IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Will WA state ship dirty coal to China?; Wacky winter weather strikes the Southeast; Which kills more birds - wind farms or house cats?; ALEC pushes anti-science curriculum; PLUS: A green tech oasis rises in the desert of Qatar ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Scientist: 69 ft of sea-level rise in motion; Opportunity costs to not using renewable energy; Breakthrough promises solar power cheaper than coal; Study: energy industry water use set to double by 2035; Alaskans try to flee climate change impacts; Fracking, now for uranium!... PLUS: How can Germany be both a green leader and remain an industrial powerhouse? ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- VIDEO: Daily Show's Extended Interview with Al Gore
- Wacked Winter Weather Hits SE U.S.:
- First tornado death of 2013 ends record 219-day streak without a tornado death (Dr. Jeff Masters' Weather Underground) [emphasis added]:
It's tough to get tornadoes when you're experiencing near-record drought conditions and very few thunderstorms.
Today's severe weather outbreak was helped by record levels of January moisture, as a flow of unusually moist air rode northwards from the Gulf of Mexico, where water temperatures were about 0.5°F above average.
- Record January warmth and moisture fueling April-like severe weather (Dr. Jeff Masters' Weather Underground)
- GroundHog.org: Official Website of Punxatawney Phil, Groundhog Prognosticator
- VIDEO: News Crew Captures Incredible Footage of Tornado Tearing Through Georgia Town (Gawker)
- Lights Out!: France to turn off office and shop lights at night (Reuters)
- Record Fine in Chevron Refinery Fire (SF Gate)
- Three States Pushing ALEC Bill To Require Teaching Climate Change Denial In Schools (DeSmog Blog)
- Killer Kitties: Killing More Birds Than Wind Farms:
- That Cuddly Kitty Is Deadlier Than You Think (NY Times):
scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that domestic cats in the United States — both the pet Fluffies that spend part of the day outdoors and the unnamed strays and ferals that never leave it — kill a median of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals a year....
- CHART: Which Kills More Birds, Cats or Turbines? (Mother Jones)
- There They Go Again: Fox News: Feds look other way as wind farms kill birds --- but haul oil and gas firms to court (Fox News)
- COAL Train: Will WA Ship US Coal to China?:
- VIDEO: Governor Inslee Calls Coal Exports 'The Largest Decision We Will Be Making As A State From A Carbon Pollution Standpoint' (Climate Progress):
It is an enormous number of tons of carbon dioxide that will be released into the atmosphere, it doesn't matter where it's burned, it ends up in Puget Sound. That is a physical fact. The challenge is to figure out, frankly, for our state from a policy standpoint is where you sort of draw the line in evaluating those impacts from any carbon-based system. I think that's a challenge for us. I will say that from what I know, this is the largest decision we will be making as a state from a carbon pollution standpoint certainly during my lifetime, and nothing comes even close to it. So I'm going to be giving some thought to this.
- The Scariest Environmental Fact in the World (TIME)
- China's Soaring Coal Consumption Poses Climate Challenge: Growing world use 'not good news' (ClimateWire):
China burns nearly as much coal as all other nations combined, including coal shipped from the U.S.
- Sahara Forest Project: Sustainable Green Tech Development in the Desert:
- Sahara Forest Project Grows Green Jobs From Sand, Saltwater, & CO2 (Clean Technica):
That speed [of construction] underscores the developers' insistence that the project is not "rocket science." Some of the technology is innovative but none of it could be called experimental in a high-risk way. The real breakthrough is in engineering new combinations and systems.
The solar installation itself serves multiple purposes: desalinating seawater, warming the greenhouses in winter, and regenerating dehumidifying materials.
- VIDEO: The Sahara Forest Project (Climate Crock of the Week)
- Sahara Forest Project Main Site
- Sahara Forest Project Grows Green Jobs From Sand, Saltwater, & CO2 (Clean Technica):
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Breakthough: Solar power cheaper than coal (Clean Technica):
Quite frankly, if the company’s numbers are correct, this could be the biggest solar news of the decade.
- How can Germany be both a green leader and remain an industrial powerhouse? (Energy Transition):
[S]witching to renewable energy does not only result in developing new industries like solar manufacturing. These technologies also provide opportunities for traditional industries to become part of the transition to a renewable energy future.
- Study: Energy Industry Water Use Set To Double By 2035 (Climate Progress):
This presents a challenge, since river flows, aquifers, and other sources of fresh water are already being strained by the twin drains of population growth and less reliable rainfall due to climate change.
- Alaskans Try to Flee Climate Change Impacts but Find Little Help: Coastal communities in the Arctic have spent decades trying to relocate to escape the impacts of global warming (ClimateWire)
- Officials Back Deep Cuts in Atlantic Cod Harvest to Save Industry (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
[O]ver recent decades, the once bountiful cod has been so depleted that government officials now say that it stands on the verge of extinction.
The United States has watched the near total collapse of cod stocks in Canada. The demise of the fish populations was hastened by the widespread use of big trawlers equipped with radar and sonar systems that enhanced the ability to catch the fish.
- The cost of not using renewable energy (Grist):
When we use finite fossil fuels to generate energy, rather than the inexhaustible, renewable alternatives, we make those fossil fuels unavailable for non-energetic uses (think petrochemicals) in the future. ... "Every day that this is delayed and fossil raw materials are consumed as one-time energy creates a future usage loss of between 8.8 and 9.3 billion US Dollars. Not just the current cost of various renewable energies, but also the costs of not using them need to be taken into account."
- Energy's Latest Battleground: Fracking For Uranium (Forbes):
"By design it's much worse than fracking," says Houston attorney Jim Blackburn, who is suing UEC on behalf of residents near the company's new project in Goliad, Tex. "This is intentional contamination of a water aquifer liberating not only uranium but other elements that were bound up with the sand. We know this process will contaminate groundwater; that's the whole point of it."
- VIDEO: Humans Have Already Set in Motion 69 Feet of Sea Level Rise (Mother Jones): Glaciologist Jason Box describes a post-warming world that you won't even be able to recognize:
Box also provided a large-scale perspective on how much sea level rise humanity has already probably set in motion from the burning of fossil fuels. The answer is staggering: 69 feet, including water from both Greenland and Antarctica, as well as other glaciers based on land from around the world.
- Carbon Tax Idea Takes Hold in Heartland. Great Minds thinking Alike? or Emerging Strategery? (Climate Crock of the Week):
[T]he basic idea of setting a price on carbon has been steadily working its way into the mainstream conversation…almost like there was some kind of over-arching communication strategy…
- Divesting From Fossil-Fuel Companies Is Unlikely to Harm Endowments, Report Says (The Chronicle of Higher Education) [emphasis added]:
An analysis released on Tuesday by the Aperio Group...found that while divesting from fossil-fuel companies does not necessarily add value to a portfolio, it does not subtract value from it either, and it increases the risk to investors at such a modest level as to be negligible.
- What holds energy tech back? The infernal battery (AP) [emphasis added]:
As 21st century technology strains to become ever faster, cleaner and cheaper, an invention from more than 200 years ago keeps holding it back. It's why electric cars aren't clogging the roads and why Boeing's new ultra-efficient 787 Dreamliners aren't flying high. And chances are you have this little invention next to you right now and probably have cursed it recently: the infernal battery.
- COVER STORY: It's Global Warming, Stupid (Businessweek):
Yes, yes, it's unsophisticated to blame any given storm on climate change. Men and women in white lab coats tell us-and they're right-that many factors contribute to each severe weather episode. Climate deniers exploit scientific complexity to avoid any discussion at all.
If all that doesn't impress, forget the scientists ostensibly devoted to advancing knowledge and saving lives. Listen instead to corporate insurers committed to compiling statistics for profit.
- CO2 Emissions Rises Mean Dangerous Climate Change Now Almost Certain (Guardian)
- Study: Sea Levels Rising 60% Faster Than Projected, Planet Keeps Warming As Expected (Climate Progress)
- Ocean Acidification: Animals are already dissolving in Southern Ocean (New Scientist)
- Global warming targets further out of reach, UN says (Phys.org):
Based on current pledges, global average temperatures could rise by 3 to 5 degrees Celsius (5.4 to 9.0 degrees Fahrenheit) this century --- way above the two degrees Celsius being targeted, said a UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report.
- Thawing of permafrost to be 'major factor' in global warming, warns UN report (UN News Centre)
- 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.
- Skeptical Science: Get the FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Arguments
- Report: Humans near tipping point that could dramatically change Earth (CS Monitor) [emphasis added]:
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)
- 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)
- 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... "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)
- The Real Global Warming Signal (Tamino)
- No, global warming hasn't stopped (New Scientist)
- 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?