IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Ominous start to summer fire season; Watch out for hot air in a newly uncovered anti-wind propaganda campaign; The Saudi Arabia of Oil wants to become the Saudi Arabia of Solar; PLUS: House Republicans working to block advanced biofuels for the U.S. military ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Public willing to pay for more green energy, but not nuclear; Why utilities are afraid of solar (hint: the competition); Arctic Ocean itself yet another global warming feedback loop; New GA nuclear reactors now $900m over-bduget; Germany 's rooftop solar strategy reduces electric bills 40% nationwide; Heartland Institute grows isolated as donors exit; NREL scientist: we must phase out natural gas; Arguing with deniers like Monty Python 'Argument' sketch: scientist ... PLUS: Death on Earth: how the world's wildlife is vanishing ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Schizophrenic Fox News WANTS You to Suffer From High Gas Prices:
- VIDEO: Fox Legal Analyst: "I'm Hoping Gasoline's Going To Stay Close To Five Dollars In November ... No Joke" (Media Matters)
- VIDEO: Fox Now Asking: Is The Drop In Gas Prices A Bad Thing? (Media Matters)
- VIDEO: Fox Business News: Falling Gas Prices A Bad Thing? (Media Matters)
- GOP senator: Falling pump prices ‘one less arrow’ against Obama (The Hill's E2 Wire)
- CBO Report: Boosting Oil Production Won’t Protect Americans From Gasoline Price Shocks (Climate Progress)
- 5 AZ Wildfires: Ominous Start to Summer Fire Season:
- Arizona wildfires: early start to season stokes fears across south-western US (Guardian UK):
After especially destructive 2011, fire experts warn extreme droughts and warm temperatures may make 2012 just as bad
Authorities across the south-western United States were braced for a summer season of wildfire destruction on Monday after an outbreak of five serious blazes in Arizona.
- VIDEO: Arizona wildfires: Five fires mark start of 2012 wildfire season (CS Monitor)
- A Tour of Drought as it Unfolds Across the U.S. (Climate Central)
- U.S. Experiences Warmest 12-Month Period On Record And Most Extreme January to April (Climate Progress)
- 12-month stretch ending in April is warmest on record, NOAA says (MSNBC)
- The fire next time — Slave Lake disaster a harbinger of things to come (Edmonton Journal)
- Hot Air: Anti-Wind Propaganda Campaign Uncovered:
- Clean energy as culture war (David Roberts, Grist.org):
[O]ne of the best expressions I’ve ever seen of the cultural and psychological aspects of the conflict. Witness:
"Opposing Obama’s energy policies was a natural fit for conservatives, said Marita Noon, a conservative activist from New Mexico who was at the meeting. “The American way, what made CostCo and Walmart a success, is to use more and pay less. That’s the American way.” The president’s green policies however were the reverse, she said. “President Obama wants us to pay more and use less.”
- Anti-Wind Strategy Memo Envisions News Corp. Ally (Media Matters):
A confidential memo distributed at the meeting outlined a PR strategy that would, among other things, use media outlets including Fox News and the Wall Street Journal to disseminate anti-wind messaging. The goal of the media campaign is to provide "cover" for elected officials to vote against wind power.
- Conservative thinktanks step up attacks against Obama's clean energy strategy (Guardian UK):
A confidential strategy memo seen by the Guardian advises using "subversion" to build a national movement of wind farm protesters.
A network of ultra-conservative groups is ramping up an offensive on multiple fronts to turn the American public against wind farms and Barack Obama's energy agenda. A number of rightwing organisations, including Americans for Prosperity, which is funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, are attacking Obama for his support for solar and wind power. The American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), which also has financial links to the Kochs, has drafted bills to overturn state laws promoting wind energy.
- Anti-wind activists want to create fake grassroots campaign against industry (Grist)
- Confidential Memo Outlines Right-Wing Coordinated Propaganda Campaign To Crush Wind Power Energy (FireDogLake) [emphasis added]
Additionally, they plan on using Youth Outreach (a tax-exempt Christian group whose goal is to bring students and young people into the Church), to help coordinate an anti-wind-power program in public schools and on college campuses. Here is the sneaky way they envision Youth Outreach helping to convince young people that wind power is not a viable energy source:
"This will include community activity and participation with sponsorships for science fairs, school activity etc. with preset parameters that cause students to steer away from wind because they discover it doesn’t meet the criteria we set up (poster contest, essays etc)."
- Google-Backed Offshore-Wind Grid Gets Environmental Review (Bloomberg News)
- Saudi Arabia of Oil Wants to Become the Saudi Arabia of Solar:
- Saudi Arabia Unveils $100 Billion Plan To Make Solar ‘A Driver For Domestic Energy For Years To Come’ (Climate Progress):
Al-Naimi explained the need to support new energy industries that can create more jobs than the oil sector: “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.”
- Saudi Arabia targets 41 GW of solar by 2032 (PV Magazine):
The program, said to be worth tens of millions of dollars, aims to "catapult Saudi Arabia into the group of global leaders in renewable-energy development."
In a statement released, Apricum said, "The main objectives of the program are a reduction in oil burned for power production as well as the establishment of a local solar industry and the creation of jobs."
- Picking Winners & Losers?: House GOP Tries to Kill Off Pentagon's Biofuel Development:
- Republicans Order Navy to Quit Buying Biofuels (Wired Danger Room):
In its report on next year’s Pentagon budget, the House Armed Services Committee banned the Defense Department from making or buying an alternative fuel that costs more than a “traditional fossil fuel.” It’s a standard that may be almost impossible to meet, energy experts believe; there’s almost no way the tiny, experimental biofuel industry can hope to compete on price with the massive, century-old fossil fuels business.
But if the measure becomes law, it would make it all-but-inconceivable for the Pentagon to buy the renewable fuels. It would likely scuttle one of the top priorities of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. And it might very well suffocate the gasping biofuel industry, which was looking to the Pentagon to help it survive.
- The Great Green Fleet (US Dept. of Defense)
- House Republicans Work To Scuttle Navy’s ‘Great Green Fleet’ (Think Progress):
In a February hearing, the Viriginia Republican attacked Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus:
"I understand that alternative fuels may help our guys in the field, but wouldn’t you agree that the thing they’d be more concerned about is having more ships, more planes, more prepositioned stocks. Shouldn’t we refocus our priorities and make those things our priorities instead of advancing a biofuels market?"
Before letting Mabus answer, Forbes, whose homestate houses the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, shot back, “You’re not the secretary of the energy. You’re the secretary of the Navy.”
- Navy to demonstrate Great Green Fleet this summer (CNN)
- Rep. Forbes Slams 'Green' Navy; Political Argument Falls Flat On Hill (AOL Defense blog)
- Panetta: Environment Emerges as National Security Concern (American Forces Press Service)
- Transcript: Sec. Panetta Remarks at Environmental Defense Fund Reception
As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta (Dept. of Defense)
- Defense Secretary Leon Panetta: ‘Climate Change Has A Dramatic Impact On National Security’ (Climate Progress)
- Defeated By Tea-Party, Sen. Lugar Warns: ‘Republicans Cannot Admit To Any Nuance In Policy On Climate Change’ (Climate Progress)
- Clean-Energy Requirements Targeted by ALEC, Norquist (Bloomberg News):
Small-government groups including the American Legislative Exchange Council, whose advocacy for Florida’s Stand-Your-Ground law and other measures have drawn calls to revoke its tax-exempt status, are taking aim at state mandates requiring renewable energy use.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Study: Public willing to pay for more green energy (The Hill's E2 Wire) [emphasis added]:
The survey found that the public is willing to tolerate electricity bill increases of up to $199 per year for a CES that includes renewable energy sources like wind and solar power. But the public has less tolerance when natural gas and nuclear power are added into the mix.
- NASA Discovers Yet Another Terrifying Global Warming Feedback Loop (Treehugger) [emphasis added]:
Researchers have known for years that large amounts of methane are frozen in Arctic tundra soils and in marine sediments ... But now a multi-institutional study led by Eric Kort of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has uncovered a surprising and potentially important new source of methane: the Arctic Ocean itself.
- A Higher Price Tag for a Nuclear Project (NYT Green) [emphasis added]:
The flagship project of a hoped-for but not-yet-realized “nuclear renaissance,” the Vogtle 3 and 4 reactors under construction near Augusta, Ga., may cost about $900 million more than had been estimated, the Southern Company said in a filing this week with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
- U.S. Coal Generation Drops 19 Percent In One Year, Leaving Coal With 36 Percent Share Of Electricity (Climate Progress):
According to new figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, coal made up 36 percent of U.S. electricity in the first quarter of 2012 — down from 44.6 percent in the first quarter of 2011.
- Florida School Sets World Record For Recycling (Treehugger):
For the last four years, students and faculty at Sugg have celebrated Earth Day by hosting the Recycling Round-Up, an event aimed at collecting as many plastic bottles as possible from throughout the school district over an eight hour period. But what started as a lesson on the possibilities of mass recycling soon turned into a heated competition on an international scale.
- GERMANY: Lots of Solar Power Reduces Electricity Prices (Renewable Energy World):
a story making rounds this week, "why power generators are terrified of solar," presents a powerful image that may flip this conventional wisdom on its head. Building lots of solar power can actually reduce electricity prices, to the dismay of utilities.
- Why power generators are terrified of solar (Crikey blog) [emphasis added]:
Here is a pair of graphs that demonstrate most vividly the merit order effect and the impact that solar is having on electricity prices in Germany; and why utilities there and elsewhere are desperate to try to rein in the growth of solar PV in Europe. It may also explain why Australian generators are fighting so hard against the extension of feed-in tariffs in this country.
Essentially, it means that solar PV is not just licking the cream off the profits of the fossil fuel generators — as happens in Australia with a more modest rollout of PV — it is in fact eating their entire cake.
- Heartland Institute grows isolated as three more donors disassociate: Ultra-conservative climate sceptic thinktank continues to lose mainstream support, damaging its prospects of expansion (Guardian UK)
- Anti-whaling activist Paul Watson arrested for ramming boat 10 years ago (Independent UK)
- Google's Offshore Transmission Line Takes a Step Forward (NYT Green)
- Death on Earth: how the world's wildlife vanished (Independent UK):
The world's wildlife has declined by nearly a third over the past 40 years, a new estimate of the health of the planet suggests.
- Changing the Cultural Climate … on Climate Culture (Yale Climate Forum):
Having spoken at two Heartland Institute International Climate Change Conferences, in 2010 and again in 2011, I’ve often felt that I stumbled into a classic Monty Python comedy sketch from my youth.
- Disaaster losses set to outpace economic growth - study (Alertnet)
- Natural gas has limited role in energy future, says NREL lab director (Denver Post):
Even as utilities — such as Xcel Energy in Colorado — move to build new gas-fired power plants, fossil fuels should be phased out by 2040 to blunt man-made climate change. That was the message Dan Arvizu, director of the National Renewal Energy Laboratory, delivered today at the opening session of the World Renewal Energy Forum in Denver.
- The Inertial Seawave Energy Generator Rocks (Treehugger)
- A Cloudy Day for Climate Skeptics: Mainstream Research Discredits Lindzen Theory of Low Climate Sensitivity (Climate Progress)
- Is Natural Gas Just as Polluting as Coal? (Pacific Standard Magazine):
Researchers find that harmful methane leaks into the air at twice the amounts estimated by the EPA.
- Distorting science: Makers of flame retardants manipulate research findings to back their products, downplay health risks (Chicago Tribune):
Manufacturers of flame retardants would repeatedly point to this government study as key proof that these toxic chemicals — embedded in many common household items — prevented residential fires and saved lives. But the study's lead author, Vytenis Babrauskas, told the Tribune that industry officials have "grossly distorted" the findings of his research, which was not based on real-world conditions. The small amounts of flame retardants in typical home furnishings, he said, offer little to no fire protection.
"Industry has used this study in ways that are improper and untruthful," he said.
- American Enterprise Institute And Brookings Must-Read: 'The Republicans Are The Problem' (Climate Progress):
Two leading political scholars - representing the conservative American Enterprise Institute and the centrist Brookings Institution - have published a must-read article, "Let's just say it: The Republicans are the problem."
- Skeptical Science: Get the FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Arguments
- VIDEO: James Hansen: Why I must speak out about climate change (TED Talks):
Top climate scientist James Hansen tells the story of his involvement in the science of and debate over global climate change. In doing so he outlines the overwhelming evidence that change is happening and why that makes him deeply worried about the future.
- VIDEO ANIMATION: Time history of atmospheric CO2 (NOAA Carbon Tracker YouTube channel):
- VIDEO: Animation Charts Modern Global Warming (NYT Green)
- Must-Read: Economist William Nordhaus Slams Global Warming Deniers, Explains Cost of Delay is $4 Trillion (Climate Progress):
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."
- 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."