Political Climate
Jan 17, 2008
Ice Returns as Greenland Temps Plummet

On Disko Bay in western Greenland, where a number of prominent world leaders have visited in recent years to get a first-hand impression of climate change, temperatures have dropped so drastically that the water has frozen over for the first time in a decade. “The ice is up to 50cm thick,” said Henrik Matthiesen, an employee at Denmark’s Meteorological Institute who has also sailed the Greenlandic coastline for the Royal Arctic Line. ‘We’ve had loads of northerly winds since Christmas which has made the area miserably cold.’ Matthiesen suggested the cold weather marked a return to the frigid temperatures common a decade ago.

Temperatures plunged to -25C earlier this month, clogging the bay with ice and making shipping impossible for small crafts, according to Anthon Frederiksen, the mayor of the town of Ilulissat, where Disko Bay is located. The mayor cautioned against thinking that the freezing temperature indicated that global warming claims were overblown. He noted that a nearby glacier had retracted more in the past two decades than in recorded history. But he noted “‘We Greenlanders have acclimated to changing conditions over the past 1100 years,” said Frederiksen. “Temperatures change at regular intervals.”

NASA satellite image of Greenland. You clearly see the ice cap covering almost entire Greenland even in this non-winter photo. Only in summer are the coastal areas free of snow. On the far left you can see Baffin Island.

Jan 17, 2008
Carbon Trading- Europe Faces Huge Job Losses, Are We Next?

Excerpts from AFP and Financial Times with thanks to Benny Peiser

The German steel industry warned Thursday of huge job losses if the European Commission went ahead with a new emissions trading scheme in its climate protection drive.  “If by 2020 all emission rights must be bought at auction, at least 50,000 jobs in the German steel industry are in danger,” the head of the industry foundation, Dieter Ameling, told the conservative daily Die Welt in an interview to be published Thursday. Currently European companies receive free certificates that cover a large share of their carbon dioxide emissions.

The European Commission plans a new emissions trading system as part of the bloc’s commitment to cut greenhouse gases by 20 percent by 2020. By that date, all free emissions certificates will be phased out, according to plans that are to be officially presented next Wednesday in Brussels. “The EU programme would make German and European manufacturers the clear losers in the global steel industry,” he said. Read more here.

France agrees. In this Financial Times story , Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, has weighed into the controversy over the European Union’s climate change plans with an attack on some proposals as “neither efficient, fair nor economically sustainable”. Just six months before France takes up the EU presidency, Mr Sarkozy has written to Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso to set out his objections to the plan for reducing carbon emissions to be published later this month. In the letter seen by the Financial Times, Mr Sarkozy stresses his support for a system to cut carbon emissions and promote the development of renewable energy. However, he warns that, as currently structured, the proposals could unfairly penalise France and would pose a real threat to European industry, which would be forced to move to countries where regulations were less restrictive and costly.

Thanks to Benny Peiser for keeping us up to date on the concerns mounting abroad. You can bet that if here in the United States, we enact similar measures, energy prices, already sky high, will rise dramatically hurting poor and middle income families most and bring similar job losses and likely ensuring a recession or worse. No one argues we all need to do our part to conserve. One would hope already high prices, public pressure and fierce competition should incentivize private industry to innovate with more efficient use of resources and sources of energy with positive instead of negative economic impact.  See more on this issue here.

Jan 14, 2008
Inhofe EPW Website Wins Coveted Gold Mouse Award

Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, was recognized today by the Congressional Management Foundation http://www.cmfweb.org/ (CMF) for having one of the top websites in Congress. The Inhofe-Republican portion of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee website http://www.epw.senate.gov/minority was awarded CMF’s prestigious 2007 “Gold Mouse Award.” CMF is a non-profit, non-partisan management consulting and research organization in Washington, D.C.

“I am honored that the CMF recognized my Committee website as one of the “best of the best” websites in Congress,” Senator Inhofe said. “Creating a top-notch Committee website provides the public more direct information - in many cases by bypassing and critiquing the mainstream media - and greater access to their elected representatives. The goal of my website has always been to bring our government closer to the people and allows for more feedback from our constituents. Recognition by the non-partisan CMN shows we are well on our way.”

The 2007 Gold Mouse Report and Awards are part of the “Connecting to Congress” research project, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.  For this project CMF partnered with researchers from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, University of California-Riverside and Ohio State University to study how Members of Congress can use the Internet to improve communications with their constituents and to promote greater participation in the legislative process.

The Inhofe EPW website has been on the vanguard of cutting edge Internet and media savvy dissemination.  Read more here

Icecap Note; Congratulations to Senator Inhofe, Marc Morano and team for their courageous and tireless efforts to serve as a rapid response team to counter misinformation.

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