IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Energy Sec. Steven Chu steps down; Record high gas prices = Big Oil profits; US carbon emissions fall; Obama to blame for Superbowl power outage?; PLUS: The Superbowl ad you didn't get to see ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): SF, NY plan 'managed retreat' from rising seas; 'Climate sensitivity' not the same as projected future warming; Windfarms break Spain energy record; GMOs: Food industry to push federal label law?; MT's wild bison vendetta; Fox News invents statistics on climate science; Coloradans fight fracking; Ozone hole contributes to climate change; Virtual hike of the Grand Canyon ... PLUS: Do sea urchins hold key to reducing carbon emissions? ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Lights Out: Rightwingers Blame Obama for Superbowl Power Outage:
- Super Bowl delayed as power outage hits Superdome in New Orleans (Guardian UK)
- Conservatives Wrongly Blame Super Bowl Blackout On Energy Efficiency Measures (Media Matters) [emphasis added]:
The Drudge Report snarkily linked to an Energy Department article published Saturday that praised New Orleans for being at the "Energy Efficient Forefront" and noted that the Superdome "features more than 26,000 LED lights" that conserve energy. However, others quickly pointed out that those are exterior lights, not the lights that went dark inside the dome.
- Who Knew?: The Superbowl Saves Energy:
- The Super Bowl Saves The Country A Whole Lot Of Energy: You might think of the big game as a time of glut and excess, but it actually manages to drastically reduce our country’s power use for a few short hours on Sunday night. (FastCompany)
- Soda Stream Ad Rejected by CBS:
- SodaStream does what Sierra Club can’t (Grist)
- VIDEO: BANNED SodaStream Super Bowl Commercial: (YouTube):
- Cola wars: Rejected Sodastream Ad now online (CNN Money) [emphasis added]:
[SodaStream’s CEO Daniel Birnbaum said,] “One day we will look back on plastic soda bottles the way we now view cigarettes.” Birnbaum said plastic bottles cause untold damage to the environment, and the ad showed that there is a more eco-friendly alternative.
- The SodaStream Ad You Didn't See During The Super Bowl (Fast Company) [emphasis added]:
The soda industry sells approximately 500 million bottles a day, and probably a lot more on game day. That's 14 billion bottles a month in the landfill. What a great insight to build a compelling story around.
- Legacy: Energy Secretary Steven Chu Steps Down:
- Letter from Secretary Steven Chu to Energy Department Employees Announcing His Decision Not to Serve a Second Term (Dept. of Energy) [emphasis added]:
While we cannot accurately predict the course of climate change in the coming decades, the risks we run if we don’t change our course are enormous. Prudent risk management does not equate uncertainty with inaction.
Ultimately we have a moral responsibility to the most innocent victims of adverse climate change. Those who will suffer the most are the people who are the most innocent: the world’s poorest citizens and those yet to be born. There is an ancient Native American saying: “We do not inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” A few short decades later, we don’t want our children to ask, “What were our parents thinking? Didn’t they care about us?”
- Outgoing Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s Parting Warning on Warming (TIME Eco-Centric blog):
Chu will be missed, as much—if not more—for who he was, as what he did. Chu’s record as Energy Secretary is mostly positive—as a Washington outsider, he was handed tends of billions of dollars in stimulus funding, and channeled it towards promising investments in clean tech that should continue to pay off in the years to come.
- Energy’s Chu: Success Requires Failure (Bloomberg News)
- White House Delay on Efficiency Standards Costs Consumers $300 Million per Month (Green Tech Media)
- US Carbon Emissions Fall to 1994 Levels:
- US carbon emissions fall to lowest levels since 1994: Energy-saving technologies and a doubling in renewables led to the reduction in climate pollution, new figures show (Guardian UK):
- REPORT: Sustainable Energy in America 2013 Factbook (Bloomberg New Energy Finance)
- U.S. voters favor carbon tax by 4-to-1 margin (Friends of the Earth):
Sixty-seven percent of Americans would rather see the government tax carbon pollution rather than cut spending as a way of solving our budget problems.
- Banner Year for Big Oil, Charging Record Gas Prices in 2012:
- Exxon, Chevron Made $71 Billion Profit In 2012 As Consumers Paid Record Gas Prices (Climate Progress):
Big Oil earned well over $100 billion in profits last year, while the companies benefit from continued taxpayer subsidies. Average gas prices also hit a record high last year, showing how a drilling boom may help oil companies’ profit margins, but not consumers’ wallets.
- Amidst Drilling Boom, Average Price For U.S. Gasoline Hit Record High In 2012 (Climate Progress)
- Gas Prices: AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report (American Automobile Association)
- Gasoline at Highest Price Ever for This Time of Year (CNBC)
- Fox's Varney Postulates His Own Theory On Higher Gas Prices: "Don't think about the oil companies!" (Media Matters)
- Gas prices begin their seasonal slide upward (American Public Media)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Can Sea Urchins Show Scientists How To Capture Carbon Affordably? (Climate Progress):
The research team developed a process to capture CO2 from waste gas by passing it directly from a chimney top through a water column rich in nickel nanoparticles. The solid calcium carbonate can then be recovered at the bottom of the column.
- Windfarms break energy record in Spain: Past three months saw windfarms produce more electricity than any other source for first time (Guardian UK)
- GMOs: Food Industry May Push For Federal GMO Labels (NY Times):
“The big food companies found themselves in an uncomfortable position after Prop. 37, and they’re talking among themselves about alternatives to merely replaying that fight over and over again,” said Charles Benbrook, a research professor at Washington State University who attended the meeting.
- 2 Bills Propose Zero Tolerance for Bison (NYT Green):
[A] bill in the state House of Representatives would allow landowners to kill any bison that sets foot on private property. The legislation pits farmers angered by the huge bison’s foraging against a consortium of wildlife advocates, Native Americans and hunters who had hoped that rules banning the bison were easing.
- Confronted With 97% Of Climate Scientists, Fox Makes Up Stats (Media Matters)
- Taxpayers bailing out Japanese whalers (Australian Broadcasting Co.):
Japan has begun injecting new tax-payer-funded subsidies into its whaling program in a bid to keep the fleet afloat, the ABC has learned.
- San Francisco plans expensive ‘managed retreat’ from rising seas (Grist) [emphasis added]:
This retreat is not just managed, but proactive. KQED reports on the “test case” that other coastal cities will be watching: a more than $350 million plan to move the Great Highway and allow the surf to reclaim its turf.
- Cuomo Seeking Home Buyouts in Flood Zones (NYT Green):
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is proposing to spend as much as $400 million to purchase homes wrecked by Hurricane Sandy, have them demolished and then preserve the flood-prone land permanently, as undeveloped coastline.
- Colorado Communities Take On Fight Against Energy Land Leases (NYT Green):
“It’s just this land-grab, rape-and-pillage mentality,” said Landon Deane, who raises 80 cows on a ranch that sits near several federal parcels being put up for lease.
- Take a Virtual Hike into the Grand Canyon with Google Street View: (Gizmag):
Now thanks to the Trekker, Google's own backpack-mounted camera system, users can explore stunning 360-degree panoramic images on a virtual hike through the Grand Canyon.
- Climate Change: The Enduring Effects of Ozone Depletion (NYT Green) [emphasis added]:
Two papers published online on Thursday in the journal Science highlight how the hole in the ozone layer, which is beginning to recover because of limits imposed on CFCs, is influencing major wind patterns, ocean circulation, concentrations of carbon in the atmosphere and even rainfall in the Amazon.
- Memo To Media: ‘Climate Sensitivity’ Is NOT The Same As Projected Future Warming, World Faces 10°F Rise (Climate Progress) [emphasis added]:
How much warming will we subject our children and countless future generations to? The answer to that question depends primarily on four factors...
As I explained in Nature online back in 2008 (here), once you factor in carbon-cycle feedbacks, even the uber-cautious Fourth Assessment report (AR4) of the IPCC makes clear we are headed toward 1000 ppm (the A1FI scenario).
- Study: Energy Industry Water Use Set To Double By 2035 (Climate Progress):
- Officials Back Deep Cuts in Atlantic Cod Harvest to Save Industry (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
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.
- 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.
- 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?