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Scott Brown's Climate Reversal


By Clare Foran (@ckmarie) and Jason Plautz (@jason_plautz)

SCOTT BROWN DENIES HUMAN ROLE IN CLIMATE CHANGE. Republican New Hampshire Senate hopeful Scott Brown has changed his stance on global warming, saying on Sunday that man-made climate change has not been scientifically proven to be true. The position marks a departure from what Brown had to say about climate change while running for a Massachusetts Senate seat in 2012. When asked for his views on global warming during that race, Brown said, "I do believe man plays a role."


NAPA VALLEY WINEMAKERS HIT HARD BY QUAKE. The Washington Post reports: "The 6.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Northern California on Sunday morning, bringing down thousands of barrels and bottles of high-priced wine, couldn't have come at a worse time in wine country.... The country's well known wine-making region, Napa Valley, was at the epicenter of the earthquake responsible for dozens of injuries and damages estimated to surpass $1 billion. And wine that bled out on cellar floors will make up a hefty chunk of the lost revenue." (Lindsey Bever and Nick Kirkpatrick, Washington Post)

STUDY: EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS PAY FOR THEMSELVES. The economic benefits from better health more than offset the cost of implementing plans to reduce carbon emissions, according to a new study published today in Nature Climate Change. By measuring benefits like avoided medical care and saved sick days, researchers said that a cap-and-trade system could produce savings 10.5 times what such a program would cost. The study also examined a clean-energy program, which produced slight health benefits, and a transportation program built around fuel-economy requirements with health benefits that would only recoup 26 percent of the cost.

"If cost-benefit analyses of climate policies don't include the significant health benefits from healthier air, they dramatically underestimate the benefits of these policies," said lead author Tammy Thompson of Colorado State University.


OIL COMPANIES GEAR UP FOR EXPORT PUSH. The Wall Street Journal reports: "The oil industry is gearing up for a post-election lobbying push to loosen the four-decade U.S. ban on exports of crude oil, saying that relaxing the prohibition would create jobs and stimulate the economy. But oil producers face several challenges in the effort, even if Republicans—frequent allies of the industry—win control of the Senate in this fall's elections. While some GOP lawmakers favor lifting the ban, many others are signaling that they would resist the idea, particularly as voters remain concerned about its impact on gasoline prices." (Amy Harder, Wall Street Journal)

WASHINGTON POST SLAMS CLIMATE DENIAL. The Washington Post editorial board is out with the first in a series of articles pushing for political action to address climate change. The paper writes that the national debate on Capitol Hill over what to do to forestall global warming has deteriorated but that "the United States is reaching a point where action must be taken." Read the editorial here.

MEXICO'S OIL PRODUCTION COULD JUMP 75 PERCENT. The federal Energy Information Administration predicts that "Mexico's oil production could rise to 3.7 million barrels per day by 2040 following Mexico's new energy law that opens its oil and natural gas markets to foreign direct investment." Read the brief here.

INDIA COURT DECLARES COAL LICENSES ILLEGAL. Saying that coal-mining licenses were distributed in a nontransparent manner and without competitive bidding, India's Supreme Court declared all coal licenses given out between 1993 and 2010 illegal. Federal auditors have said the country lost $210 billion after governments sold rights to coalfields too cheaply, with both private and state companies reaping benefits. The court will next determine if the 218 licenses should be canceled. (BBC News)


SEA-FLOOR SEEPS COULD BE SPEWING METHANE INTO ATMOSPHERE. As much as 90 tons of methane could be leaking every year from newly discovered sea-floor sweeps in the Atlantic Ocean between North Carolina and Massachusetts, according to a study published in Nature Geoscience. Bubble streams detected in sonar scans of the sea floor are believed to come from deep-water sources where methane-rich ice is decomposing. It's unclear what effect the plumes can have on climate emissions or on ocean chemistry. (Sid Perkins, Nature)


WILL HISPANIC VOTERS ALTER THE POLITICS OF CLIMATE CHANGE? Polling indicates that Hispanic voters care deeply about global warming. Will that change the political dynamic? Respond here.


NRC CONSIDERS PLANT SAFETY. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission meets to consider a potential rule enhancing nuclear power plants' ability to respond to an accident.

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