IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Puerto Rico cancels controversial grid repair contract; Tesla restores power to PR children's hospital with solar and battery storage; Tropical Storm Philippe knocks out power in 7 Northeastern states; Global CO2 jumps to highest level in more than 3 million years; PLUS: Congressional Republicans may support resilient electric grids. Just don't mention climate change... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): EPA Pruitt to fill science panels with industry representatives; CO residents condemn regulators for allowing drilling near homes; NOAA about-face on red snapper revives overfishing threat; Same lake, but unequal water rates for minority communities; 'Emissions gap' alarmingly high, says UN; Loss of federal sanctuary protections endangers crucial reefs; Fish rebounding two years after CA dam removal; Trump to shrink 2 national monuments in UT; Native American professor resigns over censorship of DAPL seminars... PLUS: Trump's gang of climate change deniers has grown into an army in top government positions.... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Tiny Montana company's mysterious $300 million contract to repair Puerto Rico's electric grid; Non-partisan GAO reports climate disasters have already cost US taxpayers $350 billion; Trump's US Ambassador to Canada invents new form of climate denial; PLUS: On the 5th anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, new study warns no US city is prepared for climate change impacts... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): GOP Senate advances Trump industry nominees to key regulatory positions; Tesla installs solar + storage battery system at Puerto Rico children's hospital; Interior Dept. scrubs climate change from its strategic plan; Trump to auction off vast swath of Gulf of Mexico to oil companies; Plan to drill in US marine sanctuaries sent to Trump, not to public; Electric buses are coming and they're going to help fix 4 problems; EPA to review impact of efficiency rules, environmental rule on fossil fuel jobs; 17 national parks could see huge fee hike... PLUS: Donald Trump: Bird Killer.... and much, MUCH more! ...
On today's BradCast: Big wins for Democrats, a public face-plant for a renowned GOP "voter fraud" fraudster, more on Irma's historic devastation, and the scientific facts behind what helped to make it so devastating, from someone who actually knows. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]
Before we get to the increasingly disturbing situation on the ground following Hurricane Irma in Florida and elsewhere --- and why that storm and Harvey before it were so terrible in the first place --- a few news items of note today. First up: Democrats took over two different state legislative seats in special elections wins on Tuesday, one in Oklahoma and one in New Hampshire. Both races were in districts that Trump won by very large margins last November. The victories for Dems --- including huge reported vote swings from R to D --- are of a piece with a series of other special elections held so far this year, including four in Oklahoma alone.
In, yes, related news, former President Jimmy Carter offered some noteworthy statements on North Korea that President Donald Trump may wish to notice, and also some words about worldwide democracy and the need for public oversight of ballot counting.
In the meantime, following some wildly misleading claims about stolen elections and "voter fraud" in New Hampshire from Kris Kobach, the vice-chair of Trump's so-called "Election Integrity" Commission and Sec. of State of Kansas, panelists and members of his own commission, including NH's own Sec. of State, blasted the GOP "voter fraud" fraudster, to his face, during the Commission's second public meeting, held on Tuesday in...NH!
While Republicans are very quick to use even the most sketchy threads of "evidence" they can possibly discover to claim that our democracy has fallen victim to a massive Democratic "voter fraud" conspiracy --- and that we must take radical steps to prevent it, even if it means millions of our fellow citizens lose their RIGHT to vote --- there is, apparently, a very different standard for "evidence" when it comes to climate change. On that, decades of peer-reviewed evidence and tens of thousands of studies don't seem to do the trick, for some reason. That evidence, is simply dismissed by the GOP's fossil fuel-funded cronies. Now it's costing the U.S. --- and the planet --- bigly.
After an update on the death toll and deteriorating conditions in some parts of Florida following Hurricane Irma, we're joined by Penn State University climate scientist and authorDR. MICHAEL E. MANN, to discuss what made Hurricanes Harvey and Irma so historically extraordinary (and deadly) and why now is absolutely the right time, despite claims to the contrary by top officials in the Trump Administration and their fellow wingnut denialist community, to discuss the growing impact of our climate crisis and the relationship between that and hurricanes, flooding, wild fires, drought and more across the globe.
"In a word, warmth," Mann tells me when I ask him why Harvey and Irma, from a meteorological perspective, were so uniquely devastating. "Warm oceans mean more moisture in the atmosphere, moisture that's available for record rainfall like we saw in Harvey. It also means greater intensification of these storms --- and indeed, we saw the most intense hurricane ever in the open Atlantic, Irma, at a 185 miles per hour."
He notes that "over the last three years, when global ocean temperatures have been at their warmest, we've seen the strongest hurricane ever, globally, which was Patricia in the Pacific a couple of years ago, we have seen, obviously, the strongest storm in the Northern Hemisphere [Irma]. We've also seen the strongest storm in the Southern Hemisphere [Winston]."
"We've warmed the global oceans more than one degree Fahrenheit. That amounts to about a 7% increase in wind speeds. That 7% increase in wind speed means roughly 20% increase in destructive potential. It's not coincidental that we're noticing that. That is not a subtle climate signal. That is a very tangible impact that warming is having on the destructive potential of these storms."
Mann goes on to explain how the U.S. is "falling behind" Europe when it comes to investment, and accurate results, in climate and weather forecasts; responds to critics who use "straw men" and denial to "muddy the waters" and "poison the well"; draws an interesting parallel between Superstorm Sandy and the Sandy Hook mass murder, in response to those who say "now is not the time to discuss climate"; explains why he believes, as a professor of meteorology, there are still so many broadcast meteorologists in the dwindling denier community (and casts some of the blame for that on his own Penn State); and why he feels that recent comments about climate change from Sen. John McCain may offer reason for optimism.
"Ironically, the era of Trump, as adverse as it might feel when it comes to climate action, may ironically be creating a divide within the Republican Party that could end up leading to a governing coalition for action on climate," says the ever optimistic Mann near the end of today's conversation...
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MONTHLY BRAD BLOG SUBSCRIPTION
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: After widespread devastation in the Caribbean, Hurricane Irma takes aim at the U.S.; Hurricane Harvey leaves behind a man-made ecological disaster; PLUS: Record heat waves and wildfires across the West --- and FEMA is out of money... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Hackers gain access to US electric grid; 2017 wildfire season in West is far worse than predicted; $2B to clean up toxic firefighting chemicals at military bases; Harvey swept toxic liquid mercury ashore, source still a mystery; Is your shampoo poisoning your drinking water?; 240-year old record shows coral reef losses worse than previously believed; NC sues company over river pollution; EPA political appointee now in charge of approving all grant applications; Oroville Dam investigators say inspectors missed multiple cues... PLUS: Harvey's toxic aftermath was preventable.... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Widespread devastation in the wake of record-breaking Hurricane Harvey; Officials warn the hardest work is just beginning; Explosions rock flooded Texas chemical plant; Trump revoked flood prevention reconstruction rules; PLUS: Looking ahead, looming battles in Congress over disaster relief and flood insurance... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): EPA’s regulatory rollback would ensure that in disasters like Harvey, pollution is worse; Two new tropical storms take aim at U.S.; Trapped bakery workers spent days baking bread for Harvey victims; Harvey's toll on energy industry shows a Texas vulnerability; Why '500-year floods' are happening more frequently; MI demands Enbridge fix Mackinac Strait pipelines; Interior misspent $32 million thanks to lax oversight; EPA claims climate scientists trying to 'politicize' record storm; FERC approves controversial pipeline route over residents' objections; Coal payment loophole remains despite court ruling; Sea Shepherd pulls plug on Japan whale hunt... PLUS: Hurricane Harvey is what climate change looks like... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Sen. Lindsey Graham wants federal aid for South Carolina flooding --- but voted against it for Hurricane Sandy; Environmental groups slam TPP agreement; New rules to protect farmworkers from pesticides; Fracking companies wasting taxpayers' money; PLUS: Obama creates two new marine sanctuaries in the U.S.... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): D.C. Water begins harnessing electricity from every flush; GOP grills Energy secretary on oil exports; Why Europeans are better at forecasting storms than the US; Will VW now turn to EVs?; BP record settlement in Gulf oil spill made official, larger than thought; DuPont to pay $1.6m in Teflon water contamination suit; Monsanto mobilized academics to write articles supporting GMOs; PLUS: What will a global agreement on climate change look like? The U.N. just gave us a clue ... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: 'Sit down and shut up!': Superstorm Sandy recovery stalled, 2 years later; The Weather Channel repudiates its climate change-denying co-founder; PLUS: 'It's not too late': the stark yet hopeful message in the UN's final climate science report... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Toxic chemicals skyrocket near fracking sites; Solar energy to hit grid parity in U.S. by 2016; Libertarian 'think tank' sues White House over climate change video; Did Nuclear Regulatory Commission secretly alter earthquake standards?; Nuclear industry failing to address climate change; Monsanto targeting Millennials; Hope fades for trapped coal miners; CA: electric car chargers mandated for new construction ... PLUS: The Red Cross' Secret Disaster: Superstorm Sandy response was definitely not a success ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Ultimately, among the hardest hit of those northeastern states was New Jersey, which, shamefully, still forces almost all of its voters to cast their ballots on 100% unverifiable electronic touch-screen systems.
On the weekend before Election Day, as water was rising and power was out across much of the eastern part of the state, NJ's Gov. Chris Christie and Lt. Governor Kim Guadano issued an unusual, emergency order, allowing for the use of early voting to ease the crush on Election Day in areas where some polling places would be shut down to due flooding, and for the use of paper ballot voting in precincts where power was still likely to be out as of Election Day.
We applauded those emergency measures at the time, particularly as the chances for voters to actually have their votes counted accurately and transparently could only increase with the use of hand-marked paper ballots in a state which has had nothing but disasters over the years with their oft-failed, easily-manipulated touch-screen voting system.
However, at the same time Guadano was announcing those emergency measures, she also --- without bothering to consult with election officials around the state --- tossed in one other emergency order [PDF] which, as we warned at the time, was likely to be a terrible mistake.
Guadano ordered emergency Internet Voting --- of a sort --- by allowing for voters displaced by the storm (and it would be left up to election officials' discretion to determine which voters were or weren't "displaced") to cast their ballots via email or fax.
We now know, thanks to a new report from the Rutger's School of Law [PDF], that, indeed, NJ's experiment with voting over fax and the Internet was a disaster, one that led to tens of thousands of unauthenticated votes in 2012, and which hasn't hasn't been reported by the media...until now...
Exclusive audio revealed Rightwing gathering cheered NJ Guv's rejection of landmark greenhouse gas initiative weeks after secret one-on-one with billionaire brother, just months before state coast devastated by global warming-linked 'Superstorm Sandy'...
With New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) up for re-election next Tuesday, we've been getting quite a bit of traffic here from Mother Jones where I originally broke my series of exclusive reports on audio recordings from inside the Koch Brothers' secret 2011 Summer Summit near Vail, CO that year.
As a quick reminder of what was heard on those tapes, and what happened there, Christie --- literally --- had snuck out of New Jersey to fly to Vail for the day to perform as the keynote speaker at the super-secret Koch Brothers gathering with a few hundred very select Republican millionaires and billionaires who were meeting to plot what Charles Koch described to the assembled as "the mother of all wars...for the life or death of this country." That, along with comparing President Obama to Saddam Hussein, was how he described what would be their fight for the 2012 Presidential election.
Billionaire brother David is heard introducing Christie at the event as "my kind of guy", describing him as "a true political hero". He boasted that he'd met with Christie secretly, not long before, "for about two hours --- just the two of us," in David Koch's New York City office, and that he was hoping the NJ Governor would some day have "a larger stage where, God knows, he is desperately needed."
Given that this week also happens to be the one year anniversary of "Superstorm Sandy" and Christie is out taking curtain calls for his performance in its wake, it's also well worth noting that, during his effusive introduction to Christie, David Koch also went on to laud him for pulling out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a landmark agreement by a number of northeastern states to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the region...
DAVID KOCH: Another example of Governor Christie's commitment to the free enterprise system is that only a few weeks ago he announced that New Jersey would be withdrawing from the [Regional] Greenhouse Gas Initiative which is a [cheers and applause], which would have raised energy costs, reduced economic growth and led to very little, if any, benefit for the environment. [A 'boo' is heard.]
Christie's surprise withdrawal from RGGI was met with great applause in the banquet hall in Colorado, as well as from Rightwing climate change denialists when it actually occurred. He pulled out of the landmark pact just weeks after Koch and Christie had their secret meeting in New York City, a little over a year before the global warming-linked Sandy would result in the loss of more than a hundred citizens and billions of dollars worth of damage. After we published the secret Koch tapes, Christie would claim that he never discussed RGGI with the Kochs --- it "never came up", he said --- though the Director of the NJ Sierra Club told me that Christie should not be believed.
As to Christie's secret speech itself that night in Colorado --- the security for which was so extreme there were speakers set up around the perimeter of the dining hall to pump "pink noise" into the mountainside to stymie long-range parabolic microphones --- the NJ Governor delivered a stem-winder to the Kochs' assembled high and mighty. He bragged about how he'd fooled Democrats in the state legislature into supporting massive cuts to state pensions, and how he'd planned next to "take on the teachers' union once and for all."
The full audio and text transcripts of the remarks by Charles and David Koch, as well as the speech by Christie, are posted in full here, in case New Jersey voters would like to review the record before heading to the polls next Tuesday.
The full series of stories and their fallout can be perused here.
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: One year later: the lessons of Superstorm Sandy - Scientists question rebuilding in coastal areas, warn of future climate impacts & of sea level rise; PLUS: It's official: the Poles are having a heat wave! (No, not the Polish people) ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Leaked Documents Reveal the Secret Finances of a Pro-Industry Science Group; Voters in 2014 swing states favor EPA carbon rules; Washington State county to vote on Big Coal's future; Coal industry lawyers hid evidence of black lung among sick miners; Most Powerful Storm in 14 Years Sweeps Northwestern Europe; Wireless electric car charging works, researchers show; BBC criticized for promoting climate science deniers; Battery breakthrough with graphene-coated power cell; BP Oil Disaster: Gulf fishermen say 'there's no life out there'; Western governors sign climate agreement ... PLUS: The National Review’s worst nightmare: Climate activists might win ... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Government Shutdown-palooza begins, and it affects a lot of 'green' stuff; It's Yosemite National Park's 123rd birthday - but Yosemite's now closed, too; Florida sues Georgia over water; India to build world's largest solar plant; PLUS: BP back in court over Gulf Oil Disaster ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): The real budget crisis: our 'carbon budget'; Exploding Fuel Tankers Driving U.S. Army to Solar Power; NBC cancels show after NRA lobbyist shoots elephant in face, compares critics to Hitler; Fracking chemicals unknown, even to drillers; Billionaires Steyer, Paulson, and Bloomberg begin climate change campaign; NC man who made sea level rise disappear; Chile invests in tidal/wave power; FERC nominee Ron Binz withdraws amid coal pushback ... PLUS: VIDEO: What our idyllic, non-dystopian future would look like if we fixed the world ... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Special 'While We Were Out' Edition: Fukushima nuclear incident raised to Level 3; UN: climate change still a very big problem; Frackers drain TX towns of water; Wildfires n' water fights in the dried-out West; PLUS: The White House goes solar --- again ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): What Al Jazeera America didn't say about climate change; Germany breaks its own solar record; MSM's ambivalent coverage of climate change’s ‘new normal’; Battle over global warming is all in your head; Why so many conservatives deny climate sciece [they hate the solution]; Why US power grid's days are numbered; All US nuclear reactors vulnerable to terrorists; Mosquitos are worse this summer ... PLUS: Might as well face it, you’re addicted to oil (an intervention) ... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: President Obama smacks down Keystone XL jobs claims; EPA's McCarthy smacks down false choice of jobs vs. environment; Rand Paul and Chris Christie smack down each other; In Australia, winter is the new summer; 'Witches brew' of pesticides still killing bees; PLUS: Solar-powered battery breakthrough - but you'll never guess where it's being used ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Can GMO oranges save FL industry?; Internal EPA Report reveals disputes over fracking, water; Sunken tar sands oil still threatening Kalamazoo River; BP Oil Spill: Halliburton pleads guilty to destroying evidence; Feds details JPMorgan's criminal electricity market manipulation; Legal battles over land rights, pipelines increase; Does Lake Michigan's record low mark start of new era for Great Lakes?; FL natural gas pipeline explodes; Cashmere boom threatens snow leopards ... PLUS: Sea level rise is 'locking in quickly' ... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Greenpeace activists scale Shell Tower to protest Arctic drilling; US, China agree to cut emissions; Air pollution more deadly than thought; CNBC fails viewers...again; PLUS: Hell freezes over: Fox News reports on climate change?!?! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Monsanto's GMO seeds lead to rise in insecticide use; Hansen: Fossil fuel addiction could trigger runaway global warming; Fukushima chief engineer dies of cancer; Exxon blames manufacturer for AR tar sands pipeline spill; BP appeals oil spill settlement; Climate activists can learn from LGBT marriage success; FP: Canada now a 'rogue petrostate'; Power plants linked to 78% drop in fish stocks ... PLUS: Funny: Can a Sharknado really happen? ... and much, MUCH more! ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: A Green News Special Report: President Obama's historic speech on climate change - his warnings, initiatives, and what it means for the future ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Dan Savage: 'The War This Time'; Researchers ID organic solar cell materials; Insurers reassess natural disaster policies; EPA abandons study that linked fracking to Wyoming water pollution; Breakthrough: cheaper, better batteries for 300-mile EVs; Record floods in India, Nepal, Calgary; 50k dead bees in OR from pesticides; Houston to get half its electricity from renewables; Ocean seafloor is covered in trash; Megadrought predicted for U.S. Southwest; Volvo tests in-road EV charging ... PLUS: "Goodbye, Miami": as the seas rise, there will be chaos... and much, MUCH more! ...