With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 8/11/2016, 11:12am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Donald Trump's 'new' energy plan, same as the old plan; Hillary Clinton calls for helping coal country transition to new industries; Out-of-work coal miners now working to clean up abandoned coal mines; Industrial chemicals found in drinking water of 6 million Americans; PLUS: Federal court ruling sets major precedent for climate change accountability... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): California utility guilty of obstructing investigators; Seeking water wars accord, Deal quietly meets with Alabama governor; Seas aren't just rising. They're speeding up; A surge in avocado consumption is driving Mexican deforestation; China’s $15 Billion Energy Ambitions Crushed Within Two Weeks; The waters of this huge African lake aren’t mixing — and the consequences could be devastating... PLUS: Fish-farm escapees are weakening Norwegian wild salmon genetics... and much, MUCH more! ...

STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

  • Donald Trump's 'new' energy plan, same as the old plan:
  • Hillary Clinton calls for helping Coal Country transition to new industries:
  • Two former Republican EPA Administrators endorse Hillary Clinton:
    • Ex-EPA heads under Republicans back Clinton (CNN):
      Two former administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency under Republican presidents endorsed Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, citing her plan to tackle climate change and Donald Trump's "profound ignorance of science."
    • Two former Republican EPA administrators throw support to Clinton (Washington Post):
      In a joint statement, William D. Ruckelshaus and William K. Reilly say that Trump has showed "a profound ignorance of science and of the public health issues embodied in our environmental laws" and that Clinton is "committed to reasonable, science-based policy."

  • Out-of-work coal miners employed restoring abandoned coal mines:
    • Reclamation projects could provide jobs for former coal miners (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette):
      "Once the coal refuse piles are moved out, it will stop drainage into the river and open up a lot of development opportunities for us." And if this project is successful, those environmental, economic development and employment benefits could eventually extend throughout the state and nation.
    • Secretary Jewell Kicks Off Innovative Reclamation Project to Help Revitalize Coal Country (Interior Dept. press release):
      "While there are no silver bullets for solving the environmental and economic difficulties in Appalachia or other struggling coal regions in the United States, we have a moral commitment to assist hardworking and increasingly hard-pressed coal country residents in transitioning to a more sustainable economic future," said Secretary Jewell.
    • U.S. must bury coal to save miner jobs: Interior secretary (Reuters):
      Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, promises to return coal country to its glory days by repealing environmental regulations. "We will put our coal miners and steel workers back to work," he said in a speech in Detroit on Monday. Jewell, standing atop an abandoned mine last week on Thursday, had a different message from the Obama administration. The United States, she said, will shift to cleaner renewable energy. Coal will continue to play a role but a diminished one. She said Washington will not abandon coal communities.
    • There are mining jobs to be had in reclamation efforts (Op-ed, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

  • Unregulated industrial chemicals found in drinking water for 6 million Americans:
  • Court sets major precedent in climate change accounting:
    • Court backs Obama Administration's climate accounting (The Hill) [emphasis added]:
      In a unanimous decision late Monday, the Chicago-based 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rejected an industry-backed request to overturn a 2014 rule that set energy efficiency standards for commercial refrigerators. In doing so, the court specifically backed the so-called social cost of carbon, President Obama’s administration-wide estimate of the costs per metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere — currently $36. The DOE used the carbon cost in its cost-benefit analysis, justifying the rule in part because of the amount of climate change regulators believe it would avoid.
    • Court rules for DOE, upholding Obama's social cost of carbon (E&E News):
      The court upheld DOE's rules in their entirety against industry challenges...Among their challenges, the industry entities questioned DOE's use of the social cost of carbon, a metric that represents the long-term economic damage to society, in U.S. dollars, from each incremental ton of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.
    • Court upholds Obama's social cost of carbon accounting for federal regulations (Utility Dive):
      The SC-CO2 is designed to be a "comprehensive estimate of climate change damages," according to the EPA. The measure accounts for changes in net agricultural productivity, human health, property damages from increased flood risk and changes in energy system costs.

'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...

  • California utility guilty of obstructing investigators (AP):
    A federal jury found California’s largest utility guilty of violating pipeline safety regulations before a deadly natural gas pipeline explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area and then misleading investigators about how it was identifying high-risk pipelines.
  • Seeking water wars accord, Deal quietly meets with Alabama governor (Altanta Journal-Constitution):
    The fight between the three states involves water flowing from Lake Lanier downstream through Alabama to Florida’s Apalachicola Bay. Georgia’s two neighbors have argued for decades that it has drawn more than its share from the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers, posing a threat to the ecological system and harming the livelihoods of their residents.
  • Seas aren't just rising, scientists say - it's worse than that. They're speeding up. (Washington Post):
    It turns out, they say, that sea level rise was artificially masked in the satellite record by the fact that one year before the satellite launched, the Earth experienced a major cooling pulse...Fasullo says that debate - over precisely how fast acceleration happens, or where that leaves us in 2100 - remains unresolved. For now, he says, at least it's pretty clear that the acceleration is actually happening as expected.
  • A surge in avocado consumption is driving Mexican deforestation (AP)
    Given that Michoacan's forests contain much of the wintering grounds of the monarch butterfly, the deforestation is more than just an academic issue. Authorities have already detected small avocado plots in the monarchs' reserve where farmers have cut down pine forest.
  • Fish-farm escapees are weakening Norwegian wild salmon genetics (Monga Bay):
    “The extensive genetic introgression documented here poses a serious challenge to the management of farmed and wild Atlantic salmon in Norway and, in all likelihood, in other regions where farmed-salmon escape events occur with regularity,” the authors write in the paper.
  • China’s $15 Billion Energy Ambitions Crushed Within Two Weeks (Bloomber):
    Chinese firms in the midst of a record overseas spending spree are buying foreign utilities at the fastest pace in eight years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Infrastructure deals, especially, are set to come under increased scrutiny by incoming governments wary of giving China access to their nations’ critical networks.
  • The waters of this huge African lake aren’t mixing — and the consequences could be devastating (Washington Post):
    The new study suggests that declines in the lake’s fish predate the onset of commercial fishing there, he said, meaning climate change was having a negative impact before overfishing ever became a concern.
  • How Mazda 'zoom-zoom' turned fuel economy upside down (E&E News):
    [B]ack then, the promise seemed untethered to the realities of mechanical engineering. The most efficient engines simply couldn't produce the kind of power that more polluting engines could. Five years later, Mazda delivered the impossible.
  • Navy completes sea trial with ARA’s renewable diesel (Biomass Magazine, Applied Research Associates):
    For the first time ever a Navy ship has operated on a 100 percent drop-in renewable diesel fuel....he objective of this particular test was twofold: first, to demonstrate that ReadiDiesel is a drop-in replacement for petroleum-sourced F-76 marine diesel, meaning that it requires no blending with petroleum-derived fuels, equipment modifications or operational modifications by the crew; and second, to ensure that this renewable fuel performs equally to, or better than, existing petroleum-derived fuels.
  • We’re trashing the oceans — and they’re returning the favor by making us sick (Washington Post):
    In a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of researchers find that Vibrio bacteria, tiny marine organisms capable of causing deadly infections in both human and also fish, are becoming more prevalent in North Atlantic coastal regions as ocean waters warm.
  • Investors Have $100 Billion to Spend on Oil Assets No One Else Wants (Bloomberg):
    Precise numbers are hard to come by, but in conversations with investors, bankers and analysts across the industry, there’s little doubt that private equity firms are ramping up their investments in everything from undrilled and developed oil and gas acreage to troubled loans.
  • Epic Mideast Heat Wave Could Be Global Warming’s Hellish Curtain-Raiser (Washington Post):
    Record-shattering temperatures this summer have scorched countries from Morocco to Saudi Arabia and beyond, as climate experts warn that the severe weather could be a harbinger of worse to come.
  • Nevada Supreme Court Blocks Rooftop Solar Referendum (GreenTech Media):
    The Nevada Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision on [August 4] that blocks constituents from voting to restore favorable rates to rooftop solar customers. The decision puts increased pressure on lawmakers to implement a policy change during the next legislative session.
  • What Happens to the U.S. Midwest When the Water's Gone? (National Geographic):
    The Ogallala aquifer turned the region into America's breadbasket. Now it, and a way of life, are being drained away.
  • Environmental records shattered as climate change 'plays out before us' (Guardian UK):
    Temperatures, sea levels and carbon dioxide all hit milestones amid extreme weather in 2015, major international 'state of the climate' report finds.


FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page

  • NASA Video: If we don't act, here's what to expect in the next 100 years: