August 15th, 2012 - Jill Ettinger
Short of any government sanctioned rain dances, efforts are underway to address the nation’s severe drought epidemic with the announcement earlier this week from the Obama administration that the government will buy $170 million worth of meat, poultry and fish to help support the nation’s struggling farmers.
Read More:USDA Offers More Drought Relief for U.S. Farmers
July 10th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Healthcare and America’s obesity epidemic have been high priorities for President Obama.
On March 23, he signed a law that requires the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to implement a federal menu labeling program, which applies to certain restaurants, coffee shops, delis, movie theaters, bakeries, ice cream shops and vending machines.
- Facilities with 20+ locations that offer substantially the same menu must list calorie content on interior and drive-through menus and menu boards.
- Other nutrition information—total calories, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates, sugars, dietary fiber and total protein—must be made available in writing, upon request.
- Vending operators with 20+ machines must disclose products’ calorie content.
The FDA must issue proposed regulations by March 2011. In the meantime, the agency has invited consumers, the food industry, state and local governments, and other interested parties to submit comments and suggestions. The deadline is Sept. 7.
Take the opportunity to get involved. To view the full document and submit comments electronically, click here.
Read More:How Should Federal Menu Labeling Requirements Be Implemented?
April 4th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Following a major directive from the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Thursday established historic new rules that set the nation’s first national greenhouse gas emissions standards.
The standards will significantly increase the fuel economy of all new passenger cars and light trucks sold in the United States. The rules could potentially save the average buyer of a 2016 model-year car $3,000 over the life of the vehicle and, nationally, will conserve about 1.8 billion barrels of oil.
The new program will also reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 960 million metric tons over the lifetime of the vehicles regulated, equivalent to taking 50 million cars and light trucks off the road in 2030.
“This is a significant step toward cleaner air and energy efficiency, and an important example of how our economic and environmental priorities go hand in hand,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “By working together with industry and capitalizing on our capacity for innovation, we’ve developed a clean cars program that is a win for automakers and drivers, a win for innovators and entrepreneurs, and a win for our planet.”
Starting with 2012 models, the rules require automakers to improve fleet-wide fuel economy and reduce fleet-wide greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 5% a year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has established fuel economy standards that strengthen each year, reaching an estimated 34.1 mpg for the combined industry-wide fleet for model-year 2016.
Because credits for air-conditioning improvements can be used to meet EPA standards (but not NHTSA’s standards) , the EPA standards require that 2016 models must achieve a combined average vehicle emission level of 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile. This is equivalent to 35.5 miles per gallon if all reductions came from fuel economy improvements—a 10-mpg increase over current standards.
“These are the first national standards ever to address climate change,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Gina McCarthy. “Over the coming years, America will witness an amazing leap forward in vehicle technologies, delivering fuel efficiency that will save us money and protect the environment.”
Read More:New Rules: Fuel Economy, Vehicle Emissions
February 9th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
After President Obama delivered his State of the Union address, the National Wildlife Federation was quick to urge Congress to enact comprehensive energy and climate legislation.
“Last year, the president showed the leadership and determination to help the House pass the energy reform legislation that is overdue for America,” said NWF Senior Vice President Jeremy Symons. “His call for action was clear. He is ready to help the Senate take on Big Oil and move a bipartisan clean energy and climate bill that creates jobs, limits pollution from energy companies and reduces our dependency on oil from hostile nations.”
Big Oil and its beneficiaries “are spending millions of dollars to block progress,” Symons said. “They are standing in the way of clean energy jobs, energy security and clean air. The Senate must deliver this year, and senators will need the president’s help to overcome the obstruction that has stalled past efforts at real energy reform.”
Symons also praised Obama for making environmental education a priority—one that prepares “America’s workforce for a clean energy economy.”
Click here for an update on what’s happening in Washington. We also encourage you to call or write to your elected representatives to express your views on the environment.
For Your Organic Bookshelf: Green: Your Place in the New Energy Revolution
Photo courtesy of the White House
Affordable Health Insurance Information
More and more folks are doing their shopping for cheap health insurance on the Internet, finding affordable policies and the exact coverage they need.
Read More:Supporting Obama’s Energy Agenda
February 1st, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
When President Obama gave his State of the Union address on Wednesday, he highlighted the importance of clean energy and green jobs.
“We should put more Americans to work building clean energy facilities and give rebates to Americans who make their homes more energy-efficient, which supports clean energy jobs,” he said. “And to encourage these and other businesses to stay within our borders, it is time to finally slash the tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas and give those tax breaks to companies that create jobs right here in the United States of America.”
The president also cited the need for U.S. innovation.
“Last year, we made the largest investment in basic research funding in history—an investment that could lead to the world’s cheapest solar cells or treatment that kills cancer cells, but leaves healthy ones untouched,” he said. “And no area is more ripe for such innovation than energy. You can see the results of last year’s investments in clean energy—in the North Carolina company that will create 1,200 jobs nationwide helping to make advanced batteries, or in the California business that will put a thousand people to work making solar panels.”
The president called upon Congress to pass a comprehensive energy and climate bill, “with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America.” And while he acknowledged the costs involved in moving forward, Obama said we cannot afford to sit on our hands.
“I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change,” he said. “But here’s the thing: Even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future—because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation.”
For Your Organic Bookshelf: Clean Energy Common Sense: An American Call to Action on Global Climate Change
Official White House photo by Pete Souza
Read More:Obama Pushes for Comprehensive Energy, Climate Legislation
December 28th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
When the United Nations Climate Change Conference ended Dec. 19 in Copenhagen, world leaders had reached an agreement to cap the global temperature rise by significantly reducing emissions and financing environmental efforts in developing countries.
The end result, however, is much weaker than many environmentalists would have liked, and the international blame game is heating up.
While most countries supported the Copenhagen Accord, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon admitted it “cannot be everything that everyone hoped for, but it is an essential beginning.”
The Accord recognizes the scientific view that an increase in global temperature below 2° is required to stave off global warming’s worst effects. Mitigation requires industrialized countries to commit to implementing, individually or jointly, quantified emissions targets by 2020.
The deadline for countries to sign the Accord is Jan. 31, and President Obama is trying to remain optimistic.
“After extremely difficult and complex negotiations, this important breakthrough lays the foundation for international action in the years to come,” he said. “This progress did not come easily, and we know that progress on this particular aspect of climate-change negotiations is not enough. Going forward, we’re going to have to build on the momentum that we established in Copenhagen to ensure that international action to significantly reduce emissions is sustained and sufficient over time.
“At home,” he continued, “that means continuing our efforts to build a clean energy economy that has the potential to create millions of new jobs and new industries. And it means passing legislation that will create the incentives necessary to spark this clean energy revolution.
“So, even though we have a long way to go, there’s no question that we’ve accomplished a great deal over the last few days. And I want America to continue to lead on this journey, because if America leads in developing clean energy, we will lead in growing our economy and putting our people back to work, and leaving a stronger and more secure country to our children.”
Photo courtesy of the White House
Read More:What Did Copenhagen Achieve?
October 21st, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) are holding public hearings this week on the country’s first greenhouse gas emissions limits for passenger vehicles.
Hearings began today in Detroit and will continue in New York City on Friday and Los Angeles on Tuesday. You can thank President Obama for pushing this environmental agenda, in concert with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, automakers, the United Auto Workers Union and eco-conscious organizations.
According to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), passenger cars and light trucks emit “nearly 20% of the nation’s greenhouse gases, in the form of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and hydrofluorocarbons. In April, EPA provisionally found that these four contaminants and two other greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare.”
The proposed standards would apply to new cars produced from 2012 to 2016. The EDF cites the following benefits:
- Breaking Our Oil Addiction and Strengthening National Security. The vehicles subject to the proposed standards are responsible for about 40% of all U.S. oil consumption. The standards would reduce our oil consumption by 1.8 billion barrels, while achieving a 5% annual improvement in fuel efficiency for U.S. passenger cars.
- Reducing Global-Warming Pollution. Vehicles covered by the proposed standards account for 60% of heat-trapping emissions from the transportation sector and about 20% of all U.S. heat-trapping gases. These emissions have increased by more than 1% annually. The proposal would cut carbon dioxide pollution from passenger vehicles approximately 21% by 2030, reducing emissions by 950 million tons.
- Saving Money at the Pump. Families can save more than $3,000 over a vehicle’s lifetime.
Read More:Feds Hold Public Hearings on Auto Emissions Limits
February 23rd, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
Getting the seal of the approval from former President Bill Clinton, Los Angeles, California has announced plans retrofit 140,000 of its residential city street lights with eco-friendly LEDs.
President Clinton hailed the initiative, saying “This is the best place in the world, in the U.S. at least, to lead this.” He equated the retrofit to taking 6,000 cars off the road.
According to city hall the project will cut emissions by 40,500 tons and save $10 million annually.
And Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said making Los Angeles the greenest city in the United States would be building a bridge to a sustainable future. Projections claim the LED street lights drop energy usage from 197 million kilowatt-hours to 132 million kilowatt-hours during the next 10 years.
Clinton added money from new President Barrack Obama’s $787 billion federal stimulus package will be used to fund environmental efforts similar to the Los Angeles LED street light program; MSNBC reports.
Hey, pay me enough money and I’ll live by candlelight!
Via Earth First.
Read More:Los Angeles Getting LED Street Lights