IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: 2014 on track for hottest year on record; Washington state governor proposes a carbon cap and trade system; Plastic trash pollution in the oceans worse than previously known; PLUS: Innovative solar energy breakthrough out of Australia... All that and more in our last Green News Report of the year!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): EPA issues new rules for toxic coal ash waste; Measuring the true cost of coal; Insane impacts of factory farming; NDAA giveaways include increasing fracking on public lands; US power grid needs $2.1 trillion investment; Texas weakens chemical exposure guidelines; Most U.S. coastal cities to see 'nuisance flooding'; Autism again linked to air pollution exposure in pregnancy... PLUS: What Might Have Been - Al Gore on climate change in 1983... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- 2014 to be Hottest Year on Record, Arctic Warming 2x Faster Than Rest of Planet:
- Snow Is Down and Heat Is Up in the Arctic, Report Says (NY Times):
The Arctic continues to warm faster than the rest of the globe, and with greater repercussions, scientists are reporting.
- November in Books; 2014 On Pace for Hottest Year (Climate Central):
With November’s temperature numbers in the books, 2014 is on track to be the hottest year ever recorded, newly released data from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show. During the month, the patterns that have been in place for much of the year held fast: While the eastern U.S. was plunged into a deep freeze, the world as a whole continued warming, fueled by the rise of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
- Earth's 7th Warmest November Puts 2014 on Pace to be Warmest Year on Record: NOAA (Dr. Jeff Masters, Weather Underground)
- Washington State Gov. Inslee Proposes Cap And Trade System:
- VIDEO: Gov. Inslee Climate & Clean Energy Policy Announcement (TVW.org)
- 2015 Climate Legislation: Reducing Carbon Pollution and Transitioning to Clean Energy [PDF] (Office of WA Gov. Jay Inslee)
- Washington cap-and-trade program would require Washington polluters to pay for carbon released (AP) [emphasis added]:
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday proposed an ambitious cap-and-trade program to require the state's largest industrial polluters to pay for every ton of carbon they release...."They may conclude it's better to tax pollution than voters, that it's better to tax polluters than drivers," Inslee said....The proposal will apply to about 130 large facilities, including refineries, power plants and steel mills, or those that emit more than 25,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases a year.
- Inslee targets polluters with billion-dollar cap-and-trade plan (Seattle Times)
- Plastic in the Oceans: 700 Pieces Per Person on Earth:
- Plastic debris in the open ocean (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sceicnes)
- VIDEO: Report: Ocean Is Filled With Trillions of Plastic Pieces (NBC Nightly News):
Nearly 300,000 tons of plastic pieces are in the world's oceans, according to a report.
- The Oceans' Plastic Pollution Problem Is Far Worse Than We Thought, and Here's Why (Take Part):
Researchers find that 5 trillion pieces of plastic are contaminating the oceans and threatening marine life.
- Microplastic deposits found deep in world's oceans and seas (Guardian UK):
Study of 12 sites concludes that deep sea sediments are acting as a sink for substantial quantities tiny pieces of plastic....Scientists believe they have solved the mystery of where tens of thousands of tonnes of missing tiny pieces of plastic are ending up – and the answer lies in the mud and sand on the ocean floor.
- Innovation: Solar Energy Efficiency Breakthrough:
- Solar energy world first in Australia (Sydney Morning Herald) [emphasis added]:
The advance involved two steps. Three solar panels were stacked to capture energy from different wave lengths of sunlight, and then excess light from the stacked panels was directed by a mirror and filters to a fourth PV cell, making use of energy previously discarded.
- UNSW researchers set world record in solar energy efficiency (press release, Univ. New South Wales)
- VIDEO: Solar Panel Tech Hits New Efficiency Milestone: (D News)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Video: What Might Have Been - Al Gore on Climate Change in 1983 (Climate Crocks):
This is what a visionary looks like. No wonder deniers hate him. If Gore’s been right for 30 years – then what are they?
- E.P.A. Issues Rules on Disposal of Coal Ash to Protect Water Supply (NY Times):
The E.P.A. declined to designate coal ash a hazardous material, but said power plants would have to meet certain minimum structural standards for landfills and disposal ponds, and monitor them for leaks. If a breach is discovered, it will be the utility company’s responsibility to reinforce or close the pond. New ponds and landfills will have to be lined to provide a barrier against leaks. Controls must be used to prevent people from breathing in coal ash dust.
- US Not Fully Prepared for Nuclear Terrorist Attack - Or Any Large-Scale Natural Disaster (AP):
The federal government isn't fully prepared to handle a nuclear terrorist attack or large-scale natural catastrophe, lacking effective coordination, and in some cases is years away from ensuring adequate emergency shelter and medical treatment, congressional investigators have found.
- The True Cost of Turning on the Lights (Huffington Post Green):
Coal ash is toxic as a bad marriage, but here's the irony: there are almost no regulations on its disposal, so power plants, which are generally on rivers, largely dump it in a series of giant pits, in incomprehensible quantities, where the rain leaches the toxics down into the groundwater.
- The insane impacts of factory farming: (George Monbiot) [emphasis added]:
Animals selected for obesity cause obesity. Bred to bulge, scarcely able to move, overfed, factory farmed chickens now contain almost three times as much fat as chickens did in 1970, and just two thirds of the protein. Stalled pigs and feedlot cattle have undergone a similar transformation. Meat production? No, this is fat production....Meat is bad news, in almost all circumstances.
- Not Just Public Lands: NDAA Defense Authorization Bill Also Incentivizes Fracked Gas Vehicles (DeSmog Blog):
A follow-up probe reveals that the public lands giveaway was not the only sweetheart deal the industry got out of the pork barrel bill. The NDAA also included a provision that opened the floodgates for natural gas vehicles (NGVs) in the U.S.—cars that would largely be fueled by gas obtained via fracking.
- US Power Sector Needs $2.1 Trillion in Investment by 2035, Says IEA (GreenTech Media):
The report leans heavily on data collected for IEA’s 2014 World Energy Outlook, released last month, which called for a redistribution of government subsidies from fossil fuels to green energy. In its U.S.-specific analysis, the agency finds the country in a “strong position to deliver a reliable, affordable and environmentally sustainable energy system,” largely due to its boom in “unconventional” natural gas and oil resources.
- Birds Are Avoiding Offshore Wind Farms, Study Finds (Climate Progress):
A new report by a leading bird research institute in the U.K. found that over 99 percent of seabirds were likely to alter their flight paths in order to avoid collision with offshore wind farms.
- Texas Weakens Chemical Exposure Guidelines, Opens Door for Polluters (Center for Public Integrity) [emphasis added]:
In 2007, Texas regulators quietly relaxed the state’s long-term air pollution guideline for benzene, one of the world’s most toxic and thoroughly studied chemicals. The number they came up with, still in effect, was 40 percent weaker, or less health-protective, than the old one.
- Most Of Coastal US Will See Flooding Due To Sea Level Rise, NOAA Says (Huffington Post Green):
Most coastal regions of the United States will see 30 or more days of flooding by 2050 thanks to sea level rise, according to new research the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released Thursday.
- Air Pollution Exposure in Pregnancy Linked to Autism in Study (BusinessWeek):
Women who are exposed to high levels of air pollution during their third trimester of pregnancy may be twice as likely to have an autistic child, a study found.
- Heart Experts Warn of Air Pollution Dangers (Reuters)
Air pollution should be one of the avoidable heart risk factors - just like smoking and excess fat - that doctors warn patients to steer clear of, according to a new statement from 20 heart experts.
- The People Have Spoken: This Is The Most Brazen Lie Of 2014 (Climate Progress):
Earlier this year, readers of the Tampa Bay Times’ fact-checking project PolitiFact were asked to vote on what they believe was the year’s biggest lie. And as of Wednesday, the results are in: “Climate change is a hoax” was the overwhelming choice.
FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page
- Video Proof That Global Warming is a 'Hoax'!: NASA Temperature Data 1888-2011 (The BRAD BLOG):
- NASA climate change video: This is the U.S. in 2100 (NASA).