Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Managment Review of Environmental governance Within the United Nations System

This Report JIU/REP/2008/3 prepared by the UN Joint Inspection Unit finds that:

-The current framework of international environmental governance is weakened by institutional fragmentation.

-United Nations system organizations have not defined clearly their responsibilities under the governance framework, which aims at integrating environmental protection into economic and social development and mainstreaming environmental considerations in sustainable development policies.

-At present, there is no single strategic-planning framework embracing the entire United Nations system: the United Nations’ four-year medium-term plan ceased to be the policy orientation of the United Nations system following a General Assembly decision of 1999; UNEP lost its effective instrument of coordinating planning and programming when its System-Wide Medium-Term Environment Programme (SWMTEP) was discontinued in 1999; and its Medium-Term Strategy for 2010-2013 is not a system-wide instrument.

-Most UNEP/United Nations-administered MEAs have separate secretariats.

-Despite its mandate under the Cartagena Package to review the effectiveness of MEAs, UNEP has not developed concrete modalities or capacity to fulfil its mandate.

Climate Change Science: High Quality Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data are a Cornerstone of Programs to Address Climate Change

In this Statement by John Stephenson, Director Natural Resources & Environment Office before the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, Committee on Science and Technology, House of Representatives testified that quality data on emissions are essential to the development and implementation of a system intended to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Domestic and international experiences with cap-and-trade programs, which place a price on emissions, demonstrate the importance of data quality in establishing baselines, monitoring results, and maintaining the integrity of a program. Existing cap-and-trade programs establish an overall allowable level of emissions and distribute allowances to regulated entities, which in turn are able to buy or sell excess allowances.

Key considerations in developing reliable data on greenhouse gas emissions revolve primarily around the purpose and intended use of the data. In cases where the data are used to develop or implement a program to limit emissions, key considerations include (1) the scope of the program across emissions sources, such as whether it affects all emission-producing activities or a specified subgroup, and (2) the program’s coverage across the six primary greenhouse gases.

2009 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Hydrogen Program and Vehicle Technologies Annual Merit Review and Peer Evaluation Meeting

The 2009 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Hydrogen Program and Vehicle Technologies Annual Merit Review and Peer Evaluation Meeting will be held May 18–22 in Arlington, Virginia.

Following an opening plenary session, principal investigators will present the results of their work and future plans to panels of independent experts for review, providing an opportunity for industry, academia, government, and others to offer formal feedback to DOE on its activities.

Projects will be reviewed in the following areas of the Hydrogen Program: production and delivery, storage, fuel cells, systems analysis, manufacturing, and basic energy sciences. Projects will be reviewed in the following areas of the Vehicle Technologies Program: advanced combustion; advanced power electronics; energy storage; fuels technologies; light-weight materials; propulsion materials; technology validation; vehicle systems and simulations; safety, codes and standards; technology integration; and education.

More than 1,500 participants are expected from industry, small businesses, universities, research institutions, government, and other organizations. The meeting is open to the public and free of charge, but attendees must register to participate.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Blue Vision Summit

The Blue Vision Summit will be held on March 7-10, 2009 in Washington, DC. The conference will include some 400-500 key leaders and activists from marine conservation organizations, aquariums, science centers, public agencies, maritime labor, ocean-dependent businesses, public health groups, coastal tribes and others.

The three key themes of the Summit will be:

-Solutions that are working at the local, state and regional level and how to expand them Climate and Oceans.

-How the Marine Community can develop a common voice and plan of action to address fossil fuel fired climate change impacts on the ocean and coastal environment.

-Federal Legislation. The state of the Ocean Act and how to build an effective national constituency for ocean governance reform.

This Summit will demonstrate to the new Obama administration and Congress that there is a strong and diverse constituency ready to work for ocean and coastal protection and restoration. It will also be an opportunity to build a nationwide network of ocean activists ready to act at the local level to assure passage of effective ocean legislation and encourage good administrative and agency policies they support.

Legal Issues in Oil and Gas

This conference sponsored by SMi Group Ltd, and titles "Legal Issues in Oil and Gas: Managing, understanding and identifying opportunities in international oil and gas investment in 2009" will take place on the 20th to 21st April 2009, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel - London St James, London, UK.

This event is aimed at In-house counsel, private practice lawyers and contract managers in the sector and will look at the legal binds that affect international investment contracts this event brings together a collection of the leading legal experts in the industry to examine and debate the challenges.

The Energy Charter Treaty is a key tool in promoting and implementing international investment and will be considered in detail by the primary experts involved in its execution.

Chief General Counsel from the leading oil and gas companies will discuss contract management and the emerging confrontations facing them in their role.

Expert private practice lawyers will examine their work in supporting the industry including looking at dispute resolution, resolving tensions between IOCs and NOCs and the impact of resource nationalism.

Key themes include: The Energy Charter Treaty- its relevance 10 years on; The debate about security of supply; Applying World Trade Organisation rules; Legal challenges of investing in Africa and the Caspian Region; Preventing, managing and resolving disputes; and Recent trends impacting International E&P companies.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Climate Risk Information

This report by the New York City Panel on Climate Change dated February 17, 2009, is one of three in a series of workbooks to be produced for the Task Force, provides climate change projections for New York City and identifies some of the potential risks to the City’s critical infrastructure posed by climate change.

Climate of 2009 January in Historical Perspective

This Report by the National Climatic Data Center shows that temperatures for the contiguous United States last month were slightly above the long-term average, based on records going back to 1895, according to a preliminary analysis by scientists at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The average January temperature of 31.2 degrees F was 0.4 degree above the 20th Century average.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pace Environmental Notes -- February 2009

The latest issue of P.E.N. is now available.

“Climate Change Adaptation: The Next Great Challenge for the Developing World”

Remarks as Delivered by Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, to the American Association for the Advancement of Science 2008 Annual Meeting · Plenary Lecture, Friday, February 15, 2008 in Boston, MA.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Carbon Control in the U.S. Electricity Sector: Key Implementation Uncertainties

This Report by the Congressional Research Service (7-5700) finds that from the policy research and technical studies that substantially reducing CO2 emissions in the U.S. electricity sector over the next few decades would likely require every
key carbon mitigation measure at the nation’s disposal. However, it is also clear that significant uncertainty exists about the potential of individual measures to achieve their hoped-for carbon impact:
• Energy efficiency—Can the United States overcome socioeconomic barriers to
achieve four times more potential savings than ever before?
• Renewable energy—Will there be enough transmission for wind power? Is there
enough land to grow the needed biomass?
• Nuclear power—Could the United States build new plants fast enough to
• Advanced coal power—Will banks fund them and regulators approve them?
• Carbon capture and sequestration—Will the technology be commercially
deployable in 10 years, 25 years, or never?
• Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles—How much “low carbon” electricity would be
available to charge their batteries?
• Distributed energy resources—Would carbon costs change distributed energy
economics enough to spur deployment?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

EPA Needs a Comprehensive Research Plan and Policies to Fulfill Its Emergin Climate Changing Role

The EPA Office of Inspector General issued a report (Report No. 09-P-0089) dated, February 2, 2009 EPA finding that the EPA does not have an overall plan to ensure developing consistent, compatible climate change strategies across the Agency. In the absence of an overall Agency plan, EPA’s Office of Water and several regional offices have independently developed, or are developing, their own individual climate change strategies and plans. The lack of an overall climate change policy can result in duplication, inconsistent approaches, and wasted resources among EPA’s regions and offices. EPA has not issued interim guidance to give its major components consistent direction to ensure that a compatible national policy – when it emerges – will not result in wasted efforts.

EPA’s latest plan for future climate change research does not address the full range of emerging information needs. Specifically, the projected time of completion or the scope of some research projects do not match the timing or the scope of regions’ needs.

They recommend that the Deputy Administrator direct Assistant and Regional Administrators on how to plan for climate change challenges in their media areas/regions until the Agency develops an overall strategy; and establish guidance for regularly entering their climate change scientific information in the Science Inventory.