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April 27, 2010

Great Coal Debate and New EPA Report

Here are two more huge items of news interest to tell you about today. First - what are you doing at 6pm ET today (5pm CT, 4pm MT, 3pm PT)? If you're not at Washington University in St. Louis watching this in person, you can watch it online. It's the Great Coal Debate between the Sierra Club's Bruce Nilles (director of our Beyond Coal Campaign) and Fred Palmer, VP of Government Relations for Peabody Energy.

This will be a fantastic debate, for sure. Bruce has already greased the wheels for it with this OpEd in the Wash. U. student newspaper. To watch the debate online, simply go to one of these three websites: the Sierra Student Coalition website, the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign website, or UStream.

The other interesting piece of news today is this new report out from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) entitled "Climate Change Indicators in the United States." From the EPA news release:

A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report, Climate Change Indicators in the United States, looks at 24 key indicators that show how climate change impacts the health and environment of the nation's citizens.

"These indicators show us that climate change is a very real problem with impacts that are already being seen," said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. "The actions Americans are taking today to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions will help us solve this global challenge."

Some of the key findings include:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are increasing. Between 1990 and 2008, there has been about a 14 percent increase in emissions in the United States.
  • Average temperatures are rising. Seven of the top 10 warmest years on record for the continental United States have occurred since 1990.
  • Tropical cyclone intensity has increased in recent decades. Six of the 10 most active hurricane seasons have occurred since the mid-1990s.
  • Sea levels are rising. From 1993 to 2008, sea level rose twice as fast as the long-term trend.
  • Glaciers are melting. Loss of glacier volume appears to have accelerated over the last decade.
  • The frequency of heat waves has risen steadily since the 1960s. The percentage of the U.S. population impacted by heat waves has also increased.

The information included in this report will help inform future policy decisions and will help evaluate the success of climate change efforts. The data used in this report were collected by several government agencies, academic institutions, and other stakeholder organizations. As new data and information become available, EPA will update and broaden the indicators in future reports.

Learn more on the report's website.

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