greenhouse gases

Kaeley McEvoy 08-03-2015
CO2 emissions

Emissions from power plant illustration, Aleks Melnik / Shutterstock.com

This morning President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency released the final version of the long awaited “Clean Power Plan,” a regulation setting legally mandated state-by-state reduction targets for U.S. power plants.

Power plants are the nation’s largest source of climate pollution, releasing around 40 percent of America’s greenhouse gas emissions. Previously, there have been not been federal restrictions on how much carbon power plants can emit. White House adviser Brian Deese said the EPA rules represented the “biggest step that any single president has made to curb the carbon pollution that is fueling climate change.”

QR Blog Editor 03-31-2015
Environmental blueprint. Image via Moon Light PhotoStudio/shutterstock.com

Environmental blueprint. Image via Moon Light PhotoStudio/shutterstock.com

On Tuesday, the White House revealed President Obama’s blueprint for cutting U.S. greenhouse gas pollution by 26-28 percent before 2025. The Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) is in accordance with the United Nations formal effort to come to forge an international climate agreement in Paris in December.

In November, the United States released a historic joint agreement with China that both countries would work toward limiting greenhouse gas emissions but until this morning no further details of this agreement had been seen.

The release of INDC has generally been supported by the environmental community because the pollution cuts in the Administration’s plan can be achieved without new action from Congress. As Greenpeace representative Kyle Ash said, “By announcing its plan ahead of Paris as agreed, the U.S. has at least shown it is committed to the negotiation process and willing to push the other nearly 200 countries to deliver.”

Ash continues that there is still much room for improvement in the outline:

“We welcome the US submission as a first step, but it would not do enough to avert global catastrophe…The Obama Administration’s [plan] begins to treat the wound, but does not stop the bleeding. As the world’s second largest emitter, the US must strengthen its commitment to climate solutions before Paris to ensure an agreement that immediately spurs the necessary transition away from fossil fuels and towards 100 percent renewable energy.”

In preparation for the Paris 2015 Climate Negotiations, all countries were asked to by the United Nations to submit individual outlines for greenhouse gas reduction by April 2015. So far only the European Union, Mexico, Norway, Switzerland and now the United State have submitted their national plans to the U.N.  It is hoped that the announcement of the United States’ reduction plan will spur other countries to announce their own contributions to the U.N. negotiations. 

Kaeley McEvoy 11-12-2014

This morning, President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping of China made a historic announcement that their countries would limit greenhouse gas emissions.

The United States and China are the world’s two largest consumers of energy and two largest emitters of greenhouse gases. Together, they account for 40 percent of the world’s emissions.

This announcement is a milestone for two reasons. First, this is the first time that China, the world’s No. 1 producer of greenhouse gas pollution, has made any pledge to limit its rapidly growing emissions. Second, this is a major breakthrough in U.S.-China relations that highlights what’s possible when the two superpowers work together on an issue.

Both leaders hope that this statement will inject momentum into global climate negotiations by putting pressure on other major countries to reflect on their own plans for major emissions reductions.

A written statement alone will not alter the course of climate action internationally. However, this announcement has laid a foundation for an international collaborative relationship on climate change. As President Xi told President Obama on Tuesday evening, “A pool begins with many drops of water.” For the sake of God’s creation let’s hope that the drops of climate change collaboration continue to gather.

For more on this story The Hill’s report.

Rose Marie Berger 08-04-2014

Are new EPA rules and a U.N. Climate Summit enough to turn the tide on climate change?

QR Blog Editor 05-01-2013

The ratio of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere is approaching with 400 parts per million. This amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has not been seen since about 2.5 million to 5 million year ago. Scientists are alarmed that CO2 levels are also rising in places far from pollution sources. The Los Angeles Times reports:

"The 400-ppm threshold is a sobering milestone, and should serve as a wake-up call for all of us to support clean-energy technology and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, before it's too late for our children and grandchildren," said Tim Lueker, an oceanographer and carbon cycle researcher who is a longtime member of the Scripps CO2 Group.

Read more here.

Our food system is a cause as well as a victim of climate change.

Elizabeth Palmberg 02-03-2012
Polar bear on shrinking ice from the December 2009 issue of Sojourners

Polar bear on shrinking ice from the December 2009 issue of Sojourners

I know why those polar bears you're seeing everywhere look so pensive. They're thinking not just about coke (a byproduct of coal used in industry), but more generally about the massive use of dirty coal — used to make nearly half of all U.S. electricity (while renewable sources account for only about a tenth).

They're thinking about how the U.S. and the rest of the world's decades of reckless fossil fuel use keep ratcheting up greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, causing Arctic ice to melt even faster than expected, and threatening them and all their polar bear friends. They'd like a cold one, all right — a cold Arctic, the way their home should be.

Joshua Witchger 11-21-2011

http://youtu.be/cJRBNbuaonc

Awesome tweet of the day: The father of liberal theology, Fred Schleiermacher, was born today in 1768. “Born” and “today” are just metaphors, of course. (via @shipofools) Plus interfaith bridge building, an extensive interview from U2, Jana Riess is Flunking Sainthood, Pakistanian cell phone censorship, Oscar-worthy documentaries, urban farming, Malawi introduces an anti-farting law (seriously, see above) and more.   

 

Jacek Orzechowski 08-22-2011

Won't it reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil? Won't somebody else develop the Alberta tar sands if the U.S. doesn't do it -- someone like China, perhaps?

I've been wrestling with many of these issues as I contemplate risking arrest as part of two weeks of sustained protest by leading environmentalists, climate scientists, and faith-based groups at the White House forth to pressure the Obama Administration to block the Keystone XL Pipeline. This pipeline project will connect Canadian tar sands -- containing the second largest and dirtiest oil reserves on the planet -- with the oil refineries in Texas.

Jim Ball 03-24-2011
As I discuss more fully in my book, Global Warming and the Risen LORD, in the United States we are behind in our effo
Jim Rice 03-16-2011
Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson wonders, in the midst of the ongoing horror in Japan, if nuclear power is a "bargain with the
Rabbi Arthur Waskow 06-10-2010
The brazen chutzpah of Big Oil and Big Coal is amazing.
LaVonne Neff 05-07-2010

"On average," writes Jonathan Safran Foer, "Americans eat the equivalent of 21,000 animals in a lifetime." Alas, most of these animals came from factory farms, n

Rabbi Arthur Waskow 05-05-2010
An oil rig exploded into fire, and a huge oil spill -- perhaps the biggest in history -- is spreading across the Gulf of Mexico and will soon wreak both ecological and economic devastation on the
Tim Costello 12-16-2009
World Vision is at the Copenhagen climate change talks because this is no longer an environmental crisis alone, but a deepening humanitarian crisis.
Tim Costello 12-11-2009
In search of a global ethic and political will, in freezing weather and the most dispiriting cavernous building under cold grey Copenhagen skies, this search by 34,000 people with 3500 press observ
If anyone still doesn't believe in global warming, come to Glacier National Park. My wife Karin and I just spent two days of our vacation here.
Congress is hard at work on historic energy and climate change legislation. The House of Representatives plans to vote on a bill in the next few weeks, with the Senate to follow in early fall.
Cesar Baldelomar 06-03-2009
Today's most pressing task for humanity, I believe, is to halt the current environmental crisis.

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