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FYI….Deb

 

Debra Sachs, Executive Director

Alliance for Climate Action

585 Pine Street

Burlington, VT   05401

802-865-7330

www.10percentchallenge.org

 


From: Bolduc, John [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Friday, December 02, 2005 11:58 AM
Subject: Cambridge Climate Protection Actin Committee Bulletin & meeting notice

 

City of Cambridge Climate Protection Action Committee

CPAC Bulletin

December 2, 2005

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NEXT MEETING:  The next meeting of the Climate Protection Action Committee is on Thursday, December 8th, at 6:00 pm at City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, 4th Floor meeting room.  This is the start of the new schedule (2nd Thursdays of the month).

 

Events & Meetings

[log in to unmask]" alt="*">  Green Roofs Conference – The 4th Annual Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference and Trade Show is coming to Boston, May 11-12, 2006.  The conference is sponsored by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and the City of Boston.

 

News

[log in to unmask]" alt="*">  Pfizer Becomes Cambridge Climate Leader – Pfizer, Inc. has enrolled its research facility at 620 Memorial Drive into the Cambridge Climate Leader program.  The Climate Leader agreement was signed by Phil Vickers, VP and Site Head.  Peter Norris, Associate Director of Environment, Health, and Safety is the Pfizer’s designated representative.  Pfizer joins Genzyme in the program.

[log in to unmask]" alt="*">  State & Local US Climate Protection Matters – Researchers at the University of Vermont published a brief communication in Nature (11/17/05), reporting on their analysis of state and local climate protection efforts.  They reported that 24 to 35 percent of the US population lives in jurisdictions that are currently or shortly will be engaged in policies directed towards significantly reducing human-generated climate change.  The population resides in areas that account for 27 to 49 percent of the US gross domestic product.  At the low end, 27 percent of US GDP accounts for 10 percent of the global economy.  The researchers classified as “adopters” California, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, and New Mexico who comprise 70 million people (about a quarter of US population) and 27 percent of US GDP.  New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington were classified as “probable adopters”.  “Possible adopters” included 25 US municipalities that participate in the ICLEI CCP program.  If you would like to see the original article from Nature, contact John Bolduc.

[log in to unmask]" alt="*">  2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season Sets Records – It’s official.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that 2005 was the busiest Atlantic hurricane season on record.  The 2005 season is part of the active hurricane cycle that began in 1995.  NOAA expects that this cycle will continue for 10 to 20 more years, as the Atlantic appears to be on a decadal cycle.  The year produced the equivalent of two hurricane seasons over the course of one season.  Several records were set including:  26 named storms exceeded the previous record of 21 in 1933; 13 hurricanes formed, compared to 12 in 1969; 4 major hurricanes hit the US mainland the most since 3 hit in 2004; and 3 hurricanes achieved Category 5 intensity for the first time.  While the increased frequency of storms is attributed to a decadal cycle, there is now debate over whether global warming has contributed to the increased intensity observed in recent years.  NOAA did not speak to this point in its review.  Officially, the tropical storm season runs from June through November.  However, warm ocean temperatures can continue to support storm formation into December.  NOAA will make its 2006 forecast in May, although it is expected that next year will be another active season.

[log in to unmask]" alt="*">  COP-11 Begins – The 11th Conference of the Parties, or United Nations Climate Change Conference, began on November 28 in Montreal and runs until December 9.  The conference brings together the signatories to the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which includes the U.S.  The conference is expected to begin addressing the post-Kyoto Treaty period which starts after 2012.  Information about the conference, including webcasts of certain sessions, is on the UN website.  ICLEI will be holding the 4th Municipal Leaders Summit on Climate Change in parallel with COP-11.  The municipal meeting is co-sponsored by the City of Montreal.

[log in to unmask]" alt="*">  RGGI Update – According to a Boston Globe article, most of the states involved in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, are preparing to move forward without Massachusetts and possibly Rhode Island.  RGGI involves establishing a cap and trade system for greenhouse gas emissions from power plants in the Northeast.  Reportedly, Governor Romney is concerned about potential impacts on energy costs and is seeking a cap on how much power generators would have to pay for pollution allowances.  The other states – New York, Deleware, New Jersey, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, and New Hampshire – are apparently opposed to such a cap or are at least willing to go forward with the plan.  Massachusetts has not yet abandoned participating in RGGI and is seeking a compromise.  [Boston Globe, 12/2/05]

[log in to unmask]" alt="*">  World Energy Demand to Surge – The International Energy Agency, in its most recent World Energy Outlook, projects that energy demand will rise by more than 50% over the next 25 years if governments stick with current policies.  Over 60% of the increase would come from oil and natural gas.  The Middle East and North Africa will supply an increasing share of the energy demand.  Oil production from the region will increase from 35% today to 44% in 2030.  Saudi Arabia will maintain about the same portion of the total output; Iraq, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and Libya will see larger shares.  Increased output from the Middle East and North Africa is dependent on increased investment in production and refining capacity on the order of double that of the past decade.  If production from the region does not increase as projected, there would be significant market effects on the price of oil and gas.  The IEA notes that more vigorous government policies in the consuming countries, such as those considered at the G8 meeting in Gleneagles this year would reduce projected demand significantly, but global energy demand would still rise 37% higher than today and dependence on the Middle East and North Africa would also continue to grow.  More radical policies and technology breatkthroughs are needed to reverse the trends.  [Planet Ark, 11/8/05]

[log in to unmask]" alt="*">  GHG Emissions Down – According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Key GHG Data report, developed nations’ GHG emissions were down 5.9 in 2003 compared to 1990.  However, the reduction was largely due to the collapse of the Eastern European economies.  Between 1990 and 2003, individual countries’ GHG emissions performed as follows:  Spain +41.7%; Portugal +36.7%; Greece + 25.8%; Ireland +25.6%; Canada +24.2%; Australia +23.3%; New Zealand +22.5%; Finland +21.5%; United States +13.3%; Japan +12.8%; Norway +9.3 %; Denmark +6.8%; Netherlands +1.5%; France –1.9%; Sweden –2.3%; Britain –13%; Germany –18.2%.  Also, see the UNFCCC summary statement.

[log in to unmask]" alt="*">  Greenhouse Gases in Atmosphere Highest in 650,000 Years – Scientists working in the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica published in Science their findings of greenhouse gas concentrations measured in ice cores collected in Antarctica.  The new data goes back 650,000 years.  Previous studies from the Vostok ice cores went back 400,000 years.  Based on the measurement of gases trapped in bubbles in the ice, the scientists found that carbon dioxide levels are 27% higher today than seen in the peak of the previous millennia.  In other words, current GHG concentrations in the atmosphere are higher than at any time in the past 650,000 years.  Similar results were found for methane.  The findings cover 8 cycles of alternating ice ages and warm periods.  The studies also demonstrated the strong relationship between temperature and GHG concentrations.  [CBS News, 11/25/05]

[log in to unmask]" alt="*">  Renewable Energy Market Growing – According to the Worldwatch Institute, global investment in renewable energy set a new record of $30 billion in 2004.  Currently, renewable energy technologies provide about 4 percent of the world’s electricity.  Government support for renewables is growing, with 48 countries having some type of renewable energy promotion policy, including 14 developing nations.  The fastest growing energy technology in the world is grid-connected solar photovoltaics, which grew by 60% per year from 2000 to 2004.  PV covers more than 400,000 roofs in Japan, Germany, and the US.  Wind is the second fast growing energy technology, which grew by 28% last year.  Biofuels (ethanol and biodiesel) exceeded 33 billion liters in 2004 with ethanol displacing 3 percent of the 1200 billion liters of gasoline globally.  Over 4.5 million consumers bought green power in Europe, the US, Canada, Australia, and Japan through the purchase of renewable electricity or certificates in 2004.  Market leaders in renewable energy in 2004 were Brazil in biofuels, China in solar hot water, Germany in solar electricity, and Spain in wind power.

[log in to unmask]" alt="*">  Scientists Detect Weakening in North Atlantic Current – Oceanographers from the United Kingdom’s National Oceanography Centre report in the scientific journal Nature that they detect substantial weakening of the North Atlantic current system that carries warm water from the tropics north, including the Gulf Stream, and returning cool water to the south.  The current system is responsible for moderating the weather of western Europe.  The researchers took temperature and salinity measurements in the North Atlantic along the 25 degree North latitude in 2004.  Readings were previously taken along the same latitude in 1957, 1981, 1992, and 1998.  No changes were previously observed except for a slight decline in circulation in 1998.  The researchers estimate the 2004 readings indicate about a 30 percent slowing of circulation since 1957.  The weakening in the current is thought to be related to more fresh water entering the ocean due to increased river flows and melting of ice sheet, which are related to global warming.  The weakening raises concern that if the Atlantic conveyor current completely shuts down, temperatures in western Europe could decline by about 10 degrees Fahrenheit over a period of years.    No direct impact of the weakening current has been observed in Europe so far.  The researchers caution that there are large uncertainties in the measurements and that there is not enough data yet to prove a long-term trend.  Sensor-equipped moorings have been deployed across 25 locations in the subtropical Atlantic to monitor continuously the circulations at all depths.  It is expected that results will indicate in the next 4 years or so whether the Atlantic current system is sill working well.  [Nature, 11/30/05; CNN, 12/1/05; Los Angeles Times, 12/1/05; RealClimate website]

 

Resources & Ideas

[log in to unmask]" alt="*">  Winter Energy Tax Incentives – In response to the anticipated high winter energy costs, Massachusetts and the federal government are offering tax incentives for energy efficiency improvements and heating costs.  Massachusetts incentives include:  up to $800 for home heating costs incurred between 11/1/05 and 3/31/06 for joint filers earning $75,00 or less or single filers earning under $50,000; tax credits for purchasing energy-efficient heating products such as new windows, programmable thermostats, furnaces and hot water systems; state subsidy for interest on private loans taken for energy efficiency upgrades; and a corporate excise tax credit for businesses that purchase solar hot water heating systems.  The federal government is offering incentives for the 2006 and 2007 tax years up to $500 total in income tax credits over the two years for certain energy efficiency improvements.

[log in to unmask]" alt="*">  NSTAR Offers Increased Lighting Incentives – In response to anticipated pressure on the electricity grid this winter, NSTAR is offering  “Enhanced Lighting Incentives” for its small and large commercial accounts.  The program expires March 31, 2006.  NSTAR would cover potentially 100% of the costs.  The upgrades would be performed by NSTAR’s contractor, DJM Harris.  For more information, check the NSTAR website or call Steve Quatromoni at 617-371-4514.

[log in to unmask]" alt="*">  Climate BasicsOxford University has put together a short web presentation explaining the basics of climate and climate prediction, called “Climate Basics”.  Macromedia Flash is needed to run the presentation.

[log in to unmask]" alt="*">  The Local Climate Newsletter – Clean Air – Cool Planet distributes an electronic newsletter entitled “The Local Climate”, which summarizes resources and news on climate protection in the Northeast.  To see the latest issue, see the Clean Air – Cool Planet website.  To receive the newsletter regularly, contact Amelia Ravin, at [log in to unmask]

[log in to unmask]" alt="*">  Urban Forest Canopy Assessment – The final report of the Cambridge Urban Forest Canopy Assessment is on the City’s climate protection webpage.  Look under the “City Initiatives” section.  If you would like a printed copy, contact John Bolduc.

 

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