Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

News: Archive for April, 2011

Corruption must be cut to protect climate: report | Reuters

Friday, April 29th, 2011

‘(Reuters) – Mechanisms to fight climate change need to be strengthened and made more transparent to reduce increasing risks of corruption, Transparency International (TI) said.’

via Corruption must be cut to protect climate: report | Reuters.

Environmental Excerpts of Senator Feinstein’s S.F. Commonwealth Club Appearance

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

April 27, 2011 San Francisco

Senator FeinsteinCalifornia Senator Dianne Feinstein appeared at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco on Wednesday and was interviewed by Greg Dalton of Climate One at the Commonwealth Club. The video features excerpts from her comments covering several interrelated environmental issues including global warming, fossil fuels, clean energy, nuclear power, national parks, water, and agriculture.

“…if we do nothing, in the next one hundred years the earth will warm from 4 to 7 degrees. It’s catastrophic if that happens.”

Partial transcript of excerpts:

Global Warming
“I happen to believe that global warming is real. I have a constituent breakfast … and I’m surprised how many people don’t know that the atmosphere around the earth is limited, and when you put fossil fuels and carbon dioxide and methane or other things into that atmosphere they don’t dissipate, they warm the atmosphere. And we’ve had a degree of change in the last century, ever since the industrial revolution. And so the temperature of the earth is warming. And I look up at the map at the arctic, and you see for the first time in history the northwest passage open year round. You see the oceans beginning to rise, you see the weather changing which is a product too of global warming. More tornadoes, more heavy hurricanes, raindrops bigger. And you know that if we do nothing, in the next one hundred years the earth will warm from 4 to 7 degrees. It’s catastrophic if that happens.”

“And people believe that the earth is immutable, that it doesn’t change. And I say you know go back 250 million years and look at the fact that the likelihood is that there were just a single land mass, and that land mass all split apart. Based on earthquakes, based on volcanoes that the earth can change, and we can destroy the earth, unless we’re sensitive to these changes.”

“So there is no question in my mind that we need to pay attention. And the way that we need to pay attention is the development of alternatives to fossil fuels, and that can be done. And just the other day the governor signed legislation coming out of the legislature which requires a 33% renewable standard for California energy. That’s positive. And we have led the way. And California will have a cap and trade system, and I think the United States can well learn from that system.”

Senator Feinstein

California’s Clean Energy Policy and Jobs
“I think that energy is the largest source of new jobs for this state. The estimate is that it can create produce a hundred thousand additional jobs. Whether its solar or wind or biofuels, a lot of experimentation at the University of California at the labs to come up with additional fuels. I went over to see the old Toyota factory which is now a Tesla factory, an all electric automobile which is very smart looking and things are happening and we have to support them, and see that the programs are in place that enable solar and wind to really develop to be a substantial share of our energy production.

Gas Tax?
“..this is not the time, when gasoline is this high, when the nation is trying to pull itself out of recession. We need to keep gasoline below the four dollar mark right now.”

Nuclear Power:

“I think it’s asking for trouble to keep hot rods in spent pools for decades and dry casks right on the site of nuclear reactors. I think they should be moved away.”

“We have 104 nuclear plants in this country. Two in California. About twenty three I think have the same nuclear system as the Daiichi system. I think there should be deep concern over what happened in Japan. It’s a big learning lesson.”

“I visited now the two nuclear plants. Both Diablo run by PG&E and San Onofre run by Southern California Edision and what I found there was staff very much concerned about safety. Really good staff. 1100 staff at Diablo, and 3000 staff and San Onofre, each one producing about the same amount of megawatts. ”

Senator Feinstein“However what we have is a lack of attention to the whole fuel cycle, and particularly the spent fuel cycle. Hot rods are put in pools where they remain for up to 24 years now in our state. They should remain there for five to seven years. Then they can be transferred to what are called dry casks, which are like cylinders that are made to survive – they were made as transfer products for the fuel rods to be put in and transferred into permanent nuclear storage somewhere. That was going to be Yucca Mountain. Yucca Mountain is no more. I believe very strongly that we need either regional or centralized nuclear fuel storage. I think it’s asking for trouble to keep hot rods in spent pools for decades and dry casks right on the site of nuclear reactors. I think they should be moved away.”

“What they’re finding in Japan now is that corners were cut and things were not done that should have been done.”

Offshore Drilling
[21:10] “The people of California have spoken through initiative. They do not want oil drilling off the coast. And both Senator Boxer and I respect that, and we will fight anything that’s going to put oil drilling off the coast of California.”

Senator Feinstein

Ethanol Subsidies
[21:50] “Corn ethanol is not the best thing as we know, and there’s a big subsidy for ethanol. You don’t need to have these subsidies and they cost billions of dollars a year. In this respect I agree with Senator Coburn who also has a bill. We will come together and hopefully do away with the ethanol subsidies”

Report by James George

Senator Feinstein Calls Ryan Roadmap for the Budget Unfair

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

April 27, 2011 San Francisco

Senator FeinsteinCalifornia Senator Dianne Feinstein, speaking at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on a variety of topics, called the Ryan roadmap for Social Security and Medicare unfair and warned that unfairness can lead to class animosity.

Greg Dalton: “Paul Ryan is a republican from Wisconsin who’s put forward a roadmap for the upcoming budget battle that preserves medicare for people over fifty-five and preserves social security for people over fifty-five. what do you think of the Ryan roadmap?”

Senator Feinstein: “It’s basically unfair, that’s what I think of it. Because it makes the cuts, basically in programs that the poor and the lower income of our nation are dependent on. And it does this to avoid having to put taxes back up where they were for the very wealthy”

“I think everybody in this room has watched the recession, and we know who gained, and who did well, and who didn’t do well. I think that’s a huge mistake. I don’t think you can solve the problem without revenue increases, and it should be a fair share. When I was mayor [San Francisco] and I had to make some changes in the revenue structure, we did it in a fair way that everybody does their fair share. You can’t leave the very wealthy out of this problem”

Greg Dalton: “So is your basic position … is to let the Bush tax cuts expire which President Obama extended for a couple of years and basically go back to the Clinton era taxes?”

Senator Feinstein
: “That’s correct. It’s about 3%. It’s about 40 Billion dollars over a period of 10 years. It’s important funding, and I think it’s necessary, because where we’re going to go, is into real class animosity if we don’t maintain fairness. It’s estimated – I think Martin Glinder wrote this in a column – that some 72% of his cuts are taken just so the wealthy can maintain the 36% instead of going up to 39%. And it’s just not right”

Recession briefly axed greenhouse gases in 2009 | Reuters

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

‘(Reuters) – Recession drove industrialized nations’ greenhouse gas emissions down 5.6 percent in 2009 but analysts said the plunge may be a brief, misleading sign of progress in slowing climate change.’

via Recession briefly axed greenhouse gases in 2009 | Reuters.

Major polluters say 2011 climate deal not doable | Reuters

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

‘U.S. climate negotiator Todd Stern and European climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard played down the chance of a breakthrough after a meeting of the Major Economies Forum (MEF), an informal group of 17 countries including the world’s top polluters, China and the United States.’

via Major polluters say 2011 climate deal not doable | Reuters.

Safety Becomes Victim in Japan’s Nuclear Collusion – NYTimes.com

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

‘TOKYO — Given the fierce insularity of Japan’s nuclear industry, it was perhaps fitting that an outsider exposed the most serious safety cover-up in the history of Japanese nuclear power. It took place at Fukushima Daiichi, the plant that Japan has been struggling to get under control since last month’s earthquake and tsunami.’

via Safety Becomes Victim in Japan’s Nuclear Collusion – NYTimes.com.

Canada to build carbon-capture coal-power plant | Reuters

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

‘(Reuters) – The Western Canadian province of Saskatchewan, which depends heavily on burning coal for power, will build one of the world’s first commercial-scale power plants that will capture carbon dioxide emissions, the provincial government said on Tuesday.’

via Canada to build carbon-capture coal-power plant | Reuters.

Swiss economy minister against new Swiss nuclear plants | Reuters

Monday, April 25th, 2011

‘(Reuters) – Switzerland’s economy minister said on Sunday it would be decades before the country could give up nuclear power completely but that in the meantime no new nuclear power plants should be built.’

via Swiss economy minister against new Swiss nuclear plants | Reuters.

BBC News – Ozone hole ‘changes Southern Hemisphere weather’

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

‘The Antarctic ozone hole is changing weather patterns across the Southern Hemisphere, even affecting the tropics, scientists have concluded.’

via BBC News – Ozone hole ‘changes Southern Hemisphere weather’.

Human cost of nuclear power too high: German minister | Reuters

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

‘(Reuters) – Nuclear energy may appear cheap at first glance, but the potential human costs of atomic power make it unaffordable over the long term, German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen said in comments released on Friday.’

via Human cost of nuclear power too high: German minister | Reuters.