The Demise of the 2009–2010 Climate Bill and the Implications for Future US Climate Policy

This paper explores US congressional resistance to climate change policy. It presents a case study of the 2009–2010 climate bill, which passed narrowly in the US House, only to die as a result of US Senate inaction. The paper employs an analytical framework derived from the writings of US policy scholars such Wilson (1992) and Mayhew (1974), who maintain that the geographical and social distribution of a policy’s costs and benefits will weigh heavily on its prospects for approval by Congress. Noting that one congressional opponent characterized the 2009–2010 climate bill “a declaration of war on the Midwest,” the paper argues that the bill failed largely because the benefits it might have provided were highly diffuse and presently unknowable, while specific regions and industries would have borne a disproportionate share of the costs. The paper concludes that Congress will be more receptive to approaches to climate policy that have precisely the opposite cost/benefit configuration, such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ proposal for a crash program of investment in energy science and technology.

Carbon Dioxide Emission from Traffic and Its Impact on Micro-climate Change in Gaza City, Palestine

Traffic emissions are a major source of air pollution in most urban areas affecting public health and the climate. The aim of this study is to determine the roadside concentration of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions arising from motor vehicles at several sites in Gaza. This is with an effort to investigate the correlations between CO2 trends and micro-climate change. The concentration of CO2, along with the humidity and temperature, was monitored at selected intersections during morning peak (7:00–8:30 a.m.), off peak traffic hours (10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.), and afternoon peak (3:00–4:30 p.m.). The results show that CO2 concentrations at the study locations fluctuated between 291 and 608 ppm. It was observed that CO2 concentrations were higher than the agreeable international level of 350 ppm in most of the sampled locations. Pearson’s correlation analysis shows good correlation (average r > 0.70) between CO2 concentrations and the traffic volume, and this signifies that CO2 is originated from vehicular emissions. Moreover, trends of the average ambient air temperature, which has been increasing for more than a decade, indicates that Gaza is becoming more exposed to extreme weather conditions as a result of the climate change. The finding suggests the necessity of taking actions to reduce the CO2 ambient concentration from traffic emissions in Gaza in order to minimize climatic change effect in a local context.

Assessing Climate Change Vulnerabilities in Northern Boreal Forests

Climate change is expected to affect Canada’s boreal forests significantly. However, the nature and magnitudes of impacts are expected to vary across the country. One proactive approach to adapting to these variable changes is to identify regional vulnerabilities. This research aims to identify vulnerabilities for forests in Western Newfoundland under three scenarios of climate change, by following the core elements of the IPCC vulnerability framework, through expert opinion. Opinions were collected through a questionnaire survey and group discussions where adaptive capacity was evaluated based on the perceived effectiveness of adaptation options and the capacity to implement them. An analysis of the expert opinion data showed that infrastructural damage, alteration of plant and animal distribution, and invasive species were seen as the most significant areas of vulnerability for the forests of Western Newfoundland. This research is the first step toward a more comprehensive vulnerability assessment.