IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Puerto Rico still in the grip of crisis, six months after Hurricane Maria; New documents reveal Trump's FEMA failed to respond to calls for assistance; Your bottled water is likely contaminated with microscopic plastic; Congress rejects Trump's EPA budget cuts again in federal spending bill; PLUS: Another charismatic species slips into extinction because of humans... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Why Are There Suddenly So Many Nor'Easters?; Oil Companies Conveniently Think Climate Science Stopped in 2013; Public lands are being sold in secret on the internet; Major insurers lost billions on natural disasters in 2017, they say climate change a ‘serious’ risk; Global Carbon Emissions Hit Record High In 2017; Flooding And Heavy Rains Rise 50% Worldwide In A Decade, Figures Show; Tougher Climate Policies Could Save 150 Million Lives, Researchers Find... PLUS: America's Misguided War on Childhood Lead Exposures... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Congress rejects Trump's EPA budget cuts in new government spending bill:
- Spending bill rejects Trump’s proposed EPA cut (The Hill):
In addition to the $8.1 billion for EPA in the main section of the bill, lawmakers tacked on an additional $763 million in another part of the bill for various EPA programs related to water infrastructure and to cleaning up polluted Superfund sites.
- US science agencies set to win big in budget deal (Nature):
Congress is preparing to vote on legislation that includes historic $37 billion for the NIH.
- Puerto Rico still in the grip of crisis, six months after Hurricane Maria:
- Six months since Maria hit, frustrating progress on restoring Puerto Rico's power (CNBC)
- Puerto Rico went dark 6 months ago. Could a solar smart grid prevent the next energy disaster? (PBS NewsHour):
“Casa Pueblo has been running on solar power since 1999, so we’re not new in this. After the hurricane, our facilities were intact, as well as our energy system,” said Arturo Massol, Casa Pueblo’s director...What’s not yet clear is the role that PREPA might play in these new microgrids. In the past, PREPA forbade individuals from selling and transmitting energy to others. Early messages from the government and PREPA about the adoption of renewables put an emphasis on corporate investment.
- FEMA silent amid chaos in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, emails show (AP) [emphasis added]:
Emails and text messages made public Tuesday in a letter sent by the top Democrat on the House oversight committee describe frantic efforts by officials at Walmart and the Puerto Rican government to get fuel for generators to prevent food from going bad. From the Federal Emergency Management Agency came only silence.
- Unable To Prove They Own Their Homes, Puerto Ricans Denied FEMA Help (NPR)
- VIDEO: “The Battle for Paradise”: Naomi Klein on Disaster Capitalism & the Fight for Puerto Rico’s Future (Democracy Now!)
- 6 months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico has a suicide crisis and a housing shortage (Vox)
- 6 Months After Maria, Puerto Ricans Face a New Threat—Education Reform (The Nation)
- Instead of asking tourists to ignore the hurricane, Puerto Rico invited them to help rebuild (Quartzy)
- Rivers are a significant source of plastic pollution in the ocean:
- Flooding has flushed 43 billion plastic pieces out to sea (Science):
The Mersey River Basin near Manchester, U.K., is the most plastic polluted watershed in the world, with more than half a million plastic particles per square meter of riverbed. That’s one of the most dramatic findings of the first global map of aquatic plastic pollution, published today in Nature Geoscience. When large storms flood rivers, the plastic collected there washes out to sea. That means rivers are a significant source of plastic polluting the world’s oceans, the study reveals.
- Almost all plastic in the ocean comes from just 10 rivers (Deustche Welle, 11/30/2017):
Most of the plastic in our oceans doesn't get dumped there directly, rivers carry it to the sea. As it turns out, a very small number of them do most of the damage.
- Your bottled water is likely contaminated with microscopic plastic:
- Bottled water not safe from microplastic contamination (Deustche-Welle):
The revelation from a new global survey into microplastics in bottled water serves up a bitter irony. What we drink may well be contaminated. Possibly from the bottles themselves.
- VIDEO: Plastic: WHO launches health review (BBC):
The tests were carried out at the State University of New York in Fredonia as part of a project involving original research and reporting by the US-based journalism organisation Orb Media. Using a dye called Nile Red, which binds to free floating pieces of plastic, the university's Prof Sherri Mason found an average of 10 plastic particles per litre of water, each larger than the size of a human hair.
- Plus Plastic: Microplastics found in global bottled water (Orb Media)
- Report: Synthetic Polymer Contamination in Bottled Water [PDF] (Dept. of Geology and Environmental Sciences, State University of New York)
- Another species slips into extinction because of humans:
- The Last Male Northern White Rhino Is Dead (The Atlantic):
It is a tragic moment—even for a subspecies that is already functionally extinct.
- Last male northern white rhino's death highlights 'huge extinction crisis' (Guardian UK):
The tragic death of Sudan the rhino should act as a warning of the need to act to prevent mass extinctions around the world, say conservationists
- After Last Male's Death, Is the Northern White Rhino Doomed? (National Geographic)
- Taxpayer-funded 'conservation' board stocked with trophy hunters:
- Trump wildlife protection board stuffed with trophy hunters (AP) [emphasis added]:
A new U.S. advisory board created to help rewrite federal rules for importing the heads and hides of African elephants, lions and rhinos is stacked with trophy hunters, including some members with direct ties to President Donald Trump and his family. A review by The Associated Press of the backgrounds and social media posts of the 16 board members appointed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke indicates they will agree with his position that the best way to protect critically threatened or endangered species is by encouraging wealthy Americans to shoot some of them.
- Reality Stars, Trophy Hunters, and Gun Boosters: Meet the Trump Administration’s Wildlife Conservation Council (Mother Jones):
“It’s really embarrassing. I just question the qualifications of each and every one of these people.”
- Trump wildlife protection board defends trophy hunting (AP)
- Elephant trophy hunting, and Trump’s confusing positions on it, explained (Vox):
The US Fish and Wildlife Service will approve the import of elephant trophies on a “case-by-case” basis.
- Groups sue over decision to lift US ban on elephant trophies (New Jersey Herald)
'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
- Why Are There Suddenly So Many Nor'Easters? (The Atlantic)
- Oil Companies Conveniently Think Climate Science Stopped in 2013 (Earther)
- Climate Denial Arguments Make Their Way to Federal Judge’s Science Tutorial (Climate Liability News)
- Decline In Hunters Threatens How U.S. Pays For Conservation (NPR)
- Public lands are being sold in secret on the internet (Climate Progress)
- Major insurers lost billions on natural disasters in 2017, they say climate change a ‘serious’ risk (Climate Progress)
- Auction of Oil Drilling Tracts in Gulf Draws Tepid Interest (NY Times)
- Global Carbon Emissions Hit Record High In 2017 (Reuters)
- Perry Boasts New Cyber Office Can Handle Russian Targeting of US Grid (Washington Examiner)
- Flooding And Heavy Rains Rise 50% Worldwide In A Decade, Figures Show (Guardian UK)
- Brazilian Lawmakers Funded By Donors Guilty Of Enviro Crimes: Report (Mongabay)
- Park Service Warned BLM Lease Sale Could Harm National Monument in Utah (Washington Post)
- Tougher Climate Policies Could Save 150 Million Lives, Researchers Find (Washington Post)
- America’s Misguided War on Childhood Lead Exposures (Undark)
- Feds Reject Michigan Permit For Mine Near Sensitive Tribal Waters (Environmental Health Network)
- 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