IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Rush Limbaugh is Climate Change Misinformer of the Year!; ABC News buys into light-bulb "ban" baloney; Illegal logging leads to a thousand dead after devastating floods in the Philippines; Meet the World's Newest Oil Spill, now back in the Gulf of Mexico; PLUS: Turning the scheduled-corner in the Fukushima nuclear disaster? ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Ominous signs of Arctic permafrost melt, potential 'methane bomb' for climate; New mercury pollution rules to save lives; Big Corn, Big Sugar in bitter battle over "corn sugar"; "Climategate": UK police seize computers linked to hacked climate scientist emails ... PLUS: Innovative breakthrough could DOUBLE solar energy output ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Illegal Logging Leads to Devastating Floods in Philippines:
- Typhoon Sendong (aka Washi): Did illegal logging cause flash flooding in Philippines?: Philippine President Benigno Aquino orders an investigation into national disaster, wonders if violations of logging ban exacerbated Typhoon Sendong (Washi) damages.
- Illegal Logging a Factor In High Death Toll (The Philippine Star)
- Philippine floods: More coffins needed as death toll nears 1,000 (LA Times)
- The World's Newest Oil Spill, Now Back in the Gulf of Mexico:
- Why Is the FDA Saying It's OK to Eat Seafood 10,000 Times Over the Safe Limit for Dangerous Carcinogens?: FDA not only downplayed the risk of contamination, but ignored staff members who proposed higher levels of contamination protection. (Alternet)
- Russia: Drip by Drip, A Torrent of Oil Pollution: (AP):
Russia's vast tundra has been ravaged by oil companies unwilling to clean up their acts.
- Is it safe to drill? Learn what new oil-spill report says (AP):
BP and the oil industry drilling in the Gulf of Mexico lacked the proper safety attitude to handle the large risks of deepwater drilling, leading to the many bad decisions behind the nation's worst offshore spill, a panel of expert engineers said today.
- Shell Gets Go-Ahead to Drill in Fragile Arctic:
- Shell Gets Approval To Drill in Arctic, Spills 14,000 Gallons in Gulf of Mexico (Treehugger) [emphasis added]:
The two aren't causally linked of course, but the symbolism and timing is pure tragicomedy.
As the Obama administration grants permission for Shell to drill for oil in the Arctic (albeit with restrictions such as not drilling for oil when there is ice present), Shell admits to spilling roughly 14,000 gallons of oil and drilling fluids into the Gulf of Mexico.
- With Federal Green Light, Shell Hits the Gas on Arctic Plans: (Greenwire):
In a sign that the Obama administration is willing to clear the regulatory decks for oil drilling in Alaska's remote Arctic waters, the Interior Department on Friday gave a conditional green light allowing Royal Dutch Shell PLC to explore for oil this summer in Alaska's Chukchi Sea.
- US not ready for Arctic oil drilling, say officials (AFP)
- "Cold Shutdown": Turning the Corner in the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster?:
- VIDEO: Japan PM says Fukushima nuclear site finally stabilised (BBC):
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda: "This is a challenge to not only our nation but also the whole of humanity."
- Japan's Prime Minister Declares Fukushima Plant Stable (NY Times):
[S]ome experts called the news premature, an attempt to quell continuing public anger over the accident and paper over remaining threats to the plant. The experts argue that the devastated plant remains vulnerable to large aftershocks, which could knock out the jury-rigged cooling system that helped workers bring the reactors into a relatively stable state known as a "cold shutdown."
They also say the milestone of a cold shutdown, necessary before dismantling can begin, means less than usual because the nuclear fuel at three of the plant's reactors has melted and some of it has apparently escaped the reactor vessels.
- Japan: crucial stage reached in nuclear plant shutdown (LA Times)
- LISTEN: Japan Tries to Soothe Nuclear Worries (Public Radio International) [emphasis added]:
Anchor Marco Werman talks with physicist Edward Lyman, a senior staff scientist in the Global Security program at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, DC.:
Edward Lyman: ... Now, in the case of Fukushima because they still don't know a lot of the issues within the reactor itself, they can't come to such a firm conclusion, so they characterize it as a condition of cold shutdown.
Werman: It almost sounds like you're saying that the government has kind of redefined what cold shutdown means for their own needs.
Lyman: Yes, and to some extent it's a practical definition. I don't have a problem with it, but to the extent that it gives people false confidence I think that would be a bad thing.
- Japan less likely to trust officials, main media, since disaster (LA Times)
- Monkeys to Track Fallout at Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Plant (ABC News)
- US nuclear chief comfortable with stability at crippled Japan plant and move toward next step (Washington Post)
- Researchers Trumpet Another Flawed Fukushima Death Study (Scientific American)
- Fukushima to Canada: Nuclear power creates toxic pollution for 250,000 years (David Suzuki, The Canadian)
- ABC Dim Bulbs Spread So-called 'Lightbulb Ban' MYTH:
- VIDEO: ABC News Cheers GOP Obstruction Of Light Bulb Efficiency Standards i(Media Matters.org):
Last week, Congress passed an omnibus spending bill that hinders enforcement of federal light bulb efficiency standards that were signed into law by President Bush in 2007. Conservative media have repeatedly misled consumers about the standards, and now ABC's flagship nightly news program is adding to the misinformation.
- Funds Cut for New Light Bulb Standards Will Have Little Effect: (Washington Post):
The federal spending bill before Congress is a no-spending bill for the Energy Department when it comes to enforcing new efficiency standards for light bulbs. But the new standards for light bulbs - signed into law in 2007 - would remain in place, meaning the effort to stem the new rules might mean little at the end of the day.
- Death of 'Lightbulb Ban' Greatly Exaggerated (Grist)
- New Energy-Saving Bulbs Are Coming --- Here's How You Find the Right Ones for Your Home (NRDC)
- House GOP Bid to Force Quick Keystone XL Decision May Backfire:
- Keystone Pipeline Deadline Leaves Little Time for Review, White House Says (Bloomberg)
- Tax Bill Can Stall Oil Pipeline, Officials Say (NY Times):
Payroll tax cut legislation that would force President Obama to speed up a decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline would likely keep the project from moving forward because it would cut short the necessary environmental review, Obama administration and State Department officials said on Saturday.
- Myth That Keystone XL Creates Jobs Perpetuated By Oil Lobby, Parroted By Congress's Oil Recipients (Think Progress Green)
- Keystone Cave? No, Keystone Kabuki (Grist)
- Obama blasts House GOP for blocking payroll tax cut extension: The House's procedural vote fell short of actually voting down the Senate bill. (LA Times)
- GOP's Keystone Bait and Switch Will Cost American Consumers (Huffington Post Green)
- Rush Limbaugh the #1 Climate Change Misinformer of the Year!:
- Rush Limbaugh: Climate Change Misinformer of the Year (Media Matters):
In 1994 Rush Limbaugh declared, "There is no global warming going on," adding that scientists "admit" they "may need 20 years more data to prove it." Since then, Limbaugh has managed to shield his brain from 18 years of mounting evidence that humans are changing the climate. "Science has made enormous inroads in understanding climate change and its causes," according to the National Research Council's latest report assessing the state of climate science.
- Limbaugh: "Conservatives Know That The Whole Story Of Manmade Global Warming Is A Hoax" (Media Matters)
- The GOP's Crackpot Agenda (Rolling Stone)
- Heads in the Sand: Warning: "Climate change is occurring … and poses significant risks to humans and the environment," reports the National Academy of Sciences. As climate-change science moves in one direction, Republicans in Congress are moving in another. Why?
(National Journal) [emphasis added]:Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, says there's no question that the influence of his group and others like it has been instrumental in the rise of Republican candidates who question or deny climate science. "If you look at where the situation was three years ago and where it is today, there's been a dramatic turnaround. Most of these candidates have figured out that the science has become political," he said.
Groups like Americans for Prosperity have done it."
- Ominous Warnings on Melting Arctic Permafrost, 'Methane Bomb' For Global Climate:
- Warming Arctic Permafrost Fuels Climate Change Worries (NY Times):
In the minds of most experts, the chief worry is not that the carbon in the permafrost will break down quickly - typical estimates say that will take more than a century, perhaps several - but that once the decomposition starts, it will be impossible to stop.
- 'Fountains' Of Methane 1,000M Across Erupt From Arctic Ice - a Greenhouse Gas 30 Times More Potent Than Carbon Dioxide (London Daily Mail)
- Methane Time Bomb in Arctic Seas --- Apocalypse Not (NYT Dot Earth)
- Methane in the Arctic: The End of the World, Or What? (Grist)
- NEW RULES on Coal Plant Mercury Pollution:
- EPA Rules Threaten Older Power Plants (AP)
- After 20 Years Of Poisoned Babies, EPA Will Finally Close Coal Industry's Toxic Mercury Loophole (Think Progress Green)
- Big Corn, Big Sugar in Bitter Battle Over "Corn Sugar": (AFP):
Big Corn and Big Sugar are locked in a legal and public relations fight in the US over a plan to change the name of a corn-based sweetener that has gotten a bad name.
- "Climategate": UK Police Seize Computers at West Yorkshire Home: (Grist):
Police officers investigating the theft of thousands of private emails between climate scientists from a University of East Anglia server in 2009 have seized computer equipment belonging to a web content editor based at the University of Leeds.
- CA Gov. Jerry Brown Calls Climate Change Deniers "Political Lemmings": (Sacramento Bee):
California Gov. Jerry Brown railed Thursday against politicians who doubt climate change, calling them 'political lemmings' and the chief obstacle in the fight against global warming.
- US Settlement Reached in Chinese Drywall Case: (Reuters):
Owners of thousands of U.S. homes tainted with foul-smelling Chinese drywall agreed to a legal settlement on Thursday with a German manufacturer.
- China Scales Up Solar Power Capacity Plan by 50%: (Reuters):
China has further revised up its solar power development target for 2015 by 50 percent from its previous plan, state media reported on Thursday.
- Massachusetts Company Turns Landfill Into Solar Field (Think Progress Green)
- Congressional Appropriators ignore what Upper Big Branch miners showed us about black lung disease (The Pump Handle, Science Blogs)
- Agricultural time travel: teaching farmers adaptation through 'climate analogues' (Nature News Blog)
- Breakthrough Could Double Solar Energy Output: (LA Times):
A new discovery from a chemist at the University of Texas at Austin may allow photovoltaic solar cells to double their efficiency, thus providing loads more electrical power from regular sunlight.
- Essential Climate Science Findings:
- VIDEO ANIMATION: Time history of atmospheric CO2 (NOAA Carbon Tracker YouTube channel):
- Skeptical Science: Get the FULL DEBUNKING of All Climate Science Denier Arguments
- Part 1: The brutal logic of climate change (David Roberts, Grist) [emphasis added]:
It's simple: If there is to be any hope of avoiding civilization-threatening climate disruption, the U.S. and other nations must act immediately and aggressively on an unprecedented scale. That means moving to emergency footing. War footing. "Hitler is on the march and our survival is at stake" footing. That simply won't be possible unless a critical mass of people are on board. It's not the kind of thing you can sneak in incrementally.
It is unpleasant to talk like this. People don't want to hear it.
- Part 2: The brutal logic of climate change mitigation (David Roberts, Grist)
- World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns: If fossil fuel infrastructure is not rapidly changed, the world will 'lose for ever' the chance to avoid dangerous climate change (Guardian UK) [emphasis added]:
The world is likely to build so many fossil-fuelled power stations, energy-guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels, and the last chance of combating dangerous climate change will be "lost for ever", according to the most thorough analysis yet of world energy infrastructure.
"The door is closing," Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, said. "I am very worried - if we don't change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety]. The door will be closed forever."
- Concise Overview: The IPCC report on extreme climate and weather events (Real Climate)
- READ the IPCC Report: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)
- The Real Global Warming Signal (Tamino)
- No, global warming hasn't stopped (New Scientist)
- Top UN Climate Official Blasts U.S. Climate Policy: Americans Must Realize "This Is Their Future They're Compromising" (Think Progress Green)
- VIDEO: Climate Scientists Michael Mann on "A Look Into Our Climate: Past To Present To Future" (TEDx, YouTube)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
EPA Finalizes Tough New Rules on Emissions by Power Plants: (Washington Post):