With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 8/20/2009, 12:00pm PT  

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(Brad and I are on the road, so we prepared this report for you before we left! --- Des)

IN TODAY'S AUDIO REPORT: Making molehills out of mountains; Thunder Down Under; U.S. can save $1.2 trillion with energy efficiency --but some industry groups say 'not so fast'... PLUS: The plight of the humble bee... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (links below): Poll confirms that Americans want strong action on climate and energy; ExxonMobil guilty in bird deaths; Researchers see dramatic drop in Indian groundwater; Defending the right of rich people to pollute; China’s Incinerators Loom as a Global Hazard ... PLUS: Recalled beef came from plants that supply the National School Lunch Program...

Info/links on those stories and all the ones we talked about on today's episode follow below...

  • Scientists Untangle Multiple Causes of Bee Colony Disorder (Environment News Service):
    A microscopic pathogen and pesticides embedded in old honeycombs are two major contributors to the bee disease known as colony collapse disorder...
    ...
    "One of the first things we looked at was the pesticide levels in the wax of older honeycombs," Sheppard said. Using combs contributed by U.S. Department of Agriculture, Sheppard found "fairly high levels of pesticide residue."
  • Climate change an Australian 'security threat'(AFP) [emphasis added]:
    The impacts of global warming were already making themselves felt, much faster and with greater ferocity than anticipated, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) said.

    A record-breaking heatwave killed 374 Australians in January, with another 173 perishing in the devastating February firestorm which flattened entire towns and razed more than 2,000 homes, ASPI said.

    "As a result of climate change, disasters are likely to become larger, more complex, occur simultaneously and in regions that have either not experienced the natural hazard previously or at the same intensity or frequency," said report author Athol Yates.

  • Climate Change Seen as Threat to U.S. Security (NY Times)
    The changing global climate will pose profound strategic challenges to the United States in coming decades, raising the prospect of military intervention to deal with the effects of violent storms, drought, mass migration and pandemics, military and intelligence analysts say.

    Such climate-induced crises could topple governments, feed terrorist movements or destabilize entire regions, say the analysts, experts at the Pentagon and intelligence agencies who for the first time are taking a serious look at the national security implications of climate change.

  • CNA Study: Nation Security and the Threat of Climate Change (CNA.org)
  • Mine operators not restoring mountains, OSM report finds (West Virginia Gazette):
    Coal operators in Southern West Virginia are not restoring large strip-mining sites to their "approximate original contour," despite a state policy change meant to require such reclamation, according to a previously unpublished federal government report.
  • Obama's green credentials tested by battle against mountaintop mining: James Hansen and Darryl Hannah among those opposing open-cast coal extraction that destroys mountains and forests (Guardian UK)
  • McKinsey Report Cites $1.2 Trillion in Potential Savings From Energy Efficiency (Green Inc.)
  • Efficiency can help Northwest meet 85% of new electricity demand (OregonLive.com):
    "This plan is all about energy efficiency," said Tom Eckman, the council's manager of conservation resources. "In the next decade, that's it. That's where the action is."
  • Carl Pope: Scale, Scale, Scale (Huffington Post) [emphasis added]:
    [T]he clean-energy revolution just begs to demonstrate the virtues of scale.
    ...
    Clinton then pointed out that even at President Obama's much accelerated goal of a million upgrades a year, it would take 100 years to finish the job. And here we are sitting in a state where building-sector unemployment is headed to 50 percent. Clean energy ought to be for Nevada in the 21st century what silver was in the 19th --- the foundation for building a state.
  • The real estate industry quietly removes a label showing energy use of older buildings (ClimateWire)
  • A New Building Energy Label in the Works, Alternative to Energy Star (Earth2Tech)
  • Homes Go From 'Superefficient' to Zero Carbon Emissions in Europe (ClimateWire) [emphasis added]:
    The United Kingdom mandates all new homes be zero-carbon by 2016. France and Germany are debating stronger building requirements of their own. And Denmark will require all new houses to meet the "passive house" standard by 2020, meaning using 85 percent less energy and producing 95 percent less carbon dioxide than regular houses.
    ...
    "Builders won't offer efficient houses unless required by law, for fear of losing clients to cheaper alternatives," he said. But the cost of building efficient houses is dropping as contractors learn how to do it better and in less time.

'GREEN NEWS EXTRA': More green news not covered in today's audio report... See below!

  • Zogby Poll Confirms That Americans Want Strong Action on Climate and Energy (DeSmogBlog) [emphasis added]:
    A new Zogby poll commissioned by the National Wildlife Federation found that 71% of respondents supported the Waxman-Markey energy and climate bill recently passed in the House of Representatives.
  • ExxonMobil guilty in deaths of migratory birds in five states (Scientific American):
    With development of oil and gas resources encouraged by the Bush Administration, many new waste ponds have appeared on public lands. Some companies use electronic hazing devices that make noises and flashing lights to scare birds away. Others clean the water before discharging it or cover ponds to keep birds from landing there. Whatever ExxonMobil was doing, it apparently wasn't enough...
  • Study sees dramatic drop in Indian groundwater (AP) [emphasis added]:
    The study comes as India's struggles with water have become a major political issue. The problem reaches across the country's vast class divide, touching everyone from residents of elite neighborhoods where the taps regularly go dry to poor farmers in desperate need of irrigation to grow their crops.
    ...
    "This is probably the largest rate of groundwater loss in any comparable-sized region on Earth," that study said.
  • Incorrigible Lomborg: Defending the right of rich people to pollute (DeSmogBlog)
  • China’s Incinerators Loom as a Global Hazard (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
    [T]hese pollutants, particularly long-lasting substances like dioxin and mercury, are dangerous not only in China, a growing body of atmospheric research based on satellite observations suggests. They float on air currents across the Pacific to American shores.
  • Cargill, the National School Lunch Program, and antibiotic-resistant salmonella (Grist.org) [emphasis added]:
    As I reported last week, a large-scale California beef-packing plant owned by Cargill churned out, packaged up, and distributed widely some 830,000 pounds of ground beef tainted with antibiotic-resistant salmonella. At least 28 people in three states have been laid low by the pathogen. For salmonella, the CDC reckons that for every confirmed illness, 38 people have actually fallen ill. Thus we can assume that around 1000 people have caught the bug.
    ...
    Good thing it’s summer, because the Cargill plant in question supplies the National School Lunch Program.
  • Calif. meat plant cited for cow handling problems (AP) [emphasis added]:
    Last year, in the wake of the biggest beef recall in history linked to a Southern California slaughterhouse, inspectors visited the Fresno facility and 17 other plants that sold meat to the National School Lunch Program.
    ...
    Agency spokeswoman Bryn Burkard said a Freedom of Information Act request would have to be made to learn if the plant had been inspected since.