IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: A Tale of Two Conventions: wrapping up the DNC vs. RNC; It's official: 2012 shaping up to be hottest year on record; Shell begins Arctic drilling, but the Arctic has other plans; PLUS: 9/11, and the consequences of ignoring warnings ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Foul smell across Southern Cali; Caribbean coral reefs near collapse; BP unloads millions in Gulf of Mexico leases; Massive wildfires, evacuations in West; NYC unprepared for rising sea levels, storm surge; Looming national security issue at chemical plants; Climate change challenge for power plant operators; China orders renewable energy standard ... PLUS: GM calls report of money-losing Volt sales 'grossly wrong' ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- It's Official: 2012 Warmest Year-to-Date:
- In U.S., 2012 so far is hottest year on record (Reuters) [emphasis added]:
The first eight months of 2012 have been the warmest of any year on record in the contiguous United States, and this has been the third-hottest summer since record-keeping began in 1895, the U.S. National Climate Data Center said on Monday.
Each of the last 15 months has seen above-average temperatures, something that has never happened before in the 117 years of the U.S. record, said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist at the data center.
- State of the Climate: National Overview, August 2012 (NOAA's Natl Climate Data Center)
- Summer 2012: 3rd hottest in U.S. history (Dr. Jeff Masters, Weather Underground) [emphasis added]:
[J]just 0.2°F shy of the hottest summer on record--the great Dust Bowl summer of 1936. Second place is held by 2011, which was just 0.1°F cooler than the summer of 1936. So far in 2012, we've had the warmest March on record, 3rd warmest April, 2nd warmest May, and warmest July. These remarkably warm months have helped push temperatures in the contiguous U.S. to the warmest on record for the year-to-date period of January - August.
- U.S. Has Third-Warmest Summer, Warmest Year to Date (Climate Central) [emphasis added]:
For the year-to-date, the U.S. had its warmest eight months of any year on record, and the past 12 months have been the warmest such period as well. During the eight-month period, 33 states were record warm and 12 states ranked in the top 10.
- US Experiences The Most Extreme Eight-Month Period For Weather Ever Recorded (Climate Progress)
- In U.S., 2012 so far is hottest year on record (Reuters) [emphasis added]:
- Shell Halts Drilling In Its Excellent Arctic Adventure:
- Shell halts Chukchi Sea drilling (AP):
Royal Dutch Shell on Monday was moving its drill ship off a prospect in the Chukchi Sea, a day after drilling began 70 miles off the Alaska coast because sea ice was moving toward the vessel.
- Calling Conditions ‘Benign,’ Shell Halts Offshore Arctic Drilling After One Day Because Of Massive Ice Sheet (Climate Progress)
- Romney vs. Obama on Climate:
- VIDEO: Obama at DNC: 'Climate Change is Not a Hoax' (The BRAD BLOG):
- VIDEO: Mitt Romney's Climate Change Remarks On 'Meet The Press' Outrage Environmental Activists (Huffington Post Green)
- Romney To Biosphere: Drop Dead (Climate Progress) [emphasis added]:
[F]or Romney, “I’m not in this race to slow the rise of the oceans or to heal the planet. I’m in this race to help the American people.” Romney has apparently missed the warming-driven rise of extreme weather that is harming the American people right now. A future in which humanity doesn’t mitigate greenhouse gases would be an unmitigated disaster for all of humanity, indeed for almost all living things (other than invasive species) — see “How We Know Inaction Is the Gravest Threat Humanity Faces.”
- DNC vs. RNC on Clean Energy, Environment, Climate:
- Science Debate 2012: Candidates' Answers, a Side by Side Comparison (ScienceDebate.org)
- The Romney-Ryan Ticket: Ceding The Clean Energy Future (Climate Progress)
- VIDEO: Team Obama Labels Romney's Mockery Of Climate Action 'Terrifying' (Climate Progress)
- GOP platform highlights the party's abrupt shift on energy, climate (Washington Post)
- Dems back global climate deal in platform (The Hill's E2 Wire)
- READ the Democratic Party's National Platform [PDF]
- READ The Republican Party's National Platform [PDF] (Republican National Committee)
- TRANSCRIPT: Inside Bill Clinton's Epic Convention Speech,
the original speech in black, with deletions in red and additions in blue.(Buzzfeed)
- Big Dog touches on big issue: Bill Clinton nods to climate change in convention speech (Grist) [emphasis added]:
If [Romney and Ryan] stay with a $5 trillion tax cut in a debt-reduction plan, the arithmetic tells us that one of three things will happen:
2) they’ll have to cut so much spending that they’ll obliterate the budget for our national parks, for ensuring clean air, clean water, safe food, safe air travel...
- Gov. Romney And Rep. Paul Ryan Want To Drill, Slash, And Sell Our Public Lands (Climate Progress)
- 9/11 and the Consequences of Ignored Warnings:
- 9/11, Climate Change, and Why Facts Matter (Peter Sinclair, Climate Crocks):
Why is a post about the 9/11 attack relevant to the story of climate change? Because its the clearest, most hideous, and most instructive example of how groupthink among a cadre of key policy makers is much more serious than merely a political game of point/counterpoint.
If we’ve learned nothing else from the 911 attacks, maybe its that we never learn anything. But facts do matter. Every opinion is not equally valid. It is not ok to tolerate disagreements that are not in good faith. The consequences are more than intellectual – they go beyond merely scoring talking points or one-upmanship at the water cooler – it is important that we understand where we are and what we are doing.
- The Deafness Before the Storm (Kurt Eichenwald, NY Times):
[S]ome in the [Bush] administration considered the warning to be just bluster. An intelligence official and a member of the Bush administration both told me in interviews that the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled...
In response, the C.I.A. prepared an analysis that all but pleaded with the White House to accept that the danger from Bin Laden was real.
- MEDIA FAIL: Climate Coverage Drop Due To ‘Disinformation And Intimidation Campaign’ Plus ‘Immensity’ Of Crisis (Climate Progress):
Complaints include what seems to the scientists a willful omission of overwhelming evidence the new droughts and floods are worsened by man made global warming, and unquestioning repetition, gullible at best, of transparent anti-science propaganda credibly reported to be funded by fossil fuel interests and anti-regulation allies.
- Bonus: 9/11 1st Responders Finally Get Cancer Coverage:
- Ground Zero Cancer Victims Happy But Frustrated (ABC News)
- VIDEO: Stewart Spends Show ENTIRELY On 9/11 First Responders Bill (Huffington Post) [emphasis added]:
The bill would provide $7 billion in benefits for those who first responded on 9/11 and are now experiencing subsequent health problems such as cancer and respiratory disease. While it passed the House, Republicans have blocked the bill from advancing in the Senate.
Stewart noted that, while the 9/11 first responders bill is stuck, Congress did manage to pass the controversial tax bill that will extend tax cuts to everyone including the super wealthy.
- Senate Passes 9/11 Health Bill as Republicans Back Down (NY Times, Dec. 22, 2010)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Foul odor across Southern California (LA Times):
Southern California awoke Monday morning to a foul odor that wouldn’t go away. Residents clogged 911 lines with calls, prompting health officials from Ventura County to Palm Springs to send out investigators in search of the source. By Monday evening, the leading theory was that the stink was caused by the annual die-off of fish in the Salton Sea. Officials believe Sunday evening’s thunderstorms and strong winds churned up the water and pushed the dead-fish smell to points west overnight.
- Caribbean coral reefs face collapse (Guardian UK):
Caribbean coral reefs are in danger of disappearing, depriving the world of one of its most beautiful and productive ecosystems
- BP sells some Gulf of Mexico assets for $5.6 billion (Washington Post):
The latest sale leaves BP close to its $38 billion goal for divestments to settle claims linked to the spill, part of a program that will leave the London-based oil giant more streamlined but still in possession of its best prospects for growth and most profitable assets. BP chief executive Bob Dudley said in a statement that the sales were “consistent with our strategy of playing to our strengths.”
- Massive wildfire drives hundreds from homes in Idaho (Reuters)
- Republican Meteorologist to Mitt Romney: My Top Ten Reasons for Republicans to Accept Reality on the Climate (Huffington Post Green)
- US the Only Nation Where Climate Scientists Face Organized Harassment: 'I feel for my American colleagues and what they've had to deal with,' one British climate scientist said. [ed. note: the survey did not include Australia] (Inside Climate)
- NYC Is Lagging as Seas and Risks Rise, Critics Warn (NY Times):
[E]ven as city officials earn high marks for environmental awareness, critics say New York is moving too slowly to address the potential for flooding that could paralyze transportation, cripple the low-lying financial district and temporarily drive hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.
- Climate change challenges power plant operations (Washington Post):
Drought and rising temperatures are forcing water managers across the country to scramble for ways to produce the same amount of power from the hydroelectric grid with less water, including from behemoths such as the Hoover Dam. Hydropower is not the only part of the nation’s energy system that appears increasingly vulnerable to the impact of climate change, as low water levels affect coal-fired and nuclear power plants’ operations and impede the passage of coal barges along the Mississippi River.
- OP-ED: The Chemical Threat to America (Former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, NY Times):
We considered using existing authority in the Clean Air Act to reduce the vulnerability of chemical facilities to acts of terrorism, primarily by requiring facilities to evaluate the use of safer chemicals and processes. After considerable internal discussion, however, we decided that the best way forward was to enact legislation that would give the E.P.A. additional authority to do so. Unfortunately, and much to my frustration, after a long, multiagency effort, the White House declined to endorse a draft bill, and Congress did not act on its own.
This has now become a 10-year battle. Today, Congress is hopelessly gridlocked on extending the inadequate homeland security appropriations statute that currently regulates the industry.
- Caribbean coral reefs face collapse (Guardian UK):
Caribbean coral reefs are in danger of disappearing, depriving the world of one of its most beautiful and productive ecosystems.
- China orders Renewable Energy Standard for wind energy (Reuters):
China will order its dominant electricity distributors to source up to 15 percent of their power from renewable energy including wind, but slow compliance means it may be years before the country's struggling wind power developers benefit, industry executives say.
- GM calls report of money-losing Volt sales 'grossly wrong' (LA Times) [emphasis added]:
General Motors disputes a Reuters report that the automaker is losing $49,000 on each plug-in hybrid Volt sold. It accuses the news agency of using bad math.
The automaker said the news agency incorrectly "allocated product development costs across the number of Volts sold instead of allocating across the lifetime volume of the program, which is how business operates."
- Why GM Actually Is Getting Its Money's Worth From The Chevy Volt (International Business Times)
- 5 Ways the Stanford Study Sells Organics Short (Mother Jones):
In short, the authors' findings confirm what the Environmental Working Group, crunching USDA data, has been telling us for years: that organic fruits and vegetables harbor significantly fewer pesticide residues than their chemically grown peers.
- Skeptical Science: Get the FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Arguments
- Report: Humans near tipping point that could dramatically change Earth (CS Monitor):
Human activity is affecting Earth in many ways, but a new study suggests that continued population growth and its impact on climate and ecology could trigger a more profound chain reaction of effects within little more than a decade.
- VIDEO: James Hansen: Why I must speak out about climate change (TED Talks):
Top climate scientist James Hansen tells the story of his involvement in the science of and debate over global climate change. In doing so he outlines the overwhelming evidence that change is happening and why that makes him deeply worried about the future.
- VIDEO ANIMATION: Time history of atmospheric CO2 (NOAA Carbon Tracker YouTube channel):
- VIDEO: Animation Charts Modern Global Warming (NYT Green)
- Thinking Big: NREL Study Shows 80 Percent Renewables Possible By 2050 (Climate Progress)
- Must-Read: Economist William Nordhaus Slams Global Warming Deniers, Explains Cost of Delay is $4 Trillion (Climate Progress):
Nordhaus's blunt piece - "Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong" - is worth reading because he is no climate hawk.
"The skeptics' summary is based on poor analysis and on an incorrect reading of the results."
- Part 1: The brutal logic of climate change (David Roberts, Grist) [emphasis added]:
It's simple: If there is to be any hope of avoiding civilization-threatening climate disruption, the U.S. and other nations must act immediately and aggressively on an unprecedented scale. That means moving to emergency footing. War footing. "Hitler is on the march and our survival is at stake" footing. That simply won't be possible unless a critical mass of people are on board. It's not the kind of thing you can sneak in incrementally.
It is unpleasant to talk like this. People don't want to hear it.
- Part 2: The brutal logic of climate change mitigation (David Roberts, Grist)
- How to Buy Time in the Fight against Climate Change: Mobilize to Stop Soot and Methane: A short list of relatively simple actions taken to reduce greenhouse gases other than CO2 could help put the brakes on global warming--if implemented globally (Scientific American)
- Climate Scientists Rebuke Rupert Murdoch: WSJ Denier Op-Ed Like 'Dentists Practicing Cardiology' (Think Progress Green)
- Saudi Oil Minister Calls Global Warming "Humanity's Most Pressing Concern" (Climate Progress):
"We know that pumping oil out of the ground does not create many jobs. It does not foster an entrepreneurial spirit, nor does it sharpen critical faculties."
- VIDEO: Behold: The World's First 24/7 Solar Plant is Up and Running (Treehugger)
- World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns: If fossil fuel infrastructure is not rapidly changed, the world will 'lose for ever' the chance to avoid dangerous climate change (Guardian UK) [emphasis added]:
The world is likely to build so many fossil-fuelled power stations, energy-guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels, and the last chance of combating dangerous climate change will be "lost for ever", according to the most thorough analysis yet of world energy infrastructure.
"The door is closing," Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, said. "I am very worried - if we don't change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety]. The door will be closed forever."
- Concise Overview: The IPCC report on extreme climate and weather events (Real Climate)
- READ the IPCC Report: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)
- The Real Global Warming Signal (Tamino)
- No, global warming hasn't stopped (New Scientist)
- Top UN Climate Official Blasts U.S. Climate Policy: Americans Must Realize "This Is Their Future They're Compromising" (Think Progress Green)
- VIDEO: Climate Scientists Michael Mann on "A Look Into Our Climate: Past To Present To Future" (TEDx, YouTube)
- Earth's Plant Growth Fell Because of Climate Change, Study Finds (NYT Green)
- Heads in the Sand: Warning: "Climate change is occurring … and poses significant risks to humans and the environment," reports the National Academy of Sciences. As climate-change science moves in one direction, Republicans in Congress are moving in another. Why?
(National Journal) [emphasis added]:Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, says there's no question that the influence of his group and others like it has been instrumental in the rise of Republican candidates who question or deny climate science. "If you look at where the situation was three years ago and where it is today, there's been a dramatic turnaround. Most of these candidates have figured out that the science has become political," he said.
Groups like Americans for Prosperity have done it."