IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Evacuations and rescues as extreme weather impacts the U.S.; New study finds today's extreme heat days are tomorrow's "new normal"; Treasury Department fines Exxon Mobil for violating Russia sanctions in oil deal; PLUS: Trump nominates non-scientist and talk-radio host for top USDA science job... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Lamar Smith's dangerous new climate science denial; Rome facing water rationing as Italy suffers driest spring for 60 years; CO emails show residents begging for fracking regulation; DAPL pipeline company ordered to stop work on Rover pipeline after violations; Senate confirms coal lobbyist for #2 post at Interior; EPA stalls crackdowns on polluters; Trump's chemical safety pick helped DuPont avoid clean water rules; Trump Admin cancels hundreds of environmental and public health regulations; Fukushima: robot finds possible melted nuclear fuel; Coast Guard chief says U.S. not ready to clean up an Arctic oil spill... PLUS: Anthony Scaramucci called climate science ‘irrefutable’ before he worked for Trump... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Evacuations and rescues as exteme weather impacts the U.S.:
- Reports: Severe storms unleash flooding rain across northeastern US (AccuWeather)
- All stranded hikers rescued in Arizona (CNN):
"We ran down the mountain as fast as we could, knowing what was coming," Leinen said. "It sounded like jet engines roaring and we could see the water rush down."..."The water came down like a wall. It was instant. It washed the concrete away like sand," Leinen said.
- Harrisburg, Pa., had an epic deluge Sunday: Over four inches of rain fell in a single hour (Washington Post)
- AUDIO: Montana's Lodgepole Complex Is The Size Of New York City (Montana Public Radio):
Public Information Officer for the Lodgepole Complex fire, Geremy Olson, says the weather right now makes for very dangerous firefighting conditions. "Firefighters are experiencing anywhere from 8 to 10 to 12 foot flame lengths in that sage brush and in the timber draw areas and stuff," said Olson. "It's just not safe to fight fires in there."
- At 200,000 acres, 'very extreme fire behavior' seen in Lodgepole Complex (Billings Gazette)
- Crews from 34 states arrive to help with destructive Montana fires (CBS News):
...It's the largest complex of fires in a state with 18 blazes burning, which is more than twice as many as Alaska, the next highest state with eight, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
- New normal: Today's extreme heat days will be 'average' by 2040:
- Today's Extreme Heat May Become Norm Within a Decade (Climate Central):
When 2015 blew the record for hottest year out of the water, it made headlines around the world. But a heat record that was so remarkable only two years ago will be just another year by 2040 at the latest, and possibly as early as 2020, regardless of whether the greenhouse gas emissions warming the planet are curtailed.
- Met Office: increased risk of simultaneous crop disasters:
- Maize, rice, wheat: alarm at rising climate risk to vital crops (Guradian UK):
Simultaneous harvest failures in key regions would bring global famine, says the Met Office.
- Simultaneous harvest failures in key regions would bring global famine: alarm at rising climate risk to vital crops (Guardian UK):
The group found there is a 6% chance every decade that a simultaneous failure in maize production could occur in China and the US - the world's main growers - which would result in widespread misery, particularly in Africa and south Asia, where maize is consumed directly as food. "The impact would be felt at a global scale," Kent told the Observer. "This is the first time we have been able to quantify the risk. It hasn't been observed in the last 30 years, but the indications are that it is possible in the current climate."
- Trump nominates science denier to top USDA science post:
- AUDIO: Candidate Profile: Sam Clovis (Iowa Public Radio):
"I think when it comes to anthropogenic climate adjustments we need to take a look at the history of our world, and it needs to go farther back than just the last 135 years where we've taken serious note of what is going on. Because I think we find indications of climate change that are as cyclic as sunspot changes, Krakatoa, volcanic activity. There are all those other things we should be considering that might influence that."
- Trump officially nominates climate-denying conservative talk radio host as USDA's top scientist (Climate Progress):
Clovis, like so many of the Trump administration's top policy officials, does not accept the scientific consensus on climate change. In 2014, he told Iowa Public Radio that climate science is "junk science" and "not proven." He also said in an interview with E&E News in October that the Trump administration would not prioritize climate change or climate science at the USDA - a sharp break from the Obama administration, which made a point of trying to better prepare farmers and the food system for imminent climate-fueled changes like droughts or heavier storms.
- Clovis Is Most Controversial USDA Pick in 15 years (Farming Today)
- Treasury Dept. fines Exxon Mobil for violating Russia sanctions:
- Exxon Mobil Fined for Violating Sanctions on Russia (NY Times):
The penalty was relatively small for the Treasury and a blip on Exxon's mammoth balance sheet, but it came as controversy over Russia policy has engulfed Washington. The Trump administration is facing questions about Russia's intervention in the 2016 election, and Congress has considered stiffening sanctions out of concern that President Trump will try to ease those already in place...The company said it had adhered to guidance from the White House and the Treasury, and that its representatives had done nothing wrong by signing documents related to active business with Rosneft, which was not blocked by sanctions. Mr. Sechin was acting in an official capacity, Exxon said, not a personal one.
- Exxon Fined $2 Million for Violating Russia Sanctions While Tillerson Was CEO (Mother Jones):
The Treasury Department says the company "demonstrated reckless disregard" for sanctions requirements.
- Employees Sue Exxon for Climate Fraud for Damage to Their Retirement Accounts (Climate Liability News)
- Hurricane Hilary in the Pacific after TS 'Don' - still completely coincidental:
- Hurricane Hilary could blow up and become major storm, but no threat to North America (Washington Post)
- Stop Reading Into Tropical Storms Don and Hilary (Gizmodo) [emphasis added]:
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.
'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
- Trump officially nominates climate-denying conservative talk radio host as USDA's top scientist (Climate Progress):
"Whether or not Clovis acknowledges climate change, it is happening, and agriculture has to deal with that," Patty Lovera, assistant director of Food and Water Watch, told ThinkProgress. "They have to come up with techniques to grow crops in tough weather conditions, and there are always research needs for how you grow crops in changing climate more efficiently with less resources."
- In Colorado Fracking Fight, Emails Show Constituents 'Begging' Lawmakers For Help (Int'l Business Times):
A battle over oil and gas drilling in residential areas was fought in the Colorado legislature this spring, with Democrats and environmental groups seeking to impose rules that would push fracking activity further away from schools and public facilities. This effort, which was punctuated by an April gas well explosion that killed two men in Firestone, was opposed by the state's influential oil lobby and allied Republican legislators.
- Rome facing water rationing as Italy suffers driest spring for 60 years (Guardian UK):
Rainfalls 80% below normal have affected farming across the country and could result in the capital's famous fountains being turned off.
- Lamar Smith's dangerous new climate science denial (Climate Progress):
Smith saw climate change in the Arctic, and came back with a very optimistic view of the problem.
- Anthony Scaramucci called climate science ‘irrefutable’ before he worked for Trump (Climate Progress):
The new White House communications director has offered mixed messages on science.
- ETP's $4 Billion Rover Line Hits Another Snag, This Time In W Virginia (Reuters):
Energy Transfer Partners LP's (ETP.N) Rover pipeline, the biggest natural gas pipeline under construction in the United States, received more bad news after West Virginia told the company to stop some work, citing environmental violations, regulators said on Monday.
- Senate Confirms David Bernhardt, Trump Nominee For No. 2 Interior Post (Denver Post):
Colorado native David Bernhardt's nomination by President Donald Trump to the post of deputy Interior secretary was confirmed Monday by the U.S. Senate, despite concerns from Democrats who call him a Washington insider and from conservationists worried about his environmental record.
- Crackdown On East Chicago Air Polluter Stalls Under Trump EPA (Chicago Tribune):
During a stop in East Chicago three months ago, Scott Pruitt vowed that cleaning up the low-income, predominantly African-American and Latino city would be one of his top priorities as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
- Trump EPA Chem Safety Pick Was in the 'Business of Blessing' Pollution (The Intercept):
Michael Dourson, President Donald Trump's nominee to head the EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, founded and ran a toxicology consulting firm whose work enabled DuPont to avoid providing clean water to people in West Virginia after the company contaminated the area around one of its plants with a dangerous industrial chemical.
- Trump Administration Cancels Hundreds Of Obama-Era Regulations (Washington Post):
The White House has frozen or withdrawn hundreds of planned rules, a move aimed at bolstering the economy but that scraps proposed protections for workers and the environment.
- Fukushima Disaster: Robot Finds Possible Melted Nuclear Fuel (BBC):
An underwater robot has captured what is believed to be the first images of melted nuclear fuel deposits inside Japan's stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, its operator Tepco says.
- The U.S. is not ready to clean up an Arctic oil spill (Scientific American):
The United States is not ready to clean up an oil spill in the Arctic, the Head of the Coast Guard said yesterday.
- 8 Senators Call for Probe of 'Arbitrary' Reassignment of Fed Scientists (Iinside Climate News):
Eight U.S. senators called for an investigation today after a federal climate scientist filed a whistleblower complaint alleging that he had been arbitrarily reassigned by the Trump administration in what he believed was retaliation for speaking out publicly about the dangers climate change poses to Alaska Native communities.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
"The White House’s Office of Management and Budget detailed Thursday how it would jettison hundreds of existing or planned regulations as part of its larger push to ease federal restrictions on the private sector, upending federal policies on labor, the environment and public health.
FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page