IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: South Carolina nuclear plants cancelled; North Carolina's Outer Banks are out of power; Humanity on track to blow past 2 degrees Celsius of global warming; Some coastal towns will see 'effective inundation' within twenty years; TransCanada suggests it may not build Keystone XL after all; PLUS: Blowback as Trump threatens to protect Alaska's environment, or else... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Court orders Trump’s EPA to enforce methane rule for oil and gas drillers; Google's Alphabet researching salt batteries; 60,000 Indian farmer suicides linked to climate change; Koch front group uses misleading ads to attack electric vehicles; VW settlement will expand electric vehicle highway across CA; Big Oil warns Texas over 'bathroom bill'; Meat industry blamed for largest-ever 'dead zone' in Gulf of Mexico; 12 years later, feds start investigating leaking offshore oil platform in Gulf; How Congress is cementing Trump's anti-climate orders into law... PLUS: We are in danger of loving our national parks to death... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Trump-Zinke threaten Murkowski: Vote my way or the environment doesn't get it:
- Trump administration threatens retribution against Alaska over Murkowski health votes (Alaska Dispatch News):
Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan said the call from Zinke heralded a "troubling message." "I'm not going to go into the details, but I fear that the strong economic growth, pro-energy, pro-mining, pro-jobs and personnel from Alaska who are part of those policies are going to stop," Sullivan said. "I tried to push back on behalf of all Alaskans. … We're facing some difficult times and there's a lot of enthusiasm for the policies that Secretary Zinke and the president have been talking about with regard to our economy. But the message was pretty clear," Sullivan said. The Interior secretary also contacted Murkowski, he said.
- Zinke: ‘Laughable’ to suggest he threatened Alaska senators (AP)
- Energy bill on standby with health care, budget in flux (E&E News):
A McConnell spokesman on Friday declined to comment on the floor schedule for the coming work period, which is currently set to conclude on July 28, launching a six-week recess, but lobbyists and staffers said they anticipate the energy bill coming up as soon as next week.
- Outer Banks is out of power after powerlines cut:
- VIDEO: With All Power Cut, Tens of Thousands Flee N.C. Outer Banks Islands (NBC News):
The electric co-op said it was exploring two possible fixes — digging up the cables and splicing them back together or building a new, above-ground transmission line.
"Depending on which solution turns out to be the most practical, the timeline for a complete repair could vary from one to two weeks," it said.
- We're on track to blow past 2C Celsius target:
- Earth to warm [more than] 2 degrees Celsius by the end of this century, studies say (CNN)
- We're Not Totally Sure How Much the Planet Will Warm This Century—But We Still Need to Act (Gizmodo) [emphasis added]:
Michael Mann, one of the co-authors of last week’s study on defining the pre-industrial baseline, he was immediately critical of its methods..."the new study is based purely on socio-economic trends—and assuming that those trends can foretell the future...That ignores the fact that political will depends on many factors that cannot be predicted based on past behavior,” he said, noting that the recent growth in renewable energy, for instance, has exceeded the projections of many market forecasters.
- South Carolina: construction halted on 2 unfinished nuclear reactors:
- Santee Cooper, SCANA abandon Summer nuclear plant construction (Utility Dive):
At Monday's Santee Cooper board meeting, utility officials reportedly estimated it would cost an additional $11.4 billion to finish the project, adding up to a total cost of about $25 billion. That 75% increase in the original cost estimate proved too much for Santee Cooper, which the Post and Courier notes has raised rates five times to cover the cost of the project.
- U.S. Nuclear Comeback Stalls as Two Reactors Are Abandoned (NY Times)
- S.C. utilities halt work on new nuclear reactors, dimming the prospects for a nuclear energy revival (Washington Post) [emphasis added]:
[T]he partly finished South Carolina reactors, along with two others under construction in Georgia, have demonstrated that the main obstacle to new nuclear power projects is an economic one. The plants would be more viable if the federal government imposed a tax on carbon as part of climate change policy, but that seems unlikely.
- The failure of two nuclear units could leave South Carolina customers with the electric bill (Post and Courier):
State lawmakers in South Carolina's legislature passed another law — known as the Base Load Review Act — that gave investor-owned utilities, like SCE&G, the ability to charge electric customers for the nuclear units as they were being built. That law, which the utilities pushed through the Legislature, was supposed to reduce the financing costs for the plants, saving customers money over the life of the project. Their electric bills would increase, however, to cover the mounting interest payments. It also placed almost all of the risk in building the two reactors onto ratepayers.
- UCS study: 170 US communities will see 'effective inundation' by 2035:
- When Rising Seas Hit Home: Hard Choices Ahead for Hundreds of US Coastal Communities (Union of Concerned Scientists):
There comes a threshold of chronic flooding that makes normal routines impossible and forces communities to make difficult, often costly choices.
- Higher seas to flood dozens of US cities, study says; is yours one of them? (CNN)
- Scores of U.S. Communities Face Frequent Flooding in 18 Years (Scientific American)
- Oblivious: Two thirds of Miami home buyers never ask about rising sea level:
- Over 64 percent of Miami property buyers are oblivious to threat of sea level rise (Climate Progress):
Meanwhile, Trump is doing all he can to burst the trillion-dollar coastal property bubble.
- Should you buy or rent? What are the best neighborhoods? Here’s our 2017 real estate study (Miami Herald)
- Miami-Dade Real Estate Study [PDF] (Miami Herald)
- TransCanada may not build Keystone XL pipeline after all:
- Too soon to say whether Keystone XL will be built, TransCanada exec says (Politico):
The company behind the Keystone XL pipeline has not yet determined whether there is enough demand for the project to justify actually building it, a top executive said today. It was the strongest acknowledgment from TransCanada to date that the nearly decade-long Keystone saga may end in failure...But it has been struggling to find enough customers, and it still needs approval from Nebraska regulators for the pipeline's route, which landowners and activists in the state have been fighting since the project was first proposed.
- Oil companies have abandoned 2.5 million acres of Alberta tarsands oil exploration leases. (Calgary Herald)
'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
- Court tells Trump’s EPA to enforce methane rule for oil and gas drillers (Climate Progress):
EPA’s failure to enforce rule is causing release of “hazardous air pollutants,” court rules.
- Alphabet Wants to Fix Renewable Energy’s Storage Problem — With Salt (Bloomberg):
The research lab, which hatched Google's driverless car almost a decade ago, is developing a system for storing renewable energy that would otherwise be wasted. It can be located almost anywhere, has the potential to last longer than lithium-ion batteries and compete on price with new hydroelectric plants and other existing clean energy storage methods, according to X executives and researchers.
- Suicides of nearly 60,000 Indian farmers linked to climate change, study claims (Guardian UK):
Rising temperatures and the resultant stress on India’s agricultural sector may have contributed to increase in suicides over the past 30 years, research shows
- Billionaire Behind the Dakota Access Is ‘Baffled’ by Complaints About His New Pipeline (Bloomberg):
In a letter to U.S. lawmakers Monday, Warren said he was “baffled” by federal energy regulators’ allegations that his company, Energy Transfer Partners LP, violated rules in building the $4.2 billion, 700-mile (1,127-kilometer) Rover gas pipeline and defended how the project has been constructed. That same day, his company reached a deal to sell a 32 percent stake in its Rover unit to Blackstone Group LP for about $1.57 billion in cash.
- A Koch front group is putting out misleading attack ads on electric vehicles (Climate Progress):
This week, they put out another video, claiming that taxpayers are subsidizing rich white men (yes, this is an ad from the Koch brothers) to buy Teslas. There is a lot wrong here.
- VW, in Settlement, to Build Electric Vehicle Stations (Climate Central):
The California Air Resources Board has voted unanimously to approve the $200 million plan as the first of a number of steps the German automaker has proposed to take to help cut greenhouse gas emissions in California. In total, the company has agreed to spend $800 million on zero-emissions electric vehicle infrastructure in the state over 10 years.
- Big Oil weighs in on Texas 'bathroom bill,' warning it will threaten state's economy (LA Times):
In a significant blow to Texas cultural conservatives, some of the nation’s most powerful oil and gas companies on Monday joined the chorus of business voices opposing Republican lawmakers’ contentious “bathroom bill” targeting transgender people.
- Meat industry blamed for largest-ever 'dead zone' in Gulf of Mexico (Guardian UK):
A new report shows toxins from suppliers to companies like Tyson Foods are pouring into waterways, causing marine life to leave or die
- Environmental Groups Sue Government Over Vehicle Emissions (AP):
Environmental groups that say they’re seeking to restore clean air standards for vehicles on the nation’s highways have sued the federal government in New York.
- How A Surge in Visitors Is Overwhelming America’s National Parks (Yale e360):
The growing crowds at U.S. National Parks have become unmanageable, jeopardizing the natural experience the parks were created to provide. With attendance this summer continuing to shatter records, officials are considering limiting use of the parks in order to save them.
- At EPA Museum, History Might Be In For A Change (Washington Post):
Scott Pruitt has repeated a particular line again and again since becoming the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. 'The future ain’t what it used to be at the EPA,' he’s fond of saying.
- 12 Years Later, Feds Start Investigating Leaking Gulf Oil Platform (NOLA):
Twelve years after Hurricane Ivan destroyed a Taylor Energy Co. platform in the Gulf of Mexico, the federal government has finally started investigating how oil and gas that is still leaking from its wells damages natural resources.
- How Congress Is Cementing Trump's Anti-Climate Orders into Law (Inside Climate News):
These 'cynical' efforts are mostly flying under the radar, but they could short-circuit lawsuits and make it harder to restore environmental protections.
- EU Court Orders Poland To Stop Logging Primeval Forest Now (Reuters):
The European Union's top court ordered Poland on Friday to immediately halt large-scale logging in an ancient protected forest, one of many cases that has pitted the nationalist, eurosceptic government in Warsaw against the bloc.
- Shell CEO Says His Next Car Will Be Electric (Bloomberg):
When the boss of Europe’s biggest listed oil company says his next car will be electric, it says a lot about the future of fossil fuels.
- New Diesel And Petrol Vehicles To Be Banned From 2040 in UK (BBC):
New diesel and petrol cars and vans will be banned in the UK from 2040 in a bid to tackle air pollution, the government has announced.
- Like Exxon, Utilities Knew about Climate Change Risks Decades Ago (Inside Climate News):
A new report shows through documents and testimony how utilities researched climate change and determined in the 1970s that it could force a shift away from coal.
- 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