Academic article on China’s increasing transportation and related issues. Argues for a ‘road charge’ to mitigate congestion.
From the abstract: “Urban car transportation is a cause of climate change but is also associated with additional burdens such as traffic congestion and air pollution. Studies of external costs and potential impacts of travel demand management help to define policy instruments that mitigate the damaging impact of transportation. …We show that a road charge could not only address congestion but also has environmental benefits.”
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. climate change legislation is unlikely to pass this year due to concerns about the recession and contention over the implementation of the program, according to energy and carbon market experts.
Video of Professor Dan Kammen speaking before the Copenhagen Climate Congress (March 11, 2009), where he argues that it is more important that some mechanism of carbon cost is quickly implemented than for the world to loose more time debating over which cost mechanism is best (cap and trade, cap and dividend, or a carbon tax).
The Chinese government has announced that it plans to build as many as 20 hydro electric projects on the Yangtze river by the year 2020. The projects would be aimed at quenching China’s increasing power demand and helping in flood control. However, many domestic and international experts warn about the ecological sensitivity of the area might not be strong enough to cope with such massive infrastructure projects.
UC Berkeley Professor Dan Kammen, coordinating lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and an advisor to Obama during the 2008 campaign, describes recent changes in Climate Change policy since Obama has been in office. In particular Kammen focuses on policy reversals announced by EPA’s Lisa P. Jackson which allow California to set higher air quality standards than national, and the pivotal decision to consider CO2 as a harmful greenhouse gas.
Dan Kammen speaking at UC Berkeley on Obama’s climate change approach
‘The Earth’s temperature may stay roughly the same for a decade, as natural climate cycles enter a cooling phase, scientists have predicted.
…The key to the new prediction is the natural cycle of ocean temperatures called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), which is closely related to the warm currents that bring heat from the tropics to the shores of Europe.’
“DUANJIALING, China — Less than a year ago, officials were pressing mines and factories along this limestone belt of northern China to shut down or move away to clear the air of dust and smog for the Beijing Olympics.
Now, amid the global economic downturn, priorities have shifted.
Cumbersome environmental reviews have been accelerated, state bank loans are flowing freely again and workers are welding the grinding mills of Sanhe Yongsheng Cement, one of the new cement plants under construction not far from China’s capital.”
The article goes on to mention rapid approval of projects:
“In the rush to invest $585 billion in stimulus spending and revive flagging industrial production, China has at least temporarily backpedaled on some environmental restraints imposed, though with limited impact, during the country’s long boom.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection, citing the urgency of fighting the downturn, adopted a new “green passage” policy that speeds approval of industrial projects. In one three-day stretch late last year, it gave the green light to 93 new investment plans valued at $38 billion.”
WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday formally declared carbon dioxide and five other heat-trapping gases to be pollutants that threaten public health and welfare, setting in motion a process that for the first time in the United States will regulate the gases blamed for global warming.