Steve Cousins, vice president of refining for Lion Oil Company, an 80-year-old Arkansas-based refiner, testified that the company would have to “shutter operations” within a year and lay off 1,200 workers if climate-change legislation now before Congress is passed into law. Carbon-emission allowances under the law “will make our survival impossible” he told members of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment.
One of the signature issues of the Obama administration will be the hammering out of a replacement for the failed Kyoto accord on global warming. Talks brokered by the United Nations aimed at replacing Kyoto are scheduled to begin in Copenhagen in just 6 months, but, according to the New York Times, there is one major sticking point: China.
Global Humanitarian Forum — an organization headed by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan — announced last Friday that climate change is responsible for 300,000 deaths per year throughout the world. The group's report, "The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis," alleges that 90 percent of these deaths are caused by a “gradual environmental degradation caused by a warming climate that exacerbates the threats of malnutrition, diarrhoea (sic), and malaria.” (No mention on how the ban on DDT, an effective insecticide responsible for saving countless lives, has caused malarial deaths to go up again.)
Climate-change legislation has now officially become part of Washington policymaking with the approval on May 21 by the House Energy and Commerce Committee of a new bill designed to curb “greenhouse gas emissions” by imposing a cap-and-trade system on American industry. The significance of this quiet legislative event was not lost on those who brought it about. “I don't think it's too much of an exaggeration to say that this is a turning point, in the history of the United States and [its] energy sources,” Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), one of the bill's sponsors, said afterwards. “This is a day we've waited a long time on.”