IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: The Mighty Mississippi crests in Memphis (but Graceland is spared!); Record drought dries out Texas (the Governor's prayers are not answered); What The Frack? - Flammable drinking water near natural gas wells; Japan scraps nuclear plans; Florida nixes high speed rail, other states rejoice; PLUS: Guess who leads the world in clean energy? (hint: it ain't us) ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): How to profit from the coming eco-pocalypse; Green energy can wean off subsidies; Right-Wing media freak out over nonexistent mileage tax; Study: climate change impacts on SF; Arctic meltdown accelerates; Ambitious renewable energy goals and war-zone realities; US Military: global dominance through solar panels; Republican claims credit for oil price tumble; the Truth about rising gasoline prices; Obama: Clean energy delivers the ‘jobs of the future’; Robot sorts trash for recycling; Self-cleaning, smog-eating buildings; Greening America’s schools ... PLUS: Scaling UP: Renewables Could Meet Most of Energy Needs by 2050 ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- LISTEN: Beck Explains "Well-Laid Plan" To Blame Jews For High Gas Prices, Which Will Be Used As An Excuse To Divide Jerusalem (MediaMatters.org)
- The Mighty Mississippi crests in Memphis --- Flood Now Threatens New Orleans:
- Hell and High water: “Great Texas Drought” drives record wildfires as record deluge drives Mississippi floods: NOAA reports "April 2011: historic U.S. extremes in rains, floods, tornadoes, and fires" (Climate Progress)
- Floods along the Mississippi River lead to renewed calls for a change in strategy (Washington Post) [emphasis added]:
In a move that echoes the approach taken by the Netherlands, which has long wrestled with such problems, a nascent movement made up of activists and city leaders victimized by flooding is pushing for “natural river defenses.” They want to set the rivers free, if just a little.
- Mississippi River crests in Memphis, short of record (USA Today):
The Mississippi River has surpassed historic marks as its crest meanders from the Midwest to the Gulf of Mexico. Cairo, Ill., and New Madrid and Caruthersville, Mo., all recorded new highs the past week, Anderson said. More than 550 Corps employees and $37 million so far have been devoted to the flood fight, he said. "It's like a moving battlefield," Anderson said
- Bonnet Carre Spillway (LA) opening serious matter, but residents enjoy the spectacle (NOLA.com)
- Fear of great flood in 1927 alive on Mississippi today: The Great Flood of 1927 set high marks that may be broken this month as an enormous amount of water makes its way down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. (McClatchy Newspapers)
- The Mississippi River Flooding, Explained (Mother Jones)
- Insurers Fight Over Flood Policies Dropped by State Farm (Insurance Journal)
- Record Drought Dries Out TX, Drives Wildfires, Gov. Rick Perry Complains:
- Great Texas drought of 2011 intensifies (Jeff Masters, Weather Underground)
- No liquid assets: After 7 months of almost no rain, three-fourths of Texas has reached the 'extreme' drought stage, with little relief in sight for people or parched crops (Houston Chronicle) [emphasis added]:
Texas hasn't quite been as dry as the Sahara during the last seven months. But it's been close.
For the entire state, data released Monday by the National Climatic Data Center will show that last October through April was the driest such period on record. On average, Texas received less than 6 inches of rainfall.
- Another Wake-up Call To Be Ignored: Aquifer’s Depletion Poses Sweeping Threat (NYT Green):
So the aquifer is dropping lower and lower, and some geologists fear it could dry up in as soon as 25 or 30 years. This is a major issue confronting not just those eight states but the entire country.
- 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.
- What The Frack?: Flammable Drinking Water Confirmed Near Natural Gas Wells in PA & NY:
- A BIG DEAL: Scientific Study Links Flammable Drinking Water to Fracking (ProPublica):
For the first time, a scientific study has linked natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing with a pattern of drinking water contamination so severe that some faucets can be lit on fire.
The peer-reviewed study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, stands to shape the contentious debate over whether drilling is safe and begins to fill an information gap that has made it difficult for lawmakers and the public to understand the risks.
- ProPublica Special Investigation: Buried Secrets: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat: The promise of abundant natural gas is colliding with fears about water contamination (ProPublica)
- Fracture on Fracking: Chu Names Panel to Study Fracking (NYT Green)
- Energy Secretary Steven Chu on natural gas: water contamination has happened (NRDC Switchboard)
- Methane Found in Water Near Gas-Drilling Sites, Study Says (TIME)
- More background: Could Shale Gas Power the World? (TIME)
- FL's Republican Gov Nixes High Speed Rail - Other States Rejoice:
- $2B for rail projects, speed upgrades announced (AP) [emphasis added]:
The bulk of the $2 billion is to go the congested Washington-New York-Boston corridor, where $795 million in improvements should allow trains to run at 160 mph on a stretch where they are currently limited to 135 mph. Another $404 million will go toward increasing speeds to 110 mph between Chicago and Detroit.
"These are tremendous transportation projects and investments that America cannot do without," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told reporters at a news conference in New York's Pennsylvania Station, the nation's busiest train depot. He delivered a twin announcement later in the day in Detroit.
- $2B for rail projects, speed upgrades announced (BusinessWeek)
- Congested Northeast rail corridor gets $450M to ease bottlenecks (NJ Star-Ledger)
- Other states get Florida rail money (Tampabay.com)
- WATCH: $2B for Rail Projects, Speed Upgrades Announced (AP)
- Guess Who Leads the World in Clean Energy? It Ain't Us:
- US ranks 17 as clean tech producer, China is No. 2 (AP):
Denmark earns the biggest share of its national revenue from producing windmills and other clean technologies, the United States is rapidly expanding its clean-tech sector, but no country can match China's pace of growth, according to a new report obtained by The Associated Press.
- Renewable energies to leap, costs fall: U.N.: Renewable energies such as wind or solar power are set to surge 3-20 times by 2050, and expected advances in technology will bring significant cost cuts (Reuters)
- 2016: when China overtakes the US: After more than a century as the world's largest economy, the US will need to adjust to its declining global hegemony. (Guardian UK)
- Germany’s Unlikely Champion Of a Radical Green Energy Path (Yale 360):
The disaster at the Fukushima plant in Japan convinced German Chancellor Angela Merkel that nuclear power would never again be a viable option for her country. Now Merkel has embarked on the world’s most ambitious plan to power an industrial economy on renewable sources of energy.
- Latest Developments in Japan's Ongoing Nuclear Crisis, and the Impact on the US Nuclear Industry):
- Japan to scrap nuclear power for renewables and conservation: The prime minister says Japan must 'start from scratch' and abandon its plan to obtain half its energy from atomic power (Guardian UK)
- Japan Scraps Plan for New Nuclear Plants (NY Times)
- Nuclear safety post-Fukushima: A victory for the public's right to know (Ed Lyman, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists)
- Another Nuclear Plant to Shut Down in Japan on Safety Concerns (TIME Eco-Centric)
- Wikileaks: US Criticized Tokyo's Nuclear Plan (Wall St. Journal)
- Japan, U.S. Plan Nuclear Waste Storage in Mongolia (Reuters)
- Nuke Plant Workers Finally Get Checkups (Japan Times)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- How to profit from the coming ecopocalypse (Climate Progress):
"The world is using up its natural resources at an alarming rate, and this has caused a permanent shift in their value. We all need to adjust our behavior to this new environment. It would help if we did it quickly."
That’s the conclusion of an important analysis by uber-hedge fund manager Jeremy Grantham, a self-described “die hard contrarian.” He is one of the few leading financial figures who gets both peak oil and global warming.
- Analysis: Green energy can wean off subsidies, gradually [unlike nuclear, coal, oil] (Reuters):
Government support for renewable energy must end gradually and in tandem with cuts in fossil fuel subsidies, say investors and lobbyists who complain bitterly about unpredictable chopping of incentives.
- Right-Wing Media Freak Out Over Nonexistent Obama Proposal To Impose Mileage Tax (MediaMatters.org)
- Report: Climate Change Hits Home in the Bay Area (Climate Central):
The report finds that the climate change impacts most threatening to the Bay Area are more intense heat waves, water uncertainty (droughts, wildfires, extreme storms and flooding), and sea level rise. It lays out step-by-step instructions for addressing these risks, in terms of public safety and health, water supply, transportation infrastructure, biodiversity, and the region's energy supply.
- The Arctic Meltdown Accelerates (TIME Eco-Centric):
But here's something that really is frightening. A new study presented by the International Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program has found that feedback loops are already accelerating warming in the far North, which will rapidly increase the rate of ice melt. As a result, the panel now estimates that sea levels could rise by as much as 5.2 ft. by the end of the century.
- Army's Ambitious Renewable Energy Goals Run Into War-Zone Realities (ClimateWire)
- Global Military Dominance Through Health Care And Solar Panels: Two prominent advisers to the Joint Chiefs of Staff think adopting social and environmental change is the best path to maintaining America's global hegemony. (Fast Company)
- Keep Spinning!: Republican claims drilling bill vote prompted oil price tumble (The Hill):
The Texas lawmaker’s comment reflects an increasingly common GOP argument that expanding offshore development will quickly help reduce oil and gasoline prices, even though leasing is just the first step for often complex projects that generally would not bring new supplies online for years.
The federal Energy Information Administration has estimated that even a major expansion of domestic offshore development would have very little impact on world oil prices or U.S. gasoline prices.
- Oil prices fall after U.S. crude build: Commodities and equities fell broadly after weak economic data in the world's top economy, with a sharp slowdown in the vast services sector and less hiring by private companies in April. (Reuters)
- The Truth about Rising Gasoline Prices (Union of Concerned Scientists)
- Barack Obama: Clean energy will deliver the ‘jobs of the future’ (Politico)
- Meet the woman leading the charge to green America’s schools (Grist)
- Robot designed to sort trash for recycling (Gizmag):
Using artificial intelligence (AI) and an array of sensors, the Recycler is intended to watch over a conveyor belt, targeting and plucking objects from a waste stream that rolls by on it. The robot will then drop each of those items into a specific chute, which will send them on their way to the appropriate recycling facilities. Non-recyclable items will simply stay on the belt, and end up being discarded.
- Alcoa’s Self-Cleaning, Smog-Eating Buildings (Green Wombat, Forbes) [emphasis added]:
The aluminum giant on Monday officially unveiled a building panel that it says not only cleans itself but the surrounding air as well.
“It’s actually a significant impact on air quality,” Belnap adds, noting that aluminum panels are installed on some 14 billion square feet of buildings in North America and Europe. “If a fraction of those surfaces use the EcoClean product, it would be the equivalent of planting several million trees.”
- IPCC Says Renewables Could Meet Most of Energy Needs by 2050 (Yale 360) [emphasis added]:
Renewable energy could meet 77 percent of the world’s power needs by mid-century if the right policies are put in place, according to a new report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“It is not the availability of the resource, but the public policies that will either expand or constrain renewable energy development over the coming decades,” said Ramon Pichs, co-chairman of the IPCC’s Working Group III, which compiled the report.
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