IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement is bad news for the climate; New wildfires hit California and five other states; Federal judge dismisses San Francisco's climate liability lawsuit; Natural gas industry leaking far more methane than previously estimated; PLUS: Bright spots in the primaries as progressive climate hawks win upset victories... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 2 city lawsuits against Big Oil dismissed, but that's not the end of it; Tropical forests suffered near-record tree losses in 2017; Huge stretch of Arctic Ocean is rapidly turning into the Atlantic Ocean; Federal court becoming impatient with EPA over Clean Power Plan; Coral reefs prevent $4.3 billion in flood damage annually; TX Supreme Court strikes down plastic bag bans; 11 states sue Trump Administration over climate super-pollutants used in cooling; Pruitt acts to surrender some EPA veto power over mining, development; Young will pick up climate change bill, advisers warn; Justices give Florida another chance to prevail in water war... PLUS: Kennedy is gone. Now vote... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- The retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is bad news for the fight against climate change
- Justice Kennedy’s Retirement Could Reshape the Environment (The Atlantic):
A new justice will likely weaken the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act...Experts said that Kennedy’s departure could change the outcome of near-term rulings on three different questions: Can the government fight climate change? How broadly can it regulate clean water? And does the Constitution even allow it to protect endangered species and regulate pollution?
- Environmental Strategies for the Post-Kennedy Era (Legal Planet):
How do we make environmental progress despite an increasingly unsympathetic court?
- Why Anthony Kennedy Gave Up (Slate):
In his last year on the bench, the lifelong devotee of dignity and the rule of law joined Team Trump. What happened?
- Federal judge dismisses climate liability lawsuit brought by San Francisco and Oakland:
- Judge Dismisses Suit Against Oil Companies Over Climate Change Costs (NY Times):
The judge, William Alsup of Federal District Court in San Francisco, acknowledged the science of global warming and the great risks to the planet, as did the oil and gas companies being sued. But in his ruling, Judge Alsup said the courts were not the proper place to deal with such global issues, and he rejected the legal theory put forth by the cities. “The problem deserves a solution on a more vast scale than can be supplied by a district judge or jury in a public nuisance case,” Judge Alsup wrote in a 16-page opinion.
- Here’s why the Bay Area lost its lawsuit against Big Oil (Grist) [emphasis added]:
Alsup sees a danger that worries him more than climate change — the danger of a single unelected judge deciding that countries around the world are better off without oil.
Alsup wrote that a ruling against Big Oil would trigger a cascade of other lawsuits, and eventually put petroleum producers out of business. And this, he argued, would trample on the policies of countries that are actively encouraging oil production. While the harms of fossil fuels are clear, so are the benefits, Alsup argued. “Without those fuels, virtually all of our monumental progress would have been impossible,” he wrote. “All of us have benefitted.”
- Fossil fuels are the problem, say fossil fuel companies being sued (Grist, 3/21/18)
- U.S. judge tosses climate lawsuits by California cities, but says science is sound (E&E News)
- New wildfires hit Northern California and five other states
- As a heat wave builds, dozens of wildfires are burning across nearly a half million acres of the U.S. (Discover Magazine)
- Wildfires 2018 Map: Where Pawnee, 416 and Other Largest Fires Are Burning in California, Colorado and Elsewhere (Newsweek)
- Fire Carves Path of Destruction Through Northern California (NY Times):
The blaze, known as the Pawnee Fire, has burned thousands of acres in Lake County, destroying more than 20 structures and forcing hundreds of evacuations.
- Wildfire Forces Evacuations in Southern Colorado (AP)
- Scorching Heat, Increased Wildfire Risk Expected in Arkansas (AP)
- Oil and gas drillers are leaking far more methane han estimated by the federal government:
- The Natural Gas Industry Has a Leak Problem (NY Times):
The new study, published Thursday in the journal Science, puts the rate of methane emissions from domestic oil and gas operations at 2.3 percent of total production per year, which is 60 percent higher than the current estimate from the Environmental Protection Agency. That might seem like a small fraction of the total, but it represents an estimated 13 million metric tons lost each year, or enough natural gas to fuel 10 million homes.
- Natural gas could warm the planet as much as coal in the short term (Science Magazine)
- Methane leaks offset much of the climate change benefits of natural gas, study says (Washington Post)
- The argument for fracking as a climate solution just went down in flames (Climate Progress):
Methane leaks from natural gas production wipe out any climate benefit.
- Bright spots in the primaries as progressive climate hawks win upset victories:
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Platform (Ocasio-Cortez For Congress)
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s climate plan is the only one that matches scientific consensus on the environment (Quartz)
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Why She Wants to Abolish ICE and Upend the Democratic Party (In These Times):
“We need more environmental hardliners in Congress...We need a Marshall Plan for renewable energy in the United States. The idea that the Democratic Party needs to be moderate is what’s holding us back on this.”
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Will Be The Leading Democrat On Climate Change (Huffington Post):
What sets Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal apart is her plan to meet the target by implementing what she called a “Green New Deal,” a federal plan to spur “the investment of trillions of dollars and the creation of millions of high-wage jobs"...[S]he compared the program she envisions to the tens of billions of dollars spent on armaments manufacturing and the rebuilding of Europe after World War II.
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is the Climate Change Hardliner the Planet Needs (Motherbaord)
- Ouster of anti-Bears Ears commissioner one important and overlooked primary election result (Salt Lake Tribune):
Benally is best known outside of San Juan County for being the leading Navajo spokeswoman in opposition to the Bears Ears National Monument. She was alongside President Donald Trump last December when he rescinded the monument and later talked about what a thrill it was to meet him.
- Factchecking Zinke: Navajo didn't support shrinking Bears Ears (Tuscon Sentinel)
'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
- 2 City Lawsuits Against Big Oil Dismissed, But That’s Not the End of It (Inside Climate News)
- Kennedy Is Gone. Now Vote. (NY Times Editorial Board)
- Tropical Forests Suffered Near-Record Tree Losses in 2017 (NY Times)
- Court Becoming Impatient with EPA Over Clean Power Plan (E&E News)
- A Huge Stretch Of The Arctic Ocean Is Rapidly Turning Into The Atlantic (Washington Post)
- Coral Reefs Prevent $4.3 Billion in Flood Damage Annually (Pew Trusts)
- In a Blow to Local Government, Texas Supreme Court Strikes Down Plastic Bag Ordinances (Texas Observer)
- VIDEO: CA Gov. Jerry Brown --- The governor who's castigating the president over climate change (60 Minutes, CBS News)
- 11 States Sue Trump Administration Over Climate Super-Pollutants Used in Cooling (Inside Climate News)
- Pruitt Acts To Surrender Some EPA Veto Power Over Mining, Development (AP)
- Young will pick up climate change bill, advisers warn (BBC)
- Dutch parliament to set target of 95 percent CO2 reduction by 2050 (Reuters)
- America's About to Miss a Big Obama-Era Climate Goal as Trump Dismantles Policies (Bloomberg)
- Interior Department Plans To Let People Kill Endangered Red Wolves (Washington Post)
- Justices give Florida another chance to prevail in water war (E&E News)
- Dr. James Hansen: Global warming cooks up "a different world" over 3 decades (AP)
- The great nutrient collapse: The atmosphere is literally changing the food we eat, for the worse. And almost nobody is paying attention. (Politico)
- The world's bleak climate situation, in 3 charts: We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there. (Vox)
- 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