IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Offshore drilling moratorium lifted (Breaking); Did GM lie about their electric car?; Hungary braces for 2nd sludge spill; Obama wants to upgrade U.S. infrastructure, but GOP won't play along... PLUS: A Democrat shoots a hole through climate change legislation --- literally ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): A radical pessimist's guide to the next 10 years --- and it ain't pretty; Wash. Times ignores Supreme Court EPA ruling; China and U.S. Replay ‘You First’ Climate Skit; Poll finds voters prefer new energy sources to conservation; "No Regrets" ... two critical words for climate change and energy policy; History of offshore drilling in the Gulf; DOE: Offshore wind could generate all U.S. electricity; Tech tools for cutting home energy costs; Kentucky Groups Sue for Clean Water Act Enforcement; 50k trees planted in 30 minutes by Indian volunteers on 10/10/10 ...PLUS: SunChips and Supercapitalism: Is building a quieter chip bag really the best use of our time and research money? ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Offshore Drilling Moratorium Lifted
- Might as well, since we know nothing bad could happen: U.S. lifts Gulf of Mexico deepwater drilling ban (Grist)
- Hungarian sludge spill:
- Boss of Hungarian toxic spill firm arrested: Hungarian prime minister tells parliament Zoltan Bakonyi will be held for 72 hours while government takes control of his company (Guardian UK)
- Hungary toxic sludge: 'Areas could look like planet Mars for years': After a gigantic sludge reservoir burst on Monday at a metals plant in Ajka, 100 miles south-west of Budapest, workers are struggling to deal with the toxic spill as it leaks into rivers (Guardian UK)
- GM "Lied" About Chevy Volt Powertrain & Mileage:
- How GM "Lied" About The Electric Car (Jalopnik via Business Insider):
The Chevy Volt has been hailed as General Motors' electric savior. Now, as GM officially rolls out the Volt this week for public consumption, we're told the much-touted fuel economy was misstated and GM "lied" about the car being all-electric.
- 2011 Volt "GM Lied" Debate: They Hate GM, They Really Hate GM (GreenCarReports.com):
Frankly, we're a little miffed that GM omitted this detail and has insisted for three years that the engine never directly drives the wheels. That's true, but there's more to the story.
- Volt unveiled to applause, barbs over 'electric' tag: High-speed reliance on gas irks critics; GM says drive system sets car apart from hybrids (Detroit News)
- Chevrolet Volt Electric Drive Propulsion System Unveiled (GM Volt.com)
- Clearing Up Confusion About the Chevrolet Volt (Chevy Volt Official Website):
while it is generating strong critical acclaim because of its unique engineering, we want to clear up any confusion as to how the Voltec electric drive unit works among those who have not participated in the program.
The engineering of the Voltec electric drive unit is very sophisticated and as part of the media launch, we're diving even deeper into how the system works than we have in the past. We did not share all the details on how the system works until now because the information was competitive as we awaited patent approvals. Based on a small number of inaccurate media reports, we want to set the record straight.
- How GM Didn't 'Lie' About The Volt, And Why The Press Is Wrong (The Car Connection)
- Obama Proposes Infrastructure Upgrades, but Republicans Aren't Playing Along:
- Study: Failing U.S. transportation system will imperil prosperity (Washington Post):
The United States is saddled with a rapidly decaying and woefully underfunded transportation system that will undermine its status in the global economy unless Congress and the public embrace innovative reforms, a bipartisan panel of experts concludes in a report released Monday.
U.S. investment in preservation and development of transportation infrastructure lags so far behind that of China, Russia and European nations that it will lead to "a steady erosion of the social and economic foundations for American prosperity in the long run." ...
The experts also advocated the adoption of a distinct capital spending plan for transportation, empowering state and local governments with authority to make choices now dictated from the federal level, continued development of high-speed rail systems better integrated with freight rail transportation, and expansion of intermodal policies rather than reliance on highways alone to move goods and people.
- WATCH: The President on Infrastructure Investment: "This is Work That Needs to Be Done. There Are Workers Who Are Ready to Do It." - 8 min. (The White House):
During tough economic times, one of the toughest jobs to hold is as a construction worker. In almost any city or town in America, you're likely to see buildings, projects, or roads left half-done after investments made by private enterprise or state and local governments based on expectations of a brighter economic future dried up.
Meanwhile, there is a near-universal consensus that America's infrastructure is both falling apart and lagging behind as our competitors move forward on the next generation of transportation.
- READ IT: Remarks by the President on Rebuilding America's Infrastructure
Rose Garden (White House.gov)
- A National Infrastructure Bank: Can the US Learn From Europe? (LA Streets Blog)
- Obama Pushes Transportation Spending: "This plan will be fully paid for," Mr. Obama told reporters in the Rose Garden. "It will not add to our deficit over time." (NY Times)
- Gov. Christ Christie Cancels Nation's Largest Tranist Project
- Krugman: Railing Against Rail (NY Times)
- Fast Train to Nowhere: America's sorry transportation infrastructure isn't just a source of inconvenience. It's also a source of economic weakness (The New Republic)
- Chris Christie Is Really A Fool For Canceling The New York Rail Tunnel Project (Business Insider)
- NJ gov. agrees to rethink rail tunnel cancellation:
Under pressure from the Obama administration, Republican Gov. Chris Christie agreed Friday to rethink his decision to cancel construction of a $9 billion rail tunnel connecting New Jersey and New York City. (Seattle Times)
- WV Gov. Joe Manchin --- a Democrat --- Shoots Cap & Trade Legislation.... Literally:
- Whose rifle is bigger?: The incredible shrinking Manchin: West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin is running for the Senate and running scared from the Tea Party. In his latest ad he shoots cap-and-trade legislation. With a rifle. Here's why he's flailing to the right and why he's wrong about everything. (David Roberts, Grist)
- Manchin shoots hole through climate bill in TV ad (The Hill)
- West Virginia Poses Dilemma for Democrats: Must-Win or No-Win?: What ought to be more disturbing to Democrats, however, is that Mr. Manchin is also abandoning them on bread-and-butter economic issues — the kind of issues on which West Virginia Democrats once showed their blue stripes. (NYT's 538 blog)
- WATCH: "Dead Aim - Joe Manchin for West Virginia TV Ad (YouTube)
- Douglas Coupland: A radical pessimist's guide to the next 10 years (Globe and Mail UK):
1) It's going to get worse: No silver linings and no lemonade. The elevator only goes down. The bright note is that the elevator will, at some point, stop.
2) The future isn't going to feel futuristic: It's simply going to feel weird and out-of-control-ish, the way it does now, because too many things are changing too quickly.
- Wash. Times op-ed ignores Supreme Court ruling to call EPA regulating carbon a "power grab" (Media Matters.org):
In fact, the Supreme Court held that greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change are "air pollutants" as defined by the Clean Air Act and fall under the EPA's regulatory authority. In Massachusetts vs. EPA, 12 states, four local governments, and 13 private organizations sued the EPA for failing to regulate greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, that are emitted by motor vehicles, citing their role in causing global warming. The Bush administration's EPA argued that it lacked authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate those gases. The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 opinion authored by then-Justice John Paul Stevens, stated on April 2, 2007, that "greenhouse gases fit well within the [Clean Air] Act's capacious definition of 'air pollutant,'" and thus "EPA has statutory authority to regulate emission of such gases from new motor vehicles".
- China and U.S. Replay ‘You First’ Climate Skit: (NYT Dot Earth):
If there is a stale feeling to the neverending volleys between the two greenhouse giants, China and the United States, over who is obligated to act first on climate, it’s no wonder. The Alphonse and Gaston routine in which two characters endlessly defer to each other on some action has been around for well over a century. I just found a fun 1903 version posted online by the Library of Congress...
It’d be nice if the climate variant of the comical skit were funny, too, but that isn’t the case.
- Poll: Most Voters Still See Finding New Energy Sources As More Important Than Conservation (Rassmussen)
- "No Regrets" ... two critical words for climate change and energy policy: One of the most promising, yet also most frustrating, aspects of dealing with Climate Change is how the noise (the static) of the debate makes it difficult for the majority of people to understand the power of the "No Regrets" strategy opportunity and promise. (A. Siegel, Daily Kos)
- The History of Offshore Drilling in America: An Oil-Thirsty America Dived Into 'Dead Sea' (Wall St. Journal) [emphasis added]:
A Wall Street Journal examination of two decades of oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, based on government documents and interviews with dozens of politicians and industry officials involved, yields a story with an echo of the recent financial crisis.Both stemmed from collective national drives toward a laudable goal—lifting the home-ownership rate in one case, and boosting domestic energy production in the other—with little thought to potential downsides.
- DOE Study: Offshore wind could generate all U.S. electricity (USA Today):
U.S. offshore winds, abundant off the coasts of 26 states, have the potential to generate four times as much power as the nation's present electric capacity, a new Department of Energy report says.
Developing this resource would help the United States reduce air pollution, achieve 20% of its electricity (or about 54 gigawatts) from wind by 2030 and create more than 43,000 permanent, well-paid technical jobs, according to the 240-page study by DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The United Kingdom leads worldwide in the amount of power it has generated from offshore wind projects from 1991 to 2010, followed by Denmark.
- Tech tools for cutting home energy costs (Climate Progress):
You know the drill. Turn off lights when you don’t need them. Set your thermostat at a reasonable level and turn the air conditioner off when you leave the house. Keep chargers unplugged when not in use.
But let’s say that you want to take cutting your home energy consumption a step further. Lucky for you, there are a whole host of devices that can help you measure and monitor your electricity use, making it easy for you to determine which of your appliances suck up the most juice and what steps you can take to conserve even more.
You’ve got some options depending on how serious you want to get about this whole monitor-and-conserve business.
- Kentucky Groups Sue for Clean Water Act Enforcement: A coalition of environmental and citizen groups is filing suit against three mining companies in Kentucky for violations of the Clean Water Act, after an investigation into state records found the companies willfully, and regularly, ignoring pollution limits at or near mining sites. (Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones)
- 10-10-10 Global Work Party: 50,000 Trees Planted in 30 Minutes by Indian Volunteers on 10/10/10 - Another Tree Planting Record! (Treehugger):
Pakistan may now hold the Guinness World Record for most trees planted in a single day by a single person, but India can now claim the record for most trees planted in under an hour: Yesterday on 10/10/10 some 9,000 volunteers planted 50,000 saplings in just 33 minutes. The event took place on land owned by the famous Hemis Buddhist monastery in the region of Ladakh and was sponsored by the Live to Love Foundation, of the Drukpa lineage.
- SunChips and Supercapitalism (Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic):
We stopped fixing bridges and dams and pipelines --- and started turning out ever more complex variations on things that we already have and that work just damn fine.
But perhaps realizing that we expend massive resources developing chip bags with just the right sound is a good thing. The silliness of the enterprise is the sort of thing that could symbolize why we need to do something different. And then we can, as Silicon Valley luminary Tim O'Reilly likes to say, "work on stuff that matters."
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...