IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: As the nation mourns the horrific West Fertilizer explosion in TX, the chemical industry pushes for more fertilizer plants and less regulation; Yet another fossil fuel explosion on the Gulf Coast; California now has more solar workers than actors; PLUS: East London's Chief Flusher is turning fat into electricity ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): New fossil fuel frontiers pose 'catastrophic' threat to global recovery; A master class on the state of clean-energy investment (video); State of the Air 2013: where does your city rank?; SF votes to divest from fossil fuels; Shale mining controversy under Great Barrier Reef; Fox News concocts conspiracy for the phrase 'climate change'; UN climate chief hopeful on climate treaty; US military faulted for 'burn pits' in Afghanistan... PLUS: VIDEO: Fox "News" concocts conspiracy for the phrase "Climate Change" ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Amid Memorial, Questions in West, TX Fertilizer Plant Explosion:
- Texas Fertilizer Plant Fell Through Regulatory Cracks (NY Times)
- Texas fertilizer company didn't heed disclosure rules before blast (Reuters):
[T]he company that owns the plant, West Fertilizer, did not tell the agency about the potentially explosive fertilizer as it is required to do, leaving one of the principal regulators of ammonium nitrate - which can also be used in bomb making - unaware of any danger there.
- Why Are Media Ignoring TX Fertilizer Plant's History Of Skirting Regulations? (Media Matters)
- Report: Federal agency charged with oversight of fertilizer plant security in disarray (Austin-American Statesman)
- From Texas to China: When Man-Made Problems Make Natural Disasters Worse (TIME)
- More Fertilizer Plants for U.S.:
- Fertilizer Plants Spring Up to Take Advantage of U.S. s Cheap Natural Gas (Scientific American):
No ammonia plants—which produce 90 percent of the fertilizer used worldwide—have broken ground in the U.S. in more than 20 years. But in the next three to five years, that’s changing.
- Chemical Industry Pushes for More Fertilizer Plants, Less Regulation:
- Will the "Koch Brothers Bill" Make Industrial Accidents More Likely? (Mother Jones):
Such accidents are all too common in chemical country. So why are congressmen fighting to keep the EPA from doing anything about it?
- Watchdogs Warned of Chemical-Plant Oversight Before Blast (Bloomberg)
- West Fertilizer blast raises questions about ammonia plants in Iowa (USA Today)
- EPA Must Close Gaps in U.S. Chemical Security, Ex-Chief Says (Bloomberg, 1/12/2012):
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must close “gaping holes” in chemical-plant security that put millions of Americans at risk, former administrator Christine Todd Whitman said.
- Tread on Me: The Case for Freedom From Terrorist Bombings, School Shootings and Exploding Factories (TIME Swampland)
- Alabama: NatGas Barges Explode in Mobile Bay, Injuring 3:
- VIDEO: Multiple explosions in fuel barge fire (Fox News Mobile, AL)
- Three injured in fuel barge explosion in Mobile River (AL.com):
The official also re-iterated it is gasoline - not LNG - that keeps the fire burning. Firefighters are still standing by as the fire burns through the night. [Natural gas and 'natural gasoline' are both fossil fuels with high risk of explosion - ed.]
- Fuel barges explode, burn through night in Alabama (Grist)
- Fire out hours after fuel barges explode in Ala. (AP)
- HazMat crew finds no further dangers on barges after fires, 7 explosions (Mobile Press-Reigster)
- California: More Solar Workers Than Actors:
- America now has more solar energy workers than coal miners (Treehugger):
[There are] more solar energy workers in Texas than ranchers, that solar workers outnumber actors in California, and that across the whole 50 states, there are more solar workers than coal miners.
- East London's Chief Flusher Turning Fat Into Electricity:
- VIDEO: Sewer fat to be used as energy for electricity plant (Guardian UK):
Waste oil and fat from restaurants and takeaways will be used to power a new electricity plant in east London. Currently, excess fat and oil collects in sewers, forming masses called 'fatbergs', which have to be flushed out by sewage workers. Thames Water plans to install 'fat traps' directly under sinks in restaurants which it will then collect and use at the plant.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- New fossil fuel frontiers pose 'catastrophic' threat to global recovery: Warning comes amid a debate over dangers surrounding fracking, deepwater exploration and Arctic shelf development (Guardian UK):
Energy companies need to adopt more sophisticated risk management strategies to take account of relatively low-likelihood but potentially "catastrophic" disasters, says the paper from the global insurance broker Marsh.
- What If We Never Run Out of Oil? (The Atlantic): New technology and a little-known energy source suggest that fossil fuels may not be finite. This would be a miracle—and a nightmare [emphasis added]:
“[Methan hydrate] could help the world while we reduce greenhouse gases. Or it could undermine the economic rationale for investing in renewable, carbon-free energy around the world”—just as abundant shale gas from fracking has already begun to undermine it in the United States. “The one path is a boon. The other—I’ve used words like catastrophe.” He paused; I thought I detected a sigh. “I wouldn’t bet on us making the right decisions.”
- Japanese test coaxes fire from ice: First attempt to extract methane from frozen hydrates far beneath the ocean shows promise. (Nature Magazine)
- San Francisco Board of Supervisors Unanimously Pass Resolution Urging Fossil Fuel Divestment! (350.org)
- U.S. military faulted for burn-pit use (Washington Post):
The U.S. military spent $5 million on incinerators at a base in Afghanistan that never became operable, forcing troops to use a type of open-air burn pit that has been linked to serious respiratory problems among veterans, according to a government report.
- Shale mining under Great Barrier Reef 'likely to be banned': Australia's coastline mining industry undergoing a boom as rules relaxed, but Unesco site to be protected under heritage rules (Guardian UK)
- VIDEO: The Global Warming Name Game: Fox Concocts A Conspiracy For The Phrase "Climate Change" (Media Matters):
- A master class on the state of clean-energy investment [VIDEO] (Grist)
- UN climate chief hopeful 2015 talks will produce global warming accord, despite 2009 failure (Washington Post)
- California suspends operations at Vernon battery recycler (LA Times):
"This facility poses an unacceptable risk to human health and the environment and must suspend its operations until it comes into compliance," toxics department Director Debbie Raphael said.
- State Of The Air 2013: American Lung Association Report Reveals America's Most Polluted Cities (Huffington Post GreeN):
California cities also dominated the list of areas most polluted by short-term particle and ozone pollution. The state's weather, combined with agricultural processes and the emissions from vehicles and machines needed to move goods, create an air pollution challenge for California.
- Closing the Consensus Gap on Climate Change (John Cook, Weather Underground):
On average, the general public think less than half of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming. The reality is 97%. There is a huge gap between public perception of the scientific consensus on human-caused global warming and reality.
- TransCanada Lashes Out at EPA Over Keystone, Asserts Canadian 'Sovereignty' (InsideClimate News):
The Canadian company calls the scope and tone of the agency’s comments on the pipeline that will bisect the U.S. heartland 'somewhat surprising.'
- Denying sea-level rise: How 100 centimeters divided the state of North Carolina (Earth Magazine)
- None of the world’s top industries would be profitable if they paid for the natural capital they use (Grist)
- How Far Can Climate Change Go?: (Scientific American) [emphasis added]:
How far can we push the planet?
- COVER STORY: It's Global Warming, Stupid (Businessweek):
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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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. ...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 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)