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!
Grace Institute for Democracy & Election Integrity
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'...
- U.S.: Major Moves on Oil, Coal and Emissions:
- Overhaul of Oil Industry Urged: Spill Panel's Co-Chairman Calls for New Approach to Safety to Prevent Disasters (Wall St. Journal):
The oil and gas industry needs a "major transformation" in its approach to safety to avoid another big offshore-drilling disaster, a leader of the presidential panel investigating the BP PLC accident plans to tell a gathering of industry officials Wednesday.
William K. Reilly, co-chairman of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, also plans to say that BP and two other companies involved with the doomed Macondo well—Halliburton Co. and Transocean Ltd.—made "breathtakingly inept and largely preventable" missteps, according to a copy of his prepared remarks viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
- U.S. Supreme Court to hear utilities' emissions suit appeal: The U.S. Supreme Court said on Monday that it would hear an appeal by four big coal-burning utilities of a ruling that a group of states and New York City can proceed with a global-warming lawsuit seeking to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of the power companies. (Reuters)
- House GOP Rejects Mine Safety Bill Prompted By Upper Big Branch Mine Tragedy: The measure would have made it easier to shut down problem mines, increased penalties for serious safety violations and offered more protection for whistle-blowers. (NPR)
- GOP kills effort to resurrect mine safety bill (Coal Tattoo, Charleston Gazette)
- Far Offshore, A Rash of Close Calls (Wall St. Journal):
The oil industry has said the Deepwater Horizon rig catastrophe was a unique event, the result of an unprecedented series of missteps that are unlikely to be repeated. The recent history of offshore drilling suggests otherwise.
- COP16: Major Developments as the UN Climate Summit in Cancun Races to Close:
- WATCH: Ban Ki-moon urges nations to reach modest climate deal:
Nations must not hold out for perfection, UN secretary-general tells environment ministers as high-level talks formally open (Guardian UK)
- UN climate talks move into decisive phase (AP):
U.N. climate talks moved into their decisive week Monday with the agenda dominated by future cuts in carbon emissions and keeping countries honest about their actions to control global warming.
Government ministers arrived in force to begin applying political muscle to negotiations that in the past week have narrowed some disputes, but which are likely to leave the toughest decisions for the final hours of the 193-nation conference on Friday.
The conference seeks decisions on establishing a "green fund" to help poorer nations rein in greenhouse gases and to adapt their economies and infrastructure to a changing climate; an agreement making it easier for developing nations to obtain patented green technology from advanced nations; and pinning down more elements of a system for compensating developing countries for protecting their forests.
At Cancun, the Chinese ... said all their operations, including fully domestic actions, would be open to international scrutiny.
- The current State of Play, Where do we stand?: Negotiators have been working feverishly over the past several days trying to prepare an unbracketed negotiating text with several options clearly outlined on the most contentious issues. The text will be turned over to high-level ministers to resolve these remaining issues by Friday. (COP16 Outreach)
- Suspicious?: Big business backs deforestation deal: Cancún meeting designed to demonstrate corporate approval of efforts to protect tropical forests (Guardian UK)
- PROTESTS: Thousands March in Cancún at La Via Campesina’s "Global Day of Action for Climate Justice" (Democracy Now!)
- Is REDD the New Green? Indigenous Groups Resist Carbon Market-Based Forestry Scheme to Offset Emissions (Democracy Now!)
- U.N. Climate Talks Seek To Avert Damaging Failure (Planet Ark):
The world's governments struggled on Wednesday to break a deadlock between rich and poor nations on steps to fight global warming and avert a new, damaging setback after they failed to agree a U.N. treaty last year in Copenhagen.
Several ministers warned that failure at the talks in Cancun, Mexico, could undermine faith in the ability of the United Nations' 194 member states to tackle global problems in the 21st century as power shifts toward emerging nations led by China and India.
Negotiators want to set up a new fund to help developing countries combat climate change, work out ways to protect tropical forests, help poor nations adapt to climate change and agree a new mechanism to share clean technologies.
- Benin To GOP: ‘We Are Crushed By The Impact Of Climate Change’ (Wonk Room)
- UN's Tiniest Nation: "Help! We're Drowning": The Nauru emissary sends out a climate change SOS to Cancun negotiators. (Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones)
- At Climate Summitt, Real Action Is Behind the Scenes (Washington Post)
- Cancun High-Level Talks Heat Up Over Climate Financing (Environmental News Service)
- China on Climate Charm Offensive (AFP)
- Demonstrations Ramp Up at COP16 (Greenpeace)
- While UN Negotiations Stall, Climate Science Shows the Consequences of a Rapidly Warming World:
- Climate Change: Adapt or Die?: Global warming could kill a million people a year by 2030. So why's the US stalling on a deal that would help countries adapt? (Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones)
- By The Numbers: True Cost of Inaction on Clean Energy and Climate Change (Wonk Room):
-The U.S. Is Already Paying Billions for International and Domestic Climate Change-related Disasters...
-Inaction Is More Expensive, Meanwhile Business Opportunities Are Lost
-Businesses Are Urging U.S. to Lead on Climate Fund
-U.S. Investment in Climate Finance is of Vital National Interest
-Yet Those Opposed Are Those Most Bankrolled By Big Polluters...
- The Wikileaks Angle: More Diplomatic Cables Show International Diplomacy Deeply Soaked in Oil:
- WikiLeaks cables: Shell's grip on Nigerian state revealed (Guardian UK):
US embassy cables reveal top executive's claims that company 'knows everything' about key decisions in government ministries.
The oil giant Shell claimed it had inserted staff into all the main ministries of the Nigerian government, giving it access to politicians' every move in the oil-rich Niger Delta, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable.
- Cables: Libya threatened trade consequences if Lockerbie bomber wasn’t release (Raw Story):
A Libyan intelligence officer convicted of the bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland was released from prison following threats to British business interests, US State Department documents released by WikiLeaks reveal.
- On BP's behalf: WikiLeaks Cables: Lockerbie Bomber Freed After Gaddafi's 'Thuggish' Threats: The Libyan leader, made explicit and "thuggish" threats to halt all trade deals with Britain and harass embassy staff if Megrahi remained in jail, the cables show. (Guardian UK)
- Cables: U.S. Blocked Iran Candidate Election on U.N. Climate Body (Reuters)
- US envoy rejects suggestion that America bribed countries to sign up to the Copenhagen Accord: Speaking at the Cancún climate change talks, Todd Stern said countries asking for aid are in no position to accuse the US of bribery (Guardian UK) [emphasis added]:
The US climate envoy has reacted angrily to suggestions that America used strong-arm tactics and bribery to force countries to sign up to the voluntary agreement that came out of last year's Copenhagen climate summit.
[U.S. Envoy Todd] Stern added: "We can eliminate any cause or accusation of bribery by eliminating any money."
- Leaked Cables Show US Pressured Saudis to Accept Copenhagen Accord (ClimateWire)
- Copenhagen Cables: The US and China Joined Forces Against Europe (Der Spiegel)
- Watch COP16: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 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.
- 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
- Follow KATE SHEPPARD, "Live Tweeting" the UNFCC Conference in Cancun
- 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)
'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...