Senate Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline Bill, In A Close Vote
With a final vote of 59 in favor and 41 against, the Senate did not reach the 60 votes needed to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. At one vote shy, it made us a little nervous, but we are happy to see it shot down. Keystone XL pipeline is an environmentally destructive, contentious project that passed the House last week. As reported in this article, the vote came after President Obama stopped short of saying he would veto the bill, but he encouraged Congress not to take action before a long-awaited State Department review of the project is fully complete. Keystone XL is not moving forward -for now. By Bill Chapel at NPR.
UNEP Emissions Gap Report: UN Says Global Carbon Neutrality Should be Reached by Second Half of Century, Demonstrates Pathways to Stay Under 2°C Limit
The new report clearly states that to stay within the 2 degrees Celsius limit, global emissions need to turn the corner around 2020 and be heading downward by 2030. By 2030 global emissions should be 15% or lower than in 2010. By 2050 be at least 50% lower than 2010 to reach net zero sometime in the second half of the century, with any remaining emissions offset by re-afforestation and other means. From UNEP News Centre.
EU set to approve historic deal to cut plastic bag use
A proposal will be voted on this Monday that contains legally-enforceable elements to limit the use of plastic bags in EU member countries. If the proposal passes EU states can opt for mandatory pricing of plastic bags by 2019, or binding targets to reduce the number of plastic bags used annually per person from 191 now to 90 by 2019 and 40 in 2025. Measures such as bag taxes could also be considered as equivalent. Negotiations for this bill saw UK against the rest of EU. UK remains unhappy about the proposal even though they received concession in the form of a commission study into the environmental impacts of oxo-biodegradable plastic bags instead of a ban. And despite having their own plans to put a 5p price on plastic bags in England next year. Another interesting note is that the commission is concerned that European countries have vastly different waste and recycling rates for plastic bags, with Poles and Slovaks using on average around 466 bags a year while Danes – who are charged for their bag use – use only four. By Arthur Nelsen for The Guardian.