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Archive for July, 2009

The Garden

 

Summer 2008

Summer 2008

Today C and I started my family’s vegetable garden! It’s pretty late in the season to start a garden but that don’t matta. 

More on gardening tomorrow!

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On June 26th Congress passed the U.S.A’s first Climate bill. The bill was set into motion in March of 2009 by Representative Henry Waxman of California and Representative Edward Markey of Massachusetts. The Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade bill is now waiting to be voted on by Senate. The bill puts an emissions “cap” on pollutants such as heat-trapping CO2. The “trade” allows utilities and other emitters to trade pollution permits if their emitting comes in below the cap.

 

During the Congressional meeting many concessions and amendments were made to the bill, doling out millions of dollars in pollution permits to utilities in coal states to ensure they can keep building and producing coal plants. The bill will also allow polluters to meet their obligations by investing in offsets rather than directly lowering their pollution levels. Offsets were originally to be handled by the Environmental Protection Agency but during the course of the meeting some representatives fought to have that changed to the Department of Agriculture. Another change in the bill was made by changing the amount of electricity from renewable energies used by utilities from 25% by 2025 to 15% by 2020 with room even for states to lower that percentage if they feel they cannot meet the goal.

 

Environmentalists have been debating the success of the bill which is over 1,000 pages long. Many argue that there is too much confusion in creating a cap and trade market and that a carbon tax would have been stronger and simpler.

 

There were some changes to the bill that seemed to stay in line with what the bill originally intended, The New York Times’ Reports: “…a last-minute accord was struck to provide nearly $1 billion for energy-related jobs and job training for low-income workers and new subsidies for making public housing more energy-efficient”.

 

Overall while there are serious doubts by environmentalists about the sincerity of the bill and the changes it will lead to, most agree it is a huge and important step for our country. As the only piece of legislation attempting to make some statement concerning Climate Change, the bill can at least get everyone in on the conversation.

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Beach

 

October Crab

October Crab

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Snow

A Snow LeopardThis is what a snow leopard looks like.  I’ll be writing about the book, The Snow Leopard soon.

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My name is Rebecca Benson and I am an Environmental Studies and English double major at Smith College.  This is my website.  Stay tuned!

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