IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: 2020 wildfire season lights up with an ominous start; California utility PG&E pleads guilty to 84 counts of manslaughter; We can hit 90 percent renewable electricity by 2035 --- and save money; PLUS: New Jersey Governor vows to make state the nation's first offshore wind industry hub... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 'Historic First': Nebraska Farmers Return Land to Ponca Tribe in Effort to Block Keystone XL; World's Largest Liquid Air Battery Will Help the UK Go Carbon Neutral; Trump team prepares $1 trillion infrastructure plan to spur economy; Climate Models Underestimate CO2 Emissions from Permafrost by 14 Percent, Study Finds... PLUS: As Meat Plants Stayed Open to Feed Americans, Exports to China Surged... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- 2020 wildfire season off to an ominous start in Arizona:
- Bush Fire now more than 100,000 acres (Payson Roundup)
- Arizona wildfire swells to nearly 90,000 acres, prompts evacuations amid coronavirus spike (Washington Post):
Wildfires are rampaging across parts of the Desert Southwest and California, where an active start to the summer fire season is underway as some states in the region are seeing a spike in coronavirus cases. Continued dry, hot and windy weather is forecast in the vicinity of the Bush Fire raging northeast of Phoenix, which nearly doubled in size...As of Wednesday morning it became the seventh-largest fire in Arizona history.
- Giant wildfire near Phoenix continues to grow as Arizona coronavirus cases spike (NBC News)
- High wildfire risk this summer for California:
- National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook (National Interagency Fire Center)
- Western states are entering an active wildfire season just as coronavirus cases spike (Washington Post):
Coronavirus and the West’s wildfire season are on a collision course, with the virus on an upswing in several western states that are starting to see increased fire activity, especially those at heightened fire risk during July. This year’s wildfire season will present unprecedented challenges for firefighters, emergency managers and the public, particularly when it comes to evacuations. For example, fire-related evacuations can be hasty when compared to a hurricane, whose track forecast is usually known a few days in advance.
- California Wildfire Destroys Homes; Arizona Wildfire Explodes in Hot, Dry Conditions (Weather Channel)
- Latest Survey of California Snow Pack Measures Below Normal (NBC News)
- California’s mountain snow cover is vanishing a month early, in a worrying setup for fire season (Washington Post)
- Bankrupt utility PG&E pleads guilty to 84 counts of manslaughter:
- PG&E becomes one of America’s deadliest corporate criminals after guilty plea for lethal Paradise inferno (San Jose Mercury News):
PG&E pleaded guilty Tuesday to killing 84 people during the devastating 2018 Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise, a somber conclusion to a prosecution that showed the utility had failed to learn crucial lessons from the deadly San Bruno explosion and triggered the fatal wildfire...Even after its conviction in the San Bruno case, the company failed to change practices for its crumbling electricity system...PG&E pursued a maintenance and repair strategy to “run to failure,” meaning to run equipment until it failed.
- PG&E pleads guilty to 85 counts in 2018 Camp Fire (CNN)
- Deadliest Corporate Crime in U.S. Ends With 84 Guilty Pleas (Bloomberg):
The plea is unparalleled for a publicly traded company. Over a period of about 40 years that prosecutors in the U.S. have tried to charge companies for killing people --- mostly without success --- the closest comparison is BP Plc’s manslaughter plea after 11 workers were killed in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion.
- PG&E Pleads Guilty to 84 Counts of Manslaughter in Camp Fire Case (NY times):
In a nearly empty courtroom on Tuesday, the chief executive of Pacific Gas & Electric stood in front of a judge and said the same three words more than 80 times: “Guilty, your honor.”
- SF Judge Tentatively Approves PG&E Bankruptcy Exit Plan, Will Issue Final Ruling Friday (NBC News)
- Permanent funding secured for Land and Water Conservation Fund:
- Senate Passes Bill Permanently Funding Public Land Management Programs (Montana Public Radio)
- VIDEO: "BIG NEWS: The Senate has passed our bipartisan #GreatAmericanOutdoorsAct! (Sen. Jon Tester, D-MT)
- Senate passes Great American Outdoors Act (Bay Journal):
[T]he LWCF has been plagued with siphoning through the years, as Congress has continually raided the fund for non-conservation purposes. A coalition of groups seeking full, guaranteed funding for the LWCF tracks the total amount of earmarked money that has been taken from the fund. As of June 15, it stood at more than $22 billion — more than half of the money accrued to support public lands and outdoor recreation.
- LWCF boosters see rare 'policy window' for funding legislation (E&E News, 5/19/2020)
- Senate passes bill to permanently, fully fund Land and Water Conservation Fund (Wilderness Society)
- U.S. can reach 90% renewable electricity by 2035, saving money and lives:
- 2035 Report_ Plummeting solar, wind and battery costs can accelerate our clean electricity future (UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy)
- Plunging Renewable Energy Prices Mean U.S. Can Hit 90% Clean Electricity By 2035 - At No Extra Cost (Forbes):
90% clean electricity requires no new fossil fuel power plants, with all existing coal plants retiring in an orderly fashion and natural gas consumption falling 70% over time, so utilities can recover outstanding fixed costs and avoid stranded assets. These closures would reduce economy-wide emissions 27% by 2035, and avoid $1.2 trillion in environmental health costs from fossil fuel emissions by 2050.
- Falling renewable, storage costs make 90% carbon-free US grid feasible by 2035, UC Berkeley finds (Utility Dive):
The U.S. can deliver 90% of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2035, according to a new report from the University of California, Berkeley, and experts say accelerating clean energy deployments could also play an important role in the country's economic recovery. Building out renewables to achieve this target will add more than 500,000 jobs per year as well as $1.7 trillion in investments into the economy, without raising customer bills, the report found.
- 90% renewable energy by 2035 is possible, says UC Berkeley report (S&PGlobal)
- 90% clean power by 2035 is ‘challenging but feasible’ (PV Magazine):
“90% by 2035 is the sweet spot” for a pathway that uses existing technology, allows “judicious use” of existing generation assets, and “achieves near-complete decarbonization in a realistic timeframe,” said study co-author Nikit Abhyankar of UC Berkeley. The resulting lower wholesale cost of electricity by 2035 “was a surprise for us.”
- New Jersey plans to build nation's first offshore wind industry hub:
- VIDEO and TRANSCRIPT: June 16th, 2020 Briefing Media (Gov. Phil Murphy)
- Governor Murphy Announces Plan to Develop the New Jersey Wind Port: First Purpose-Built Offshore Wind Port in the U.S. (press release, Gov. PHil Murphy)
- New Jersey aims to lead nation in offshore wind. So it’s building the biggest turbine port in the country. (Washington Post):
For New Jersey, it is about more than just tackling climate change. Just as Texas is the de facto capital of the U.S. oil and gas industry, New Jersey wants to be an economic engine for offshore wind. “We have a huge opportunity,” said Tim Sullivan, chief executive of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. “Somebody's going to get to be the Houston of American offshore wind.”
- New port coming to South Jersey to support offshore wind power industry (NJ.com)
- New Jersey to build massive $400M ‘wind port,’ Gov. Murphy says (Philadelphia Inquirer)
'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
- 'Historic First': Nebraska Farmers Return Land to Ponca Tribe in Effort to Block Keystone XL (EcoWatch_
- Climate Models Underestimate CO2 Emissions from Permafrost by 14 Percent, Study Finds (Yale e360)
- As Meat Plants Stayed Open to Feed Americans, Exports to China Surged (NY Times)
- Trump team prepares $1 trillion infrastructure plan to spur economy (Reuters)
- World's Largest Liquid Air Battery Will Help the UK Go Carbon Neutral (EcoWatch_
- Exxon's Snake Oil: 100 years of deception (Columbia Journalism Review)
- 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
- NASA Video: If we don't act, here's what to expect in the next 100 years:
- PG&E Pleads Guilty to 84 Counts of Manslaughter in Camp Fire Case (NY times):