IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Senate GOP walks out, obstructs Obama's EPA nominee; OMB says EPA regulations pay off 10 to 1; Honeybee losses accelerate in US while feds stall on action; Another coal export terminal bites the dust in OR; PLUS: Shocker: Consumer Reports has a new all-time favorite car... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): "God won't save us": Sen. Whitehouse blasts GOP "magical thinking"; China cracks down on US trash exports; Debunking out-of-date clean energy conventional "wisdom"; Disease ravaging Africa's staple food crop; Crater reveals troubling future of global warming; US envoy's floats new climate treaty plan; BPA may lower testosterone; Leak shuts down MI nuke plant; Good news - Greenland melt rate to slow ... PLUS: Warning: Even in the best-case scenario, climate change will kick our asses ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- GOP Senators Obstruct EPA Nominee Vote:
- VIDEO: Republican Senators Boycott Vote On Gina McCarthy’s Nomination To Head EPA (Climate Progress) [emphasis added]:
Carper said she has been a proven public servant: “The president didn’t nominate somebody we don’t know. He nominated somebody who’d been unanimously confirmed by this committee and I think maybe by the senate” for her current position at the EPA.
- Republican Senators Mount Transparently Political Attack on Nominee to Head EPA (NRDC Switchboard) [emphasis added]:
What Senator Vitter does not say is how many of the requests in his letter have more to do with the same ideological, substantive attacks that Republicans are leveling against EPA and its health standards, rather than notions of good government transparency.... [L]et's examine them separately to see what all the fuss is about....
- Senators Boycott EPA Chief Vote While Raising Money From Energy Lobbyists (Public Campaign Action Fund)
- GOP throws tantrum over Obama's EPA nominee (Grist)
- GOP Throws Rulebook at Obama to Block His Agenda (Roll Call): Majority Leader Harry Reid:"This type of blanket, partisan obstruction used to be unheard of. Now it's become, really, I guess, the pattern Republicans have adopted."
- Sierra Club Statement on Failure of Any Republicans to Attend Gina McCarthy's Confirmation Hearing (Sierra Club) [emphasis added]:
“This latest attempt by Republicans in the Senate to derail progress to protect our air, our water and the health of our families is nothing short of cowardly."
- OMB: EPA earns $10 in benefits for every $1 invested:
- Benefits of Clean Air and Water Dwarf Costs 10 to 1 (The Energy Collective) [emphasis added]:
Costs, by the way, are relatively well estimated, since businesses are all-too willing to share them. So yes, there are costs—but they are small relative to benefits. And costs, as opposed to benefits, are typically overestimates. They are largely based on current available control technologies. They don’t consider that industry may invent an entirely new and unexpected way of complying with regulations at lower cost. This happens over and over again, and it comes with a name: entrepreneurial ingenuity. Works every time.
- It’s Official: $1 Invested In EPA Yields $10 In Benefits (Climate Progress):
OMB’s annual report to Congress on the benefits and costs of all major rules adopted by most federal agencies over the past 10 years shows how efficiently, or inefficiently, those agencies are functioning. And the conclusion is clear: the Environmental Protection Agency comes out on top.
- Once more, with feeling: EPA is required to regulate carbon from existing power plants (Grist)
- EPA Funding Reductions Have Kneecapped Environmental Enforcement (National Journal):
Cutting the agency’s budget doesn’t take away its obligation to enforce environmental laws and implement new regulations, but it has dramatically weakened and slowed EPA’s ability to fulfill its mandate.
- Bee Deaths Accelerate In U.S.:
- US honeybees threatened as 31% of colonies died out in 2012, report shows (Guardian UK):
Survey shows heavy loss of pollinators is further evidence of mysterious disorder that has destroyed colonies for seven years
- Good News: Another Coal Export Terminal Bites the Dust in PacNW:
- Plans shelved for coal export terminal in Oregon (LA Times) [emphasis added]:
The battle over plans for a series of massive coal export terminals across the Pacific Northwest took a new turn Wednesday when the energy company Kinder Morgan announced it was dropping its plan to build a $200-million facility on the Columbia River in northern Oregon....Opponents fear the toxic effects of coal dust blowing off the trains.
- Consumer Reports' Fan-Girl Moment: Tesla Model S Best Car EVER:
- Video: The Tesla Model S is our top-scoring car (Consumer Reports):
There, we said it. The Tesla Model S outscores every other car in our test Ratings. It does so even though it's an electric car. In fact, it does so because it is electric.
- VIDEO: Tesla Model S 2013 quick take (Consumer Reports Youtube channel)
- Consumer Reports: Tesla Model S is 'best car we've ever tested' (Score: 99/100) (Treehugger)
- Tesla Motors posts first quarterly profit in its 10-year history (LA Times)
- American Auto Industry: Best Performance in 20 Years:
- American Auto Industry Has Best Performance in 20 Years (Bloomberg):
Detroit's boom-and-bust history was built on a dependence on big, fuel-thirsty vehicles. Now, with freshly stocked showrooms of new cars and more-efficient trucks, U.S. automakers are gaining ground on their Asian competitors with the best lineup in a generation.
- VIDEO: Electric Car - Official Music Video, by They Might Be Giants ('They Might Be Giants' Youtube channel):
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- VIDEO: Sen. Whitehouse destroys colleague who said God won’t allow climate change (Raw Story):
Whitehouse concluded that ignoring climate change was not only bad public policy, it was also immoral. He said God would not grant humanity amnesty from its own folly.
- Warning: Even in the best-case scenario, climate change will kick our asses (Grist)
- China's crackdown on trash makes it harder for the U.S. to recycle (Washington Post):
Since 2007, one of America's top exports to China has been… trash....Without China's insatiable appetite for raw materials, it would be harder and more expensive for Americans to recycle their waste. ...China has recently launched "Operation Green Fence" - a policy to prohibit the import of unwashed post-consumer plastics and other contaminated waste shipments.
- Conventional Wisdom About Clean Energy Is Still Way Out of Date (GreenTech Media): "We're fifteen to twenty years out of date in how we think about renewables," said Dr. Eric Martinot to an audience at the first Pathways to 100% Renewables Conference held April 16 in San Francisco. "It's not 1990 anymore."
- Food shortage in Africa: Disease Is Ravaging Continent's Staple (AP):
Scientists say a disease destroying entire crops of cassava has spread out of East Africa into the heart of the continent, is attacking plants as far south as Angola and threatens to move west into Nigeria, the world's biggest producer of the potatolike root that helps feed 500 million Africans.
- Meteorite crater reveals future of a globally warmed world (Guardian UK):
Lake sediments recorded the climate of the Arctic during the last period when CO2 levels were as high as today... "It shows a huge warming – unprecedented in human history," said Prof Scott Elias, at Royal Holloway University of London, and not involved in the work. "It is a frightening experiment we are conducting with our climate."
- New emissions plan could energise global climate talks, says US envoy (Guardian UK): The proposal for a climate deal by 2015 based on national 'contributions' gained traction UN talks in Germany last week
- BPA May Lower Men's Testosterone, Study Finds (Huffignton Post Green):
Chronic exposure to the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) may lower testosterone levels in men, a new study from China suggests. In the study, men who were exposed to BPA because they worked in a chemical plant for at least six months had lower levels of testosterone in their blood compared with those who worked in a tap water factory.
- A Price Is Right: Carbon Tax Has Very Broad, Bipartisan Support (Outside Of Congress) (Climate Progress):
The Washington Post editorial board calls a carbon tax “one of the best ideas in Washington almost no one in Congress will talk about.” It joins a very diverse group (including conservative economists, big oil companies, environmental advocates, and most Americans) that thinks pricing carbon pollution is smart policy. People are talking about it, if you know where to listen.
- Nuclear plant spills radiation into Lake Michigan (Grist): This is reportedly the ninth time that the facility has been shut down since 2011.
- Video Footage Documenting Extent of West, TX Fertilizer Explosin Damage (Residents of West, TX)
- Finally, some not-terrible climate news: Greenland not melting any faster (Grist) [emphasis added]:
Don't get the wrong idea: "[Greenland] is still losing a lot of ice," she said. Just not as much as some of her peers had feared: "The last 10 years it's losing mass twice as fast as the 10 years before. But in the next 10 years it's not going to be four times more."
- Red River water wars: four states battle over water access (Guardian UK): Water is the oil of the 21st century. The more water resources continue to deplete along the Red River, the fiercer the fight over who has access
- Shell presses ahead with world's deepest offshore oil well (Guardian UK): Company will drill almost two miles underwater in Gulf of Mexico as part of next generation of deep-water developments
- Hanford Nuclear Waste Cleanup Plant May Be Too Dangerous (Scientific American): Safety issues make plans to clean up a mess left over from the construction of the U.S. nuclear arsenal uncertain
- VIDEO: Adorable teen investigates why wind turbine "noise" is no biggie for Germans (Climate Crocks):
If wind turbines were as "bad" for you as windbaggers in the US would like you to believe, there should be a lot of body bags piling up in places like Germany, Denmark, and, well, Iowa - places that have large penetration by wind generated electricity. Or at least, one would think, there'd be an increased incidence in the headaches-to leukemia-to-herpes complex of symptoms that the looney right has identified as part of "wind turbine syndrome". But of course, there is not. Why?
- 10 Key Findings From a Rapidly Acidifying Arctic Ocean (Mother Jones) [emphasis added]:
As predicted by chemistry, change in the Arctic Ocean is accelerating as temperatures warm faster than the global average, as the sea ice melts, as northern rivers run stronger and faster, delivering more fresh water farther into the northernmost ocean, and as we continue blasting an ever increasing quantity of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
- Unburnable fuel: Either governments are not serious about climate change or fossil-fuel firms are overvalued (The Economist) [emphasis added]:
But what if some of those [fossil fuel] reserves can never be dug up and burned? ... If governments were determined to implement their climate policies, a lot of that carbon would have to be left in the ground...
- How Far Can Climate Change Go?: (Scientific American) [emphasis added]:
How far can we push the planet?
- New Research: World on Track for Climate Disaster:
- 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.
- Essential Climate Science Background:
- 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)