With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 12/9/2010, 1:10pm PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Crunch time in Cancun as the UN climate summit races to a close; Major moves in the US over coal, oil and emissions ...PLUS: More WikiLeaking: from Nigeria (who loves both Shell and Dick Cheney!) to Canada to BP ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Now hiring: Craigslist ad for a coal baron; Parking lots a major cause pollution in US lakes; Sec. Chu announces Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Initiative; "Opportunities and Challenges" in nuclear energy: report; Clearing the air: Is your house making you ill?; Report: Global Clean Power: A $2.3 Trillion Opportunity; Improved car batteries 5 years off ... PLUS: US v. China: Building a Skilled Clean Energy Work Force --- a Tale of Two Countries ....

STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...

  • Talk about 'a killer parking space':American urban lake pollution traced to parking lot seal coat (McClatchy Newspapers):
    A black sealant sprayed on parking lots, driveways and playgrounds turns out to be the largest contributor to the rise of a toxic pollutant in urban lakes and reservoirs across America, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.

    Scientists saw concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) going up rapidly in the 1990s in areas of urban sprawl. PAHs have been known as a probable human carcinogen since the 19th century, when cancer struck chimney sweeps, said Peter Van Metre, a USGS scientist and a principal author of the report. PAHs also are toxic to fish and other aquatic plant and animal life.

  • Funny!: A Craigslist Ad For a Coal Baron (Josh Harkinson, Mother Jones):
    On Friday, Don Blankenship, the most hated coal baron in America, resigned as CEO and chairman of Massey Energy.
    ...
    "Massey Energy seeks a new Chief Executive Officer to carry on its important work destroying the environment and jeopardizing the health and safety of its employees. This position will oversee all Massey Energy operations (but don't worry - stringent or really any oversight is not a corporate priority)."
  • Secretary Chu Joins Seven Other Agencies in Launching Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Initiative (Dept. of Energy):
    The Initiative is the country’s first-ever federal government coordinated effort to support renewable energy and energy efficiency exports. Through the implementation of 23 interagency actions, the Initiative will facilitate a significant increase of renewable energy and energy efficiency exports during the next five years, helping to meet the goals of the National Export Initiative and President Obama’s challenge to become the leading exporter of clean energy technologies.
  • Clearing the air: Is your house making you ill? (Redbook):
    As the weather cools, we shut our windows and batten down the hatches. But we may be closing ourselves in with nasty chemicals. Read this and take easy steps to clean up indoor air pollution.
    ...
    In light of this, scientists are beginning to suspect that it may be these indoor nasties — not just outdoor smog — that are responsible for rising rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases. Indoor pollution can also cause headaches, flu-like symptoms, and, in serious cases, neurological problems.
  • Report: "Opportunities and Challenges" in a Nuclear Energy Renassaisance (Council on Foreign Relations):
    Concerns over climate change and energy security have spurred countries to reevaluate their energy policies. After decades of decline, nuclear power is increasinly presented as an option to meet gorwing electricity demands. Global construction of new reactors is on the rise, with some observers predicting a renaissance for nuclear power. Still, there exists an array of obstacles to expansion.

    This interactive guide explores the past, present and future of nuclear power, focusing on its unique benefits and risks.

  • The Real "Glaciergate" (Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones):
    Sometimes I wonder how the public can still be so confused about global warming. But reading the news sometimes, it's really fairly obvious. Take, for example, today's top candidate for most misleading headline of the year, from the Telegraph: "Cancun climate change summit: glaciers increasing despite climate change."

    Holy counterintuitive, Batman! But wait—that's not actually what the article, or the report it refers to, really says. Good thing you only have to read to the second paragraph to get the real story...

  • Global Clean Power: A $2.3 Trillion Opportunity (Pew Environment Group):
    Global Clean Power: A $2.3 Trillion Opportunity (PDF) examines private investment in clean, renewable energy assets through 2020 under three policy scenarios: Business-as-usual: no change from current policies; Copenhagen: policies to implement the pledges made at the 2009 international climate negotiations in Copenhagen and; Enhanced clean energy: maximized policies designed to stimulate increased investment and capacity additions. The underlying data for this report were compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the world's leading provider of news, data and analysis on clean energy and carbon market finance and investment.
  • Improved car batteries 5 years off: energy chief (Reuters) [emphasis added]:
    Cars that run on batteries will begin to be competitive with ones that burn petroleum fuels in about five years, the U.S. energy secretary said at the annual U.N. climate talks.

    "It's not like it's 10 years off," Secretary Steven Chu said at a press conference on U.S. clean energy efforts on the sidelines of the climate talks. "It's about five years and it could be sooner. Meanwhile, the batteries we do have today are soon going to get better by a factor of two," said Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist.

  • Building a Skilled Clean Energy Work Force --- a Tale of Two Countries (ClimateWire):
    When President Obama last year proposed a "historic commitment" to empower Americans with a clean energy education program, his speech appeared to have reminded Chinese leaders of their own educational needs.

    A few months later, China's prime minister, Wen Jiabao, gave a speech in Beijing, calling for creating more world-class scientists here to work in cutting-edge fields. And clean energy topped Wen's list.

    But their similar pitches had different outcomes...