IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Ohio's GOP House Speaker arrested on bribery charges in corrupt utility company conspiracy; Gonzalo breaks new record in already historic 2020 Atlantic hurricane season; Global methane emissions hit record high; PLUS: Burger King cuts the methane... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Congress passes sprawling plan to boost conservation, parks; Global heating: best and worst case scenarios less likely than thought; Arctic sea ice is in a downward spiral, and may break a record in 2020; Leaked DNC platform draft shows the party is improving on climate—just not enough;
How the United States fails its most important fish habitats; EU considers tax, emissions trading for carbon border plan... PLUS: The Sierra Club faces its white-supremacist history... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Indiana utility admits to bribing "high ranking" state official:
- ComEd admits to bribery charge in Illinois, agrees to pay $200M fine (Utility Dive):
On Friday, the utility admitted in an agreement with federal prosecutors to arranging jobs, monetary payments and subcontracted work for "various associates of a high-level elected official in the state of Illinois" from 2011 to 2019. ComEd may not recover the fine through its rate base. The utility will have to pay through its shareholders...Public Citizen has argued that deferred prosecution agreements are a "pathetic enforcement tool" and should be banned.
- ComEd Charged with Bribery; Madigan Implicated But Denies Wrongdoing (WTTW-Chicago)
- Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Illinois House progressives say Speaker Michael Madigan should step down if allegations involving ComEd are true (Chicago Tribune)
- VIDEO: Gov. JB Pritzker Says Speaker Mike Madigan 'Must Resign' If ComEd Bribery Allegations Are True (CBS-Chicago)
- Family questions whether ComEd bribery scheme played a role in state's decision not to fully investigate electrocution (Chicago Tribune)
- Ohio House Speaker arrested on bribery charges in corrupt utility company conspiracy:
- Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder arrested. Will FirstEnergy Corp. be charged next? What you need to know (Energy and Policy):
The bill - which cost electric customers in Ohio billions of dollars - also undid Ohio's standards requiring utilities to use renewable energy for a modest portion of their generation, and to help customers save electricity via energy efficiency measures. Householder's operation then further used FirstEnergy's money to defend against a ballot initiative which threatened to undo HB 6.
- Ohio House speaker, 4 others arrested in $60M bribery case (AP):
Previous attempts to bail out the nuclear plants had stalled in the Legislature before Householder became speaker. Months after taking over, he rolled out a new plan to subsidize the plants and eliminate renewable energy incentives. The proposal was approved a year ago despite opposition from many business leaders and the manufacturing industry.
- An FBI investigation shows Ohio's abysmal energy law was fueled by corruption (Vox):
Electric utilities' corruption problem is much bigger than FirstEnergy's alleged bribery of Larry Householder...Spending a few million to get more than a billion dollars? Not a bad return on investment. Unfortunately, this kind of corruption is not an aberration for the electric utility industry.
- Ohio just passed the worst energy bill of the 21st century (David Roberts, Vox, 7/27/2019)
- Trop. Storm Gonzalo breaks new record in historic 2020 Atlantic hurricane season:
- Tropical Storm Gonzalo Expected to Become 2020's First Atlantic Hurricane (NY Times)
- Tropical Storm Gonzalo Forecast to Become a Hurricane Before Reaching the Windward Islands This Weekend (Weather Channel)
- Tropical Storm Gonzalo sets a record as it churns toward the Caribbean (CNN)
- Triple tropical trouble: Douglas, Gonzalo and Tropical Depression 8 threaten US, Caribbean (USA Today)
- Global methane emissions hit record high:
- The Global Methane Budget 2000-2017 (Earth System Science Data)
- Increasing anthropogenic methane emissions arise equally from agricultural and fossil fuel sources (IOP Science)
- Global Methane Emissions Reach a Record High (NY times):
"There's a hint that we might be able to reach peak carbon dioxide emissions very soon. But we don't appear to be even close to peak methane," said Rob Jackson, an earth scientist at Stanford University who heads the Global Carbon Project, which conducted the research. "It isn't going down in agriculture, it isn't going down with fossil fuel use."
- Soaring methane emissions threaten to put climate change goals out of reach (NBC News):
Human activities account for about 60 percent of global methane emissions, according to the researchers. Agriculture makes up roughly two-thirds of that, with fossil fuel production and use contributing most of the rest.
- Burger King cuts the methane:
- VIDEO: Burger King - Cows Menu (Burger King)
- The inconvenient truth about Burger King's 'reduced methane' Whopper (Popular Science)
- Less windy Whoppers? Low-methane Burger King still involves some hot air (Guardian UK):
The inconclusive results from UC Davis suggest the method may not work so well for US cattle feeders...However, the good news is that there are other methane-reducing ingredients out there, even if American varieties of lemongrass prove ineffective. Seaweed, for example...
- Burger King's New Weird Whopper Ad, Featuring Farting Cows (Forbes):
Ramsey's supporting cast includes a herd of farting wood cows farting cotton wool clouds, and the video ends at an amusement park called Low Carbon Land with a cow carousel and a Whopper roller coaster. There's yodeling too, of course. And diamond-encrusted gas masks...We Believers is a multicultural, virtual agency in the broader sense: They create advertising in Spanish and English, with "offices" in Buenos Aires and New York. The thing that intrigued me about them is that they are a hybrid of ad creators and activation.
- Ranchers find Burger King ad hard to stomach (KOTA-Rapid City):
The original "Burger King | Cows Menu" has since been unlisted from YouTube, and the latest version has been edited to omit the rancher character.
'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
- Congress Passes Sprawling Plan To Boost Conservation, Parks (AP)
- Global heating: best and worst case scenarios less likely than thought (Guardian UK)
- Arctic sea ice is in a downward spiral, and may break a record in 2020 (Washington Post)
- Leaked DNC Platform Draft Shows the Party Is Improving on Climate—Just Not Enough (Earther)
- EPA Proposes Airplane Emission Standards That Airlines Already Meet (NY times)
- How the United States Fails Its Most Important Fish Habitats (The Revelator)
- Zurich Insurance Drops Coverage For Trans Mountain Oil Pipeline (Reuters)
- The Sierra Club Faces Its White-Supremacist History (Washington Post)
- How Biden could use air law to vanquish Trump climate legacy (E&E News)
- EU considers tax, emissions trading for carbon border plan (Reuters)
- VIDEO: Elizabeth Warren on Climate Change, Corruption, and Trump (Climate Power 2020)
- In the 21st century the most patriotic thing to do with fossil fuels is keep them in the ground (Independent UK)
- Study Links Gas Flares to Preterm Births, With Hispanic Women at High Risk (Inside Climate News)
- Audit of Hawaiian Electric sends a postcard about the future of regulation (Utility Dive)
- Waste Management expected to pay $2.3M in New York landfill settlement (Waste Dive)
- North Korea's 'ghost ships' linked to illegal fishing by China fleet, study finds (Guardian UK)
- Scientists root out wine blight genome sequence - and say it came from US (Guardian UK)
- 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