IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Iran war talk jacks up US gas prices... while Republicans cheer; VA Supreme Court smacks down climate change denier witch hunt; Meet the 'new normal' for tornado season; PLUS: 2 years after disaster: BP settles with Gulf coast plaintiffs...and gets off pretty easy, so far... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Conservative economist slams deniers: Conservative economist Nordhaus slams skeptics: 'Cost of delay is $4 trillion'; MIT: making solar power competitive with coal; This Week gets it wrong on gas prices; Limbaugh attacks help put Chevy Volt workers out of a job; CO uranium mine poisons creek; A big fracking bubble: the scam behind the gas boom; Arctic ice melt changing climate system; Japan leaders feared "devil's chain reaction" ... PLUS: Science: Ocean acidifying so fast it threatens humanity’s food supply ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- The 'New Normal' For US Tornado Season:
- Scientists see rise in tornado-creating conditions (Reuters):
When at least 80 tornadoes rampaged across the United States, from the Midwest to the Gulf of Mexico, last Friday, it was more than is typically observed during the entire month of March, tracking firm AccuWeather.com reported on Monday. According to some climate scientists, such earlier-than-normal outbreaks of tornadoes, which typically peak in the spring, will become the norm as the planet warms.
- Some Forecasters Expect Above-Average Tornado Season (Summit County Citizens Voice)
- Wacky Winter Weather May Be Global Weirding (Climate Central)
- Warm Winter Helped Fuel Tornado Outbreak (USA Today)
- U.S. Tornado Climatology (National Climatic Data Center/NOAA)
- UPDATE: Tornadoes, Extreme Weather And Climate Change, Revisited (Climate Progress)
- Next-Gen Weather Satellites to Upgrade Tornado Warnings (ENS)
- Americans Get It: Global Warming Is Poisoning Our Weather (Think Progress Green):
Americans are starting to trust the evidence of their own senses about the growing impacts of climate change, instead of the barrage of misinformation and confusion that comes from media sources.
- Obama Condemns "Loose Talk" on War With Iran:
- Wikileaks emails indicate Stratfor discovered Israel already destroyed Iran’s nuclear facilities (Raw Story)
- VIDEO: Remarks by the President at AIPAC Policy Conference
Moving forward, I would ask that we all remember the weightiness of these issues; the stakes involved for Israel, for America, and for the world. Already, there is too much loose talk of war. Over the last few weeks, such talk has only benefited the Iranian government, by driving up the price of oil, which they depend on to fund their nuclear program. For the sake of Israel’s security, America’s security, and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster. Now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in, and to sustain the broad international coalition we have built. Now is the time to heed the timeless advice from Teddy Roosevelt: Speak softly; carry a big stick. (Applause.) And as we do, rest assured that the Iranian government will know our resolve, and that our coordination with Israel will continue.
- Obama to AIPAC: 'Loose Talk of War' Inflating Gas Prices (Raw Story)
- Gas Prices Up for 27 Straight Days To $3.77 for Regular (AP)
- Are Speculators To Blame for Soaring Gas Prices? (Wonkblog, Washington Post)
- Expert: Gas Prices Up Due to International Conflict (WKBN 27 Ohio)
- High Gas Prices Benefit GOP & Big Oil Profits:
- Oil Companies Earn Billions While Americans Pay More (Climate Progress):
As American Families Pay 25 Cents More for a Gallon of Gas, Big Oil Earns $5 Billion More in Profits.
- Newt Gingrich: Higher Oil Prices Good for Big Oil & GOP (CNN State of the Union):
The price of gasoline is becoming a genuine crisis for many American families. If it continues to go higher, it will crater the economy by August. Because people will have no discretionary income and as a result, the president’s going to go into the fall with very expensive gasoline, a weakening economy, a disastrously bad policy in the Middle East and a trillion dollar deficit. I think that’s a pretty big burden while he’s waging war on the Catholic Church and apologizing to Islamic extremists. I think that’s a pretty heavy burden for the President of the United States to carry for re-election.
- FLASHBACK: Fox News On Gas Prices In 2008 (Media Matters):
But back in the summer of 2008, when the average U.S. gasoline price hit a record high of $4.11, Fox said that "no President has the power to increase or to lower gas prices."
- Climate Denier Smackdown: VA Supreme Court Dismisses Suit
- Ken Cuccinelli's quest for climate change emails stopped (AP):
The ruling is a victory for the university, researcher Michael Mann and higher education officials and faculty who claimed Cuccinelli's "civil investigative demand" threatened to chill academic freedom and scientific research. Cuccinelli, a global warming skeptic, said he is investigating whether Mann defrauded taxpayers by using manipulated data to obtain government grants.
- VIDEO: WAMU Radio: Ken Cuccinelli on Climate Probe (WAMU.org YouTube channel)
- Michael Mann's counterstrike in the climate wars (Op-ed, LA Times)
To the denial set, these groups and individual scientists are part of a global liberal cabal that is scheming to impose its radical environmentalist agenda on the entire planet via government programs to cut carbon emissions; as proof, denialists point to their own research and studies --- typically funded by fossil fuel interests, performed by non-climatologists and published in non-peer-reviewed journals --- that pick away at the scientific consensus. You wouldn't think such an anti-intellectual and grossly irresponsible movement would have much success in the court of public opinion. You would be horrifyingly wrong....
- BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf: $7.8 Billion Settlement, For Now:
- >New Orleans Times-Picayune BP Oil Spill Special Coverage Page (NOLA.com)
- Gulf oil spill settlement reached; BP expected to pay out $7.8 billion (NOLA.com)
- Gulf oil spill companies face other liability apart from settlement (NOLA.com)
- BP oil spill deal leaves environmental questions unanswered (NOLA.com)
- BP oil spill settlement includes health monitoring and claims process for proven illnesses (Washington Post)
- US to press on with $18bn BP lawsuit despite settlement: The US government vows to press ahead with its $18bn legal action against BP (Telegraph UK)
- VIDEO: Is the $7.8 Billion BP Oil Spill Settlement a Bad Deal For Gulf Residents and Businesses? (Democracy Now!):
Investigative journalists Greg Palast and Antonia Juhasz examine who wins and who loses in BP's settlement. "[BP's] basically being told, like a bank robber --- you put the money back and everything will be forgiven," says Palast. Including interview with Florida State University Oceanography Professor Ian MacDonald on the spill aftermath.
- BP Settlement Sells Out Victims (Greg Palast, Truthout):
Some deal. BP gets the gold mine and its victims get the shaft. And a few lawyers will get vacation homes - though they won't be so stupid as to build them on the Gulf Coast.
BP now has to pay no more than proven damages. It's like telling a bank robber, "Hey, just put back the money in the vault and all's forgiven."
This case screamed for punitive damages...
- BP statement on the oil spill settlement in full (Telegraph UK)
- Gulf of Mexico oil spill settlement leaves BP in a safer place (Telegraph UK):
This latest news reinforces the view that the oil major is on the path to recovery, after its full-year numbers out last month came in slightly ahead of expectations. The fourth-quarter replacement cost profit, which is the industry’s preferred measure of profitability as it strips out the volatile value of oil inventories, came in at $7.6bn, up from $4.61bn in the fourth quarter of 2010. Full-year profit on this measure was $21.7bn, up from $20.5bn in 2010.
- BP Begins To Put Spill Behind It With Settlement (AP)
- Deepwater Oil Drilling Picks Up Again as BP Disaster Fades (NY Times)
- BP Oil Spill: Louisiana Ruin Remains (BBC News)
- BP Deal Opens a New Phase, but Case Is Far From Closed (NY Times)
- BP Settlement Leaves Most Complex Claims Unresolved (ProPublica)
- With BP Oil Spill Billions at Stake, Why Did Gulf Fishermen Suddenly Settle? (Christian Science Monitor)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Must-Read: Economist William Nordhaus Slams Global Warming Deniers, Explains Cost of Delay is $4 Trillion (Climate Progress):
Yale economist William Nordhaus has eviscerated the 16 scientists who wrote a disinformation-filled Wall Street Journal piece in late January.
...Nordhaus’s blunt piece — “Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong” – is worth reading because he is no climate hawk.
"The skeptics’ summary is based on poor analysis and on an incorrect reading of the results."
- Making Solar Power Competitive with Coal (MIT Technology Review):
A study identifies early-stage technologies that could be combined to cut the cost of solar panels in half.
- This Week Gets The Story Wrong On Secretary Chu And Gas Prices (Media Matters):
On ABC's This Week, host George Stephanopoulos repeated a mischaracterization of recent testimony from Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Stephanopoulos claimed that Chu was "asked whether or not the goal of U.S. policy was lower gas prices." After playing a clip of Chu's testimony, Stephanopoulos asked David Axelrod: "Is the secretary right? Are lower gas prices not the president's goal?"
In fact, in the testimony Stephanopoulos cited, Chu was not asked whether the goal of U.S. policy was lower gas and did not say that "lower prices [are] not the president's goal."
- Limbaugh Attacks Help Put Chevy Volt Workers Out Of A Job (Think Progress Green)
- Stunner: One Quarter of Total U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Come From Fossil Fuels Mined and Drilled on Public Lands (Climate Progress) [emphasis added]:
In 2009, the most recent year for which total U.S. GHG emissions data are available, the ultimate downstream GHG emissions from fossil fuel extraction from federal lands and waters by private leaseholders could have accounted for approximately 23% of total U.S. GHG emissions and 27% of all energy-related GHG emissions.
- Cotter rerouting tainted creek near leaking uranium mine (Denver Post) [hat tip Kevan]:
The owners of a leaking uranium mine west of Denver have begun a bold project to reduce contamination of a creek that flows into a metro drinking-water reservoir: physically rerouting the creek so that it no longer flows over toxic waste.
- Venezuela Emerges As New Source of 'Conflict' Minerals (Int'l Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Center for Public Integrity):
Coltan ore is valuable as a source of niobium and tantalum, metals key to many kinds of electronics. Coltan mining has helped finance war in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo. Now new illegal coltan mining activity has sprung up in the remote Amazon jungles on the border between Venezuela and Columbia. It is controlled largely by armed militias and drug smugglers.
- The Big Fracking Bubble: The Scam Behind the Gas Boom:: Is the boom in natural gas a bubble that will go bust as the price of gas itself continues a dizzying fall? (Rolling Stone)
- Ice Melt a Complex Key to Changing Global Climate System: Part 1 (Knight Science Journalism Tracker)
- Icemelt News, Part II: Arctic Sea Ice - Less Volume, More Bromine, And Maybe a Mercury Peril (Knight Science Journalism Tracker)
- Iowa, First State to Criminalize Undercover Investigation: (LA Times):
On Friday, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed into law a bill designed to thwart activists who go undercover to report animal abuse. This makes Iowa the first state in the country to pass such a law; Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York and Utah are considering them. Undercover investigations, including videos and photographs, are a principal tool used by activists of all stripes to document abuse cases and have led to legislative reforms, prosecutions and even facility closures around the country.
- Obama Administration Creates National Water Trails System: (Environment News Service):
President Obama hosted on March 2, 2012, "a conference hosted by the White House linking conservation with strong local economies through tourism, outdoor recreation, and healthy lands, waters and wildlife.
In connection with the conference, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the National Water Trails System, a new network intended to increase access to water-based outdoor recreation, encourage community stewardship of local waterways, and promote tourism that fuels local economies.
- Obama Warns On 'False Choice' Between Growth, Environment (Reuters)
- Panel Faults Ft. Detrick Groundwater Study (AP):
A 2009 federal study that concluded groundwater contamination from Fort Detrick was unlikely to have harmful health effects was flawed, a national scientific panel said Monday, prompting two U.S. senators to demand a faster cleanup of the Superfund site in Frederick [MD].
- 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.
- Science: Ocean Acidifying So Fast It Threatens Humanity’s Ability to Feed Itself (Climate Progress) [emphasis in original]:
The world’s oceans may be turning acidic faster today from human carbon emissions than they did during four major extinctions in the last 300 million years, when natural pulses of carbon sent global temperatures soaring, says a new study in Science. The study is the first of its kind to survey the geologic record for evidence of ocean acidification over this vast time period.
“What we’re doing today really stands out,” said lead author Bärbel Hönisch, a paleoceanographer at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “We know that life during past ocean acidification events was not wiped out—new species evolved to replace those that died off. But if industrial carbon emissions continue at the current pace, we may lose organisms we care about—coral reefs, oysters, salmon.”
- 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."