Sustainability Reads: April 28- May 4

‘The race is on, it’s time to lead’, UN chief tells Abu Dhabi climate change event
Today and tomorrow, May 5th, the Abu Dhabi Ascent is taking place in Abu Dhabi in order to prepare for the Climate Summit 2014 this September in New York. The “Ascent” is the “first international meeting to draw on the conclusions of the recently issued reports from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)”. In an opening ceremony today, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on world leaders to “join a ‘race to the top” and highlighted nine key areas that have the greatest potential for fast, meaningful results including energy, cities and transport, finance, resilience, agriculture and short-lived climate pollutants. The Climate Summit 2014 that will take place in New York later this year is part of Mr. Ban Ki-moon’s strategy to engage global leaders and advance climate action and ambition by serving “as a public platform for leaders at the highest level – all UN Member States, as well as finance, business, civil society and local leaders from public and private sector”. Posted on UN News Centre. 

Barack Obama’s emissions plan comes under new line of attack
As we mentioned in our latest post “U.S. Supreme Court Stands with EPA in a Blow to Industry… Again“, the coal industry and Republicans are trying their best to knock down EPA regulations regarding greenhouse gas emissions and specifically coal-fired power plants. Recent leaked documents reveal that ALEC intends to attack the EPA any way possible from cutting greenhouse gas emissions, specifically encouraging state attorney generals to bring lawsuits against the new EPA regulations. Members of ALEC, which is funded in part by oil and coal companies like Peabody Energy and Koch Industries also recently met to reassess its strategy against the EPA rules on May 2nd during a meeting of its energy and environment task force, specifically the formation of a coalition set to oppose these regulations. By Suzanne Goldenberg at The Guardian.

April Becomes 1st Month With CO2 Levels Above 400 PPM
New line of attack against administration’s efforts to reduce GHGs is especially worrying since this month we saw the highest average CO2 levels ever. Measurements from a site in Hawaii reported levels every day in April to be above 400 PPM according to a climate scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Site has consistently measured levels since 1958 observing the natural cycle of carbon dioxide levels that comes with the bloom and decay of plants. Although there are natural ups and downs, this report is not good news on the climate front. The international community needs to step it up. Andrea Thompson on Climate Central.

Toxics Across America

More unfortunate and scary news in the key findings from Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) report that explores data collected from EPA on 120 hazardous chemicals in the U.S:

  • At least 81 of the chemicals on the list are produced or imported to the US annually in amounts of one million pounds or more.
  • At least 14 exceed one billion pounds produced or imported annually, including carcinogens such as formaldehyde and benzene, and the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A (BPA).
  • More than 90 chemicals on the list are found in consumer and commercial products. At least eight are used in children’s products.

Can the U.S. & China Save the World From Climate Change?
Although there is much talk of China’s process in curbing its GHG emissions with efforts like “reducing its emissions per unit of GDP by at least 40 percent from 2005 levels” by 2020, the country is very hesitant on signing on to any ambitious international binding agreements. Unfortunately other major emitters such as the US, Japan, and Canada “will not accept binding targets unless China does too”. Although there has been much talk of China and the US working together to come to an agreement by 2015, China’s refusal to sign onto a binding agreement can have implications for success in Paris in 2015.  Posted by Aiko Stevenson at the Huffington Post. 

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