IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Oil industry on the hot seat --- again --- fighting to hold on to their billion-dollar taxpayer "incentives" (a.k.a. corporate welfare); Renewable energy can replace fossil fuels by 2050; PLUS: Satirists Attack! And fossil-fuel companies cry foul! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Sec. Clinton at Arctic Council mtg. for treaty on climate change, drilling; Wikileaks cables show race to carve up the Arctic; Now the Pope is down with climate change; There is NO 'rebound effect'; Yucca Shutdown Was Political; Unusual "Mishaps" At 3 U.S. Nuclear Power Plants; NRC Waives Enforcement of Fire Rules; Panel Urges Germany to Close Nuclear Plants ; 'People power' blocks dam construction in India; Mega-Fire risk is global and growing; The psychological roots of resource over-consumption; LOL: Oil front group argues against tax breaks for natural gas; Surprise! Fox News lies again about climate science; Oil CEOs Among Highest Paid ... PLUS: Bill Gates' [big glaring] Blind Spots [climate change, energy, efficiency]...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- WATCH: You Pay More Taxes Than ExxonMobil (The Rachel Maddow Show)
- When Satirists Attack! And the Koch Empire Gets Smacked:
- COAL CARES!: The Yes Men's Awesome Satire on Peabody Energy (CoalCares.org) [emphasis added]:
Why Free Inhalers? Because COAL CARES. Coal Cares™ is a brand-new initiative from Peabody Energy, the world's largest private-sector coal company, to reach out to American youngsters with asthma and to help them keep their heads high in the face of those who would treat them with less than full dignity. For kids who have no choice but to use an inhaler, Coal Cares™ lets them inhale with pride.
- Coal Cares brings biting satire to clean energy debate (Mother Nature Network):
The site also features a "Kidz Koal Korner" with activities featuring the lovable duo of Puff and Ash, a dynamic anthropomorphic duo of asthma inhaler and coal lump, a straightfaced F.A.Q., and a masterful little satire of the fossil fuel industry's PR assault on renewable energy under the heading of "Clean" Energy.
- Yes Men hoax uses Twitter, Facebook to put Peabody Energy on the defensive: With free My Little Pony and Justin Bieber-themed “Puff-Puff” inhalers to kids 18 and under! (Poynter Institute)
- Coal company gets punked by the Yes Men: Peabody was targeted for lobbying against new pollution standards for power plants....that the [EPA] has calculated could prevent 120,000 cases of childhood asthma per year in the United States. (SF Bay Guardian)
- Judge dismisses lawsuit over fake Koch website (The Hill)
- Utah Court Strikes Blow for Free Speech, Dismisses Trademark and CFAA Claims Against Political Activists (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
- Federal Judge Favors Free Speech, Rules That Political Spoof Against Koch Industries Did Not Break Law (Public Citizen)
- Renewable Energy Can Replace 80% of Fossil Fuels by 2050:
- 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.
- 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.
- Oil Industry On the Hot Seat --- Again --- Fighting for Their Billion-Dollar Taxpayer "Incentives":
- Senate Democrats clash with oil execs on industry tax breaks (The Hill)
- Senate Dems slam ConocoPhillips CEO over company's 'un-American' comment (The Hill)
- Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) on ending oil subsidies: "I'd call that sort of un-American." (Think Progress)
- The facts of Big Oil's tax loopholes and windfall profits (Climate Progress)
- Shell's CFO admits to the British press that there was no "linkage" between tax costs and gas prices (NY Times, via OpposeTheFuture.com)
- API Chief Economist Admits Taxes On Oil Industry Can Create Millions Of Jobs (Wonk Room)
- How Forking Over Money to Big Oil Affects the Average Taxpayer (NRDC)
- As Congress debates over surging gas prices, oil executives' salaries soar (iWatch News, Northwestern Univ.)
- Senate Finance Committee Awash in Campaign Cash from Big Oil: Republicans take in 4x the oil money as Democrats (PriceOfOil.org)
- Experts Debunk Conservative Media's Defense of Tax Breaks For Big Oil With False Claim About Gas Prices (Media Matters.org:
Severin Borenstein, co-director of U.C. Berkeley's Center for the Study of Energy Markets: "Gasoline prices are a function of world oil prices and refining margins. The oil companies are quick to point out that they are not to blame for oil prices because the price is set in the world market, or which they are a small share. That is all true. But one implication of that is that the incremental change in production that might result from changing oil subsidies will have no impact on world oil prices, and therefore no impact on gasoline prices."
- How the oil industry saves $4.4B a year on taxes (AP)
- Oil execs blast effort to slash tax breaks (The HIll)
- 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)
- LOL: AFP Rejects NATURAL GAS Act Energy Subsidies, H.R. 1380 (Americans For Prosperity)
- Alaska senators stand firm for keeping oil industry subsidies (Anchorage Daily News)
- More Info on one oil industry tax break: Section 199 of the tax code provides a tax credit for domestic production (About.com)
- When the former CEO of ExxonMobil left in 2006, he received a $400 million bonus (ABC News, 4/14/2006)
- 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.
- House GOP passes bill expanding US offshore drilling (The Hill)
- LCV President Gene Karpinski latest's HuffPo piece on ending handouts for Big Oil (Huffington Post Green)
- Rush Attempts To Explain Why Tax Breaks For Big Oil Do Not Constitute Subsidies (Media Matters.org)
- Exxon Pays a Lower Effective Tax Rate than the Average American
- UPDATE: The Mighty Mississippi Flood of '11 Now Threatens New Orleans:
- In Louisiana, a choice between two floods (Washington Post) [emphasis added]:
[T]he corps is confronted with a Devil’s choice: cause a flood that would drown the livelihoods of central Louisiana farmers and fishermen, or let the high river roll and frantically sandbag 200 miles of levees to try to prevent flooding in the state’s two biggest cities.
“It’s going to remain high for weeks and weeks. And that’s the scare. All it takes is one weak spot” in a levee to flood New Orleans.
In the 1970s and ’80s, Houck led a fight to prevent real estate development in the spillway zone. His argument was simple: The corps designed the zone to be intentionally flooded. Allowing homes, farms and businesses to settle there would only make the decision to open the gates harder.
- The long-term environmental destruction that could be left behind in Mississippi River floods (Huffington Post Green)
- 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.
- 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)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Protecting the Arctic --- Or Carving It Up? Clinton and Salazar travel to Arctic Council meeting focused on challenges of rapid polar warming (Climate Progress) [emphasis added]:
The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Warming seas mean less ice, which means increased access for shipping, fishing, and oil and gas extraction in one of the last unexploited regions of the planet. The Council has not kept pace with the rate of change occurring in the region to date and, as a result, there is an overwhelming lack of unified, strategic management structures, particularly on the issues of climate change and drilling in the Arctic.
- Wikileaks cables show race to carve up Arctic (BBC)
- The Pope is down with climate change now (Grist)
- How bad ideas keep rebounding into public discourse: the rebound effect and its refutation (Grist) [emphasis added]:
Assuming rebound effects eat up most of the energy savings, such claims then argue that efficiency cannot be a good policy to reduce energy consumption or combat climate change.
However, in a new report [PDF] published yesterday in the online journal, ElectricityPolicy.com, my colleagues at the Natural Resources Defense Council dispel these claims...
- Yucca Shutdown Was Political, Federal Watchdog Says (NYT Green)
- OOPSIE: Unusual "Mishaps" At 3 U.S. Nuclear Power Plants (NYT Green):
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said this week that in hindsight, a problem at the Browns Ferry nuclear plant in Alabama last fall was quite serious. And its records indicate that there have been reports in recent days of engineers’ flubbing a basic calculation of reactor operation at two other plants.
- An Egregious Proposal: AEP Calls For MORE Delays of EPA Power Plant Rules (Huffington Post Green):
So today we're asking AEP a question: What's your number? How many lives are you willing to sacrifice to secure delays and rollbacks of toxic air pollution limits under the Clean Air Act?
While other utilities are investing in technology and jobs to prepare for new national clean air standards, AEP is promoting draft legislation to weaken and delay them. AEP lobbyists wrote the bill, dubbed it the ''Electric Power Regulatory Coordination Act of 2011,'' and then went looking for lawmakers to sponsor it.
- NRC Waives Enforcement of Fire Rules at Nuclear Plants (Pro Publica)
- People's Power Blocks Dam Construction in Northeast India (Huffington Post Green)
- New Report Warns Mega-Fire Risk is Global and Growing (Scientific American)
- The psychological roots of resource over-consumption (The Oil Drum)
- Panel Urges Germany to Close Nuclear Plants by 2021: "A withdrawal from nuclear power will spur growth, offer enormous technical, economic and social opportunities ..." (NY Times)
- Surprise! Fox News lies again about climate science (The Cost Of Energy.com)
- Oil CEOs Among Highest Paid U.S. Corporate Bosses (iWatch, Northwestern Univ.)
- SkyTruth discovers new oil slick near Deepwater Horizon site (SkyTruth.org)
- Bill Gates' Blind Spots [on climate change, energy, efficiency...] (David Roberts, Grist)