Enviro News Wrap: Tariff on Chinese Solar Panels; Green Data Center for Apple; Brazil’s Rainforest, and more…

The Latest Environmental News Headlines

GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:

  • The U.S. Government has made a preliminary ruling to put a 30 percent tariff on Chinese made solar panels. The final decision is on its way. The tariff will not bring Solar panel manufacturing to America because there are still countries in the world that can produce Solar panels for cheaper than in the US. The global effect will be small since the US market is only about 9%. The Chinese government is pretty mad about the decision and is gearing up to retaliate, a trade war will benefit no one.
  • The upcoming RIO+20 Earth Summit will be influenced by a new report that calls for better global management of land, water and energy. As land, water and energy challenges increase with climate change, better global coordination is necessary for poorer countries.
  • Animals are already on the move in response to climate change, but not all species will move fast enough to keep up with the changes.
  • The Brazilian President is deciding right now on whether or not to veto a bill that would open up a lot of land for development. This would be a major loss for the forests of Brazil, the humans that live in those forests and the related ecosystems that will be affected.
  • The National Environmental Policy Act is being modernized. This includes having reports written in plain English, reports that only include pertinent information (instead of all information), setting clear timelines and utilizing government websites better. Sounds good as long as people don’t take advantage of the new guidelines to skirt the intended process.
  • Apple is responding to environmentalist pressure by going green with its data centers.
  • The price of oil is staying at just below $100/barrel, this is the new “low.” The effect on the market will be lower prices for everything, the effect on Obama will be an easier election and the effect on renewable energy will be to temporarily slow the development of the entire industry.
  • The Koch brothers are trying to influence their public perception by claiming they’re just a small company: yep, a small company that plans to spend $60 million on anti-Obama ads during the 2012 Presidential election.
  • Washington state is in the middle of a huge decision: whether or not expand their coal industry and start shipping 150 million tons of coal a year to China. I don’t want to see this happen and it will be interesting to see if the federal government will judge their support for the plans partially based on the impacts on climate change.
  • The Clean Air Act is working. U.S. cities have better air quality than 10 years ago. This has real effects on our people, air pollution causes respiratory diseases and even accounts for thousands of deaths each year.

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  1. I found this article written by ExxonMobile (http://www.exxonmobilperspectives.com/2011/04/28/exxonmobil-earnings-the-real-story-you-wont-hear-in-washington/) that claims that they pay too much in taxes, they show a graph of their finances and show that they paid $26.2 bill in taxes in the first 3 months of 2011, but that’s only 23% of total revenue. I pay about 40% in taxes to the local, state and federal government, and then I pay for the taxes on businesses because companies pass on the taxes to their customers. In the end the fact that businesses pay taxes is an illusion that hides the fact that consumers pay for 100% of taxes.

    That’s my new revelation: consumers pay for all taxes.

    Why tax businesses then? To discourage their success and reward other companies?


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