IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Scientists warn Congress of climate change impacts...while Republicans still insist it ain't happening!; Conflict in Canada over tar sands oil pipeline; Justice for survivors of Camp Le Jeune's toxic water; PLUS: Beef industry's beef with the USDA ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): What the Olympics can teach about going green; IRS exempts tar sands crude oil from spill tax; BP Gulf Oil Spill: Dispersants may have hurt food chain; EPA can't regulate CAFOs it can't find; Global wind energy to grow 40% by 2017; NREL: Solar has most potential in US; How much excess CO2 can the planet absorb?; Melting Greenland eyed for mineral riches; Frackers in your backyard ... PLUS: Nano Breakthrough Paves Way for Super Cheap Solar Panels ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- FUN FACTS About Big Oil Profits: GRAPHIC: (Climate Progress):
Every hour so far in 2012, the five largest oil corporations have recorded a $14,400,000 profit. And every hour, they received more than $270,000 in federal tax breaks. That adds up to $2.4 billion in subsidies every year for the five largest oil corporations — Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, and ConocoPhillips — all ranked as the top 9 companies in the world.
- CANADA: BC vs. Alberta Over the Other Tar Sands Pipeline:
- VIDEO: BC Premiere Christy Clark wants a bigger piece of the pipeline pie for B.C. (Vancouber Sun):
B.C. Premier Christy Clark says her government will not sign onto any national energy strategy until British Columbia’s dispute with Alberta and the federal government over the Northern Gateway oil pipeline is resolved.
The B.C. government said earlier this week it won’t support the $6-billion Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline — which would carry oilsands crude, or bitumen, from northern Alberta to Kitimat, for shipment to Asia — until five environmental and fiscal conditions are met, including B.C. getting a much larger share of economic benefits such as resource royalties or other tax revenue.
- VIDEO: B.C.-Alberta brawl over oil royalties threatens to overwhelm premiers conference (Vancouver Sun)
- Enbridge oil spill in Wisconsin raises new concerns about proposed pipeline (Vancouver Sun):
Critics of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline are pointing to a new Enbridge oil spill of roughly 1,200 barrels in Wisconsin as another sign that a new conduit for Albertan bitumen is too risky for British Columbia.
- Beef Industry's Outrage Over USDA's 'Meatless Mondays':
- Retracting a Plug for Meatless Mondays (NY Times):
The message seemed innocuous enough, coming as it did from the federal agency tasked with promoting sustainable agriculture and dietary health: “One simple way to reduce your environmental impact while dining at our cafeterias,” read a United States Department of Agriculture interoffice newsletter published on its Web site this week, “is to participate in the ‘Meatless Monday’ initiative.”
But by Tuesday afternoon, amid outraged Twitter messages by livestock producers and at least one member of Congress, the agency’s “Greening Headquarters Update” had been removed. “U.S.D.A. does not endorse Meatless Monday,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.
- Meatless Monday suggestion causes D.C. to have a cow (Grist)
- GOP Senators Celebrate 'Meat Monday' After USDA's 'Meatless Monday' Mishap (Huffington Post Green)
- Why Must the USDA Flip-Flop on Meatless Monday? (Huffington Post Green)
- Limbaugh Lashes Out At Paul McCartney And Other "Militant Vegetarians" For Having "No Tolerance" (Media Matters.org)
- Justice For Survivors of Camp Le Jeune:
- Victims Of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Gain Health Care (WFAE Charlotte, NC):
More than one million people were exposed over three decades to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune, near Jacksonville. Victims suffering from birth defects and cancers will now have free health care thanks to federal legislation passed in congress this week and thanks to a veteran who refused to give up.
To qualify for the health care, people must have lived there between 1957 and 1987 and suffer from one of several conditions listed in the legislation. But Ensminger says his fight isn’t over. He says the bill needs to cover more illnesses. And he says reparations are needed for families of former Camp Lejeune residents who have already died from those illnesses.
- U.S. House Passes Groundbreaking Bill Providing Medical Care to Water Contamination Survivors (Eco Watch):
Ensminger, whose daughter Janey died from leukemia after being exposed to water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, started a Change.org petition that rallied more than 135,000 people to support his efforts.
- Climate Week in the US Senate: Warnings & Denials:
- Scientists Warn Congress About Disastrous Effects of Climate Change (Guardian UK, via Wired) [emphasis added]:
“It is critical to understand that the link between climate change and the kinds of extremes that lead to disaster is clear,” Christopher Field, a lead author of the IPCC report and director of global ecology at the Carnegie Institute for Science, said in testimony.
“There is no doubt that climate has changed,” he went on. “There is also no doubt that a changing climate changes the risks of extremes, including extremes that can lead to disaster.”
He later told the committee that those climate-related disasters would have profound effects on industry and agriculture.
He went on to make a point of warning Texans that the future of farming and ranching could be put in jeopardy because of climate change.
- VIDEO: Highlight Reel: Senate Climate Change Smackdown (Mother Jones):
[T]his time the argument amongst members of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee was back to climate kindergarten: Is it actually happening?
Fortunately, there were actually a few climate scientists on hand, including IPCC lead author Christopher Field and Harvard oceanographer James McCarthy...
- VIDEO: Sen. Sessions: ‘I Am Offended’ By Views Of Climate Scientists (Climate Progress)
- Stop this culture of paying politicians for denying climate change (Guardian UK):
Protecting the environment requires a sweeping reform of political funding, only then corporations will stop throwing big money at senators.
- Rise in Weather Extremes Threatens Infrastructure: (NYT Green):
From highways in Texas to nuclear power plants in Illinois, the concrete, steel and sophisticated engineering that undergird the nation's infrastructure are being taxed to worrisome degrees by heat, drought and vicious storms.
- Bombshell: Koch-Funded Study Finds ‘Global Warming Is Real’, ‘On The High End’ And ‘Essentially All’ Due To Carbon Pollution (Climate Progress)
- What Olympics teach about going green (CNN Op-ed):
And this year there is a direct connection between the Olympics and sustainability — energy, water and climate issues. The 2012 London Games were aiming to be the greenest Olympics ever, and while there is a healthy debate in the UK about how well this turned out, organizers undeniably set a bold goal.
- IRS exempts most oil sands crude from spill cleanup tax (E & E News) [emphasis added]:
[T]he Internal Revenue Service quietly ruled that a significant portion of the type of Canadian crude flowing through that Michigan pipeline was exempt from the per-barrel tax created for that spill-liability fund. The loophole for oil sands fuel, which also forms the bulk of the crude set to run on the Keystone XL pipeline, remains in effect today despite congressional proposals to close it.
"[T]he transportation of this crude is not producing the taxes that we'll rely on to clean up spills."
- Study: Dispersants may have hurt Gulf food chain (AP):
A study on possible effects of the 2010 BP oil spill indicates dispersants may have killed plankton — some of the ocean's tiniest plants and creatures — and disrupted the food chain in the Gulf of Mexico, one of the nation's richest seafood grounds.
- EPA can't regulate livestock farms it can't find (AP):
The report to Congress was blunt: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had failed to regulate pollution from the nation's livestock farms , many capable of generating more waste than some cities , because it lacked information as basic as how many farms even existed.
- IEA: Global Wind Generation Set To Grow 40 Percent By 2017 (Climate Progress):
Wind power will be the second biggest contributor to global renewable electricity generation by 2017, according to a ground-breaking report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Solar Has The Most Potential Of Any Renewable Energy Source (Climate Progress):
A recently released study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, estimates that the technical potential of photovoltaic cells and concentrated solar power (CSP) in the United States is as much as 200,000 Gigawatts, enough to generate about 400,000 TWh of energy annually.
- Earth sucking up increasing amounts of carbon dioxide (LA Times):
A study indicates Earth's carbon reservoirs are dramatically increasing how much of the greenhouse gas they keep out of the atmosphere. But scientists say that shouldn't end climate change concerns.
- The Rare Earth Riches Buried Beneath Greenland’s Vast Ice Sheet (Guardian UK):
Small group of 17 elements is in extraordinary demand, but potential wealth must be balanced against environmental responsibilities.
- Maps: The Secrets Drillers Can Hide About the Fracking in Your Backyard (Mother Jones):
A new analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council shows that most states where fracking occurs have no disclosure laws at all, and that those that do are woefully behind when it comes to revealing behind-the-scenes details of their operations. While the Obama administration has put some new rules in place, many decisions about what drillers are allowed to hide are left to the states; Interior Secretary Ken Salazar complained to Reuters that state-level regulation is "not good enough for me, because states are at very different levels, some have zero, some have decent rules."
- VIDEO: Drying of the Aral Sea: Timelapse (Earth Outreach, YouTube):
Explore a global timelapse of our planet, constructed from Landsat satellite imagery. With water diverted to irrigation, the inland Aral Sea has shrunk dramatically. Many areas were completely dry by 2009.
- Drought worsens in midwest and threatens next year's corn crop (Guardian UK):
The worst drought in 50 years has intensified across the US midwest, not only condemning this year's corn crop but threatening the prospects for next year's too, new figures showed on Thursday.
- Atmospheric CO2 Drove Climate Change During Longest Interglacial (Science Daily)
- Analysis: Evidence for climate extremes, costs, gets more local (Science News Daily):
Scientists are finding evidence that man-made climate change has raised the risks of individual weather events, such as floods or heatwaves, marking a big step towards pinpointing local costs and ways to adapt to freak conditions.
Growing evidence that the dice are loaded towards ever more severe local weather may make it easier for experts to explain global warming to the public, pin down costs and guide investments in everything from roads to flood defenses.
- Palm trees 'grew on Antarctica' (BBC):
Scientists drilling deep into the edge of modern Antarctica have pulled up proof that palm trees once grew there.
"The more we get that information, the more it seems that the models we're using now are not overestimating the [climatic] change over the next few centuries, and they may be underestimating it. That's the essential message."
- Romney campaign: Let wind energy credit die this year [but not oil subsidies!] (The Hill's E2 Wire):
Mitt Romney’s campaign said Monday that he wants longstanding tax credits that help finance wind energy projects to expire at year’s end, providing a stark political contrast with President Obama, who is pushing Congress to renew the incentive.
- Nano Breakthrough Paves Way for Super Cheap Solar Panels (Wired):
[A] new breakthrough will enable manufacturers to make efficient photovoltaics using almost any semiconductor, including cheap and abundant materials like metal oxides, sulfides, and phosphides.
- Bill McKibben: Global Warming's Terrifying New Math (Rolling Stone):
The fight, in the end, is about whether the industry will succeed in its fight to keep its special pollution break alive past the point of climate catastrophe, or whether, in the economists' parlance, we'll make them internalize those externalities.
- Must-See Videos: ABC Interviews Climatologist Michael Mann (Climate Progress)
- Essential Climate Science Findings:
- Skeptical Science: Get the FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Arguments
- Report: Humans near tipping point that could dramatically change Earth (CS Monitor):
Human activity is affecting Earth in many ways, but a new study suggests that continued population growth and its impact on climate and ecology could trigger a more profound chain reaction of effects within little more than a decade.
- 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)
- Thinking Big: NREL Study Shows 80 Percent Renewables Possible By 2050 (Climate Progress)
- 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."
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...