IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Saudi Arabia declines to help US oil producers survive oil's downturn; Big Coal's new trick to get out of paying retired miners' pensions; Sea levels rising faster than at any time in the last 3,000 years; PLUS: Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates proposes billion-dollar breakthrough energy research fund --- so why aren't renewable energy experts happy?... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Pesticide Combo Impacts Often Greater Than Sum of Parts; Longest Global Coral Bleaching On Record Isn’t Over Yet; Presumed dead, wild Atlantic salmon return to the Connecticut River; Increased flooding in US coastal cities caused by climate change, study says; Water emergency in Peruvian Amazon after 3,000-barrel oil spill contaminates 2 rivers; EPA asks Volkswagen to make electric cars in U.S; Tesla: GM wrote a bill in Indiana to stop us from selling cars in the state; ... PLUS: Kiribati looks to artificial islands to save nation from rising sea levels... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Saudi Arabia Declines to Cut Production:
- VIDEO: Saudi oil minister Naimi: Oil production cuts won't happen (CNBC):
The market will determine where on the cost curve the marginal oil production lies, he said. Drillers with higher costs must find ways to become more efficient, borrow cash, or liquidate, he added. "Inefficient, uneconomical producers will have to get out. This is tough to say, but that is a fact," he said.
- Saudi Oil Minister Surprises OPEC with Tough Line on Prices (Wall St. Journal):
“Inefficient, uneconomic producers will have to get out,” Mr. Naimi said. “This is tough to say and that’s a fact. “We can coexist with $20. We don’t want to, but if we have to, we will.” Mr. Naimi is taking aim at producers in places like U.S. shale reserves and Canada’s oil sands. U.S. shale drillers couldn’t pump at $20 oil despite reducing their break-even costs.
- Plan to Prop Up Oil Prices Won’t Have Support From Saudis (NY Times):
Saudi Arabia’s petroleum minister on Tuesday ruled out the possibility that a recently announced oil production freeze by several countries might lead to cuts to reverse the plunge in oil prices.
- Big Coal Bankuptcies Unload Employee Pensions:
- In Exchange For Cutting Benefits, This Bankrupt Coal Company Agreed To Pay Executives Millions (Climate Progress):
A bankrupt coal company last month unveiled a plan to pay top executives up to $11.9 million in bonuses over six months as an apparent reward for slashing benefits for workers and dodging environmental clean-up obligations during bankruptcy proceedings. The company, Alpha Natural Resources, is one of the four largest coal companies in the U.S. and filed for bankruptcy last year.
- A huge coal miners’ pension plan is on the brink of failure. Sen. Mitch McConnell is blocking a fix (Washington Post)
- Mining companies' declining fortunes imperil the restoration of land they've mined (Los Angeles Times)
- Seas Rising Faster Than At Any Time In Last 2,800 Years:
- Seas are rising way faster than any time in past 2,800 years (AP) [emphasis added]:
"There's no question that the 20th century is the fastest," said Rutgers earth and planetary sciences professor Bob Kopp, lead author of the study that looked back at sea levels over the past three millennia. "It's because of the temperature increase in the 20th century which has been driven by fossil fuel use."...[T]hey saw Earth's sea level was on a downward trend until the industrial age. Sea level rise in the 20th century is mostly man-made, the study authors said.
- Seas are now rising faster than they have in 2,800 years, scientists say (Washington Post):
“We can say with 95 percent probability that the 20th-century rise was faster than any of the previous 27 centuries,” said Bob Kopp, a climate scientist at Rutgers University who led the research with nine colleagues from several U.S. and global universities. Kopp said it’s not that seas rose faster before that – they probably didn’t – but merely that the ability to say as much with the same level of confidence declines.
- Cutting Emissions Would Save $250 Billion A Year, And Save Lives:
- Lower CO2 Emissions Could Save the US Billions (Wired):
[T]hose costs are arguably at the root of climate denial—or at least provide excuse enough for many to throw their hands up at the problem....More and more economic research is suggesting that reducing emissions could actually save society money—partly in terms of public health.
- U.S. Emissions Cutbacks Likely to Save 295,000 Lives by 2030 (Newsweek):
Better still: The country stands to realize $250 billion worth of health benefits because of the overall improved public health of its citizens. That means the dollar benefits will likely exceed the cost of implementing clean energy and transportation programs. Factor in both the global health and climate impacts of the reduced emissions, and the value of the accrued long-term benefits equals 5 to 10 times the costs.
- Bill Gates: "We Need Energy Miracles." Experts: "No, We Need Deployment.":
- VIDEO: Bill Gates’s Clean-Energy Moon Shot (Andy Revkin, NY Times)
- No Bill Gates, We Don’t Need ‘Energy Miracles’ To Solve Climate Change (Climate Progress) [emphasis added]:
For six years, Bill Gates has been arguing that we need “energy miracles” to avoid catastrophic climate change. For six years, he has been wrong. In fact, Gates is more wrong now than he was in 2010. Why? Because in the last six years, we have seen that aggressive deployment of clean energy technology driven by government policies has — as was predicted — led to precisely the kind of game-changing cost-slashing innovation that Gates mistakenly thinks happens primarily from basic energy research and development (R&D)...The fact is that accelerated deployment policies around the world created economies of scale and brought technologies rapidly down the learning curve, as the DOE reported last November.
- Bill Gates Q&A on Climate Change: ‘We Need a Miracle’ (Bloomberg News):
Scientific problems don't generally just yield at the time someone comes up with a prize or something equivalent...In the energy space, there is no equivalent of when JFK said, "Let's go to the Moon." ...This is more like the invention of the automobile.
- Bill Gates: 'we need an energy miracle' to tackle climate change (The Verge)
- Bill Gates' Breakthrough Energy Coalition:
THE WORLD NEEDS WIDELY AVAILABLE ENERGY that is reliable, affordable and does not produce carbon. The only way to accomplish that goal is by developing new tools to power the world. That innovation will result from a dramatically scaled up public research pipeline linked to truly patient, flexible investments committed to developing the technologies that will create a new energy mix.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Kiribati looks to artificial islands to save nation from rising sea levels (ABC Australia):
The country's outgoing President Anote Tong has told the ABC's Pacific Beat program that despite global commitments on reducing carbon emissions, "the science continues to indicate that we will continue to go under water within the century". "So we really have to look at adaptation strategies beyond mitigation, and we will have to build islands," he said.
- Longest Global Coral Bleaching On Record Isn’t Over Yet (Climate Central):
What began in 2014 is projected to continue through this year and even into early 2017. This is the third global bleaching event on record.
- Increased flooding in US coastal cities caused by climate change, study says (Guardian UK):
Climate Central sounds ‘warning bells’ of human impact on rising sea levels with report that coastal flooding days have more than doubled in US since 1980s.
- Water emergency in Peruvian Amazon after 3,000-barrel oil spill contaminates 2 rivers (RT):
Peru is in the midst of an emergency as two rivers in the Amazon basin are now contaminated with 3,000 barrels of crude oil after the country’s main pipeline burst. There are plenty of villagers relying on this water who have effectively been cut off.
- EPA asks Volkswagen to make electric cars in U.S.: Welt am Sonntag (Reuters):
U.S. authorities have asked the German carmaker Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) to produce electric vehicles in the United States as a way of making up for its rigging of emission tests, the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported.
- Tesla: GM wrote a bill in Indiana to stop us from selling cars in the state (Ars Technica)
- Pesticide Combo Impacts Often Greater Than Sum of Parts: New Study (Civil Eats):
Exposure to multiple fumigants commonly used together in California may increase cancer risk, says new report.
- Flint Water Never Tested For Legionella (Detroit News):
Sixteen months after it was identified as a likely source of a deadly Legionnaires’ outbreak, Flint’s water supply still hasn’t been tested for the Legionella bacteria.
- Deadly Virus Threatens Diversity of U.S. Salamander Populations (Washington Post):
A known killer is on its way to the United States, and government officials recently put out a warning to alert the public. When the feared virus known as Bsal lands on the backs of newts and salamanders destined for the pet trade, scientists predict that lots of wild salamanders are expected to die.
- Exxon Digs In Against Shareholder Pressure to Address Climate Change (InsideClimate News):
The latest resolution the oil giant opposes calls for an accounting of how its business will be affected by global climate action.
- Want to fight climate change? Here are the 7 critical life changes you should make (Grist):
So, given the imperfections of this world, what is a lone wolf such as yourself to do? Here are some conclusions gleaned from this study: 1. Buy the most fuel-efficient car you can afford, then drive it as little as possible....
- Presumed Dead, Wild Atlantic Salmon Return To The Connecticut River (Al Jazeera America):
Biologists discover first salmon spawning since Revolutionary War, drawing new attention to canceled restoration program.
- The renewable energy revolution is already upon us, report shows (Mashable):
On the campaign trail, many candidates tend to portray the clean energy revolution as a pie-in-the-sky idea, with new investments needed in oil and gas drilling while we wait for a technological fix to solve our energy and global warming challenges....In fact, we are now in the midst of a far more rapid shift away from fossil fuels, such as coal, to renewables, including solar and wind power, than anyone has realized, including the candidates for president.
- VIDEO: Sustainable Energy in America - 'A Factbook short interview' (Bloomberg New Energy Finance)
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).