IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Sequester budget cuts hit federal firefighting response during an early wildfire season; More good news for Tesla Motors, bad news for loser Mitt Romney; Scientists accidentally discover new way to make cleaner steel; Another city votes for solar on all new construction; PLUS: Sec. of State John Kerry bluntly criticizes the US for climate change inaction ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Idiocracy: WSJ's 'CO2 Is What Plants Crave'; Chile offers to export fresh water to Qatar; US shale oil supply shock shifts global power balance; Oil companies turn to shipping by rail; Supreme Court rules for Monsanto; Plans to export U.S. natural gas stir debate; Turning CO2 emissions into algae, fuel & animal feed; Panasonic to give away 100k solar lanterns to developing countries; Cutting down rain forests mean less hydropower for developing nations: study ... PLUS: America's first climate refugees: Newtok, Alaska is losing ground to the sea at a dangerous rate and for its residents, exile is inevitable ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- VIDEO: Fox News Gushes Over Tesla With No Mention Of Federal Support (Media Matters.org)
- VIDEO: In 2012 campaign debate, Romney attacks Obama Admin support for clean energy companies (Media Matters.org)
In 2012, the network declared the company "failed," feeding then-presidential nominee Mitt Romney's narrative that President Obama doesn't "just pick the winners and losers, [he] pick[s] the losers" by lumping the company in with Solyndra and Fisker.
- More Good News for Tesla's All-Electric Model S:
- Does Tesla Already Outsell Audi, BMW, Lexus & Mercedes-Benz? (Green Car Reports)
- Tesla Motors posts first quarterly profit in its 10-year history (LA Times)
- Video: The Tesla Model S is our top-scoring car (Consumer Reports)
- MIT Accidentally Discovers Method for Cleaner Steel:
- NASA moon experiment uncovers ‘green steel’ (RTCC):
The technique was discovered accidentally during a NASA commission experiment to produce oxygen on the Moon for future lunar bases. The plan was to unlock the oxygen from iron oxides but Professor Donald Sadoway, senior author of the paper published in Nature, discovered steel was produced as a by-product.
- Moon Base Work Yields Clean Steel Process (Scientific American): A new method to make steel using electricity rather than flame could produce virtually no carbon emissions.
- Sequester Budget Cuts Hit Federal Firefighting Capability:
- Feds: Budget cuts to make wildfire season tougher (AP) [emphasis added]:
"We are going to be faced with a difficult fire season," Vilsack said. "The bottom line is we're going to do everything we can to be prepared. But folks need to understand ... our resources are limited and our budgets are obviously constrained. We will do the best job we possibly can with the resources we have." Congress cut the current budgets for the Forest Service and Agriculture Department 5% under the mandated spending reductions, then added another 2.5% cut for fiscal 2013.
- Wildfire risk runs high, but budget cuts mean fewer firefighters (LA Times):
California is expected to be the most imperiled of the dry Western states. The state this year has received only 25% of the rainfall that it received in the same period for 2012, National Interagency Fire Center fire analyst Jeremy Sullens said. Other states expected to be hit hard are Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon and Idaho, along with portions of other states.
- Sec. of State Kerry's Blunt Criticism of U.S. on Climate Change Inaction:
- VIDEO: Sec. Kerry's Remarks in Sweden on Climate Change, Arctic Challenges (US Dept. of State):
- Transcript: Sec. Kerry's Remarks With Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt (US Dept. of State):
- Sec. of State John Kerry: Climate Change and the Future of the Arctic (Huffington Post) [emphasis added]:
Last September, the extent of sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean reached record lows, threatening marine mammal life and local populations dependent upon them. Receding sea ice might also bring new commerce and industry to the region, including exploration of offshore oil and gas, as well as minerals. New Arctic shipping routes could significantly decrease transit times between Pacific and Atlantic ports.
- Visiting Sweden, Kerry offers ‘regret’ that US hasn’t done more on climate (The Hill's e2 Wire):
“I have to say that I regret that my own country — and President Obama knows this and is committed to changing it — needs to do more and we are committed to doing more...”
- Arctic Council: John Kerry steps into Arctic diplomacy (BBC):
Three and half a months into his tenure as US secretary of state, John Kerry is grappling with war in Syria, tensions on the Korean peninsula and other crises. But on Tuesday, he takes a short break to dive into an issue in which he has long been interested - climate change.
- As Arctic Council Gathers, Kerry Has Opportunity to Push for Ocean Conservation (NRDC)
- 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
- 10 Key Findings From a Rapidly Acidifying Arctic Ocean (Mother Jones)
- How Far Can Climate Change Go?: (Scientific American)
- Sebastopol, CA Votes To Go Solar On All New Construction:
- Sebastopol is second Californian city requiring solar on new homes (Mother Nature News): Following in the Republican-led footsteps of Lancaster, the super-liberal town of Sebastopol becomes the second city in California requiring all newly built homes to be photovoltaic-ready.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- America's first climate refugees: Newtok, Alaska is losing ground to the sea at a dangerous rate and for its residents, exile is inevitable (Guardian UK):
These villages, whose residents are nearly all native Alaskans, are already experiencing the flooding and erosion that are the signature effects of climate change in Alaska. The residents of a number of villages – including Newtok – are now actively working to leave their homes and the lands they have occupied for centuries and move to safer locations.
- US shale oil supply shock shifts global power balance (BBC):
A steeper-than-expected rise in US shale oil reserves is about to change the global balance of power between new and existing producers, a report says.
- Wall Street Journal's Idiocracy: CO2 Is What Plants Crave (Media Matters.org)
- U.S. Supreme Court Rules for Monsanto in Patent Fight (Reuters)
- "Pipelines on wheels" start to ferry fracked ND oil to the PacNW (Oregon Live)
- Plans to Export U.S. Natural Gas Stir Debate: (AP):
A domestic natural gas boom already has lowered U.S. energy prices while stoking fears of environmental disaster. Now U.S. producers are poised to ship vast quantities of gas overseas as energy companies seek permits for proposed export projects that could set off a renewed frenzy of fracking.
- CNRL hopes to turn CO2 emissions into algae (Calgary Herald) [emphasis added]:
As it blooms, the algae develops fat - in other words, oil, said Joy Romero, vice-president of technology development at Canadian Natural. That oil can be blended with heavy bitumen to make it flow more easily through pipelines, or sold to refiners, who can turn it into diesel or gasoline. The material left behind once the oil has been stripped out can be used as a fertilizer, which CNRL could use in reclaiming oilsands mines. John Parr, Canadian Natural's vice-president of thermal projects, said the biomass is high in protein and carbohydrates, making it a "perfect" animal feed.
- FDA Sued for Concealing Records on Arsenic in Poultry Feed (EcoWatch)
- Chile Offers to Export Fresh Water To Qatar: (Gulf Times):
A trial project by a private company to export fresh water to the UAE is underway and the first shipment is expected to arrive in the next two or three months.
The rate of glacial thinning has increased by about half over the last dozen years in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, compared to the 30 years prior to 2000. This means more water has been flowing into the sea.
- Panasonic to distribute 100,000 solar lantern/chargers to the developing world (Gizmag):
Despite the developed world's reliance on electricity, there are still 1.32 billion people on the planet without what most have come to see as a basic necessity. To mark its 100th anniversary, Panasonic plans to give rather than receive and distribute 100,000 solar lanterns that the company has developed that can not only provide light, but also charge mobile phones and other small devices.
- Fewer Rain Forests Mean Less Energy for Developing Nations, Study Finds (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
For years, scientists and engineers have noted an increase in river flows when the trees along streams are removed. The water in the soil, which would otherwise have been taken up by the tree roots and sent into the atmosphere, instead moves directly into streams and rivers. At the same time, large areas of tropical forest actually create rain clouds as moisture from their leaves evaporates. So the elimination of swaths of these forests decreases rainfall. Cut down enough trees, the scientists argue, and the indirect impact of lost rainfall outweighs the direct impact of removing trees.
- VIDEO: Sen. Whitehouse destroys colleague who said God won’t allow climate change (Raw Story) [emphasis added]:
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)
- 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."
- 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...
- 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)