IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: A reprieve for renewable energy, but not for disaster victims, in Republicans' massive tax cut bill; GOP achieves their dream of drilling in Alaska's pristine National Wildlife Refuge; Australia finds renewable energy more reliable than coal; PLUS: California's Thomas Fire now 2nd largest in state history... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Trump signs executive order to expand critical minerals production; EPA delays implementing ban on toxic chemicals; Trump EPA pick for Chicago cut enforcement in WI; Plastic ocean pollution now found in seafood; France law bans all oil and gas production by 2040; Mistral declared in Bundy Ranch armed standoff; Jakarta is sinking fast; Beavers emerge as agents of Arctic destruction (besides humans, that is); Electric trucks quietly report for duty across U.S. without all the fumes; Ottawa plans to declare deadly hydrogen sulfide gas is non-toxic; Nebraska regulators deny TransCanada request on Keystone XL route... PLUS: Republicans blow their chance to pass a carbon tax... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- GOP achieves long-held dream of drilling in ANWR:
- VIDEO: Sen. Cantwell's Floor Remarks on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (YouTube):
"We should not be turning it into an oilfield. We didn't create the Arctic coastal plain, but I can tell you this --- we cannot re-create it. What we're doing today is taking a step towards destroying it."
- Tax Bill Opens Arctic Refuge for Oil, But Years of Delay May Follow (Bloomberg)
- Drilling in Arctic Refuge Gets a Green Light. What’s Next? (NY Times)
- What Oil Drilling Looks Like in the Arctic Refuge, 30 Years Later (NY Times)
- Winners but mostly losers in Republicans' massive tax cut bill:
- The GOP tax plan is a windfall for oil and gas industry (Washington Post)
- Solar, Wind Face Stealth Tax Problems From Republican Compromise (Bloomberg)
- Tax Bill Largely Preserves Incentives for Wind and Solar Power (NY Times)
- The GOP Tax Bill Takes Aim at Victims of Natural Disasters (Mother Jones):
It’s about to become much harder to deduct losses incurred from fires and floods...The tragic fires that blazed through California in recent months, along with Texas’ and Puerto Rico’s horrendous hurricanes, did receive federal emergency declaration, so their victims would still qualify for the deduction under the new tax bill. But most disasters aren’t large enough to attract attention from the White House.
- 34 things you need to know about the incoming tax law (CNN):
16. The electric car tax credit lives on. Drivers of plug-in electric vehicles can still claim a credit of up to $7,500. Just as before, the full amount is good only on the first 200,000 electric cars sold by each automaker. GM, Nissan and Tesla are expected to reach that number some time next year.
- Friendly policies keep US oil and coal afloat far more than we thought (Vox):
Most energy subsidies go not to renewables but to producing more of the dirty stuff.
- Fossil Fuel Subsidies: Overview (Oil Change International)
- California's Thomas Fire now 2nd largest in state history:
- Thomas Fire still 60 percent contained after ‘significant wind event’ (San Luis Obispo Tribune)
- 272,000-acre Thomas Fire officially the second-largest wildfire in California history (San Luis Opispo Tribune)
- Exhausted firefighters get some well-deserved rest in viral photo (San Luis Opispo Tribune)
- 'Beyond a perfect storm': Wind-driven California fire nears record (USA Today)
- Is California heading back into a drought? (SanJose Mercury News)
- California and National Drought Summary for December 19, 2017 and 10 Day Weather Outlook (Seirra Sun Times)
- Thomas Fire: Evacuated Homeowners Brace for Next Onslaught of Dangerous Winds (AP):
Cal Fire reported 6,982 fires in California from Jan. 1 to Dec. 17, including the devastating North Bay fires in October. Those fires scorched more than 505,900 acres, more than double last year’s burned acreage count.
- 3 Reasons Why California's Fire Risk Won't Dampen Anytime Soon (NPR)
- Spreading like wildfire (Nature):
The 2017 wildfire season has seen unusually high fire levels in many parts of the world...What might now be considered high wildfire years like 2017 are likely to become more common in the future and this will inevitably stretch the existing institutional and infrastructural resources in place to manage them — resources that have already been shown to be inadequate this year in many places.
- Arizona: Court upholds ban on uranium mining near Grand Canyon:
- Court upholds uranium mining ban around Grand Canyon but allows nearby mine (Washington Post):
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on Tuesday upheld a 20-year ban on uranium mining around Grand Canyon National Park but ruled in a separate case that a uranium company could open a mine nearby...The two unanimous rulings by the three-judge panel came as the Trump administration considers lifting the ban, in place since 2012....The 2012 ban blocked new mining claims and placed restrictions on mine development on existing claims in a million-acre area around the Grand Canyon park, though the Interior Department indicated that up to 11 claims could proceed.
- Appeals court rejects effort to reopen Grand Canyon-area uranium mining (Arizona Daily Star)
- New York Gov pushes state pension fund to divest from fossil fuels:
- Calling on the NYS Common Fund to Cease All New Investments in Entities with Significant Fossil Fuel-Related Activities and Develop a De-Carbonization Plan for Divesting from Fossil Fuel (Office of Gov. Cuomo)
- Cuomo Calls for New York Pension Fund to Halt Fossil Fuel Investments (NY Observer)
- Cuomo Urges New York Pension Fund to End Fossil-Fuel Investments (Bloomberg):
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said that the fund has “no immediate plans to divest our energy holdings” but would work with the governor on ways it can contribute to the low-carbon economy. The fund has already invested $2 billion in a low-carbon index.
- Australia: Coal plants fail, Tesla rides to the rescue, and port phases out coal:
- Intermittent: Another big coal unit trips – that’s four in a week (Renew Economy Australia):
AEMO can predict with a large degree of accuracy any swings in output from wind and solar, but has made it clear that supply is most threatened by unexpected outages from a large thermal unit...The NSW task-force recommended a focus on new technologies, particularly distributed energy – local solar and other renewables and storage – to make the grid more resilient...Although expected, the demonstration of its fast response capabilitiy is expected to increase pressure on market rule-makers to accelerate changes that encourage such technologies.
- Tesla battery races to save Australia grid from coal plant crash – injecting 7MW in milliseconds (Electrek):
Technically, the Tesla battery responded to the trip event, and finished its work, before the coal plant’s backup plant finished its start up process. The purpose of this battery was specifically to defend the power grid from trips like this after outages in the summer of 2016...[S]econdly, it finished its work of stabilizing the grid and shut back down before the regular backup plant even started its work.
- Newcastle: world's biggest coal export port announces shift away from coal (Guardian UK) [emphasis added]:
The new chair of Newcastle Ports in Australia says there’s an urgent need to diversify the regional economy and the port’s business...Glen Klatovsky, deputy chief executive of 350.org, called on the government to recognise the fear the transition away from coal would cause, and to manage a “just transition” for workers in the region.
'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
- Republicans Blow Their Chance to Pass a Carbon Tax (The Atlantic)
- Trump signs executive order to expand critical minerals production, says it will end America’s ‘vulnerability’ (Washington Post)
- E.P.A. Delays Bans on Uses of Hazardous Chemicals (NY Times)
- Trump EPA Pick For Chicago Office Cut Enforcement, Climate Info In WI (Chicago Tribune)
- Court Asks EPA When It Will Move Forward With Smog Rule Compliance (The Hill)
- Plastic Found In Mussels From Arctic To China - Enters Human Food (Reuters)
- Longtime oil and gas leader pushing energy tax in Oklahoma (AP)
- France Passes Law To Ban All Oil And Gas Production By 2040 (AP)
- EPA says Pruitt's Superfund Task Force left behind little paper trail (AP)
- Judge Declares Mistrial In Bundy Ranch Armed Standoff Case (NY Times)
- Jakarta Is Sinking So Fast, It Could End Up Underwater (NY Times)
- Beavers Emerge as Agents of Arctic Destruction (NY Times)
- Private No More: Montana City Takes Control of Its Water System (Water Deeply)
- Electric Trucks Report for Duty, Quietly and Without All the Fumes (Inside Climate News)
- Pipeline Projects Continue to Dominate News in North Dakota (AP)
- Ottawa plans to declare deadly hydrogen sulfide gas is non-toxic (National Observer)
- Nebraska regulators deny TransCanada request on Keystone XL route (Reuters)
- Climate Change Is Already Wreaking Havoc on Our Weather, Scientists Find (TIME)
- 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