In a story featured on the Huffington Post, writer John Carey and the Climate Center's Vicki Arroyo take on the climate deniers and discuss the impact that climate change is already having on the world around us, affecting everything from the cherry blossoms in D.C. to flooding and agriculture in cities and states across the U.S.
The sobering reality is that climate change is no longer abstract or theoretical, a threat to distant polar bears or tiny low-lying Pacific Islands. Instead, it means flooded Nashville basements and Iowa cities, withered crops in Oklahoma and new cases of Lyme disease from the northward spread of disease-bearing ticks. (Huffington Post)
Click here to read the full post.
In the June 6 Newsweek cover story – "Are you ready for more?" – reporter Sharon Begley discusses how freak storms are the new normal, and how we're unprepared for a future with a changing climate.
Vicki Arroyo, executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center, says one of the reasons we're unprepared is the little attention that has been paid to adaptation.
"There are no true adaptation experts in the federal government, let alone states or cities,” says Arroyo. “They’ve just been commandeered from other departments.”
Terri Cruce, a climate consultant that works with the Center, points out that only 14 states are planning, let alone implementing, climate-change adaptation plans.
To read the full story, go to www.newsweek.com.
Vicki Arroyo, executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center, is one of five experts highlighted in the Summer 2011 edition of Democracy. The article "What Next on Climate?" captures a roundtable discussion on the state of climate policy following Congress' failure to pass cap-and-trade and prospects for the future.
See the full version of the article at www.democracyjournal.org
A short excerpt from Arroyo's comments is below:
"I think I can paint an optimistic view, especially listening to businesspeople who are really doing great things in terms of promoting efficiency and renewables in electricity, or transportation, with investment in hybrids and plug-ins. Looking at that, we really could be in a different place in 2021.
"We work with a lot of governors, because our center is focused on states' activities. And if you look at the leading governors who have really stepped up on these issues, it's been more bipartisan than we've seen here in Washington. They're closer to the impacts. They're the ones who are having to declare states of emergency with unprecedented frequency. Washington Governor Chris Gregoire talks about climate change and the fact that she's having floods and fires. Same thing with former Governor Schwarzenegger, a Republican. The fire season is now year-round in California, and its coasts are also vulnerable."
"But these leaders could these concerns with a message of opportunity. Maybe some groups stopped talking about the science because it can leave people feeling overwhelmed and helpless. If you look at these skillful politicians, they talk about the fact that you can address this problem while investing in a new energy economy that proves more homegrown sources of power that are safer and can create jobs."
During a conference call with reporters Wednesday, state officials, policy experts and advocates spoke passionately about the benefits of a state-federal partnership on climate and energy policy and argued against greater preemption of state climate and energy programs.
"Preserving state roles not only allows for greater innovation but also provides key backstop authority in the event the federal policy does not achieve our environmental goals or gets delayed through actions of a future Congress, White House, or through endless litigation," said Vicki Arroyo, executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center.
Others, including Mary Nichols of the California Air Resources Board, stressed the importance of state action.
From the Hill:
“We need to put down a marker here and remind senators they will not have an effective climate program without the states,” said Mary Nichols, the chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board.
Based on numerous reports, Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), are considering greater preemption of state authority in their soon-to-be-released climate bill. Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) added to those concerns Wednesday, calling for sweeping preemption of state and EPA authority in exchange for his support on any climate and energy bill. (Click here to read Voinovich's draft amendment.)
The press call was organized by Environment America and included the following speakers: Rob Sargent, Environment America; Vicki Arroyo, Georgetown Climate Center; David Littell, Maine Department of Environmental Protection; Doug Scott, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency; and Mary Nichols, California Air Resources Board.
"To just have one program that would preempt states and have a one-size-fits all federal approach really not only ignores the whole history of success in the environmental area but also would not be the wisest way to go in terms of either maximizing greenhouse gas reductions or to maximize the amount of job creation," said Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Doug Scott.
Rob Sargent, energy program director for Environment America, said much of the push for preemption was the result of lobbying by industry interests and warned that preemption could have dire consequences.
From the National Journal:
Industry and their allies in Congress are pushing to block states' ability to lead the way in tackling global warming," said Rob Sargent, energy program director of the advocacy group Environment America. "In light of the vital role that states have played in moving our nation forward, blocking states' ability to innovate on these issues would be like killing the goose that laid the golden egg."
Allowing states to continue with these policies "creates a stable investment climate," said Arroyo. The benefits' ripple effect would stimulate innovation, save ratepayers money, reduce emissions and make the economy and businesses more competitive, said David Littell, commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.