IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Another oil spill, this time in MI; Record heat and smog in Moscow; Fires in CA; Competition sparks the U.S. electric car market ... PLUS: Where has all the oil gone, long time leaking? ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Sec. Chu: Forcing people to save is a cost that I am willing to bear; Wind Drives Growing Use of Batteries; Fix the Farm, Not the Salmon; U.S. energy policy a "serious threat" to economic, national security; Pollution makes quarter of China water unusable: ministry; B.C.'s carbon tax is looking like a winner two years later; Cap-and-Trade is a Republican market solution; State Dept. Delays Decision on Trans-Canada Pipeline; New NOAA Annual Climate Report Shows We Live in a Warming World ...PLUS: Plankton decline 40% across oceans as waters warm ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- It's Good To Be Exxon Mobil:
- Exxon Mobil profit nearly doubles (CNN)
- As Oil Industry Fights a Tax, It Reaps Billions From Subsidies: As recently as 2005, when windfall profits for energy companies prompted even President George W. Bush — a former Texas oilman himself — to publicly call for an end to incentives, the energy bill he and Congress enacted still included $2.6 billion in oil subsidies. In 2007, after Democrats took control of Congress, a move to end the tax breaks failed. (NY Times)
- Record Heat, Record Fires, Record Smog Blanket Moscow:
- Smog chokes Moscow amid record heat wave:
Russian officials urge people to stay indoors and skip work, as temperatures stay in the 90s and peat fires nearby make the air unsafe to breathe. No respite is expected soon. (LA Times)
- Smog blankets Moscow on city's hottest day (Reuters)
- Smog blankets Moscow on city's hottest day (Reuters)
- Hazy summer afternoons (The Economist):
RUSSIA’S ability to deal with its legendarily severe winters is a source of national pride. But now Russia’s survival skills have been tested by the hottest summer since records began, 130 years ago. In the country’s central region temperatures have not dropped below 30°C since mid-June; in recent days the mercury has risen as high as 37°C.
In the past two months over 2,000 people have drowned trying to escape the heat by dunking themselves in lakes and rivers. (For comparison, 13,000 Soviet soldiers died during the ten-year Afghan campaign.) Fully 90% of them were drunken men, say officials.
- High Winds Drive Wildfire Season in California, But Also Nation's Largest Wind Farms:
- Weather helps against 2 Calif. fires: Number of homes destroyed lowered to 25; 150 still threatened (AP)
- California’s Kern County Will Host the Largest Wind Farm In the U.S. (Triple Pundit)
- Ground broken for wind energy project in Mojave: The Alta Wind Energy Center is planned as the world's largest wind project, with nearly 600 turbines capable of producing 1,550 megawatts of electricity when completed, with the potential to be doubled, according to developer Terra-Gen Power LLC of New York City. (AP)
- GM, Nissan Compete for U.S. Electric Car Market:
- GM, Nissan compete for best electric car deal: Companies jockey to get cars to everyday consumers through lower prices (AP)
- Taking charge: Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt? Choosing your green drive : The cars, the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf, take two different technological roads to sustainable transportation (Grist)
- Senate Energy Bill Drops--And Electric Cars Get A Surprise Jolt (The New Republic's The Vine)
- For Hybrid Cars, a Hybrid Invention: A different approach to the electric car battery problem... using a storage device called a capacitor in conjunction with a traditional battery.
- Did Rush Limbaugh err on GM's electric Volt and 'Obama Motors?' (USA Today)
- Limbaugh rips Chevy Volt but cites income from GM (Detroit Free Press)
- OTHER Oil Spills, NOT in the Gulf:
- Calhoun County oil spill declared a disaster: Legislator calls spill worst in Midwest history. Documents from the agency show that Enbridge Energy pipelines have leaked oil on 12 different occasions in Michigan since 2002. (Michigan Messenger)
- "Disasters are Just a Normal Part of Doing Business for These Oil Companies" (Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones):
A new report, released today by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), details a number of these accidents over the past years.
From 2000 to 2009, onshore pipeline accidents caused 2,554 major incidents, including 161 deaths and 576 injuries. Offshore, 1,443 incidents caused 41 fatalities, 302 injuries, 476 fires, and 356 releases of pollution into the waters. "These things happen nearly every day," said NWF's Tim Warman, director of the organization's global warming solutions program. "Disasters are just a normal part of doing business for these oil companies."
- Michigan oil leak polluting Kalamazoo River; Governor declares disaster area: Michigan oil leak is not on the same scale as the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But it is causing concern in southern Michigan. (CS Monitor)
- Daley: Michigan oil spill worse than Asian carp (Chicago Tribune)
- Oil spewing from well near Louisiana marsh: Boom placed around 100-foot-high plume; tugboat hit well, officials say (MSNBC)
- Michigan: 800,000 Gallons of Oil Spill After Pipe Breaks (NY Times)
- Energy company, EPA double efforts after Michigan oil spill (CNN)
- The LATEST in the BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf:
- After 100 days of Gulf of Mexico oil spill, life will never be the same (NOLA.com)
- Mainstream Media Helps BP Pretend There's No Oil (Mother Jones
- Louisiana authorities report oil sightings from Gulf of Mexico spill (NOLA.com)
- BP still on track to begin static kill operation on Monday (NOLA.com)
- Federal official to outline what lies ahead after oil spill is sealed (CNN)
- Criminal probe of oil spill to focus on 3 firms and their ties to regulators (Washington Post)
- BP to cut U.S. tax bill by $10 billion because of losses in gulf spill (Washington Post)
- Undersea microphones listen for whales threatened by Gulf oil spill: A team from Cornell is working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to listen in on whales who may have been affected by the Gulf oil spill. (CS Monitor)
- Lawsuit targets BP's use of Corexit dispersant; attorney alleges chemical used in off-limits areas (Mobile Press-Register)
- Oil sheen on surface of Gulf of Mexico is hard to burn, treat with dispersant, or skim (NOLA.com)
- What BP Knows About the Size of Gulf Disaster: While BP publicly stuck to claims that its blow-out well was leaking at rate of 5,000 gallons of oil per day, the company was privately operating under the assumption that at least five times that amount was gushing into the Gulf, according to documents released today by congressional investigators. (Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones)
- After the Spill: BP $5 Billion Down Payment Among Recommendations to Restore Coastal Louisiana: How President Obama Can Fulfill Pledge to Make Coastal Louisiana Better Than It Was Before Spill (Nat'l Audobon Society):
Among other steps, the report recommends:
1. Immediately negotiate with BP a $5 billion down payment on what they will ultimately be assessed for natural resource damages from the spill and create a separate escrow account for that money.
2. Amend the Oil Pollution Act to create a separate fund for Gulf Coast and Mississippi River Delta restoration...
3. Seek a supplemental appropriation of $500 million from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund for LCA projects and raise the amount available under the trust fund for this disaster to include at least $155 million for the LCA construction program in Fiscal Year 2012.
4. Complete construction on LCA projects within five years.
"The path to restoring [the Mississippi River's] precious delta begins with reestablishing the river'...
- READ IT: Louisiana Coastal Restoration Initiative [.pdf] (Nat'l Audobon Society, Environmental Defense Fund, Nat'l Wildlife Federation)
- More on Senate Democrats' Oil Spill & (Sort of) Energy Bill:
- Pelosi on Climate: "This Is An Issue the Senate Can't Walk Away From" (Mother Jones)
- Sen. Mary Landrieu proposes oil spill liability compromise: Plan aims to increase cap without putting smaller firms out of the drilling business (NOLA.com)
- What's in the Senate Oil Spill Bill?: It's Spill Bill Time (Mother Jones)
- Industry comes out firing against Dems' oil spill response plans (The Hill)
- Reid: Renewable electricity mandate still lacks 60 votes (The Hill)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Energy Sec. Chu: "Forcing people to save is a cost that I am willing to bear" (Daily Kos):
Chu: Many people think that the best thing that government can do is get out of the way and let business do their thing. I disagree with that ... there are market failures. International fishing is a market failure. 97% of the fish that we like to eat, like tuna, are gone. That is a market failure. Energy and climate are a market failure ...
Demand for a certain commodity, oil, drives oil companies to go into more risky environments in a way that I didn't understand just a little while ago. As our demand for oil drives them into these areas, the margin for error decreases for a number of reasons. Why? Well, for example, these are ever more remote and difficult areas, you can't go out and touch the hole you're drilling. The ability to control and monitor fracturing decreases ... We've been doing this without thinking. If we don't stop and think about what we're doing, we could end up in deep water ... literally.
- Wind Drives Growing Use of Batteries (NYT Green):
Across the country, it is proving hard to predict the cost and the value of power storage to consumers. The electricity stored in off-peak hours could be quite low in cost, and prices at peak hours could be quite high. If the reliance on renewable energy reduces the need to burn coal and natural gas, that would yield an additional advantage.
- Fix the Farm, Not the Salmon (Mark Bittman)
- Report: U.S. energy policy a "serious threat" to economic, national security: According to itsauthors, an advisory board of 15 top-ranking admirals and generals, the U.S. must be a leader in the race to develop clean energy technology, or it will be forced to remain dependent on foreign nations for its energy needs. (The Hill)
- Pollution makes quarter of China water unusable: ministry: Almost a quarter of China's surface water remains so polluted that it is unfit even for industrial use (Reuters)
- Meanwhile: B.C.'s carbon tax is looking like a winner (Ottawa Citizen):
On July 1, 2008, B.C. embarked on an ambitious climate policy path; it brought in North America's first ever carbon tax shift. Though praised by environmentalists and economists, the measure was soon met by a host of concerns --- that it could increase overall taxes, decrease growth, and hurt low-income families.
Two years later, it is possible to make a preliminary assessment of the tax, to see what lessons it may offer for the rest of the country, and the world. The result: B.C.'s policy experiment seems to be working.
By tying the pollution tax to reduced income taxes, B.C. has shifted from taxing "goods," like working and entrepreneurship, to taxing "bads," like pollution.
- Beware of Scorched-Earth Strategies in Climate Debates (Harvard Belfer Ctr For Science & Affairs):
In fact, market-based policies should be embraced, not condemned by Republicans (as well as Democrats). After all, these policies were innovations developed by conservatives in the Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush administrations (and once strongly condemned by liberals).
To reject this legacy and embrace the failed 1970s policies of one-size-fits-all regulatory mandates would signify unilateral surrender of principled support for markets. If some conservatives oppose energy or climate policies because of disagreement about the threat of climate change or the costs of those policies, so be it. But in the process of debating risks and costs, there should be no tarnishing of market-based policy instruments. Such a scorched-earth approach will come back to haunt when future environmental policies will not be able to use the power of the marketplace to reduce business costs.
- U.S. State Dept. Decision on Pipeline Is Delayed (NYT Green)
- New NOAA Annual Climate Report Shows We Live in a Warming World (Climate Central)
- Plankton decline 40% across oceans as waters warm (BBC)