IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: After failure in Copenhagen, the next climate summit begins in Cancun, Mexico; Bye-bye Bluefin Tuna (Sorry, Charlie!)... PLUS: The Earth, now in 3D ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Greenpeace Sues Chemical and PR Firms for "Unlawful" Spying; Study Warns GMO Salmon pose serious risks to society; For EPA regulations, benefits consistently exceed costs; Accusations of Plagiarism Mount Over GOP's 2006 Climate Skeptic "Wegman Report"; Pittsburgh Bans Natural Gas Drilling; States Diverting Money From Climate Initiative ... PLUS: 8 Electric-Car Myths Busted ....
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Fox News Watch's Scott: "Maybe it's time for the granola-crunching press to change its doom-and-gloom message" on global warming (MediaMatters.org):
- Denying Global Warming, Fox News Bashes ‘Granola-Crunching’ ‘Doom-And-Gloom’ ‘Idiots’ (Think Progress)
- COP16: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change begins in Cancun, Mexico:
- The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; Watch the Proceedings Live HERE Via Streaming Video (UNFCCC):
The United Nations Climate Change Conference is taking place in Cancun, Mexico, from 29 November to 10 December 2010. It encompasses the sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP) and the sixth Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP), as well as the thirty-third sessions of both the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), and the fifteenth session of the AWG-KP and thirteenth session of the AWG-LCA.
- WATCH: COP 16 opening press briefing: Addressing the media on the opening day of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, Christiana Figueres said that Cancun can launch a new era in the pace of global action on climate change, where each year brings increasingly effective answers to keep humanity on track to a safer future. She said that Cancun will not solve everything, but needs to keep ambition alive and will be successful if Parties compromise.
- LIVE BLOGGING the Cancún climate summit:
Follow live updates from the Cancún climate change conference as thousands of officials, campaigners and activists join world leaders for the start of two weeks of crucial talks (Guardian UK)
- FOLLOW the proceedings on TWITTER: #COP16
- Climate: 5 Ways of Looking at the UN Climate Summit in Cancun (Bryan Walsh, TIME):
[H]ere's a rundown of the major issues that will be up for debate in Mexico:
CopenCun: That's what World Resources Institute president Jonathan Lash has called the upcoming meetings, because Cancun first needs to deal with the hangover from the Copenhagen Accord, signed at the last-minute last December. The Accord was drafted as a way to sidestep the problem of dividing up emissions reductions, which has plagued international climate negotiations for nearly two decades....[MORE]
- Yes We Cancun? (Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones):
This year's Conference of the Parties-or COP, as it's known-is certainly kicking off to much less hype than last year's meeting in Copenhagen, when delegates were expecting a major breakthrough on negotiations. Expectations are much lower this year, but there's hope that progress might yet be possible.
You can check out my run down of what to expect over the next two weeks at Mother Jones HQ. I'll be reporting live from Mexico for the next two weeks.
- 10 Reasons Why the Cancun Talks Will Fail (Greenbiz, via Reuters):
It's fitting that the talks are being held in a vacation resort, where people go to escape --- because only by ignoring what's happening in the rest of the world is it possible to take these U.N. negotiations seriously.
- REDD side-events in Cancun: Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD-Monitor)
- California Floats Plan B in Cancun: California is moving ahead with its plans to organize a network of sub-national cooperation, called the R20, which Governor Schwarzenegger announced in Copenhagen last year and officially launched at his summit in Davis two weeks ago. (KQED San Francisco)
- Oil companies and banks will profit from UN forest protection scheme (Guardian UK)
- ANALYSIS: Cancun and Climate: Government Won't Act, But Business Will (The Curious Capitalist blog, TIME):
No matter how unequivocal the scientific evidence is that climate is changing and human activity is a central factor, nearly 7 billion people loosely represented by a few hundred governments are agreed on nothing. We know the reasons why action on climate is frozen: emerging countries such as China, India and Brazil will not accept limits that stifle their rapid emergence; developed countries such as the United States and the European Union can't or won't subsidize efforts abroad; and the U.S. federal government can't even agree on binding limits for America itself. While everyone shares the sentiment that they do not want to destroy the earth or ruin it for their grandchildren, there is no consensus on how to shift global economic activity in a more sustainable direction.
- Climate change will cost a billion people their homes, says report (Guardian UK)
- INTERACTIVE GRAPHS!: Cancún: The crucial climate data:
Find out how the key countries compare, from carbon emissions to climate aid. Source for climate aid pledges: WRI (Guardian UK)
- Greenpeace: Calculate the Cost of Inaction on Climate Change at CostsOfClimateChange.org (Greenpeace)
- Global Emissions to Reach Record Levels in 2010>
- World is warming quicker than thought in past decade, says Met Office (Guardian UK):
The world warmed more rapidly than previously thought over the past decade, according to a Met Office report published today, which finds the evidence for man-made climate change has grown even stronger over the last year.
- Royal Society special issue details ‘hellish vision’ of 7°F (4°C) world — which we may face in the 2060s!: "In such a 4°C world, the limits for human adaptation are likely to be exceeded in many parts of the world, while the limits for adaptation for natural systems would largely be exceeded throughout the world." (Climate Progress)
- Climate change scientists warn of 4C global temperature rise: Team of experts say such an increase would cause severe droughts and see millions of migrants seeking refuge (Guardian UK)
- 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.
- Deaths from climate-related disasters more than double in 2010: Climate-related disasters killed 21,000 people in the first nine months of this year, more than double the number in 2009, the humanitarian organization Oxfam reported on Monday. (Reuters)
- Climate change could cut clean water to three billion people: report: Almost half of humanity could lose clean water access due to climate change, according to a British report to be released tomorrow ahead of an international climate change conference in Mexico. (Raw Story)
- Sorry, Charlie: Bye-bye Bluefin... But A Little Good News For Endangered Sharks
- International Tuna Meeting Fails to Reduce Bluefin Quotas - Short-Term Profits Trump Sustainability (Treehugger)
- New Bluefin Tuna Quota Levels Are A "Mockery of Science" (Treehugger, Nov. 2008)
- Bluefin tuna still largely unprotected as conservation conference ends: Environmental groups criticise 'measly' 4% reduction in fishing quota, which they say will do little to protect declining stocks which are also under threat from illegal fishing (Guardian UK)
- A Dirge for the Bluefin Tuna: International fisheries negotiators dashed hopes for protection of the bluefin tuna over the weekend in Paris, agreeing to leave fishing quotas for the endangered fish essentially unchanged next year. Conservationists did claim small victories in measures to protect sharks and turtles, however. (NYT Green)
- Fraud, Criminal Misconduct, and the $4 Billion Black Market in Bluefin Tuna (Treehugger):
When, perhaps in as little as two years' time, when the Atlantic bluefin tuna is fished out of existence, know that it was rampant fraud, lack of oversight, and criminal misconduct that was the cause. A new report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists dishes the dirty details of the $4 billion black market in this critically endangered fish.
- Environmentalists: fishing quota could be death sentence for bluefin tuna (Mongabay.com)
- NOW SHOWING: The Earth in 3D - New Google Earth Tracks Human Impact on Earth Over Time:
- Get Google Earth in 3D
- Google Introduces Earth 6, Mixing In 3D Elements, Street View Photos and Trees (TMCnet)
- The next great crash will be ecological - and nature doesn't do bailouts (Johann Hari, The Independent UK)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- 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.
- 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)
- Greenpeace Sues Chemical and PR Firms for "Unlawful" Spying (Mother Jones)"
In 2008, Mother Jones blew the lid off corporate black ops against environmental groups. Now one of the targets is fighting back.
More than two years ago, Mother Jones exposed a private security firm run by former Secret Service agents that had spied on an array of environmental groups on behalf of corporate clients, in some cases infiltrating unsuspecting organizations with operatives posing as activists. Now, one of the targets of this corporate espionage is fighting back.
On Monday, Greenpeace filed suit in federal district court in Washington, DC, against the Dow Chemical Company and Sasol North America, charging that the two multinational chemical manufacturers sought to thwart its environmental campaigns against genetically engineered foods and chemical pollution through elaborate undercover operations.
- Pittsburgh Bans Natural Gas Drilling (YES! Magazine):
In a historic vote, the City of Pittsburgh today adopted a first-in-the-nation ordinance banning corporations from natural gas drilling in the city.
Faced with the potential for drilling - and the controversial new practice known as “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing - within city limits, the Pittsburgh City Council unanimously said “no.” Fracking means injecting water laced with sand and toxic chemicals underground to create deep ground explosions that release the gas.
Fracking has been demonstrated to be a threat to surface and groundwater, and has been blamed for fatal explosions, the contamination of drinking water, rivers, and streams. Because it disturbs rock that’s laced not only with methane, but with carcinogens like benzene and radioactive ores like uranium, forcing the mix to the surface adds to the dangers.
- States Diverting Money From Climate Initiative (NY Times):
In New Hampshire, the state took $3.1 million from a similar environmental fund. And in New Jersey, the government diverted its whole share: $65 million.
At least three financially troubled states have discovered in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade system, a convenient pool of money that can be drawn on to help balance state budgets.
In just over two years, the initiative, known as RGGI, has generated more than $729 million for the 10 states that have participated.
- 8 Electric-Car Myths Busted: Will plug-in cars fry the grid? Bust your budget? Leave you stranded in the sticks? (Mother Jones):
The Volt can go 40 miles on battery power and another 310 thanks to an auxiliary gas engine, which kicked in smoothly as I floored it up a hill during a recent test drive. The Leaf is—even cooler—completely electric, with a range of about 100 miles. In 2011, Ford, Mitsubishi, and Mercedes-Benz plan to introduce their own tailpipe-free models. GE has ordered up thousands for its sales force, and the federal government has set a target for 1 million electric vehicles by 2015. (A good step, even considering the 246 million or so gas vehicles already on the road.) Are we finally ready after years of false starts? Despite widespread public jitters, the experts I polled said yes. Herewith, eight e-car worries not to spin your wheels over....