IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: WA bridge collapse another 'wake-up call' on the nation's infrastructure; CA Gov. Brown calls for immediate action on climate change; Global protest "March Against Monsanto" against GMOs; PLUS: CBO says carbon tax a good idea - but only if you care about future Americans (Oh, and dead rats are falling from the sky!)... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Wal-mart pleads guilty to toxic waste dumping [no jail time!]; Stunning report slams U.S. food inspection, safety; Electric car-maker Better Place: what went wrong?; Shocker: CBS' Face the Nation covers climate change & extreme weather; Majority of world population to face water shortages by 2050; Explainer: Utilities vs. renewables for dummies; NY pilot program to compost city food scraps; Russia's Arctic research station evacuated due to melting ice ... PLUS: Ending world hunger with a 3-D printer? NASA's newest project ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Brad's Apocalyptic Dead Rat Story: This Actually Happened... (The BRAD BLOG)
- WA: I-5 Bridge Collapse a 'Wake-Up Call':
- NTSB: Bridge collapse in Wash. is wake-up call (AP)
- VIDEO: Skagit River bridge collapse: Not the only one waiting to happen (CS Monitor):
The collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River is a reminder that thousands of bridges in the US are in serious need of repair or replacement. President Obama proposed a "Fix it First" program, but the budget sequester may have squelched that.
- VIDEO: Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Maria Cantwell press conference on Skagit bridge (KING-TV Seattle)
- NTSB: Wash. bridge collapse could be significant nationally; Quick, long-term fixes in works (Washington Post)
- CA Gov. Jerry Brown Calls for Action, Rails Against Climate Science Deniers:
- Climate change: Environmentalists question whether Gov. Jerry Brown's actions match his rhetoric (San Jose Mercury News) [emphasis added]:
"Five years from now, it's over," unless we change our ways sooner, [Gov. Borwn] said. Some environmentalists, however, say Brown's actions don't match his rhetoric --- particularly his recent decision to divert $500 million in cap-and-trade fee revenues away from clean-energy and pollution-abatement projects to help California balance its books.
- Gov. Brown and Scientists Call for Action on Climate Change, Global Environment (Assoc. of CA Water Agencies):
The call to action identifies five key threats to the environment that policymakers must address now to avoid the degradation of humanity’s health and prosperity. The statement also outlines broad solutions to the challenges.
- Consensus Statement from Global Scientists (Stanford Univ. Millenium Alliance for for Humanity & the Biosphere)
- China Poised to Launch Much-Anticipated Carbon-Trading Project (Yale Environmet 360)
- 'March Against Monsanto' Against Seed Monopoly, GMOs:
- Worldwide protests held against Monsanto (Al Jazeera):
"March against Monsanto" held in 250 US cities and dozens of other countries over genetically modified foods.
- March against Monsanto: Toronto, Canada saw 2,000 in the streets (Digital Journal)
- Senate rejects GM food labeling amendment to farm bill: Bernie Sanders of Vermont says he will continue to push for declaration on packaging of genetically modified ingredients (Guardian UK)
- CBO: Carbon Tax A Good Idea Only If You Care About Future Generations:
- CBO: Carbon tax an option to avoid 'catastrophic' outcomes (The Hill's e2 Wire):
CBO said in a new report that there are many uncertainties about how to design and implement a carbon tax, but waiting too long to curb greenhouse gas emissions would have clear results. “[D]elays would increase the expected damage from climate change by increasing the risk of very costly, potentially even catastrophic, outcomes."
- Seven thrilling facts about carbon taxes from the CBO (Washington Post)
- Politico: Frustration Grows as Time Ticks Away for Climate Action (Scaling Green)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- The 5 characteristics of global warming consensus denial (Skeptical Science):
All movements that reject an overwhelming scientific consensus show 5 inevitable characteristics [PDF]. They celebrate fake experts, cherry pick the data, argue using misrepresentation and logical fallacies, indulge in conspiracy theories, and demand impossible expectations of what research can deliver.
- The audacious plan to end hunger with 3-D printed food (Quartz):
Anjan Contractor’s 3D food printer might evoke visions of the “replicator” popularized in Star Trek, from which Captain Picard was constantly interrupting himself to order tea. And indeed Contractor’s company, Systems & Materials Research Corporation, just got a six month, $125,000 grant from NASA to create a prototype of his universal food synthesizer.
- VIDEO: Heidi Cullen Explains Climate, Extremes on CBS Face the Nation (Climate Central):
"And so right now I'd say that the jury is still out as to how global warming will affect tornadoes, which of those two variables will win out," Cullen said. "But when it comes to things like heat waves, when it comes to things like heavy rainstorms, drought, wildfires, we know that the atmosphere is on steroids, if you will. So basically we know that we'd have to deal with weather-related risks. We live in a country that has always seen extreme weather. We're basically moving in a direction where we're going to see more and more of certain of these extremes."
- Walmart pleads guilty to dumping hazardous waste in California: Walmart to pay $81m as part of the plea after admitting dumping pollutants from stores into sanitation drains in California (Guardian UK)
- Russia abandoning Arctic ice station (Arctic Sea Ice Blog):
Russia has ordered an "urgent" evacuation of it's drifting ice station known as North Pole-40 that sits on top Arctic sea ice, because of disintegrating sea ice that is posing dangerous conditions to reseachers. This is one more indication that the thickness of the ice is now getting very thin at places it was not before, a metric not fully captured in the extent and area data.
- Majority of Earth’s Population Faces Water Shortages by Mid-Century (Yale e360) [emphasis added]:
At the meeting, “Water in the Anthropocene,” the scientists said that the of over-pumping of underground aquifers, soaring populations, pollution, the over-use of fertilizers, and climate change are seriously threatening supplies of freshwater around much of the globe. Continuing on the current path will mean that most of Earth’s population “will be living under the handicap of severe water pressure,” the scientists said, adding, “This handicap will be self-inflicted and is, we believe, entirely avoidable.”
- America's first hemp crop in 60 years was planted this week in Colorado (Treehugger)
- Utilities for dummies, part 2: Why we need competitive electricity markets (with fennec foxes!)
- Trenberth: Global warming is here to stay, whichever way you look at it (The Conversation)
- Vokashi: compost pick-up for New Yorkers: A service that collects food scraps is a test case for better city composting. (Treehugger)
- Lessons Learned From SolarCity’s First Home Energy Storage Installs (GreenTech Media) [emphasis added]:
"We think storage will be absolutely necessary to enable the deployment of solar across the grid at extremely high penetrations," adding, "When you combine solar and storage, you have a dispatchable asset at the load."
- USDA Inspector General: Food Safety and Humane Slaughter Laws Ignored With Impunity (Huffington Post Green):
Two weeks ago, the USDA's Office of the Inspector General released a report that, once again, proves that our food system is broken: First, FSIS doesn't meaningfully attempt to stop repeat violations of food safety laws. Second, it has allowed a 15-year-old pilot program with faster slaughter and fewer inspectors to proceed without review. Third, it all but ignores its humane slaughter mandate. Remarkably, unless you read Food Safety News or the agricultural media, you will have missed this extremely damning report.
- Bankruptcy: How Better Place got lost (Sydney Morning Herald):
The company's business model relied not only on such a transformation but on drivers turning to Better Place's battery switching and management technology in volume.
- Sorry, Phoenix!: Screwed by climate change: 10 cities that will be hardest hit (Grist)
- 97% global warming consensus meets resistance from scientific denialism: The robust climate consensus faces resistance from conspiracy theories, cherry picking, and misrepresentations (Guardian UK)
- Appeals court hands EPA big victory on smelter regulations (Greenwire):
The standards were quickly challenged by the Association of Battery Recyclers as being too stringent, erroneously regulating elemental lead instead of lead compounds and inappropriately requiring continuous monitoring. Public health advocates also filed a lawsuit challenging EPA's methodology and its decision not to set a new maximum achievable control technology (MACT) "floor," a stringency requirement based on reductions already achieved by the best-performing facilities.
- San Onofre: Internal letter reveals Edison knew of defects at crippled reactors but misled federal regulators to get expedited license (Friends of the Earth) [emphasis added]:
Sen. Barbara Boxer has released a private 2004 letter from Southern California Edison that reveals the utility knew of major problems in its radically redesigned replacement steam generators at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station that could lead to a “disastrous outcome,” but the company knowingly misrepresented its failed design as a “like-for-like” replacement to sidestep a more thorough license review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
- NYT Op-ed: The Oil Extremists (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
Mr. Hastings and friends tried hard in the last Congress to undermine many basic environmental laws and open up huge swaths of America’s public estate, onshore and offshore, to drilling, including the coasts of Maine, California, Oregon and Washington (Mr. Hastings’s home state), as well as all the waters off Alaska. That they failed has not diminished their appetites.
- OK Tornado: At Cushing oil hub, emergency drill foretells hard reality in Tornado Alley (Energy & Environment News):
[W]hen members of the Safety Alliance of Cushing considered what scenario made the most sense this time around, their minds went to a similar place: a terrorist attack. "Then somebody said, 'Hey, we're in Tornado Alley,'" Roberts recalled.
- Survey shows 70% of Americans think global warming should be a priority, but... (Treehugger)
- Solar power delivers clean water to rural Kenya: bit.ly/14ChXGu
Another powerful potential of renewable energy
- This Printer Spits Out 10 Meters of Solar Panel Every Minute (Gizmodo)
- Solar plane lands in Texas, completes 2nd leg of trip intended to boost clean energy interest (Washington Post)
- Tesla Motors Pays Back Energy Department Loan 9 Years Early (Climate Progress)
- Tesla CEO Musk: 'Reframe' climate argument (The Hill's e2 Wire) [emphasis added]:
[I]t’s better to actually say, ‘Look, how certain are you that it is not catastrophic?’ And then you’ll get the correct answer,” Musk said Wednesday night at the Climate Leadership Gala. Musk also said he had a solution — albeit one Republicans have outright rejected — for reducing carbon emissions.
“The thing they’ve got to do is try to put a tax on carbon,” he said, inducing cheers.
After a pause, he added, “It’s funny, when I was talking to Congress about this I didn’t nearly get that much applause.”
- Milestone: U.S reaches 100,000 plug-in vehicles sold (Treehugger)
- The Truth about the Anti-Wind Movement: A Tiny, Paranoid, Disinformed, Koch-Funded Fringe (Climate Crocks)
- New Mexico setting new records with drought (KOB-TV Albuquerque)
- Former NY Army Corps Commander On Post-Sandy Reality: 'Climate Change Is Real,' 'We've Got To Stop Ignoring It' (Climate Progress)
- Friday Trash Dump: Obama DOE Approves 2nd Fracked Gas LNG Export Terminal (DeSmogBlog)
- We Have Met the Unknown Unknowns and They are Us (Legal Planet):
There are uncertainties about climate science such as tipping points and feedback effects. But these pale in comparison to the biggest source of uncertainties: people. Here are some of the major things we don't know and really can't know about future society.
- Utilities vs. rooftop solar: What the fight is about (Grist)
- Oil CEO: Humans are involved with climate change (Fuel Fix):
But when asked about the role of government in discouraging greenhouse gas emissions, Lance said it needed careful consideration, even though ConocoPhillips operates in countries with such rules...."But we do think, as we think about this and try to tackle this issue as a global community, it needs to be tackled on a global scale and it needs to be industry blind. It needs to cut across all industries. you shouldn't be picking on one industry or another to try to solve the problem."
- New Study: Climate change: human disaster looms: Forecast global temperature rise of 4C a calamity for large swaths of planet even if predicted extremes are not reached (Guardian UK)
- 97% Scientisfic Consensus: Scientists united on climate change, at odds with public view (Reuters)
- Heat-Trapping Gas Passes 400ppm Milestone, Raising Fears (NY Times):
"It feels like the inevitable march toward disaster," said Maureen E. Raymo, a scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a unit of Columbia University.
- Wall Street Journal's Idiocracy: CO2 Is What Plants Crave (Media Matters.org)
- U.S. Supreme Court Rules for Monsanto in Patent Fight (Reuters)
- Warning: Even in the best-case scenario, climate change will kick our asses (Grist)
- Unburnable fuel: Either governments are not serious about climate change or fossil-fuel firms are overvalued (The Economist) [emphasis added]:
But what if some of those [fossil fuel] reserves can never be dug up and burned? ... If governments were determined to implement their climate policies, a lot of that carbon would have to be left in the ground...
- COVER STORY: It's Global Warming, Stupid (Businessweek):
If all that doesn't impress, forget the scientists ostensibly devoted to advancing knowledge and saving lives. Listen instead to corporate insurers committed to compiling statistics for profit.
- Ocean Acidification: Animals are already dissolving in Southern Ocean (New Scientist)
- Skeptical Science: Get the FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Arguments
- 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)
- 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. ...It is unpleasant to talk like this. People don't want to hear it.