IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Britain's new flood defenses already overwhelmed; Record extreme weather over the holidays turbocharged by El Nino and climate change; State of emergency for Flint, MI water crisis; State of emergency for massive CA natural gas leak; PLUS: TransCanada sues Obama over Keystone XL pipeline rejection... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Italian Mob's Toxic Waste Dumping Is Giving People Cancer; EPA Says Pesticide Harms Bees In Some Cases; Oil Prices Decline More Than 5 Percent as Stockpiles Increase; U.S. Wildfires Burned Record Area In 2015: Agriculture Department; U.S. Issues New Dietary Guidelines That Will Change The Way You Eat; FDA Just Banned These Chemicals in Food. Are They the Tip of Iceberg?; The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare... PLUS: British Coal, the End of a Mining Industry... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Sanders Mocks Trump's Contention That Chinese Created Climate Change (Washington Post):
Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, who’s repeatedly accused Donald Trump of being a divisive “demagogue,” opened a new line of attack Monday night on the Republican front-runner: lampooning his views on climate change.
- December Heat Boosts 2015 to 2nd Warmest Year in U.S. History: 2015 will likely be the hottest year on record globally (Scientific American):
That second-place finish comes as both NOAA and NASA are expected to announce that the year was the hottest on record globally. While that record heat was helped in part by one of the strongest El Ninos on record, it was mainly due to the contributions of manmade global warming, scientists have said.
- Former NY Gov. George Pataki Exits 2016 Race:
- George Pataki Quits Presidential Race (Bloomberg)
- It's Official: None Of The Remaining Major GOP Candidates Accept Climate Science (Climate Progress)
- TransCanada Sues Obama Admin Under NAFTA:
- TransCanada to Sue U.S. for Blocking Keystone XL Pipeline (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
The company is taking the unusual step of suing through the North American Free Trade Agreement, calling the decision "arbitrary and unjustified." The Canadian business also filed a lawsuit in Houston asking that the decision be overturned. "TransCanada has been unjustly deprived of the value of its multibillion-dollar investment by the U.S. administration's action," the company said in a statement.
- TransCanada Announces It Will Sue U.S. Over Keystone XL Denial (Climate Progress):
In the notice to submit a claim for arbitration, TransCanada notes that two previous pipelines, carrying oil from the same tar sands region across the U.S. border, were both approved. This, TransCanada claims, suggests that the denial was political in nature, which is prohibited under NAFTA.
- Flint, MI: State of Emergency Over Water Contamination Crisis:
- How Michigan literally poisoned an entire city to save a few bucks (The Week):
Why on Earth did they do this? Austerity. Aside from the obvious humanitarian disaster, this is a stark demonstration of austerity's false economy. Trying to be cheap on Flint's water supply will end up costing the state of Michigan (and probably the country as a whole) a ton more money than it would have to fix it properly in the first place.
- Michigan governor declares emergency in Flint over lead in drinking water (Chicago Tribune):
Last week, Snyder apologized and Michigan's top environmental regulator resigned after a task force created by Snyder blamed problems on his agency. Administration officials have pledged to cooperate fully with any federal requests.
- Justice Department Investigating Toxic Tap Water In Flint: High lead levels in Flint's water could have harmed thousands of city kids. (Huffington Post)
- Apology, resignations over Flint are good first steps (Detroit Free Press)
- U.S. Sues Volkswagen Over Emissions Cheating Scandal:
- U.S. Sues Volkswagen Over Emissions Cheating Scandal: (Ars Technica)
- U.S. government sues Volkswagen over cheating on emissions tests (LA Times)
- Dieselgate could cost Volkswagen $48 billion in the US alone: Much of that dollar figure comes from fines applied to each diesel vehicle equipped with a defeat device. (CNET)
- Los Angeles: State of Emergency Over Massive Gas Leak:
- In-Depth: What Went Wrong at Porter Ranch? (LA Weekly) [emphasis added]:
"We removed that valve in 1979," he said. He pointed out that the valve was old at that time and leaking. It also was not easy to find a new part, so the company opted not to replace it. If SS-25 were a "critical" well — that is, one within 100 feet of a road or a park, or within 300 feet of a home — then a safety valve would be required. But it was not a critical well, so it was not required. "Now there's definitely going to be a push for changing the regulations," Anderle said, when told of the missing valve. "You get rid of a safety valve because it wasn't working? A safety valve would have shut the damn well down! They're in a bunch of trouble."
- Dangerous Methane Leak Requires Emergency Measures: California’s governor orders new rules to deal with an ongoing massive leak (Scientific American):
Brown told ARB that, working with other state agencies, it must develop a program “to fully mitigate the leak’s emissions of methane” by March 31. The program should be funded by Southern California Gas Co., will be limited to projects in California and must prioritize efforts that reduce short-lived climate pollutants.
- Attorneys Claim Greed Was a Factor in the SoCalGas Leak in Porter Ranch (LA Weekly)
- Gov. Brown Cracks Down on Gas Company Following Porter Ranch Disaster (LA Weekly)
- U.K.'s New Flood Defenses Already Overwhelmed:
- VIDEO: Cost of UK floods tops £5bn, with thousands facing financial ruin (Guardian UK)
- Floods unleash unprecedented criticism (BBC)
- December 2015 The Wettest Since Records Began (Sky News)
- Farmers in England could be paid to let land flood - BBC News (BBC)
- Environment Agency bosses defend flooding response (BBC)
- Climate Change 'Supercharging' El Nino, Extreme Weather:
- VIDEO: Dr. Michael Mann on Climate Change, El Nino (MSNBC),/li>
- This Christmas Shattered Heat Records (Climate Progress)
- Watch: NASA warns El Niño to get worse in 2016 (Austin American-Statesman)
- Increasing frequency of extreme El Niño events due to greenhouse warming (Nature),/li>
- Weather officials say 2015 was near record hot and wet in US; climate change, El Nino blamed (AP)
- El Niño effect leads to 2015 being world’s hottest year ever and Australia’s fifth warmest (News.AU)
- Blizzard Buried Some Dairy Cows in the Snow; 35,000 Die (NY Times):
After a mild and dry Christmas Day, a fierce blizzard whipped across the rolling plains of West Texas and eastern New Mexico. The wind blew mercilessly for 48 hours, leaving snow drifts as high as 14 feet.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- EPA Says Pesticide Harms Bees In Some Cases (AP):
A major pesticide harms honeybees when used on cotton and citrus but not on other big crops like corn, berries and tobacco, the Environmental Protection Agency found.
- Oil Prices Decline More Than 5 Percent as Stockpiles Increase (NY Times):
Oil prices plunged again on Wednesday by more than 5 percent as investors paid more attention to signs that global stockpiles are growing than to increasing instability in the Middle East and North Africa.
- U.S. Wildfires Burned Record Area In 2015: Agriculture Department (Reuters):
U.S. wildfires burned a record 10.1 million acres (4.09 million hectares) in 2015 and the Forest Service spent 52 percent of its budget fighting fires, the Agriculture Department said on Wednesday.
- U.S. Issues New Dietary Guidelines That Will Change The Way You Eat (LA Times):
In the first slate of nutritional recommendations it has issued since 2011, the federal government on Thursday gave health-conscious Americans the go-ahead to eat eggs and others foods rich in cholesterol, to drink as many as five cups of coffee daily, and to enjoy a range of fats long avoided by many.
- FDA Just Banned These Chemicals in Food. Are They the Tip of Iceberg? (Civil Eats):
FDA banned three toxic food packaging chemicals and is considering banning seven cancer-causing food flavoring chemicals, but food safety advocates say the process highlights flaws in the system.
- The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare (NY Times):
Rob Bilott was a corporate defense attorney for eight years. Then he took on an environmental suit that would upend his entire career — and expose a brazen, decades-long history of chemical pollution.
- British Coal, the End of a Mining Industry (Al Jazeera):
Yorkshire, United Kingdom - Coal miners at Yorkshire’s Kellingley Colliery, the only remaining deep-pit coal mine in Britain, worked their last shift on Friday December 18, bringing to an end hundreds of years of underground coal mining in the UK.
- Consumers Won't Know Meat Origin After US Ends Labeling Law (ABC News):
It's now harder to find out where your beef or pork was born, raised and slaughtered. After more than a decade of wrangling, Congress repealed a labeling law last month that required retailers to include the animal's country of origin on packages of red meat. It's a major victory for the meat industry, which had fought the law in Congress and the courts since the early 2000s.
- The Italian Mob's Toxic Waste Dumping Is Giving People Cancer (Motherboard):
Never really known as a friendly group, the Italian mafia has been brutally murdering people for hundreds of years. Most of the time, these killings are quick—some henchmen waylay the target, squeeze a trigger a few times and make their getaway. Yet according to a new report released last week by the Italian National Institute of Health, a few local Italian mobs have been slowly killing dozens of innocent people for decades by way of a multibillion dollar toxic waste disposal racket.
- Big Oil Braced for Global Warming While It Fought Regulations (LA Times):
A few weeks before seminal climate change talks in Kyoto back in 1997, Mobil Oil took out a bluntly worded advertisement in the New York Times and Washington Post.
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).