IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Deadly firestorm fueled by drought and high winds engulfs Tennessee towns; Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau approves controversial tar sands pipelines, despite climate promises; California's historic drought has killed more than 100 million trees; West Coast crab fishery closed again due to another toxic algae bloom; PLUS: Washington State scientists succeed at turning CO2 emissions into stone... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 2,000 Vets Head to Support Dakota Access Protesters, Protect From Police; Texas wind generation hits record, topping 15 GW; EPA's Late Changes To Fracking Study Downplayed Risk To Drinking Water; OPEC Reaches Deal to Limit Production, Sending Prices Soaring; Efforts to Save the Cheat River Chart Clearer Course Forward; While OPEC Gets All The Attention, The U.S. Quietly Becomes A Net Exporter Of Natural Gas; NY Sued Over Subsidies For Nuclear Plants... PLUS: The Most Dangerous Place on Earth to Be an Environmentalist... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Deadly firestorm, fueled by drought and high winds, engulfs TN towns:
- Rain finally comes to fire-ravaged Tennessee — along with tornadoes, mudslides and the threat of floods (Chicago Tribune)
- Tennessee officials say wildfires that left 7 dead ‘likely to be human-caused’ (Washington Post) [emphasis added]:
The wind carried the flames from the nearby Chimney Tops fire across ground parched by a historic drought and into the resort towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. The fire moved too fast and too far to contain. “This is a fire for the history books,” Miller said Tuesday. “The likes of this has never been seen here. But the worst is definitely over with.”
- Extent of Tennessee fire damage comes into grim focus (Nashville Tennesseean)
- Much Of The Southeast U.S. Is Grappling With Drought (NPR)
- U.S. Drought Monitor Map (US Dept. of Agriculture)
- Tennessee: Drought and high winds fuel 'apocalyptic' wildfire (Mashable):
"The center of Gatlinburg looks good for now," said Newmansville Volunteer Fire Department Lt. Bobby Balding told the Knoxville News Sentinel on Tuesday. "It's the apocalypse on both sides (of downtown).
- California has 100 million dead trees, killed by historic drought:
- New Aerial Survey Identifies More Than 100 Million Dead Trees in California (US Forest Service):
With public safety as its most pressing concern, the U.S. Forest Service has committed significant resources to help impacted forests, including reprioritizing $43 million in California in fiscal year 2016 to conduct safety-focused restoration along roads, trails and recreation sites. However, limited resources and a changing climate hamper the Forest Service's ability to address tree mortality in California. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Forest Service officials are seriously hampered not only by short-term budgets passed by Congress, but also a broken budget for the Forest Service that sees an increasing amount of resources going to firefighting while less is invested in restoration and forest health, said Vilsack.
- VIDEO: ‘Unprecedented’: More than 100 million trees dead in California (SF Gate)
- Q & A: California has 100 million dead trees — and no easy answers for what to do with them (LA Times),/li>
- California crab fishery closed again due to toxic algae bloom:
- Commercial crab season for chunks of coast to stay closed (SF Gate):
A stretch of Northern California coast will remain closed to commercial Dungeness crab fishing, health officials said this week, indefinitely pushing back the season’s start because of high levels of a biotoxin found in the crustaceans there.
- Crab fishing shut down on part of California coast. What it means for consumers. (Sacramento Bee)
- Oregon crabbing delayed again by biotoxins (KOIN)
- Canadian PM Trudeau approves controversial tar sands pipelines:
- VIDEO: Trudeau cabinet approves Trans Mountain, Line 3 pipelines, rejects Northern Gateway (CBC):
Projects will pump nearly a million more barrels of oil a day from Alberta's oilsands to global markets
- First Nations, environmentalists vow 'long battle' on approved Kinder Morgan pipeline (CBC):
Kinder Morgan, business groups cheer announcement as 'defining moment' for Canada's energy industry
- Canada PM Approves Controversial Pipeline to Pacific Coast (NY Times):
But there remains opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline in British Columbia, the birthplace of the Greenpeace environmental movement. There is no guarantee it will get built despite Trudeau's approval as it faces strong opposition from environmentalists and indigenous leaders. Vancouver, B.C. Mayor Gregor Robertson said he was profoundly disappointed by Trudeau's decision and said it would bring seven times the number of oil tankers to Vancouver's waters.
- Washington State succeeds in turning CO2 emissions into stone:
- Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership: Basalt Pilot Project (Big Sky CO2)
- Scientists Take Big Step Toward Safely Burying CO2 (Climate Central):
Scientists working at the Wallula Basalt Pilot Project in Washington State turned liquefied carbon dioxide into solid rock by injecting the gas into basalt formations. Over a span of about two years, the carbon dioxide solidified into a mineral called ankerite, according to the study conducted by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers. The research was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.
- Field test could lead to reducing CO2 emissions worldwide (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, 2013):
Injection is occurring on Boise property in deep basalt — the same massive ancient lava flows that underlie major portions of Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The joint research is conducted under the Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership, which is led by Montana State University and funded by DOE and a consortium of industrial partners.
- Iceland Carbon Capture Project Quickly Converts Carbon Dioxide Into Stone (Smithsonian Magazine):
The mineralogy of basalts, though, is very favorable for locking up carbon dioxide, says Juerg Matter, a geochemist now at the University of Southampton who began working on the CarbFix project while at Lamont-Doherty. For carbon dioxide to transform into carbonate, the rocks into which the gas is injected need to have calcium-, magnesium- or iron-rich silicate minerals. A chemical reaction then occurs that converts the carbon dioxide and minerals into a chalky carbonate mineral. Sedimentary rocks don’t have much of those minerals, but basalts—a type of volcanic rock that makes up most of the ocean floor as well as rocks on some other places on land—have plenty
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- 2,000 Vets Head to Support Dakota Access Protesters, Protect From Police (Inside Climate News):
Michael Wood Jr., a Marine Corps veteran and former Baltimore police officer, is leading a group of 2,000 veterans to North Dakota this weekend to join ongoing protests against the Dakota Access pipeline.
- EPA's Late Changes To Fracking Study Downplayed Risk To Drinking Water (Marketplace):
Top officials of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last year made critical changes at the eleventh hour to a highly anticipated, five-year scientific study of hydraulic fracturing’s effect on the nation’s drinking water. The changes, later criticized by scientists for lacking evidence, played down the risk of pollution that can result from the well-drilling technique known as fracking.
- Efforts to Save the Cheat River Chart Clearer Course Forward (WV Public Radio):
The Cheat River flows pale green and slate gray, glistening in the sunshine as it gathers speed, turns to whitewater and drops between rocks on the way toward the Monongahela River. From there it makes its way to the Ohio River and the drinking water of millions of people. As West Virginia pushes toward an uncertain economic future, a river that once flowed bright orange charts a course out of mining's toxic legacies.
- OPEC Reaches Deal to Limit Production, Sending Prices Soaring (NY Times):
After years of trying fruitlessly to prop up energy markets, OPEC on Wednesday finally reached a consensus on production cuts, sending oil prices soaring. The problem is, the euphoria in the markets may not last.
- While OPEC Gets All The Attention, The U.S. Quietly Becomes A Net Exporter Of Natural Gas (Forbes)
- Texas wind generation hits record, topping 15 GW (Utility Dive)
- Without the Clean Power Plan, are nuclear plants essential to combat climate change? (Utility Dive):
A new report sees emissions skyrocketing if nukes retire, but PG&E says that's not a given.
- Obama EPA Seeks To Preempt Trump On Fuel-Economy Standard (CS Monitor):
The EPA aims for US car fleets to average 54.5 miles per gallon in 2025 – and seeks to keep Republicans from changing the policy in 2017.
- NY Sued Over Subsidies For Nuclear Plants (AP):
New York utility regulators are being sued by an environmental group over big subsidies for nuclear power plants.
- The Most Dangerous Place on Earth to Be an Environmentalist (Outside):
The assassination of Goldman Prize-winning activist Berta Cáceres last March shocked the global community. But in her home country of Honduras, where more than 100 activists have been cut down in the past five years, it was business as usual.
- Perils of Climate Change Could Swamp Coastal Real Estate (NY Times):
Homeowners are slowly growing wary of buying property in the areas most at risk, setting up a potential economic time bomb in an industry that is struggling to adapt.
- No country on Earth is taking the 2 degree climate target seriously (Vox):
If we mean what we say, no more new fossil fuels, anywhere.
FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page