IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Cape Town, South Africa is about to become the world's first major city to run completely out of water; In Davos, U.S. promotes oil and gas while France pushes clean energy innovation; Trump's big infrastructure proposal will bypass major environmental laws; PLUS: California city becomes the 9th to sue the fossil fuel industry for climate damages... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): The dark side of America's rise to oil superpower; Tesla's giant battery making big bucks; Fighting climate change? We're not even landing a punch; Trump's anti-shark comments lead to surge in donations to shark charities; LePage moves to block most new Maine wind energy permits, because "tourism"; Cities on fast track to massive water deficits; Hurricane Harvey's record rains were likely nation’s most extreme ever; California sues Trump administration over repeal of fracking rule; Scientists sue EPA over advisory board cuts; Climate change triggering migrant crisis in Viet Nam... PLUS: Coal's decline seems impervious to Trump's promises of revival... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Cape Town, South Africa on verge of running out of water:
- Day Zero now likely to happen – new emergency measures (CapeTown.gov)
- In less than 3 months, a major international city will likely run out of water (CNN)
- AUDIO: Cape Town is about to become the first major city in the world to run out of water (CBC)
- Cape Town could run out of water by April (Deutsche-Welle News):
According to a study published on January 1 in Nature Climate Change, more than a quarter of Earth's land surface will become significantly drier, even if the global warming limit of 2 degrees, as laid down in the Paris Agreement, is reached..."The prognosis long term is that the city can expect to receive less rainfall than it has historically. A possible other solution will be mobile desalination plants, which could address a short-term need," she said.
- Water stress projected to increase globally by 2040:
- More than quarter of world's land could become arid due to global warming, finds study (The Independent UK):
Up to 30 per cent of the planet’s land surface would become arid if global temperatures rise 2C above pre-industrial levels, according to a new study. A 2C threshold was set out in the Paris climate agreement in 2015, but the new research suggests it will not be enough to prevent devastating environmental changes. As land undergoes “aridification” and becomes drier, water supplies run out.
- Aqueduct: Global Water Risk Assessment (World Resources Institute)
- These countries will be hit hardest by water stress in the future (Washington Post):
Altogether, 33 countries, 14 of which lie in the Middle East or North Africa, are expected to face “extremely high” water risk by 2040. They include heavily populated areas where millions of people will be at risk, such as Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Greece and Spain.
- Keeping global warming within 1.5C constrains emergency of aridification (Nature Climate Change)
- Trump's infrastructure proposal to bypass major environmental laws:
- Bedrock enviro laws on chopping block in infrastructure push (E&E News):
The Trump administration's push on infrastructure, its main legislative priority this year, is likely to call for handcuffing environmental laws to expedite permitting that the White House contends will save project developers time and money.
- Trump infrastructure push rolls back environmental rules (Reuters)
- Zack Colman (Twitter):
The White House plans to target the nation’s four major enviro laws through its infrastructure bill. CAA, CWA, ESA & NEPA all in crosshairs....One way White House may sideline a major environmental law: Infrastructure projects would need to cost $1 billion to trigger an enviro review.
- U.S. air pollution impacts show deep inequality:
- Air Pollution and Mortality in the Medicare Population (New England Journal of Medicine):
Previous studies involved predominantly urban populations and did not have the statistical power to estimate the health effects in underrepresented groups...The study showed that black men and persons eligible to receive Medicaid had a much higher risk of death associated with exposure to air pollution than other subgroups.
- Nationwide study of U.S. seniors strengthens link between air pollution and premature death (Harvard Univ.)
- David Roberts, Vox: (Twitter):
Always important to remember that rolling back air-quality regulations does not "reduce costs." It merely *shifts* costs, from industrialists to vulnerable populations.
- Even Breathing Is A Risk In One Of Orlando’s Poorest Neighborhoods (Huffington Post)
- In Davos, U.S. promotes oil and gas, France pushes clean energy innovation:
- Davos 2018: climate change rhetoric and reality (Climate Change News)
- VIDEO: World Economic Forum 2018: special address by Emmanuel Macron (Ruptly)
- VIDEO: Secretary Perry: "The United States is not just exporting energy, we're exporting freedom." (Fox Business News)
- VIDEO: Rick Perry to Davos: Freedom Tastes Like American Fracked Gas (Earther):
“Here’s what I try to share with all of our allies and the audience here at Davos. The United States is not just exporting energy, we’re exporting freedom. We’re exporting to our allies in Europe to truly have a choice of where you buy your energy from. That’s freedom and that kind of freedom is priceless.”
- The Davos view: action on climate and renewables despite Trump (Axios)
- U.S. tells Russia, Saudi shale oil won't be oil market 'spoiler' (Reuters)
- Macron’s climate charm offensive continues with Davos Trump jibe (Climate Change News)
- PM Modi at Davos: India making rapid strides in renewable energy (India Times)
- Richmond, CA becomes 9th U.S. city to sue fossil fuel industry:
- Richmond Becomes Latest California City to File Climate Lawsuit Vs. Big Oil (Climate Liability News):
Richmond, Calif., became the latest community on Monday to file suit against 29 fossil fuel companies, seeking monetary damages to pay for costs of adapting to climate change...Now the city is looking to shift the burden of these expenses from its taxpayers to the companies who produce and profit from fossil fuels, which have been shown by scientists to be the overwhelming driver of climate change.
- City of Richmond becomes 9th community seeking to hold fossil fuel companies accountable and protect its taxpayers from costs and consequences of climate change (Press release, City of Richmond):
Oil, Gas, and Coal Companies Challenged for Knowingly Putting Richmond, CA Families, Businesses and Infrastructure in Jeopardy...“With 32 miles of shoreline, more than any other city on San Francisco Bay, Richmond is at extreme risk from sea level rise,” Mayor Tom Butt said in a statement. “We have two rail lines, 3,000 acres of public waterfront parks, vulnerable neighborhoods, two wastewater treatment plants, and a refinery, all subject to inundation. Sea level rise is already affecting our long-term planning and will cost our community far more than any foreseeable resources we have to mitigate it.”
- The list of cities suing major fossil fuel companies over climate change just got longer (Climate Progress):
Richmond is also a predominantly Hispanic and black community that has struggled with industrial pollution due to the presence of several oil refineries and plants operated by Chevron.
- Years After Massive Fire, Chevron Refinery Still Being Cited for Safety Violations (NBC Bay Area)
'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
- The Dark Side of America’s Rise to Oil Superpower: It sounds good, but be careful what you wish for. (Bloomberg)
- Fighting Climate Change? We’re Not Even Landing a Punch (NY Times)
- Trump’s death wish for sharks leads to deluge of donations for shark charities (Treehugger)
- LePage moves to block most new Maine wind energy permits (Bangor Daily News)
- Population, Climate Leave Cities On A Fast Track To Water Deficits (Daily Climate)
- Storm waves moved this 620-ton boulder, scientists say — a stunning testament to the ocean’s power (Washington Post)
- Hurricane Center: Harvey’s ‘overwhelming’ rains were likely nation’s most extreme ever (Washington Post)
- California sues Trump administration over repeal of fracking rule (Washington Post)
- Scientists sue EPA over advisory board cuts (CNN)
- Trump's Tax on Solar Power: Here's What You Need to Know (Rolling Stone)
- Tesla’s Giant Battery in Oz Bringing in Big $$ (Climate Crocks)
- Coal’s Decline Seems Impervious to Trump’s Promises (NY Times)
- How Climate Change Is Triggering A Migrant Crisis In Vietnam (Independent)
- Puerto Rico moves to privatize troubled power company (Washington Post)
- Can These Seabirds Adapt Fast Enough to Survive a Melting Arctic? (Audubon Magazine)
- Trump’s latest regulatory overhaul raises food safety fears (NBC News)
- Trump’s failing war on green power: Wind and solar energy may have come too far for even a pro-fossil-fuel administration to stuff back into the barrel. (Politico)
- Can thorium reactors dispose of weapons-grade plutonium? (New Atlas)
- AUDIO: An Inconvenient 'BradCast' with Al Gore (The BRAD BLOG):
Guest Host Angie Coiro's exclusive interview with the former Vice President on elections, pollution, persuasion, activism, and hope...
- 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