IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: 29 coal miners still trapped in NZ; Summit to save the wild tiger; Inching forward in the UN international climate negotiations ...PLUS: Getting ready for Thanksgiving with relatives who are climate change skeptics? There's an app for that ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): New BP report looks behind-the-scenes in BP oil spill efforts; CA Governor declares emergency over water contamination; Study warns FDA over risks of genetically engineered salmon; Economic data shows EPA regulations consistently cost less than predictions; Nissan Leaf to get 99 mpg ... PLUS: If the GOP really cared about grandchildren: debunking the myth that clean energy incentives are "job killers" ....
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Got Climate Change Denier Relatives?: DOWNLOAD the FREE SkepticalScience.com SmartPhone App! (SkepticalScience.com)
- 29 Miners Trapped in New Zealand Coal Mine:
- Fate of New Zealand Miners Growing Bleaker (NY Times)
- Robot breakdown delays rescue of trapped NZ miners (AP)
- International Summit to Save the Wild Tiger:
- Vladimir Putin and World Bank chief stage summit to save the tiger: (Guardian UK):
• Event aims to secure £220m for tiger conservation
• Leaders to sign pledges on poaching and safe areas
The International Tiger Forum in St Petersburg is being staged in response to a calamitous 97% decline in tigers in the wild over a century.
The Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, and the president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, were behind the four-day event, during which it is hoped that $350m (£220m) will be secured for tiger conservation.
The forum – which is taking place during the international year of biodiversity and the Chinese year of the tiger – will also include the unveiling of an international consortium to combat wildlife crime and pledges to tighten protection by the 13 countries where tigers live.
- Tiger Summit considering $130M in funding, DiCaprio pledges $1M (Digital Journal):
The Tiger Summit which started on Sunday, sought to change all this. Top politicians from 13 countries, such as India, China and Indonesia, gathered in St Petersburg, Russia, hosted by PM Vladimir Putin. The goal is to reverse the declining rate, and to double the population by 2022, under the Global Tiger Initiative. A purposed $330 million dollars to be spent over the next five years to fund equipment and people.
- Putin may be the tiger's champion, but China will decide the species' future: Chinese Premier Wen's vague words at the tiger summit do little to inspire confidence in the country that drives a gruesome trade
- Global Emissions to Reach Record Levels in 2010, After Declining in 2009
- Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions Climb as Economy Recovers (Environment News Service):
Global emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide are likely to reach record levels in 2010, according to research led by the University of Exeter, published today in the journal "Nature Geoscience." The 2009 drop in emissions due to the global financial crisis will be more than offset by renewed growth in fossil fuel burning in 2010.
The global financial crisis affected western economies, leading to large reductions in CO2 emissions. Emissions in the United Kingdom were 8.6 percent lower in 2009 than in 2008. Similar figures apply to the United States, Japan, France, Germany, and most other industrialized nations.
But the economic performance of emerging economies was strong despite the financial crisis, and they recorded substantial increases in CO2 emissions - China's emissions rose eight percent, for instance, and India's rose 6.2 percent.
- Inching Forward: COP16 International Climate Negotiations Open Next Week In Cancun:
- LISTEN: BBC's One Planet: The Calm Before Cancun (BBC):
With less than two weeks to go before climate change negotiators meet once more to try and thrash out an international deal on cutting carbon emissions, One Planet travels to Bonn to meet the woman who will be at the very heart of the talks: Christiana Figueres, the new head of the UNFCCC.
After disappointment at Copenhagen, we ask Ms Figueres what realistically can be achieved in Cancun, Mexico, whether focusing on a global agreement is the right path to follow and how much sleep she's getting ahead of the talks.
- As world warms, negotiators give talks another try (AP):
The last time the world warmed, 120,000 years ago, the Cancun coastline was swamped by a 7-foot rise in sea level in a few decades. A week from now at that Mexican resort, frustrated negotiators will try again to head off a new global deluge.
- Growing a Forest, and Harvesting Jobs: Mexican Village is Gold Standard for Forest Protection Programs (NY Times)
- Indonesia eyeing $1bn climate aid to cut down forests, says Greenpeace: Vague legal definitions may allow Indonesia to class forests as 'degraded' and 'rehabilitate' the land with palm trees and biofuel crops (Guardian UK)
- Rich Nations Fail to Keep Copenhagen Climate Funding Promise: Rich countries are failing to keep the $30 billion promise they made last year to provide "fast-start climate finance" to help the world's poorest countries adapt to the impacts of climate change. (Environment News Service)
- Got Climate Change Denier Relatives? There's An App For That:
- DOWNLOAD the FREE SkepticalScience.com SmartPhone App! (SkepticalScience.com)
- Climate change scepticism is about more than just science: Debate on climate change is dominated by disputes about personal values, regulation and government intervention in our lives (Guardian UK)
- Graph-tastic!:10 Indicators of a Human Fingerprint on Climate Change (SkepticalScience.com)
- The question that skeptics don't want to ask about 'Climategate' (SkepticalScience.com)
- A Scientific Guide to the 'Skeptics Handbook' (SkepticalScience.com):
Not long ago, I read the Skeptics Handbook which displays some fundamental misunderstandings of how our climate works.
Nevertheless, there was something else that needed to be said. The 'Skeptics Handbook' begins by asking "what evidence is there that more CO2 forces temperatures up further?" It then lays out 4 arguments: the greenhouse signature is missing, CO2 lags temperature, it's not warming and the CO2 effect is saturated. The great irony of the 'Skeptics Handbook' is when you examine these 4 arguments and the full body of empirical evidence that goes with them, what you actually find is the evidence that more CO2 forces temperatures up further.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- CA Governor declares emergency over water contamination in Barstow (LA Times):
High levels of perchlorate were found in the Mojave Desert city's water supply. Residents have been flocking to grocery stores to buy water, and the school district is prepared to provide students with bottled water when classes resume Monday.
Perchlorate, a type of salt derived from perchloric acid, has been found in drinking water in at least 35 states. It can interfere with iodine uptake in the thyroid gland. The thyroid, which releases hormones, helps with proper development in children and helps regulate metabolism.
According to the governor's declaration, more than 40,000 customers were without their normal supply of drinking water, and several restaurants, hotels and other businesses had to close because of the contamination.
Meanwhile, residents still need to drink.
- U.S. commission study describes behind-the-scenes tension, mistakes behind BP oil spill efforts (AP):
A single picture from a cell phone camera may have saved the Gulf of Mexico from a few more weeks — if not months — of oil gushing from the BP well.
A new study from the presidential oil spill commission describes the behind-the-scenes, excruciating tension and mistakes behind the three-month effort to cap the busted well. More than anything the report pulled back the curtain on what happened during hectic times as 172 million gallons of oil gushed into the Gulf from April 20 to July 15.
- How BP Clashed and Cooperated With Scientists (Science):
A detail-rich, 39-page working paper from staff members of the oil spill commission says the government and BP have "much to take pride in" for their response to the crisis, given that "neither was ready for a disaster of this nature."
Particularly interesting is the paper's report on relations between government and academic scientists—most from U.S. Department of Energy national labs—and staff members from BP and other companies. At first, because the Department of Energy researchers did not have a formal role within the "Unified Command" structure set up to control the gusher, they were shut out of meetings for the first month or so. The effort bumbled through the top hat, junk shot, and top kill strategies—all of which failed.
- Study Warns GMO Salmon pose serious risks to society (INN World report):
A new study has warned genetically modified salmon, which the US Food and Drug administration is about to approve for human consumption, poses serious risks to society. If approved, the quick-growing salmon would be the first "Frankenfood" animal approved for consumption by the US public. The study by US and Norwegian researchers, published in the journal Science, contends “not enough is known about the wider impacts on society of bringing such foods on the market, including a potentially major shift in dietary habits, buying practices and environmental hazards.”
- Troubling Emails Reveal Federal Scientists Fear FDA Approval of Genetically Engineered Salmon (Food & Water Watch)
- For EPA regulations, benefits consistently exceed costs (Climate Progress):
Research shows that the benefits of environmental regulations consistently exceed costs, in part because they end up costing far less than both industry and the EPA predict.
When EPA promulgates regulations, industry often expresses concern that the regulations will cause extreme economic hardship. Now this argument is being made regarding EPA regulation of carbon pollution using existing legal authorities like the Clean Air Act.
In fact, there is extensive literature showing that the costs of environmental regulations are more than offset by a broad range of economic, public health and jobs-related benefits. Additionally, initial cost estimates are consistently found to be exaggerated. Economists and researchers who have compared actual costs with initial projections report that regulations generally end up costing far less than the dire predictions from industry and even, as an RFF study shows [pdf], below cost projections by the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Nissan Leaf Runs Equivalent Of 99 Miles Per Gallon (AP):
The Nissan Leaf, an electric car aimed at attracting environmentally conscious motorists, will get the equivalent of 99 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving, based on government testing.
Nissan and General Motors Co. are both releasing electric cars within weeks in the auto industry's most prominent attempt at mass-producing vehicles that shift away from petroleum. The Leaf does not have a gas engine and must be recharged once its battery is depleted.
Both vehicles qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit. Some states and communities are offering additional tax breaks that will lower the price further.
- Accusations of Plagiarism Mount Over GOP's 2006 Climate Skeptic "Wegman Report":
- Experts claim 2006 climate report plagiarized: An influential 2006 congressional report that raised questions about the validity of global warming research was partly based on material copied from textbooks, Wikipedia and the writings of one of the scientists criticized in the report, plagiarism experts say. (USA Today)
- Climate science critic responds to allegations: The author of a report critical of climate scientists defended himself against plagiarism charges Tuesday, and denied he was pressured by Republicans to tilt the report. Wegman was the lead author of a 2006 congressional climate science report that has become central in the debate over whether findings of global warming are warranted by scientific evidence. (USA Today)
- Replication and due diligence, Wegman style (Deep Climate)
- OP-ED: Former Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY): Can the party of Reagan accept the science of climate change? (Washington Post):
There is a natural aversion to more government regulation. But that should be included in the debate about how to respond to climate change, not as an excuse to deny the problem's existence. The current practice of disparaging the science and the scientists only clouds our understanding and delays a solution. The record flooding, droughts and extreme weather in this country and others are consistent with patterns that scientists predicted for years. They are an ominous harbinger.
- WATCH: If the GOP Really Cared About Grandchildren, Plus: Debunking the Myth that Incentives for Clean Energy Is A Job Killer:: Chris Hayes with Christina Brown of the United Steel Workers Union (The Rachel Maddow Show, 11/22/2010):