IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: After widespread devastation in the Caribbean, Hurricane Irma takes aim at the U.S.; Hurricane Harvey leaves behind a man-made ecological disaster; PLUS: Record heat waves and wildfires across the West --- and FEMA is out of money... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Hackers gain access to US electric grid; 2017 wildfire season in West is far worse than predicted; $2B to clean up toxic firefighting chemicals at military bases; Harvey swept toxic liquid mercury ashore, source still a mystery; Is your shampoo poisoning your drinking water?; 240-year old record shows coral reef losses worse than previously believed; NC sues company over river pollution; EPA political appointee now in charge of approving all grant applications; Oroville Dam investigators say inspectors missed multiple cues... PLUS: Harvey's toxic aftermath was preventable.... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Hurricane Irma causes widespread devastation, takes aim at the U.S.:
- Hurricane Irma: massive damage across Caribbean as death toll rises to 13 – latest (Guardian UK)
- Live Updates: Powerful Hurricane Irma Begins Its Destructive Path As Florida Braces For The Worst (Buzzfeed)
- Death toll rises as 'apocalyptic' Irma wreaks havoc across Caribbean (Guardian UK:
At least eight reported killed as the unprecedentedly powerful hurricane continues towards Haiti, Cuba, and possibly Florida, leaving devastation in its wake
- French St Martin '95% destroyed' (Guardian UK)
- SC Gov. Henry McMaster on if Irma hits: 'It will be like Hurricane Hugo' (WIS-TV Columbia)
- Record-breaking Hurricane Irma, plus more storms in the wings:
- The devastating stats behind record-breaking Hurricane Irma (Wired)
- How Hurricane Irma became a monstrous, record-shattering storm, and stayed that way (Mashable):
[T]he storm broke the record for the longest-lasting hurricane on Earth to features sustained winds of 185 miles per hour or greater, beating devastating Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013...Simply put, the hurricane hit the jackpot by being born into, and continuing to move through, an environment supportive of a monster storm...And finally, there's the elephant in the room, which must be acknowledged. In some ways, Hurricane Irma is a storm that allows us to picture what global warming looks like.
- The case for a Category 6 rating for super-hurricanes like Irma (Climate Progress):
Scientists warn the worst hurricanes will keep getting stronger as we warm the planet...I asked Michael Mann, a leading climatologist, whether we needed a new Category 6 for hurricanes like Irma, and he replied, “It seems logical to me to do so.” He added that “Irma certainly fits the pattern of increasingly strong hurricanes,” which is “precisely what studies have predicted we would see as a result of human-caused warming.”
- Hurricane Irma: A Practically Impossible Storm (Wired):
Look at it this way: If Godzilla emerged from the ocean and laid waste to Houston, then a week later did the same in the Caribbean, and then attacked Miami with atomic breath, the US government would learn to build giant Godzilla-fighting mech suits lickety-split. “We’ve had two outlier, extreme hurricanes back to back. If that doesn’t raise red flags, I don’t know what would,” Kossin says.
- Hurricanes Jose and Katia both expected to strengthen and threaten land (AL.com)
- Jose Expected to Become a Major Hurricane in the Atlantic; Watches Issued For Parts of Northern Leeward Islands (Weather Channel)
- Hurricane Harvey leaves behind a man-made ecological disaster:
- AccuWeather predicts Hurricane Harvey to be more costly than Katrina, Sandy combined (AccuWeather)
- The Economy Minus Houston (Slate):
What it means for our heavily networked country when one of its biggest nodes goes down.
- AP EXCLUSIVE: Toxic waste sites flooded in Houston area (AP):
The Associated Press surveyed seven Superfund sites in and around Houston during the flooding. All had been inundated with water, in some cases many feet deep.
On Saturday, hours after the AP published its first report, the EPA said it had reviewed aerial imagery confirming that 13 of the 41 Superfund sites in Texas were flooded by Harvey and were "experiencing possible damage" due to the storm. The statement confirmed the AP's reporting that the EPA had not yet been able to physically visit the Houston-area sites, saying the sites had "not been accessible by response personnel."
- Harvey: Chem Plants Release 1 Million Pounds Of Extra Air Pollutants (Washington Post):
Oil refineries and chemical plants across the Texas Gulf Coast released more than 1 million pounds of dangerous air pollutants in the week after Harvey struck, according to public regulatory filings aggregated by the Center for Biological Diversity.
- Petrochemical facilities release more than two million pounds of pollution during Hurricane Harvey (Environment Texas)
- Harvey Has Morphed into a Multi-Pronged Environmental Disaster (New Republic)
- After Oil Refinery Is Damaged by Harvey, Benzene Is Detected in Houston Area (Wall St. Journal)
- Oil Companies Leaking Benzene Lobbied Against Pollution Rules (David Sirota, International Business Times)
- EPA’s regulatory rollback would ensure that in disasters like Harvey, pollution is worse (Climate Progress):
“For far too long, polluters in certain states have taken advantage of SSM loopholes that allow unlimited amounts of harmful air pollution to be spewed into neighboring communities during regularly occurring startup, shutdown, or malfunction events.”
- While Lobbying Against Safety Rules, Arkema Warned Its Investors Of Chemical Storage Explosion Risks (International Business Times)
- Harvey to be costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, estimated cost of $190 billion (USA Today)
- The Looming Consequences of Breathing Mold (The Atlantic)
- Harvey has 'paralyzed' a critical part of US manufacturing supply chain - plastic and chemicals (CNBC)
- 'Your eyes start itching': pollution soars in Houston after chemical industry leaks (Guardian UK)
- Record heat wave over Labor Day weekend intensifies wildfires burning across the West:
- Potent Mix of Record Heat and Dryness Fuels Wildfires Across the West (Inside Climate News):
Wildfires burned across hundreds of thousands of acres in the American and Canadian West this week, fueled by scorching temperatures that are breaking heat and fire records across the region." "'These unprecedented extreme events are exactly the types of events that are more likely due to the global warming that’s already occurred.'
- State of emergency for fire danger declared for all Washington counties (KIRO Seattle)
- Engulfed in flames: What we know about wildfires burning the Northwest (KGW Portland):
More than two dozen wildfires are burning hundreds of thousands of acres across Oregon and Washington.
- How hot is it out here in the America West? Very, very, very (San Jose Mercury News)
- All-Time Record-High Temperature Set in San Francisco; Record Heat Shifts to the Northwest This Week (Weather Channel)
- Largest wildfire in Los Angeles history burns amid record-setting West Coast heat wave (MarketWatch)
- San Francisco has second straight day of triple-digit temperatures (CBS News)
- Congress moves to fund disaster aid and FEMA:
- House passes Hurricane Harvey relief aid (CNN)
- House Approves First Installment Of Hurricane Harvey Disaster Aid (USA Today):
Less than two weeks after Hurricane Harvey started pummeling the Texas Gulf Coast, the House overwhelmingly approved a nearly $7.9 billion recovery aid package on Wednesday for Texas and neighboring Louisiana.
- What past federal hurricane aid tells us about money for Harvey recovery (CNN)
- FEMA Is Almost Out of Money and Hurricane Irma Is Approaching (Bloomberg):
Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund down to its last $1 billion. Fund has burned through half its money since Thursday morning.
- Climate change will bring more extreme weather, and we're not ready:
- This Weather Is Not Normal. And It Will Only Get Worse. (The New Republic):
How many more lives must be destroyed by historic hurricanes, floods, and wildfires before the government admits that climate change is a problem?
- Grey swan tropical cyclones (Nature)
- Harvey Is What Climate Change Looks Like (Politico):
Harvey is what climate change looks like...The symbolism of the worst flooding disaster in U.S. history hitting the sprawled-out capital city of America’s oil industry is likely not lost on many. Institutionalized climate denial in our political system and climate denial by inaction by the rest of us have real consequences. They look like Houston.
- Harvey is an unprecedented disaster made worse by poor planning (Climate Progress):
Unless we get serious about both adaptation and mitigation, we won't be prepared when the next big storm hits.
- What Houston shows us, yet again, is that we live in a world of predatory delay. (Alex Steffen)
'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
- Hackers Gain Direct Access to US Power Grid Controls (Wired):
Security firm Symantec is warning that a series of recent hacker attacks not only compromised energy companies in the US and Europe but also resulted in the intruders gaining hands-on access to power grid operations—enough control that they could have induced blackouts on American soil at will.
- Harvey’s toxic aftermath was preventable (The Hill):
It may take years before we learn all of the lessons that will help us avoid more mistakes like these in the future. But some lessons are clear right now. First, let's take a look at the problems.
- 2017 Wildfire Season In Us West Far Worse Than Expected (AP):
A wet winter and spring in the Western U.S. brought predictions that the 2017 wildfire season would be mild. It was anything but. It ended up one of the worst in U.S. history in land burned.
- Cleanup Of Toxic Firefighting Chemicals At Military Bases: $2 Billion (Spokane Spokesman):
It may cost up to $2 billion to clean up toxic firefighting chemicals that have leaked from more than 400 U.S. military installations, including Fairchild Air Force Base, a group of Democratic senators said Tuesday in a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
- Harvey Swept Hazardous Mercury Ashore. The Mystery: Its Source. (NY Times):
Public health officials are investigating a case of dangerous liquid mercury that appears to have washed or blown ashore here, east of Houston, in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
- Is Your Shampoo Poisoning Your Drinking Water? (Mother Jones):
If it’s sudsy, it probably contains dioxane, a likely carcinogen.
- 240-Year-Old Nautical Maps Show Coral Loss Is Much Worse Than We Knew (Washington Post):
Between 1773 and 1775, George Gauld, a surveyor with the British Admiralty, immortalized the coast of the Florida Keys in ink. ... Gauld also took note of the corals he saw. And in doing so he created the oldest known records of Florida reefs. A stark picture of shrinking coral emerged: Half of the reefs recorded in the 1770s are missing from the satellite data.
- NC Sues Company Accused Of Polluting Cape Fear River (Raleigh News-Observer):
Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration is suing a manufacturer accused of dumping pollutants into the river that serves as the main source of drinking water for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians.
- EPA Now Requires Political Aide’s Sign-Off For Agency Awards, Grants (Washington Post):
The Environmental Protection Agency has taken the unusual step of putting a political operative in charge of vetting the hundreds of millions of dollars in grants the EPA distributes annually, assigning final funding decisions to a former Trump campaign aide with little environmental policy experience.
- Enviros Gear Up To Defend Obama EPA’s Gas-Mileage Standards (Washington Post):
The tug of war over how much more fuel efficient new cars and trucks should be in coming years — a fight that once seemed all but settled — will play out again on Wednesday in a downtown Washington hotel.
- Oroville Dam Investigators Say Inspectors Missed Clues (Sacramento Bee):
There was no shortage of red flags at Oroville Dam. It was a matter of knowing where to look.
- In Georgia Peach Orchards, Warm Winters Raise Specter of Climate Change (Inside Climate News):
hree generations of Robert Lee Dickeys share the two chairs in the cozy office of Dickey Farms, the younger always deferring to the elder. For 120 years, the Dickeys have been producing peaches so juicy they demand to be eaten over the kitchen sink.
- 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