IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama Administration shuts down Arctic oil drilling; Accountability may be coming for Exxon Mobil; Electrifying changes ahead for the auto industry; PLUS: Conservatives out, Liberals in in Canada - so what about that whole Keystone XL pipeline thing?... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Momentum – But Uncertainty – in Final Pre-Paris Climate Talks; Pakistan's Climate Change 'Time Bomb' Is Already Ticking; Smoke From Indonesia’s Illegal Fires Chokes SE Asia; Monitors Arrive After Radioactive Waste Site Fire in Nevada; White House puts 'super pollutant' HFCs in crosshairs with new initiative... PLUS: With Abandoned Gas Wells, States Are Left With The Cleanup Bill... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- VIDEO: 'Leave A Little Bit of the Environment' Declares Donald Trump (Fox News Sunday)
- Canada: Conservatives Out, Liberals In:
- The oil patch may have lost a big opportunity with the Harper era (Globe & Mail):
Now that power is being handed over to Justin Trudeau and his Liberals, one wonders if the industry missed out on its most favourable political landscape. All of the major initiatives it has pushed for – increased access to more international markets, new pipelines to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries, rights-of-way through First Nations lands, avoidance of more environmental costs – are undone.
- How Canada’s Election Will Decide the Fate of the World (Foreign Policy):
If voters oust Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives, they'll be voting for a whole new climate policy — and potentially tipping the scales of December's Paris summit on global warming.
- Son of late PM Trudeau becomes prime minister as Liberals defeat Harper Conservatives (AP) [emphasis added]:
Canada has shifted to the center-right under Harper, who has lowered sales and corporate taxes, avoided climate change legislation and clashed with the Obama administration over the Keystone XL pipeline. The Trudeau victory will ease tensions with the U.S. Although Trudeau supports the Keystone pipeline, he argues relations should not hinge on the project. Harper has clashed with the Obama administration over other issues, including the recently reached Iran nuclear deal.
- Justin Trudeau Victory Projected in Canada’s National Election (Wall St. Journal):
Projected Liberal win would unseat Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper
- Reprieve for the Arctic: Obama Cancels Arctic Lease Auction:
- Obama Administration Cancels Oil Drilling Lease Sales In Arctic Ocean (Climate Progress):
“In light of Shell’s announcement, the amount of acreage already under lease and current market conditions, it does not make sense to prepare for lease sales in the Arctic in the next year and a half,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said in a statement.
- The real reason Arctic drilling is faltering right now — low oil prices (Washington Post):
These developments have made environmentalists ecstatic, but oil industry observers say that the narrative may be rather different from how it appears. They suggest that the principal difficulty for Arctic offshore drilling right now is economic — this is a pricey endeavor at a time when oil prices are so low — and that companies may be back for another try at Arctic offshore drilling, in U.S. waters or elsewhere, if economic conditions change.
- Accountability May Be Coming for Exxon:
- AUDIO: 'Beyond Hypocrisy': Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) Calls for Investigation and Prosecution of ExxonMobil: 'BradCast' 10/19/2015 (The BRAD BLOG):
Congressman charges oil company's 'affirmative campaign against science of climate change' echoes conspiracy case against Big Tobacco...
- Petition: Prosecute Exxon For Deliberate Climate Denial (Climate Hawks Vote)
- Democrats Request a DOJ Investigation Into ExxonMobil, Alleging Climate Science Coverup (New Republic):
California Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee requested a Department of Justice investigation into ExxonMobil on Wednesday, writing that the company's behavior "is similar to cigarette companies that repeatedly denied harm from tobacco and spread uncertainty and misleading information to the public." There have always been pronounced parallels between the tobacco and oil industry—both working to undermine regulatory action that could hamper profit—but a federal investigation may mean they share the same fate, as well.
- ExxonMobil Faces Heightened Risk of Climate Litigation, Its Critics Say (InsideClimate News):
Advocates explore holding the company accountable after new evidence shows it's long understood that global warming threatened its business and the planet.
- Big Tobacco Is Guilty of Conspiracy (LA Times, 8/18/2006):
A federal judge on Thursday found the major cigarette makers guilty of civil fraud and racketeering, saying the government had proved their participation in a decades-long conspiracy to deceive the public about the risks of smoking in order to sustain their profits.
- Will Senator Whitehouse Renew His Call for RICO Prosecution of Climate-Denying Companies like Exxon? (Down With Tyranny)
- Exxon Knew: The Road Not Taken (InsideClimate News)
- Sea Change in the Auto Industry:
- Reputation Rehab: Volkswagen is pegging its fate to a major bet on electric cars (Quartz):
VW said today (Oct. 13) that it will create a standardized electric architecture that can be used in all VW Group vehicles, and is meant to allow travel of 250 to 500 kilometers (156 to 312 miles) on a single charge....The decision significantly raises VW’s profile in a coming electric-car collision at the end of the decade, when the world’s major carmakers are expected to introduce numerous electric models with lower price points and much better performance than those currently available.
- Volkswagen Brand Board of Management takes strategic decisions (Press release, Volkswagen Media Services)
- You’ll Be Able to Buy Any Volvo as an Electric by 2019 (Wired):
Volvo will introduce a plug-in hybrid version of every model it sells within four years, and expects them to account for 10 percent of its sales by 2020....“We believe that the time has come for electrified cars to cease being a niche technology and enter the mainstream,” says Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo’s president and CEO.
- Volvo vows to take on Tesla with all-electric model in 2019 (Mashable)
- BMW Going All-Electric (Oil Price International) [emphasis added]:
The age of electric vehicles may finally be upon us – or at least that’s what BMW is banking on. BMW recently announced that it will convert all models to electric drive trains, range-extending engines, and plug-in hybrids over the next decade in response to a coming series of strict EU carbon emissions laws.... The transition is a dramatic statement from one of the world’s most recognized and well-regarded car brands.
- Toyota aims to nearly eliminate gasoline cars by 2050 (AP)
- The Auto Industry Just Admitted That Tesla Is Right (Seeking Alpha)
- Tesla Vs. Toyota: Battery Electric Vs. Hydrogen Fuel Cell (Seeking Alpha)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Momentum – But Uncertainty – in Final Pre-Paris Climate Talks (CS Monitor):
"Delegations from nearly 200 countries will meet in Bonn, Germany this week to finalize a draft agreement before the UN Paris climate talks in December.
- With Abandoned Gas Wells, States Are Left With The Cleanup Bill (NPR):
When energy booms go bust, the public is often left responsible for the cleanup. That's because while most states and the federal government make companies put up at least some money in advance to pay for any mess they leave behind, it's often not enough.
- Pakistan's Climate Change 'Time Bomb' Is Already Ticking (Tribune):
The sprawling megacity lies crumbling, desiccated by another deadly heatwave, its millions of inhabitants suffering life-threatening water shortages and unable to buy bread that has become too expensive to eat.
- Smoke From Indonesia’s Illegal Fires Chokes SE Asia" (Environmental News Service):
Fires started illegally to clear land for oil palm and acacia pulp plantations in Indonesia are sending thick smoke over the Southeast Asian region, making breathing painful, closing schools, canceling outdoor events and disrupting air traffic.
- Monitors Arrive After Radioactive Waste Site Fire in Nevada (AP):
Radiation wasn't immediately detected during fly-overs of a burned trench containing long-buried radioactive waste at a commercial disposal site in rural southern Nevada, state and federal officials said Monday.
- Bill McKibben Wants Everyone to Know Why He's So Mad at Exxon (InsideClimate News):
Revelations that the energy giant knew about climate change and obstructed policy prompted him to get himself arrested in protest.
- White House puts 'super pollutant' HFCs in crosshairs with new initiative (Guardian UK):
Measures announced on Thursday aim to avoid up to 1bn tonnes of carbon pollution globally by 2025 ahead of December’s climate change summit in Paris
- How we are all contributing to the destruction of coral reefs: Sunscreen (Washington Post):
Not only did the study determine that a tiny amount of sunscreen is all it takes to begin damaging the delicate corals — the equivalent of a drop of water in a half-dozen Olympic-sized swimming pools — it documented three different ways that the ingredient oxybenzone breaks the coral down, robbing it of life-giving nutrients and turning it ghostly white.
- Australia Approves Coal Mine That Environmentalists Call ‘A Complete Disaster’ For Coral Reef (Climate Progress):
“Carmichael would be a complete disaster for the climate and the Great Barrier Reef,” Greenpeace Australia campaigner Shani Tager said in a statement Thursday. “The federal government and Environment Minister should be in the business of protecting the Reef and the climate, not giving mining companies licence to destroy them. This project means more dredging in the Great Barrier Reef, more ships through its waters and more carbon emissions.”
- Alpha Natural Discloses Payments to Climate Change Skeptic Chris Horner (Wall St. Journal):
Bankrupt coal company Alpha Natural Resources Inc. paid lawyer Chris Horner $18,600 before it filed for chapter 11 this summer.
- 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).