In a profoundly backwards move, ten states are considering, or have already passed, legislation that would impose fees (that would make up for losses in gas-tax revenues) on electric or hybrid cars.
While taxing EV drivers for gas they are not using isn’t really fair and might discourage the recent upswing in EV sales, policymakers believe it is a matter of making sure all drivers help maintain the roads they use and construct new ones.
According to the AP: Gas taxes are the most vital source of transportation funding, making up nearly 40 percent of all state highway revenues and more than 90 percent at the federal level, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But those revenues haven’t kept up with rising construction costs, falling 41 percent in real value at the federal level since they were last increased 18 years ago, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. The same non-partisan research group estimates that state and local gas-tax revenue fell 7 percent to $38 billion between 2004 and 2010.
Because taxing EV owners for gas is seemingly unfair, other alternative taxes are being considered.
As record breaking floods recede around Germany and leave €12 billion worth of damage in their wake, NGOs gathered in Bonn for the closing day of international climate talks. The groups are calling on governments to get serious at the main UN negotiations to be held in Poland later this year, urging representatives gathering in Warsaw in November to up their game by accepting a 2014 deadline for revealing new national pledges to cut carbon pollution.
This call to arms comes as the impacts of a changing climate are already being felt. The recent record flooding across Europe and the extreme weather in the U.S. could be a sign of things to come, especially as current commitments to tackle climate change fall short, keeping the world on track for highly dangerous levels of 4ºC warming by 2100.
This latest call for renewed government action to tackle climate change builds on this week’s messages from the International Energy Agency and REN21 – both seeking policy support for a range of measures that could help cut carbon, boost renewables, and ultimately limit global warming to safer levels. Continue reading →
Divestment: In finance and economics, divestment or divestiture is the reduction of some kind of asset for financial, ethical, or political objectives or sale of an existing business by a firm. A divestment is the opposite of an investment.
The divestment campaign of the mid 1980s, which took money out of companies who dealt with apartheid South Africa, put pressure on the South African Government to embark on negotiations ultimately leading to the dismantling of the apartheid system.
Today, the divestment movement is aiming to fight climate change. The movement took off in the fall 0f 2012 with colleges and universities divesting from fossil fuel companies that own the majority of global carbon reserves. Continue reading →
Are fish affected by the state of the oceans due to rising temperatures and the increase of carbon emissions into the atmosphere? They are, but not emotionally. So why then are traces of antidepressants being found in ocean life?
According to Mother Nature Network: Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States; about 250 million prescriptions are filled every year. And they also are the highest-documented drugs contaminating waterways, which has experts worried about fish. Traces of the drugs typically get into streams when people excrete them, then sewage treatment plants discharge the effluent.
Not only are fish being exposed to antidepressants, the drugs are altering their behavior and might even be altering their genetics. Exposed fish can become anxious, anti-social and even homicidal.
According to Rebecca Klaper, a professor of freshwater sciences who spoke about her findings at a Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry conference last fall, male minnows exposed to a small dose of the drug in laboratories ignored females. They spent more time under a tile, so their reproduction decreased and they took more time capturing prey. Klaper said the doses of Prozac added to the fishes’ water were “very low concentrations,” 1 part per billion, which is found in some wastewater discharged into streams. When the dose was increased, but still at levels found in some wastewater, females produced fewer eggs and males became aggressive, killing females in some cases, Klaper said at the conference. Continue reading →
Late last month, EMA along with Hollywood Health and Society hosted a special screening of Chasing Ice, photographer James Balog’s hauntingly powerful 2012 documentary about Earth’s disappearing glaciers, followed by a Q&A led by EMA President, Debbie Levin and Director of Hollywood, Health & Society at the Norman Lear Center, Sandra Buffington. Sitting on the panel were Chasing Ice producer, Paula DuPré Pesmen and writer, Mark Monroe along with climate scientists, Dr. Josh Willis and Dr. Paul Bunje.
United Airlines’ customers are demanding that the company be a leader by actively supporting strong climate action to cut aviation emissions. Thousands have written to United calling on the company to stop being a major opponent to both U.S. and international climate action, just ahead of its annual shareholder meeting.
Governments meeting at the International Civil Aviation Organization this week are expected to discuss a global mechanism for regulating aviation emissions, which account for 5% of human-caused global warming. Thousands of United’s customers are urging the company to support a strong agreement in ICAO to establish common-sense policies to curb airplane pollution that help avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
International aviation, however, is not included in Kyoto Protocol goals and there is no international regulation of emissions. On top of this, the industry’s carbon dioxide emissions are expected to grow rapidly: if left unchecked, airplane pollution will double by 2020 and quadruple by 2050. The longer this problem is ignored, the harder it will be to address it in the future.
Despite the huge contribution of international aviation to global climate change, the U.S. airline trade association, Airlines for America (A4A), has lobbied aggressively against emissions limits both domestically in the U.S. and internationally. United Airlines and its executives have been at the forefront of major lobbying efforts against climate legislation on the airline industry, despite perpetuating a ‘green’ image to consumers that it is working to reduce its environmental impact.