due mostly to natural causes, not to increasing levels of carbon dioxide." Most scientists have been plain and very clear that carbon dioxide is indeed the cause of most of the current warming.

In a 2011 essay in the journal First Things, Happer further argued that "the 'climate crusade' is one characterized by true believers, opportunists, cynics, money-hungry governments, manipulators of various types-even children's crusades-all based on contested science and dubious claims."

The essay triggered an in depth rebuttal from Michael MacCracken, a climate scientist who formerly directed the U.S. Global Change Research Program in the Clinton administration, and who characterized it as "so misleading that, in my view, it merits a paragraph-by-paragraph response."

The meeting may be most noteworthy as an example of how Trump plans to get scientific advice - through meetings with individuals whose views are not necessarily part of the mainstream. It's not a model that most scientists will approve of.

Trump has met individually not only with Happer, but also with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., whose views on the safety of vaccines have been rejected by scientific authorities. The meeting has caused alarm in the medical community.

The president-elect has not yet named a presidential science adviser.

----------

“Earth Sets a Temperature Record for the Third Straight Year”
By Justin Gillis and John Schwartz, The New York Times, January 18, 2017

Marking another milestone for a changing planet, scientists reported on Wednesday that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016 — trouncing a record set only a year earlier, which beat one set in 2014. It is the first time in the modern era of global warming data that temperatures have blown past the previous record three years in a row.

The findings come two days before the inauguration of an American president who has called global warming a Chinese plot and vowed to roll back his predecessor’s efforts to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases.

The data show that politicians cannot wish the problem away. The Earth is heating up, a point long beyond serious scientific dispute, but one becoming more evident as the records keep falling. Temperatures are heading toward levels that many experts believe will pose a profound threat to both the natural world and to human civilization.

In 2015 and 2016, the planetary warming was intensified by the weather pattern known as El Niño, in which the Pacific Ocean released a huge burst of energy and water vapor into the atmosphere. But the bigger factor in setting the records was the long-term trend of rising temperature, which scientists say is being driven by increasing levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

“A single warm year is something of a curiosity,” said Deke Arndt, chief of global climate monitoring for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “It’s really the trend, and the fact that we’re punching at the ceiling every year now, that is the real indicator that we’re undergoing big changes.”

The heat extremes were especially pervasive in the Arctic, with temperatures in the fall running 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit above normal across large stretches of the Arctic Ocean. Sea ice in that region has been in precipitous decline for years, and Arctic communities are already wrestling with enormous problems, such as rapid coastal erosion, caused by the changing climate.

“What’s going on in the Arctic is really very impressive; this year was ridiculously off the chart,” said Gavin A. Schmidt, head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, a unit of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration that tracks global temperatures.

But Arctic people were hardly alone in feeling the heat. Drought and starvation afflicted Africa. On May 19, the people in the town of Phalodi lived through the hottest day in the recorded history of India, 123.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

El Niño has now ended, and climate scientists almost universally expect 2017 to be cooler than the year before. But the scale of the heat burst has been startling to many of the experts, and some of them fear an accelerated era of global warming could be at hand over the next few years.

Even at current temperatures, billions of tons of land ice are melting or sliding into the ocean. The sea is also absorbing most of the heat trapped by human emissions. Those factors are causing the ocean to rise at what appears to be an accelerating pace, and coastal communities in the United States are spending billions of dollars to fight increased tidal flooding. Their pleas for help from Congress have largely been ignored.

The finding that a record had been set for the third year in a row was released on Wednesday [January 18, 2017] by three government agencies, two American and one British, that track measurements made by ships, buoys and land-based weather stations. They analyze the figures to correct for known problems, producing an annual average temperature for the surface of the Earth. The national meteorological agency of Japan also confirmed the findings in a preliminary analysis.

The findings about a record-warm year were also confirmed by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, a nonprofit California group set up to provide a temperature analysis independent of governments. That group, however, did not find that three records had been set in a row; in its analysis, 2010 was slightly warmer than 2014.

In addition to the surface measurements, satellites are used to measure the temperature of the atmosphere a few miles above the surface. Two groups that analyze these figures showed a record-warm 2016 in data going back to 1978, though in one data set it was a record by only a small margin.

Since 1880, NOAA’s records show only one other instance when global temperature records were set three years in a row: in 1939, 1940 and 1941. The Earth has warmed so much in recent decades, however, that 1941 now ranks as only the 37th-warmest year on record.

The modern era of global warming began around 1970, after a long stretch of relatively flat temperatures, and the past three years mark the first time in that period that three records were set in a row. Of the 17 hottest years on record, 16 have now occurred since 2000.

Two of the agencies that issued Wednesday’s figures, NOAA and NASA, will soon report to cabinet secretaries appointed by President-elect Donald J. Trump, who has expressed doubt about the findings of climate science. Mr. Trump famously issued a tweet in 2012 that said: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive.”

He has more recently said there might be “some connectivity” between human-driven emissions and the warming of the planet.

Fear has erupted within the agencies about whether their data will now be subject to political manipulation. However, Mr. Trump and his cabinet nominees have given no detailed indication of what their broad climate policies are likely to be, much less how they will manage the scientific enterprise of monitoring the climate.

Some Democrats in Congress have expressed frustration with what they regard as attempts by Republicans to intimidate scientists and undermine basic scientific findings.

Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Texan who is the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, said in a statement, “As the world breaks temperature records seemingly every single year, we desperately need this committee’s and our country’s leadership to reject this anti-science agenda, and get serious about addressing the reality of climate change.”

Some Republicans on the panel, including the chairman, Lamar Smith of Texas, have long been hostile to the findings of climate science, and have repeatedly investigated scientists. It is not clear what will happen with these efforts in the new political era.

Beginning in 2015, Representative Smith issued subpoenas to NOAA seeking to prove that adjustments the agency made to its data set were a deliberate attempt to make global warming appear worse.

But a paper recently issued by the Berkeley group confirmed the scientific validity of the changes NOAA had made. “NOAA was not cooking the books,” said Zeke Hausfather, a researcher with the Berkeley Earth project and the lead author of the paper.

Kristina Baum, a spokeswoman for the committee, said in an email that in the new Congress, Mr. Smith “anticipates fewer subpoenas because he believes that the new administration’s agencies will be more forthcoming with the committee’s requests for information.”

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About Me

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Amherst, NH, United States
I am a citizen defending the people against corrupt Pols who only serve their Corporate Elite masters, not the people! / My 2 political enemies are Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr., nicknamed "Luciforo" and former Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr. / I have also pasted many of my political essays on "The Berkshire Blog": berkshireeagle.blogspot.com / I AM THE ANTI-FRANK GUINTA! / Please contact me at jonathan_a_melle@yahoo.com

50th Anniversary - 2009

50th Anniversary - 2009
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Columbus Avenue in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Pittsfield Politics: Capitanio, Mazzeo agree on budget cuts, public safety

Pittsfield Politics: Capitanio, Mazzeo agree on budget cuts, public safety
Paul Capitanio, left, speaks during Monday night's Ward 3 City Council debate with fellow candidate Melissa Mazzeo at Pittsfield Community Television's studio. The special election (3/31/2009) will be held a week from today (3/24/2009). The local issues ranged from economic development and cleaning up blighted areas in Ward 3 to public education and the continued remediation of PCB's.

Red Sox v Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees
Go Red Sox!

Outrage swells in Congress!

Outrage swells in Congress!
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., left, and the committee's ranking Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., listen during a hearing on modernizing insurance regulations, Tuesday, March 17, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh). - http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20090318/pl_politico/30833

Beacon Hill's $pecial Interest Tax Raisers & $PENDERS!

Beacon Hill's $pecial Interest Tax Raisers & $PENDERS!
Photo Gallery: www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/15/St_Patricks_Day_Boston/

The path away from Wall Street ...

The path away from Wall Street ...
...Employers in the finance sector - traditionally a prime landing spot for college seniors, particularly in the Northeast - expect to have 71 percent fewer jobs to offer this year's (2009) graduates.

Economic collapse puts graduates on unforeseen paths: Enrollment in public service jobs rising...

Economic collapse puts graduates on unforeseen paths: Enrollment in public service jobs rising...
www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/14/economic_collapse_puts_graduates_on_unforeseen_paths/

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis
Should he be fired? As Bank of America's Stock Plummets, CEO Resists Some Calls That He Step Down.

Hookers for Jesus

Hookers for Jesus
Annie Lobert is the founder of "Hookers for Jesus" - www.hookersforjesus.net/home.cfm - Saving Sin City: Las Vegas, Nevada?

Forever personalized stamped envelope

Forever personalized stamped envelope
The Forever stamp will continue to cover the price of a first-class letter. The USPS will also introduce Forever personalized, stamped envelopes. The envelopes will be preprinted with a Forever stamp, the sender's name and return address, and an optional personal message.

Purple Heart

Purple Heart
First issued in 2003, the Purple heart stamp will continue to honor the men and women wounded while serving in the US military. The Purple Heart stamp covers the cost of 44 cents for first-class, one-ounce mail.

Dolphin

Dolphin
The bottlenose is just one of the new animals set to appear on the price-change stamps. It will serve as a 64-cent stamp for odd shaped envelopes.

2009 price-change stamps

2009 price-change stamps
www.boston.com/business/gallery/2009pircechangestamps/ -&- www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2009/02/27/new_stamps_set_for_rate_increase_in_may/

Red Sox v Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees
Go Red Sox!

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama
AP photo v Shepard Fairey

Rush Limbaugh lackeys

Rush Limbaugh lackeys
Posted by Dan Wasserman of the Boston Globe on March 3, 2009.

Honest Abe

Honest Abe
A 2007 US Penny

Dog race

Dog race
Sledding for dogs

The Capital of the Constitution State

The Capital of the Constitution State
Hartford, once the wealthiest city in the United States but now the poorest in Connecticut, is facing an uphill battle.

Brady, Bundchen married

Brady, Bundchen married
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and model Gisele Bundchen wed Feb. 26, 2009 in a Catholic ceremony in Los Angeles. www.boston.com/ae/celebrity/gallery/tom_gisele/

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto
Tanked Pittsfield's local economy while helping his fellow insider political hacks and business campaign contributors!

Journalist Andrew Manuse

Journalist Andrew Manuse
www.manuse.com

New Hampshire Supreme Court Building

New Hampshire Supreme Court Building
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Hampshire_Supreme_Court

Economic State of the Union

Economic State of the Union
A look at some of the economic conditions the Obama administration faces and what resources have already been pledged to help. 2/24/2009

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama
The president addresses the nation's governors during a dinner in the State Dinning Room, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari).

The Oscars - 2/22/2009.

The Oscars - 2/22/2009.
Hugh Jackman and Beyoncé Knowles teamed up for a musical medley during the show.

The 81st Academy Awards - Oscars - 2009

The 81st Academy Awards - Oscars - 2009
Hugh Jackman pulled actress Anne Hathaway on stage to accompany him during his opening musical number.

Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow
A Progressive News Commentator

$500,000 per year

$500,000 per year
That is chump change for the corporate elite!

THE CORPORATE ELITE...

THE CORPORATE ELITE...
Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and chief executive of General Electric

The Presidents' Club

The Presidents' Club
Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton & Carter.

5 Presidents: Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, & Carter!

5 Presidents: Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, & Carter!
White House Event: January 7, 2009.

Bank Bailout!

Bank Bailout!
v taxpayer

Actress Elizabeth Banks

Actress Elizabeth Banks
She will present an award to her hometown (Pittsfield) at the Massachusetts State House next month (1/2009). She recently starred in "W" and "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," and just signed a $1 million annual contract to be a spokesmodel for Paris.

Joanna Lipper

Joanna Lipper
Her award-winning 1999 documentary, "Growing Up Fast," about teenaged mothers in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Happy Holidays...

Happy Holidays...
...from "Star Wars"

Massachusetts "poor" economy

Massachusetts "poor" economy
Massachusetts is one of the wealthiest states, but it is also very inequitable. For example, it boasts the nation's most lucrative lottery, which is just a system of regressive taxation so that the corporate elite get to pay less in taxes!

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon
Hollywood Actress

Peter G. Arlos.

Peter G. Arlos.
Arlos is shown in his Pittsfield office in early 2000.

Turnpike OK's hefty toll hikes

Turnpike OK's hefty toll hikes
Big Dig - East-west commuters take hit; Fees at tunnels would double. 11/15/2008.

The Pink Panther 2

The Pink Panther 2
Starring Steve Martin

Police ABUSE

Police ABUSE
I was a victim of Manchester Police Officer John Cunningham's ILLEGAL USES of FORCE! John Cunningham was reprimanded by the Chief of Police for disrespecting me. John Cunningham yelled at a witness: "I don't care if he (Jonathan Melle) is disabled!"

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
The 44th US President!

Vote

Vote
Elections

The Bailout & the economic stimulus check

The Bailout & the economic stimulus check
A political cartoon by Dan Wasserman

A rainbow over Boston

A rainbow over Boston
"Rainbows galore" 10/2/2008

Our nation's leaders!

Our nation's leaders!
President Bush with both John McCain & Barack Obama - 9/25/2008.

Massachusetts & Big Dig: Big hike in tolls for Pike looming (9/26/2008).

Massachusetts & Big Dig: Big hike in tolls for Pike looming (9/26/2008).
$5 rise at tunnels is one possibility $1 jump posed for elsewhere.

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
My FAVORITE Journalist EVER!

9/11/2008 - A Show of Unity!

9/11/2008 - A Show of Unity!
John McCain and Barack Obama appeared together at ground zero in New York City - September 11, 2008.

John McCain...

John McCain...
...has all but abandoned the positions on taxes, torture and immigration. (A cartoon by Dan Wasserman. September 2008).

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman
The deregulated chickens come home to roost... in all our pocketbooks. September 2008.

Sarah Palin's phobia

Sarah Palin's phobia
A scripted candidate! (A cartoon by Dan Wasserman).

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman
Family FInances - September, 2008.

Mark E. Roy

Mark E. Roy
Ward 1 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Theodore “Ted” L. Gatsas

Theodore “Ted” L. Gatsas
Ward 2 Alderman (& NH State Senator) for Manchester, NH (2008).

Peter M. Sullivan

Peter M. Sullivan
Ward 3 (downtown) Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Jim Roy

Jim Roy
Ward 4 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Ed Osborne

Ed Osborne
Ward 5 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Real R. Pinard

Real R. Pinard
Ward 6 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

William P. Shea

William P. Shea
Ward 7 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Betsi DeVries

Betsi DeVries
Ward 8 Alder-woman (& NH State Senator) for Manchester, NH (2008).

Michael Garrity

Michael Garrity
Ward 9 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

George Smith

George Smith
Ward 10 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Russ Ouellette

Russ Ouellette
Ward 11 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Kelleigh (Domaingue) Murphy

Kelleigh (Domaingue) Murphy
Ward 12 Alder-woman for Manchester, NH (2008).

“Mike” Lopez

“Mike” Lopez
At-Large Alderman for Manchester, NH. (2008).

Daniel P. O’Neil

Daniel P. O’Neil
At-Large Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Sarah Palin for Vice President.

Sarah Palin for Vice President.
Republican John McCain made the surprise pick of Alaska's governor Sarah Palin as his running mate today, August 29, 2008.

U.S. Representative John Olver, D-Amherst, Massachusetts.

U.S. Representative John Olver, D-Amherst, Massachusetts.
Congressman Olver said the country has spent well over a half-trillion dollars on the war in Iraq while the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate. 8/25/08.

Ed O'Reilly for US Senate in Massachusetts!

Ed O'Reilly for US Senate in Massachusetts!
John Kerry's 9/2008 challenger in the Democratic Primary.

Shays' Rebellion

Shays' Rebellion
In a tax revolt, Massachusetts farmers fought back during Shays' Rebellion in the mid-1780s after The American Revolutionary War.

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore
Actress. "The Big Lebowski" is one of my favorite movies. I also like "The Fugitive", too.

Rinaldo Del Gallo III & "Superman"

Rinaldo Del Gallo III & "Superman"
Go to: http://www.berkshirefatherhood.com/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=699&cntnt01returnid=69

"Income chasm widening in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"

"Income chasm widening in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"
The gap between rich and poor has widened substantially in Massachusetts over the past two decades. (8/15/2008).

Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley

Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley
"The Bosley Amendment": To create tax loopholes for the wealthiest corporate interests in Massachusetts!

John Edwards and...

John Edwards and...
...Rielle Hunter. WHO CARES?!

Rep. Edward J. Markey

Rep. Edward J. Markey
He wants online-privacy legislation. Some Web Firms Say They Track Behavior Without Explicit Consent.

Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan
She gained fame with her antiwar vigil outside the Bush ranch.

Olympics kick off in Beijing

Olympics kick off in Beijing
Go USA!

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall
In this May 1, 2008, file photo, a customer pumps gas at an Exxon station in Middleton, Mass. Exxon Mobil Corp. reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion Thursday, July 31, the biggest quarterly profit ever by any U.S. corporation, but the results were well short of Wall Street expectations and its shares fell as markets opened. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole, File) 7/31/2008.

Onota Lake 'Sea Serpent'

Onota Lake 'Sea Serpent'
Some kind of monster on Onota Lake. Five-year-old Tyler Smith rides a 'sea serpent' on Onota Lake in Pittsfield, Mass. The 'monster,' fashioned by Smith's grandfather, first appeared over July 4 weekend. (Photo courtesy of Ron Smith). 7/30/2008.

Al Gore, Jr.

Al Gore, Jr.
Al Gore issues challenge on energy

The Norman Rockwell Museum

The Norman Rockwell Museum
Stockbridge, Massachusetts

"Big Dig"

"Big Dig"
Boston's financially wasteful pork barrel project!

"Big Dig"

"Big Dig"
Boston's pork barrel public works project cost 50 times more than the original price!

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
My favorite journalist EVER!

U.S. Rep. John Olver, state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Selectwomen Stephanie O'Keeffe and Alisa Brewer

U.S. Rep. John Olver, state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Selectwomen Stephanie O'Keeffe and Alisa Brewer
Note: Photo from Mary E Carey's Blog.

Tanglewood

Tanglewood
Boston Symphony Orchestra music director James Levine.

Google

Google
Chagall

Jimmy Ruberto

Jimmy Ruberto
Faces multiple persecutions under the Massachusetts "Ethics" conflict of interest laws.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
Obama vows $500m in faith-based aid.

John McCain

John McCain
He is with his wife, Cindy, who were both met by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (right) upon arriving in Cartagena.

Daniel Duquette

Daniel Duquette
Sold Mayor James M. Ruberto of Pittsfield two tickets to the 2004 World Series at face value.

Hillary & Barack in Unity, NH - 6/27/2008

Hillary & Barack in Unity, NH - 6/27/2008
Clinton tells Obama, crowd in Unity, N.H.: 'We are one party'

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Wanna-be Prez?

WALL-E

WALL-E
"out of this World"

Crisis in the Congo - Ben Affleck

Crisis in the Congo - Ben Affleck
http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/popup?id=5057139&contentIndex=1&page=1&start=false - http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=5234555&page=1

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
NH's Democratic returning candidate for U.S. Senate

"Wall-E"

"Wall-E"
a cool robot

Ed O'Reilly

Ed O'Reilly
www.edoreilly.com

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
World Champions - 2008

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
J.D. Drew gets the same welcome whenever he visits the City of Brotherly Love: "Booooooo!"; Drew has been vilified in Philadelphia since refusing to sign with the Phillies after they drafted him in 1997...

Joe Kelly Levasseur & Joe Briggs

Joe Kelly Levasseur & Joe Briggs
www.2joes.org

NH Union Leader

NH Union Leader
Editorial Cartoon

Celtics - World Champions!

Celtics - World Champions!
www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_18_08_front_pages/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_17_08_finals_game_6/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_17_08_celebration/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_15_08_celtics_championships/

"The Nation"

"The Nation"
A "Liberal" weekly political news magazine. Katrina vanden Heuvel.

TV - PBS: NOW

TV - PBS: NOW
http://www.pbs.org/now

The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone
List of Twilight Zone episodes - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Twilight_Zone_episodes

Equality for ALL Marriages

Equality for ALL Marriages
I, Jonathan Melle, am a supporter of same sex marriages.

Kobe Bryant leads his time to a Game 5 victory.

Kobe Bryant leads his time to a Game 5 victory.
L.A. Lakers holds on for the win to force Game 6 at Boston

Mohawk Trail

Mohawk Trail
The 'Hail to the Sunrise' statue in Charlemont is a well-known and easily recognized landmark on the Mohawk Trail. The trail once boasted several souvenir shops, some with motels and restaurants. Now only four remain. (Caroline Bonnivier / Berkshire Eagle Staff).

NASA - June 14, 2008

NASA - June 14, 2008
Space Shuttle Discovery returns to Earth.

Go Celtics! Game # 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Go Celtics! Game # 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.
Boston took a 20-second timeout, and the Celtics ran off four more points (including this incredible Erving-esque layup from Ray Allen) to build the lead to five points with just 2:10 remaining. Reeling, the Lakers took a full timeout to try to regain their momentum.

Sal DiMasi

Sal DiMasi
Speaker of the Massachusetts State House of Representatives

Kelly Ayotte - Attorney General of New Hampshire

Kelly Ayotte - Attorney General of New Hampshire
http://doj.nh.gov/

John Kerry

John Kerry
He does not like grassroots democracy & being challenged in the 2008 Massachusetts Democratic Party Primary for re-election.

Tim Murray

Tim Murray
Corrupt Lt. Gov. of Massachusetts, 2007 - 2013.

North Adams, Massachusetts

North Adams, Massachusetts
downtown

Howie Carr

Howie Carr
Political Satirist on Massachusetts Corruption/Politics

Polar Bear

Polar Bear
Global Warming

Elizabeth Warren - Web-Site Links

Elizabeth Warren - Web-Site Links
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Warren & http://www.creditslips.org/creditslips/WarrenAuthor.html

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
Consumer Crusader

Leon Powe

Leon Powe
Celtics forward Leon Powe finished a fast break with a dunk.

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett reacted during the game.

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo finished a first half fast break with a dunk.

Teamwork

Teamwork
Los Angeles Lakers teammates help Pau Gasol (16) from the floor in the second quarter.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant took a shot in the first half of Game 2.

Kendrick Perkins

Kendrick Perkins
Kendrick Perkins (right) backed down Lamar Odom (left) during first half action.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
The Boston Symphony Orchestra performed the national anthem prior to Game 2.

K.G.!

K.G.!
Garnett reacted to a hard dunk in the first quarter.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce reacted after hitting a three upon his return to the game since leaving with an injury.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Kobe Bryant (left) and Paul Pierce (right) squared off in the second half of the game.

James Taylor

James Taylor
Sings National Anthem at Celtics Game.

John Forbes Kerry & Deval Patrick

John Forbes Kerry & Deval Patrick
Attended Celtics Game.

Greats of the NBA: Dr. J, Bill Russell, & Kareem!

Greats of the NBA: Dr. J, Bill Russell, & Kareem!
Attend Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis
The actor (left) and his date were in the crowd before the Celtics game.

John Kerry

John Kerry
Golddigger attends Celtics game

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton
Ends her 2008 bid for Democratic Party nomination

Nonnie Burnes

Nonnie Burnes
Massachusetts Insurance Commish & former Judge

Jones Library

Jones Library
Amherst, Massachusetts

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton
2008 Democratic Primary

"US vs Exxon and Halliburton"

"US vs Exxon and Halliburton"
U.S. Senator John Sununu took more than $220,000 from big oil.

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
4- U.S. Senate - 2008

William Pignatelli

William Pignatelli
Hack Rep. "Smitty" with Lynne Blake

Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke
Federal Reserve Chairman

Gazettenet.com

Gazettenet.com
www.gazettenet.com/beta/

Boys' & Girls' Club

Boys' & Girls' Club
Melville Street, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Denis Guyer

Denis Guyer
Dalton State Representative

The Berkshire Eagle

The Berkshire Eagle
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Carmen Massimiano

Carmen Massimiano
Williams College - May 2008

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson
www.boston.com/lifestyle/gallery/when_the_celtics_were_cool/

Regressive Taxation! via State Lotteries

Regressive Taxation! via State Lotteries
New Massachusetts state lottery game hits $600 million in sales!

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
"Luciforo"

John Barrett III

John Barrett III
Long-time Mayor of North Adams Massachusetts

Shine On

Shine On

Elmo

Elmo
cool!

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce kissed the Eastern Conference trophy. 5/30/2008. AP Photo.

Kevin Garnett & Richard Hamilton

Kevin Garnett & Richard Hamilton
Kevin Garnett (left) talked to Pistons guard Richard Hamilton (right) after the Celtics' victory in Game 6. 5/30/2008. Reuters Photo.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce showed his team colors as the Celtics closed out the Pistons in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. 5/30/2008. Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis.

Joseph Kelly Levasseur

Joseph Kelly Levasseur
One of my favorite politicians!

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
In the Big Apple: NYC! She is the coolest!

Guyer & Kerry

Guyer & Kerry
My 2nd least favorite picture EVER!

Mary Carey

Mary Carey
My favorite journalist EVER!

Nuciforo & Ruberto

Nuciforo & Ruberto
My least favorite picture EVER!

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
U.S. Senate - 2008

NH Fisher Cats

NH Fisher Cats
AA Baseball - Toronto Blue Jays affiliate

Manchester, NH

Manchester, NH
Police Patch

Michael Briggs

Michael Briggs
#83 - We will never forget

Michael "Stix" Addison

Michael "Stix" Addison
http://unionleader.com/channel.aspx/News?channel=2af17ff4-f73b-4c44-9f51-092e828e1131

Charlie Gibson

Charlie Gibson
ABC News anchor

Scott McClellan

Scott McClellan
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/scott_mcclellan/index.html?inline=nyt-per

Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho
Downtown Boise Idaho

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Legislative Hearing in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, BCC, on Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson
My favorite classical U.S. President!

NH Governor John Lynch

NH Governor John Lynch
Higher Taxes, Higher Tolls

Paul Hodes

Paul Hodes
My favorite Congressman!

Portland Sea Dogs

Portland Sea Dogs
AA Red Sox

New York

New York
Magnet

Massachusetts

Massachusetts
Magnet

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Magnet

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Button

Carmen Massimiano

Carmen Massimiano
"Luciforo" tried to send me to Carmen's Jail during the Spring & Summer of 1998.

Kay Khan - Massachusetts State Representative

Kay Khan - Massachusetts State Representative
www.openmass.org/members/show/174

Luciforo

Luciforo
Andrea F Nuciforo II

B-Eagle

B-Eagle
Pittsfield's monopoly/only daily newspaper

Jon Lester - Go Red Sox!

Jon Lester - Go Red Sox!
A Red Sox No Hitter on 5/19/2008!

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Dustin Pedroia & Manny Ramirez

U.S. Flag

U.S. Flag
God Bless America!

Jonathan Melle's Blog

Jonathan Melle's Blog
Hello, Everyone!

Molly Bish

Molly Bish
We will never forget!

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Celtics guard Rajon Rondo listens to some advice from Celtics head coach Doc Rivers in the first half.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Celtics forward Kevin Garnett and Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace embrace at the end of the game.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon calls for the ball as he charges toward first base. Papelbon made the out en route to picking up his 14th save of the season.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka throws to Royals David DeJesus during the first inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka delivers a pitch to Royals second baseman Mark Grudzielanek during the second inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew is welcomed to home plate by teammates Mike Lowell (left), Kevin Youkilis (2nd left) and Manny Ramirez after he hit a grand slam in the second inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell crosses the plate after hitting a grand slam during the sixth inning. Teammates Manny Ramirez and Jacoby Ellsbury scored on the play. The Red Sox went on to win 11-8 to complete a four-game sweep and perfect homestand.

JD Drew - Go Red Sox

JD Drew - Go Red Sox
www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/gallery/05_22_08_sox_royals/

Thank you for serving; God Bless America!

Thank you for serving; God Bless America!
Master Sgt. Kara B. Stackpole, of Westfield, holds her daughter, Samantha, upon her return today to Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee. She is one of the 38 members of the 439th Aeromedical Staging Squadron who returned after a 4-month deployment in Iraq. Photo by Dave Roback / The Republican.

Kathi-Anne Reinstein

Kathi-Anne Reinstein
www.openmass.org/members/show/175

Ted Kennedy

Ted Kennedy
Tragic diagnosis: Get well Senator!

Google doodle - Jonathan Melle Internet search

Google doodle - Jonathan Melle Internet search
http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?hl=en&q=jonathan+melle+blogurl:http://jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com/&ie=UTF-8

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Billionaire U.S. Senator gives address to MCLA graduates in North Adams, Massachusetts in mid-May 2008

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
"Luciforo"

A Red Sox Fan in Paris, France

A Red Sox Fan in Paris, France
Go Red Sox!

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Interviewed on local TV

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
Luciforo!

John Adams

John Adams
#2 U.S. President

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I stood under a tree on the afternoon of May 9, 2008, on the foregrounds of the NH State House - www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/nhinsider/vpost?id=2967773

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Inside the front lobby of the NH State House

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Bill Clinton campaign memorabilia

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Liberty Bell & NH State House

Jon Keller

Jon Keller
Boston based political analyst

Jon Keller

Jon Keller
Boston based political analyst

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Franklin Pierce Statue #14 U.S. President

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
NH State House

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Stop the War NOW!

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
"Mr. Melle, tear down this Blog!"

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I stood next to a JFK photo

Jonathan Levine, Publisher

Jonathan Levine, Publisher
The Pittsfield Gazette Online

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I made rabbit ears with John & George

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I made antenna ears with John & George

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I impersonated Howard Dean

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
mock-voting

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
pretty ladies -/- Go to: http://www.wgir.com/cc-common/cc_photopop20.html?eventID=28541&pagecontent=&pagenum=4 - Go to: http://current.com/items/88807921_veterans_should_come_first_not_last# - http://www.mcam23.com/cgi-bin/cutter.cgi?c_function=STREAM?c_feature=EDIT?dir_catagory=10MorningRadio?dir_folder=2JoesClips?dir_file=JonathanMelle-090308? -

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Go Red Sox! Me at Fenway Park

Mary E. Carey

Mary E. Carey
My favorite journalist! Her voice sings for the Voiceless. -/- Go to: http://aboutamherst.blogspot.com/search?q=melle -/- Go to: http://ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com/search?q=melle

Velvet Jesus

Velvet Jesus
Mary Carey blogs about my political writings. This is a picture of Jesus from her childhood home in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. -//- "How Can I Keep From Singing" : My life goes on in endless song / Above Earth's lamentations, / I hear the real, though far-off hymn / That hails a new creation. / / Through all the tumult and the strife / I hear its music ringing, / It sounds an echo in my soul. / How can I keep from singing? / / Whey tyrants tremble in their fear / And hear their death knell ringing, / When friends rejoice both far and near / How can I keep from singing? / / In prison cell and dungeon vile / Our thoughts to them are winging / When friends by shame are undefiled / How can I keep from singing?

www.truthdig.com

www.truthdig.com
www.truthdig.com

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Concord NH

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post
http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/neighbors.php?type=loc&newest=1&addr=&zip=01201&search=Search

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
smiles & beer

Jonathan Lothrop

Jonathan Lothrop
A Pittsfield City Councilor

Michael L. Ward

Michael L. Ward
A Pittsfield City Councilor

Peter Marchetti - Pittsfield's City Councilor at Large

Peter Marchetti - Pittsfield's City Councilor at Large
Pete always sides with the wealthy's political interests.

Gerald Lee - Pittsfield's City Council Prez

Gerald Lee - Pittsfield's City Council Prez
Gerald Lee told me that I am a Social Problem; Lee executes a top-down system of governance.

Matt Kerwood - Pittsfield's Councilor at Large

Matt Kerwood - Pittsfield's Councilor at Large
Kerwood poured coffee drinks for Jane Swift

Louis Costi

Louis Costi
Pittsfield City Councilor

Lewis Markham

Lewis Markham
Pittsfield City Councilor

Kevin Sherman - Pittsfield City Councilor

Kevin Sherman - Pittsfield City Councilor
Sherman ran for Southern Berkshire State Rep against Smitty Pignatelli; Sherman is a good guy.

Anthony Maffuccio

Anthony Maffuccio
Pittsfield City Councilor

Linda Tyer

Linda Tyer
Pittsfield City Councilor

Daniel Bianchi

Daniel Bianchi
A Pittsfield City Councilor

The Democratic Donkey

The Democratic Donkey
Democratic Party Symbol

Paramount

Paramount
What is Paramount to you?

NH's Congresswoman

NH's Congresswoman
Carol Shea-Porter, Democrat

Sam Adams Beer

Sam Adams Beer
Boston Lager

Ratatouille

Ratatouille
Disney Animation

Ruberto Details Plans for Success - January 07, 2008

Ruberto Details Plans for Success - January 07, 2008
"Luciforo" swears in Mayor Ruberto. Pittsfield Politics at its very worst: 2 INSIDER POWERBROKERS! Where is Carmen Massimiano? He must be off to the side.

Abe

Abe
Lincoln

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime
Leader of the Autobots

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime
1984 Autobot Transformer Leader

Cleanup Agreements - GE & Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

Cleanup Agreements - GE & Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/cleanupagreement.html

GE/Housatonic River Site: Introduction

GE/Housatonic River Site: Introduction
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/

GE/Housatonic River Site - Reports

GE/Housatonic River Site - Reports
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/thesite/opca-reports.html

US EPA - Contact - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

US EPA - Contact -  Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/contactinfo.html

GE Corporate Logo - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

GE Corporate Logo - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/index.html

Commonwealth Connector

Commonwealth Connector
Commonwealth Care

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Healthcare Reform

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Healthcare Reform

Network Health Forward - A Commonwealth Care Plan

Network Health Forward - A Commonwealth Care Plan
Massachusetts Health Reform

Network Health Together: A MassHealth Plan - Commonwealth Care

Network Health Together: A MassHealth Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

www.network-health.org

www.network-health.org
Massachusetts Health Reform

Neighborhood Health Plan - Commonwealth Care

Neighborhood Health Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

Fallon Community Health Plan - Commonwealth Care

Fallon Community Health Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

BMC HealthNet Plan

BMC HealthNet Plan
Massachusetts Health Reform

Massachusetts Health Reform

Massachusetts Health Reform
Eligibility Chart: 2007

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare
Massachusetts Health Reform

Business Peaks

Business Peaks
Voodoo Economics

Laffer Curve - Corporate Elite

Laffer Curve - Corporate Elite
Reagonomics: Supply Side

Corporate Elite Propaganda

Corporate Elite Propaganda
Mock Liberal Democratic Socialism Thinking

Real Estate Blues

Real Estate Blues
www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/2008/0316/

PEACE

PEACE
End ALL Wars!

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech
Norman Rockwell's World War II artwork depicting America's values

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
A young Abe Lincoln

RACHEL KAPRIELIAN

RACHEL KAPRIELIAN
www.openmass.org/members/show/218 - www.rachelkaprielian.com

Jennifer M. Callahan - Massachusetts State Representative

Jennifer M. Callahan - Massachusetts State Representative
www.openmass.org/members/show/164 - www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/05/04/legislator_describes_threat_as_unnerving/

Human Rights for ALL Peoples!

Human Rights for ALL Peoples!
My #1 Political Belief!

Anne Frank

Anne Frank
Amsterdam, Netherlands, Europe

A young woman Hillary supporter

A young woman Hillary supporter
This excellent picture captures a youth's excitement

Hillary Clinton with Natalie Portman

Hillary Clinton with Natalie Portman
My favorite Actress!

Alan Chartock

Alan Chartock
WAMC public radio in Albany, NY; Political columnist who writes about Berkshire County area politics; Strong supporter for Human Rights for ALL Peoples

OpenCongress.Org

OpenCongress.Org
This web-site uses some of my Blog postings

OpenMass.org

OpenMass.org
This web-site uses some of my blog postings!

Shannon O'Brien

Shannon O'Brien
One of my favorite politicians! She stands for the People first!

The Massachusetts State House

The Massachusetts State House
"The Almighty Golden Dome" - www.masslegislature.tv -

Sara Hathaway

Sara Hathaway
Former Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.
A corrupt Pol who tried to put me in Jail

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.
Another view of Pittsfield's inbred, multigenerational political prince. Luciforo!

Luciforo

Luciforo
Nuciforo's nickname

"Andy" Nuciforo

"Andy" Nuciforo
Luciforo!

Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer)

Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer)
Nuciforo's henchman! Nuciforo tried to send me to Carmen's Jail

Andrea Nuciforo Jr

Andrea Nuciforo Jr
Shhh! Luciforo's other job is working as a private attorney defending wealthy Boston-area corporate insurance companies

Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.

Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.
Nuciforo tried to send me to Carmen's Jail! Carmen sits with the Congressman, John Olver

Congressman John Olver

Congressman John Olver
Nuciforo's envy

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol
Our Beacon of American Democracy

Nuciforo's architect

Nuciforo's architect
Mary O'Brien in red with scarf

Sara Hathaway (www.brynmawr.edu)

Sara Hathaway (www.brynmawr.edu)
Former-Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Nuciforo intimidated her, along with another woman, from running in a democratic state election in the Spring of 2006!

Andrea F. Nuciforo II

Andrea F. Nuciforo II
Pittsfield Politics

Berkshire County Republican Association

Berkshire County Republican Association
Go to: www.fcgop.blogspot.com

Denis Guyer

Denis Guyer
Dalton State Representative

John Forbes Kerry & Denis Guyer

John Forbes Kerry & Denis Guyer
U.S. Senator & State Representative

John Kerry

John Kerry
Endorses Barack Obama for Prez then visits Berkshire County

Dan Bosley

Dan Bosley
A Bureaucrat impostering as a Legislator!

Ben Downing

Ben Downing
Berkshire State Senator

Christopher N Speranzo

Christopher N Speranzo
Pittsfield's ANOINTED State Representative

Peter J. Larkin

Peter J. Larkin
Corrupt Lobbyist

GE - Peter Larkin's best friend!

GE - Peter Larkin's best friend!
GE's FRAUDULENT Consent Decree with Pittsfield, Massachusetts, will end up KILLING many innocent school children & other local residents!

GE's CEO Jack Welch

GE's CEO Jack Welch
The Corporate System's Corporate Elite's King

Economics: Where Supply meets Demand

Economics: Where Supply meets Demand
Equilibrium

GE & Pittsfield, Massachusetts

GE & Pittsfield, Massachusetts
In 2007, GE sold its Plastics Division to a Saudi company. Now all that is left over by GE are its toxic PCB pollutants that cause cancer in many Pittsfield residents.

Mayor James M Ruberto

Mayor James M Ruberto
A small-time pol chooses to serve the corporate elite & other elites over the people.

Governor Deval Patrick

Governor Deval Patrick
Deval shakes hands with Mayors in Berkshire County

Deval Patrick

Deval Patrick
Governor of Massachusetts

Pittsfield High School

Pittsfield High School
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Sara Hathaway

Sara Hathaway
Pittsfield's former Mayor

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Pittsfield Attorney focusing on Father's Rights Probate Court Legal Issues, & Local Politician and Political Observer

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Very Intelligent Political Activists in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Rinaldo Del Gallo, III, Esq. is the spokesperson of the Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition. He has been practicing family law and has been a member of the Massachusetts bar since 1996.

Mayor Ed Reilly

Mayor Ed Reilly
He supports Mayor Ruberto & works as a municipal Attorney. As Mayor, he backed Bill Weld for Governor in 1994, despite being a Democrat. He was joined by Carmen Massimiano & John Barrett III, the long-standing Mayor of North Adams.

Manchester, NH Mayor Frank Guinta

Manchester, NH Mayor Frank Guinta
Cuts Dental Care for Public School Children-in-Need

Manchester, NH City Hall

Manchester, NH City Hall
My new hometown - view from Hanover St. intersection with Elm St.

Manchester NH City Democrats

Manchester NH City Democrats
Go Dems!

2008 Democratic Candidates for U.S. Prez

2008 Democratic Candidates for U.S. Prez
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards

NH State House Dome

NH State House Dome
Concord, NH

Donna Walto

Donna Walto
Pittsfield Politician -- She strongly opposes Mayor Jim Ruberto's elitist tenure.

Elmo

Elmo
Who doesn't LOVE Elmo?

Hillary Clinton for U.S. President!

Hillary Clinton for U.S. President!
Hillary is for Children. She is my choice in 2008.

The White House in 1800

The White House in 1800
Home of our Presidents of the United States

John Adams

John Adams
2nd President of the USA

Hillary Clinton stands with John Edwards and Joe Biden

Hillary Clinton stands with John Edwards and Joe Biden
Hillary is my choice for U.S. President!

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the Radisson in Manchester NH 11/16/2007

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
U.S. Senator & Candidate for President

Pittsfield's 3 Women City Councillors - 2004

Pittsfield's 3 Women City Councillors - 2004
Linda Tyer, Pam Malumphy, Tricia Farley-Bouvier

Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
My friend Brian Merzbach reviews baseball parks around the nation.

The Corporate Elite: Rational Incentives for only the wealthy

The Corporate Elite: Rational Incentives for only the wealthy
The Elites double their $ every 6 to 8 years, while the "have-nots" double their $ every generation (or 24 years). Good bye Middle Class!

George Will

George Will
The human satellite voice for the Corporate Elite

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
The Anti-George Will; Harvard Law School Professor; The Corporate Elite's Worst Nightmare

The Flag of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

The Flag of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
I was born and raised in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

State Senator Stan Rosenberg

State Senator Stan Rosenberg
Democratic State Senator from Amherst, Massachusetts -/- Anti-Stan Rosenberg Blog: rosenbergwatch.blogspot.com

Ellen Story

Ellen Story
Amherst Massachusetts' State Representative

Teen Pregnancy in Pittsfield, Mass.

Teen Pregnancy in Pittsfield, Mass.
Books are being written on Pittsfield's high teen pregancy rates! What some intellectuals do NOT understand about the issue is that TEEN PREGNANCIES in Pittsfield double the statewide average by design - Perverse Incentives!

NH Governor John Lynch

NH Governor John Lynch
Supports $30 Scratch Tickets and other forms of regressive taxation. Another Pol that only serves his Corporate Elite Masters instead of the People!

U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter

U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter
The first woman whom the People of New Hampshire have voted in to serve in U.S. Congress

U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes

U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes
A good man who wants to bring progressive changes to Capitol Hill!

Paul Hodes for U.S. Congress

Paul Hodes for U.S. Congress
New Hampshire's finest!

Darth Vader

Darth Vader
Star Wars

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush
The Gruesome Two-some! Stop the Neo-Cons' fascism! End the Iraq War NOW!

WAROPOLY

WAROPOLY
The Inequity of Globalism

Bushopoly!

Bushopoly!
The Corporate Elite have redesigned "The System" to enrich themselves at the expense of the people, masses, have-nots, poor & middle-class families

George W. Bush with Karl Rove

George W. Bush with Karl Rove
Rove was a political strategist with extraordinary influence within the Bush II White House

2008's Republican Prez-field

2008's Republican Prez-field
John McCain, Alan Keyes, Rudy Guiliani, Duncan Hunter, Mike Huckabee, WILLARD Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Ron Paul

Fall in New England

Fall in New England
Autumn is my favorite season

Picturing America

Picturing America
picturingamerica.neh.gov

Winter Weather Map

Winter Weather Map
3:45PM EST 3-Dec-07

Norman Rockwell Painting

Norman Rockwell Painting
Thanksgiving

Norman Rockwell Painting

Norman Rockwell Painting
Depiction of American Values in mid-20th Century America

Larry Bird #33

Larry Bird #33
My favorite basketball player of my childhood

Boston Celtics Basketball - 2007-2008

Boston Celtics Basketball - 2007-2008
Kevin Garnett hugs James Posey

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
All heart! Awesome basketball star for The Boston Celtics.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady
Go Patriots!

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch
Owner of Fox News - CORPORATE ELITE!

George Stephanopolous

George Stephanopolous
A Corporate Elite Political News Analyst

Robert Redford

Robert Redford
Starred in the movie "Lions for Lambs"

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep
Plays a jaded journalist with integrity in the movie "Lions for Lambs"

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise plays the Neo-Con D.C. Pol purely indoctrinated by the Corporate Elite's political agenda in the Middle East

CHARLIZE THERON

CHARLIZE THERON
"I want to say I've never been surrounded by so many fake breasts, but I went to the Academy Awards."

Amherst Town Library

Amherst Town Library
Amherst, NH - www.amherstlibrary.org

Manchester NH Library

Manchester NH Library
I use the library's automated timed 1-hour-per-day Internet computers to post on my Blog - www.manchester.lib.nh.us

Manchester NH's Palace Theater

Manchester NH's Palace Theater
Manchester NH decided to restore its Palace Theater

Pittsfield's Palace Theater

Pittsfield's Palace Theater
Pittsfield tore down this landmark on North Street in favor of a parking lot

Pleasant Street Theater

Pleasant Street Theater
Amherst, Massachusetts

William "Shitty" Pignatelli

William "Shitty" Pignatelli
A top down & banal State House Pol from Lenox Massachusetts -- A GOOD MAN!

The CIA & Mind Control

The CIA & Mind Control
Did the CIA murder people by proxy assassins?

Skull & Bones

Skull & Bones
Yale's Elite

ImpeachBush.org

ImpeachBush.org
I believe President Bush should be IMPEACHED because he is waging an illegal and immoral war against Iraq!

Bob Feuer drumming for U.S. Congress v John Olver in 2008

Bob Feuer drumming for U.S. Congress v John Olver in 2008
www.blog.bobfeuer.us

Abe Lincoln

Abe Lincoln
The 16th President of the USA

Power

Power
Peace

Global Warming Mock Giant Thermometer

Global Warming Mock Giant Thermometer
A member of Green Peace activist sets up a giant thermometer as a symbol of global warming during their campaign in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007. World leaders launch marathon negotiations Monday on how to fight global warming, which left unchecked could cause devastating sea level rises, send millions further into poverty and lead to the mass extinction of plants and animals.

combat global warming...

combat global warming...
...or risk economic and environmental disaster caused by rising temperatures

www.climatecrisiscoalition.org

www.climatecrisiscoalition.org
P.O. Box 125, South Lee, MA 01260, (413) 243-5665, tstokes@kyotoandbeyond.org, www.kyotoandbeyond.org

3 Democratic presidentional candidates

3 Democratic presidentional candidates
Democratic presidential candidates former senator John Edwards (from right) and Senators Joe Biden and Chris Dodd before the National Public Radio debate yesterday (12/4/2007).

The UN Seal

The UN Seal
An archaic & bureaucratic post WW2 top-down, non-democratic institution that also stands for some good governance values

Superman

Superman
One of my favorite childhood heroes and movies

Web-Site on toxic toys

Web-Site on toxic toys
www.healthytoys.org

Batman

Batman
One of my favorite super-heroes

Deval Patrick & Denis Guyer

Deval Patrick & Denis Guyer
Massachusetts' Governor stands with Dalton's State Rep. Denis E. Guyer.

Bill Cosby & Denis Guyer

Bill Cosby & Denis Guyer
TV Star Bill Cosby stands with Denis E. Guyer

Denis Guyer with his supporters

Denis Guyer with his supporters
Dalton State Representative

Denis Guyer goes to college

Denis Guyer goes to college
Dalton State Representative

Peter Marchetti

Peter Marchetti
He is my second cousin. Pete Marchetti favors MONEY, not fairness!

Matt Barron & Denis Guyer with couple

Matt Barron & Denis Guyer with couple
Matt Barron plays DIRTY politics against his opponents!

Nat Karns

Nat Karns
Top-Down Executive Director of the ELITIST Berkshire Regional Planning Commission

Human Rights for All Peoples & people

Human Rights for All Peoples & people
Stop Anti-Semitism

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill
State House, Room 227, Boston, MA 02133, 617-367-6900, www.mass.gov/treasury/

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley
1350 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103, 413-784-1240 / McCormick Building, One Asburton Place, Boston, MA 02108, 617-727-4765 / marthacoakley.com / www.ago.state.ma.us

Bush v. Gore: December 12, 2007, was the seventh anniversary, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision...

Bush v. Gore: December 12, 2007, was the seventh anniversary, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision...
www.takebackthecourt.org - A political billboard near my downtown apartment in Manchester, NH

Marc Murgo

Marc Murgo
An old friend of mine from Pittsfield

Downtown Manchester, NH

Downtown Manchester, NH
www.newhampshire.com/nh-towns/manchester.aspx

Marisa Tomei

Marisa Tomei
Movie Actress

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC)

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC)
www.masschc.org/issue.php

Mike Firestone & Anna Weisfeiler

Mike Firestone & Anna Weisfeiler
Mike Firestone works in Manchester NH for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign

James Pindell

James Pindell
Covers NH Primary Politcs for The Boston Globe

U.S. History - Declaration

U.S. History - Declaration
A 19th century engraving shows Benjamin Franklin, left, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman at work on the Declaration of Independence.

Boston Globe Photos of the Week - www.boston.com/bostonglobe/gallery/

Boston Globe Photos of the Week - www.boston.com/bostonglobe/gallery/
Sybregje Palenstijn (left), who plays Sarah Godbertson at Plimouth Plantation, taught visitors how to roast a turkey on a spit. The plantation often sees a large influx of visitors during the holiday season.

Chris Hodgkins

Chris Hodgkins
Another special interest Berkshire Pol who could not hold his "WATER" on Beacon Hill's State House!

The Big Dig - 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto Milena Del Valle's car.

The Big Dig - 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto Milena Del Valle's car.
Most of Boston's Big Dig highway remains closed, after a woman was crushed when 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto her car. (ABC News)

Jane Swift

Jane Swift
Former Acting Governor of Massachusetts & Berkshire State Senator

Paul Cellucci

Paul Cellucci
Former Massachusetts Governor

William Floyd Weld

William Floyd Weld
$80 Million Trust Fund Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mike Dukakis

Mike Dukakis
Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mary E. Carey

Mary E. Carey
Amherst, Massachusetts, Journalist and Blogger

Caveman

Caveman
www.ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com

Peter G. Arlos

Peter G. Arlos
"The biggest challenge Pittsfield faces is putting its fiscal house in order. The problem is that doing so requires structural changes in local government, many of which I have advocated for years, but which officials do not have the will to implement. Fiscal responsibility requires more than shifting funds from one department to another. Raising taxes and fees and cutting services are not the answer. Structural changes in the way services are delivered and greater productivity are the answer, and without these changes the city's fiscal crisis will not be solved."

James M. Ruberto

James M. Ruberto
"Pittsfield's biggest challenge is to find common ground for a better future. The city is at a crossroads. On one hand, our quality of life is challenged. On the other hand, some important building blocks are in place that could be a strong foundation for our community. Pittsfield needs to unite for the good of its future. The city needs an experienced businessman and a consensus builder who will invite the people to hold him accountable."

Matt Kerwood

Matt Kerwood
Pittsfield's Councilor-At-Large. Go to: extras.berkshireeagle.com/NeBe/profiles/12.htm

Gerald M. Lee

Gerald M. Lee
Pittsfield's City Council Prez. Top-down governance of the first order!

Mary Carey

Mary Carey
Mary with student

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox
Jonathan Papelbon celebrates with Jason Varitek

Free Bernard Baran!

Free Bernard Baran!
www.freebaran.org

Political Intelligence

Political Intelligence
Capitol Hill

Sherwood Guernsey II

Sherwood Guernsey II
Wealthy Williamstown Political Activist & Pittsfield Attorney

Mary Carey 2

Mary Carey 2
California Pol & porn star

Pittsfield's Good Old Boy Network - Political Machine!

Pittsfield's Good Old Boy Network - Political Machine!
Andy "Luciforo" swears in Jimmy Ruberto for the returning Mayor's 3rd term

Berkshire Grown

Berkshire Grown
www.berkshiregrown.org

Rambo

Rambo

The Mount was built in 1902 & was home to Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from 1903 to 1908.

The Mount was built in 1902 & was home to Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from 1903 to 1908.
The Mount, the historic home in Lenox of famed American novelist Edith Wharton, is facing foreclosure.