IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: The passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia leaves U.S. climate action --- and the planet --- hanging in the balance; Hillary Clinton calls for assistance for Coal Country; Bernie Sanders keeps hammering Republicans on climate change; Game-changing affordable electric cars coming next year! PLUS: The worst natural gas leak in U.S. history is finally plugged.... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Organic diet cuts pesticide exposure in children; L.A. gas leak plugged, but California pipelines regularly leak; Gasoline keeps getting dirtier while alternatives keep getting cleaner; How the Climate Challenge Could Derail a Brilliant Human Destiny; Utilities just declared war on solar; New Bill Would Clean Up Abandoned Coal Mines And Jump Start The Appalachian Economy; Arizona loses 25 percent of solar jobs in 2015; Texas cities ask federal officials to cancel drilling leases; How utility executives see the future of the electricity business... PLUS: The decisions we make about climate change today will reverberate for millennia. No pressure.... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Justice Scalia's Death Leaves Fate of Planet Hanging in the Balance:
- The decisions we make about climate change today will reverberate for millennia. No pressure. (Vox.com)
- Inside The Most Important Supreme Court Case In Human History (Think Progress Justice:
[A]s the Court’s party-line vote suggests, the Clean Power Plan is also a test of whether the United States has the political will to tackle climate change. If we do not prove able to this task, the consequences will be catastrophic...The sheer magnitude of the catastrophe will rival any tragedy that has faced humanity since the Book of Genesis.
- The Simply Breathtaking Consequences Of Justice Scalia’s Death (Think Progress Justice)
- The Supreme Court just put a crucial part of Obama's climate plan on hold (Vox.com)
- Supreme Court's Climate Stay May Imperil Paris Climate Accord (NY Times)
- U.S. Coal Industry Is In Terminal Decline:
- Justices’ ruling may slow, but won’t stop, coal’s decline (Charleston Gazette):
[O]ther experts who have studied the mining industry’s decline and the impact of the EPA rules cautioned that coal supporters should not take their celebrating too far. Among those factors: plentiful and low-priced natural gas resources, decreasing costs of renewable energy sources like solar and wind; and, in Central Appalachia, cost challenges that make the region’s coal less competitive.“I don’t think the stay will reverse what is happening, but it may slow down the de-carbonizing of the country’s electric supply until the legal issues are resolved,” Van Nostrand said.
- That Crashing Sound Is The Fall Of The U.S. Coal Industry (Fortune)
- Hillary Clinton Calls for Transition Assistance in Coal Country:
- King Coal’s Stages of Grief: Acceptance Reaches the Coalfields (Union of Concerned Scientists):
[S]tatements from elected officials in West Virginia highlighted the urgent need for economic diversification in the coalfields, and it led me to wonder, has acceptance of the reality of this energy transition finally reached the coalfields?
- Transcript: The Democratic debate in Milwaukee, annotated (Washington Post) [emphasis added]:
And that's why I've come forward with, for example, a plan to revitalize coal country, the coalfield communities that have been so hard hit by the changing economy, by the reduction in the use of coal. You know, coal miners and their families who helped turn on the lights and power our factories for generations are now wondering, has our country forgotten us? Do people not care about all of our sacrifice?
- A path forward for Coal Country (Bristol, VA Herald-Courier)
- As Others See It: Repaying our debt to coal country (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) [emphasis added]:
The Obama administration has asked Congress to support a range of initiatives to help, including more job training. It also wants to direct the surplus in the federal abandoned mine lands fund, which is bankrolled by coal companies to clean up old mines, toward projects that create local employment. Providing wider broadband Internet service could help, too, by giving people more opportunities to access new markets. Congress has shamefully ignored the administration’s requests.
- Fair and Just Transition from Fossil Fuels to Clean Energy (Sierra Club)
- Corporate Media FAIL: Stil No Debate Questions on Climate Change, Energy:
- Sanders and Clinton Disagree on Climate. Why Won't Debate Moderators Ask Them About It? Another debate, another missed opportunity. (Mother Jones):
If human civilization were facing a potentially existential threat, you'd probably want to know about what our leading candidates to run our country thought about it, right?
- Bernie Sanders Hammers Republicans On Climate Science Denial:
- Transcript: The Democratic debate in Milwaukee, annotated (Washington Post):
Why does the fossil fuel industry pay --- spend huge amounts of money on campaign contributions? Any connection to the fact that not one Republican candidate for president thinks and agrees with the scientific community that climate change is real and that we have got to transform our energy system?
- The Best Lines of the PBS Democratic Debate (Slate)
- Electric Car Game-Changing Prices:
- Game Change: Tesla And GM Announce Affordable, Long-Range Electric Cars (Climate Progress):
"The average new car costs about $31,000, according to an analysis by Salim Morsy of Bloomberg New Energy Finance," as BloombergBusiness reported Tuesday. As you go above $35,000 it gets very hard to find any car similar in size to Tesla's Model 3 with over 100,000 vehicles sold a year.
- How GM Beat Tesla to the First True Mass-Market Electric Car (Wired) [emphasis added]:
[L]et’s pause for a moment to savor just how richly ironic it is that General Motors is about to take the lead in the electric car race....That’s right. General Motors killed the electric car. More than once.
- Electric Fantasy: Will the Next Tesla Sell for $25,000? (Bloomberg)
The average new car costs about $31,000...Almost all the mass-market vehicles sold above that price threshold are SUVs and trucks. There's only one car comparable in size to the Model 3 that amasses more than 100,000 in annual sales with a $35,000 price tag: the BMW 3 Series.
- The Chevy Bolt - A Deeper Look (Clean Technica)
- Chevy’s new Bolt — is it good enough for a future of electric cars? (Wall St. Journal):
It was and is wise public policy, regardless of the current price of oil. Fuel economy/emissions standards are spiraling upward around the industrialized world as governments turn to face the challenge and politics of climate change. There was no way the U.S. auto sector could stay on those sidelines and remain globally competitive. That, we know.
- Porter Ranch Gas Leak Finally Plugged:
- Effort to seal the formerly leaking well near Porter Ranch makes progress (LA Times)
- Senator wants independent testing of air in Porter Ranch area before residents move back (LA Times)
- L.A. County Supervisor Antonovich calls for air-quality spot checks in Porter Ranch area (LA Times)
- WATCH: Massive Gas Leak At Porter Ranch Slows To A Stop (NPR)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- The decisions we make about climate change today will reverberate for millennia. No pressure. (Vox.com)
- L.A. gas leak plugged, but California pipelines regularly leak (SF Chronicle):
[E]very day, pipelines across California leak tons of the same gas - methane - into the air. And the total amount collectively leaked each year likely exceeds the vast volume of methane spewed from the Aliso Canyon blowout near Porter Ranch, according to one state estimate.
- Gasoline keeps getting dirtier while alternatives keep getting cleaner (Vox.com):
Emissions from gasoline aren't rising because cars are polluting more. They aren't. Thanks to fuel economy standards, per-gallon emissions from gasoline combustion are holding roughly steady in the US. What's rising is emissions from oil extraction and refining.
- Oxford’s Halley Professor on How the Climate Challenge Could Derail a Brilliant Human Destiny (Dot Earth):
This long-term view shows that the next few decades offer a brief window of opportunity to minimize large-scale and potentially catastrophic climate change that will extend longer than the entire history of human civilization thus far.
- Utilities Just Declared War On Solar (NASDAQ.com) [emphasis added]:
Building new power plants and other large infrastructure is at the core of utility industry’s business model. Since those costs can be passed onto the ratepayer in the form of regulated rates, building expensive infrastructure is actually a source of profit. Customers switching to solar ends up hitting the utility’s bottom line twice by no longer buying as much electricity and upended the utility’s case for costly new power plants and transmission lines.
- New Bill Would Clean Up Abandoned Coal Mines And Jump Start The Appalachian Economy (Climate Progress):
The RECLAIM Act, introduced Wednesday by five representatives from Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, would make $1 billion available to coal communities that “have traditionally relied on the coal industry for employment or have recently experienced significant coal job losses,” according to a release from bill sponsor Hall Rodgers (R-KY).
- Arizona loses 25 percent of solar jobs in 2015 (Biz Journals):
“These significant losses are no surprise, given the regulatory and legislative hurdles facing our industry," said Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association president Tom Harris. One would hope this industry, the only one to create 10,000 new, high-paying jobs during the recession, would receive significant support from our elected officials.”
- Rick Snyder faces hometown backlash over Flint water crisis (Detroit Free Press):
Protests, wanted posters with the Snyder's face boldly affixed to utility poles around the city, and a well-publicized heckling incident at a local tavern are signs that the bustling college town where Snyder has spent a chunk of his adult life could be turning against him, Fecteau and other residents said.
- Why Solar Power has Utilities Running Scared (Climate Crocks):
[I]f retail rates rise and incentives for solar decline, the game changes. Under those circumstances, when generating surplus energy the solar customer faces a new choice. She can sell her power to the utility (for below retail rate) or she can store it and use it later, when she would otherwise be paying retail rate. In other words, the lower net metering rates get, the more solar rooftop customers have incentive to consume as much of their self-generated power as possible.
- Texas cities ask federal officials to cancel drilling leases (Bakken.com):
Some North Texas cities and environmental groups have asked federal officials to halt plans to allow gas drilling under a lake that’s a drinking water source for millions and has a dam cited by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as being in hazardous condition.
- How utility executives see the future of the electricity business (Utility Dive):
Here are some of the key findings from Utility Dive's third annual State of the Electric Utility report
- Organic Diet Cuts Pesticide Exposure In Children, Berkeley Study Finds (San Jose Mercury News):
A new scientific study [documents] that organic food can substantially lower pesticide exposure in children from low-income families in both urban and rural areas.
- NJ Fighting Rise In Water Tainted By Common Chemical (Bergen Co. Record):
A man-made chemical used in the manufacture of stain-resistant carpets, waterproof clothing, non-stick cooking pans and other products that make life less messy has spread so far through the environment that it can be found everywhere from the fish in the Delaware River to polar bears in the Arctic — and even some drinking water in North Jersey.
- Ford Spent $40 Million To Reshape Asbestos Science (Center for Public Integrity):
Stung by lawsuits, the automaker hired consultants to change the narrative on the risks of asbestos brakes/
- Maryland To Fight Dominion Plan To Release Coal-Ash Water Into VA Creek (Washington Post):
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh’s office said Monday that it plans to fight a plan by the Dominion Virginia Power company to release about 215 million gallons of treated coal-ash water into a creek that connects to the Potomac River.
- Air Pollution Blamed For 5.5 Million Deaths Annually (CS Monitor):
More than 5.5 million people die from air pollution each year, with more than 3 million of these deaths occurring in China and India, announced researchers Friday at the 2016 annual meeting for the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
- Sea-Level Rise 'Could Last Twice As Long As Human History' (Guardian UK):
Huge sea-level rises caused by climate change will last far longer than the entire history of human civilisation to date, according to new research, unless the brief window of opportunity of the next few decades is used to cut carbon emissions drastically.
- Record Warmth `Almost Certainly' Due to Humans, Scientists Say (Bloomberg):
The odds are "vanishingly small" that recent years of record warmth aren't due to human emissions of greenhouse gases, researchers in the U.S. and Germany said, adding to pressure on world governments to cut back on fossil fuel use.
FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page
- Skeptical Science: Database with FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Myths
- 4 Scenarios Show What Climate Change Will Do To The Earth,
- From Pretty Bad To Disaster(Fast CoExist):But exactly how bad is still an open question, and a lot depends not only on how we react, but how quickly. The rate at which humans cut down on greenhouse gas emissions--if we do choose to cut them--will have a large bearing on how the world turns out by 2100, the forecasts reveal.
- How to Solve Global Warming: It's the Energy Supply (Scientific American):
Restraining global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius will require changing how the world produces and uses energy to power its cities and factories, heats and cools buildings, as well as moves people and goods in airplanes, trains, cars, ships and trucks, according to the IPCC. Changes are required not just in technology, but also in people's behavior.
- Warning: Even in the best-case scenario, climate change will kick our asses (Grist)
- NASA Video: Warming over the last 130 years, and into the next 100 years:
- 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).