IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: The new masters of the House: Cow farts and "oversight"; Fox News fights non-existent incandescent light bulb ban; Just three words sum up the BP Oil Spill: "failure of management" ... PLUS: It's the Aflockalypse Now?! The birds, the bees, and the fish .... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): "Unprecedented" settlement to close Massey coal mine; Mourning a hero of Appalachia; Italy bans plastic bags nationwide; Wikileaks: US targeted EU over GM crops; No, roads do NOT pay for themselves; Alaska glacier's clues on sea level rise; OH Gov. Kasich kills jobs by killing high speed rail projects; Coal industry fighting mine safety reforms; China fights off encroaching deserts; Extreme weather worldwide driving up food prices; 10 Ways to Save Money and Energy in the New Year ... PLUS: Yes, Virginia, there are conservative scientists .....
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- The New Masters of the House (of Representatives) --- Rise of the Climate Zombies:
- Climate Zombies Now Run The House (Wonk Room):
The incoming Republican chairs of the House of Representatives plan to send the United States back to the Stone Age with respect to climate policy. All of them opposed the climate legislation supported by President Barack Obama, and now oppose limits on global warming pollution under the Clean Air Act. Several have accused climate scientists of doctoring data and suppressing dissent; the others merely claim climate policy is actually a conspiracy to destroy the American economy.
- Embracing Regulatory Capture (Think Progress):
The phenomenon of “regulatory capture” wherein private interests seize control of the policymaking apparatus for their own interests is a real one.
Today’s profile in shame, Representative Darryl Issa of California:
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) wants the oil industry, drug manufacturers and other trade groups and companies to tell him which Obama administration regulations to target this year.
The incoming chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee – in letters sent to more than 150 trade associations, companies and think tanks last month – requested a list of existing and proposed regulations that would harm job growth.
But a partial list obtained by POLITICO includes ones sent Dec. 13 to Duke Energy, the Association of American Railroads, FMC Corp., Toyota and Bayer. Others receiving inquiries from Issa over the course of the month included the American Petroleum Institute, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) and entities representing health care and telecommunication providers.
- VIDEO: Boehner Struggles to Provide GOP Plan on Carbon Emissions (Talking Points Memo)
- There Is No "Incandescent Light Bulb Ban", Fox News!:
- Perino, Varney Claim There Is A "Ban" On "Incandescent Light Bulbs" (MediaMatter.org)
- Congress Has Not Specifically Outlawed Incandescent Bulbs, Only Inefficient Ones (NY Times, 12/22/2007)
- No ban on incandescent light bulbs (Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 4/20/2010) [emphasis added]:
The word "ban" isn't there. What is there, is a set of standards for making light bulbs more efficient phased in from 2012 to 2014.
Look carefully and you'll also see a whole list of exceptions including: 3-way light light bulbs, 40-watt appliance bulbs and other specialty bulbs, 22 exceptions in all.
The bill is meant to prod manufacturers to improve their products. They are. More and more light bulbs that meet the energy standards are being introduced, including LED light bulbs. They're more costly than the light bulbs we remember, but prices will fall. (Look at the price of CFLs, for example.) Besides, these new bulbs cost less to operate and, because they last longer, you'll be buying fewer bulbs.
- BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf: The National Oil Spill Commission Report Boils Down to THREE WORDS --- "Failure of Management.":
- Government Commission: The Gulf Oil Spill Was Avoidable—But Corporate & Regulatory Mistakes Made It Virtually Inevitable (TIME Eco-Centric blog)
- BP Cost-Cutting Blamed for 'Avoidable' Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (Guardian):
The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was an avoidable disaster caused in part by a series of cost-cutting decisions made by BP and its partners, the White House oil commission said last night.
- Panel: BP Well Blowout Revealed Industry-Wide Problems (McClatchy Newspapers) [emphasis added]:
"The root causes are systemic and, absent significant reform in both industry practices and government policies, might well recur," the panel says in its final report, a chapter of which is being made public Thursday. "The missteps were rooted in systemic failures by industry management . . . and also by failures of government to provide effective regulatory oversight of offshore drilling."
- Oil rig blowout stemmed from systemic management problems, oil spill commission says: The president's Oil Spill Commission has concluded that systemic failures, not a rogue BP management style, caused the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil well blowout in April. (NOLA.com)
- U.S. to ease requirements on some deepwater projects (Environmental News Network)
- Is it the A-FLOCK-alypse? Birds, Bees, and Fish Drop Dead All Over:
- Why the Aflockalypse Is Business As Usual For Biodiversity (TIME Eco-centric blog)
- Researchers find "alarming" decline in bumblebees: (Reuters) [emphasis added]:
Four previously abundant species of bumblebee are close to disappearing in the United States, researchers reported Monday in a study confirming that the agriculturally important bees are being affected worldwide.
They documented a 96 percent decline in the numbers of the four species... "We provide incontrovertible evidence that multiple Bombus species have experienced sharp population declines at the national level," the researchers reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, calling the findings "alarming."
- Birds Died In Arkansas From 'Impact Trauma,' Pathologists Say (NPR)
- 'Very large' fish kill reported in Chesapeake bay: Cold believed cause for 2 million dead spot, croakers (Boston Globe)
- New Zealand: Hundreds of snapper dead on beaches (New Zealand Herald)
- Anger over dead fish left floating in pool (UK Express & Star)
- Cold snaps blamed for dead fish found floating in Spruce Creek (Florida's 13 News)
- Haiti investigates dead fish mystery (EuroNews)
- Large Maryland Fish Kill Extends Trend Of Mass Animal Deaths (RTT News)
- MSHA Settles "Unprecedented" Suit Against Massey (Charleston Gazette):
Federal mine safetyregulators reached an 11th-hour settlement Wednesday with Massey Energy that ends what the Obama administration had touted as a landmark suit to shut down an underground coal mine that government inspectors said posed a continuing hazard to workers.
- Mourning a Hero of Appalachia: Julia "Judy" Bonds, 58, dies; Outspoken opponent of mountaintop removal strip mining: (Washington Post)
- VIDEO: Italy's Nationwide Plastic Bag Ban Begins (Treehugger)
- WikiLeaks: US targets EU over GM crops: US embassy cable recommends drawing up list of countries for 'retaliation' over opposition to genetic modification (Guardian UK):
The US embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any European Union country which opposed genetically modified (GM) crops, newly released WikiLeaks cables show.
In response to moves by France to ban a Monsanto GM corn variety in late 2007, the ambassador, Craig Stapleton, a friend and business partner of former US president George Bush, asked Washington to penalise the EU and particularly countries which did not support the use of GM crops.
- Advancing Alaskan Glacier Holds Clues to Global Sea Level Rise: Scientists aim to find out why an Alaska glacier is ignoring all climate signals as it advances to the sea--and what that means for sea levels around the world. (Scientific American)
- Do roads pay for themselves? Well, no (Grist)
- In Killing Ohio’s High-Speed Rail Project, Kasich Eliminated Private-Sector Jobs He Promised To Create (Think Progress) [emphasis added]:
Kasich undermined his rhetoric by killing Ohio’s high-speed rail project. In doing so, he derailed many businesses’ economic development plans and effectively killed the private-sector jobs he promised to create, leaving one businessman to call his decision “unbelievable,” “mind-boggling,” and “naive”...
“The only thing I can compare it to is the interstate-highway program back in the ’60s. Where would Ohio be today if it opted out of the interstate highway system? To suggest passenger rail would be any different is naive.”
- A Failed Partnership: Longtime tug of war on mine safety (Washington Post) [emphasis added]:
With memories of the nation's worst coal mining accident still fresh --- 29 miners died at the Upper Big Branch site in West Virginia in April -- the administration is challenging coal companies to either change their tactics and voluntarily improve safety or face the harshest sanctions the government can impose.
The new push to strengthen enforcement is already encountering resistance, according to longtime watchers of the coal industry, as companies employ the same legal and political strategies they've honed over decades to block federal reforms.
- China makes gain in battle against desertification but has long fight ahead:
Expert warns it could take 300 years to recover desert land resulting from over-cultivation and water demands (Guradian UK)
- Extreme Weather Helps Drive Up Food Prices (NYT Green)
- 10 Ways to Save Money and Energy in the New Year (US Dept. of Energy blog)
- Scientist proves conservatism and belief in climate change aren't incompatible (LA Times) [emphasis added]:
MIT professor Kerry Emanuel is among a rare breed of conservative scientists who are sounding the alarm for climate change and criticizing Republicans' 'agenda of denial' and 'anti-science stance.'
Some are speaking out, using their expertise and conservative credentials to challenge what many researchers consider widespread distortions about climate change.
Texas Tech atmospheric scientist Katharine Hayhoe is an evangelical Christian who travels widely talking to conservative audiences and wrote a book with her husband, a pastor and former climate change denier, explaining climate change to skeptics.
A physicist by training, John Cook is an evangelical Christian who runs the website skepticalscience.com, which seeks to debunk climate change deniers' arguments. Barry Bickmore is a Mormon, a professor of geochemistry at Brigham Young University and the blogger behind Anti-Climate Change Extremism in Utah, where he recently rebuked Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) for his climate views and posted editorials mentioning his Republican affiliation.>
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...