IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Arctic 40 to 50(!) degrees above normal; Obama bans offshore drilling in large parts of the Arctic and Atlantic; NOAA confirms climate change turbo-charged 24 extreme weather events in 2015; New poll shows majority of Trump voters support regulating carbon; PLUS: What Trump can't change --- solar energy is now the cheapest energy in the world... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Rex Tillerson's state of denial; Arizona Net-Metering Decision May Slow Solar Adoption; China demands emissions cuts as year's worst smog chokes Beijing; Exxon Mobil oil spill hits communities in southeast Nigeria; California Forests Failing to Regrow After Intense Wildfires; Jury Orders DuPont To Pay $2M In C-8 Case; Energy Dept. Offers $2B Loan To Louisiana. Carbon-Storage Project; Oklahoma Tries Stronger Measures to Stop Earthquakes in Fracking Areas; Accidental discovery spurs coral growth, ignites hope... PLUS: Outgoing EPA chief: Science is 'fundamental to absolutely everything we do... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- VIDEO: Joe Scarborough - 'I “Just Know” Trump Believes In Climate Science; Americans don't want to talk about the environment': (Media Matters)
- Another 'freakish' heat wave hits the Arctic:
- Spiking Temperatures in the Arctic Startle Scientists (NY Times):
While the earth over all has been warming — 2015 set a record for warmth, and 2016 is expected to exceed it — the Arctic has been warming at least twice as fast as the global average. In part, scientists say, that is because of declines in sea ice coverage...“We’ve seen a year in 2016 in the Arctic like we’ve never seen before,” [Dr. Jeremy Mathis] said.
- How rare were the unusually high temperatures around the North Pole in November–December 2016 and how were they influenced by anthropogenic climate change? (World Weather Attribution)
- 2016 Is Days Away from Sealing Record-Hot Spot (Climate Central):
In less than two weeks, 2016 will officially be the hottest year on the books in more than 120 years of record keeping by U.S. agencies. It will be the third straight record-setting year — and of the 17 hottest years, 16 have been this century — a clear sign of the human-caused rise in global temperatures caused by the buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases over the past century. The world is already more than halfway down the road to surpassing the Paris climate pact goal to limit warming to less than 2°C (3.6°F) by 2100.
- NOAA: 24 extreme weather events intensified by climate change:
- NOAA blames global warming for 24 weird weather events in 2015 (AP):
“It has to be measureable. It has to be detectable. There has to be evidence for it, and that's what these papers do,” said NOAA scientist Stephanie Herring, co-editor of the report.
- Climate change played a role in dozens of floods, heatwaves, and droughts last year (Climate Progress):
The NOAA report, which was worked on by 116 scientists from around the world, did not seek to determine whether climate change “caused” any of the extreme weather events, but rather, whether climate change made the events more likely. It’s a distinction that might seem like splitting hairs, but it’s actually an important one.
- AUDIO: Yes, scientists say, Alaska wildfires linked to climate change (Alaska Public Radio KTOO)
- Poll Trump voters support climate action:
- Even Trump voters oppose Trump’s climate agenda. (Grist):
Fifty-five percent of people who backed Trump want to uphold current climate policies, and 61 percent think companies should be required to reduce carbon emissions, according to the poll, which was commissioned by the political consultancy Glover Park Group and performed by the market research firm Morning Consult.
- Trump Voters Support Climate Action, Environmental Protection, And Renewable Energy (Fast Co-Exist)
- Obama permanently bans offshore drilling in U.S. Arctic and Atlantic waters:
- VIDEO: President Obama Holds Final Press Conference of the Year (White House.gov)
- Transcript: Press Conference by the President, 12/16/16 (White House.gov)
- Trudeau Joins Obama in Freezing Arctic Offshore Oil Drilling (Bloomberg):
Although Obama’s decision was cast primarily as safeguarding 31 ecologically precious Atlantic canyons and "fragile Arctic waters," it was a major victory for environmental activists who have been arguing that even broader climate change concerns should drive the White House to rule out drilling in mostly untouched U.S. waters. Environmentalists said the decision sends a message to the world that the U.S. knows the warming Earth can’t afford to burn "extreme oil" locked under now-protected parts of the Arctic and Atlantic.
- Will Obama's new drilling ban survive Donald Trump? (E&E News):
The Constitution stipulates that Congress has the authority to regulate public lands, and presidents can only control them to the extent Congress delegates that power to them, said Niel Lawrence, Alaska director and a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. In the case of Section 12(a), the law specifically gives the president the authority to withdraw lands and that is it. "Congress only gave presidents the power to do this, but not to undo it," he said. "No president has ever tried to undo this."
- Renewable energy outpaces fossil fuels as cheapest energy source:
- World Energy Hits a Turning Point: Solar That's Cheaper Than Wind (Bloomberg):
A transformation is happening in global energy markets that’s worth noting as 2016 comes to an end: Solar power, for the first time, is becoming the cheapest form of new electricity. Emerging markets are leapfrogging the developed world thanks to cheap panels.
- This Just Became the World's Cheapest Form of Electricity Out of Nowhere (Fortune):
According to Bloomberg's analysis, the cost of solar power in China, India, Brazil and 55 other emerging market economies has dropped to about one third of its price in 2010. This means solar now pips wind as the cheapest form of renewable energy-but is also outperforming coal and gas.
- U.S. Solar Surges in Record-Breaking Quarter (EcoWatch)
- Solar capacity has increased 99% since last quarter: The industry is booming, and President Trump will be hard-pressed to stop it. (Climate Progress)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Rex Tillerson's state of denial: (New Yorker):
All of which goes to show that Tillerson is smart enough to have positioned himself, and repositioned his company, so that there’s now at least confusion about where he stands. But you have to be pretty desperate—and at this point many people are—to take this as cause for optimism. As has been copiously documented, ExxonMobil has a long history of peddling misinformation on climate change.
- Outgoing EPA chief: Science is 'fundamental to absolutely everything we do.' (Washington Post):
I’m thinking he has a big role to do here. He really doesn’t have a great deal of familiarity with the agency and the breadth of what it does, even though he has sued us on a number of occasions.
- China demands emissions cuts as year's worst smog chokes Beijing: (Bloomberg)
- Exxon Mobil oil spill hits communities in southeast Nigeria: local leader (Reuters):
Spills have been a source of tension across the Niger Delta, which often erupts into violence. The poverty-wracked region produces much of Nigeria's oil wealth, upon which the country depends, but it sees little of the money.
- California Forests Failing to Regrow After Intense Wildfires (Inside Climate News):
There are warning signs that some forests in the western U.S. may have a hard time recovering from the large and intense wildfires that have become more common as the climate warms.
- Oklahoma Tries Stronger Measures to Stop Earthquakes in Fracking Areas (Inside Climate News):
Oklahoma regulators released for the first time guidelines aimed to reduce the risk of major earthquakes being generated from fracking operations, including a mandate to immediately shut down operations in the event of a quake measuring 3.5 or higher on the Richter scale.
- Jury Orders DuPont To Pay $2M In C-8 Case (Wilmington, DE News-Journal):
A federal jury in Columbus, Ohio, has ordered DuPont to pay $2 million to Kenneth Vigneron, concluding exposure to a toxic chemical from the company's Parkersburg, West Virginia, plant caused his testicular cancer.
- Energy Dept. Offers $2B Loan To Louisiana. Carbon-Storage Project (AP):
The Energy Department said Wednesday it is offering a conditional, $2 billion loan guarantee to capture and store carbon dioxide at a planned Louisiana methanol plant, the latest element of President Obama’s strategy to slow global warming.
- VIDEO: Bill Maher Breaks Silence on Trump (Climate Crocks)
- Early warning system in the works to protect blue whales from ships: DFO (CBC):
The U.S. system, called WhaleWatch, combines data from tagged whales with current ocean conditions to predict where the mammals are heading next. Experts use that information to create maps of so-called whale "hotspots" from California to Washington state. The charts are used to warn vessels of mammals in their path.
- Emergency Managers, City Officials Charged In Flint Water Crisis (Detroit Free Press):
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's criminal investigation of the Flint water crisis moved a step closer to the highest levels of state government Tuesday as he brought felony charges against two former emergency managers who reported to former Treasurer Andy Dillon and were appointed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.
- Corals: Accidental discovery spurs coral growth, ignites hope (E&E News)
"We can [cycle through] an entire life cycle of a coral and make a selection predicting better survival," Vaughan said. "Otherwise, you would have said I got to wait 75 years and see if the next offspring are OK. And now, literally it's our lifetime. We can do something in our lifetime."
- Arizona Net-Metering Decision May Slow Solar Adoption (Arizona Daily Star):
A decision by state regulators to end net metering for customers with rooftop solar panels will curtail demand for such systems in Arizona, industry officials say.
- That Awkward Moment When Donald Trump's EPA Aide Christopher Horner Didn't Want to Talk About His Coal Funding (DeSmogBlog):
There are two things that have happened only once in my 20 years of interviewing people as a journalist and while neither were traumatic, they were both odd...What makes these two moments memorable, though, was that they both happened on the same night in Paris, and they both involved the same person — Christopher Horner.
- I'm a scientist who has gotten death threats. I fear what may happen under Trump. (Washington Post):
I've faced hostile investigations by politicians, demands for me to be fired from my job, threats against my life and even threats against my family... with the coming Trump administration, my colleagues and I are steeling ourselves for a renewed onslaught of intimidation, from inside and outside government. It would be bad for our work and bad for our planet.
- No country on Earth is taking the 2 degree climate target seriously (Vox):
If we mean what we say, no more new fossil fuels, anywhere.
FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page