IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Huge, political clean sweep for social progressives in Alberta, Canada, home of the dirty tar sands; New rules for oil trains, now with less transparency; Another disturbing milestone in global CO2 emissions; PLUS: Elon Musk revolutionizes the battery industry - again ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Poor in Pennsylvania? You’re Fracked; Fracking chemicals detected in PA drinking water; Bank of America from coal; Ominous fire season ahead for CA with 12m dead trees due to drought; Got a dishwasher? Don't wash your dishes by hand; Report finds US nuclear plants seriously threatened by floods, rising seas; Shell flunks Coast Guard inspections for Arctic drilling... PLUS: Jerry Brown to water tunnels critics: ‘Shut up’ ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Political Clean Sweep for Alberta, Canada - Home of the Tar Sands:
- What Alberta's shocking election results could mean for the oil sands (Vox.com):
2) Oil royalties. Perhaps more significant for the future of the oil sands is the fact that the NDP has pledged to review the royalties that oil companies pay to Alberta's government. These royalties have long been kept fairly low to encourage growth and development: Alberta's royalties run about 25 to 40 percent of oil company profits; in Norway, by contrast, royalties run to 80 percent of profits.
- Alberta election 2015: NDP win a different kind of 'miracle on the Prairies' (CBC):
From fourth to first in 28 days, it is how dynasties end, at least in Alberta
- ‘The Texas of Canada’ Just Elected A Left-Wing Government (Climate Progress):
If you don’t know much about Canadian politics and want to understand how unprecedented this is, it’s useful to think of it as a comparison to Texas. As Bloomberg’s Dave Weigel put it on Twitter, abbreviations extended: “Imagine if Democrats took not only Texas Governor, but supermajority control of [the] Legislature and all state offices. That’s what [Alberta’s election] is like in Canada.”
- Leftist Party’s Win in Alberta May Affect Future of Oil Sands (NY Times)
- Disturbing Milestone: CO2 Crosses 400pm Threshold Globally:
- Global carbon dioxide levels break 400ppm milestone (Guardian UK):
Dr Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the University of Reading told the Guardian: “This event is a milestone on a road to unprecedented climate change for the human race. The last time the Earth had this much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was more than a million years ago, when modern humans hadn’t even evolved yet....But even if manmade emissions were dramatically cut much deeper than most countries are planning, the concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere would only stabilise, not fall, scientists said.
- Global Carbon Dioxide Levels Just Hit A Disturbing New Threshold (Climate Progress)
- NASA Scientists react to 400ppm milestone:
- New Rules For Oil Trains - Now With Less Transparency!:
- New Oil Train Rules Are Hit From All Sides (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
But the rules quickly came under criticism from many sides. Lawmakers and safety advocates said the regulations did not go far enough in protecting the public, while industry representatives said some provisions would be costly and yield few safety benefits.
...“Instead of providing first responders more details about oil shipments, railroads will simply be required to give our firefighters a phone number,” they said.
- Did You Like Knowing Where Oil Trains Moved In the Northwest? Too Bad. (EarthFix, Oregon Public Broadcasting):
Transparency lagged again this year when mile-long trains of Canadian tar sands crude began moving through Oregon and Washington and emergency responders again didn’t learn about it until more than a month after the fact.
- The U.S. Is Getting Serious About Oil Train Explosions. Here’s How It Plans To Stop Them. (Climate Progress) [emphasis added]:
The standards, which were criticized by the oil industry over costs and time frames as well as by environmental groups and lawmakers, who demanded even stricter reforms, aim to improve overall safety and prevent catastrophic accidents and explosions. They do so through a number of measures, including updated braking systems for trains, a new maximum speed of 50 miles per hour, new operational protocols such as routing procedures and information sharing, and better classification of materials. The 50 mph speed limit comes in addition to a recently introduced 40 mph limit for trains travelling through certain urban areas.
- North Dakota - Another Day, Another Oil Train Explosion:
- North Dakota town evacuated after latest oil train car explosion (LA Times):
When the Obama administration imposed new safety rules on oil trains last week, the railroad industry said its goal was to have zero accidents in the future. It took only a few days to miss that difficult target.
- Heimdal, North Dakota, Evacuated After Fiery Oil Train Crash (NBC News)
- Tesla's Elon Musk Revolutionizes the Battery Industry - AGAIN:
- VIDEO: Tesla introduces Tesla Energy (Tesla Motors Youtube):
- With his home battery pack, Elon Musk is trying to engineer an iPhone moment (Quartz)
- With 38,000 battery buyers in 1 week, Tesla may need bigger Giga (SF Chronicle):
“There’s no way we could possibly satisfy this demand this year — we’re sold out for the first half of next year,” Musk said, during a conference call with Wall Street analysts. “It’s crazy, off the hook. It seems to have gone super viral.”
- Elon Musk unveils fancy new Tesla battery — ’cause existing batteries “suck” (Grist):
We live in a world where I can say: “Elon Musk, leader of the space transportation company SpaceX, just announced that Tesla will be churning out Powerwalls from its Gigafactory in the desert by 2017,” and it makes complete sense. If that doesn’t make you excited about living in the 21st century, I don’t know what will.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Poor in Pennsylvania? You’re Fracked. (Environmental Health News):
Fracking wells in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region are disproportionately located in poor rural communities, which bear the brunt of associated pollution, according to a new study.
- Bank Of America Backs Away From Funding Coal Mining (Huffington Post):
Bank of America is cutting off its financing for coal extraction projects, the company announced at its shareholder meeting Wednesday.
- Jerry Brown to water tunnels critics: ‘Shut up’ (Sacramento Bee):
“Until you’ve put a million hours into it,” said Brown, estimating the amount of staff time devoted to the project, “shut up.”
- At Least 12 Million Trees Are Dead Because Of California’s Drought (Climate Progress):
According to a new study conducted by the U.S. Forest Service, at least 12.5 million trees in California’s national forests have died during the current drought — adding more brittle, dry vegetation to areas already threatened by potentially explosive wildfires. “The situation is incendiary,” William Patzert, a climatologist for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told the Los Angeles Times. “The national forest is stressed out.”
- Fracking Chemicals Detected in Pennsylvania Drinking Water (NY Times):
“This is the first case published with a complete story showing organic compounds attributed to shale gas development found in a homeowner’s well,” said Susan Brantley, one of the study’s authors and a geoscientist from Pennsylvania State University.
- Got a dishwasher? Then don't also wash your dishes by hand (Washington Post):
The basic line is that from an environmental perspective, these machines have grown so energy- and water-efficient — especially Energy Star-certified models — that it is very hard to beat them through hand-washing (though, of course, you should first scrape off any food before putting dishes in the dishwasher, and you should run only full dishwasher loads).
- Sea Level Rise, Storm Surges And Bursting Dams Threaten Nuclear Plants (Daily Climate):
Safety checks following the Fukushima disaster in Japan in March 2011, when a 10 metre-high sea wall was overtopped by a tsunami, have shown that nuclear plants are at greater risk of catastrophic flooding as a result of climate change.
- How America’s Biggest Swamp Could Become Fracking Wasteland (Al Jazeera America):
Environmental groups, locals worry Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin might be destroyed by a proposed industrial facility.
- Shell Flunks Coast Guard Inspection, Pushes on with Arctic Drilling (VICE News):
A drill ship at the heart of Shell's hunt for Arctic oil flunked a Coast Guard inspection last month when a piece of anti-pollution gear that already cost its owner millions in fines failed again.
- Rate Of Climate Change To Soar By 2020s, With Arctic Warming 1°F Per Decade (Climate Progress):
New research from a major national lab projects that the rate of climate change, which has risen sharply in recent decades, will soar by the 2020s. This worrisome projection - which has implications for extreme weather, sea level rise, and permafrost melt - is consistent with several recent studies.
- Now's Your Chance to Help Save the Imperiled Monarch Butterfly-and Get Paid to Do So (Take Part) [emphasis added]:
Another threat, according to Grant, has been well-intentioned individuals who have planted a tropical form of milkweed, which competes with native varieties and is not beneficial to monarchs or other pollinators.
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).