IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Fiat-Chrysler to pay big fines for using secret software to cheat on U.S. emissions tests; Three costliest natural disasters in the world in 2018 all occurred in the U.S.; Trump threatens to cut off FEMA disaster aid for California wildfires; U.S. greenhouse gas emissions spiked in 2018; PLUS: Democrats push back, and push ahead, on climate action... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): “Innovation”: the latest GOP smokescreen on climate change policy. It does not mean what they think it means; Dr. Michael Mann: A commentary on the politics of climate denial and 'Vice'; Food inspections by the FDA have been sharply reduced, alarming critics; Shutdown means EPA inspectors aren't on the job; California governor Newsom proposes wildfire investments; California set a goal of 100% clean energy, and now other states may follow its lead; Trump nominates Andrew Wheeler as permanent EPA Administrator; Federal judge strikes down Iowa law on undercover ag workers... PLUS: How mountains of U.S. plastic waste ended up in Malaysia, broken down by workers for $10 a day... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Trump threatens to cut off FEMA for California's historic, deadly wildfires:
- Trump Says To Halt Aid To Calif. Wildfire Victims; Law Says He Can't (Reuters)
- Trump threatened to cut California wildfire aid. He may not have the authority to follow through. (Washington Post):
It’s possible Trump could follow through on his threat by closing recovery centers in California or slowing the bureaucratic process by which public and individual assistance is transmitted to the state
- Trump revives threats to withhold FEMA funds from California fire recovery (CNN)
- Fact Check: Can Trump withhold FEMA money from California? (Sacramento Bee):
Current law states that where there is a disaster declaration, the president cannot “delay or impede the rapid deployment, use, and distribution of critical resources to victims of an emergency.” That would mean he cannot order FEMA to stop sending money when a disaster has already been declared. However..Trump could start refusing to make disaster declarations for California wildfires.
- Fiat-Chrysler to pay big fines for cheating on U.S. emissions tests:
- Fiat Chrysler will pay $800 million to settle emissions charges in the US (CNN):
Fiat Chrysler will pay about $800 million to settle charges that its diesel vehicles sold in the United States had improper software that allowed it to violate emissions rules.
The Justice Department and EPA announced the settlement Thursday morning.
- Fiat Chrysler to pay around $650M in emissions cheating case (AP):
Fiat Chrysler will pay more than $650 million to settle allegations that it cheated on emissions tests involving more than 104,000 Jeep SUVs and Ram pickup trucks, a person with the knowledge of the settlement told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
- Fiat Chrysler to Settle U.S. Civil Suit on Diesel Emissions, Source Says (Bloomberg, 1/9/2019)
- 2018's top three costliest natural disasters all occurred in the U.S. Camp Fire was #1:
- The natural disasters of 2018 in figures: Losses in 2018 dominated by wildfires and tropical storms (Munic Re)
- Camp fire was costliest natural disaster in 2018 (AP):
German insurance company Munich Re says the Northern California wildfire that killed dozens of people and burned down the town of Paradise was the world’s costliest single natural disaster in 2018. The reinsurance giant said on Tuesday that the November fire caused overall losses of $16.5 billion. The company said some $12.5 billion in losses were insured.
- USA had world's 3 costliest natural disasters in 2018, and Camp Fire was the worst (USA Today):
In second and third place last year were Hurricanes Michael ($16 billion) and Florence ($14 billion). Florence dumped heavy rain across the Carolinas in September, and Michael tore into the Florida Panhandle in October.
- California Wildfires, Hurricane Michael Top List of 2018’s Costliest Natural Disasters: Munich Re (Insurance Journal):
“Many scientists see a link between these developments and advancing climate change. This is compounded by man-made factors such as burgeoning settlements in areas close to forests at risk from wildfire,” [Ernst Rauch, head of Climate and Geosciences at Munich Re] said.
- Insurers sue California utility over wildfire damages (AP)
- Annual U.S. greenhouse gas emissions shot up in 2018:
- Preliminary US Emissions Estimates for 2018 (Rhodium Group)
- U.S. greenhouse gas emissions spiked in 2018 — and it couldn’t happen at a worse time (Washignton Post):
U.S. carbon dioxide emissions rose an estimated 3.4?percent in 2018, according to new research — a jarring increase that comes as scientists say the world needs to be aggressively cutting its emissions to avoid the most devastating effects of climate change.
- After years of decline, US carbon emissions are rising again. That’s alarming. (Vox)
- Natural gas is now getting in the way; US carbon emissions increase by 3.4% (Ars Technica)
- More coal-fired power plants have closed under Trump than in Obama's first term (CNN)
- Democratic Congressmembers push climate change as a central issue:
- Elizabeth Warren is running for president. Here’s what she’s saying about the environment. (Grist)
- VIDEO: Democratic governor of Washington State Jay Inslee vies for presidential nomination (MSNBC)
- Jay Inslee Is Betting He Can Win the Presidency on Climate Change (The Atlantic):
The Washington governor believes his focus on the environment will resonate with voters. But can he persuade enough Americans to pay attention to him?
- Jay Inslee Pledges To Reject Fossil Fuel Money Ahead Of Climate-Centered 2020 Bid (Huffignton Post):
The Washington state governor is preparing to run for the White House on the sole issue of combating human-caused global warming.
- VIDEO: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on "radical" Green New Deal (Climate Crocks)
- Elizabeth Warren backs "idea" of a Green New Deal (Axios)
- The Green New Deal Is Radical — And Necessary (WBUR):
Imagine a reboot of the U.S. economy — an unprecedented investment in green infrastructure combined with new social programs to address inequality, and an audacious industrial policy to accelerate a transition to carbon-neutral energy...
'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
- “Innovation”: the latest GOP smokescreen on climate change policy. It does not mean what they think it means. (Vox)
- Vice: A Commentary on the Politics of Climate Denial (Dr. Michael Mann)
- Food inspections by the FDA have been sharply reduced, alarming critics (Washington Post)
- Shutdown Means E.P.A. Pollution Inspectors Aren’t on the Job (NY Times)
- How Volkswagen turned from diesel pariah into electric gorilla (E&E News)
- California governor Newsom proposes wildfire investments, 911 fee (AP)
- As Fires Ravaged California, Utilities Lobbied Lawmakers for Protection (NY Times)
- How mountains of U.S. plastic waste ended up in Malaysia, broken down by workers for $10 a day (LA Times)
- California set a goal of 100% clean energy, and now other states may follow its lead (LA Times)
- Trump Nominates Andrew Wheeler As Permanent EPA Administrator (Huffington Post)
- Federal judge strikes down Iowa law on undercover ag workers (AP)
- Coal ash pollutants found in groundwater at 11 Georgia sites, including Plant McIntosh in Rincon (Savannah Morning News)
- EPA Moves To Ban Toxic Paint-Stripper For Some — But Not All — Uses (Washington Post)
- Researchers Invent Cheap Way to Capture Carbon Dioxide from Coal Plants (Popular Mechanics)
- Operations suspended at B.C.'s Mount Polley mine as copper prices decline (CBC)
- Michigan Approves Its First Utility EV Charging Infrastructure Pilot (Green Tech Media)
- What’s behind the confidence of the incompetent? This suddenly popular psychological phenomenon. (Washington Post)
- Fourth National Climate Assessment, Vol. 2: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States [PDF] (U.S. Global Change Research Program)
- What genuine, no-bullshit ambition on climate change would look like: How to hit the most stringent targets, with no loopholes. (David Roberts, Vox)
- A Global Shift To Sustainability Would Save Us $26 Trillion (Vox)
- Project Drawdown: 100 Solutions to Reverse Global Warming (Drawdown.org)
- An Optimist's Guide to Solving Climate Change and Saving the World (Vice)
- 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)
- 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