IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: GOP planning end-run around Obama on Keystone XL pipeline?; 2 years after massive earthquake, Haiti still devastated; Big polluters in your neighborhood? There's a map for that; PLUS: While Obama talks clean energy, Germany actually does it ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Cow (poo) Power for Seattle; Deaths in Nigerian oil subsidy riots; Oil prices rise on Iran tensions; Federal judge reinstates EPA boiler rule; Thomas Edison's revenge?; Improving TV energy efficiency saves money; Lesions on gulf fish linked to BP oil spill; NASA's Hansen: extreme heat in TX, OK, Russia "caused by global warming ... PLUS: "Profound cascading consequences" as Rocky Mountains lose snowpack ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Sobering Anniversary for Haiti, Still Struggling:
- Haiti marks two years after catastrophic quake (Reuters)
- Post-Disaster Recovery: Lessons from the 2010 Haiti earthquake (Scientific American)
- VIDEO: Quake's impact rattles Haiti two years on (Al Jazeera English)
- VIDEO: Progress Slow Two Years After Haiti Quake (AP)
- VIDEO: Two years on, Haiti still reeling from quake (CNN)
- Two Years Later: Rebuilding a Resilient Future for Haiti (Huffington Post Green)
- In Haiti, cautious hope around effort to find families new homes: The 16/6 program in Haiti helps families who have lived in tents since the 2010 earthquake move to proper shelter as they wait for their former homes to be rebuilt. (CS Monitor)
- Donating to charity by text message: Lessons from Haiti (CNN)
- Big Polluters in Your Neighborhood? There's a MAP For That!:
- EPA Report Reveals Top Ten Greenhouse Gas Emitting Power Plants in U.S. (Think Progress Green)
- Interactive MAP: Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program Data (EPA.gov):
EPA's online data publication tool allows users to review information quickly and easily by filtering GHG data in a variety of ways including by facility, industry, location, or gas.
- Texas' emissions top EPA list (LA Times):
A new federal database shows that in 2010 the Lone Star State’s power plants and refineries sent 294 million metric tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere – more than twice the amount released by similar facilities in any other state.
- EPA Publishes First Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data from Large U.S.
Sources (Environment News Service)
- Are Republicans Plan End-Run Around Obama on Keystone XL Pipeline?:
- Senate Republicans to Obama: Approve Keystone XL or Else! (Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones)
- Exclusive: Republicans move to control Keystone approval (Reuters) [emphasis added]:
Congressional Republicans, who are urging President Barack Obama to give a permit to the Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL oil pipeline project, are working on a plan to take the reins of approval from the president should the White House say no.
Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota, a state counting on TransCanada Corp's pipeline to help move its newfound bounty of shale oil, is drafting contingency legislation that would see Congress green-light the project, an aide told Reuters.
- Business groups, Republicans launch onslaught on president over Keystone (The Hill's E2 Wire)
- A Pipeline of Oil Dollars Flowing to Members of Congress Pushing Keystone XL Decision (Climate Progress)
- Keystone supporters use tensions with Iran to pressure Obama on pipeline (The Hill's E2 Wire)
- Canada Minister: Opponents To Tar Sands Are Foes Of Canada (Think Progress Green)
- Keystone Inspector Alleges Shoddy Work on Original Pipeline (Canadian Press)
- Obama's EPA Pep Talk on Clean Air, Clean Water, Clean Energy:
- VIDEO: In Big Environmental Speech, Obama Thanks EPA Staff, Mentions Climate Change in Passing (Climate Progress):
Over the past three years, because of your hard work, we’ve made historic progress on all these fronts. Just a few weeks ago, thanks to the hard work of so many of you, Lisa and I was able to announce new common-sense standards to better protect the air we breathe from mercury and other harmful air pollution. And that was a big deal. (Applause.) And part of the reason it was a big deal was because, for over 20 years, special interest groups had successfully delayed implementing these standards when it came to our nation’s power plants. And what we said was: “Enough.” It’s time to get this done.
- Germany's Solar Surge:
- Germany Installs 4x More Solar Than US in 2011 - At Half the Price (Climate Progress):
In just one month, Germany installed almost twice as many megawatts of solar than the entire U.S. developed during all of 2011.
Oh, and I should probably mention that the Germans installed all of that solar at almost half the price. The average price of an installed solar system in Germany came to $2.80 in the third quarter of 2011. In the U.S., it was about $5.20 in the third quarter.
Why the disparity?...
- U.S. Boasts Substantial Potential For Solar Power (GetSolar Blog) [emphasis added]:
Germany accomplished the somewhat more remarkable feat of drawing more than 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources in the first half of 2011, according to Spiegel Online International. With 76 percent growth in output, solar energy actually replaced hydroelectric power as the third largest renewable source
- Solar Stocks Rise on Surging German Installs, China Growth (BusinessWeek)
- German solar boom strengthens critics of subsidies (Reuters)
- Germany’s Solar Installs Break Record Amid Race for Subsidy (BusinessWeek)
- A Plan to Power 100 Percent of the Planet with Renewables: Wind, water and solar technologies can provide 100 percent of the world's energy, eliminating all fossil fuels. Here's how (Scientific American)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Cow manure to power new King County plant (MyNorthwest.com):
One of the biggest problems facing dairies trying to stay alive in rural King County is what to do with all the cow manure. But this week, construction began on a new plant in Enumclaw that will convert manure into electricity, cutting environmental costs and helping reduce emissions.
- Appeals Court Reinstates EPA's Boiler Clean Air Rule (Environment News Service):
The DC Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's administrative stay on a rule that sets air toxics standards for boilers and commercial solid waste incinerators.
- Insight: How renewable energy may be Edison's revenge (Reuters):
At the start of the 20th century, inventors Thomas Alva Edison and Nikola Tesla clashed in the "war of the currents."
But today, helped by technological advances and the need to conserve energy, Edison may finally get his revenge.
- Nigerian oil union threatens to shut down crude output (Chicago Tribune):
Nigerian oil workers threatened on Wednesday to shut down output in Africa's top crude producer, deepening a national strike over a more than doubling of petrol prices.
- Can Improving TV Energy Efficiency Take a Big Bite Out of World Electricity Use?: A new prize aims to reduce the electricity used to power televisions by as much as 8 percent globally (ClimateWire)
- Dauphin Island fish show up with lesions, BP spill link questioned (Birmingham Press-Register):
More than half the fish caught Monday by Press-Register reporters in the surf off Dauphin Island had bloody red lesions on their bodies.
- Transocean: No Apology for Gulf Oil Spill: (BusinessWeek):
From the day its Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, Transocean has denied wrongdoing, deflected blame, and paid dividends, not cleanup costs. So far, its hardball strategy is working.
- BP Oil Spill: Oil is more toxic than previously thought, study finds (LA Times):
Bad news for the Gulf of Mexico: a study released this week sheds new light on the toxicity of oil in aquatic environments, and shows that environmental impact studies currently in use may be inadequate. The report is to be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
- A Coal-Fired Plant That Is Eager for U.S. Pollution Rules (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
The company, Constellation Energy, says it is an issue of fairness.
Having invested the $885 million — nearly as much as it cost to build the two generating units in 1984 and 1991 — Constellation argues that laggard plants should also have to comply with the emission limits or shut down. Otherwise, it argues, the utility will be operating at a big disadvantage: simply running the retrofitted plant requires 40 megawatts of electricity, enough to keep a small town humming.
- Nature Inspires More Efficient Design For Capturing Solar Energy (RedOrbit.com)
- The End of Real Maple Syrup?: Acid rain's blind spot (Toledo Blade):
University of Michigan researchers say future generations of sugar maple trees are at risk unless soft spots in the federal Clean Air Act are strengthened to address an old nemesis: acid rain.
Precipitation that is highly acidic from burned fossil fuels has been largely under control since the early 1990s. In 1989, the federal government adopted a system to control acid rain through large reductions of sulfur dioxide. Electricity-producing coal-fired power plants were allowed to meet tougher limits through swaps of so-called emission credits.
- Hansen et al: “Extreme Heat Waves … in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 Were ‘Caused’ by Global Warming” (Climate Progress):
“Climate dice,” describing the chance of unusually warm or cool seasons relative to climatology, have become progressively “loaded” in the past 30 years, coincident with rapid global warming. The distribution of seasonal mean temperature anomalies has shifted toward higher temperatures and the range of anomalies has increased. An important change is the emergence of a category of summertime extremely hot outliers, more than three standard deviations (?) warmer than climatology.
- Global warming: Researchers document profound cascading ecological effects as Rocky Mountain snowpack diminishes (Summit Co. Voice):
A steady decline in Rocky Mountain snowpack the past few decades has led to a classic cascading ecological effect, with “powerful” shifts in mountainous plant and bird communities, according to scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Montana.
“This study illustrates that profound impacts of climate change on ecosystems arise over a time span of but two decades through unexplored feedbacks,” said USGS director Marcia McNutt. “The significance lies in the fact that humans and our economy are at the end of the same chain of cascading consequences.”
- Dramatic Links Found Between Climate Change, Rocky Mtn Elk, Plants, and Birds (Science Daily):
Climate change in the form of reduced snowfall in mountains is causing powerful and cascading shifts in mountainous plant and bird communities through the increased ability of elk to stay at high elevations over winter and consume plants, according to a groundbreaking study in Nature Climate Change.
The U.S. Geological Survey and University of Montana study not only showed that the abundance of deciduous trees and their associated songbirds in mountainous Arizona have declined over the last 22 years as snowpack has declined...
- 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)
- 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."