IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: April 26, 1986: the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster, 25 years later; Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster, six weeks later; Fracking blowout in Pennsylvania; Praying for rain in Texas ... PLUS: Speaker Boehner opens the door to eliminating taxpayer oil subsidies ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Confessions of a climate change denier; An open letter to that conservative climate change convert; Sales of 'green' household products resilient in recession; Playing Politics With Climate Change; For a Few, Focus on Green Products Pays Off; Puzzle Persists for 'Degradeable' Plastics; Stunning Findings in Greenland's Ice Cores; A 21st-century water forecast; Resistance to Fracking, Gas Drilling Rises in TX; BP's criminal negligence exposed; Preliminary Deepwater Horizon Report Rips Transocean; Washington is lying to you about the cause of high gas prices ... PLUS: The Chernobyl Zone: World's Largest Wildlife Refuge? ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Donald Trump: US Should
TakeReimburse Ourselves with Oil From Iraq:
- Donald Trump's Solution on Gas Prices: Get Tough With Saudi Arabia; Seize Oil Fields in Libya and Iraq? (George Stephanopoulos, ABC News) [emphasis added]:
Trump: George, let me explain something to you. We go into Iraq. We have spent thus far, $1.5 trillion. We could have rebuilt half of the United States. $1.5 trillion. And we’re going to then leave. So, in the old days, you know when you had a war, to the victor belong the spoils. You go in. You win the war and you take it.
Stephanopoulos: It would take hundreds of thousands of troops to secure the oil fields.
Trump: Excuse me. No, it wouldn’t at all.
Stephanopoulos: So, we steal an oil field?
Trump: Excuse me. You’re not stealing. Excuse me. You’re not stealing anything. You’re taking– we’re reimbursing ourselves– at least, at a minimum, and I say more. We’re taking back $1.5 trillion to reimburse ourselves.
- Dumbest Guy in the Room: Donald Trump’s Energy Policy (Forbes Clean Beta blog)
- Pray for Rain, By Proclamation of Republican TX Gov. Rick Perry:
- Texas Governor Declares Weekend of Prayer for Rain (Texas Tribune)
- Rick Perry Asks Texans to Pray for Rain (Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones)
- Wildfires threaten Texas and New Mexico (UPI)
- Afternoon, evening storms possible in North Texas (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)
- What’s With the Weather? Is Climate Change to Blame? (Yale 360:
One of the thorniest questions facing climate scientists is whether human-induced climate change is leading to more heat waves, floods, and extreme weather events. Now, employing increasingly sophisticated methods of studying weather extremes, climatologists say they are closer to answering that key question.
- Another Round of Extreme, Severe Weather Pounds Midwest:
- Arkansas death toll reaches 8 with flooding death(Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)
- More twisters expected after storm killed seven in Arkansas (Reuters)
- Missouri levee fails; more evacuations (CNN)
- Record flooding possible in heartland (CNN)
- Fracking Blowout in Pennsylvania:
- Drilling Fluid Gushes From Northern PA Gas Well (AP):
A blowout at a natural gas well in rural northern Pennsylvania spilled thousands of gallons of chemical-laced water Wednesday, contaminating a stream and leading officials to ask seven families who live nearby to evacuate as crews struggled to stop the gusher.
- Democratic Report: CARCINOGENS INJECTED INTO WELLS: Millions of gallons of potentially hazardous chemicals and known carcinogens were injected into wells by leading oil and gas service companies from 2005-2009, a report by three House Democrats said Saturday. (AP)
- Now He Says It, Now He Don't: House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) Opens the Door to Eliminating Oil Subsidies --- Then His Spokes Slams It Shut:
- WATCH: Less Than Two Months After GOP Voted To Preserve Billions In Taxpayer Oil Subsidies, Boehner Now Opposes Them [And Then Reverses Again] (Think Progress):
According to Boehner spokesman Michael Steel, Boehner now supports oil subsidies again. Although the speaker told Jonathan Karl that the government needs to increase revenues (i.e. raise taxes) and that the oil depletion allowance should be dropped, according to Steel, that's not what happened:
The speaker made clear in the interview that raising taxes was a nonstarter, and he's told the president that. He simply wasn't going to take the bait and fall into the trap of defending 'Big Oil' companies.
- Watch the full interview: ABC News' Jonathan Karl Interviews Speaker of the House John Boehner with Transcript (ABC News)
- Boehner opens door to cutting U.S. oil tax breaks (Reuters) [emphasis added]:
Boehner's remarks echoed concerns expressed this month by President Barack Obama, who asked Congress to repeal $3.6 billion in annual oil, natural gas and coal subsidies, a move that would total $46.2 billion over a decade and help pay for clean energy initiatives.
Boehner also suggested that Obama could lose the 2012 election if gas prices do not decline.
- President Obama to Congress: "I Hope We Can All Agree That, Instead of Continuing to Subsidize Yesterday's Energy Sources, We Need to Invest in Tomorrow's" (White House blog)
- Big Break for Big Oil, Larger Burden for Taxpayers (Center for Public Integrity):
Taxpayers can't escape paying what they owe the U.S. Treasury. But for big oil companies who owe billions in royalties, it's another matter.
- Meanwhile: Exxon To Post 50% Profit Gain:
- Rising Gas Prices Expected To Increase Exxon’s Earnings By More Than 50% (Think Progress)
- High gas prices mean Exxon will make more money than any publicly held company in history this year (Grist) [emphasis added]:
So let's see … you're paying Exxon at the pump, and you're also paying them on tax day. It's almost as if our entire transportation system renders us indentured servants to the producers of our energy. That's not a joke, just an attempt to describe the corporate neo-feudalism our bought-and-sold political apparatus churns out like so much blood sausage.
- Oil Profits Likely to Impress: Crude Prices Climb Amid Supply Worries; Refining Results Also Improve: That spike is expected to lift earnings by about 50% at Exxon Mobil Corp., and about 33% each at Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips, compared with a year earlier. (Wall St. Journal)
- Fossil Fuel Industries Kill and Injure An Awful Lot of Workers (Center for American Progress)
- April 26, 1986: Chernobyl, 25 Years Later
- Video, Slideshow: Chernobyl impact felt 25 years later (USA Today)
- Russian, Ukrainian Leaders Remember Chernobyl Accident (Voice of America)
- Chernobyl Liquidator Says Chernobyl Facts 'Silenced':: As the 25th anniversary of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in the Ukraine arrives, its lessons may remain unlearned. (Moscow Times)
- Part One: "The Day a Soviet Paradise Stood Still" (Moscow Times)
- Part Two: "On the Trail of a Deadly Chernobyl Killer" (Moscow Times):
Lidiya Makarova spent most of her 69 years in a village within the contamination zone of the 1986 Chernobyl accident. But this month is the first time she decided to have her thyroid screened.
Several minutes later, her smile faded and eyes widened with shock as medics told her there was a medium-sized lump in her neck that might be a thyroid gland cancer — a disease common to people, especially children and adolescents, exposed to radiation from the Chernobyl explosion.
[T]hyroid gland cancer is the only direct consequence of the 1986 disaster recognized by the World Health Organization, which rejects a growing number of independent studies indicating that the aftereffects of protracted exposure to low-level radiation might be much more far-reaching.
- Life After Chernobyl Blast Shown in Photo Exhibit (AP)
- Chernobyl's Legacy: No Likely Return To Normality And a Never-Ending Bill (Guardian UK)
- Anonymous Letter Prompts New Investigation of Nuclear Plant (Moscow Times)
- Candle-Lit Vigil To Remember Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster (BBC News)
- Chernobyl Anniversary: 5 Lessons From the Disaster (London Telegraph)
- Ukraine Seeks Millions for Chernobyl Shelter
- Forest Fires Around Chernobyl Could Release Radiation, Scientists Warn (Guardian)
- Chernobyl Anniversary: How the Disaster Unfolded (London Telegraph)
- 25 Years Later, Chernobyl Reinvented as a Tourist Hotspot (The Atlantic)
- Latest Developments in Japan's Ongoing Nuclear Crisis:
Tokyo Electric Power Co. started the unprecedented and potentially risky measure of allowing water to flood the containment vessels of three troubled reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, company sources said.
- TEPCO Filling Containment Vessels; Experts Raise Doubts (Asahi Daily)
- Evacuees Get Home Visits of Five Hours (Japan Times)
- Tsunami Quickens 'Terminal Decline' of Northern Japan's Fishing Industry (Bloomberg)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Confessions of a Climate Change Convert (FrumForum) [emphasis added]:
I was defeated by facts.
I came away from the report convinced that climate alteration poses a critical threat to our health and way of life, and that “policies that provide a real or implicit price of carbon” are in fact necessary, from an economic and a moral standpoint, to mitigate that threat. Such policies—most notably the much-maligned concept of cap-and-trade—should not be considered job-killers but life-savers.
I’d argue that conservatives and libertarians should strongly support regulation to reduce carbon pollution, since pollution by one entity invariably infringes upon the rights of others (including property rights), and no entity has a constitutional right to pollute. It does not put America on the road to serfdom to suggest that the federal government has a compelling interest in protecting the country from ecological damage. If anything, it puts America on the road to common sense.
- Open letter to a conservative climate change convert (David Roberts, Grist) [emphasis added]:
I still believe that: a freer, more transparent market, with all costs and benefits internalized into prices, would be a cleaner market. There's no reason greens and libertarians can't find common cause on that score.
Greens want communities that generate more of their own energy and food, that are more self-reliant and resilient, less dependent on large, distant power centers. Is rugged self-reliance not a conservative virtue? Right now the energy industry is the sector of our economy that most resembles socialism: rule by a cozy cabal of politicians, cartels, and corporate welfare recipients. Greens want to break that cabal up, to decentralize control over energy, to expose it to more competition and innovation. Is decentralized power not a conservative virtue?
- Playing Politics With Climate Change (Alaska Dispatch):
What Americans believe about climate change depends almost entirely on their political affiliation and not their scientific understanding, according to a new national study that found the same dynamic in two regions of Southeast Alaska.
- For a Few, Focus on Green Products Pays Off (NY Times):
Manufacturers who have long aligned themselves with environmental causes, like Seventh Generation and Method, have rebounded better from the recession than the "green" lines of larger, more traditional manufacturers.
- Daily demand and supply (Earth Day edition) (Environmental Economics) [emphasis added]:
I didn't make a clear distinction between name brand products with green flavor and actual green companies with green products. Sales of green products from green companies has been increasing. These are the true normal goods. The income elasticity of Seventh Generation products is positive.
- Puzzle Persists for 'Degradeable' Plastics (Scientific American):
Eco-friendly plastics disintegrate, but might just linger in the environment.
"Our conclusion was there is no benefit to the environment of oxo-degradable plastics," Thomas told Nature.
These plastics should not be composted, as their breakdown fragments will ruin the resulting compost. But neither can such materials be incorporated into traditional plastics recycling as the same additives that encourage the break-up of the original material will degrade the recycled material produced.
- Stunning Findings in Greenland's Ice Cores (Daily Climate):
White's ice-core studies helped reveal two striking facts. The first is that the Earth's great ice ages are bookmarked by a clear fluctuation in carbon dioxide levels: 180 parts per million (ppm) in the glacial periods, 280 ppm in the warmer periods (the level at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution about 150 years ago). A shift of 100 ppm in CO2 concentrations meant the difference between flowers blooming in the Arctic and ice a mile deep over Chicago. [We are 392 ppm now. -ed.]
The second fact is more worrisome, and led to White's seminal 1989 paper in the prestigious science journal Nature: These global transformations happened fast. Warming trends that forced widespread ice melting and monumental sea-level rise weren't a millennium-long process. It was decadal.
- A 21st-century water forecast (NYT Green):
The broad-brush conclusion of a new federal report on the future impact of climate change on water in the West is a bit familiar. Throughout the West, there will be less snow, and what snow there is will melt faster. The dry Southwest is going to get drier, and the wet Northwest wetter.
- Resistance to Fracking, Gas Drilling Rises on Unlikely Soil (NY Times):
Texans pride themselves on being the heart of the nations oil and gas business. But even here, public concern about natural gas drilling is growing. On Wednesday, several dozen protesters marched through downtown Fort Worth, waving signs and chanting anti-drilling slogans that reflected concern over air and water pollution.The anxiety centers on a recently expanded drilling method called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which is now used in more than half of new gas wells drilled in Texas.
- BP's criminal negligence exposed (Al Jazeera English):
"We have sued them under the Clean Water Act," Kieran Suckling, the executive director and founder of the CBD told Al Jazeera. "The way the Act works is it levies a fine based on the number of gallons [of oil] spilled and how malicious or criminal BP was acting when the spill occurred. So a big part of the suit is about determining how many barrels were spilled, and BP's level of negligence."
- Robert L. Cavnar: Preliminary Deepwater Horizon Report Rips Transocean, Marshall Islands (Huffington Post Green):
Late yesterday, the Deepwater Horizon Joint Investigation board issued a preliminary report of its findings related to causes of the Macondo well disaster that come under the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard.
The report clearly places blame on Transocean for the explosions after the blowout due to poor training, corroded and poorly maintained equipment, and bypassed alarms and shut down devices. The report also singled out the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the flag state of the Deepwater Horizon, for "abdicating its safety inspection responsibilities". The report was an indictment on the status quo of the offshore industry that allows drilling and service companies to unnecessarily risk lives and the environment through complacency, and tax avoidance and substandard safety requirements.
- Washington is lying to you about the cause of high gas prices (Grist) [emphasis added]:
When it comes to the causes of high prices for gasoline, Washington is reaching truly epic levels of mendacity.
Further oil exploration, as Murkowski recommends, won’t lower gas prices. The U.S. Energy Information Agency's Administrator, Richard Newell:
"Long term, we do not project additional volumes of oil that could flow from greater access to oil resources on Federal lands to have a large impact on prices given the globally integrated nature of the world oil market and the more significant long-term compared to short-term responsiveness of oil demand and supply to price movements."
- The Chernobyl Zone: World's Largest Wildlife Refuge? (Voice of America's Russia Watch):
The human story is well told. Centuries old villages vanished from maps, disappearing into the undergrowth. Less has been said about resurgence of wildlife caused by the withdrawal of the hand of man.