IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: At U.N. climate talks in Bonn, Germany, the U.S. presence is a bit schizophrenic; New report shows Paris Agreement targets are not nearly enough; Senate approves fossil fuel lobbyist for top EPA air pollution position; PLUS: Puerto Rico governor estimates damages after Hurricane Maria at nearly $95 billion... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Trump dines on shark fin soup in Viet Nam; African-Americans take brunt of oil industry air pollution; EPA proposes reversing truck exhaust air pollution standards; Methane leaks in NM worse than thought; Republicans' tax cut bill has good news, bad news for renewable energy; Slow EPA response to Harvey pollution cleanup angers residents; NM's ancient Chaco Canyon endangered by drilling operations; U.S. fishery managers reject bid for catch limits on crucial menhaden; Author of DOE grid study describes being pressured to fault regulations; Trump's China natural gas deal raises ethics issues for Wilbur Ross... PLUS: After Flint water crisis, Michigan pushes to have nation's toughest lead water rules ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Puerto Rico's governor estimates $95 billion to rebuild after Hurricane Maria:
- Rebuilding Puerto Rico Will Cost $95 Billion, Says Island’s Governor (Mother Jones):
Ricardo Rosselló demands that lawmakers treat Puerto Ricans like they treat other American citizens..“The scale and scope of the catastrophe in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria knows no historical precedent,” the governor wrote in a letter to President Donald Trump. “The devastation throughout the Island represents an extraordinary challenge for American citizens residing in Puerto Rico and for the federal government.”
- Puerto Rico’s bankrupt utility agreed to pay Whitefish Energy double what linemen make, documents show (Washington Post)
- New 'day one' for Puerto Rico grid repair, 7 weeks after storm (E&E News):
The disaster of Hurricane Maria was twofold: first, a natural disaster. Second, a bungled human response to a humanitarian crisis and the longest blackout in American history. Grid restoration work is finally picking up speed nearly seven weeks after the hurricane's strike. But the faltering response has still not been resolved into a unified campaign to bring power back.
- Climate change made Hurricane Harvey extreme rainfall more likely:
- Texas’ odds of Harvey-scale rainfall to increase by end of century (MIT):
Study finds state’s annual risk of extreme rainfall will rise from 1 to 18 percent.
- Republican Senate confirms fossil fuel lobbyist for #2 spot at EPA:
- VIDEO: Watch a Top EPA Nominee Embarrass Himself With Feigned Ignorance of Basic Facts (The Intercept)
- U.S. Senate confirms top EPA air quality official despite concerns (Reuters)
- Tested EPA Air Chief to Advance Trump Rollbacks (BNA):
[O]thers who worked with Wehrum say his experience means he’s a greater threat to the agency than Pruitt, who made his name as Oklahoma attorney general suing the Obama EPA. “I don’t think I know of anybody who is more capable and inclined of doing damage than Bill,” said Bruce Buckheit, former director of the EPA’s air enforcement division who dealt closely with Wehrum during the Bush administration’s first term.
- Senate confirms lobbyist with ‘astounding’ number of conflicts of interest to head EPA air office (Climate Progress):
Fossil fuel lobbyist confirmed to EPA post on a party-line vote.
- Industry Lawyer William Wehrum is Confirmed to Lead EPA Office of Air and Radiation (EDF):
Wehrum Has Sued 31 Times to Undermine Protections He Will Now Be in Charge of Enforcing
- Emissions gap report warns Paris Agreement targets not enough:
- UN warns of 'unacceptable' greenhouse gas emissions gap (Guardian UK):
Report reveals large gap between government pledges and the reductions needed to prevent dangerous global warming
- Why the Post-Paris Climate Challenge Is Even Harder Than We Thought (Yale e360):
As international negotiators convene in Bonn, they must confront the stark conclusion of a new UN report: The national commitments under the Paris Agreement will not come close to providing the emissions reductions needed to avoid the most severe effects of climate change.
- Here's How Far the World Is From Meeting Its Climate Goals (NY Times)
- Schizophrenic US presence at COP23 in Bonn, Germany:
- A Shadow Delegation Stalks the Official U.S. Team at Climate Talks (NY Times):
Diplomats from other countries said they were glad to see governors, mayors and other Americans still committed to the Paris agreement making their presence felt. But they also said they weren’t sure which voice of American policy they should believe.
- Trump administration holds pro-coal event at Bonn climate conference (Climate Progress):
It's like "promoting tobacco at a cancer summit."
- US switches focus of its Bonn event from clean energy to fossil fuels (Guardian UK):
One of US’s only public events, originally billed as promoting clean energy, has since been changed to favour coal and nuclear power
- Protesters Jeer as Trump Team Promotes Coal at U.N. Climate Talks (NY Times):
“Nuclear and carbon capture are critical to reducing CO2 emissions, but going to Bonn to promote the technologies without admitting climate change is a crisis is a logical absurdity,” said Josh Freed, director of the clean energy program at the centrist think tank Third Way.
- VIDEO: Protesters interrupt U.S. coal presentation (Lisa Friedman, NYT reporter)
- As Syria embraces Paris climate deal, it’s the United States against the world (Washington Post)
- AUDIO: Bloomberg
- U.S. Cities and States Try to Keep Washington’s Climate Promises (Scientific American):
The pavilion is the home base for an alliance of more than 2,500 leaders from America’s cities, states, businesses, universities, faith organizations, tribes and other groups. Stymied by the slow pace of the negotiations—which they are not even allowed to participate in—these so-called “subnationals” have worked on the sidelines for years, using political will, economic leverage and the celebrity status of prominent politicians to advance their climate goals.
'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
- African-Americans Taking Brunt Of Oil Industry Pollution: Report (Reuters)
- EPA Proposes Reversing Stricter Pollution Rules For Old Truck Engines (Washington Post)
- Puerto Rico's Other No-Bid Contractor Says It's No Whitefish (Bloomberg)
- Natural gas has no climate benefit and may make things worse: Methane leaks in New Mexico's oil and gas industry equal 12 coal-fired power plants (Climate Progress)
- Senate Tax Bill Brings Good News for Renewables (GreenTech Media)
- Michigan Pushes To Have Nation's Toughest Lead Water Rules (NPR)
- Near Refinery’s Hum, Neighbors Cry: Get Us Out Of Here (Detroit News)
- Slow, Upbeat EPA Response To Hurricane Harvey Pollution Angers Residents (NPR)
- How New Mexico's Chaco Canyon Is Endangered By Drilling (Guardian UK)
- Fishery Managers Reject Bid To Manage Menhaden For Ecological Value (Bay Journal)
- Trump Dines Out On Shark-Fin Soup (E&E News)
- EPA Taking More Advice From Industry — And Ignoring Its Own Scientists (Washington Post)
- Hydro Licensing Bill Passes House; Dam Safety Amendment Omitted (Hydro World)
- Trump’s Chinese Gas Deal Raises Ethics Issues for Wilbur Ross (NBC News)
- Chemours Faces Sanctions In Carolina In Latest Legal Fight Over Teflon (Wilmington News Journal)
- Author Of DOE Grid Study Describes Being Pressured To Fault Regulations (Forbes)
- The Climate Risks We Face (NY Times):
To stabilize global temperature, net carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced to zero. The window of time is rapidly closing to reduce emissions and limit warming to no more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, the goal set in the Paris climate accord. The further we push the climate system beyond historical conditions, the greater the risks of potentially unforeseen and even catastrophic changes to the climate - so every reduction in emissions helps.
- 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