IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: California's legislature extends landmark cap-and-trade program, but environmental justice groups say it's not enough; Trump Administration re-opens the Arctic for offshore drilling; PLUS: June was the third hottest on record globally, and 2017 is already breaking records... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): So, you've decided to give a sh*t about climate change?; Battle for the Moon begins; Fires rages near Yosemite, destroys dozens of structures; Rising seas spark Big Tobacco-style lawsuits against fossil fuel companies; Methane seeps out of Arctic permafrost increasing; Rising seas threaten ancient coastal ruins; North Dakota communities seek to clean up abandoned oilfield waste; Trump nominates non-scientist climate skeptic to USDA top science post; The immense, eternal plastic footprint humanity leaves on Earth... PLUS: How Y2K offers lessons for the battle against climate change... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- SPEAK UP for your marine national monuments (Regulations.gov)
- Tropical Storms 'Don' and 'Hilary' - still completely coincidental:
- Stop Reading Into Tropical Storms Don and Hilary (Gizmodo) [emphasis added]:
Tropical storm Don was the fourth named Atlantic storm of 2017, the prior three being Arlene, Bret, and Cindy. Following Don we can expect Emily, Franklin, and Gert. In the Pacific, we’ve already had tropical storm Greg, and the next one will be Hilary (this system, currently known as Tropical Depression Eight-E, hasn’t yet graduated to tropical storm status). Because these names are created well in advance, we know, for example, that the eighth tropical storm to appear in the Atlantic basin in 2022 will be named Hermine.
- Not a tweet storm, but a real storm coincidentally named Don (AP):
It is unlikely that Don the storm will be retired. The hurricane center's forecast discussion calls the storm "small," "not particularly well organized" and likely to dissipate in 72 hours. But storm watches and warnings were issued for Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Lucia.
- NOAA: 2017 already breaking global temperature records:
- Globe had 2nd warmest year to date and 3rd warmest June on record (NOAA.gov)
- 2017 is so unexpectedly warm it is freaking out climate scientists (Climate Progress):
“Extremely remarkable” 2017 heads toward record for hottest year without an El Niño episode.
- At Midway Point, 2017 Is 2nd-Hottest Year on Record (Climate Central)
- Third-hottest June puts 2017 on track to make hat-trick of hottest years (Guardian UK)
- California extends landmark cap-and-trade system in bruising legislative battle:
- AUDIO: CA Adopts Landmark Bipartisan Climate Legislation: 'BradCast' 7/19/2017 (The BRAD BLOG):
Guest: R.L. Miller, climate hawk Dem, on opposition to the CA bills
- California Lawmakers Extend Cap-and-Trade to 2030, with Republican Support (Inside Climate News):
The climate bill, a victory for Gov. Jerry Brown, drew opposition from some environmental groups for what they saw as giveaways to the oil industry.
- VIDEO: Cap-and-trade survives razor-thin votes in California Legislature (SF Gate):
Passage required two-thirds of the legislators in each house. Twenty-seven senators voted in favor — precisely the margin needed. Surviving the assembly required 54 votes in favor, and the bill secured 55. Several assembly Republicans crossed party lines to support it, even though some noted that California represents just 1 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
- VIDEO Gov. Jerry Brown makes full-throated public and private pitches for climate change deal (LA times)
- Statement on largely symbolic passage of California cap and trade extension (Climate Hawks Vote)
- What you need to know about Jerry Brown's cap and trade bill (Southern California Public Radio) [emphasis added]:
[C]ap and trade will likely play a much larger role in the future, because California will have to cut its emissions six to ten times faster than current rates in order to meet a new target of reducing emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030...Their main concern is that taking away the ability of local air districts to regulate carbon dioxide will impede regulation of other air pollutants, which directly affect public health. They also want refineries and power plants to be required to emit less CO2, which would mean fewer other pollutants coming out of the smokestack as well.
- California votes to extend its signature climate policy (Climate Progress) [emphasis added]:
But a close showdown over the state’s cap-and-trade showcases how states might grapple with climate change in the age of Trump.
- California is about to revolutionize climate policy … again (David Roberts, Vox)
- Interior Department re-opens offshore drilling in the U.S. Arctic:
- Trump administration approves Eni plan to drill offshore Alaska (Reuters)
- Drilling from man-made island into federal Arctic leases OK’d (Alaksa Dispatch News):
A national conservation group reacted immediately to the announcement, saying drilling by Italian oil company Eni US will set the stage for a spill in the ecologically sensitive area that's home to whales, polar bears and other imperiled animals. The approval comes amid heightened interest in the Arctic region after Shell stopped its exploration program there in 2015.
- Trump says the Atlantic, Arctic could soon be open to oil drilling (Washington Post)
- Trump Weighing Eni's Arctic Drilling Bid in Post-Obama Pivot (Bloomberg, 3/16/17):
Eni’s exploration well would be in an area it previously leased from the federal government, and so it isn’t covered by the executive order Obama issued in December to block the sale of new drilling rights within huge swaths of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.
- Railroad CEO declares "fossil fuels are dead" for his business:
- ‘Fossil fuels are dead’ says rail baron who hauls 800,000 carloads of coal a year (Climate Progress):
CEO of CSX won’t buy any new locomotives for coal, undercutting Trump’s claims coal can be revived.
'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
- So, You've Decided to Give a Shit About Climate Change (VICE):
I can't really help you be a more moral person, or "fix" the problem, but reading and watching this stuff might finally make it real for you.
- The Battle for the Moon Begins (Bloomberg):
An increasing number of nations and companies are headed there. One group says the UN needs to start making more rules before it’s too late...As more nations and companies plan missions to the moon, the real fear isn’t of some spacefaring Indiana Jones so much as the impacts of numerous lunar landings or, say, a massive mining operation.
- Fire Racing Near Yosemite Park Destroys Dozens Of Structures (AP):
A surging wildfire raced through California mountains and foothills west of Yosemite National Park on Wednesday, forcing thousands to flee tiny, Gold Rush-era towns, destroying 29 structures and wafting a smoky haze over the park's landmark Half Dome rock face.
- Rising Seas Spark Tobacco-Style Lawsuits in California (Climate Central):
Several flood-prone municipalities in California filed first-of-their-kind lawsuits against fossil fuel companies this week as they attempt to recoup the cost of coping with rising seas. The suits point to indisputable climate science and decades of industry efforts to mar that science. Experts likened the legal complaints to those brought against the tobacco industry in decades past, which succeeded by alleging the use of anti-science tactics to mask the dangers of their products.
- Methane Seeps Out as Arctic Permafrost Starts to Resemble Swiss Cheese (Inside Climate News):
The findings suggest that global warming will "increase emissions of geologic methane that is currently still trapped under thick, continuous permafrost, as new emission pathways open due to thawing permafrost," the authors wrote in the journal Scientific Reports. Along with triggering bacterial decomposition in permafrost soils, global warming can also trigger stronger emissions of methane from fossil gas, contributing to the carbon-climate feedback loop, they concluded.
- Canada’s Oil Sands Development Is Enabling This Jerk Bird (Motherboard):
The brown-headed cowbird used to sit atop roaming bison, now it perches on oil equipment.
- DEP seeks federal approval of WV water pollution law change (Charleston Gazette):
Department of Environmental Protection officials are pressing federal regulators to approve a significant change to West Virginia’s water pollution law, despite having previously said the state agency wasn’t sure if the language was overwritten by passage of a subsequent bill during this year’s legislative session.
- Research on mountaintop removal health effects adequate, panel told (Charleston Gazette):
Dozens of studies already published about mountaintop removal coal mining’s effects on public health provide adequate evidence to support ending the practice to protect coalfield residents, a former West Virginia University researcher and leading author on the subject told a National Academy of Sciences panel on Tuesday.
- How Y2K Offers a Lesson for Fighting Climate Change (NY Times):
Why feed the public a too-bleak picture of the future? Why frighten people into action, rather than inspire them? Because sometimes, the worst case is the only thing that prompts us to get anything done. I know this because I’ve studied the last time that governments, businesses and ordinary citizens joined together to combat a complex, man-made problem that threatened to wreak global havoc in the distant future.
- Perry Praises ‘Clean Coal,’ but Trump Administration Policies Don’t Promote It (NYT Times):
Mr. Perry has proposed to cut by 54 percent the budget of the Energy Department’s Office of Fossil Energy, which focuses on researching technologies to use coal, oil and natural gas more cleanly and safely.
- Kentucky: In the heart of coal country, state officials bet on renewable energy (CNBC):
At one point more than 90 percent of the electric power provided by EKPC was coal-fired. Last year that number was down to about 70 percent, and today the cooperative is in the process of installing a 33,000-panel solar field on its property.
- Heritage at Risk: How Rising Seas Threaten Ancient Coastal Ruins (Yale e360):
The shores of Scotland’s Orkney Islands are dotted with ruins that date to the Stone Age. But after enduring for millennia, these archaeological sites – along with many others from Easter Island to Jamestown – are facing an existential threat from climate change.
- Chemicals: Appropriators Target EPA Bid To Ban 3 Industrial Solvents (E&E News):
House appropriators are quietly urging the Trump administration to abandon proposed U.S. EPA regulations that would ban certain uses of three dangerous chemicals and restrict the number of hazardous waste reviews done by the Department of Health and Human Services.
- A Toxic Legacy: North Dakota Looks To Clean Up Old Oilfield Waste (Prairie Public News):
Way up in northern North Dakota lies an old oilfield with a problem 60 years in the making.
- The Immense, Eternal Footprint Humanity Leaves on Earth: Plastics (NY Times):
If human civilization were to be destroyed and its cities wiped off the map, there would be an easy way for future intelligent life-forms to know when the mid-20th century began: plastic.
- Trump Just Nominated A Non-Scientist Climate Skeptic To USDA’S Top Science Post (Washington Post):
President Trump on Wednesday nominated Sam Clovis, a former college professor and talk radio host who has challenged the scientific consensus that human activity has been the primary driver of climate change, to serve in the Agriculture Department’s top scientific post.
- GOP Takes Aim At Reforming Endangered Species Act (The Hill):
Congressional Republicans launched efforts Wednesday aimed at reforming the Endangered Species Act to make it more friendly for states, landowners, industry and others.
- Trump Plans To Destroy Texas Wildlife Refuge for 1st Border Wall Segment (Texas Observer):
If the levee wall is constructed, it will essentially destroy the refuge, a federal official told the Observer.
- The Uninhabitable Earth: When will climate change make earth too hot for humans? (New York Magazine):
Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak - sooner than you think.
- 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