IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Senator Lindsey Graham chides fellow Republican candidates on climate change; Regional cap and trade programs bring in big bucks for states; Dirty coal on the way out in the U.S.; PLUS: The climate action movement gets a big assist from a big boy band... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): ExxonMobil lied: gave millions to climate-denying lawmakers despite pledge; Zooplankton are eating plastic, and that's bad news for ocean life; CNN advances debunked claim that changes in Sun's "heartbeat" could lead to "deep freeze"; Across the globe, wildfire season is lasting longer; Air pollution kills more people than poverty; CA Gov. Jerry Brown signs bill prohibiting fines for brown lawns; SeaWorld accused of infiltrating animal rights group; Plaquemines Parish rejects BP settlement offer as too small... PLUS: Traffic jam: Congress speeds toward highway cliff... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Lindsey Graham Chides 2016 Republican Climate Change Deniers:
- VIDEO: Lindsey Graham: Why Don't Republicans Believe The Scientists On Climate Change? (Climate Progress):
"I know I'm not a scientist," he continued, "but here's the problem I've got with some people in my party: When you ask the scientists what's going on, why don't you believe them? If I went to 10 doctors and nine said, 'Hey, you're gonna die,' and one says 'You're fine,' why would I believe the one guy?"
- How Republican presidential candidates are getting away with denying evolution (Guardian UK):
Experts voice concerns that science 'ends up being a proxy for identity politics' as presidential candidates play to their conservative base
- Bad News for Big Coal in U.S.:
- Coal's Slow Demise As A Power Source Leads To Role Reversal With Natural Gas (Climate Progress):
"The industry faces a three-pronged assault from low gas prices, an aging fleet, and stringent environmental compliance."
- VIDEO: Natural Gas Overtakes Coal as Top U.S. Electricity Source (NBC Newws):
For the first time ever, natural gas trumped coal as the top source of electric power generation in the U.S. In April, roughly 31 percent of electric power generation came from natural gas, whereas coal accounted for 30 percent, according to a recent SNL Energy report.
- Iowa Utility Agrees to Phase Out Coal:
- Iowa Utility Will Phase Out Coal At 5 Plants, In Milestone For Sierra (Huffington Post Green):
An Iowa utility will phase out coal at five plants in the state under a settlement announced Wednesday by the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Alliant to spend $620 million to close, clean up coal fired plants (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel):
"This settlement will eliminate thousands of tons of harmful air pollution each year, significantly improving air quality in Iowa and throughout the Midwest," said Kevin W. Techau, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, in a statement.
- Regional Cap And Trade Programs Make Big Bucks For States:
- Carbon caps help Northeast economy, report says (Boston Globe) [emphasis added]:
[T]he carbon-limiting program should be measured by what prices might be like without it, said Andrea Okie, an Analysis Group vice president who contributed to the report. If states didn't reinvest the money in energy efficiency programs, she said, demand for electricity would be even higher. "Over the long run, this investment and efficiency in renewable energy puts downward pressure on electric prices," she said.
- Here's more evidence that cutting CO2 pollution can be good for the economy (Grist):
In addition to spurring the economy in the participating states - Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont (Chris Christie pulled New Jersey out) - the system is succeeding at its primary goal: fighting climate change. CO2 emissions in participating states have fallen by about a third since 2009, when the carbon-trading system went into effect
- The Northeast's Electricity Bills Have Dropped $460 Million Since They Started Paying For Carbon (Climate Progress):
A regional cap-and-trade program has added $1.3 billion in economic activity to nine New England and Mid-Atlantic states since 2011, while decreasing their carbon emissions by 15 percent, according to independent analysis released Tuesday.
- SPECIAL COVERAGE: The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes, PART 2: David Koch's 'Kind of Guy', Chris Christie Delivers Secret Keynote (The BRAD BLOG)
- RGGI carbon trading program brings $1.3 billion in benefits for Northeast (Utility Dive):
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) pulled his state out of the regional pact in 2011.
- Global Renewable Energy Passes Fossil Fuel Generation:
- Fossil Fuels Just Lost the Race Against Renewables: This is the beginning of the end. (Bloomberg News):
The race for renewable energy has passed a turning point. The world is now adding more capacity for renewable power each year than coal, natural gas, and oil combined. And there's no going back.
- One Direction Launches Climate Action Campaign:
- One Direction take a serious stance on climate change (New Zealand Herald)
- How This Popular Boy Band Is Raising Awareness On Climate Change (Climate Progress):
Speaking directly to their fans - an extremely loyal bunch known as Directioners - the popular British boy band released a video Wednesday on their website to mark the launch of Action/1D, a campaign aimed at raising awareness about global issues like climate change.
"Please will you join us to put pressure on our leaders?" the boys ask. "All you need to do is tell us what you want your world to look like in the future."
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- ExxonMobil gave millions to climate-denying lawmakers despite pledge (Guardian UK):
Under pressure from shareholders, company promised eight years ago to stop funding climate denial - but financial and tax records tell a different story.
- Zooplankton Are Eating Plastic, And That's Bad News For Ocean Life (Climate Progress):
The findings represent the first time that zooplankton in the wild have been confirmed to be ingesting plastic, said Peter Ross, co-author of the study and head of the Ocean Pollution Research Program at the Vancouver Aquarium. Previous studies have demonstrated zooplankton eating plastic, but have done so in a lab - a setting that that's less labor-intensive than going out into the ocean and that's easier to control.
- CNN Advances Debunked Claim That Changes In Sun's "Heartbeat" Could Lead To "Deep Freeze" (Media Matters):
A July 14 CNN.com article promoted the thoroughly debunked right-wing claim that, according to a group of scientists, a decrease in solar activity over the next 15 years could lead to a "deep freeze." In reality, the scientists' findings about the "irregular heartbeat of the Sun" did not include any analysis of how it might impact global temperatures, and several recent studies that did address the issue found that any cooling from decreased solar activity would be far outweighed by increased warming due to greenhouse gas pollution.
- Across The Globe, Wildfire Season Is Lasting Longer (Climate Progress):
Now, a new report out in Nature Communications has a some more bad news for the West, and wildfire-prone regions around the world: In the last 35 years, wildfire season has gotten longer, and the global area affected by wildfire has doubled.
- Twin Cities air pollution kills 2,000 a year, new state analysis shows (Minneapolis Star-Tribune):
State analysis says pollution takes greater toll on elderly, those in poverty.
- Jerry Brown signs bill prohibiting fines for brown lawns (Sacramento Bee):
The bill prohibits cities or counties from fining residents for failing to water their lawns during the drought. Proponents of the legislation argued homeowners faced competing demands of conservation and local "maintenance" ordinances requiring them to keep up their lawns.
- Traffic jam: Congress speeds toward highway cliff (Politico):
The most likely outcome, as always, is the path of least resistance: another stopgap extension for the trust fund that would set up the same highway cliff at the end of the year. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who promised to end the constant cycle of legislative cliffs, is making a last-ditch effort to avoid another punt, as well as another round of election-year votes on expensive highway bills.
- SeaWorld Accused of Infiltrating Animal Rights Group in California (Reuters):
An animal rights group said SeaWorld Entertainment Inc, known for its dolphin and killer whale performances, sent an employee on secret missions to infiltrate events organized by the group in an attempt to undermine its work.
- A New Stream of Oil for Iran, but Not Right Away (NY Times):
[I]t will take a year or more before Iran can increase production significantly, delaying any impact on oil prices.
- SeaWorld accused of infiltrating animal rights group in California (Reuters):
[M]ost insidiously, he has repeatedly tried to incite people who object to SeaWorld to act illegally, stating that it's time to 'get a little aggressive,'" PETA said
- Louisiana lawmakers back company responsible for decade-old Gulf leak (AP):
Capitol Hill lawmakers from Louisiana have intervened on behalf of a New Orleans company that has failed to stop a decade-old oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico but lobbied for a refund of money reserved for spill containment work, according to letters obtained by The Associated Press through public records requests.
- Mandatory GMO food labeling by states would be banned under proposed bill (USA Today):
A bill preventing states from requiring labels on foods containing genetically modified ingredients easily passed a House committee Tuesday, but the legislation has drawn widespread opposition from many Democrats and consumer groups and faces an uncertain future.
- Plaquemines Parish rejects BP settlement offer as too small (NOLA.com):
Plaquemines Parish has turned down a settlement offer from BP to pay for damages caused during the Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill because it was too small to compensate for the losses, two lawyers representing the parish in settlement talks said Monday.
- Seabirds suffering massive population declines (CBS News):
"Seabirds are particularly good indicators of the health of marine ecosystems," said University of British Columbia's Michelle Paleczny, a co-author of the study and a researcher with the Sea Around Us project. "When we see this magnitude of seabird decline, we can see there is something wrong with marine ecosystems. It gives us an idea of the overall impact we're having."
- How Big Water is trying to stop the National Park Service from cleaning up plastic bottles that are fouling the parks (Washington Post):
The National Park Service thought it had a good strategy for reining in the discarded water bottles that clog the trash cans and waste stream of the national parks: stop selling disposable bottles and let visitors refill reusable ones with public drinking water. But Big Water has stepped in to block the parks from banning the plastic pollutants — and the industry found an ally on Capitol Hill to add a little-noticed amendment to a House spending bill that would kill the policy.
- Water Crisis Brings Out Puerto Rico’s Creative Side (NY Times):
There has been so little rain here that two months ago the government was forced to start rationing water on the populous eastern side of the island, including in many San Juan neighborhoods. Carraizo, the major reservoir serving parts of the city, has dropped nearly 18 feet in recent months, shrinking so noticeably that people can now fish off its sandy shores. The last time water rationing was ordered on the island was two decades ago.
- Every country is now pledging to tackle CO2 emissions. It's still not enough. (Vox.com):
In other words, if the world wants to stay below 2°C of global warming - which has long been considered the danger zone for climate change - these pledges are only a first step. Countries will have to do a whole lot more than they're currently promising. And the IEA has a few ideas for what "do a whole lot more" might entail.
1. Increase energy efficiency in the industry, buildings, and transport sectors.
2. Progressively reduce the use of the least efficient coal-fired power plants and banning their construction.
3. Increase investment in renewable energy technologies in the power sector from $270 billion in 2014 to $400 billion in 2030.
4. Gradually phase out fossil fuel subsidies to end-users by 2030.
5. Reduce methane emissions in oil and gas production.
- 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).