IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Coronavirus effect: shutdowns lead to dramatic drop in air pollution around the world; Massive locust swarms in Eastern Africa spread to more countries; U.S. Midwest forecast to see major flooding again this spring; PLUS: California's largest utility company pleads guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): How a coronavirus stimulus package could bolster the economy and save the planet; What Covid-19 tells us about tackling the climate crisis; Utilities beginning to see the load impacts of COVID-19; Scientists discover massive new vulnerability in Antarctic ice sheet; Removing 81 dams is transforming a California watershed; Trump taps former attorney of wildlife trophy hunting group for key wildlife job... PLUS: Africa’s mountain gorillas also at risk rrom Coronavirus... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- COVID19 shutdown dramatically cuts air pollution around the world:
- Traffic and Pollution Plummet as U.S. Cities Shut Down for Coronavirus (NY Times):
[T]raffic on roads and highways has fallen dramatically over the past week as the coronavirus outbreak forces people to stay at home and everyday life grinds to a halt. Pollution has dropped too. A satellite that detects emissions in the atmosphere linked to cars and trucks shows huge declines in pollution over major metropolitan areas, including Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Chicago and Atlanta.
- Air pollution falls as coronavirus slows travel, but scientists warn of longer-term threat to climate change progress (CNBC)
- One more way the world wasn't prepared for coronavirus: Air pollution (Grist)
- Coronavirus: Air pollution and CO2 fall rapidly as virus spreads (BBC)
- Philadelphia bans cars on major thruway so residents can bike safely:
- MLK Drive Closed to Cars as Philly Looks to Facilitate Social Distancing (NBC-Philadelphia):
A stretch of Philadelphia's Martin Luther King Drive is closed indefinitely to vehicular traffic as the city tries to provide a safe outlet for people amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- MLK Drive: Closed to Motor Vehicles, Open to (Socially-Distanced) People (Bicycle Coalition)
- Philly sees boom in cyclists, 471% increase on Kelly Drive Trail during coronavirus restrictions (Philly Voice)
- Coronavirus has temporarily reduced global CO2 emissions:
- How changes brought on by coronavirus could help tackle climate change (Glen Peters, The Conversation):
There is a strong link between economic activity and global carbon dioxide emissions, due to the dominance of fossil fuel sources of energy. This coupling suggests we might be in for an unexpected surprise due to the coronavirus pandemic: a slowdown of carbon dioxide emissions due to reduced energy consumption.
- Coronavirus shutdowns are lowering greenhouse gas emissions; history shows they'll roar back (LA Times)
- Global CO2 levels have temporarily stopped rising, likely due to the industry slowdown as the world battles the new Coronavirus (Severe Weather EU)
- There's an unlikely beneficiary of coronavirus: The planet (CNN)
- Massive locust swarm spreads to more countries, threatening food security:
- Desert Locust situation update (UN Food & Agriculture Organization)
- Locust Swarms, Some 3 Times the Size of New York City, Are Eating Their Way Across Two Continents (Inside Climate News)
- VIDEO:What the massive locust swarm in Africa and the Middle East means to the US (Accuweather):
New swarms of locusts are forming in the Horn of Africa, with Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia specifically most at risk. Swarms are also forming in Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and India.
- So There's a Locust Plague Too? (NY Magazine):
As the coronavirus continues to spread on six continents, a desert locust outbreak has inundated East Africa with hundreds of billions of bugs, causing food shortages in Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia.
- Midwest to see major flooding again this spring, simultaneously with Coronavirus crisis:
- The Midwest Is Preparing To Get Hit With Major Floods During The Coronavirus Outbreak (Buzzfeed):
As an upsurge in coronavirus infections stretches thin the capacity of health care workers and emergency managers nationwide, the Midwest is bracing for another battle: a potentially devastating flood season...One area of disaster management that's especially complicated by the pandemic is sheltering displaced people.
- How the Coronavirus Crisis May Hinder Efforts to Fight Wildfires (NY Times):
[F]irefighters across the country, in states including Georgia, Indiana and Washington, are under quarantine amid the coronavirus crisis.
- Expect a Soggy U.S. Flood Season, but Less Severe Than Last Year's (NY Times):
This year's flood season comes at the same time as the global coronavirus pandemic, which could strain resources for flood fighting. Many of the agencies that could be thrown into the coronavirus response, including the Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, are mainstays of the nation's flood response. Local communities could find their own resources stretched as well.
- Iowa river towns face two threats: Coronavirus and floods (Des Moines Register)
- Why climate change is a 'threat multiplier' (Yale Climate Connections)
- PG&E pleads guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter in deadly Camp Fire:
- PG&E to plead guilty to lethal crimes in 2018 wildfires (AP):
Pacific Gas & Electric will plead guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter for a swath of death and destruction left behind after its fraying electrical grid ignited a 2018 wildfire that destroyed three Northern California towns and drove the nation's largest utility into bankruptcy... It marks the second time this decade that the company's neglect has culminated in it being deemed a criminal. PG&E already is serving a five-year criminal probation imposed after it was convicted of six felony counts for falsifying records and other safety violations underlying a natural gas explosion that blew up a neighborhood in 2010 and killed eight people in San Bruno, California.
- PG&E Will Plead Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter in Camp Fire (NY Times)
- PG&E pleads guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter over Camp fire (LA Times):
PG&E, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, said it reached the settlement with the Butte County district attorney's office on March 17. Under the deal, PG&E said prosecutors won't pursue further criminal charges, an outcome that disappointed some utility watchdogs.
- PG&E reaches deal with Newsom, pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter as bankruptcy reorganization deadline nears (Utility Dive)
'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
- How a coronavirus stimulus package could bolster the economy and save the planet (Grist)
- Delay is deadly: what Covid-19 tells us about tackling the climate crisis (Guardian UK)
- Climate Change Push Fuels Split On Coronavirus Stimulus (NPR)
- Utilities beginning to see the load impacts of COVID-19 as economic shutdown widens (Utility Dive)
- Scientists Discover Massive New Vulnerability In Antarctic Ice Sheet (Washington Post)
- A Plant in Florida Emits Vast Quantities of a Greenhouse Gas Nearly 300 Times More Potent Than Carbon Dioxide (Inside Climate News)
- Minnesota Court of Appeals Sends PolyMet Permit Back to MPCA (AP)
- Africa’s Mountain Gorillas Also At Risk From Coronavirus (AP)
- Trump Taps Former Attorney Of Trophy Hunting Group For Key Wildlife Job (Huffington Post)
- Dems Want Travel Industry To Reduce Emissions In Exchange For Bailout (Grist)
- Cambodia Scraps Plans For Mekong Hydropower Dams (Guardian UK)
- Boom: Removing 81 Dams Is Transforming This California Watershed (The Revelator)
- What Does '12 Years to Act on Climate Change' (Now 11 Years) Really Mean? (Inside Climate News)
- VIDEO: A Message From the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (The Intercept)
- 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