IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Secret federal memo warns entire nationwide electric grid could be knocked out; More new evidence NC collaborated with Duke Energy to derail lawsuits; BP is back in the Gulf, baby!; PLUS: Surprise! Paris discovers stopping traffic really does stop pollution ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Pest develops resistance to GMO corn; Scientists sound alarm about climate change - again; Antarctic rubbish dump will cost millions to clean up; Unskilled and destitute are hiring targest for Fukushima cleanup; East Harlem explosion highlights risk of natural gas leaks; Floods cause oil spill in ND; Thames Barrier hits yearly operational limit in 2 months; Global warming melts 'stable' edge of Greenland ice sheet ... PLUS: GAO: Climate Change Threatens Energy Infrastructure ... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Warmest winter on record worsens California drought: (Reuters):
Warmer winters make for less snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
When the snow melts into the state's rivers, it provides water throughout the summer, when the state typically experiences little rain.
- Duke Energy Coal Ash Spill: NC Regulators Collaborated To Shield Duke, Legislature Passed Loophole:
- New Emails Suggest Coal Ash Polluter Helped State Regulator During Investigation (Climate Progress)
- Emails show close ties between Duke Energy, North Carolina regulators (AP) [emphasis added]:
Within days, the emails show a Duke lobbyist contacted the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, where staff exchanged messages discussing "how Duke wants to be sued."
- Lobbying Money Works: NC Legislature Tweaked Law to Protected Duke Energy's Coal Ash Pits (AP):
Though the bill never once mentions coal ash, the change allowed Duke to avoid any costly cleanup of contaminated groundwater leaching from its unlined dumps toward rivers, lakes and the drinking wells of nearby homeowners.
"Do they think that we're stupid? That we're not going to figure out what's going on?" [homeowner Janet Casperson] said.
- Grand jury hears evidence in Duke Energy investigation (WSOC-TV Charlotte): 23 subpoenas issued to officials from Duke, the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources
- Questions as more wastewater flows in North Carolina: (NY Times):
Duke Energy, the giant utility whose spill of toxic waste into a North Carolina river last month is under federal investigation, released wastewater last week from a second site upriver of Raleigh that state regulators said could be illegal.
- Were North Carolina Regulators Helping Duke Energy Avoid Big Fines? (Bill MOyers)
- Duke CEO: Customers should pay ash pond costs (Charlotte Observer):
"Duke Energy should clean up the coal ash at its own expense, and we will fight for consumers if the company tries to charge them," [Attorney General Roy] Cooper said in a statement.
- Poll: Voters Think Duke Energy Should Pay For Coal Ash Clean-Up, Not Customers (Chapel Hill Boro blog)
- Coal Ash Spill Cleanup Will Take 2 Years, Duke Energy Says (AP)
- BP Is Back, Baby! 'Responsible Contractor' Now Cleared to Seek New Drilling Leases:
- Four Years After Deepwater Horizon Disaster, U.S. Agrees To Let BP Oil Rigs Back Into The Gulf (Climate Progress)
- End of Gulf Ban Allows BP to Expand in Familiar, Lucrative Territory (NY Times):
The auction in New Orleans will be the first since BP and the Environmental Protection Agency reached a settlement on Thursday that lifts a ban that prevented the company, traditionally one of the most aggressive oil producers in the gulf, from pursuing new leases and other government contracts. Analysts said both BP and the United States government needed a deal.
- WSJ: Nationwide Blackout From Small-Scale Attack:
- Blacking out America would be a cinch, because there's not enough distributed solar (Grist)
- US risks national blackout from small-scale attack: (Wall St. Journal):
The U.S. could suffer a coast-to-coast blackout if saboteurs knocked out just nine of the country's 55,000 electric-transmission substations on a scorching summer day, according to a previously unreported federal analysis.
- WSJ article on power grid vulnerability outrages federal regulator, lawmaker (SNL Financial)
- Rooftop Solar Seen Protecting U.S. Power Grid From Attack (Bloomberg, April 2013):
The U.S. power grid is vulnerable to terrorist attacks, and the growing use of rooftop solar panels will provide protection against lengthy blackouts, the chairman of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said.
- Assault on California Power Station Raises Alarm on Potential for Terrorism (Wall St. Journal)
- Paris Discovers Stopping Traffic Stops Air Pollution:
- Paris offers free public transport to reduce severe smog (BBC):
Authorities in Paris have taken the rare step of making public transport free for three days to reduce severe smog caused by unusually warm weather.
- Paris car ban stopped after one day (Guardian UK):
The French government has halted a controversial scheme to ban half of the traffic from Paris streets after a single day, claiming that the experiment aimed at curbing harmful pollution had been successful and that the vast majority of Parisians had co-operated.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Global warming melts edge of Greenland icesheet (Sydney Morning Herald):
The last edge of the Greenland ice sheet that had resisted global warming has now become unstable, adding billions of tonnes of meltwater to rising seas, scientists say.
- Goldman Sachs: Solar Is On The Way To Dominating The Electricity Market, And The World Has Elon Musk To Thank (Business Insider):
Goldman Sachs has set an estimated date for when they believe residential solar power becomes competitive with existing electric across the U.S. It's relatively soon.
- Climate change will force relocation of millions, says UN IPCC draft report (Brisbane Times) [emphasis added]:
Global warming will displace millions of people, trigger falling crop yields, stoke conflict and cost trillions of dollars in lost economic output, a United Nations report will warn. A draft of the report - to be finalised this month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - obtained by The Independent in Britain, says "hundreds of millions of people" will be forced to relocate because of coastal flooding and land loss as sea levels rise.
- GMO: Voracious Worm Evolves to Eat Biotech Corn Engineered to Kill It (Wired):
After years of predicting it would happen - and after years of having their suggestions largely ignored by companies, farmers and regulators - scientists have documented the rapid evolution of corn rootworms that are resistant to Bt corn.
- Chickadee Mating Zone Surges North (NY Times)
- Is the Thames Barrier overwhelmed? The winter storms saw it close for the 50th time this winter (Independent UK) [emphasis added]:
When it was designed in the 1970s it was envisaged that it would only need to close once or twice a year, but the barrier was shut 28 times last month alone as record amounts of winter rainfall and rising sea levels have tested the system well beyond what was initially envisaged.
- Scientists Sound the Alarm on Global Warming, But Americans Sleep In (TIME Magazine) [emphasis added]:
The evidence is overwhelming: levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are rising. Temperatures are going up. Springs are arriving earlier. Ice sheets are melting. Sea level is rising. The patterns of rainfall and drought are changing. Heat waves are getting worse as is extreme precipitation. The oceans are acidifying. The science linking human activities to climate change is analogous to the science linking smoking to lung and cardiovascular diseases.
- GAO: Climate Change Threatens Energy Infrastructure (Climate Central):
[A]ll the infrastructure Americans rely on to heat their homes, power their lights and fuel their trains, trucks and cars is becoming more and more exposed to failure in a changing climate.
- North Dakota: Oil around flooded well believed to be contained (Jamestown Sun)
- Antarctic rubbish dump will cost millions to clean up (Sydney Morning Herald):
The toxic dump left over from an era when rubbish was turfed out onto the ice is a 45-year-old problem requiring millions of dollars and a decade-long commitment to clean up the mess.
- Bill Koch is the latest executive to leave the coal business, saying it "has kind of died" (Grist)
- Acidic waters killing off millions of scallops along the West Coast (CTV News)
- East Harlem explosion highlights risk of natural gas leaks: (National Geographic)
- Lithium producer chases Tesla's bold battery plan: (NY Times):
Last month, Tesla Motors, the maker of high-end electric cars, announced plans to open the world's largest battery plant in 2017. The goal is to overcome what it calls the biggest obstacle to meeting increased demand for its vehicles: a reliable supply of the advanced batteries that power them.
- Unskilled and destitute are hiring targest for Fukushima cleanup: (NY Times):
'Out of work? Nowhere to live? Nowhere to go? Nothing to eat?' the online ad reads. 'Come to Fukushima.' That grim posting targeting the destitute, by a company seeking laborers for the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, is one of the starkest indications yet of an increasingly troubled search for workers willing to carry out the hazardous decommissioning at the site.
- New ozone-depleting gases found in atmosphere: (AFP):
Scientists have found four new ozone-destroying gases in the atmosphere, most likely put there by humans in the last 50 years, despite a ban on these dangerous compounds.
FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page
- Video Proof That Global Warming is a 'Hoax'!: NASA Temperature Data 1888-2011 (The BRAD BLOG):
- NASA climate change video: This is the U.S. in 2100 (NASA).