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Flap Your Lips Friday

Posted by Michelle Moquin on June 6th, 2014


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Good morning!

Obama did what no other president before him has done. Another first and a feather in Obama’s cap. He’s starting to look like a very handsome bird. :)

So…what exactly did Obama do this time? Once again, Obama has made history. Obama bypassed Congress and put together a plan that represents one of the biggest actions taken by the U.S. government, and the biggest action taken by any U.S. president – this is a big plan to slow climate change.  Woot! Woot! GoObama!

Here’s the write from Think Progress:

8 Things You Should Know About The Biggest Thing A President’s Ever Done On Climate Change

AP297633870952-638x425

President Barack Obama removes his jacket before speaking about climate change, Tuesday, June 25, 2013, at Georgetown University in Washington.

On Monday morning, the Environmental Protection Agency released itsproposed rule to limit the amount of carbon pollution that existing power plants can dump into the atmosphere. This is the most significant move President Obama has made to address the direct causes of climate change.

The Clean Air Act, passed by Congress in 1970 and amended in 1990, is finally getting to tackle carbon pollution from the nation’s 491 smoke-spewing coal power plants. Contrary to what fossil fuel advocates claim, though, it does not mean that EPA will be directly shutting down coal plants. Each state would have a broad menu of carbon-cutting options, including energy efficiency improvements, adding clean energy sources, implementing a carbon tax, or instituting or joining a cap-and-trade system.

By 2020, states will have to have drop their carbon emissions from existing power plants 25 percent from 2005 levels. By 2030, according to the proposed rule, those emissions will have to drop another 5 percent — to 30 percent — from the same base 2005 level.

Here are 8 things you should know about the new rule:

This is the most significant move any U.S. president has made to curtail carbon pollution in history.

It would be the first-ever action to reduce carbon pollution from an existing source in U.S. history. Using the authority granted to the EPA by the Clean Air Act that Congress passed decades ago, every state will need to find ways to lower the carbon dioxide emissions coming out of the fossil fuel-burning power plants. The electricity sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Dropping those 25 percent in 6 years is significant — it amounts to roughly 300 million tons of annual CO2 reduction.

In the rule filed on Monday, the EPA proposed “state-specific rate-based goals for carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector, as well as guidelines for states to follow in developing plans to achieve the state-specific goals.”

This has additional benefits beyond greenhouse gas emission reduction, dropping pollution that causes soot and smog 25 percent by 2030, according to an EPA fact sheet. The EPA also said it would “avoid up to 6,600 premature deaths” and 150,000 asthma attacks in children. When you lower CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants, you also lower the emissions of other pollutants like nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, mercury, and sulfur dioxide.

There are many opinions of what method is best to lower emissions: carbon tax, cap-and-trade, clean energy incentives, direct regulation. All that matters for those concerned about climate change, in the end, is whether emissions drop, and how quickly. The Council of Foreign Relations’ Michael Levi points to EIA analysis of the likely impact of a carbon tax and other climate bills on power plant emissions. A $25-per-ton carbon tax would be far more effective, dropping emissions 47 percent by 2020 and 66 percent by 2030 — and the cap-and-trade bill passed by the House would have lowered emissions 56 percent by 2030 according to the EIA. The EPA’s proposed target, however, achieves reductions comparable to a far lower carbon tax, the Senate’s 2010 American Power Act, and 2012′s Clean Energy Standard Act. Levi suggests that the 2030 could be seen as a moving target — it could be ratcheted down through additional legislation or new regulation.

Indeed, the EPA could finalize this rule next year with a stronger target, especially if it receives a great deal of feedback from the public. Many environmental groups will be pushing for more ambitious targets later in the decade, even as they nearly unanimously applauded the regulations.

There is room for improvement, and time to improve it.

There is a good reason the government is using 2005 as the base year for emissions reductions. It matches the target set by the U.S. and the U.N. in 2009: a17 percent emissions cut by 2020 from 2005 levels. The targets in the proposed rule apply only to the electricity sector, while the 17 percent target is for all sectors of the economy. At the same time, using that year allows the EPA to be less aggressive than if it used a more recent year when emissions were lower.

In 2005, U.S. power plants emitted over 2.4 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. These levels dropped after 2007, to just over 2 billion tons in 2012. The proposed rule’s target means that carbon pollution from the nation’s power plants would have to drop to roughly 1.8 billion tons by 2020, and 1.68 billion by 2030.

In 2013, energy-related carbon emissions jumped back up 2 percent in the U.S. after several years of decline. This was mainly because coal use increased as natural gas priced inched up a bit. Though the 25 percent drop by 2020 does get things moving in the right direction, the fact that the 2030 target is just 30 percent does not appear particularly aggressive on its own.

The Natural Resources Defense Council’s plan would drop emissions by 20-30 percent by 2020 from 2012 standards, meaning roughly 1.4 billion tons of CO2 at the most. NRDC estimated furthermore that the $21 billion initial cost would be paid back twofold by $51 billion in public health benefits and avoided climate impacts by 2020. EPA estimates that by 2030, the rule will yield “net climate and health benefits of $48 billion to $82 billion.”

The EPA is just doing what Congress (and the Supreme Court) told it to do many years ago.

Though the EPA is simply carrying out the letter of the Clean Air Act in acting to regulate carbon dioxide as an air pollutant, as the Roberts Court ruled it had the authority to do in 2007, there would not have been the need to do so if Congress had acted a few years ago.

The House passed a cap-and-trade bill in 2009, but the Senate did not vote on a bill, dooming a strong campaign for comprehensive climate legislation. This put even more impetus on the EPA’s rulemaking authority to rein in carbon pollution.

So the Obama Administration is taking action not only because it will be a big first step toward a low-carbon future, but because it is executing the laws of the land in the way the Supreme Court affirmed 7 years ago.

States will have huge amounts of flexibility to comply.

As Dan Utech writes in a White House blog post, there are 50 ways the “EPA proposal can be implemented.” The rule divides up the pathways states can use to achieve these carbon pollution reductions into four basic groups: lowering individual plant emissions, switching generation to to natural gas combined cycle plants, switching generation to clean, low-emissions renewable energy, and lowering electricity demand or increasing efficiency. Clean Air Act wonks refer to these pathways as Best System of Emission Reduction, or BSER.

“This plan is all about flexibility,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Monday morning. “That’s what makes it ambitious, but achievable. That’s how we can keep our energy affordable and reliable. The glue that holds this plan together, and the key to making it work, is that each state’s goal is tailored to its own circumstances, and states have the flexibility to reach their goal in whatever way works best for them.”

The rule also highlights regional compacts like the Northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative as progress that can already be taken into account for emission reduction achievements, and could serve as a model for other states. McCarthy put it this way: “If states don’t want to go it alone, they can hang out! They can join up with a multi-state market based program, or make new ones. They’re doing it now.”

A report earlier this month by Ceres looked at how carbon emissions varied widely by state, and the most carbon-intensive states offer an easy rubric of where much of the state-based opposition will originate.

The darker the green, the more carbon-intensive the state's energy is.

The darker the green, the more carbon-intensive the state’s energy is.

CREDIT: CERES

Coal was on its way out and this speeds up the transition.

The fossil fuel industry, conservative groups, and politicians from coal-heavy conservative states greeted news of the details of the proposed rule with predictable attacks. A coal industry lawyer told the New York Times that the rule “is designed to materially damage” the fossil fuel industry, household budgets, and jobs. Nevermind that coal was already on its way out for other reasons: 60 gigawatts of dirty plants were expected to retire anyway by 2020.

These groups will try to fight the rule in court, and though the lawsuits could slow down implementation, the Clean Air Act is clear, and so have the courts: the EPA has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide. In fact, if it does not, it opens itself to arguably much stronger lawsuits petitioning it to regulate CO2.

This is one rule in a long string of carbon-cutting actions since President Obama took office.

Electricity production churns out almost a third of America’s greenhouse gas emissions, followed by the second-largest source: transportation. In President Obama’s first term, following EPA’s Supreme Court-permitted “endangerment finding” that carbon pollution was a danger to human health and welfare, the federal government moved to double fuel economy in light vehicles by 2025.

Last June, President Obama unveiled his Climate Action Plan, which had three main goals: cutting carbon pollution in America, leading international efforts to cut global emissions, and preparing the U.S. for the costly impacts of climate change. Many of the items on his laundry list have seen action in recent months, including reducing methane leaks.

The rule won’t come into effect overnight.

This is a proposed rule, and will not be finalized until next year, after which the states would have a year to draft and submit their plans on how they will achieve their emissions reductions. If EPA approves, those states are off to the races. If not, EPA can just submit their own plan for the state.

And after it takes another look at the carbon rule for new plants, it can revisit the finalized rule for existing plants — it has 8 years to do so. This means that in 2022 or 2023, they can update the rules, leaving plenty of time to implement stronger state standards.

It’s not just fossil fuel companies and conservative groups that have a voice in this process.

Perhaps the most important takeaway is that though this is the most significant step the U.S. will take to cut carbon pollution, it is, still just a proposed rule. The agency announced four public hearings: on July 29 in Atlanta, GA and Denver, CO; on July 31 in Pittsburgh, PA, and during the week of July 28 in Washington, DC. EPA will be soliciting comments from all Americans before it is finalized next year. Anyone in America can comment on the proposed rule here.

*****

Readers: Are you smiling from ear to ear like I am? And it’s not only because it’s Friday. Thank you Obama for doing something…again. And yes, since it is Friday…you know what to do. Blog me.

Peace & Love…

Lastly, greed over a great story is surfacing from my “loyal”(?) readers. With all this back and forth about who owns what, that appears on my blog, let me reiterate that all material posted on my blog becomes the sole property of my blog. If you want to reserve any proprietary rights don’t post it to my blog. I will prominently display this caveat on my blog from now on to remind those who may have forgotten this notice.

Gratefully your blog host,

michelle

Aka BABE: We all know what this means by now :)

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10 Responses to “Flap Your Lips Friday”

  1. Health Info Says:

    Digestive Enzymes May Be Your Answer to Heartburn, Gluten Intolerance, Flatulence—and Even Arthritis

    If you watch the TV ads, you might think that a good probiotic is the answer for all your digestive problems. Don’t believe it.

    While it is true that probiotic supplements can help relieve gas and diarrhea—and boost your immunity—when your intestinal bacteria are out of whack, that’s not always the issue.
    Perhaps your gut has plenty of “friendly” bacteria, but you are still plagued by gut-related problems such as flatulence, heartburn, lactose intolerance, diarrhea or abdominal pain. What then?

    It is time to think about taking digestive enzymes.* These supplements not only help relieve the digestive problems described above, they can also have powerful healing effects for other ailments, such as arthritis and sinusitis, that have nothing to do with the digestive system.

    When to consider taking a digestive enzyme—most are available at drugstores or health-food stores…

    TIME FOR DIGESTIVE ENZYMES

    Flatulence.
    Most people have heard of the over-the-counter flatulence preventive known as Beano, but they do not necessarily know how it works. This product is actually a digestive enzyme called alpha-galactosidase. Taken just before consuming gassy foods, such as cabbage, beans, cauliflower and broccoli, it breaks down some of the complex carbohydrates into easily digestible sugars, thus preventing intestinal gas.

    Heartburn.
    I have seen some great responses in patients with frequent heartburn who take digestive enzymes along with—or instead of—over-the-counter remedies such as Tums with calcium, which tightens the valve between the stomach and esophagus. It is not clear how these enzymes help. It is possible that they deactivate some of the body’s pepsin, a stomach enzyme that plays a crucial role in digestion but that surges upward from the stomach in some patients, damaging tissue in the esophagus. This is what causes the “burn” in heartburn.

    What to try:
    A blend that includes different enzymes, such as lipase, protease and amylase. Some good products include AbsorbAid powder, Botanic Choice Digestive Enzyme Complex and Twinlab Super Enzyme Caps.

    How to use it:
    Take the supplement with or just after meals.

    Dairy Sensitivity.
    It’s estimated that up to 50 million Americans have symptoms of lactose intolerance, a sensitivity to dairy foods that can cause bloating, gas, cramps and other digestive problems. Humans are born with high levels of lactase, the enzyme that is required to digest a sugar (lactose) in dairy foods. But the levels drop in the first years after birth, so by adulthood, many people don’t have enough lactase to comfortably digest dairy.

    What to try:
    Supplemental lactase will replace the enzyme that’s missing from the intestine. People who take lactase supplements can usually enjoy dairy foods without discomfort.

    How to take it:
    Chew or swallow a tablet just before eating dairy…for milk and other liquidlike dairy, you can use lactase drops if you prefer. Yet another option: Lactaid Milk, which comes with added lactase.

    Gluten Intolerance.
    If you are one of the millions of Americans who is sensitive to gluten, a protein that is contained in wheat, barley and rye, you already know that a simple slice of bread or a bowl of wheat cereal can lead to hours of digestive problems, such as diarrhea, stomach cramps and flatulence.

    Important:
    Many people who think that they’re gluten-intolerant actually have fructose malabsorption, which occurs when the small intestine can’t absorb fructose, a plant sugar. Get checked by a doctor before assuming that gluten is the problem.

    Fructose malabsorption is typically diagnosed with a hydrogen breath test—after ingesting a fructose solution, the amount of hydrogen in your breath is measured. An increase in hydrogen means that the fructose has not been properly digested.

    What to try:
    If you are sensitive to gluten, you can try taking a supplement such as GlutenEase, which contains a blend of protease enzymes. You might be able to eat small amounts of wheat and other gluten-containing foods without discomfort.

    How to use it: Take one capsule with meals. Double the dose if one capsule isn’t effective.

    If your gluten sensitivity is caused by celiac disease: Don’t depend on any supplement. Patients with celiac disease must avoid even trace amounts of gluten, and supplements are unlikely to help.

    RELIEF FOR OTHER PROBLEMS

    Arthritis.
    A study published in Clinical Rheumatology found that a European product known as Phlogenzym, a blend of the enzymes bromelain and trypsin and rutosid (a flavonoid), was as effective at treating osteoarthritis of the knee as a commonly prescribed anti-inflammatory drug. Researchers believe that this particular mix of enzymes may help with all forms of osteoarthritis.

    What to try:
    Consider buying Phlogenzym online from a European pharmacy. Take two capsules three times daily, on an empty stomach. Phlogenzym’s major ingredients—bromelain, trypsin and rutosid—also can be found in US health-food stores. Follow dosage instructions on the product .

    Caution:
    If you take these enzymes for arthritis relief, be sure to do so only under the supervision of a physician. In some individuals, the protein-digesting components can damage the lining of the stomach.

    Sinusitis.
    Bacterial sinusitis usually responds to antibiotics, but some people can have chronic sinusitis that lasts 12 weeks or more—even when they are taking medication.

    What to try:
    Bromelain or other protease enzymes (with protease or trypsin on the label). They are not a replacement for antibiotics if you have a stubborn bacterial infection, but they can help to reduce inflammation and discomfort while the infection is active and even while you are taking an antibiotic.

    How to take it:
    Follow the directions on the product label. The dosing directions will depend on the specific enzymes, concentrations, etc.

    IT’S NOT WHAT YOU EAT—IT’S HOW YOU EAT

    If your gut acts up during or after a meal, you may want to change how you eat before trying a digestive enzyme.

    What to do…
    Eat slowly and chew your food well. This gives the enzymes in your saliva a better chance to start breaking down your food before it reaches your stomach.

    Enjoy your food and relax. People who are stressed have an increase in dopamine and adrenaline, hormones that inhibit normal digestion.

    Be aware of any tension you feel in your body…relax your shoulders and jaw…and breathe slowly (your abdomen should expand and your chest should not rise when you breathe in).
    Take a walk after eating. It increases metabolism and helps you digest more efficiently. It also stimulates motility, the intestinal movements that move food (and wastes) through your system. Walk for at least five minutes—a leisurely pace is fine to promote digestion.

    WHAT ARE DIGESTIVE ENZYMES?

    Digestive enzymes are present in saliva, the stomach and the small intestine. Their job is to break down the food you eat into smaller components.

    After about age 50, the pancreas produces only about half the amount of digestive enzymes that it did when you were younger. Some individuals find that they have less gas, bloating or fullness when they take an enzyme supplement during or after meals.

    *Digestive enzymes are generally safe, but check first with your doctor if you have a chronic condition or regularly take any medication or supplement.

    Source: Leo Galland, MD, director of the Foundation for Integrated Medicine in New York City. He has held faculty positions at The Rockefeller University, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Stony Brook University.

    He is the developer of the Web site PillAdvised.com, which discusses how to avoid dangerous interactions when combining medications with supplements. He is the author of The Heartburn and Indigestion Solution (Renaissance Workshops).

  2. June Says:

    Looks like I’m not the only one who couldn’t get in. I’m posting this as quick as I can so I can beat Zen Lill in. (:-)

    Don’t block me out Michelle.

  3. Sarah Says:

    Michelle, it won’t be long before the right will have their trolls out on the blogs hammering the President for being “imperial” in his handling of the Climate crisis.

  4. Dan Says:

    Since Obamacare was passed 50 months ago, health care has gained almost 1 million jobs.

    (982,300, to be more specific.)

  5. Justin Says:

    You don’t hear the press telling us but Obama has a record streak going of 51 consecutive monthly job gains. Okay trolls, bring it on.

  6. Ted Says:

    I believe there is a high probability that the 30% reduction goal by 2030 will be met easily . Independent of any policy pronouncements. The ongoing winding down of economic activity will take care of it – but not in a way that will create happiness for the masses.

  7. Zen Lill Says:

    June! You beat me but probBly bc I wasn’t going to comment today, figured I would give someone else the opportunity to stand in a soapbox, looks like there are plenty of other commenters to cover any void in ZL commentary, thanks for the mention though : )
    Have a great weekend, luv, Zen Lill

  8. Amelia Says:

    Too funny June. I thought the same thing when I saw that it did not have a comment. But alas you beat me to it.

  9. From the Desk of Nancy Pelosi Says:

    The Eyes of the World
    June 6, 2014
    Share This
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    Twitter
    Facebook The Eyes of the World
    Today, we honor the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France. On June 6, 1944, more than 150,000 troops headed across the English Channel to seize a fragile beachhead from which the Allies could drive Hitler’s armies back into Germany. They jumped from planes, glided into fields, and charged up beaches under long odds and withering fire. They fought for democracy, they fought for freedom, they fought for loved ones and liberation, and they fought that the world might once more know peace.

    We are still humbled and awed by the audacity, the bravery and the sacrifice of the D-Day landings. Neither our nation, nor any nation that cherishes the blessings of liberty fought for, bled for and died for on D-Day can ever forget its memory.

    It was an honor to join President Obama in Normandy today to pay tribute to all those who headed into France, and all those who never came home. Let us remember the veterans of our Greatest Generation, and the greatness of our veterans in every generation since. Let us recommit ourselves to their service, and let us continue to build a future worthy of their sacrifice. In the words of former President Clinton, “Let us never forget: When they were young, these men saved the world.”

    To follow Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi on twitter, please click here.

    Celebrating LGBT Pride Month!
    As we mark LGBT Pride Month, we celebrate the progress we’ve made in the fight for equality and renew our commitment to upholding America’s most treasured of values: that all men and women are endowed with the unalienable right to pursue happiness, no matter what they look like or who they love.

    Just last month, I had the great privilege to attend and speak at the unveiling of the United States Postal Service’s Harvey Milk Forever Stamp at the White House. Harvey was a champion of human rights and symbol to the world for LGBT civil rights. As we honor the LGBT community in June we remember the courage of the trailblazers who stood up for freedom and equality in the face of adversity when few others would, often putting their own lives on the line.

    Even with these achievements, our work is far from finished. We must not rest in Congress until we enact the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and halt workplace discrimination in our businesses and across our country. We must be vigilant in combatting the forces of bigotry and bullying at home along with hateful anti-LGBT measures in Uganda and elsewhere around the world. This LGBT Pride Month, let us build on our past progress to advance a brighter future, always remembering that the arc of history does indeed bend towards justice – but it will not bend on its own.

    Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi joins Stuart Milk, President of the Harvey Milk Foundation, along with Congressman John Lewis, and Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman at a ceremony unveiling the Postal Service’s Harvey Milk Forever Stamp.

    Free Citizenship Workshop
    The San Francisco Office of Civic Engagement, Human Services Agency, and a number of local, community-based organizations are partnering to host a free citizenship workshop tomorrow, Saturday, June 7 between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. The workshop can assist with a step-by-step review of the naturalization process, legal advice, and other community resources. The workshop will be held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on 99 Grove Street, between Polk and Lincoln in San Francisco. For more information, including what documents you must bring, please call (415) 662-8901.

    Come to our Grants Workshop
    My office and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will have an Open House and Grants Workshop at the San Francisco Federal Building on June 10th, 2014, providing an opportunity to learn about the various programs provided by HHS, ask questions, and interact with top HHS Federal officials and other public health stakeholders. From 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. participants will be able to network with federal staffers in the basement concourse of the Federal Building at 90 7th Street. Participants are encouraged to register, as space may be limited for some events. For further information, please contact Hal Zawacki at hzawacki@hrsa.gov or Tom Brookshire at tbrookshire@hrsa.gov.

    Please feel free to forward this information to your family and friends. To learn more about these efforts, to express your views, or to sign up for email updates, please visit my website. I am also on Twitter at http://twitter.com/NancyPelosi.

    best regards,

  10. Melba Says:

    It takes a man like Obama to make it his business to save ours.