IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Fox 'News' freaks out over The Lorax; Transcanada moves forward on Keystone XL pipeline, and moves against property owners; BP Oil Spill trial on hold; Using the courts to halt air pollution rules; PLUS: Game-changing battery breakthrough for electric cars ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Internal reports show Japan leaders feared "devil's chain reaction", Tokyo evacuation; Monsanto prevails in suit brought by organic growers; Record number of sea otter deaths; Wind Harvester breaks from traditional turbine design; Alliance seeks vast marine reserves in Antarctic; New study maps best/worst places for US renewables ... PLUS: The smoking gun connecting livestock antibiotics and the rise of 'superbugs' ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Fox News Freakout Over The Lorax:
- VIDEO: Lou Dobbs Gets Conspiratorial About ‘The Lorax’ and ‘The Secret of Arrietty’ (Think Progress Green)
- VIDEO: The Lorax Blowing Smogulous Smoke (Mother Jones):
Now people are having a (rather justified) heart attack about the fact that The Lorax is now being used to cross-promote a new SUV. ... The ads claim that the car is "Truffula tree friendly" –whatever that's supposed to mean, given that the car is a standard fuel-injection-engine SUV. Sure, it's apparently better than other SUVs on the market. But not that good.
- VIDEO: Dr. Suess is Not Here to Puke, So I Will (Climate Crock of the Week)
- Forget fast food toys: 'Lorax' gets 70 green tie-ins (AP):
Movie tie-ins once meant that kids got plastic toys thrown into their fast food meal containers. But Universal is taking a new approach. The studio, owned by Comcast Corp., is being selective about its partnerships, with a focus on planet-saving activities like planting trees and conserving energy — things that aren't usually the focus of children's movie campaigns.
The EPA, for instance, is using the Lorax character to help promote low-power appliances that carry the Energy Star label. Hilton's DoubleTree hotel chain is sponsoring a trip for four to eco-tourism mecca Costa Rica. The Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam is creating a Lorax-inspired route through its garden, which is home to a number of endangered trees.
- EPIC: BP Oil Spill Trial On Hold:
- BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill trial delayed in bid to reach deal (Guardian UK):
The gigantic civil trial resulting from the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster has been delayed for one week, just hours before it was due to get underway in a New Orleans court on Monday to give BP and lawyers for the tens of thousands who lost their livelihoods time to negotiate a settlement.
- Big Oil, Big Coal Use Courts for 'Scopes Trial' on Climate Change, New GHG Regs:
- Appeals Court to Hear Arguments over EPA Carbon Rules This Week (InsideClimate) [emphasis added]:
Opponents intent on blocking EPA's "endangerment finding" and the agency's other efforts to regulate emissions of heat-trapping gases via the Clean Air Act will have their two days in court this week.
In that landmark 2007 decision [Massachusetts v. EPA], the Supreme Court gave EPA authority over carbon pollution. The high court justices also made it clear that agency officials could not shirk that authority unless they could provide a scientific basis for refusing to act.
The appeals court's rulings, expected to be issued this summer, are significant because they have the potential to halt, delay, modify or increase the scope of EPA's regulation of carbon under the Clean Air Act.
- E.P.A. greenhouse gas rules face new legal challenges (Reuters)
- Arguments on Greenhouse Gas Rules (Greenwire):
If the importance and complexity of a court case can be established based on the number of lawyers at the lectern, then the battle over the Obama administration greenhouse gas regulations is of epic proportions. When the three interlinked cases are argued over two days at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit this week, no fewer than 18 different attorneys will advocate for their clients before the three-judge panel.
- Legal Case Against EPA Greenhouse Endangerment Finding: ‘Man-Made Climate Change Is Not Certain’ (Think Progress Green)
- Oil Lobby Says Obama’s Call To End Big Oil Handouts Is ‘Discriminatory’ (Think Progress Green)
- Keystone XL: Transcanada Moves Against Property Owners:
- All you need to know about TransCanada’s new plan for Keystone XL (Grist)
- TransCanada chops up Keystone XL to push it ahead (Reuters)
- Ranchers' Land Becomes Ground Zero In Energy Fight (NPR):
"I know what my folks went through to get a piece of ground. And these sons of bitches come along and they tell me we're going to take this land away from you whether you want us to or not," he says, "and they got a fight on their hands."
- TransCanada Renewing Request to Build Keystone Pipeline (NY Times):
TransCanada said Monday that it would reapply for a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline from Canadian oil sands formations in Alberta to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico, assuring that the fiercely contested project will remain a source of political heat throughout the presidential campaign.
The company also said it would seek immediate permission to move ahead with the southernmost portion of the project, from Cushing, Okla., to the gulf, in the hope that that part of the pipeline could be in service by the end of 2013.
- White House Applauds Decision To Build Part Of Keystone XL Pipeline (McClatchy)
- Keystone’s Thousands of Jobs Fall to 20 When Pipeline Opens (Bloomberg News)
- Rising Gas Prices: Not Demand Driven (Bloomberg News):
The national average for gas prices is above $3.50. Yet demand in the U.S. is at its lowest point since 1997. So what's driving this run-up?
- Gingrich and gas prices (Chicago Tribune) [emphasis added]:
Assailing President Obama for high gasoline prices, Newt Gingrich says that when he's president, they'll come down to $2 a gallon. That's because we will "dramaticaly expand our capacity to produce energy." Sounds plausible --- but we've already tried it, and it hasn't worked.
- Why all promises to make gas significantly cheaper are fantasies (Grist)
- Battery Breakthrough Triples Range of Electric Cars:
- Envia Claims ‘Breakthrough’ in Lithium-Ion Battery Cost and Energy Density (NY Times):
“The cost of cells will be less than half — perhaps 45 percent — of cells today, and the energy density will be almost three times greater than conventional automotive cells.”
Mr. Kapadia continued: “What we have are not demonstrations, not experiments, but actual products. We could be in automotive production in a year and a half.”
- DOE-funded battery breakthrough to halve cost, triple range (Grist)
- Startup Envia battery promises to slash EV costs (CNET)
- ARPA-e Summit 2012 (CNET)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Versatile Wind Harvester breaks from traditional turbine design (Gizmag)
- Study Maps Siting Issues for Renewable Energy: Location, Location, Location, 700 Million Times (NYT Green):
[T]he study [from the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory] could prove useful in national strategic planning, including decisions on how much adapt the power system to achieve environmental goals like cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The findings could also help planners make “prudent use of natural resources, particularly water,” he said.
- Chevron: Pa. Pipe leak worse than first thought: Leak of underground pipe at Pennsylvania well worse than initially thought (AP)
- Alliance Seeks Vast Marine Reserves in Antarctic (NYT Green):
Many fisheries scientists argue that such reserves offer the best hope for restoring ecosystems stressed by overfishing, pollution and global warming. United Nations members meeting in Nagoya, Japan agreed in October 2010 to set aside 10 percent of the world’s oceans as reserves by 2020 under the Convention on Biological Diversity, a target that all agree remains distant.
- Supreme Court Rejects Emergency Carp Measures (AP)
- Fukushima: Internal Reports Show Japan leaders feared "devil's chain reaction" (Reuters) [emphasis added]:
Japan's prime minister ordered workers to remain at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant last March as fears mounted of a "devil's chain reaction" that would force tens of millions of people to flee Tokyo, a new investigative report shows.
Yukio Edano, then Japan's top government spokesman, told the panel that at the height of tension he feared a "devil's chain reaction" in which the Fukushima Daiichi plant and the nearby Fukushima Daini facility, as well as the Tokai nuclear plant, spiraled out of control, putting the capital at risk.
- GOP Not Listening to Its Own Scientists on Climate Change (InsideClimate News):
GOP scientists say their attempts to talk about climate dangers with their party's politicians and their aides have largely fallen on deaf ears.
A number of prominent U.S. climate scientists who identify themselves as Republican say their attempts in recent years to educate the GOP leadership on the scientific evidence of man-made climate change have been futile. Now, many have given up trying and the few who continue notice very little change after speaking with politicians and their aides.
- AEI Economist Zycher Makes Head-Exploding Claims About Cost of Renewables (Climate Progress)
- Bird Flu, Pig Flu, Now Bat Flu? Human Risk Unclear
- Utilities Blowing Smoke on Coal-Plant Retirements (Climate Progress)
- Electricity Democratization and Decentralization (Triple Pundit):
Energy supply is slowly moving from centralized utility-scale power plants to small distributed renewable sources, a large number of which are privately owned. This trend has been dubbed the Democratization of Energy. Jeremy Rifkin calls it “lateral power”.
- VIDEO: George Will rips Gas-Price Gas-Bags (Climate Denial Crock of the Week):
So it’s great when conservative icons like George Will have a moment of insight and agree with me on a current issue.
- World's Oceans Get an Acid Bath (Inside Science):
Among the repercussions of global climate change, the effect of ocean acidification on marine life is one of the least-understood variables.
The oceans have already absorbed about one-third of the 500 billion tons of carbon dioxide that human activity has added to the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. Absorbing carbon dioxide reduces the pH of seawater, indicating an increase in its acidity.
- Monsanto settles U.S. chemical pollution lawsuits (Reuters)
- Monsanto prevails in suit brought by organic growers (Reuters):
A federal judge has ruled in favor of global seed giant Monsanto Co, dismissing a lawsuit brought by a consortium of U.S. organic farmers and seed dealers who said their industry is at risk from Monsanto's growing market strength.
- Record number of sea otter deaths recorded (LA Times)
- Study: Market factors, not the EPA drive coal-fired power plant closures (State Journal):
study released Thursday points primarily to market factors, not environmental regulation as the driving force behind coal plant closures.
While environmental regulations have received the bulk of attention when it comes time to close a coal-fired plant, closure are generally known to be a result of multiple factors. A new study conducted by Susan Tierney managing principal at the Analysis group, an economic, financial and strategy consultant group, finds market factors, not the Environmental Protection Agency, have driven coal plant closures.
- WI: Facade of "Responsible Mining" Crumbles; New Mining Bill Proven to Mislead the Public (WI Citizens Media Cooperative) [emphasis added]:
After months of being told that GTAC's plans to dig a four-mile open pit iron ore mine in the Penokee Mountains can be done responsibly, two local scientists shatter that myth at a public hearing for Wisconsin's new "ferrous mining bill."
- Military's alt energy programs draw Republicans' ire (Greenwire):
Suspicion is growing among Republican lawmakers that the Defense Department's efforts to move to renewable energy are more about politics than they are about saving lives and boosting security, as officials claim.
[T]he Pentagon's top energy officials say they are baffled by the sudden controversy. "We were building the policy case and the cost-benefit analysis [for our renewable energy projects] well before anyone in America knew what Solyndra was," said Richard Kidd, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for energy, who is overseeing plans for a major build-out of renewable energy projects on Army bases. "I'm not following any political agenda."
- One Million Lights trades kerosene for solar in developing countries (Grist)
- Japan Weighed Evacuating Tokyo in Nuclear Crisis: (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
In the darkest moments of last year’s nuclear accident, Japanese leaders did not know the actual extent of damage at the plant and secretly considered the possibility of evacuating Tokyo, even as they tried to play down the risks in public, an independent investigation into the accident disclosed on Monday.
The report quotes the chief cabinet secretary at the time, Yukio Edano, as having warned that such a “demonic chain reaction” of plant meltdowns could result in the evacuation of Tokyo, 150 miles to the south.
- Finally, a smoking gun connecting livestock antibiotics and superbugs (Grist):
The message [from industry] is clear. Until scientists trace a particular bug from animals to humans and show precisely how it achieved resistance and moved from farm to consumer, there’s no smoking gun. Thus industry leaders’ heads can remain firmly buried in the sand.
Ladies and gentlemen, we now have a smoking gun!
- Skeptical Science: Get the FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Arguments
- VIDEO ANIMATION: Time history of atmospheric CO2 (NOAA Carbon Tracker YouTube channel):
- VIDEO: Animation Charts Modern Global Warming (NYT Green)
- 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)
- How to Buy Time in the Fight against Climate Change: Mobilize to Stop Soot and Methane: A short list of relatively simple actions taken to reduce greenhouse gases other than CO2 could help put the brakes on global warming--if implemented globally (Scientific American)
- Climate Scientists Rebuke Rupert Murdoch: WSJ Denier Op-Ed Like 'Dentists Practicing Cardiology' (Think Progress Green)
- Saudi Oil Minister Calls Global Warming "Humanity's Most Pressing Concern" (Climate Progress):
"We know that pumping oil out of the ground does not create many jobs. It does not foster an entrepreneurial spirit, nor does it sharpen critical faculties."
- VIDEO: Behold: The World's First 24/7 Solar Plant is Up and Running (Treehugger)
- 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)
- Earth's Plant Growth Fell Because of Climate Change, Study Finds (NYT Green)
- 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."