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 on: Today at 09:00 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Ocean found underneath China’s largest basin

International Business Times
30 Jul 2015 at 09:49 ET

Chinese scientists have discovered what could potentially be a massive hidden ocean underneath the Tarim basin in northwestern Xinjiang, China, the South China Morning Post reported. The basin is one of the driest places on Earth, but the amount of salt water hidden underneath could equal 10 times the amount of water found in all five of the Great Lakes located in the U.S.

Scientists have suspected that the water is a result from high, nearby mountains, and that melt water from those mountains had sipped beneath the basin. “This is a terrifying amount of water,” said professor Li Yan, who led the study at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography in Urumqi, the Xinjiang capital, the South China Morning Post reported. “Never before have people dared to imagine so much water under the sand. Our definition of desert may have to change.”

The Tarim Basin is the world’s largest landlocked basins and also home to China’s biggest desert, the Takla Makan Desert, which is situated in the middle of the basin and is presumed to be the world’s second largest-shifting desert.

Li’s team had accidentally discovered the water; they had actually been looking for carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide can be absorbed in certain regions called “carbon sinks,” and scientists study those “carbon sinks” to better understand climate change. Li’s team had discovered 10 years that carbon dioxide had been disappearing into the basin, but could not understand why. 

    There could be ocean hidden under arid #Xinjiang #China holding "terrifying amount of water"

    — Kristine Servando (@tinssoldier) July 30, 2015

The team collected over 200 underground water samples from different areas in the desert, and by comparing the amount of carbon dioxide in the samples with the amount of carbon dioxide in the melt water, they estimated the amount of water that had flown into the basin. 

Li said his team would work with other research teams to find out if similar “oceans” could potentially exist underneath other large deserts. He said that it is likely large amounts of water will be found underneath the deserts, because according to his team’s calculations, the amount of carbon the “oceans” have the potential to carry can reach a trillion tonnes, which is the same amount of “missing carbon” on the planet.

 on: Today at 06:56 AM 
Started by Sabrina - Last post by Dav
Hi Linda, also wanted to give a big thanks for linking all of those threads. Fantastic. Have happily been reading over the past couple of days! Thanks again.

 on: Today at 06:52 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Global population set to hit 9.7 billion people by 2050 despite fall in fertility

Predicted increase of 2.4 billion will complicate efforts to stamp out poverty, inequality and hunger and place further strain on health and education systems

Sam Jones and Mark Anderson
Wednesday 29 July 2015 17.31 BST

Despite a continuing slowdown in the rate of population growth, it is “almost inevitable” that the number of people on the planet will rise from 7.3 billion today to 9.7 billion in 2050, according to the latest UN projections.

Ten years ago, the world population was growing by 1.24% annually; today, the percentage has dropped to 1.18% – or roughly another 83 million people a year. The overall growth rate, which peaked in the late 1960s, has been falling steadily since the 1970s.

The UN report attributes the slowdown to the near-global decline in fertility rates – measured as the average number of children born to a woman over her lifetime – even in Africa, where the rates remain the highest.

However, that fall is being offset by countries in which populations are already large, or where high numbers of children are born. According to the study, nine countries will account for half the world’s population growth between now and 2050: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, the US, Indonesia and Uganda.

“Continued population growth until 2050 is almost inevitable, even if the decline of fertility accelerates,” says the report, World Population Prospects: the 2015 revision.

“There is an 80% probability that the population of the world will be between 8.4 and 8.6 billion in 2030, between 9.4 and 10 billion in 2050 and between 10 and 12.5 billion in 2100.”

By 2050, six countries – China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan and the US – are expected to have populations of more than 300 million.

The report suggests that Africa alone will drive more than half of the world’s population growth over the next 35 years, during which time the population of 28 of the continent’s countries will more than double. It is predicted that by 2050, Nigeria’s population will surpass that of the US, making the west African nation the third most populous country in the world.

If current birthrate trends persist, Africa, which contains 27 of the world’s 48 least developed countries, will be the only major area still experiencing substantial population growth after 2050. Consequently, its share of the global population is forecast to rise to 25% in 2050 and 39% by 2100. Asia’s share, meanwhile, will fall to 54% in 2050 and 44% in 2100.

“Regardless of the uncertainty surrounding future trends in fertility in Africa, the large number of young people currently on the continent who will reach adulthood in the coming years and have children of their own, ensures that the region will play a central role in shaping the size and distribution of the world’s population over the coming decades,” says the report.

John Wilmoth, director of the population division in the UN’s department of economic and social affairs, said the new projections laid bare the scale of the task facing the world as it prepares to agree the development framework for the next 15 years.

“The concentration of population growth in the poorest countries presents its own set of challenges, making it more difficult to eradicate poverty and inequality, to combat hunger and malnutrition, and to expand educational enrolment and health systems, all of which are crucial to the success of the new sustainable development agenda,” he said.

Wilmoth explained that although population growth rate had declined “gradually but steadily” since the 1970s, it had done so at different speeds in different parts of the world.

“Africa is currently the region of the world where population growth is still rather rapid due to continued high levels of fertility, but even there we see the sorts of changes that were predicted and expected in the sense that, once populations start to have a higher level of life expectancy, they also come to realise that there’s not the same need to produce as many children,” he said.

“With increasing child survival, it just doesn’t make as much sense to have such large families as it did in the past.”

China, the world’s most populous country with 1.4 billion people, is expected to be overtaken by India (1.3 billion) within the next seven years. From 2030, when its population is projected to reach 1.5 billion, India is likely to experience several decades of growth. China, on the other hand, is set to experience a slight decrease after the 2030s.

Of all the world’s major regions, only Europe can expect a steady decline in its population over the remainder of this century, with its total inhabitants expected to shrink from 738 million people now to 646 million in 2100.

Almost half the people in the world (46%) live in countries with low levels of fertility, where women have fewer than 2.1 children on average during their lifetimes. Such countries include all of Europe and northern America, 20 Asian countries, 17 Latin American or Caribbean ones, three in Oceania and one in Africa.

Another 46% live in “intermediate fertility” countries – such as India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mexico and the Philippines – where women have on average between 2.1 and five children.

The remainder live in “high-fertility” countries, where fertility declines have been only limited and where the average woman has five or more children over her lifetime. All but two of the 21 “high-fertility” countries are in Africa; the largest are Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Uganda and Afghanistan.

The slowdown in population growth provoked by the overall fall in fertility will also cause the proportion of older people to increase over time: the number of older people in the world is projected to be 1.4 billion by 2030, 2.1 billion by 2050, and could rise to 3.2 billion by the turn of the next century.

In Europe, 34% of the population is predicted to be over 60 by 2050 (up from 24% today); in Latin America and the Caribbean, the proportion of people in the same age group will more than double to reach 25% by the middle of the century. The population of Africa, which has the youngest age distribution of any area, will age rapidly, with the proportion of people aged over 60 increasing from 5% today to 9% by 2050.

Although the report predicts that the global population will reach 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100, the UN acknowledges that its predictions could be skewed by slower-than-projected declines in fertility.

It currently estimates that global fertility will fall from 2.5 children a woman in 2010-2015 to 2.4 in 2025-2030 and 2.0 in 2095-2100. Steep declines are also projected for the world’s least-developed countries, with the average dropping from 4.3 in 2010-2015 to 3.5 in 2025-2030, and 2.1 in 2095-2100.

However, should fertility rates not decline along the predicted lines – if, for example, all countries had a rate that was half a child above the medium variant – the global population in 2100 could swell to 16.6 billion people, more than five billion more than the current estimate.

“To realise the substantial reductions in fertility projected … it is essential to invest in reproductive health and family planning, particularly in the least-developed countries, so that women and couples can achieve their desired family size,” says the report.

“In 2015, the use of modern contraceptive methods in the least-developed countries was estimated at around 34% among women of reproductive age who were married or in union, and a further 22% of such women had an unmet need for family planning, meaning that they were not using any method of contraception despite a stated desire or intention to avoid or delay childbearing.”

The latest projections are based on the previous report, the 2010 round of national population censuses and recent demographic and health surveys.

 on: Today at 06:11 AM 
Started by Linda - Last post by Rad
Hi Linda, Skywalker, Pallas, and Kristin

With Pluto transiting it's own S.Node this correlates, in all Souls, to all the dynamics that it has created for itself in order to affect it's on ongoing evolutionary journey. All these dynamics are reflected upon, Capricorn, in order to determine which dynamics need to be brought to culmination, which are meant to be sustained yet evolved in new ways that will reflect the ongoing evolutionary journey of the Soul itself.

The individual and specific nature of the Soul dynamics are of course symbolized and reflected in the entire Pluto paradigm, the EA paradigm, in all birth charts. Within this we also want to focus on the house location of the S.Node of Pluto which will of course be in the sign Capricorn for all Souls on Earth. And, for the vast majority of Soul on the Earth, the S.Node of Pluto is also conjunct the S.Nodes of Jupiter and Saturn.

Thus, it is important to understand and examine the house and sign location of Saturn itself, and all the aspects that it is making to the other planets. All of this in combination correlate to the structural nature of the Soul itself. Thus, with the Pluto transit on it's own S.Node, and through extension the S.Nodes of Saturn and Jupiter, the Soul reflects on these existing structural dynamics that define itself in order to determine what dynamics are no longer needed for it's own ongoing evolution, and those that are meant to be sustained yet evolved in new ways in order for the Soul to continue it's evolution.

A key to understanding the individual evolution of the dynamics being sustained yet evolving is symbolized by the N.Node of Pluto which of course is in Cancer for all Souls on Earth now. And, of course, the house position of that N.Node and the location of it's ruler, the Moon, by it's own house and sign location and all aspects to it. It is these symbols that create the ongoing inner awareness within the Soul of how and why the dynamics that need to culminate occurs, and also of how to use and take forwards the existing dynamics that need to be evolved in order to affect the ongoing evolutionary journey of the Soul itself.

This is the essence of this transit that we can example in any of you wish. Please let me know if you have any questions at this time.

God Bless, Rad

 on: Today at 05:48 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
CS Monitor

Lithium found in exploding star clears up stellar mystery

Astronomers looking out at Nova Centauri have spotted lithium for the first time in a stellar explosion.

By Michelle Toh, Staff writer July 29, 2015   

Astronomers peering through two telescopes in Chile at the brightest nova of the century so far have found something that could help clear up a longstanding mystery in astrophysics: How much lithium exists in stars.

For the first time, lithium has been detected in material ejected by a nova, a type of stellar explosion displaying a sudden burst of brightness. In this case, the scientists had been observing Nova Centauri, which exploded in 2013, according to the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

“This new finding fills in a long-missing piece in the puzzle representing our galaxy's chemical evolution, and is a big step forward for astronomers trying to understand the amounts of different chemical elements in stars in the Milky Way,” the ESO reported Wednesday.
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While models of the Big Bang at the birth of the universe 13.8 billion years ago allow astronomers to make reasonably accurate calculations about the amount of lithium that should be present, scientists have found that older stars do not have as much lithium as the models suggest, and younger ones have more.

“Lithium has now become an important quantitative test of stellar evolution,” wrote Verne V. Smith in a 2010 National Optical Astronomy Observatory study that looked at the amount of lithium in red giant stars.

In 2012, astronomers looking at the universe watched in awe as a planet was devoured by a red giant – one that contained an abnormally high abundance of lithium, The Christian Science Monitor reported.

Astronomers have long suggested that the lower lithium levels in younger stars “could be explained by novae expelling the element, ‘seeding’ space with lithium, and enriching the interstellar medium from which new stars are born,” according to Reuters.

But they couldn’t find any clear evidence of lithium in novae to prove this hypothesis.

The latest discovery, of lithium being expelled at some 1.24 million miles per hour in Nova Centauri, could – when extrapolated to the billions of other novae that have exploded in the Milky Way's history – explain the unexpectedly large amount of lithium in our galaxy, the ESO said.

“If we imagine the history of the chemical evolution of the Milky Way as a big jigsaw, then lithium from novae was one of the most important and puzzling missing pieces,” said Massimo Della Valle, a coauthor of the study that has been published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The disparity between the observed amount of lithium in older stars and the abundance estimated from Big Bang models, however, still remains a question without answers, according to Professor Della Valle and team leader Luca Izzo.

 on: Today at 05:46 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
The most polluted US national parks

Air pollution in many national parks, from Yosemite to Joshua Tree and Kings Canyon, means a hike in the ‘fresh air’ is not as healthy as it seems, reports Mother Jones

Julia Lurie for Mother Jones, part of the Guardian Environment Network
Thursday 30 July 2015 12.14 BST

It’s late summer, and Americans are flocking to the country’s national parks for some recreation and fresh air.

But a study released this week by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) found that air in some of the country’s most popular parks is not so fresh – and it’s potentially hazardous. The report rated the country’s 48 parks in three categories: levels of ozone (a pollutant that can irritate or damage lungs), haziness, and the impacts of climate change on the park. Here are the 12 worst contenders (full list available here):

Ozone is a pollutant common in smog, and it’s particularly prevalent on hot summer days. Seventy-five percent of the parks had ozone levels between 2008 and 2012 that were “moderate” or worse, according to the federal government’s Air Quality Index. Four national parks – Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Joshua Tree, and Yosemite – regularly have “unhealthy” ozone levels, meaning that the average hiker should reduce strenuous activity and those with asthma should avoid it altogether. (You can see the air quality in your area here.)

Jobs at Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, including those indoors, come with pollution warnings saying that at times the air quality “may pose human health problems due to air pollution,” according to the report.

Pollution doesn’t just make visitors and employees sick; it also ruins one of the parks’ main attractions: the views. Smog affects vistas in all of the parks; on average, air pollution obstructs 50 miles from view. Here are some examples of how far visitors can see in miles today compared to “natural” levels, when air isn’t affected by human activity.

The NPCA didn’t look into specific causes of air pollution in each location, but generally, the report attributes it to the usual suspects: coal-fired power plants, cars, and industrial and agricultural emissions. Under the regional haze program, developed by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1999, states are required to implement air quality protection plans that reduce human-caused pollution in national parks. The NPCA contends that loopholes prevent power plants and other big polluters from being affected by the rules.

Ulla Reeves, the manager of the NPCA’s clean air campaign, maintains that if enforcement for the regional haze program isn’t improved, only 10% of the national parks will have clean air in 50 years. “It’s surprising and disappointing that parks don’t have the clean air that we assume them to have and that they must have under the law.”

 on: Today at 05:42 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Europe's offshore wind hits record yearly high with six months still to go

Germany drives bumper year for European offshore wind in 2015, installing three times more capacity than current leader, the UK

Damian Carrington
Thursday 30 July 2015 10.10 BST

Europe’s offshore wind power industry has set a record for its biggest ever year just six months into 2015.

The biggest factor was a huge jump in turbines in German waters connecting to the grid, with Germany installing three times more electricity-generating capacity than the continent’s current leader, the UK.
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In the first half of the year, 584 offshore wind turbines were connected, adding 2.3GW of capacity to the European electricity grid, according to new data from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). In total there is now 10GW of connected offshore wind, enough to power about seven million homes.

The newly connected capacity is over 50% more than was connected in the whole of 2014. But the EWEA says it expects a slower growth rate in the next 12-18 months, as a new investment cycle begins and many projects already in the pipeline begin construction.

“2015 is shaping up to be a bumper year for offshore wind,” said Kristian Ruby, the trade body’s chief policy officer. “There are three key drivers for the market this year; exponential growth in Germany, larger capacity turbines in the water and a number of projects [becoming] either fully grid connected or partially completed.”

“This year, we are going to see Germany deploy more offshore wind than the UK for the first time.” said Ruby. “It’s a real statement of intent from Germany as the energiewende (energy transition) continues to kick in. However, it is certainly too early to say that Germany will overtake the UK [before] 2020.”

Since January, Germany has installed 1.7GW, the UK 0.5GW and the Netherlands 0.1GW. In UK waters, 102 turbines were installed in the Humber Gateway, Westermost Rough and Gwynt y Môr projects.

Offshore turbines benefit from stronger winds and fewer difficulties with planning permission than onshore projects. But the heavy foundations, more difficult maintenance and grid connection cables needed make offshore wind more expensive, though costs are falling.

The UK government frequently cites its global leadership in offshore wind as evidence of its green ambitions. The UK still has about double the installed capacity of Germany, but continued German expansion could see that gap erased. The manufacturing of turbines was dominated by Germany’s Siemens, with 57% of the new capacity added in 2015.

UK ministers recently announced the end of subsidies for onshore wind farms, and the government intends to cut support for solar and biomass energy. The moves harmed the confidence of renewable energy investors but to date ministers have not indicated they will reduce subsidies for offshore wind.

Amber Rudd, energy and climate change secretary, said: “Thanks to government support the UK is the world leader in offshore wind energy – it’s part of our long term plan to foster enterprise, innovation and create jobs as we decarbonise at the lowest cost to hardworking bill payers. We want to help technologies stand on their own two feet, not encourage a reliance on public subsidies.”

Offshore wind farms are big business, with European projects worth €7.1bn (£5bn) getting final investment approval in the first half of 2015. Another €10bn is expected to be invested in offshore wind farms in the next 18 months, providing 2.2GW of capacity, according to the EWEA.

The average turbine size increased from 3.5MW in 2014 to 4.2MW in the first half of 2015 as developers preferred more powerful machines. Orders are also starting to be seen for very large 8MW turbines.

Over 9o% of the world’s offshore wind power is installed in northern Europe, with two demonstration projects off of China the next largest projects.

 on: Today at 05:40 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
David Cameron promises to protect wildlife after Cecil the lion killing

Prime minister discusses ‘issue of tiger bones, and rhino horn’ on visit to Vietnam, as Tory minister Grant Shapps writes to Zimbabwean government

Patrick Wintour Political editor in Kuala Lumpur
Thursday 30 July 2015 12.04 BST

David Cameron has promised to step up government efforts to protect wildlife from poachers following the outcry over the killing of Cecil the lion.

He said he wanted to do more to help countries such as Vietnam stop the illegal trade in rhino horn after talks with the Vietnamese prime minister, Nguyen Tan Dung.
Analysis Trophy hunting just part of the story behind declining lion numbers in Africa
Lion hunting quotas in Zimbabwe, where Cecil was killed, are unsustainable but across Africa hunting helps prevent habitat loss that is a main driver in the animals’ decline, say conservationists
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At the same time the Foreign Office minister Grant Shapps called on all governments in Africa to end hunting such as the killing of the Zimbabwean lion. Shapps described the killing as revolting and said he had written to the Zimbabwean government to ask what more could be done to stop illegal hunting and poaching.

He described Cecil as “an icon of the wildlife world”.

Shapps wrote to the Zimbabwean environment minister, Oppah Muchinguri, saying: “I was distressed to read media reports about Cecil the lion being illegally killed by hunters in Zimbabwe earlier this month, as I am sure were you.

“It is clear that we share an ambition to secure the protection of threatened species, and in working towards an end to poaching and other illegal practices. I would welcome your thoughts on how we could work more closely together to help achieve our shared objectives on this issue.”

In Vietnam, Cameron was asked if Britain could do more to end the trophy imports that lie at the heart of the illegal wildlife trade, and he replied the government was playing a leading role in stopping trade in illegal wildlife.

Dung told Cameron rhinos in Vietnam had now been hunted to extinction in part due to the belief their horns had a medicinal quality.

Sold in shops in Hanoi, rhino bones imported from Africa are seen as a valuable commodity. Tiger bones are also valuable because tiger glue is highly prized by advocates of traditional medicine. It is said to to increase masculinity.

Cameron said he and Dung had discussed “how we could help the Vietnamese with this in terms of preventing this trade, which is leading to the loss of so many vital species. So we were actually discussing the issue of tiger bones, and rhino horn”.

Britain has promised £200,000 funding to the Vietnamese to stage a conference on the illegal wildlife trade next year.

 on: Today at 05:38 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
World Bank rejects energy industry notion that coal can cure poverty

World Bank’s climate change envoy: ‘We need to wean ourselves off coal’
Bank has stopped funding new coal projects except in ‘rare circumstances’

Suzanne Goldenberg
Wednesday 29 July 2015 20.01 BST

The World Bank said coal was no cure for global poverty on Wednesday, rejecting a main industry argument for building new fossil fuel projects in developing countries.

In a rebuff to coal, oil and gas companies, Rachel Kyte, the World Bank climate change envoy, said continued use of coal was exacting a heavy cost on some of the world’s poorest countries, in local health impacts as well as climate change, which is imposing even graver consequences on the developing world.

“In general globally we need to wean ourselves off coal,” Kyte told an event in Washington hosted by the New Republic and the Center for American Progress. “There is a huge social cost to coal and a huge social cost to fossil fuels … if you want to be able to breathe clean air.”

Coal, oil and gas companies have pushed back against efforts to fight climate change by arguing fossil fuels are a cure to “energy poverty”, which is holding back developing countries.

Peabody Energy, the world’s biggest privately held coal company, went so far as to claim that coal would have prevented the spread of the Ebola virus.

However, Kyte said that when it came to lifting countries out of poverty, coal was part of the problem – and not part of a broader solution.

“Do I think coal is the solution to poverty? There are more than 1 billion people today who have no access to energy,” Kyte said. Hooking them up to a coal-fired grid would not on its own wreck the planet, she went on.

But Kyte added: “If they all had access to coal-fired power tomorrow their respiratory illness rates would go up, etc, etc … We need to extend access to energy to the poor and we need to do it the cleanest way possible because the social costs of coal are uncounted and damaging, just as the global emissions count is damaging as well.”

The World Bank sees climate change as a driver of poverty, threatening decades of development.

The international lender has strongly backed efforts to reach a deal in Paris at the end of the year that would limit warming to a rise of 2C (3.6F).

However, even that deal would not do enough to avoid severe consequences for some of the world’s poorest countries, Kyte said.

“Two degrees is not benign,” she said. “It is where we put the line in the sand.”

Fossil fuel companies have pushed back against the notion that climate change is a driver of poverty, arguing instead that the low global prices for coal and oil are a benefit for poor countries.

Peabody launched a global public relations offensive around the notion of “energy poverty”, trying to rebrand the dirtiest of fossil fuels as a poverty cure. Spokesmen for Shell have called efforts to cut use of fossil fuels in developing countries “energy colonialism”.

The World Bank stopped funding new coal projects except in “rare circumstances” three years ago after the US, Britain and the Netherlands opposed its decision to finance a new coal-fired power plant in South Africa.

The US stopped investing in new coal-fired projects overseas in 2011, and called on lending institutions like the World Bank to do the same.

Kyte in her remarks on Wednesday left some room for the World Bank to fund future coal projects – but she made it clear it would only be in the most isolated circumstances. “We have no coal in our pipeline apart from one particularly extreme circumstance,” she said.

 on: Today at 05:36 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Obama will use veto to defend climate change plan if necessary

President will use all powers available to push through Clean Power Plan to cut carbon emissions from power stations, says White House

Suzanne Goldenberg
Thursday 30 July 2015 12.07 BST

Barack Obama will use all of his powers – including his veto – to defend his plan to fight climate change, the White House said, on the eve of new rules cutting carbon pollution from power plants.

Obama is expected to unveil the new rules as early as Monday, according to those familiar with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plan.

The final version will give states and electricity companies an extra two years – until 2022 – before they need to start cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The delay was seen as an attempt to defuse opposition from Republicans in Congress and industry to the rules.

But the White House said on Wednesday it was still gearing up to do battle over the new rules.

“When it comes to the Clean Power Plan, let me say this: We will not back down. We will finalise a stronger rule. We will veto ideological riders to stop this plan and undercut our bedrock environmental laws, and we will move forward on behalf of the American people with the vision set forward by the president,” Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff, said on Wednesday.

He said the time lag would not weaken the power plant rules or stop the US from meeting its global commitments to fight climate change.

Power plants are the single largest source of carbon pollution in the US. The EPA rules are critical to meeting Obama’s promise to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26% to 28% by 2025 and, by extension, shoring up Obama’s efforts to reach a global agreement to fight climate change in Paris at the end of the year.

“Given the president’s legacy, I can’t imagine the EPA would go through this huge stakeholder effort and not follow through,” said Bill Becker, director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies.

So far, half a dozen states including Texas and Oklahoma have declared they will not go along with the EPA rules and could take the agency to court.

However, Becker said many states were already preparing to put their carbon-cutting plans in place.

Republicans in Congress this week attached riders to must-pass funding bills that would delay the EPA rules or block them entirely.

Meanwhile, power companies, especially those that rely heavily on coal, claim the EPA rules would drive up household electricity bills.

McDonough said the opposition came straight from the “well-worn playbook of scare tactics”, but he said the White House would not retreat. “There is no doubt we will be focused on all this and be forced to battle back.”

The White House official also dismissed fears the EPA delay would weaken efforts to fight climate change.

After receiving more than 4.3 million public comments – the most ever to any environmental rule – the EPA is now expected to give states until 2022 to start cutting emissions, according to those familiar with the final rule.

Under the original draft, states were required to submit an initial carbon-cutting plan by September 2016. That deadline has now been extended into 2018.

The agency is also believed to have reduced targets for some states, in the hopes of getting more support later on.

The EPA is believed to have offered incentives to states that hit the original deadline – which McDonough said would ultimately strengthen the rules.

“It will be stronger in many ways than the proposed rule put forward by the EPA by encouraging rapid deployment of the cleanest form of energy,” McDonough told a forum hosted by the New Republic and the Center for American Progress.

However, some campaign groups were openly concerned about the time lag. Ken Kimmell, the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the states did not need more time to put their plans in place. “States are already on track to cut their emissions through actions they’ve put in place,” he said.

“If the EPA does decide to delay compliance timelines, I’ll be looking for assurance that the overall emission reductions achieved by the rule stay strong, early action by states is incentivized, and any delay won’t jeopardize the US’s 2025 international commitment.”

The American Lung Association, which has been a solid supporter of the EPA rules, said it was reassured by reports of incentives for states to act quickly. “The final plan ... appears to be a robust approach to reduce carbon pollution from power plants,” said CEO Harold Wimmer.

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