IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Bizarre winter weather continues to pummel the U.S., even as winter officially ends; FBI charges Russian hackers attacked the U.S. power grid and critical infrastructure systems; As storms get stronger, building codes are getting weaker; FEMA's flood maps dramatically understate actual flood risk for 41 million American; PLUS: Trump's FEMA has deleted all mention of 'climate change' from its strategic plans... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): RIP Sudan, the Last Male Northern White Rhino; Six months after Maria, the hardest hit city in Puerto Rico is still being ignored; U.S. Interior Department offers oil leases near Utah's wilderness monuments; Solar power’s greatest challenge looks like a duck; 8 answers to judge's questions in cities vs. fossil fuels; U.S. Supreme Court allows Flint water contamination lawsuits; Norway’s electric car demand is outstripping supply; Water shortages will put 5 billion people at risk by 2050; Canada's outdoor ice rinks are melting... PLUS: US coal hasn’t set aside enough money to clean up its mines... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Alabama hit by early-season tornado:
- Severe weather spawns tornadoes across the South, rips off roofs in Alabama (USA Today):
With violent weather plowing through the Southeast, the kitchen windows exploded at Richard Brasher's home in eastern Alabama.
- A 'PDS' Tornado Watch Is Rare Wording Used For The Most Dangerous Severe Weather Days (Forbes):
The Storm Prediction Center issued a "PDS Tornado Watch" for parts of the southeast on Monday evening ahead of thunderstorms that could produce strong and long-lived tornadoes. Most of us are accustomed to tornado watches and tornado warnings, but the enhanced wording of this watch-Particularly Dangerous Situation-conveys the urgency of the hazards facing Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia.
- Northeast pummeled by 5 nor'easters in 4 weeks
- VIDEO: As storms pummel the Southeast, New England braces for another nor'easter (CNN)
- Wintry mix sours spring's first day, then a significant snow risk Wednesday (Washington Post)
- Warm Arctic? Expect Northeast Blizzards: What 7 Decades of Weather Data Show (Inside Climate News):
When Arctic temperatures spike, extreme winter weather is 2 to 4 times more likely in Boston and New York, while the West tends to be warmer, a new study shows.
- Why it's not unusual to see such frequent nor'easters this time of year (Accuweather):
What is notable about this month's trio of storms is how strong they've been, according to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams...The existing weather pattern that has produced these storms may cause more to form in the coming weeks.
- As storms get stronger, building codes are getting weaker:
- As Storms Get Stronger, Building Codes Are Getting Weaker (Bloomberg):
A report being released on Monday shows Florida isn't alone in easing up on building regulations even as the effects of global warming escalate. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety examined building policies in 18 Atlantic and Gulf Coast states and found that despite the increasing severity of natural disasters, many of those states have relaxed their approach to codes --- or have yet to impose any whatsoever.
- IBHS Report: America's Building Codes in Hurricane Prone Regions Show Uneven Commitment to Stronger, Safer Homes (Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety)
- FEMA flood maps dramatically understate actual flood risk:
- FEMA flood maps massively underestimate real risks, study finds. Florida's a hot spot. (Miami Herald)
- FEMA has radically underestimated how vulnerable Americans are to flooding (Vox):
New research claims that official estimates lowballed the risk by, uh, about a factor of three.
- America’s flood insurance chief has a message for all Floridians: You’re at risk (Miami Herald)
- Report: Estimates of present and future flood risk in the conterminous United States [PDF] (Environmental Research Letters)
- Trump's FEMA has deleted all mention 'climate change' from their strategic plans:
- FEMA is preparing for the future. “Climate change” isn’t part of it. (Vox):
Despite record disaster damages last year, FEMA has removed “climate change” from its strategic plan.
- FEMA Strips Mention of ‘Climate Change’ From Its Strategic Plan (Bloomberg)
- Ignoring the Role Climate Change Plays in US Disasters Helps No One (Union of Concerned Scientists) [emphasis added]:
Rachel Cleetus, lead economist and climate policy manager at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS): "Removal of the term 'climate change' from FEMA's recently released strategic plan demonstrates the chilling effect the Trump administration's denialism is having on vital work of federal government agencies. You can't delete the reality of climate change or its impacts.
- FBI, DHS warn Russian hackers attacked the U.S. power grid and critical infrastructure:
- Cyberattacks Put Russian Fingers on the Switch at Power Plants, U.S. Says (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
United States officials and private security firms saw the attacks as a signal by Moscow that it could disrupt the West’s critical facilities in the event of a conflict...“We now have evidence they’re sitting on the machines, connected to industrial control infrastructure, that allow them to effectively turn the power off or effect sabotage,” said Eric Chien, a security technology director at Symantec, a digital security firm...“I would say right now they do not think much will happen to them,” General Nakasone said. He later added, “They don’t fear us.”
- Russian Hackers Attacking U.S. Power Grid and Aviation, FBI Warns (Bloomberg):
Russian hackers are conducting a broad assault on the U.S. electric grid, water processing plants, air transportation facilities and other targets in rolling attacks on some of the country’s most sensitive infrastructure, U.S. government officials said Thursday.
- Report: Russian Hackers Had The Ability To Shut Down U.S. Power Plants (NPR):
"This team is stealing the type of information that would be required to go down that path of doing disruption," he says. "And I think we must take it extremely seriously because of the attacks in Ukraine."
- U.S. says Russian hack did not compromise power grid, plants (PBS NewsHour)
- Report: U.S. Could Be Plunged Into Blackout By Minimal Attacks (Time, 3/13/2014)
- Alert: Russian Government Cyber Activity Targeting Energy and Other Critical Infrastructure Sectors (US Computer Emergency Readiness Team)
'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
- Six months after Maria, the hardest hit city in Puerto Rico is still being ignored (Grist)
- RIP Sudan, the Last Male Northern White Rhino (Scientific American)
- The Koch Brothers Vs. God: The fossil fuel lobby preached its gospel in Virginia. Now, black churches are fighting back. Grist)
- 'Unprecedented' marine heatwave triggered huge carbon-dioxide release from seagrass (Sudney Morning Herald)
- 7 Years Before Russia Hacked the Election, Someone Did the Same Thing to Climate Scientists (Mother Jones)
- Canada’s Outdoor Rinks Are Melting. So Is a Way of Life. (NY Times)
- Water shortages will put 5 billion people at risk by 2050, U.N. warns (Climate Progress)
- Are Nor’easters and Bomb Cyclones the New Normal? (Scientific American)
- U.S. Supreme Court allows Flint water contamination lawsuits (Reuters)
- Norway’s electric car demand is outstripping supply – with lessons for the EU (Climate Change News)
- 8 Answers to the Judge’s Climate Change Questions in Cities vs. Fossil Fuels Case (Inside Climate News)
- U.S. Interior Department offers oil leases near Utah's wilderness monuments (Reuters)
- Solar power’s greatest challenge was discovered 10 years ago. It looks like a duck. (Vox)
- US coal hasn’t set aside enough money to clean up its mines (Climate Change News)
- 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