IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Intense winter storms wreak havoc from coast to coast; Trump's ongoing government shutdown threatening public health and safety; 2018 was the hottest year on record for the world's oceans, putting the planet in hot water; PLUS: California's largest electric utility to file for bankruptcy in wake of catastrophic wildfires... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Are we living through climate change’s worst-case scenario?; EPA criminal action against polluters hits 30-year low; Australia extreme heatwave: 'code red' issued; How China’s big overseas initiative threatens global climate progress; Detroit Auto Show has SUVs, horsepower, but electric cars are few; Water desalination plants harm environment, U.N. report finds; New industry group pledges $1B to combat plastic pollution; One fight the Green New Deal should avoid for now; Trump’s executive order will aggressively cut more forest trees... PLUS: Air pollution is as bad as smoking when it comes to miscarriage risk... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Intense winter storms wreak havoc from coast to coast:
- Monster snowstorm to blanket more than half of United States (Reuters)
- State of Emergency declared in NC as more than 130K without power after winter storm (The State)
- VIDEO: Does The Government Shutdown Impact NC’s Winter Weather State Of Emergency? (WFMY-Greensboro)
- Northam declares state of emergency for winter storm, rain expected for Hampton Roads (Virginian-Pilot)
- Snow count: 1,500 flight cancellations since Friday; schedules improving (USA Today)
- California Storm Evacuations Expand Into Los Angeles, Santa Barbara Counties as New Storm Arrives (Weather Channel)
- 2nd storm this week to deliver winter's worst yet in Midwest with snow, freeze-up and dangerous cold (AccuWeather)
- PG&E to file for bankruptcy in wake of catastrophic wildfires:
- PG&E to file for bankruptcy as wildfire costs rise. Its stock plunges 48 per cent (LA Times):
Investigators have been probing whether the company’s equipment ignited the fire, along with its potential liability for blazes that devastated Northern California’s wine country in 2017 — costs that “could exceed $30 billion,” according to the filing. That would dwarf the $1.5 billion in cash and cash equivalents on hand as of Friday.
- PG&E to file for bankruptcy following devastating California wildfires (Washington Post):
The company said financial alternatives to bankruptcy would not serve the best interests of PG&E and its shareholders and “would not address the fundamental issues and challenges PG&E faces.” Among the many considerations that pushed the company closer to bankruptcy were the need to resolve its potential liabilities, extensive rebuilding efforts and “the significant increase in wildfire risk resulting from climate change,” PG&E said.
- PG&E Throws Everything Overboard, Still Sinking (Bloomberg):
The market’s not buying its Hail Mary effort to get a last-minute hand from California... Something may yet happen to keep the company out of the court. That something is largely personified in new Governor Gavin Newsom. Facing perhaps $30 billion of liabilities arising from wildfires in 2017 and 2018, PG&E is effectively a ward of the state.
- California governor Newsom proposes wildfire investments, 911 fee (AP)
- PG&E Bankruptcy Tests Who Will Pay for California Wildfires (NY Times)
- As Fires Ravaged California, Utilities Lobbied Lawmakers for Protection (NY Times)
- Camp fire was costliest natural disaster in 2018 (AP)
- Insurers sue California utility over wildfire damages (AP)
- California AG: PG&E could be prosecuted for murder (Utility Dive)
- Legislation aims to shield PG&E from fire liability: 'Bankruptcy is not an option' (Utility Dive, 11/27/2018)
- Trump's government shutdown threatening public health and safety:
- 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):
While the inspection personnel represent a relatively small proportion of the E.P.A.’s total of about 15,000 workers, their absence increases the chances that, either by design or by accident, companies might emit illegal levels of contaminants into the air or water without detection, for weeks on end, according to people familiar with the E.P.A. inspections.
- Federal work at Superfund sites suspended during shutdown (AP)
- Bureau of Land Management holds Arctic drilling hearings despite government shutdown:
- Efforts To Expand Drilling In Arctic Interior Press Ahead During Shutdown (NPR)
- Despite Shutdown, Trump Administration Continued Effort To Expand Alaska Oil Drilling (NPR):
Overflowing trash cans and vandalism in national parks managed by the Interior Department have become a symbol of the ongoing partial government shutdown...But, despite the shutdown, the Trump administration is continuing work on one of Interior's biggest, most controversial priorities: opening up more Arctic lands in Alaska to oil drilling.
- The government isn’t letting the shutdown get in the way of Arctic drilling (Vox
- Trump administration responds to criticism about continued work on Arctic drilling during shutdown (Alaska Public Media)
- Gulf of Maine shrimp fishery closed for three years due to ocean warming:
- Regional Regulators Vote For 3-Year Closure Of Maine Shrimp Fishery (Maine Public Radio):
The decision came after Katie Drew, a scientist with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, told the panel there was virtually no chance the shrimp would bounce back from depleted levels before 2022 and, in fact, might never recover. Above all, she says, the Gulf of Maine, has warmed to the limits of the shrimp's reproductive capacity.
- Regulators Close Maine's Shrimp Fishery for Next 3 Years (US News):
"The stock has shown very little signs of recovery. It's considered a depleted resource," said Tina Berger, spokeswoman for the agency... [T]he warming ocean and predation have decimated the shrimp fishery. The shrimp are especially sensitive to changes in water temperature, Berger said.
- Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change (Guardian UK)
- 2018 was warmest on record for Earth's oceans, and the warming is accelerating:
- The oceans are warming faster than we thought, and scientists suggest we brace for impact (Washington Post):
Sea level is rising with observable consequences along the East Coast and around the world, both physically and financially. Trenberth and his colleagues say if society continues to emit greenhouse gas at its current rate, oceans will rise one foot by the end of the century on top of the rise expected from melting land ice on Greenland and Antarctica.
- Ocean Warming Is Accelerating Faster Than Thought, New Research Finds (NY Times):
As the oceans continue to heat up, those effects will become more catastrophic, scientists say. Rainier, more powerful storms like Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and Hurricane Florence in 2018 will become more common, and coastlines around the world will flood more frequently. Coral reefs, whose fish populations are sources of food for hundreds of millions of people, will come under increasing stress; a fifth of all corals have already died in the past three years.
- World's Oceans Are Warming Faster, Studies Show, Fueling Storms and Sea Rise (Inside Climate News):
A new study published Thursday strengthens the consensus that the warming of the world's oceans is accelerating. It's a trend that climate models have long predicted, but it had been difficult to confirm until recently.
'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
- Are We Living Through Climate Change’s Worst-Case Scenario? (The Atlantic)
- EPA Criminal Action Against Polluters Hits 30-Year Low (AP)
- Australia extreme heatwave: 'code red' issued as Port Augusta hits 48.9C (Guardian UK)
- How China’s Big Overseas Initiative Threatens Global Climate Progress (Yale e360)
- Study Questions EPA’s Cancer Classification Of Glyphosate Weed Killer (Environmental Health News)
- Detroit Show Has SUVs, Horsepower, But Electric Cars Are Few (AP)
- Too Much Salt: Water Desalination Plants Harm Environment: U.N. (Reuters)
- An Island Crusader Takes On The Big Brands Behind Plastic Waste (NPR)
- New industry group pledges $1B to combat plastic pollution (Waste Dive)
- An ocean of evidence on warming is our cue to take action - now (op-ed, Sydney Morning Herald)
- Here’s one fight the Green New Deal should avoid for now: The smart political move is leaving the question of what counts as clean energy as open as possible. (Vox)
- Trump’s executive order will aggressively cut more forest trees (Washington Post)
- Want to build or buy a Delaware beach house? Expect regular floodwaters in 30 years (Delaware Online)
- Air pollution is as bad as smoking when it comes to miscarriage risk (Treehugger)
- China starts new recycling drive as foreign trash ban widens (Reuters)
- Food waste doesn't have to be expensive: 4 cost-effective recycling strategies (Waste Dive)
- Trump’s wall needs private property. But some Texans won’t give up their land without a fight. (Washington Post)
- Marie Kondo and the life-changing magic of just buying less (Grist)
- 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