IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Volkswagen caught red-handed cheating on pollution standards; Exxon once thought about saving mankind, but funded climate change denial instead; Climate-denying Koch Brothers' favorite presidential candidate drops out; PLUS: Pope Francis is in the U.S. to talk morality and climate, and Republicans are freaking out... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): The night wind energy drove the price of electricity down to zero in TX; The message behind the green ribbons at the Emmys; How the media makes people climate change cynics; House Republicans into climate change resolution; California's oil industry lost the SB350 war to utilities; OECD: $200B a year tin fossil fuel subsidies in developed world; Pilgrim nuclear plant may shut down; NY coal ash dump contaminating groundwater... PLUS: Syrian war prompts first withdrawal from Doomsday Seed Vault... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Volkswagen caught red-handed cheating on pollution standards:
- Volkswagen's appalling clean diesel scandal, explained (Vox.com):
Volkswagen, in other words, is in deep shit....This scandal raises a few larger questions, though: Why did Volkswagen cheat in the first place? And why was it so easy for the company to evade regulators for years? To get a better handle on the story, we need to take a brief trip through the tangled history of clean diesel vehicles — the specific cars that VW was selling.
- VW Diesel Emissions Recall: What You Need To Know In 10 Questions (Green Car Reports) [emphasis added]:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency doesn't test every new car for emissions compliance every year. .... Instead, manufacturers "self-certify" and submit their data to the EPA.
- VW's Emissions Cheating Found by Curious Clean-Air Group (Bloomberg)
- Volkswagen's Game of Make-Believe (The Atlantic):
The company inserted a device into almost 500,000 cars meant to trick emissions testing, the EPA says.
- Volkswagen Says 11 Million Cars Worldwide Are Affected in Diesel Deception (NY Times)
- Volkswagen CEO's days appear numbered as emissions crisis deepens (Retuers)
- Study: Air pollution kills 3 million people a year:
- Study: Air pollution kills 3.3 million worldwide, may double (AP) [emphasis added]:
The study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, used health statistics and computer models. About three quarters of the deaths are from strokes and heart attacks...The findings are similar to other less detailed pollution death estimates, outside experts said....Air pollution kills more than HIV and malaria combined, Lelieveld said...."About 6 percent of all global deaths each year occur prematurely due to exposure to ambient air pollution."
- New Study Shows Just How Deadly Air Pollution Really Is (Climate Progress):
The study, published this week in Nature, found that outdoor air pollution kills 3.3 million people around the world every year. And that number is set to rise in the next 35 years — if worldwide emissions continue unabated, the number of deaths caused by air pollution each year could double to 6.6 million by 2050.
- WI Gov. Scott Walker Drops Out of 2016 Republican Race:
- How Scott Walker Lost Rush Limbaugh—and His 2016 Presidential Bid (Daily Beast) [emphasis added]:
All the Koch money in the world couldn’t save the Wisconsin governor once the talk radio king stopped raving about him and jumped on Team Trump. Bad news for billionaires: Koch money only gets you so far.
- Billionaire Koch brothers struggle to rein in GOP (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- David Koch Signals a Favorite: Scott Walker (NY Times, 4/20/2015)
- They Knew: Exxon's own research confirmed global warming in the 1970s:
- Exxon: The Road Not Taken: Exxon's Own Research Confirmed Fossil Fuels' Role in Global Warming Decades Ago (InsideClimate News):
Top executives were warned of possible catastrophe from greenhouse effect, then led efforts to block solutions.
- Exxon Believed Deep Dive Into Climate Research Would Protect Its Business (InsideClimate News)
- Exxon Confirmed Global Warming Consensus in 1982 with In-House Climate Models: The company chairman would later mock climate models as unreliable while he campaigned to stop global action to reduce fossil fuel emissions. (InsideClimate News)
- VIDEO: Exxon Researched Climate Change in 1977: A short FRONTLINE film (InsideClimate News)
- Exxon thought about benefitting mankind but decided to make money instead (Douglas Craig, Redding CA Record Searchlight)
- AUDIO: Listen To NPR's Bob Garfield Confront ExxonMobil On Its Decades Of Funding Climate Denial Organizations (Media Matters)
- VIDEO: They Knew: Inside Climate/Frontline Investigation Reveals Exxon Studied Climate Change in the 70s (Climate Crocks):
The tobacco industry, we now know, knew about the toxic effects of their products decades before they were finally forced by courts to begin making reparations for their actions, in promoting a toxic, addictive product. Likewise, a new investigation documents how Exxon, the fossil fuel giant, actually conducted research on the climate effects of burning fossil fuels in the 1970s, and was clear on the science, and the potential effects of continued CO2 release at least that far back.
- AUDIO: Exxon responds to InsideClimate News: (On the Media, National Public Radio):
BOB GARFIELD: [Y]ou're kind of changing the subject. This reporting by InsideClimate News doesn't really concern itself with what ExxonMobil has done lately, it's concerning itself with the very sharp change in corporate behavior and apparently strategy 25 years ago. Namely, that you dismantled some significant percentage of this [climate change] research program, and, beginning in about 1989, started pouring millions and millions of dollars in the funding of three dozen organizations, some of which were transparently industry front groups, and some which were right-wing economics advocacy groups, that themselves spent decades in various degrees of climate denial.
- Republicans attack Pope Francis trip to US to talk climate:
- Why I Am Boycotting Pope Francis’s Address to Congress (Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), TIME)
- A "Marxist" Who Should "Stay Home": The Worst Of Conservative Media's War On Pope Francis (Media Matters)
- Washington Post's George Will Attacks Pope Francis' "False" And "Reactionary" Ideas On Climate Science, Inequality (Media Matters)
- Pope Francis Faces Challenge Persuading US Catholic Leaders on Climate (Guradian UK)
- Koch-Backed Group Member Likens Pope Climate Change Talk To Paganism (Talking Points Memo)
- Here's What Pope Boycotter Rep. Paul Gosar Gets Wrong About The Catholic Church (Talking Points Memo op-ed):
Traditional Catholic teaching recognizes that stewardship of the environment is rooted in the imperative to protect the shared gift of creation, what Pope Francis calls our “common home.” Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, beloved by many conservatives, both addressed the environment as a profound moral issue and called for action to tackle climate change.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- The Night They Drove the Price of Electricity Down (Slate):
Wind power was so plentiful in Texas that producers sold it at a negative price. What?
- The Important Message Behind All The Green Ribbons At The Emmys (Climate Progress) [emphasis added]:
As temperatures reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit Sunday at red carpet of the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles — making it the hottest Emmys ever — countless attendees were seen wearing a small green ribbon pinned over their award-show finery.....[W]hile Tambor’s speech honored the transgender community — and highlighted the civil rights abuses they often face — the green ribbons sought to draw attention to another cause: climate change.
- This New Study Shows How The Media Makes People Climate Change Cynics --- And What They Can Do Differently (Media Matters):
Author Explains How Stories Emphasizing Action, Agency Can Inspire Political Engagement....The Canadian study also found that consuming stories about political activism and individual actions --- "especially news that featured a local focus, a compelling narrative and an accessible 'everyday hero'" --- can have the opposite effect on readers. Study participants who read and discussed such stories reported "much greater enthusiasm and optimism for political engagement."
- House Republicans Plan to Call for Action on Climate Change (National Journal):
Rep. Chris Gibson of New York is leading the charge, and nine other Republicans are on board.
- California: Imagine electric utilities as disrupters (Op-ed, Sacramento Bee):
“What’s very powerful is that there is a role for the utilities to play in transportation electrification,” said Aaron Johnson, a PG&E vice president. “It is a growth opportunity.”
- OECD: Leading Countries Spend $200Bn a Year Subsidising Fossil Fuels (Guardian UK):
Rich western countries and the world’s leading developing nations are spending up to $200bn (£130bn) a year subsidising fossil fuels, according to a report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
- Pilgrim Nuclear Plant Says It May Shut Down (Boston Globe):
Officials at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station are considering whether they can afford the multimillion-dollar safety improvements and other reforms required by federal officials. If not, they say, they might close the plant.
- Report: NY Landfill's Coal Ash Is Contaminating Groundwater (Ithaca Journal):
Coal ash sitting dormant in an unlined portion of the landfill near the Cayuga Power Plant has been seeping into groundwater for nearly 30 years and has flowed into nearby Milliken Creek, potentially contaminating drinking water, a geologist said in a meeting with Tompkins County officials Wednesday afternoon.
- The US Egg Industry Is Losing Its Fight To Keep Chickens in Cages (Quartz):
Things are starting to look up for the US’s flock of nearly 300 million egg-laying hens. Right now, approximately 96% of those chickens live in cages, with only about 67 to 86 square inches (170 to 220 cm) of usable space per bird. But that may soon change.
- California Drought And Impending El Niño Raise Fears of Levee Breaks (Al Jazeera America):
California’s historic drought is in its fourth year and gloom-and-doom scenarios of its impact on everything from killing the state’s vegetation and triggering bug infestation to destroying farming jobs have been trickling in daily.
- Syrian War Spurs First Withdrawal From Doomsday Arctic Seed Vault (Reuters):
Syria's civil war has prompted the first withdrawal of seeds from a 'doomsday' vault built in an Arctic mountainside to safeguard global food supplies, officials said on Monday.
- How a Rich Water District Beat the Federal Government in a Secret Deal (LA Times):
Clout can be defined in many ways. In California's parched Central Valley farmlands, it's the ability to secure water.
- VIDEO: If We Burn it all, We Melt it All (Climate Crocks):
In a major surprise to the scientists, they found that half the melting could occur in as little as a thousand years, causing the ocean to rise by something on the order of a foot per decade, roughly 10 times the rate at which it is rising now.
- 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."
- 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).