IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Global-warming fueled toxic algae blooms killing dogs in several states; Big Oil now pushing big time into plastics manufacturing; Plastic pollution found falling in snow in the Arctic; PLUS: Democratic states sue to stop Trump EPA's dirty power plan... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 2°C Beyond the Limit: Extreme climate change has arrived in America; Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg sets sail for U.N. climate talks; India floods kill more than 270, displace one million; Simultaneous hack of EV chargers could cause Manhattan blackout, NYU researchers find; In Iowa, candidates are talking about farming's climate connections like no previous election; Heavy metals found in groundwater near Florida coal plants; Trump defended toxic chlorpyrifos pesticide. California will ban it; Iowa governor stops state from challenging Trump coal rule... PLUS: Coal Is Over': The coal miners rooting for the Green New Deal... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Trump tilts at windmills (again) at Shell natural gas plant:
- Trump claims credit for Shell plant announced under Obama (AP):
The company was given massive tax breaks to build the petrochemicals complex, along with a $10 million site development grant, with local politicians eager to accommodate a multibillion-dollar construction project. But “fracking for plastic” has drawn alarm from environmentalists and other activists, who warn of potential health and safety risks to nearby residents and bemoan the production of ever more plastic.
- Trump energy speech in Pennsylvania sounded more like a campaign rally (Washington Post)
- Why Trump’s blurring of the line between campaigning and governing matters, explained by an expert (Vox)
- VIDEO: President Trump speech on energy in Pennsylvania (YouTube)
- Big Oil making a big push into plastics manufacturing:
- Waste Only: How the Plastics Industry Is Fighting to Keep Polluting the World (The Intercept)
- A Giant Factory Rises to Make a Product Filling Up the World: Plastic (NY Times):
[I]t will produce more than a million tons each year of something that many people argue the world needs less of: plastic....The plant is one of more than a dozen that are being built or have been proposed around the world by petrochemical companies like Exxon Mobil and Dow, including several in nearby Ohio and West Virginia and on the Gulf Coast.
- Plastics: The New Coal in Appalachia? (Inside Climate News):
With the natural gas fracking boom, plastics production is spreading in the Ohio River Valley. But at what cost to health and climate?
- VIDEO: Colbert Says Trump Is Just Trolling With ‘Fracking for Plastic’ Plant Visit (NY Times)
- VIDEO: Trump promotes turning natural gas into plastics in Pennsylvania (AP):
The region’s natural gas deposits had been seen, for a time, as its new road to prosperity, with drilling in the Marcellus Shale reservoir transforming Pennsylvania into the nation’s No. 2 natural gas state. But drops in the price of oil and gas caused the initial jobs boom from fracking to fizzle, leading companies like Shell to turn instead to plastics and so-called cracker plants — named after the process in which molecules are broken down at high heat, turning fracked ethane gas into one of the precursors for plastic.
- Shell cracker is a harbinger of things to come (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- New Warnings on Plastic’s Health Risks as Fracking Industry Promotes New ‘Plastics Belt’ Build-Out (Resilience)
- West Virginia Bets Big on Plastics, and on Backing of Trump Administration (Pro Publica)
- Oil Industry Banks On Shaky Plastic Bet (Oil Price.com, 6/6/2019):
The stakes are high for the oil industry. Facing a shrinking market in transportation, their last line of defense against peak demand is petrochemicals.
- Global plastics recycling crisis escalates, leaving cities, consumers in the lurch:
- America’s new recycling crisis, explained by an expert (Vox)
- As California’s recycling industry struggles, companies and consumers are forced to adapt (LA Times)
- Where does your plastic go? Global investigation reveals America's dirty secret (Guardian UK, 6/17/2019))
- Hoping to get a nickel for that can? With California’s recycling crisis, good luck (LA Times)
- Study: Plastic pollution falling in snow in the Arctic, U.S. Rocky Mountains:
- White and wonderful? Microplastics prevail in snow from the Alps to the Arctic (Science Advances)
- It is raining plastic (U.S. Geological Survey)
- Plastic particles falling out of sky with snow in Arctic (BBC):
Even in the Arctic, microscopic particles of plastic are falling out of the sky with snow, a study has found.
- Tiny pieces of plastic found in Arctic snow (National Geographic):
Over the past decade or so, they noticed huge increases in the amount they were seeing, including a tenfold rise at one station. So they started to look for microplastics in the Arctic water column. Copious amounts turned up everywhere they looked. In deep sea sediments, they found about 6,000 particles in every 2.2 pounds of mud. Sea ice was even more laden—as much as 12,000 particles per 34 ounces of melted ice, according to Bergmann. And other researchers found that Arctic surface waters had the highest microplastics concentrations of all the world's oceans.
- Microplastics ‘significantly contaminating the air’, scientists warn (Guardian UK)
- It's raining plastic: microscopic fibers fall from the sky in Rocky Mountains (Guardian UK):
“I think the most important result that we can share with the American public is that there’s more plastic out there than meets the eye,” said Wetherbee. “It’s in the rain, it’s in the snow. It’s a part of our environment now.” Rainwater samples collected across Colorado and analyzed under a microscope contained a rainbow of plastic fibers, as well as beads and shards. The findings shocked Wetherbee, who had been collecting the samples in order to study nitrogen pollution.
- Toxic blue-green algae forcing beach closures around the country:
- Toxic blue-green algae warning for dog owners and swimmers (BBC)
- VIDEO: At Least 7 Dogs Dead After Swimming in Water with Toxic Algae (Weather Channel)
- Algae Bloom Fouls N.J.’s Largest Lake, Indicating Broader Crisis (NY Times)
- Toxic algae closes 4 more Mississippi Gulf Coast spots; all 21 beaches remain closed (Birmingham News):
The water contact warnings are in addition to advisories currently in place for the existing 21 beaches in Mississippi, which have been closed since early July.
- After story about toxic algae killing dogs in North Carolina goes viral, here's what to know (Delaware News-Journal)
- Trump Admin denies new species protections:
- Federal officials reject petition to list Joshua tree as threatened under Endangered Species Act (Desert Sun):
The Joshua tree does not require protection under the Endangered Species Act, the Fish and Wildlife Service said in a decision announced Wednesday...Federal wildlife officials on Wednesday also declined to protect eight other species across the U.S., citing commercial and scientific data. The determinations come two days after the Trump administration unveiled changes to how the Endangered Species Act will be implemented, including ending a ban on considering economic impacts and decreeing that climate change impacts should not be considered.
- Trump Administration Denies Protection to Six More Imperiled Species (Center Biological Diversity):
The Trump administration has now declined protection for more than 60 species and protected only 18 — the lowest of any president at this point in his administration.
- U.S. Significantly Weakens Endangered Species Act (NY Times):
The new rules would make it easier to remove a species from the endangered list and weaken protections for threatened species, the classification one step below endangered. And, for the first time, regulators would be allowed to conduct economic assessments — for instance, estimating lost revenue from a prohibition on logging in a critical habitat — when deciding whether a species warrants protection.
- Coalition of states sue Trump EPA to block 'dirty power plan':
- California sues to stop Trump rollback of Obama-era restrictions on coal-burning power plants (LA Times):
“The EPA and the Trump administration are backsliding once again, bending over backwards for special interests at the expense of the public’s interest,” Becerra told reporters during a morning press conference in Sacramento. “California doesn’t have time for flimsy fake substitutes to clean power. Our health, our economy, our future as the engine of prosperity and innovation in America are at stake.”
- States Sue Trump Administration Over Rollback of Obama-Era Climate Rule (NY Times):
It is a case that could go all the way to the Supreme Court. If justices there were to ultimately decide in favor of the Trump administration, it could weaken the ability of future presidents to regulate carbon dioxide pollution from power plants, experts said, and make it harder for the United States to tackle climate change.
- States and cities sue EPA over rollback of climate regulations aimed at coal plants (Washington Post)
- States Sue to Block New Power Plant Rule, Force EPA to Combat Climate Change (Climate Liability News)
- VIDEO: California Leaders Announce Legal Action on Environment (YouTube)
'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°C Beyond the Limit: Extreme Climate Change Has Arrived In America (Washington Post)
- Greta Thunberg Sets Sail for U.N. Climate Talks (NY Times)
- India Floods Kill More Than 270, Displace One Million (Reuters)
- Simultaneous hack of EV chargers could cause Manhattan blackout, NYU researchers find (Utility Dive)
- In Iowa, Candidates Are Talking About Farming's Climate Connections Like No Previous Election (Inside Climate News)
- Iowa governor stops state from challenging Trump coal rule (AP)
- Trump Defended Toxic Chlorpyrifos Pesticide. California Will Ban It. (LA Times)
- Coal Is Over': The Miners Rooting For The Green New Deal (Guardian UK)
- Heavy Metals Found In Groundwater Near Florida Coal Plants (AP)
- High Lead Levels Found in Sampling of Vermont Schools’ Water (Bloomberg)
- Michigan: Records: Upper Peninsula Mine Approved Despite Major Concerns (Detroit Free Press)
- Judge Bars Trump From Taking Energy Panel’s Advice (AP)
- VIDEO: A Message From the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (The Intercept)
- This Is How Human Extinction Could Play Out (Rolling Stone)
- SEJ Backgrounder: Green New Deal Proposes Sweeping Economic Transformation (Society of Environmental Journalists)
- Explainer: The 'Green New Deal': Mobilizing for a just, prosperous, and sustainable economy (New Consensus)
- 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.
FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page