IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Critical United Nations climate conference cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic; Bankrupt coal company hopes to dump obligations to retired miners onto taxpayers; State legislatures use crisis to criminalize pipeline protests; PLUS: Trump Interior Department keeps national parks open after employees test positive for COVID-19... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Enegy jobs could be greener after Coronavirus; Volvo in talks to reach emissions deal with California; Democrats push for green infrastructure provisions in next coronavirus package; West Virginia governor's coal companies agree to pay $5M in mine safety fines; ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial; Oil surges after Trump says he expects Saudis, Russia reach production cut agreement; Warm Gulf of Mexico could intensify upcoming hurricane, tornado season... PLUS: Exxon’s Snake Oil: 100 years of deception... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- EPA says please don't flush disinfectant wipes:
- EPA Encourages Americans to Only Flush Toilet Paper (EPA)
- Americans coping with coronavirus are clogging toilets with wipes and T-shirts (NBC News):
"The sewer line that had plugged up last week was not substantially different than any other sewer blockage from people flushing products that they aren't supposed to, just that it was during the toilet paper shortage and was intentionally flushed in lieu of traditional toilet paper," Ryan Bailey, assistant director of public works, said in an email to NBC News. "The item was specifically cut T-shirts."
- COP26 U.N. climate conference cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic:
- Coronavirus forces postponement of COP26 meeting in Glasgow (BBC) [emphasis added]:
[T]he changing priorities that coronavirus has forced on governments can be clearly seen in Glasgow's Scottish Events Campus (SEC) which was due to host the talks. It is now set to become a temporary hospital to house patients affected by Covid-19.
- Amid pandemic, U.N. cancels global climate conference (Washington Post):
"Covid-19 is the most urgent threat facing humanity today, but we cannot forget that climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity over the long term," Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change..."This is a chance for nations to recover better, to include the most vulnerable in those plans, and a chance to shape the 21st century economy in ways that are clean, green, healthy, just, safe and more resilient."
- Cop26: Why experts hope cancelling the climate event could help the planet (BBC)
- VIDEO: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stresses the need for better international cooperation to fight the coronavirus pandemic (BBC HardTalk)
- National parks staying open despite employees testing positive for COVID-19:
- As national parks remain open during a pandemic, seven workers are infected (Washingotn Post):
Last week, the superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles the border between Tennessee and North Carolina, said an employee tested positive. It was closed March 24. At Grand Canyon National Park, which drew large crowds over the weekend and remains open, park employees were informed Monday that a resident in the park's housing complex on the South Rim has tested positive.
- COVID-19 Is Just as Bad for Parks as the 2019 Shutdown (Outside Online):
Seven employees have tested positive for the virus, even while the parks have no entrance fees, are short on staff, and are overwhelmed by visitors. Sound familiar?...A similar decision to keep parks open during the prolonged federal government shutdown of 2018 and 2019 created a massive, still-uncounted amount of damage to these national treasures.
- Thousands are crowding into free national parks. And workers are terrified of coronavirus. (Washington Post)
- Grand Canyon National Park closes amid the COVID-19 pandemic (ABC15-Phoenix)
- Traveler's View: Why Is Grand Canyon National Park Open? (National Parks Traveler. 3/3/20) [emphasis added]:
When asked about that, the Park Service's reponse has been that the agency has been working "within the local and the State of Arizona's Health Department's as well as the CDC's guidelines," to determine whether the park should be closed. Secretary Bernhardt in the past hasn't been such a stickler for process...
- 3 state legislatures criminalize fossil fuel protests:
- 3 states pass anti-fossil-fuel protest bills in 3 weeks. It's not coincidental (Electrek)
- States Quietly Pass Laws Criminalizing Fossil Fuel Protests Amid Coronavirus Chaos (Huffington Post):
The efforts on both the state and federal level offered jarring real-time examples of what the author Naomi Klein dubbed "the shock doctrine": the phenomenon wherein polluters and their government allies push through unpopular policy changes under the smokescreen of a public emergency.
- Three states push criminal penalties for fossil fuel protests amid coronavirus (The Hill)
- Bankrupt coal company seeks to dump retired miners' healthcare onto taxpayers:
- Cash-Strapped Coal Giant Murray Energy Faces Liquidation (Bloomberg News) [emphasis added]:
Murray Energy, the largest private coal miner in the U.S., is asking the judge overseeing its Chapter 11 bankruptcy to let it shed certain health-care obligations in a bid to stave off a default under its bankruptcy loan and conserve cash, the court papers show. Stopping the health-care payments would save the company $200,000 a day --- some $6 million a month --- and wouldn't hurt the retirees because the benefits are backstopped by the U.S. government, according to the request.
- Murray Energy submits plan to sell off assets, wind down estate in restructuring (S&PGlobal Platts):
Murray NewCo's new board will include former Murray Energy President and CEO Robert Murray as board chairman well as Robert Moore, who leads Murray Energy and affiliated company Foresight Energy LP, as president and CEO of the new entity.
- Murray Energy's Bankruptcy Could Bring Collapse Of Coal Miners' Pensions (WFPL, 11/4/2019)
- 4 astonishing signs of coal's declining economic viability (Vox)
- Shell drops LNG export project in Louisiana:
- Shell drops out of major U.S. LNG project, Energy Transfer delays decision (Reuters):
"It's telling that (Shell) a major would walk away from a major outlet for long-term gas supply," said Ira Joseph, head of global gas and power analytics at S&P Global Platts, noting that storage, port and pipeline work was already in place on the project.
- Shell drops out of Lake Charles LNG project, citing coronavirus and market conditions; project downsized (The Advocate)
- Energy Transfer to take over LNG export project in Louisiana after Shell bails out (Dallas Morning News)
- Wall St. Journal: Renewable energy may rebound faster than oil and gas:
- Wind, Solar Farms Are Seen as Havens in Coronavirus Storm (Wall Street Journal):
Wind and solar farms are attracting interest from investors hungry for low-risk, stable-yield opportunities at a time of extraordinary market volatility.
- Renewables Poised To Clean Up From Oil’s Price Spill (Forbes):
Renewables, by contrast, have no supply risk whatsoever, and are primarily exposed to fluctuations in the price of electricity.
'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
- Energy Jobs Could Be Greener After Coronavirus (Washington Post)
- Volvo Cars in talks to reach emissions deal with California (Reuters)
- Fiat Chrysler, GM try discounts, online buying to lift plunging U.S. sales (Reuters)
- Democrats push for green infrastructure provisions in next coronavirus package (The Hill)
- Exxon’s Snake Oil: 100 years of deception (Columbia Journalism Review)
- West Virginia governor's coal companies agree to pay $5M in fines (ABC News)
- ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial (Grist)
- Oil surges more than 20% after Trump tells CNBC Saudis, Russia reach production cut agreement (CNBC)
- With Republicans wary of more coronavirus spending, Trump urges infrastructure plan (Reuters)
- EPA Wheeler to IG: Take back report critical of agency (E&E News)
- Warm Gulf Of Mexico Could Intensify Upcoming Tornado, Hurricane Seasons (Washington Post)
- Builder Of Controversial Keystone XL Pipeline Says It's Moving Forward (NPR)
- In Mountains and Deserts of Utah, Spotted Frogs Signal Climate Change (Inside Climate News)
- California’s New Delta Water Rules Don’t End Conflict With Washington (LA Times)
- Smoke from Australia’s Bushfires Killed Hundreds (Scientific American)
- 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