IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: One Republican senator breaks ranks to support Obama's Clean Power Plan; Illegal deforestation causing killer air pollution in Indonesia; Washington DC gets creative with the excrement flowing out of the nation's capitol; PLUS: Senator James Inhofe has a plan to derail international climate talks... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): The House science committee is worse than the Benghazi committee; Coal company sues over 'destructive' EPA ozone standards; Rubbish haul found in stomach of dead whale; Elevated CO2 Levels Directly Affect Human Cognition, New Harvard Study Shows; Study Faults E.P.A. for Toxic Wastewater Spill in Colorado Rockies; Monsanto Clears USDA Regulatory Hurdle for New GMO Corn; ExxonMobil Targets Journalists; Deadly Heat Is Forecast in Persian Gulf by 2100 ... PLUS: Interactive: Greenland Is Melting Away ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Republicans Plan to Derail UN Climate Talks:
- Inhofe Might Try To Crash Paris Climate Talks As 'One-Man Truth Squad' (Talking Points Memo):
The senator may be best known for bringing a snowball-made of real DC snow-onto the Senate floor to try to prove that the threat of global warming is exaggerated. Inhofe also wrote a book about global warming called "The Greatest Hoax."
- Snowball-Chucking, Science-Hating Senator May Crash Paris Climate Talks (NY Magazine) [emphasis added]:
Republicans have insisted that any American program to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions is pointless, since China and other countries will never, ever agree to curtail their own emissions. As Chinese coal has reduced its energy intensity and announced a cap and trade system, and countries having accounted for more than 90 percent of global emissions having submitted emissions targets, this prediction is looking bad. But they are not content to sit back helplessly and watch their prediction fail.
- GOP to attack climate pact at home and abroad (Politico) [emphasis added]:
An aide to Mitch McConnell has been informing foreign embassies about GOP plans to oppose Obama's strategy on global warming....includes sowing doubts about Obama's climate policies at home and abroad, trying to block key environmental regulations in Congress, and challenging the legitimacy of the president's attempts to craft a global agreement without submitting a treaty to the Senate...
GOP aides say Republicans are pursuing at least two lines of attack against Obama's plans. First, they're trying to undo the Environmental Protection Agency's just-unveiled climate regulations for power plants...Second, Republicans plan to block Obama's pledge to provide billions of dollars to help poor countries adapt to the effects of a warming planet....[They'll make the case that the climate deal is largely meaningless because a future Republican president will be under no obligation to comply with it.
- Ayotte Breaks Ranks with GOP, Supports Obama's Clean Power Plan:
- AUDIO: In Backing Clean Power Plan, Ayotte Says GOP Leaders Wrong To Fight It (New Hampshire Public Radio):
She tells NHPR's Morning Edition that leaders in her own party are wrong to try to block the plan from taking effect.
- Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte Backs President Obama’s Climate-Change Rule (National Journal)
- Obama turns to climate deal (The Hill)
Republicans also ratcheted up their efforts to undermine Obama's participation in the climate talks, arguing that the deal will amount to a treaty that requires - and will not receive - Senate ratification to take effect....and Obama should not be trusted to live up to his promises.
- Barrage of Lawsuits to Obama's Clean Power Plan:
- Legal Challenges --- Overview & Documents (E&E News)
- States, industries launch legal assault against Clean Power Plan: (E&E News)
- Mess of Lawsuits Set to Challenge Clean Power Plan (US News):
Many state environmental agencies, not to mention public service commissions and utilities, have already begun figuring out how best to comply with the new targets, including in states like Georgia that are also planning to challenge the power plan. Numerous state officials, led by coal-heavy West Virginia, are fighting the new regulations.
- Wave of litigation hits Obama climate rule (The Hill):
In the House, Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) will also introduce a CRA challenge against the rules. Whitfield acknowledged that lawmakers have little chance of undoing the power plant rules, given Obama's veto power.
- Chamber: Obama climate rule meant to 'coerce' other nations (The Hill)
- CO: Hickenlooper to challenge attorney general's Clean Power Plan lawsuit (Denver Post)
- The White House Now Has 81 Companies Backing Its Climate Action Pledge (Foreign Policy)
- Indonesia: Illegal Deforestation Causing Deadly Air Pollution:
- Indonesia's fires labelled a 'crime against humanity' as 500,000 suffer (Guardian UK):
Haze has caused havoc, with schools in neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia shut down, flights grounded and events cancelled...But this year a prolonged dry season and the impact of El Niño have made the situation far worse, with one estimate that daily emissions from the fires have surpassed the average daily emissions of the entire US economy.
- Indonesia's forest fires threaten a third of world's wild orangutans (Guardian UK):
Fires have spread beyond plantations deep into primary forests and national parks, the last strongholds of the endangered apes
- Singapore's Air Quality Worsens Amid Forest Fires in Sumatra (Bloomberg)
- Indonesia arrests 7 from companies blamed for haze blanketing Southeast Asia (Mashable 9/18/15)
- Washington DC Harnesses Excrement Flowing From the Nation's Capitol:
- D.C. Water begins harnessing electricity from every flush (Washington Post) [emphasis added]:
[T]he first utility in North America to use a Norwegian thermal hydrolysis system to convert the sludge left over from treated sewage into electricity. Yes, to put it bluntly, the city’s sewage treatment plant is turning poop into power. “It’s a huge deal on so many fronts,” D.C. Water General Manager George S. Hawkins said after Wednesday’s official unveiling of the system. “It’s a public utility leading the world in innovation and technology. We have private and public water companies coming from all over the world to see this.”
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Interactive: Greenland Is Melting Away: (NY Times):
On Oct. 13, the committee subpoenaed scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, seeking more than six years of internal deliberations, including "all documents and communications" related to the agency's measurement of climate change.
- The House science committee is worse than the Benghazi committee (Vox.com):
the House science committee, under the chairmanship of Lamar Smith (R-TX), deserves that superlative for its open-ended, Orwellian attempts to intimidate some of the nation's leading scientists and scientific institutions.
- Coal company sues over 'destructive' EPA ozone standards (The Hill):
Murray Energy Corp. has filed the first lawsuit against the Obama administration's new ozone rule. The coal giant sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its surface level ozone standards after they were published in the Federal Register on Monday.
- Rubbish haul found in stomach of dead whale in Taiwan (Australia Broadcasting Company):
"[T]he large amount of man-made garbage in the stomach could reduce its appetite and cause malnutrition. It was likely a critical cause of death," he said.
- Exclusive: Elevated CO2 Levels Directly Affect Human Cognition, New Harvard Study Shows (Climate Progress):
[T]his seminal research has equally great importance for climate policy, providing an entirely new public health impetus for keeping global CO2 levels as low as possible.
- Study Faults E.P.A. for Toxic Wastewater Spill in Colorado Rockies (NY Times):
The big accident could have been averted if the agency had had greater expertise and acted more prudently, the report said.
- Paris climate deal unlikely to need Senate approval, says US envoy (Climate Change News):
The US position ahead of Paris – where a summit involving nearly 200 countries will be held to thrash out the deal – was entirely consistent with the Senate’s wishes, said Stern. He was referring to the 1998 Byrd-Hagel resolution, which said the US should not back any climate pact which would harm its economy or allow developing countries off the hook. “I think we have met those requirements frankly… I remember the map with scissors cutting out all developing countries and that was what the BH resolution was talking about… we have the opposite now,” he stressed.
- Climate Change Slams Global Economy in a New Study From Stanford and Berkeley (Bloomberg):
A novel analysis of temperature records shows that economies perform worse in high heat.
- Monsanto Clears USDA Regulatory Hurdle for New GMO Corn (Reuters):
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday signed off on a new genetically modified type of corn developed by Monsanto Co after a review concluded it posed no significant threat to agricultural crops, other plants or the environment.
- ExxonMobil Targets Journalists, Activists After Climate Change Probe (Motherboard):
After an investigation found that ExxonMobil has been funding climate-denying organizations — despite the findings of its own scientists on climate change—the world’s fourth-largest oil company is now going after the journalists who revealed it.
- Climate-Denying House Chairman Subpoenas NOAA Temperature Records (Washington Post):
The head of a congressional committee on science has issued subpoenas to the Obama administration over a recent scientific study refuting claims that global warming had 'paused' or slowed over the last decade.
- Deadly Heat Is Forecast in Persian Gulf by 2100 (NY Times):
By the end of this century, areas of the Persian Gulf could be hit by waves of heat and humidity so severe that simply being outside for several hours could threaten human life, according to a study published Monday. Because of humanity’s contribution to climate change, the authors wrote, some population centers in the Middle East 'are likely to experience temperature levels that are intolerable to humans.'
- $20 Million Prize Aims To Get Contestants To Turn Carbon Pollution To Something Useful (Climate Progress):
XPrize Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing about breakthroughs that benefit humanity, looked at the problem of carbon solution and saw an opportunity. "Some of the biggest problems out there often require new ideas, but they also require the incentive to act," Paul Bunje, principal and senior scientist for energy and environment at XPrize, told ThinkProgress.
- Don't give PG&E a monopoly on electric vehicle charging stations (Sacramento Bee):
Buried deep within a highly technical filing with the California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E put forward an audacious proposal - giving itself monopoly power to deploy thousands of electric vehicle charging stations and getting ratepayers to foot the bill at triple the cost of private vendors.
- 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).