Later, 10:11 a.m. CT: Yahoo!News is reporting:
The architect of President Barack Obama's climate-change plan, Zichal left the White House last week after five years as a top adviser on energy and climate change.
Her departure comes as the Environmental Protection Agency moves ahead with the linchpin of the president's climate plan: emissions limits for new and existing power plants to curb greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.
"Do I walk out thinking that it would have been fun to do the rule for existing coal (-fired power) plants? The short answer is yes," Zichal said in an interview.
Zichal, 37, said she has not decided on her next job but said it will involve clean energy, a field she has spent the past five years promoting as the administration moves to boost renewable energy such as wind and solar power. Obama also has increased fuel-efficiency standards and moved to tighten limits on mercury and other toxic pollution from power plants. Zichal's deputy, Dan Utech, replaced her.If my experience in the military taught me anything, in bureaucracies headed by political appointees, it was the deputy that really knew what was going on. This news may be good or bad; it will be interesting to see who his next choice for "energy and climate change" adviser will be. Harold Hamm is probably not on the short list.
Reuters is reporting:
China, the EU and campaign groups criticized Japan at U.N. climate talks on Friday after Tokyo slashed its target to cut greenhouse gas emissions, blaming its shuttered nuclear power industry in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.
The Japanese government on Friday decided to target a 3.8 percent emissions cut by 2020 versus 2005 levels. That amounts to a 3 percent rise from a U.N. benchmark year of 1990 and the reversal of the previous target of a 25 percent reduction. [Holy mackerel, Batman!]
"Given that none of the nuclear reactors is operating, this was unavoidable," Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara said.
Japan's 50 nuclear plants were closed on safety concerns after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami wrecked the Fukushima reactors northeast of Tokyo. Nuclear accounted for 26 percent of Japan's electricity generation and its loss has forced the country to import natural gas and coal, causing its greenhouse gas emissions to skyrocket.At least Japan is being honest.
And then in Australia, it's not getting much better. The Daily Caller is reporting:
Australia’s new conservative government introduced legislation that would eliminate the carbon tax and cut funding to green energy in a series of aggressive moves to scale back the country’s environmental laws.
“We have said what we mean, and will do what we say. The carbon tax goes,” Prime Minister Abbott told Australian lawmakers. “Repealing the carbon tax should be the first economic reform of this parliament.”
The Liberal-National Party swept seats in September’s election in large part due to their opposition to the left-wing Labor Party’s imposition of a tax on carbon dioxide emissions. The unpopular tax was blamed for rising power bills and hurting economic growth. Abbott has touted his party’s bill to repeal the carbon tax as “our bill to reduce your bills.”