IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Record heat wave scorches Western U.S.; New criminal indictments in the Flint Water Crisis; Massive wildfire in Portugal kills more than 60; May 2017 was second, or third, hottest May ever recorded; PLUS: A court victory and major environmental award for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): CNBC allows Rick Perry to spout nonsense on live TV; Bitter scientific debate erupts over the future of America's power grid; Big Oil joins organization calling for a carbon tax; Scientists report nearly-unheard of Antarctic melt event; PA Supreme Court rules oil and gas royalties from public lands must be used for conservation; U.S. electric grid experts say no cyberattacks in 2016, but still cause for concern; Hundreds of scientists call for ban on anti-bacterial chemicals; Fish are migrating north, away from warmer waters; Once rare, wildfires increasing across Great Plains; Houston fears rising sea levels; Atlantic salmon population continues to decline... PLUS: Exxon makes a biofuel breakthrough... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- SPEAK UP for your national monuments through July 10, 2017: Review of Certain National Monuments Established Since 1996; Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment (U.S. Government)
- Record heat waves scorches Western U.S.:
- From Phoenix to Sacramento, the West is sweating through worst heat wave in decades (Washington Post):
Records were set in California on Sunday as the temperature rose to triple digits in the Central Valley. The high temperature was 97 degrees at San Francisco International, which set a record for the date - one degree shy of the warmest temperature ever in the month of June.
- All-Time Extreme Heat Expected in Southwest U.S. (Dr. Jeff Masters, Weather Underground):
The all-time hottest surface temperature records for Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson and Needles may be challenged, as temperatures soar to 115° - 125° Sunday through Thursday next week. The most intense heat is expected Monday through Wednesday, with 120° predicted by Weather Underground for Phoenix on Tuesday. Extreme heat will also extend northwest across the highly populated Central Valley of California.
- Southwest US Heat Wave June 2017 (Climate Signals):
[T]he extreme - record-breaking - nature of the event is a classic signal of climate change. This is the second of two back-to-back years of extreme heat in the Southwest during the pre-monsoon season.
- Canceled Flights, Burning Door Handles: Heat Hits Southwest (US News)
- High Phoenix temperatures prompt swim warning: Beware of diarrhea-causing parasite (AZ Central)
- It's so hot in Phoenix that airplanes can't fly (Washington Post)
- Frequency of lethal heat waves to increase with global warming:
- Too hot to handle: Study shows Earth's killer heat worsens (AP):
If pollution continues as it has, Mora said, by the end of the century the southern United States will have entire summers of what he called lethal heat conditions.
- By 2100, Deadly Heat May Threaten Majority of Humankind (National Geographic):
Up to 75 percent of people could face deadly heatwaves by 2100 unless carbon emissions plummet, a new study warns.
- Half of World Could See Deadly Heat Waves By 2100 (Climate Central):
If emissions continue on their current path, that proportion will jump to three-quarters of the world's residents, due to both rising temperatures and humidity, a new study detailed Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, finds. That future is what study author Camilo Mora calls a choice between "bad and terrible," but crucially, it is still a choice. If the world reduces emissions, it can reduce the impacts of warming as much as possible.
- Portugal: Massive wildfire kills at least 62 people:
- Portugal wildfire: 62 killed, victims burned in cars as they fled (CNN):
A raging wildfire ripping through central Portugal has killed at least 62 people and injured dozens more in what officials there described as the "greatest wildfire tragedy of recent years."
- The Latest: Death toll from wildfire in Portugal rises to 63 (Washington Post):
Daniel Starling jumped in his car and raced away as the flames bore down. He came across a family of four elderly people and stopped to pick them up. The 56-year-old from Norwich, England, says "we stopped at one point, because we did not know where to go, because there were flames everywhere. But I just carried on the only way that I knew. (It was) just flames over the car and the family and me screaming."
- May 2017 was 2nd or 3rd hottest May on record:
- May 2017 was second-warmest May on record (NASA)
- Global Climate Report - May 2017 (NOAA)
- May Continues a Ridiculous Warm Streak for the Planet (Climate Central):
This May was the second-warmest May on record, according to NASA data released on Thursday. The planet was 1.6°F (0.88°C) warmer than normal last month, trailing 2016 by just a 10th of a degree.
- May Continues Earth's Second-Warmest Start in 138 Years; Only 2016 Was Hotter (Weather Channel)
- 5 new felony indictments in Flint Water Crisis:
- Flint water probe charges reach highest levels (Detroit Free Press):
Schuette said he's often asked whether Gov. Rick Snyder would be charged. He said while investigators have been unsuccessful in interviewing the governor, there are also no charges pending at the moment.
- In Flint Water Crisis, Could Involuntary Manslaughter Charges Actually Lead to Prison Time? (Pro Publica):
Prosecutors will try to prove five Michigan officials were responsible for a Legionnaires' death because they knew about the problem, but failed to warn the public. Similar cases of environmental disasters have not resulted in convictions, but there are reasons Flint could break the mold...It's a move virtually unheard of in modern American history; legal experts couldn't point to a single case in which government officials were charged in a citizen's death because they knew about a problem but failed to warn the public.
- New Flint water crisis charges: A closer look (Detroit Free Press)
- VIDEO: MI Attorney General discusses new Flint water crisis charges in press conference (MLive)
- Michigan officials charged in Flint Legionnaires' outbreak (CNN):
"That arrogance that people would want to sweep this away and that there are nameless, faceless bureaucrats who caused this and no one responsible is outrageous," he said adding that this is proof the system is working.
- Court victory for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe:
- DAPL Ruling: What Was Decided, What’s Next? (EarthJustice)
- Federal judge orders environmental review of Dakota Access pipeline (Washington Post):
A federal judge in Washington on Wednesday ordered the Trump administration to conduct further environmental reviews of the Dakota Access pipeline but stopped short of halting oil-pumping operations pending further hearings beginning June 21.
- Ruling on Dakota Access pipeline surprises oil industry (Washington Post):
Boasberg said the Corps didn't adequately consider how an oil spill under Lake Oahe might affect tribal fishing and hunting rights, or whether it might disproportionately affect the tribal community. He will rule later on whether the pipeline should be shut down while the Corps reconsiders those matters, though he acknowledged such a move "would carry serious consequences that a court should not lightly impose."
- Judge questions Dakota Access Pipeline permits, prompting review (PBS NewsHour)
- The Fight Against the Dakota Access Pipeline Is Not Over. Here's How You Can Join (The Nation)
- Standing Rock Sioux wins major environmental award, investment in renewable energy:
- A Major Global Foundation Just Pledged $1 Million to the Standing Rock Sioux (The Nation):
That shift toward clean energy, which Archambault says began about a decade ago, involves change on the individual, community, and commercial levels. In addition to helping all seven Sioux reservations sell clean wind and solar power to out-of-state buyers, the tribe's goals include increasing their energy independence, developing models for other tribes, and creating work and educational opportunities in the renewable-energy sector for members of the tribe.
- Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Receives Inaugural Henry A. Wallace Award and Pledge of $1 Million in Support for Tribe's Transition to Renewable Energy (PR NEwswire)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
For a comprehensive roundup of daily environmental news you can trust, see the Society of Environmental Journalists' Daily Headlines page
- A bitter scientific debate just erupted over the future of America's power grid (Washington Post):
Scientists are engaged in an increasingly bitter and personal feud over how much power the United States can get from renewable sources, with a large group of researchers taking aim at a popular recent paper that claimed the country could move beyond fossil fuels entirely by 2055.
- CNBC allows Rick Perry to spout nonsense on live TV without any fact checking
Even Fox News has debunked this. (Climate Progress):Ironically, when EPA chief Scott Pruitt defended his absurd claim that CO2 is not "a primary contributor to the global warming that we see" on Fox News Sunday in early April, anchor Chris Wallace rebuked him: "Mr. Pruitt, there are all kinds of studies that contradict you."..The media should remember that the next time someone on team Trump tries to blow smoke in their face.
- Exxon, Shell, and BP joined a Republican-led council that proposes to put a $40 carbon tax on emissions (Climate Progress):
"Buried in pages of supposedly 'free market' solutions is a new regulation exempting polluters from facing legal consequences for their role in fueling climate change," Greenpeace's Naomi Ages said in a statement. "ExxonMobil will try to dress this up as climate activism, but its key agenda is protecting executives from legal accountability for climate pollution and fraud."
- Scientists Saw a Nearly Unheard of Antarctic Meltdown (Climate Central):
Antarctica is unfreezing. In the past few months alone, researchers have chronicled a seasonal waterfall, widespread networks of rivers and melt ponds and an iceberg the size of Delaware on the brink of breaking away from the thawing landscape.
- PA Supreme Court rules state forest gas royalty transfers unconstitutional (Pittsburgh Post_Gazette):
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that royalties from oil and gas leases on state forest land must be dedicated to conservation of the Commonwealth's public natural resources, not used for general budgetary purposes...does not give the state government a right to spend proceeds from the sale of publicly owned oil and gas for non-conservation purposes, even if they are generally in the public good.
- A U.S. Grid Clear Of 2016 Attacks Is Hardly Worry-Free — NERC (E&E News):
The North American Electric Reliability Corp., in its 'State of Reliability 2017' report, noted there were no cybersecurity attacks that took down parts of the U.S. grid in 2016, but NERC officials took little comfort in the conclusion.
- Exxon Makes a Biofuel Breakthrough (Bloomberg):
It’s the holy grail for biofuel developers hoping to coax energy out of algae: Keep the organism fat enough to produce oil but spry enough to grow quickly. J. Craig Venter, the scientist who mapped the human genome, just helped Exxon Mobil Corp. strike that balance, with a breakthrough that could enable widespread commercialization of algae-based biofuels.
- Feeling the Heat: How Fish Are Migrating from Warming Waters (Yale e3260:
Steadily rising ocean temperatures are forcing fish to abandon their historic territories and move to cooler waters. The result is that fishermen’s livelihoods are being disrupted, as fisheries regulators scramble to incorporate climate change into their planning.
- Hundreds of Scientists Call For Caution On Anti-Microbial Chemical Use (Environmental Health News):
More than 200 scientists outline a broad range of concerns for triclosan and triclocarban and call for reduced use worldwide ". "Two ingredients used in thousands of products to kill bacteria, fungi and viruses linger in the environment and pose a risk to human health, according to a statement released today by more than 200 scientists and health professionals.
- Wildfires, Once Rare In Great Plains, More Than Triple In 30 Years (Washington Post):
The grasslands of U.S. Great Plains have seen one of the sharpest increases in large and dangerous wildfires in the past three decades, with their numbers more than tripling between 1985 and 2014, according to new research.
- Houston Fears Climate Change Will Cause Catastrophic Flooding (Guardian UK):
Human activity is worsening the problem in an already rainy area, and there could be damage worthy of a disaster movie if a storm hits the industrial section...“If you can see your crime statistics, shouldn’t you be able to see your flood risk also? And other risks as well, human-induced risks?” he said. The site will be named Buyers Be-Where.
- New Teflon Toxin Found in North Carolina Drinking Water (The Intercept):
A persistent and toxic industrial chemical known as GenX has been detected in the drinking water in Wilmington, North Carolina, and in surface waters in Ohio and West Virginia.
- Conservationists: Imperiled Atlantic Salmon Decline Worsens (AP):
Fewer of North America's Atlantic salmon are making it back to rivers to spawn, which bodes poorly for the future of the imperiled fish, an international conservation group says.
- Energy Department Closes Office Working on Climate Change Abroad (NY Times):
The Energy Department is closing an office that works with other countries to develop clean energy technology, another sign of the Trump administration’s retreat on climate-related activities after its withdrawal from the Paris agreement this month.
- UN Announces 23 New Nature Reserves While U.S. Removes 17 (National Geographic):
The International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB), meeting this week in Paris, added 23 new sites to the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR), a program of the United Nations.
- Mayor of sinking island defends Trump as not 'really a sea level rise guy' (Climate Progress):
Trump called the mayor of Tangier Island to reassure him that he "believes" the island will withstand sea level rise and erosion.
- A reactor in Idaho could change the future of nuclear energy - if it survives Trump's budget (Washington Post):
But the still-nascent technology faces a threat: President Trump's budget would not renew the expiring grant that the Energy Department is using to help fund the project as it goes through a lengthy and expensive development phase. So far NuScale, the technology company after whom the project is named, has spent more than $400 million designing its reactor and still has about $600 million more spend through the final push. But even if everything proceeds on schedule, the plant won't produce any power or draw any revenue until 2025.
- EPA chief exaggerates growth of coal jobs by tens of thousands (Climate Progress):
Coal mining jobs increased by only a few hundred during first three months of 2017.
- A beginner's guide to the debate over 100% renewable energy (Vox):
Clean-energy enthusiasts frequently claim that we can go bigger, that it's possible for the whole world to run on renewables - we merely lack the "political will." So, is it true? Do we know how get to an all-renewables system? Not yet. Not really.
- 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