IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Another major wildfire blazes in the West as heat wave bakes Maine to Minnesota; June 2013 2nd hottest ever recorded; Burning fossil fuels hampering our ability to burn fossil fuels; 'Climate Change Theatre' returns to U.S. Senate; Oil giants fight oil spill fines; Big banks caught manipulating energy markets; PLUS: Obama's EPA nominee Gina McCarthy finally approved in the U.S. Senate ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Koch Brothers retaliate against journalists they don't like; Birth defects higher near cattle feedlots; World Bank, Ex-Im Bank cancel funding for coal projects; Pee Power: UK scientists power cell phone battery with urine; Steam, radioactive water leak at Fukushima power plans; Aging reactors pose increased risks; India's 2013 floods 4th deadliest disaster in world history... PLUS: What could possibly go wrong?: Russia builds floating nuclear reactors in Arctic ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Nominee Gina McCarthy Confirmed to Head EPA (The Hill)
- Extended Heat Wave Bakes US, Drives 17 Major Wildfires:
- ‘Drunken’ Weather Pattern Leads to Deadly Heat (Climate Central)
- 6,000 people under evacuation orders as winds stoke Mountain fire (LA Times)
- Rising Temps, Shrinking Snowpack Fuel Western Wildfires (Climate Central) [emphasis added]:
Wildfire trends in the West are clear: there are more large fires burning now than at any time in the past 40 years and the total area burned each year has also increased.
- It's Official: June 2013 2nd Warmest on Record:
- NASA: Globally, June Was Second Warmest On Record (Climate Progress)
- Burning Fossil Fuels Imperils Our Ability to Burn Fossil Fuels (Mother Jones) [emphasis added]:
[P]lants account for more than 40% of the fresh water drawn from lakes and rivers in the US each year. But climate change limits access to that water and poses a major threat to our ability to keep power plants running, according to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists. If plants don't have enough water, they can't operate.
- Climate Change Theatre Returns to the Senate, As Experts Warns of Increased Costs:
- Sens. Boxer, Inhofe jostle in climate change 'theater' (The Hill's e2 Wire)
- Suzanne Goldberg/Guardian live blogs Senate committee climate hearing on Twitter::
[Very] strange. Furchtgott-Roth, free market economist, BIG on geo-engineering, controlling solar radiation?? but carbon tax too expensive.
Franklin Nutter, president of Reinsurance Association - Up to 1,000 catastrophes a year now, more than 2x 1980s, becs of extreme weather
Global insurance industry has $312bn riding on successfully predicting extreme weather events - Franklin Nutter
Go @BarbaraBoxer! digs up funding memos on two Republican witnesses who come from foundations taking $$ from Exxon & Koch brothers
- GOP senator: 'Tolerance' needed for different climate change views (The Hill's e2 Wire):
The consensus in the scientific community is that climate change is occurring, and that humans contribute to it.
- The Costs of Climate Change and Extreme Weather Are Passing the High-Water Mark (TIME Eco-Centric)
- A Decade of Climate Extremes: Global Climate 2001-2010 [PDF] (World Meteorological Organization)
- Climate Change Will Cause More Energy Breakdowns, U.S. Warns (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
The effects are already being felt, the report says. Power plants are shutting down or reducing output because of a shortage of cooling water. Barges carrying coal and oil are being delayed by low water levels in major waterways. Floods and storm surges are inundating ports, refineries, pipelines and rail yards. Powerful windstorms and raging wildfires are felling transformers and transmission lines.... “The cost today is measured in the billions. Over the coming decades, it will be in the trillions. You can’t just put your head in the sand anymore.”
- Air pollution linked to higher risk of lung cancer and heart failure: (Guardian UK)
- Australia's New Prime Minister Scraps Successful Carbon Tax:
- Big Banks Caught Manipulating Energy Markets:
- JPMorgan in Talks to Settle Energy Manipulation Case for $500m (NY Times):
JPMorgan Chase, the Wall Street giant whose reputation in Washington has eroded in a matter of months, is now moving to avert a showdown over accusations that it manipulated energy prices.
- Regulators Fine Barclays $453 Million Over U.S. Energy Price Rigging (Think Progress)
- Barclays Pledges To Fight U.S. Energy Fine (USA Today)
- Oil Giants Fight Oil Spill Accountability:
- BP Settlement Payouts Should Be Halted, Oil Giant Urges Judge (AP)
- Yellowstone River Oil Spill: Exxon Challanges $1.7m in Penalties: (AP):
Representatives of Exxon Mobil Corp. appeared at before federal regulators Wednesday to contest $1.7 million in proposed civil penalties over a Montana oil spill. The penalties stem from a 2011 pipeline break that spilled an estimated 63,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River near Laurel.
- Exxon's Secrecy Over Ruptured Pipeline Could Mask National Dangers: (InsideClimate):
Reports that would reveal whether Exxon properly maintained its Pegasus pipeline are being kept from the public. The data has national ramifications.
- PUC Staff Recommneds $300m Fine for PG&E Over San Bruno Blast: (Oakland Tribune):
Taking a tougher stand against PG&E, a revamped state regulatory body on Tuesday recommended that the utility be fined at least $300 million --- the largest ever imposed by the Public Utilities Commission --- as part of a $2.25 billion penalty for the company's role in the deadly San Bruno natural gas explosion.
- Cleanup of 2006 ND Saltwater Spill Still Ongoing (AP)
- Many Mishaps Among Drillers, But Few Fines: (E & E News) [emphasis added]:
If Kristi Mogen causes a crash on the road, she knows she'll probably get a ticket and have to pay a fine. So she's frustrated that Wyoming officials didn't fine Chesapeake Energy Corp. for an April 2012 blowout near her home outside Douglas, Wyo. The ruptured gas well spewed gas and chemicals for three days, forcing her and her neighbors to evacuate their homes.
- BP Oil Spill: Louisiana Seafood: Shrimp, Crab Catch Mixed Post BP Oil Spill, River Diversions (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Here's How the Koch Brothers Retaliate Against Journalists They Don't Like (Grist)
- New Study Predicts Dramatic Sea Level Rise: (Reuters):
Sea levels could rise by 2.3 metres for each degree Celsius that global temperatures increase and they will remain high for centuries to come, according to a new study by the leading climate research institute, released on Monday.
- India's June 2013 Flood: Earth's 4th Deadliest Weather Disaster Since 2000 (Weather Underground)
- Fukushima nuclear plant likely leaking contaminated water into ocean (CS Monitor):
The nuclear power plant at Fukushima has been leaking contaminated water into the ocean for the two years since the accident that saw three of the plants six reactors suffer a meltdown, according to the head of the Nuclear Regulation Authority in Japan.
- Ex-Im Bank votes down financing of Vietnam coal-fired power plant (Reuters)
- Birth Defects Linked to Bad CA Valley Water: (Fresno Bee):
An extensive new study confirms a long-suspected link between crippling birth defects and the nitrate contamination that threatens drinking water for 250,000 people in the San Joaquin Valley.
- British scientists power cell phones with urine (Treehugger):
The team created the microbial fuel cell by growing bacteria on carbon fiber anodes and then placing them in ceramic cylinders. When urine is placed in the cell, the bacteria breaks down the chemicals in the urine, creating an electrical charge which is stored on a capacitor.
- James Hansen: Fossil fuel addiction could trigger runaway global warming (Guardian UK):
The world is currently on course to exploit all its remaining fossil fuel resources, a prospect that would produce a "different, practically uninhabitable planet" by triggering a "low-end runaway greenhouse effect." This is the conclusion of a new scientific paper by Prof James Hansen, the former head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the world's best known climate scientist.
- Shell settles with EPA, DOJ, to spend $115 million to cut pollution at Houston-area refinery (Washington Post)
- Hurricanes Likely to Get Stronger & More Frequent: Study (Climate Central)
- Russia Builds Floating Nuclear Power Plants: (Environment News Service):
So much for the lessons of Fukushima. Never mind oil spills, the Russian Federation is preparing an energy initiative that, if it has problems, will inject nuclear material into the maritime environment.
- Steam Detected at Damaged Fukushima Reactor: (NY Times):
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant stood ready Thursday to inject boric acid into one of its most heavily damaged reactors after it found steam emanating from the reactor building. The preventive measure would stave off sustained nuclear reactions in the reactor's damaged core, though officials stressed that such reactions were a remote possibility.
- World Bank to Limit Financing of Coal-Fired Power Plants: (Reuters):
The World Bank's board on Tuesday agreed to a new energy strategy that will limit financing of coal-fired power plants to 'rare circumstances,' as the Washington-based global development powerhouse seeks to address the impact of climate change.
- Aging Nuclear Reactors Pose Safety Challenge: IAEA (Reuters):
Significant progress was made last year in strengthening nuclear safety around the world, the U.N. atomic watchdog said in its annual review, despite the 'challenge' posed by a large number of ageing reactors.
- Skeptical Science: Get the FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Arguments
- Warning: Even in the best-case scenario, climate change will kick our asses (Grist)
FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page