IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: San Francisco adopts a climate change adaptation tax; Alberta, Canada, home of tar sands oil, adopts a carbon tax; U.S. Congress updates toxic chemical regulations for first time in 40 years; Britain's solar crushes coal; PLUS: A breakthrough in the quest to create an artificial leaf...All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): How the Great Barrier Reef got polluted – from farms and fossil fuels to filthy propaganda; Drought Sparks Larger Wildfires Throughout California; Another Oil Company Ends Arctic Drilling Hopes; U.S. solar market to nearly double in 2016, led by utilities; Britain's Royal Navy warships are breaking down because sea is too hot; What if climate change emptied India?; Scientists Seek a New Measure for Methane...PLUS: US and India just made progress on a little-known (but potent) climate problem... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- San Francisco adopts a climate change adaptation tax:
- San Francisco Bay Restoration Measure Clears Two-Thirds Hurdle (KQED):
Sea level could rise 2 feet by midcentury and Measure AA supporters say wetlands are a key strategy in the face of rising water, since they absorb storm surges and protect important infrastructure.
- Bay Area Voters Approve Tax to Fix Marshes As Seas Rise (Climate Central) [emphasis added]:
Voters in the San Francisco Bay Area approved an unprecedented tax Tuesday to help fund an ambitious vision for restoring lost marshlands, handing electoral victory to shorebirds, crabs and advocates of a muddy strategy for adapting to rising seas...A recent state-led analysis recommended accelerating the work because of the looming threat of an acceleration in rates of sea level rise.
- Alberta, Canada adopts a landmark carbon tax:
- Alberta NDP Pass First Part Of Climate Change Plan (Huffington Post):
The government estimates that two-thirds of Albertans - those in middle- and low-income brackets - will receive a partial or full rebate. The government says that ensures lower-income Albertans will not be penalized by the tax, but will have an incentive to go green because they get to keep the rebate money regardless. Opponents have derided the plan as a thinly veiled wealth transfer.
- Contentious carbon tax bill passed by Alberta legislature (CBC):
"The action by this government with respect to climate change is one that is long, long, long overdue in this province," Notley told the legislature. "Albertans told us in the last election that they were worried about climate change, that they were worried about the state of the environment, that they were worried about Alberta's reputation internationally and nationally, and that they were worried about their future as a result."
- U.S. Congress updates toxic chemical regulations for first time in 40 years:
- Toxic Substances Will Now Be Somewhat Regulated (The Atlantic) [emphasis added]:
How the first ever update to the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 finally came to pass-and what it lacks...Faber estimates the bill provides about half as much money as would be needed to get through those chemicals in one generation.
- Toxic Chemicals, But It May Take a While (Bloomberg):
By the time EPA finishes work on the chemicals it has prioritized, the children of today's children will have been exposed to them --- probably for years.
- Chemical safety reform passes after 'perfect storm' (Politico):
Environmentalists, business groups and lawmakers from both parties all agreed that EPA had a responsibility to protect Americans from toxic chemicals - and that it had been unable to do so, having only banned or restricted just five substances since TSCA was enacted in 1976.
- A big victory for lab rats: Congress moves to limit chemical testing on animals (Washington Post)
- Britain's solar output crushes coal:
- UK solar eclipses coal power over month for first time (Guardian UK):
Longer days helped solar panels generate 50% more electricity than coal across the whole of May, analysis shows
- Analysis: Solar beats coal over a whole month in UK for first time (Carbon Brief)
- Exelon warns Illinois it will shutter nuclear plants:
- Exelon Shutting Two Nuclear Plants After Legislation Fails (Bloomberg):
The retirements are the latest sign of how historically low power prices, competition from wind farms and solar panels and stagnant or falling demand are threatening the viability of U.S. reactors. In more than a dozen states that deregulated their electricity markets, owners of aging nuclear and coal generators are reeling under growing competition from generators burning gas. Electricity providers in places like Ohio and New York are asking for millions of dollars to keep their units running.
- Exelon says it will close 2 Illinois nuclear plants, affecting 1,500 jobs (Reuters) [emphasis added]:
Exelon was hoping the Illinois Legislature would adopt legislation, known as the Next Generation Energy Plan, that would compensate nuclear reactors for the reliability, environmental and economic benefits they provide, such as round-the-clock power with no carbon emissions, and jobs and taxes for nearby towns.
- Breakthrough in quest to invent artifical leaf:
- VIDEO: A Big Leap for an Artificial Leaf (MIT Technology Review):
And they’ve done it at an efficiency of 10 percent, using pure carbon dioxide—in other words, one-tenth of the energy in sunlight is captured and turned into fuel. That is much higher than natural photosynthesis, which converts about 1 percent of solar energy into the carbohydrates used by plants, and it could be a milestone in the shift away from fossil fuels.
- Bionic Leaf Sucks Up Carbon Dioxide As It Makes Liquid Fuel (LA Times):
A team of scientists at Harvard University says it has come up with a bionic leaf - a system that could use solar power and hydrogen-eating bacteria to generate liquid fuel. The findings, described in the journal Science, offer an alternative path to making carbon-neutral solar fuels.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Drought Sparks Larger Wildfires Throughout California (LA Times):
Firefighters are tackling larger and more aggressive wildfires as drought conditions continue for a fifth year in California, drying out swaths of forest land.
- Another Oil Company Ends Arctic Drilling Hopes (The Hill):
A Spanish oil company has become the latest to abandon its federal drilling leases in the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea.
- VW Receives Regulatory Approval For Fixes On 1.1 Million Cars (Reuters):
Volkswagen said on Wednesday it received regulatory approval to fix another 1.1 million cars, raising the number of VW models cleared for refitting to more than 2.5 million since the start of the year.
- Enviros, Automakers Applaud Ontario's $8.3 Billion Climate Change Plan (CBC):
Ontario's climate change plan, which will provide billions of dollars in subsidies and incentives to businesses and homeowners, was greeted with cautious optimism Wednesday by environmentalists and businesses.
- Critical Index Finds Smelt Nearly Extinct In Sacramento Delta (Sacramento Bee):
Delta smelt have hovered close to extinction for years, but biologists say they’ve never seen anything like this spring. 'There’s nothing between them and extinction, as far as I can tell,' said Peter Moyle, a UC Davis biologist who has studied smelt and other Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fish species for nearly four decades.
- The US and India just made progress on a little-known (but potent) climate problem (Vox):
Obama and Modi agreed to work together in amending the Montreal Protocol so as to phase out HFCs in the coming decades...India would agree to an "ambitious phasedown schedule," while the US would support a push to financial aid from wealthier countries to help manage the transition away from HFCs.
- U.S. solar market to nearly double in 2016, led by utilities (Reuters):
The U.S. solar energy market will nearly double new installations this year to 14.5 gigawatts, led by utility projects that developers scrambled to bring online in anticipation of the expiration of a key federal tax credit, according to a report published on Thursday.
- Britain's Royal Navy warships are breaking down because sea is too hot (CNN):
Six Type 45 destroyers have repeatedly experienced power outages because of the temperatures, leaving servicemen in complete darkness..."The equipment is having to operate in far more arduous conditions that were initially required," Rolls-Royce director Tomas Leahy said.
- What if climate change emptied India?: A provocative new 'armchair experiment' (Scientific American):
“The international community basically wants to understand that, given the fact that the world is global and people are moving countries, how can they plan in terms of infrastructure and development, how can they plan the allocation of resources to accommodate this potentially growing population,” she said.
- Scientists Seek a New Measure for Methane. Here’s Why. (Climate Central):
[C]omparing methane and carbon dioxide masks how long it will take emissions cuts to make a difference in the climate. Scientists worry that a strong focus on cutting methane could be used to justify less focus on cutting carbon dioxide, which will keep the atmosphere baking indefinitely, he said.
- How the Great Barrier Reef got polluted – from farms and fossil fuels to filthy propaganda (Guardian UK):
[J]ust two weeks ago, Guardian Australia revealed the government’s scandalous but successful censoring of a UNESCO climate report, where all references to the reef and the country were deleted. If the intention was to keep negative commentary from harming tourism, then it backfired badly, as media outlets including the BBC and the New York Times followed the story.
- For Oil Industry, Smog Fight Was Dress Rehearsal for Climate Denial (Inside Climate News):
Through the Smoke and Fumes Committee, industry blurred the science surrounding air pollution and worked to forestall unwanted regulation.
- Want to fight climate change? Here are the 7 critical life changes you should make (Grist) [emphasis added]:
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....
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