IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Cholera outbreak in Haiti; Volcanoes & tsunamis in Indonesia; BP's oil still in the Gulf, while BP's new CEO slams media "scaremongering" ... PLUS: Obama moves forward on clean energy & fuel efficiency, while Republicans pledge even more obstruction as Election Day nears ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Carbon tax in the U.K.?; Turning old industrial plants into clean energy economic zones in Shanghai; Employees say BP's ombudsman neglected safety; Did Tom Perriello vote "to give tax breaks to foreign companies creating jobs in China? (No); Global food crisis forecast as prices reach record highs; Prominent climate science critic under investigation; Hidden costs of coal generation ...PLUS: Report: Utilities, investors face risks from growing water scarcity...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Deadly Cholera Outbreak in Haiti:
- WATCH: Actor Sean Penn on dealing with cholera in Haiti: 'Water, water, water' (CNN)
- Keeping Tabs on Cholera in Haiti (Mac McClelland, Mother Jones)
- Health organizations worry that Haiti's cholera outbreak could spread (CNN)
- Special report: Is aid doing Haiti more harm than good? (Reuters)
- Partners in Health Physician on Haiti: "Cholera Will Not Go Away Until Underlying Situations that Make People Vulnerable Change" (Democracy Now)
- "I Feared for All Our Lives": Last week, I wrote about Ansel Herz, the American journalist at the other end of a UN peacekeeper's gun in this amazing photo shot in Haiti. Today, I'd like to share his account (Mac McClelland, Mother Jones)
- Volcano, Earthquake & Deadly Tsunami in Indonesia
- Indonesian tsunami kills 108, hundreds missing: A tsunami that pounded remote islands in western Indonesia following an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra killed more than 100 people, officials said on Tuesday, and hundreds more were missing. (Reuters)
- Terrified Indonesians flee erupting volcano: An Indonesian volcano erupted on Tuesday, prompting terrified villagers to flee and join the thousands already evacuated from its slopes. (Reuters)
- BP Funding Tea Party Climate Change Denier Candidates, While BP's Oil is STILL in the Gulf, While BP's New CEO Blames the Media:
- BP funds the Tea Party: the ugly truth about climate denial (Peter Daou) [emphasis added]:
The supreme irony of the 2010 midterms is that Americans are turning to (so-called) conservatives for 'change.' After all, the shorthand definition of conservatism is resistance to change.
But nothing should surprise us in this twisted environment where intolerable injustices are widely ignored, from preventable hunger, poverty and disease to irreversible environmental destruction to the global oppression of girls and women; where wealth disparities are at record levels; where a war based on lies and deceptions that resulted in unimaginable carnage is heralded as a success; where the assault on basic rights and liberties is greeted with a yawn - if not a cheer; where a minor celebrity infraction receives more attention than an epidemic of sexual violence in which young girls have their insides shredded with broken bottles and sticks of wood; where a sports game arouses more passion and emotion than a million babies dying.
Few things capture the zeitgeist better than the right's wholesale embrace of climate denial.
- Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss (Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones) [emphasis added]:
"I watched graphic projections of oil swirling around the Gulf, around Florida, across and around Bermuda to England—these appeared authoritative and inevitable," [BP CEO Bob Dudley] said. "The public fear was everywhere."
The crux of his speech was that this was just an "accident," BP is doing its best to clean it up and reform their ways, and, gosh darn it, we should all be a little bit nicer to them about the whole thing.
- Oil and coal on the Mississippi Delta (Greenpeace)
- Research teams find oil on bottom of Gulf (USA Today)
- BP Chief Says Rivals Fanned Public Fears Over Gulf Spill (NYT Green)
- Obama Administration's "Chunky" Strategy: New Rules on Fuel Efficiency, Nation's Largest Solar Power Plant Approved
- Superchunk?: On attacking climate and energy in ‘chunks’ (David Roberts, Grist):
President Obama is going to address climate change in "chunks" rather than in one comprehensive bill. Everyone seems to agree on that much. But what does that mean, exactly?
- Govt proposing that many trucks improve efficiency: Future tractor-trailers, school buses, delivery vans, garbage trucks and heavy-duty pickup trucks must do better at the pump under first-ever fuel efficiency rules coming from the Obama administration. (AP)
- Salazar Approves Sixth and Largest Solar Project Ever on Public Lands (US Dept. of Interior)
- DOT, EPA Propose the Nation’s First Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Trucks and Buses A win for the environment, economy and energy efficiency (Environmental Protection Agency)
- Ridin' (less) dirty: U.S. sets new standards for truck, bus emissions: The United States on Monday unveiled new standards for heavy-duty trucks, vans, buses, and delivery vehicles, aimed at improving their fuel efficiency and reducing emissions by up to 20 percent. (AFP)
- New U.S. Standards Take Aim at Truck Emissions and Fuel Economy (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
[EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson] said that lower fuel costs for truckers would more than cover the costs of the technology used to meet the new standards and would create jobs in truck manufacturing and related industries.
“Over all, this program will save $41 billion and much of it will stay home in the U.S. economy rather than paying for imported oil,” she said in a briefing.
The standards draw from a study issued this year by the National Academy of Sciences, which found that existing technology — including low-rolling-resistance tires, improved aerodynamics, more efficient engines, hybrid electric drive systems and idling controls — could cut fuel use in trucks by a third to a half.
- Anti-Science Republicans, Poised to Take Over Congress, Pledge More Obstruction:
- WATCH: Inhofe Guarantees GOP Takeover Of Senate: Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), right-wing conspiracy theorist and oil-industry apologist, has promised that Republicans are "certainties" to win at least the ten seats necessary to regain control of the U.S. Senate on November 2. (Think Progress):
We'll take over the following seats where there are Democratic incumbents: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Washington state, West Virginia - where I'll be Monday - North Dakota, and I think California. Now that's Barbara Boxer. She's the one that's been sitting next to me on the armed services, uh, the environment and public works committee . We can win in Connecticut, Delaware, certainly in Nevada. But the ones I named first, in my opinion, are certainties that Republicans will win, and that's what it will take for us to take control.
- Scenarios: Republican election impact on climate control: Republicans are poised to make big gains in the November 2 congressional elections, putting them in position to reverse Democrats' drive for comprehensive climate control legislation. (Reuters)
- Tea Party climate change deniers funded by BP and other major polluters:
Midterm election campaigns of Tea Party favourites DeMint and Inhofe have received over $240,000 (Guradian UK)
- Climate Change Doubt Is Tea Party Article of Faith (NY Times):
Skepticism and outright denial of global warming are among the articles of faith of the Tea Party movement, here in Indiana and across the country. For some, it is a matter of religious conviction; for others, it is driven by distrust of those they call the elites. And for others still, efforts to address climate change are seen as a conspiracy to impose world government and a sweeping redistribution of wealth.
- Global Warming Deniers and Their Proven Strategy of Doubt (Yale 360)
- Crashing the Covert Campaign Spending Spree [VIDEO]: What do secretive independent expenditure groups hate more than disclosure rules? When we show up at their doors with a camera rolling. (Mother Jones)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Employees Say BP's Ombudsman's Office Neglected Their Safety, Retaliation Concerns (Truthout):
BP's office of the ombudsman has been presented with dozens of safety concerns and evidence that would appear to support claims of widespread retaliation against employees who work for one of the beleaguered oil company's contractors on Alaska's North Slope.
But the watchdog has failed to investigate the allegations and in some instances has prematurely closed cases without conducting a thorough probe, a three-month investigation by Truthout has found.
- FALSE: Robert Hurt says Tom Perriello voted "to give tax breaks to foreign companies creating jobs in China. (Politifact):
It is true that many companies taking advantage of the grants for alternative energy sources are based outside of the U.S., but most of them are in Europe and none was owned by a Chinese company.
The American Wind Energy Association, representing the developers involved, said only three of the 33,000 wind turbines operating in the U.S. today were made in China and those included parts made in Minnesota and North Dakota.
The association claims the tax credit provision in the stimulus act "saved" 40,000 jobs in the American wind industry by stimulating demand. It does not have an estimate of the jobs that would be created by the manufacturing tax credit cited by the Washington Times.
Choma, the author whose article sparked the allegation, remains perplexed by the avalanche of ads that have relied on his work. "I don't see how you can attach China to the manufacturing tax credit," Choma told us.
We don't see the connection either, so we find Hurt's claim to be False.
- Turning old industrial plants into clean energy economic zones in Shanghai, China (Grist):
A group of us from the NRDC teams in Beijing, San Francisco, and D.C. just visited Shanghai, China to discuss opportunities to collaborate on helping turn an old iron and steel alloy plant into a new "clean energy development zone." The site is one of 12 old industrial sites that China is planning to turn into clean energy development zones.
NRDC's China Program will be working with this project to make it as energy-efficient as possible. This project is another powerful reminder of how focused China is on tapping into the clean energy economic opportunities that will come as China and the world move towards a low carbon economy. They are literally turning old industry into new industry.
- Carbon tax in the U.K.: What does it mean for U.S. debate? (David Roberts, Grist):
The U.K. may have just implemented a carbon tax. "Whuuut?" you're asking. Seriously. And it's kind of a funny story.
The Carbon Reduction Commitment, developed by the U.K.'s Department of Energy and Climate Change, is a scheme whereby the nation's 5,000 or so largest commercial energy consumers will be charged a fee for carbon emissions. Originally it was intended to be revenue-neutral --- the money from the fee was to be returned to participants; businesses that increased energy efficiency the most would get proportionally more money back. In effect the scheme would have operated like a feebate.
- Global food crisis forecast as prices reach record highs: Cost of meat, sugar, rice, wheat and maize soars as World Bank predicts five years of price volatility (Guradian UK):
Rising food prices and shortages could cause instability in many countries as the cost of staple foods and vegetables reached their highest levels in two years, with scientists predicting further widespread droughts and floods.
- University investigating prominent climate science critic (USA Today):
Officials at George Mason University confirmed Thursday that they are investigating plagiarism and misconduct charges made against a noted climate science critic.
In 2006, GMU statistics professor, Edward Wegman, spearheaded a Congressional committee report critical of scientists' reconstructions of past climate conditions --- notably the 1999 "hockey stick" paper in Nature, which concluded that the 20th Century was the warmest one in a millennium. A National Research Council report later that year largely validated the 1999 paper's research, but the "Wegman" report has knocked around in public debate over climate ever since.
GMU spokesman Daniel Walsch confirms that the university, located in Fairfax, Va., is now investigating allegations that the Wegman report was partly plagiarized and contains fabrications.
- Report: Utilities, investors face risks from growing water scarcity (McClatchy Newspapers):
Water and electric power utilities face growing financial risks from water scarcity, but the credit rating agencies that rate municipal bonds largely ignore the problem, leaving bond buyers missing some important information, says a new report by Ceres and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Water scarcity — especially in the Southeast, the Southwest and the West — will create risks for thousands of utilities that are managed by municipalities and counties, the report says. It looked at water scarcity risks in Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Phoenix.
Investors who buy municipal bonds are "blindly placing bets on which utilities are positioned to manage these growing risks," the report said.
Water risks, it concluded, are a key factor in utilities' financial health. The water and power utilities depend on adequate water supplies to earn revenues and pay off their bonds.
- Hidden costs of coal generation: Pollution from Chicago's two coal-fired power plants hits neighboring communities with $127 million a year in health costs (Chicago Tribune)