IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: For the first time in history, more than half of US Forest Service budget is going to fight wildfires; Australia's climate treaty targets denounced as too low; New Zealand breaks up with coal; PLUS: Free solar for African schools, thanks to Elon Musk... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): VIDEO: Bill Maher Interview with Dr. Michael Mann; El Niño vs. the Blob: which will win out this winter?; Japan is trying to bring back nuclear power; No techno-fix for irreversible ocean collapse; Explainer: what's a gigaton?; Shell spills toxic gas in Deer Park, TX; GOP presidential candidates rake in $62m from fossil fuels; Judge approves ExxonMobil settlement for Arkansas pipeline spill; Walruses running out of sea ice again this year... PLUS: 'They Figured Our Neighborhood Is Black, So They'll Do It'... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- UPDATE: EPA Apologizes for CO mine spill:
- EPA Chief Apologizes For Huge Colorado Mine Spill (Huffington Post):
"This is a tragic and unfortunate incident, and EPA is taking responsibility to ensure that it is cleaned up," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "The most important thing throughout this is ensuring the health and safety of the residents and visitors near the river. "
- US Waterways at Risk From 1000s of Defunct Mines Lacking Cleanup Funds (Al Jazeera America):
While crews begin the arduous task of cleaning up Colorado’s Animas River — where contamination by heavy metals and toxins leaked from an abandoned hard rock mine turning the water orange — thousands of other natural sites across the American West remain at risk from similarly hazardous defunct quarries.
- Animas River Spill A Stark Reminder Of Colorado's Mine Pollution Legacy (KUNC):
"It's a huge problem in Colorado because these are old, abandoned active mines and they don't have any owners and they are just draining."
- Wildfires burning through US Forest Service budget:
- VIDEO: President Obama Signs the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Jerry Peak Wilderness Additions Act (White House):
[W]e've seen a consistent escalation of the severity and the length of wildfire season. And a lot of that is attributable to the fact that climate change is going to be raising temperatures and creating less water, more vulnerability to a lot of forests out there.
- VIDEO: USDA The High Price of Firefighting (USDA)
- Forest Service Says Massive Wildfires Are Burning Through Its Budget (Huffington Post):
The wildfire season has already expanded by 78 days, and is expected to consume two-thirds of the agency budget in the next ten years.
- As California fires rage, the Forest Service sounds the alarm about sharply rising wildfire costs (Washington Post) [emphasis added]:
As 14 large fires rage across California, the U.S. Forest Service is sounding the alarm about the exploding cost of protecting people and property from a growing wildfire threat. In a new report released Wednesday, the agency says that while it spent 16 percent of its total budget on preparing for and fighting fires in 1995, it will spend more than half its budget this year on the same task — and a projected 67 percent or more by 2025 under current funding arrangements....“With a warming climate, fire seasons are now on average 78 days longer than in 1970."
- REPORT: The Rising Cost of Wildfire Operations - Effects on Forest Service's Non-Fire Work [PDF] (U.S. Forest Service)
- Wildfires will burn through most of US Forest Service's budget within a decade, report says (So. California Public Radio) [emphasis added]:
[California] has already battled nearly 1,200 more wildfires in 2015 than it had at this time last year, according to Bonnie.
- Australia's climate treaty targets denounced as too low, "unfair":
- Australia’s Weak Climate Pledge Draws Instant Derision (InsideClimate News):
Long recognized as a laggard on climate, Australia does little to burnish its image with a meek plan to reduce emissions.
- 'Tony Abbott’s hubris is staggering': UK's climate adviser on emissions target (Guardian UK):
Australia’s “pathetic” 2030 emissions reduction target shows the country has opted out of the global effort to limit warming, according to the head of the British government’s climate change advisory body.
- Bill Shorten labels Tony Abbott backwards on climate change (The Australian):
“We can’t afford to let Tony Abbott’s flat earth views hold our country back,” Mr Shorten told News Corp Australia. “Australia can’t afford to sit on the sidelines or turn our back on the global consensus.”
- Emissions target leaves Australia trailing pack, say critics (Sydney Morning Herald)
- Unprecedented 'red tide' closes fisheries in Washington State:
- VIDEO: The Blob is Choosing Winners and Losers in Pacific Northwest (Climate Crocks)
- Massive toxic algae bloom reaches from California to Alaska (Reuters):
"It's just lurking there," Vera Trainer, research oceanographer with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Washington state, told Reuters on Thursday. "It's the longest lasting, highest toxicity and densest bloom that we've ever seen."
- There's a 'Warm Blob' in the Pacific and It's Partly to Blame for BC Forest Fires, California Drought, Hurricanes (VICE News)
- World's glaciers melting at fastest rate on record:
- Speed of Glacier Retreat ‘Historically Unprecedented’
The World Glacier Monitoring Service, based at the University of Zurich in Switzerland and with partners in 30 countries, has been compiling data on changes in glaciers over the last 120 years. ...And the evidence is clear: the glaciers are in retreat, worldwide, and the retreat is accelerating.
- World’s Glaciers Melting Faster Than Ever Before Recorded, Study Finds (Climate Progress) [emphasis added]:
[T]he glaciers will continue to recede, even if global temperatures stabilize, the study’s lead author, Michael Zemp, told Climate News Network. “Due to the strong ice loss over the past few decades, many glaciers are too big under current climatic conditions. They simply have not had enough time to react to the climatic changes of the past,” he said.
- New Zealand breaks up with coal:
- Significant rise in renewable electricity (NZ Herald)
- New Zealand Pledges An End To Coal By 2018 (Climate Progress):
“Its closure marks the end of coal-fired power generation in New Zealand,” Bridges said, noting that the closure of the plants would also help New Zealand significantly reduce its carbon emissions. Energy
- Genesis decision creates renewable opportunities (National NZ)
- Solar City bringing free solar panels to African schools:
- SolarCity lighting African schools with solar — free of charge (San Francisco Chronicle):
The foundation aims to light one school for every megawatt of solar power SolarCity installs in the United States (a megawatt is roughly equal to the amount of electricity used by 750 American homes in any given instant). Next up: lighting 200 schools in Nepal, as part of the country’s recovery efforts from this spring’s devastating earthquake.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- VIDEO: Bill Maher Interview with Dr. Michael Mann (Climate Crocks)
- VIDEO: Bill Maher 'Overtime' Panel with Climate Scientist Michael Mann (Climate Crocks)
- El Niño vs. the Blob: which will win out this winter? (So. California Public Radio):
You may have heard a strong El Niño could bring lots of rain this winter, but there’s another weather pattern in the region that might keep things dry. It’s a ridge of high-pressure air that’s created a huge patch of warm water off the coast, nicknamed “the Blob.” This ridge and blob tag-team is believed to be deflecting storms and keeping California locked in drought.
- Japan is trying to bring back nuclear power — and it's surprisingly difficult (Vox.com):
Even after approval, it's no simple matter to restart a nuclear power plant that's been dormant for four years. The equipment hasn't been used and might be in disrepair. Operators are out of practice. That can potentially caused problems.
- Ex Machina: No Techno-Fix For Irreversible Ocean Collapse From Carbon Pollution (Climate Progress):
The Nature Climate Change study examined what would happen if we continue current CO2 emissions trends through 2050 and then try to remove huge volumes of CO2 from the air after the fact with some techno-fix. The result, as co-author John Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, put it, is “we will not be able to preserve ocean life as we know it.”
- To truly grasp what we’re doing to the planet, you need to understand this gigantic measurement (Washington Post) [emphasis added]:
Scientists often measure the loss of ice from the planet’s two gigantic ice sheets, Greenland and Antarctica, in a particular unit called a “gigaton,” which is sometimes also spelled “gigatonne.” Either way, it’s not something you encounter in your ordinary life, because it’s incredibly “giga-ntic” — the kind of unit that planets depend on.
- Shell Spills Hundreds of Thousands of Pounds of Toxic Gas in Deer Park (Houston Chronicle):
On Sunday morning, hundreds of thousands of pounds of toxic gas were accidentally released from the Shell Oil facility in Deer Park [Texas].
- GOP Hopefuls Reap $62m in Support From Donors With Fossil Fuel Ties (Guardian UK):
Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Rick Perry among candidates poised to see biggest benefits from handful of wealthy individuals and corporations/
- Judge Approves Exxon Mobil Settlement Over 2013 Arkansas Spill (Reuters):
A federal judge on Wednesday approved Exxon Mobil Corp's $5.07 million settlement of charges that it violated the federal Clean Water Act and state environmental laws in connection with a 2013 oil spill in central Arkansas.
- Walruses in the Arctic Are Running Out of Sea Ice This Year — Again (Washington Post):
Last September, the remote community of Point Lay on Alaska’s North Slope became the focus of headline news when a staggering 35,000 walruses crowded onto the shore nearby. And now, some scientists are saying a similar event could happen this summer — in fact, any time now.
- 'They Figured Our Neighborhood Is Black, So They'll Do It' (Center for Public Integrity):
Residents of Southside Syracuse put up a fierce, well-organized fight to stop construction of a sewage plant and still lost.
- Los Angeles Covers Reservoir Waters With 'Shade Balls' (AP):
Los Angeles has been blackballed. The city has completed a program of covering open-air reservoirs with floating "shade balls" to protect water quality.
- Parasite yet Another Threat to Already Troubled Amphibians (AP):
Scientists have identified a new problem for amphibians, which are already shrinking in numbers: A parasite is infesting tadpoles worldwide.
- 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).