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Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Daily Climate: Obama's Commerce Pick Has Low Green Cred

Video: President Obama

Commerce Fox Guarding a Conservation Henhouse?
Although President Obama's pick for Commerce Secretary helps build his bipartisan cred, Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) looks like a risky choice for conservation and climate change action. Gregg has voted in the past to open the Arctic Wildlife Refuge to drilling, and against funding conservation programs -- although he also worked to preserve New England wilderness. The Department of Commerce oversees many environmental functions, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its Fisheries Service; the National Weather Service; the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, and National Environmental Satellite Data. (Environmental News Service)

Danish Transit Treat: In its plan for spending on transit and transportation, the Danish government's approach will be "two-thirds green, one-third black." This means that of US$16 billion that will be spent on improving the nation's railways, roads, and bike lanes between now and 2020, most will go to projects like: Increasing the number of cyclists; improved bus traffic; improving access to public transit; and improved traffic safety. Around one-third will go to improving automobile roadways. In the US, by comparison, it's more "four-fifths black, one-fifth green." (The City Fix)

Clouds Form Over Solar, Wind: Between the credit crisis and and the overall recession, wind and solar power sales are falling fast, equipment prices are also dropping, and layoffs are starting. The number of banks willing to help finance installations of wind turbines and solar panels has fallen from 18 to 4, leaving developers hurting for capital. But industry members remain hopeful for the long term, since President Obama is focused on expanding the nation's renewable energy resources. (Green Inc. - The New York Times)

Seeing Peru for the Trees: Peru has launched a US$20 million national effort to plant 40 million trees -- enough to pull 570 thousand tons of carbon out of the atmosphere annually, the government says. The move will enable the country to sell carbon credits on the world market, create around 128 thousand temporary jobs, and perhaps 600 thousand permanent roles for "woods guardians." (Treehugger)

Video: President Obama Announces Sen. Judd Gregg as his pick for Secretary of Commerce, Feb. 3, 2009.

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