Global Study Shows U.S. Is 1 of 5 Nations Without Climate Legislation
When the Global Legislators Organization (GLOBE) surveyed the 66 countries that together are responsible for 88 percent of the manmade greenhouse gas emissions around the world, it noticed one glaring fact.
GLOBE issued its fourth Climate Legislation Study today, which reviews 500 pieces of legislation passed by those 61 countries. The 700-page report, presented in conjunction with the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics and Political Science, includes extractions based on each country.
"Although there were a number of attempts to pass a comprehensive climate change bill in the 111th Congress (2009-2010)–the most significant of which was the American Clean Energy and Security Bill, referred to as the “Waxman-Markey Bill,” which passed the House of Representatives in June 2009–all attempts for the House and the Senate to agree on climate legislation have failed," the report reads.
The report also characterized the nation's greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets—which, according to GLOBE, amounts to less than 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2020—as "relatively modest when compared with other advanced economies."
The organization didn't beat up on the U.S., though. It points out that the country's legislative process is complex and that officials, for now, are trying to take a regulatory approach to climate change by using existing bills like the Clean Air Act and executive orders. The U.S. Supreme Court is currently evaluating the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) powers within the Clean Air Act.
"Although the current administration and the [EPA] have consistently said they would prefer that Congress pass legislation to address climate change, the difficulties in securing support for comprehensive climate change legislation have meant that the regulatory approach has assumed greater importance," the report reads.
The trouble, GLOBE says, has come when the House passed bills to restrict the authority of the EPA to regulate emissions, to expand production of fossil fuels and to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama has said he would would veto proposals that prohibit EPA action on greenhouse gases, and the Senate has rejected such proposals, as well.
The U.S. extraction of the report goes on to review climate-related executive orders like the Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance of 2009 and the Food, Conservation and Energy Act from the prior year.
"We can act to avoid the worst effects of climate change, but time is running out," Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, wrote in the report's executive summary.
"Capturing our opportunity to stabilize the climate system, achieve the internationally agreed goal of limiting warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius and safeguard development for future generations requires immediate action by leaders in every country and every sector."
Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE page for more related news on this topic.
Disturbing footage of a snake in Goa, India vomiting an empty soft drink bottle highlights the world's mounting plastic pollution crisis.
By Melissa Hellmann
When her eldest son was in elementary school in the Oakland Unified School District, Ruth Woodruff became alarmed by the meals he was being served at school. A lot of it was frozen, processed foods, packed with preservatives. At home, she was feeding her children locally sourced, organic foods.
By James O'Hare
There are 20 million people in the world facing famine in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen. In developed nations, too, people go hungry. Venezuela, for instance, is enduring food insecurity on a national level as a result of economic crisis and political corruption. In the U.S., the land of supposed excess, 12.7 percent of households were food insecure in 2015, meaning they didn't know where their next meal would come from.
Artists are taking the climate crisis into frame and the results are emotional, beautiful and stirring.
So you've seen the best climate change cartoons and shared them with your friends. You've showed your family the infographics on climate change and health, infographics on how the grid works and infographics about clean, renewable energy. You've even forwarded these official National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration graphs that explain the 10 clear indicators of climate change to your colleagues at the office.
As the Trump administration moves full speed ahead on boosting the oil and fossil fuel industry, opposition to increased pipeline construction is cropping up in different communities around the country.
By Simon Evans
Last Saturday, two dead whales washed up on the coast of Suffolk, in eastern England, and a third was spotted floating at sea.
What happened next illustrates how news can spread and evolve into misinformation, when reported by journalists rushing to publish before confirming basic facts or sourcing their own quotes.
By Monica Amarelo and Paul Pestano
Sun safety is a crucial part of any outdoor activity for kids, and sunscreen can help protect children's skin from harmful ultraviolet rays. Kids often get sunburned when they're outside unprotected for longer than expected. Parents need to plan ahead and keep sun protection handy in their cars or bags.
By Joe McCarthy
A lot of people take part in community clean-up efforts—spending a Saturday morning picking up litter in a park, mowing an overgrown field or painting a fence.