Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Climate Change Bills Compared

Climate Change Bills of the 110th Congress

See a chart comparing climate change proposals from the World Resources Institute.

Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act (CSIA) - S.280
Introduced 1/12/2007
Sponsors Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), John McCain (R-AZ), Barack Obama (D-IL), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Susan Collins (R-ME)
Main Provisions
How does it work? Emissions cap and trade system
First year of emissions cap 2012
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2020? 15 percent
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2050? 65 percent
What sources are covered? Electric power, industrial, commercial, transportation petroleum
Can farmers participate? Yes. Agricultural offsets are limited to 30 percent of allowances. (What does this mean?)
Other Provisions
Establishes the Climate Change Credit Corporation to reduce costs to consumers resulting from this act.

Provides R&D funding for advanced coal, renewable electricity, energy efficiency, advanced technology vehicles, transportation fuels, carbon sequestration and storage, and nuclear reactor technologies.

Requires periodic evaluations (by Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere) to determine whether emissions targets are adequate.

Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act - S.309
Introduced 1/15/2007
Sponsors Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Main Provisions
How does it work? Performance standards with the option for an emissions cap and trade system
First year of emissions cap 2010
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2020? 15 percent
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2050? 83 percent
What sources are covered? Electric generation, motor vehicles, fuel
Can farmers participate? Not specified
Other Provisions
Provides funding for R&D on geologic sequestration, among other projects.

Includes emissions standards for new vehicles beginning in 2016 and renewable fuels requirement for gasoline beginning in 2016.

Includes energy efficiency and renewable portfolio standards (beginning in 2008) and low-carbon electric generation standards (beginning in 2016) for electric utilities.

Requires periodic evaluations (by the National Academy of Sciences) to determine whether emissions targets are adequate.

The Electric Utility Cap and trade Act - S.317
Introduced 1/17/2007
Sponsors Sens. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Tom Carper (D-DE)
Main Provisions
How does it work? Emissions cap and trade system for electric utilities only
First year of emissions cap 2011
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2020? 8 percent (electric utilities only)
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2050? 41 percent (electric utilities only); Note: This bill is not structured like the others in that it pertains to electric utilities only. Total GHG emissions from all sources could increase by 62 percent by 2050 if other sectors are not phased in under the cap.
What sources are covered? Electric utilities
Can farmers participate? Yes
Other Provisions
Establishes the Climate Science Advisory Board to inform the administration and Congress of the state of climate science, and make recommendations to achieve climate stabilization.

Provides R&D funding for low- and zero-emitting carbon technologies, clean coal technologies, and energy efficient technologies relevant to the utilities industry.

Requires periodic evaluations (by Environmental Protection Agency) to determine whether emissions targets are adequate.

Bingaman Bill
Introduced January 2007 discussion draft
Sponsors Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
Main Provisions
How does it work? Emissions intensity cap and trade system (What is this?)
First year of emissions intensity cap 2010
What are its pollution-reduction targets? GHG intensity is reduced 2.6 percent per year from 2012 to 2021 and 3 percent per year in 2022 and after. Note: This bill is structured differently from the others. Total GHG emissions would increase 16 percent by 2020, and because of a contingency in the bill, total emissions could increase even more.
What sources are covered? Petroleum refineries, coal mines, natural gas processors, electricity generators, carbon-intensive manufacturing
Can farmers participate? Yes. Participation is limited to 5 percent of allowances.
Other Provisions
Includes a safety valve of $7. (What is this?)

Provides R&D funding for zero- or low-carbon energy technologies (e.g., high efficiency consumer products), advanced coal technologies, cellulosic biomass and advanced technology vehicles.

Global Warming Reduction Act - S.485
Introduced 2/1/2007
Sponsors Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
Main Provisions
How does it work? Emissions cap and trade system and performance standards
First year of emissions cap 2010
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2020? 15 percent
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2050? 67 percent
What sources are covered? Unspecified: "Sources and sectors with the greatest global warming pollutant emissions" to be determined by the administrator.
Can farmers participate? Yes
Other Provisions
Establishes passenger vehicle standards no less stringent than California's by 2014.

Gives consumer tax credits for advanced vehicle technologies (e.g., fuel cells, plug-in hybrids).

Mandates 60 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2030; requires the installation of E-85 pumps at certain gas stations. (In 2006, the United States consumed 141.5 billion gallons of gasoline.)

Requires periodic evaluations (by the National Academy of Sciences) to determine whether emissions targets are adequate.

Olver-Gilchrest - Climate Stewardship Act - H.R.620
Introduced 1/15/2007
Sponsors Reps. John Olver (D-MA), Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD)
Main Provisions
How does it work? Emissions cap and trade system
First year of emissions cap 2012
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2020? 15 percent
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2050? 75 percent
What sources are covered? Electric power, industrial, commercial, transportation petroleum
Can farmers participate? Yes. Participation is limited to 15 percent of allowances.
Other Provisions
Establishes the Climate Change Credit Corporation to reduce costs to consumers resulting from this act.

Includes energy efficiency and renewable portfolio standards (beginning in 2008) and low-carbon electric generation standards (beginning in 2016) for electric utilities.

Requires periodic evaluations (by the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere) to determine whether emissions targets are adequate.

Representative Waxman - Safe Climate Act - H.R.1590
Introduced 3/20/2007
Sponsors Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA)
Main Provisions
How does it work? Emissions cap and trade system
First year of emissions cap 2010
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2020? 15 percent
How much GHG emissions would the bill cut by 2050? 83 percent
What sources are covered? Unspecified: "Sources and sectors with the largest emissions" to be determined by the administrator
Can farmers participate? Not specified
Other Provisions
Establishes passenger vehicle standards no less stringent than California's by 2014.

Establishes a national renewable energy standard in 2009; by 2020, 20 percent of electric energy generation must be from renewable sources.

Creates a national energy efficiency standard.

Requires periodic evaluations (by the National Academy of Sciences) to determine whether emissions targets are adequate.

Farmer participation: Farming and agricultural businesses can help solve global warming through innovative practices such as storing carbon in soils and managing manure. (Good manure practices can cut emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane.) Some bills tap this agricultural potential by giving farmers the option to participate. Such provisions work like this: companies can buy agricultural "offsets" to satisfy a portion of their required emissions reductions. (The bills spell out how much of an industry's emissions cuts can come from offsets.) Some bills include similar provisions for forestry offsets.

Emissions intensity: Intensity-based emissions targets link greenhouse gas emissions to economic growth (usually gross domestic product, or GDP). GHG intensity actually measures energy efficiency, so declining GHG intensity indicates improving efficiency, or less energy consumed per unit of production. However, intensity-based targets cannot guarantee that emissions will go down. In fact, under such proposals, GHG emissions can increase. For example, from 1990 to 2004, even in the absence of climate policy, GHG intensity in the United States fell by nearly 20 percent. At the same time, total GHG emissions increased by 20 percent. The reason this happened is that economic output grew more quickly than emissions, even though both were growing.

Safety valve: Some parties concerned with the cost of climate policy believe the way to manage costs is to establish a safety valve, also called an "escape hatch" or "price cap." Under such policies, when the price of carbon reaches a pre-determined dollar value, emitters no longer have to rely on the market's supply of allowances. Instead, the federal government simply sells additional allowances at the capped price - potentially in an unlimited quantity. This kind of escape hatch stifles innovation and can effectively allow more GHG into the atmosphere.

Thanks to Bruce MacDuffie (Diocese of North Dakota) of the Episcopal Environmental Network.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

One Thing CAN Make a Difference

If every household in the US changed over only five lightbulbs to compact fluorescents, it would have the same impact as removing 8 million cars from the highway. Source: Sierra Club Newsletter.

Monday, June 11, 2007


HyperMiling is a word that describes saving gas while driving. Easy changes can add up to lots of savings as well as helping the environment.

Some Web sites, click to view:

Hypermiling Tips

Fuel Economy ideas

Find your car to see what your average MPG:
Average MPG for your car.

Two things you can start today:

Drive 55 mph on the highway - will save 4-8 mpg.

Bunch your errands - make one trip instead of driving every time you need something.

And of course - walk or bike whenever - no miles per gallon!!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Katharine Jefferts Schori on Bill Moyers Journal

Bill Moyers Journal features Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church on the June 8, 2007 edition. Bill Moyers and Katharine Jefferts Schori discuss science, the environment, and the challenges in the Anglican Communion concerning issues of human sexuality.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Presiding Bishop Testifies Before Senate

Presiding Bishop's testimony to Senate on global warming

June 07, 2007[Episcopal News Service]
Written Testimony of The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church
Before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but power, and of love, and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7

Good Morning. Madam Chair, Senator Inhofe, my fellow panelists, it is my great honor and privilege to join you here this morning. I appreciate your kind introduction. I am the Most Reverend Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, elected last summer to be Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. Thank you for inviting me to participate in this very important hearing on global warming—which I believe to be one of the great human and spiritual challenges of our time.

Before my ordination to the priesthood, I was an oceanographer and I learned that no life form can be studied in isolation from its surroundings or from other organisms. All living things are deeply interconnected, and all life depends on the life of others. Study of the Bible, and of the Judeo-Christian religious tradition, made me equally aware that this interconnectedness is one of the central narratives of Scripture. God creates all people and all things to live in relationship with one another and the world around them. At the end of the biblical creation account, the writer of Genesis tells us that "God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good."

I believe that each of us must recall ourselves to the vision that God has for us to realize in our own day. It is a vision in which all human beings live together as siblings, at peace with one another and with God, and in right relationship with all of the rest of creation. While many of the faith communities represented here today may disagree on a variety of issues, in the area of global warming we are increasingly of one mind. The crisis of climate change presents an unprecedented challenge to the goodness, interconnectedness, and sanctity of the world God created and loves. This challenge is what has called our faith communities to come here today and stand on the side of scientific truth. As a priest, trained as a scientist, I take as a sacred obligation the faith community's responsibility to stand on the side of truth, the truth of science as well as the truth of God's unquenchable love for the world and all its inhabitants.

The Church's history, of course, gives us examples of moments when Christians saw threat, rather than revelation and truth, in science. The trial and imprisonment of Galileo Galilei for challenging the theory of a geocentric universe is a famous example of the Church's moral failure. For his advocacy of this unfolding revelation through science, Galileo spent the remainder of his life under house arrest. The God whose revelation to us is continual and ongoing also entrusts us with continual and ongoing discovery of the universe he has made.

As one who has been formed both through a deep faith and as a scientist I believe science has revealed to us without equivocation that climate change and global warming are real, and caused in significant part by human activities. They are a threat not only to God's good creation but to all of humanity. This acknowledgment of global warming, and the Church's commitment to ameliorating it, is a part of the ongoing discovery of God's revelation to humanity and a call to a fuller understanding of the scriptural imperative of loving our neighbor.

Each one of us is also connected with our neighbor in many unexpected ways. The connectedness of creation is part of what Paul meant when he spoke of Christians being a part of the One Body of Christ. Indeed a later theologian, Sallie McFague, speaks of creation as the Body of God, out of the very same understanding that we are intimately and inevitably connected.

Each one of us is connected to those who are just now beginning to suffer from the consequences of climate change and to those living generations from now who will either benefit from our efforts to curb carbon emissions or suffer from our failure to address the challenge which climate change presents.

The scientific community has made clear that we must reduce carbon emissions globally by 15 to 20 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050 in order to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. On behalf of the Episcopal Church, as a Christian leader representing today not only the concerns of Episcopalians, but the concerns of the many denominations that are part of the National Council of Churches, I implore you to make these goals a national priority. To my colleagues in the faith community who doubt the urgency of addressing global warming, I urge you to re-consider for the sake of God's good earth.

I join many of my colleagues and many of you on this committee in sharing a profound concern that climate change will most severely affect those living in poverty and the most vulnerable in our communities here in the United States and around the world. I want to be absolutely clear; inaction on our part is the most costly of all courses of action for those living in poverty.

The General Convention, (the governing body of the Episcopal Church), the National Council of Churches, and many Christian denominations have called on Congress to address both climate change and the needs of those living in poverty in adapting to curbs in fossil fuel use. On their behalf, I would like to offer into the record their own statements.

Over the past five years, Americans have become increasingly aware of the phenomenon of global poverty – poverty that kills 30,000 people around the world each day – and have supported Congress and the President in making historic commitments to eradicating it. We cannot triumph over global poverty, however, unless we also address climate change, as the two phenomena are intimately related. Climate change exacerbates global poverty, and global poverty propels climate change.

Let me give you a few examples. As temperature changes increase the frequency and intensity of severe weather events around the world, poor countries -- which often lack infrastructure such as storm walls and water-storage facilities -- will divert resources away from fighting poverty in order to respond to disaster. A warmer climate will also increase the spread of diseases like malaria and tax the ability of poor countries to respond adequately. Perhaps most severely, changed rain patterns will increase the prevalence of drought in places like Africa, where only four percent of cropped land is irrigated, leaving populations without food and hamstrung in their ability to trade internationally to generate income. By 2020, between 75 and 250 million Africans are projected to be exposed to an increase of water stress due to climate change.

Conversely, just as climate change will exacerbate poverty, poverty also is hastening climate change. Most people living in poverty around the world lack access to a reliable energy source, an imbalance that must be addressed in any attempt to lift a community out of poverty. Unfortunately, financial necessity forces many to choose energy sources such as oil, coal or wood, which threaten to expand significantly the world's greenhouse emissions and thus accelerate the effects of climate change. This cycle—poverty that begets climate change, and vice versa—threatens the future of all people, rich and poor alike.

This relationship between deadly poverty and the health of creation was not lost on the world's leaders when, at the turn of the 21st century, they committed to cut global poverty in half by 2015. Their plan, which established the eight Millennium Development Goals, included a specific pledge of environmental sustainability. This year marks the halfway point in the world's effort to achieve these goals, and while progress has been impressive in some places, we are nowhere close to halfway there. Addressing climate change is a critical step toward putting the world back on track.

Climate change and poverty are linked at home as well. We know that those living in poverty, particularly minorities, in the United States will suffer a disproportionate share of the effects of climate change. In July of 2004, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation released a report entitled African Americans and Climate Change: An Unequal Burden that concluded "there is a stark disparity in the United States between those who benefit from the causes of climate change and those who bear the costs of climate change." The report finds that African Americans are disproportionately burdened by the health effects of climate change, including increased deaths from heat waves and extreme weather, as well as air pollution and the spread of infectious diseases. African American households spend more money on direct energy purchases as a percentage of their income than non African Americans across every income bracket and are more likely to be impacted by the economic instability caused by climate change, than other groups. That report makes a strong case for our congressional leaders to propose legislation to reduce carbon emissions that does not put a greater share of the cost on those living in poverty.

Climate change is also disproportionately affecting indigenous cultures. Nowhere is this more evident than in our Lutheran brothers' and sisters' northernmost congregation, Shishmaref Lutheran Church, located 20 miles south of the Arctic Circle on the Chukchi Sea, Alaska. The forces unleashed by global climate change are literally washing away the earth on which these 600 Inupiat Eskimos live. Due to increased storms, melting sea ice, thawing permafrost, and rising sea levels, their island home will soon be under water. They must uproot themselves and their 4000 year-old culture and find a new place to live.

In other parts of the Arctic, the exploitation of fossil fuels that contribute to global warming threaten both the subsistence rights of the Gwich'in people—more than 90 percent of whom are Episcopalian—and their culture as well. The calving grounds of the Porcupine Caribou in Alaska's North Slope are sacred to the Gwich'in people and the Episcopal Church supports the Gwich'in in calling for full protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Science, regardless of the field, is the pursuit of answers to questions that scientists raise in observing creation. While there may be great debate about how to deal with climate change, in fact the answer is known and the solution is clear. We must reduce carbon dioxide emissions. I find hope in this because it means the solution is simply good leadership and vision. And I am reminded by the Book of Proverbs that where there is no vision, the people perish.

In addressing climate change, Congress already has many of the necessary tools -- through existing programs and resources that could aggressively help those with limited means to adapt to climate change. Tax policy can be adjusted and targeted to encourage middle and low income taxpayers to take advantage of new technologies or to adjust to potentially higher energy costs. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program could be fully funded and expanded where necessary to protect the neediest among us. Other policy options include a cap and trade system with a directed revenue stream that could be used to help vulnerable communities to access new technologies, equipment, or appliances.

In the spirit of our nation's historic entrepreneurial and innovative prowess, we can also find opportunity to lead the world with new technologies, renewable sources of energy and innovations not yet dreamed of, that will allow for new markets, new jobs, new industries and the ability to provide job training and transition for American workers as we move away from the use of fossil fuels.

Those innovations can benefit all of humanity. As the National Academies report "Understanding and Responding to Climate Change" concluded: "Nations with wealth have a better chance of using science and technology to anticipate, mitigate, and adapt to sea-level rise, threats to agriculture, and other climate impacts. . .The developed world will need to assist the developing nations to build their capacity to meet the challenges of adapting to climate change."

Madam chair, I will close where I began, by recalling the Scriptural account of creation and God's proclamation that each piece of it was good, and that the whole of it – when viewed together and in relationship – was very good. Ultimately, scripture is an account of relationships: the bond of love between God and the world, and the interconnectivity of all people and all things in that world. It is only when we take seriously those relationships—when we realize that all people have a stake in the health and well-being of all others and of the Earth itself—that creation can truly begin to realize the abundant life that God intends for every one of us.

As I conclude I offer you this prayer from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer:

"O merciful Creator, your hand is open wide to satisfy the needs of every living creature; Make us always thankful for your loving providence; and grant that we, remembering the account that we must one day give, may be faithful stewards of your good gifts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen"—BCP page 239.

I will pray for each of you and for this Congress that you will be graced with vision and truth. May the Peace of God be upon this Senate and this Committee. Thank you.

Read more from the Presiding Bishop HERE

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

UK Newspaper Runs Ad From God

Ekklesia reports that God has taken out an ad in the Independent newspaper.

In a move which may surprise media commentators and distinguished theologians alike, God – known primarily for moving in mysterious ways – has bought a full page advertisement in The Independent newspaper to persuade erstwhile admirer President George W. Bush to take climate change more seriously.

The advert appeared on page 39 of the UK daily’s print edition dated 4 June 2007 – under the banner “George, it took Me 7 days of hard work to create this planet, Please don’t ruin it for me.” The full text appears on a website entitled For God's Sake. It urges people to write to President Bush at the White House ahead of the G8 summit.

The ad urges readers to write to the President of the United States

You too can correspond directly with George.
Join me in asking him to lead the World in sorting out Climate Change.

Email him on: comments@whitehouse.gov

Or write to him at:

Mr George Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

See the ad online HERE

Read the whole story at Ekklesia

Earth Bishop Mourned:A Tribute to Jim Kelsey

Jim Kelsey:
A video tribute by Earth Keepers.
Click HERE

The world has lost its Earth Bishop.

Episcopal Bishop James Kelsey of the Diocese of Northern Michigan was killed in a traffic accident on Sunday June the third 2007 while on one of his many journeys to spread the word of God.

Bishop Kelsey was returning from the far eastern Upper Peninsula when his life was cut short.

No person was dedicated to environment and interfaith causes like Bishop Kelsey.

This video was taken a day before his death as the Episcopal Bishop met with Lutheran and Presbyterian pastors to discuss a new interfaith environment endeavor called the Turtle Island Project.

Bishop Kelsey was always the first faith leader to volunteer to help with numerous interfaith environment projects sponsored by two Marquette, Michigan non-profits - the Superior Watershed Partnership and the Cedar Tree Institute.

For the past three years, Bishop Kelsey had been a strong supporter of the Earth Keeper Initiative that involves 9 faith traditions with 140 churches and temples across northern Michigan.

Bishop Kelsey was with the Earth Keepers from the beginning - and was one of the original nine faith leaders to sign the Earth Keeper Covenant in 2004 - pledging to protect the environment and reach out to American Indian Tribes.

On Earth Day 2005, Bishop Kelsey helped collect over 45 tons of household poisons like insecticides and drainer cleaner plus tons of car batteries.

Following that first clean sweep, Bishop Kelsey said "we are delighted with the results of the Clean Sweep project throughout the Upper Peninsula."

Bishop Kelsey said the first clean sweep was "a sign of the commitment shared across our faith traditions to be faithful stewards of the Creation into which we have been born, and which sustains our lives."

Bishop Kelsey said "I think it's a really remarkable thing that this particular initiative has crossed boundaries that usually don't get cross in terms of different faith traditions."

More about Jim Kelsey at HERE

Monday, June 4, 2007

God Goes Green

Writing in USAToday, Oliver "Buzz" Thomas blogs:

Does the Bible actually advocate environmentalism? If so, might the movement become the next cause for religious Americans?

I used to marvel at how foolish an organism is cancer. It can't seem to pace itself. Left to its own devices, it will greedily consume its host until the host dies, thereby causing the cancer's own premature death.

Then, one day I had an epiphany. We're like cancer. Unable to pace ourselves, we are greedily consuming our host organism (i.e. planet Earth) and getting dangerously close to killing ourselves in the process.

The difference is that cancer has an excuse: No brain.

Consider that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued one of its most sobering reports to date. The hundreds of scientists and scores of nations participating in the project paint an apocalyptic future of flooding, drought, disease and food shortages. In the face of such a crisis, one might expect people of faith to flock to the cause of protecting the environment. After all, the theological issue appears a simple one. "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. The world and all that dwell in it!" proclaims Psalm 24:1. The earth is on loan. God owns it, and we are God's caretakers or "stewards," according to the Bible.

Read the rest HERE

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Prairie Climate Stewardship Network

A web site for the Northern Plains:

Prairie Stewardship Network recognizes that our response to climate change must be a cooperative one, involving all levels of society. We strongly urge individuals and families to take action in their personal lives, and our leaders in industry, agriculture and government to support scientific research, technological alternatives and policy initiatives to dramatically reduce global warming emissions.

We who live in North Dakota and the Northern Plains region are uniquely blessed with options that can both produce climate-friendly energy for the nation and sustain our rural livelihoods. North Dakota industry has helped pioneer the use of coal gasification technology both to produce energy while capturing and permanently storing the carbon dioxide emissions underground*. It has also initiated the planning and construction of new wind farms, and ethanol and biodiesel plants; these accomplishments demonstrate our economic and environmental potential in renewable energy. These developments hold great promise for reducing global warming and for reviving rural communities. Our Network promotes continuing concerted action at all levels in order that our region's potential is fully realized.

Prairie Climate Stewardship Network (PCSN) seeks to:
Increase public understanding of global climate change and climate stewardship;
Identify promising solutions and actions to reduce climate change and to revive the prairie's rural communities; and
Build public and private support for climate stewardship initiatives.

Opportunities, Resources, Challenges and Solutions, and other information on how people of the Northern Plains of North America are responding to the challenges of global warming. More HERE