With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
Green Christmas edition!
By Desi Doyen on 12/23/2010, 1:19pm PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Paging Erin Brokovich: carcinogen found in tap water in 31 U.S. cities; California leads the way - again - this time on cap-and-trade; Not to mix metaphors, but there's a silver lining to that lame duck ... PLUS: Having a little fun over Christmas with your climate denier relatives ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Climate Change and 'Balanced' Coverage; Deep doo doo: What warming of 2C looks like; Undermining China's stranglehold on rare earth elements; BP Gulf Disaster: Conflict of interest questions raised in blowout preventer testing; Land grab: Foreign investors evicting African farmers; Green Marines: U.S. Military Sees Great Value in Distributed Renewable Energy; Have a 'greener' Christmas! ... PLUS: Burying the Lede: We May Hit 400ppm by 2014: A Scientist, His Work, and a Climate Reckoning ....

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

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

  • Climate Change and 'Balanced' Coverage (NYT Green) [emphasis added]:
    In fact, as Dr. Alley reminds anyone who will listen, and as he recently told a Congressional committee, the estimate of 5 or 6 degrees is actually mildly optimistic. Computer programs used to forecast future climate show it as the most likely outcome from a doubling of carbon dioxide, but those programs also show substantial probabilities that the warming will be much greater.

    The true worst case from doubled carbon dioxide is closer to 18 or 20 degrees of warming, Dr. Alley said - an addition of heat so radical that it would render the planet unrecognizable to its present-day inhabitants.

  • Green Marines: U.S. Military Sees Great Value in Distributed Renewable Energy (Energy Self-Reliant States blog)
  • African Farmers Displaced as Investors Move In (NY Times):
    The half-dozen strangers who descended on this remote West African village brought its hand-to-mouth farmers alarming news: their humble fields, tilled from one generation to the next, were now controlled by Libya's leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, and the farmers would all have to leave.
    ...
    Across Africa and the developing world, a new global land rush is gobbling up large expanses of arable land. Despite their ageless traditions, stunned villagers are discovering that African governments typically own their land and have been leasing it, often at bargain prices, to private investors and foreign governments for decades to come.
  • Have A 'Greener' Christmas
  • Undermining China's Monopoly on Rare Earth Elements Full operations will start at a U.S. mine by the end of next year. (MIT Technology Review):
    Molycorp has secured the permits and funding needed to restart production at a mine in Mountain Pass, California, that would become the first U.S. source of rare earth elements in more than a decade. The mine is one of the world's richest deposits of these elements, which are critical for making components found in a wide range of technologies. On Tuesday, the company announced that it will partner with Hitachi Metals of Japan to turn materials from the mine into high-strength magnets, which are vital in electric vehicles, wind turbines, and many other products.
  • BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf: Conflict of interest questions raised in blowout preventer testing (Fuel Fix):
    A Transocean supervisor who worked on the Deepwater Horizon rig before it exploded has since participated in an investigation of the blowout preventer that failed to stop gushing oil from the well it was drilling - a possible conflict of interest that a congressional critic says threatens the integrity of the probe.
  • Deep doo-doo: A Conversation with Bill McKibben (Grist) [emphasis added]:
    Yes, global average warming is "only" about a degree, but that is actually a lot. During the last major ice age, when New York, Minneapolis, and Seattle were under an ice sheet a mile thick, global average temperature was about 5 degrees colder than it is now. The last time Earth was 2 degrees warmer so much ice melted that sea level was about twenty-five meters (eighty feet) higher than it is today.
  • Burying the Lede: We May Hit 400ppm by 2014: A Scientist, His Work, and a Climate Reckoning (NY Times):
    By 2005, the year he died, the number had risen to 380 parts per million. Sometime in the next few years it is expected to pass 400. Without stronger action to limit emissions, the number could pass 560 before the end of the century, double what it was before the Industrial Revolution.

    The greatest question in climate science is: What will that do to the temperature of the earth?

    Scientists have long known that carbon dioxide traps heat at the surface of the planet. They cite growing evidence that the inexorable rise of the gas is altering the climate in ways that threaten human welfare.

    Fossil fuel emissions, they say, are like a runaway train, hurtling the world's citizens toward a stone wall - a carbon dioxide level that, over time, will cause profound changes.