Posted December 24, 2010 at 11:42 am, in From Our Allies and Partners
By Michael Brune
Author and Executive Director of the Sierra Club
San Francisco — Santa’s not leaving lumps of coal in our environmental stockings this year. In fact, there are several delicious sugar plums. First, the EPA is moving forward to clean up the air and protect the climate. The Agency settled a lawsuit (brought against the Bush administration by the Sierra Club and other groups) by agreeing to issue standards to limit carbon pollution from refineries and power plants, the two largest sources. According to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, the standards “will help American companies attract private investment to the clean-energy upgrades that make our companies more competitive and create good jobs here at home.”
The Bureau of Land Management has announced that it will overturn the Bush administration’s blanket “No More Wilderness” policy and return to considering the wilderness qualities of the lands under its stewardship. That’s especially good news for Roadless Areas that are at risk of oil and gas development.
Then there are several new studies showing that, for the first time, the rate of deforestation has dropped dramatically in the tropics. According to statistics compiled by governments, “tropical deforestation in the first decade of the 2000s was down 18% from the level of the 1990s, dropping from 11.33 million hectares per year in the 1990s to 9.34 million hectares per year in the 2000s. Furthermore, the rate dropped from the first 5 years of the decade to the second five years, principally due to a dramatic decline in Brazilian Amazon deforestation.” And other studies back up the government reporting. (more…)