ESA Policy News: November 23

Here are some highlights from the latest ESA Policy News by ESA’s Science Policy Analyst, Terence Houston. Read the full Policy News here. HOUSE: SUBCOMMITTEE HEARING PREVIEWS FUTURE OF CLIMATE POLICY The House Science and Technology Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, chaired by retiring Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA), held a hearing Nov. 17 entitled “A Rational Discussion of Climate Change: the Science, the Evidence, the Response,” the...

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Patterns in the climate change mosaic

Finding patterns and trends in the environment is an important natural human tendency. Without trends, for instance, Darwin may never have theorized about evolution. But the somewhat controversial question, especially now in the face of climate change, is “what do trends explain about the world?” Or a more specific example: do studies showing elevated global temperatures and sea level rise prove that one caused the other? There is a...

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Methane from plants increased by climate change

The debate about climate change has focused on one polarizing gas: carbon dioxide. CO2 and its portrayal to the general public is controversial because on one hand, it’s essential for all life, since plants need to breathe too.  But on the other hand it’s a greenhouse gas that traps heat in our atmosphere, and in some instances –such as new interpretations of the Clean Air Act–is regulated as a pollutant. But...

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EPA biofuels rule: calculating the payback

The EPA released a report yesterday that proposes to change the rules of the biofuels game.  The report, titled “Regulation of Fuels and Fuel Additives: Changes to Renewable Fuel Standard Program,” examines the lifecycle of corn-for-ethanol practices and sets the “payback” period of carbon emissions for corn-for-ethanol fuel as 33 years. The payback period means that at first, corn-for-ethanol practices will be...

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Forests might flip from carbon sink to source

Ecologists point to forests as important sinks for atmospheric carbon. But a new report suggests that climate change could induce environmental stresses that would chnge the role of forests into a net carbon source. The report, titled “Adaptation of Forests and People to Climate Change – A Global Assessment,” was coordinated by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) and the Collaborative...

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