IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Paging Erin Brokovich: carcinogen found in tap water in 31 U.S. cities; California leads the way - again - this time on cap-and-trade; Not to mix metaphors, but there's a silver lining to that lame duck ... PLUS: Having a little fun over Christmas with your climate denier relatives ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Climate Change and 'Balanced' Coverage; Deep doo doo: What warming of 2C looks like; Undermining China's stranglehold on rare earth elements; BP Gulf Disaster: Conflict of interest questions raised in blowout preventer testing; Land grab: Foreign investors evicting African farmers; Green Marines: U.S. Military Sees Great Value in Distributed Renewable Energy; Have a 'greener' Christmas! ... PLUS: Burying the Lede: We May Hit 400ppm by 2014: A Scientist, His Work, and a Climate Reckoning ....
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Probable Carcinogen Found in Tap Water of 31 U.S. Cities:
- STUDY: Chromium-6 Is Widespread in US Tap Water (Environmental Working Group)
- Probable carcinogen hexavalent chromium found in drinking water of 31 U.S. cities (Washington Post):
An environmental group that analyzed the drinking water in 35 cities across the United States, including Bethesda and Washington, found that most contained hexavalent chromium, a probable carcinogen that was made famous by the film "Erin Brockovich."
The study, which will be released Monday by the Environmental Working Group, is the first nationwide analysis of hexavalent chromium in drinking water to be made public.
- EPA chief pledges to help cities test for carcinogen in tap water (The Hill)
- EPA urges testing for chemical in tap water (Washington Post)
- California Goes It Alone on Cap And Trade:
- The green light: California approves first broad U.S. climate plan (Grist):
California has approved the most sweeping U.S. plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, acting on its own against climate change as proposed nationwide plans flounder in Washington.
The largest U.S. state, which would be the world's eighth largest economy if it were a country, will from 2012 start a cap-and-trade system under which industry will be required to cut emissions but can trade credits on a new market.
- Remember When Cap and Trade Was a GOP Idea? (Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones) [emphasis added]:
It might have been hard to tell during the past few years, with Republican opponents branding all attempts to cut greenhouse gas emissions "cap and tax," but the idea of capping emmissions and trading emission permits was originally a GOP idea introduced to deal with acid rain. On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency released a report celebrating the 15-year-old program to curb acid rain as an environmental (and economic) success.
- The Political History of Cap and Trade: How an unlikely mix of environmentalists and free-market conservatives hammered out the strategy known as cap-and-trade (Smithsonian Magazine, August 2009)
- Capping It Off: How a concept became an environmental policy catchphrase. (Foreign Policy Magazine)
- Cap and Trade Explained (Video) (Treehugger)
- Silver Lining to That Lame Duck:
- House Passes Overhaul of Food Laws (NY Times)
- As Food Safety Bill Crosses Finish Line in Congress, Consumers Union Celebrates Big Victory for Consumers (Consumers Union)
- In Obama's Tax Cut Deal, a Silver Lining for Clean Energy (Huffington Post Green)
- Congress approves legislation to reduce lead content in drinking water: Congress on Friday sent President Barack Obama a bill that would significantly reduce exposures to lead in drinking water. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
- OP-ED: Make the Big Green Buy: Republican gains in Congress don't have to mean the end of efforts to combat greenhouse gas emissions. Obama can use governmental buying power. (LA Times)
- And Some Tarnish: Congress Puts Some Liquified Coal in Our Stockings (Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones)
- Have A Little Fun over Christmas With Your Denier Relatives:
- DOWNLOAD the SkepticalScience Smart Phone App!
- Holiday Party Global Warming FAQ (NRDC):
So here I offer my top ten list of questions about global warming with two alternative responses: An eggnog answer for when you want to move on to other topics as quickly as possible, and a longer answer for when the eggnog runs out.
1. Do you believe in global warming?
Eggnog Answer: Do you believe in gravity?
Longer Answer: Global warming is a fact, not a question of belief.
2. It's really cold outside. What happened to global warming?
Eggnog Answer: Winter.
- Climate change can be a conversation killer: for those who work in a climate science-related discipline, these days such events are more like a series of conversational minefields. (Washington Post):
To help those of you who may be in similar predicaments, here's a list of my most dreaded, most frustrating, and most welcome climate-related questions to be asked at a social gathering (holiday or otherwise), and two ways to respond to them. One is the way I actually respond. The other is the way I wish I could respond if I weren't worried about social norms and basic human decency.
Most dreaded, and most frequently asked, question: "So, do you believe in global warming?"
My typical answer: "It's not a matter of 'belief,' but rather an examination of empirical evidence.
- 2010 hottest climate year on record, NASA says (Washington Post Carbon)
- How Will We Know if 2010 Was the Warmest Year on Record?: Different Groups' Methods Yield the Same Finding: Warming Surface Temperatures (Climate Central)
- The Physical Chemistry of Carbon Dioxide Absorption (Skeptical Science.com)
Cancer-causing chemical found in 89 percent of cities sampled
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Climate Change and 'Balanced' Coverage (NYT Green) [emphasis added]:
In fact, as Dr. Alley reminds anyone who will listen, and as he recently told a Congressional committee, the estimate of 5 or 6 degrees is actually mildly optimistic. Computer programs used to forecast future climate show it as the most likely outcome from a doubling of carbon dioxide, but those programs also show substantial probabilities that the warming will be much greater.
The true worst case from doubled carbon dioxide is closer to 18 or 20 degrees of warming, Dr. Alley said - an addition of heat so radical that it would render the planet unrecognizable to its present-day inhabitants.
- Green Marines: U.S. Military Sees Great Value in Distributed Renewable Energy (Energy Self-Reliant States blog)
- African Farmers Displaced as Investors Move In (NY Times):
The half-dozen strangers who descended on this remote West African village brought its hand-to-mouth farmers alarming news: their humble fields, tilled from one generation to the next, were now controlled by Libya's leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, and the farmers would all have to leave.
Across Africa and the developing world, a new global land rush is gobbling up large expanses of arable land. Despite their ageless traditions, stunned villagers are discovering that African governments typically own their land and have been leasing it, often at bargain prices, to private investors and foreign governments for decades to come.
- Have A 'Greener' Christmas
- Be Ever-Green: 8 Earth-Friendly Ways to Celebrate the Season (SonsiLiving)
- Going evergreen for the holidays: How to celebrate the season while being kind to the environment --- and your bank account (LA Times)
- How to Have a Green Christmas: The benefits of cutting down on excess flow to your wallet, your bank account, your sanity, and your happiness, as well as to the environment, so there are plenty of good reasons to celebrate a green Christmas this year and ever more. (WikiHow)
- Undermining China's Monopoly on Rare Earth Elements Full operations will start at a U.S. mine by the end of next year. (MIT Technology Review):
Molycorp has secured the permits and funding needed to restart production at a mine in Mountain Pass, California, that would become the first U.S. source of rare earth elements in more than a decade. The mine is one of the world's richest deposits of these elements, which are critical for making components found in a wide range of technologies. On Tuesday, the company announced that it will partner with Hitachi Metals of Japan to turn materials from the mine into high-strength magnets, which are vital in electric vehicles, wind turbines, and many other products.
- BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf: Conflict of interest questions raised in blowout preventer testing (Fuel Fix):
A Transocean supervisor who worked on the Deepwater Horizon rig before it exploded has since participated in an investigation of the blowout preventer that failed to stop gushing oil from the well it was drilling - a possible conflict of interest that a congressional critic says threatens the integrity of the probe.
- Deep doo-doo: A Conversation with Bill McKibben (Grist) [emphasis added]:
Yes, global average warming is "only" about a degree, but that is actually a lot. During the last major ice age, when New York, Minneapolis, and Seattle were under an ice sheet a mile thick, global average temperature was about 5 degrees colder than it is now. The last time Earth was 2 degrees warmer so much ice melted that sea level was about twenty-five meters (eighty feet) higher than it is today.
- Burying the Lede: We May Hit 400ppm by 2014: A Scientist, His Work, and a Climate Reckoning (NY Times):
By 2005, the year he died, the number had risen to 380 parts per million. Sometime in the next few years it is expected to pass 400. Without stronger action to limit emissions, the number could pass 560 before the end of the century, double what it was before the Industrial Revolution.
The greatest question in climate science is: What will that do to the temperature of the earth?
Scientists have long known that carbon dioxide traps heat at the surface of the planet. They cite growing evidence that the inexorable rise of the gas is altering the climate in ways that threaten human welfare.
Fossil fuel emissions, they say, are like a runaway train, hurtling the world's citizens toward a stone wall - a carbon dioxide level that, over time, will cause profound changes.