IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: In his first State of the Union address, Trump proposes massive infrastructure spending --- but there's a catch; FEMA is not ending emergency food and water aid in Puerto Rico after all; Maine's governor bans all new wind energy projects; PLUS: New Jersey's new governor goes all in on offshore wind and cutting carbon emissions... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Defenders of science, this is the messaging strategy you've been waiting for; EPA blocks Obama-era Clean Water rule, the 'Waters of the United States'; Low snowfall in Rockies concerning for Western water managers; Trump seeks to screw over energy workers with massive cut to renewable energy programs; Ending North Korea oil supplies would be seen as act of war, says Russia; Future technology 'cannot rescue' mankind from climate change; Federal judge pauses Mountain Valley Pipeline; Modern land run? Trump move opens Utah to new mining claims under 1872 law; Toxic coal ash pits leaching into Indiana river; Hong Kong drowning in waste as China's rubbish ban takes effect... PLUS: The State of the Climate, one year into the Trump era... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- FEMA is not cutting off emergency food/water aid to Puerto Rico - for now:
- In Reversal, FEMA Says It Won't End Puerto Rico Food And Water Distribution Wednesday (NPR):
"Provision of those commodities will continue," spokesman William Booher said. A different spokesperson, Delyris Aquino-Santiago, had earlier told NPR that it would "officially shut off" its food and water mission on the island on Jan. 31 and hand its remaining food and water supplies over to the Puerto Rican government to finish distributing. But on Wednesday, Booher said that date "was mistakenly provided."
- A FEMA Error Drove Fears That Food and Water Aid to Puerto Rico Was Ending. It's Not. (NY Times):
According to Mr. Booher, Wednesday was not an actual cutoff point, but rather an internal planning date to evaluate if Puerto Rico could still justify needing assistance.
- Previously: FEMA to stop distributing emergency food and water to Puerto Rico (Washington Post):
"It's amazing that they say they want to help the economy, but what are people going to use to buy food? Bitcoin?" she said. "If the electricity isn't stable enough, it means that job stability isn't stable enough."
- Trump's State of the Union: Rolling back regulations, not actually investing in infrastructure:
- Trump's new infrastructure "plan," explained: There is no infrastructure plan and there never will be (Vox) [emphasis added]:
Neither congressional Republicans nor the veteran GOP politicians and operatives who do run the Trump administration want to see a big federal infrastructure package. If they wanted one, they would have done a deal with Barack Obama when he was president and called over and over again for one. What they actually want is cuts in the social safety net - cuts that Democrats aren't going to agree to and that aren't especially popular.
- The biggest infrastructure nightmare facing the United States (CNN)
- Trump's Infrastructure Plan Could Destroy Our Nation's Water Systems (The Nation):
Privatization and deregulation could damage city water supplies and lead to pollution of our natural environment...[N]ow he's poised to follow his monstrous tax cuts with a stimulus plan that will actually fork over more public assets to corporate executives.
- Trump's perennial "war on coal" claim, fact-checked (Vox):
There was never a war on coal, and Trump didn't make the US an energy exporter.
- AP FACT CHECK: Trump's State of the Union stretches on taxes, energy (AP)
- The real state of the union in 2018, explained (Vox)
- Trump Touts the End of the 'War on American Energy' (Green Tech Media)
- New Jersey's new governor rejoins RGGI, expands offshore wind:
- New Jersey governor directs agencies to make climate action important again (Climate Progress) [emphasis added]:
Under Chris Christie, Garden State lost out on an estimated $279 million by withdrawing from regional pact.
- New Jersey Embraces an Idea It Once Rejected: Make Utilities Pay to Emit Carbon (NY Times):
In the Northeast, at least, those fears have not been borne out so far. In part because of a glut of cheap natural gas from fracking, as well as the recent boom in wind and solar power, utilities in the R.G.G.I. program have found it relatively easy to retire their dirtiest coal plants and cut pollution at minimal cost. Emissions from electricity in R.G.G.I. states have fallen 40 percent since 2009 - faster than in the rest of the country - while electricity prices have declined 3.9 percent.
- N.J.'s Murphy Advances Offshore Wind That Stalled Under Christie (Bloomberg)
- 'Inside the Koch Brothers 2011 Summer Seminar': Part 1 of 2-Part Exclusive (The BRAD BLOG)
- 'Inside the Koch Brothers 2011 Summer Seminar': Part 2 of 2-Part Exclusive (The BRAD BLOG)
- TRANSCRIPT: 'Inside the Koch Brothers' 2011 Summer Seminar' - Gov. Chris Christie's Keynote Address (Intro by David Koch) (The BRAD BLOG) [emphasis added]:
Another example of Governor Christie's commitment to the free enterprise system is that only a few weeks ago he announced that New Jersey would be withdrawing from the [Regional] Greenhouse Gas Initiative which is a [cheers and applause], which would have raised energy costs, reduced economic growth and led to very little, if any, benefit for the environment. [A 'boo' is heard.]
- Christie Pulls New Jersey From 10-State Climate Initiative (NY Times, 5/26/2011)
- Gov. Chris Christie to use cap-and-trade funds to balance state budget (NJ.com, 3/9/2010)
- Christie Quietly Diverts $210 Million From Clean Energy Fund (NYJ Spotlight)
- Confused Chris Christie embraces climate science, rejects climate action (Climate Progress, 5/27/2011) :
Bowing to Koch pressure, NJ governor announces plan to withdraw from Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative...The Koch-backed front group Americans for Prosperity has been running a multi-million-dollar campaign to derail RGGI.
- Maine's Republican governor bans all new wind energy projects:
- LePage blocks new wind energy projects, creates secretive commission to study impacts (Portland Press-Herald):
Gov. Paul LePage imposed a moratorium Wednesday on new wind energy projects in western and coastal Maine while establishing a secretive commission to study how wind turbines affect the state’s tourism economy...With several Maine-based wind projects vying for the lucrative contract, both supporters and critics of LePage’s action said the executive order appeared timed to send a message to Massachusetts about the prospects for new wind projects in Maine.
- Our View: Panel on wind power development likely to say what LePage wants to hear (Editorial, Portland Press-Herald):
No amount of study is going to convince the governor to reverse his strident opposition to wind generation, so why bother?
- LePage bill would gut streamlined permitting process for most wind power projects (Portland Press-Herald)
- Governor LePage: Maine Wind Turbine Runs On ‘A Little Electric Motor That Turns The Blades’ (Climate Progress):
Asked about this curious claim, the University spokesperson’s first response was to literally laugh out loud. There is no motor. The project is actually a success story for the university, and for Maine.
'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
- Trump seeks to screw over energy workers with massive cut to renewable energy programs with highest potential for job creation (Climate Progress)
- U.S. offshore wind poised to take off with major announcements out of New York and New Jersey (Climate Progress)
- Ending North Korea oil supplies would be seen as act of war, says Russia (Reuters)
- The State of the Climate, One Year Into the Trump Era (NY times)
- Geoengineering Fail: Future technology ‘cannot rescue’ mankind from climate change, say experts (Independent UK)
- Federal judge puts a pause on Mountain Valley Pipeline construction plans (Roanoke Times)
- Defenders of science, this is the messaging strategy you’ve been waiting for (Climate Progress)
- E.P.A. Blocks Obama-Era Clean Water Rule (NY Times)
- Trump’s Environmental Rollbacks Were Fast. It Could Get Messy in Court. (NY times)
- In Push To Cut Permits, U.S. Must Still Protect Water Quality: CEO (Reuters)
- Modern Land Run? Trump Move Opens Utah To Mining Claims Under 1872 Law (Reuters)
- Toxic Coal Ash Pits Leaching Into Illinois' Only National Scenic River (Chicago Tribune)
- Regulators Vote To Protect More Corals In Atlantic Ocean (AP)
- Low Snowfall In Rockies Is Concerning For Western Water Managers (NPR)
- Hong Kong Drowning In Waste As China Rubbish Ban Takes Toll (Reuters)
- What ‘Clean Coal’ Is — and Isn’t (NY Times):
The term “clean coal” was popularized in 2008 by coal industry groups, at a time when Congress was contemplating climate change legislation. While the term is deliberately vague, it is often understood to mean coal plants that capture the carbon dioxide emitted from smokestacks and bury it underground as a way of limiting global warming.
- 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)
- 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