IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Heavier storms now definitely linked to climate change... But one MT legislator says "Bring it on"; Score one for the whales; PLUS: Oil subsidies, shmoil-shmubsidies --- Republicans vs. Obama's budget and Big Bird vs. Big Oil ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Rising seas forecast to flood US coasts by 2100; Public trusts EPA, tells Congress butt out; Study: Trillions in investment at risk from climate change; Coal's hidden costs: $345 Billion; Oil cos. unveil spill containment system; Huge solar flare jams radio, satellite signals; UN sounds alarm on ocean pollution; Screwdriver blamed for nuclear plant shutdown; UK's Cameron abandons forest sell-off plan; Apple admits child labor, poisoned factory workers; 3 states challenge feds on nuclear waste; Teen makes homemade solar death ray ... PLUS: 2/3rds of permafrost gone by 2200: study ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Heaver Storms Definitively Linked to Climate Change:
- Scientists connect global warming to extreme rain (Seth Borenstein, AP) [emphasis added]:
Extreme rainstorms and snowfalls have grown substantially stronger, two studies suggest, with scientists for the first time finding the telltale fingerprints of man-made global warming on downpours that often cause deadly flooding.
Two studies in Wednesday's issue of the journal Nature link heavy rains to increases in greenhouse gases more than ever before.
Only when the greenhouse gases are factored in do the models show a similar increase to what actually happened. All other natural effects alone don't produce the jump in extreme rainfall. Essentially, the computer runs show climate change is the only way to explain what's happening.
- A Harder Rain’s Gonna Fall (and Already Is) (NYT Dot Earth) [emphasis added]:
[F]or the first time, a thorough analysis has concluded with nary a caveat that a rise in heavy precipitation episodes — rain and snow — across most of North America in the second half of the 20th century cannot be explained without a significant push from the human-driven buildup of greenhouse gases.
The abstract, appended below, is remarkable for the definitiveness of its conclusions about the link between the building greenhouse warming and the observed precipitation pattern.
- Researchers Link Extreme Rains To Global Warming (NPR)
- Are Greenhouse Gases Upping the Risks of Flooding, Too? (Scientific American):
Climate change caused by rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is causing more extreme rainfall and snowfall--and floods.
- MT Legislator Says "Bring It On!" to Climate Change
- EXCLUSIVE: Wonk Room Interviews Montana Legislator Who Introduced Bill To Declare Global Warming ‘Natural’ (Wonk Room) [emphasis added]:
In an exclusive interview with the Wonk Room, the 55-year-old first-time legislator graciously explained why he filed this bill to outlaw science, which even he admitted was a “radical” act. Unlike the man who tried to get the Indiana legislature to redefine pi for a crank mathematical “proof” in 1897, Read’s motivation is primarily ideological. Read did not consult any climate scientists in the drafting of this bill, he said, relying instead on his own experience and understanding of the issues at play...
Read also explained why he chose to write a set of scientific conclusions into law that go against the last 150 years of climate research and the political consensus of every government in the world
Climate policy, he believes, is essentially an attempt to steer money and control into the federal government, which has been dictating the direction of climate science research for decades.
- Montana legislature thinks global warming is a good thing (Science Blogs)
- Investments Worth Trillions At Risk From Climate Change: Study (World Environment News)
- Score One for the Whales:
- Japan Suspends Whale Hunt After Chase By Protesters: Japan has suspended its annual whale hunt in the Antarctic for now after a hardline anti-whaling group gave chase to its mother ship and it may call the fleet back home, a government official said. (Reuters)
- Conservationists unsatisfied by whaling suspension (AP)
- Colbert Report: Whale Fail (Comedy Central):
- Budget Battle: Obama v. the GOP:
- Side by Side Chart: Obama’s energy budget builds for the future (and GOP tears it down) (Climate Progress)
- 'Invest and Grow' vs. 'Slash and Burn' (Think Progress Progress Report)
- OP-ED: Eat the Future (Paul Krugman, NYT) [emphasis added]:
Uncharacteristically, they failed to accompany the release with a catchy slogan. So I’d like to propose one: Eat the Future.
The answer, once you think about it, is obvious: sacrifice the future. Focus the cuts on programs whose benefits aren’t immediate; basically, eat America’s seed corn. There will be a huge price to pay, eventually — but for now, you can keep the base happy.
By slashing future-oriented programs, they can deliver the instant spending cuts Tea Partiers demand, without imposing too much immediate pain on voters. And as for the future costs — a population damaged by childhood malnutrition, an increased chance of terrorist attacks, a revenue system undermined by widespread tax evasion — well, tomorrow is another day.
- Budget Spares Energy Research, Despite Hits to Other Programs (NY Times)
- My obligatory grumpy budget post: Budget posturing is a big game, and the left is losing (David Roberts, Grist)
- Republicans Attempt to Gut EPA Climate Rules, Slash Deeply Into Climate Research, Aid and Technology Programs (NY Times)
- Obama 2012 Budget Provides $8 Billion For Clean Energy (Reuters)
- New GOP Spending Plan Takes Chainsaw to EPA (Mother Jones)
- Agency-by-Agency Budget Reports (Washington Post)
- Administration to Push for Small 'Modular' Reactors (NY Times)
- EPA Budget Proposal Focuses on Air and Climate Rules, Cuts Water Grants (Greenwire)
- Obama defends proposal to cut LIHEAP funding
- The Republican war on the EPA, debunked point by point (La Vida Locavore)
- Ex-Big Oil CEO: Subsidies For Oil Companies 'Are Not Necessary' (Wonk Room)
- Rising Seas Forecast to Flood U.S. Coastal Cities by 2100 (Environmental News Service):
Rising sea levels in hundreds of cities along U.S. coastlines will lose about 10 percent of their land area by 2100, finds new research led by University of Arizona scientists.
The research is the first analysis of vulnerability to sea level rise that includes every U.S. coastal city in the lower 48 with a population of 50,000 or more.
- Investments Worth Trillions At Risk From Climate Change: Study (Reuters):
Climate change could put trillions of investment dollars at risk over the next 20 years, a global study released on Wednesday said, calling for pension funds and other investors to overhaul how they allocate funds.
Risks from more extreme weather, continued delay in climate policy by governments and uncertainty over the shape of a new global climate pact were major concerns, while renewable energy, agriculture and infrastructure could be opportunities.
It found that the cost of impacts on the environment, health and food security could exceed $4 trillion by 2030, with longer policy delays bringing rising costs, mostly from adaptation spending such as building sea walls.
- Can you hear me now?: New poll: The public trusts EPA, loves the Clean Air Act, and wants Congress to butt out (David Roberts, Grist) [emphasis in original]:
[I]f we can collectively pull our heads out of the Beltway's ass and take in a wider view of the country, it quickly becomes clear that the Republican attack on EPA is radically unpopular with voters across parties and demographics.
Even for those of us who understand the public's fondness for clean air, the results are striking.
The top line is this: The public overwhelmingly supports EPA in updating Clean Air Act standards and overwhelmingly opposes congressional efforts to block EPA. When it comes to clean air, the public trusts EPA far more than Congress.
- Coal's Hidden Costs Top $345 Billion In U.S: Study (Reuters) [emphasis added]:
The United States' reliance on coal to generate almost half of its electricity, costs the economy about $345 billion a year in hidden expenses not borne by miners or utilities, including health problems in mining communities and pollution around power plants, a study found.
The estimate of hidden costs takes into account a variety of side-effects of coal production and use. Among them are the cost of treading elevated rates of cancer and other illnesses in coal-mining areas, environmental damage and lost tourism opportunities in coal regions where mountaintop removal is practiced and climate change resulting from elevated emissions of carbon dioxide from burning the coal.
"This is effectively a subsidy borne by asthmatic children and rain-polluted lakes and the climate is another way of looking at it," said Kert Davies, research director with the environmental activist group Greenpeace. "It's a tax by the industry on us that we are not seeing in our bills but we are bearing the costs."
- Oil companies unveil spill containment system (AP):
A group of oil companies led by Exxon said Thursday it has built a system that can stop an undersea oil spill within weeks, a critical step towards resuming drilling in the deepest parts of the Gulf of Mexico.
The Marine Well Containment Co. announced Thursday that it has cobbled together enough equipment and support vessels to contain a spill similar to BP's massive gusher, which took 85 days to plug. Some of the equipment was used by BP in its containment efforts.
- Huge solar flare jams radio, satellite signals: NASA (AFP)
- UN sounds alarm on ocean pollution (AFP)
Tonnes of throw-away plastic and massive runoff from chemical fertilizer are choking the world's oceans, the UN's environmental watchdog warned Thursday.
Taken together, the two sources of pollution threaten biodiversity, harm water quality, poison fish stocks and undermine coastal tourism, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said in its annual Year Book report.
- Screwdriver blamed for nuclear plant shutdown (AFP):
Operators of a South Korean nuclear power plant said Thursday that a stray screwdriver was most likely to blame after a reactor had to be shut down for three days.
- BP complains about Gulf spill compensation: report (AFP):
BP is filing a strongly worded complaint with the administrator of a $20-billion fund to compensate victims of the Gulf oil spill, saying his proposed settlements are too generous, The New York Times reported Thursday.
- Forests sell-off abandoned as Cameron orders U-turn: Plans scrapped after furious backlash and Ed Miliband jibing about PM changing the Conservative emblem to a tree (Guardian UK):
David Cameron has ordered ministers to carry out the government's biggest U-turn since the general election by abandoning plans to change the ownership of 258,000 hectares of state-owned woodland.
Caroline Spelman, the environment secretary, will announce on Friday that a consultation on the sale of forests will be ended after a furious backlash that united Tory supporters with environmentalists and the Socialist Workers party.
- Apple admits to poisoned workers, child labour (Australia Broadcasting Co.):
The technology giant Apple has admitted that some of its workers in China have been poisoned and that many are regularly working in unsafe conditions.
Apple's own audit identified an increase in workers putting in excessive hours, a rise in children working for its suppliers and that 137 workers were poisoned at a Chinese firm making its products..
- 3 States Challenge Federal Policy on Storing Nuclear Waste (NY Times)
- 19 Year Old Teenager Makes Homemade Solar Death Ray (Inhabitat.com)
- 2/3rds Gone by 2200?: Thawing permafrost set to accelerate global warming (Australia Broadcastng Co.):
A study by researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado warns that two-thirds of the Earth's permafrost could disappear by 2200.
They say that would unleash vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and that this process would begin within 15 years....
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'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...