With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 1/20/2011, 1:16pm PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Fox "News": The most disinformative name in news!; California retreats...from the rising ocean; Update in the investigation of the nation's worst coal mine accident in 40 years; Northern hemisphere's growing season is growing longer ... PLUS: Shh, don't tell Fox! The Chinese president is a "global warming alarmist" ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Secret USDA study shows new pesticide is killing bees; Taxpayers subsidize "free" parking; Biotech firm patents organism that poops oil; Fracking Hell: the untold story of natural gas development in the Northeast; Interior Dept. further separates offshore drilling agency; Apple Computers criticized over toxic supply chain; EU halts carbon market as permits feared stolen in data breach; Sharks seen in flooded Australia towns ... PLUS: DDT Babies?: 99% of pregnant women have toxic chemicals in their blood ....

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

  • VIDEO: Fox's MacCallum Doesn't Know What The EPA Does (MediaMatters.org):
    During a segment criticizing the Obama administration's relationship with the business community, Fox "straight news" anchor Martha MacCallum claimed that "it is not customary for the EPA to tell car companies how to run their business." In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency has set mandatory vehicle emission standards since the early 1970s.
  • On State Visit to U.S., Chinese President Hu Jintao Confirms He Is A "Global Warming Alarmist":
    • WATCH: President Obama Hosts State Dinner, Joint Press Conference for Chinese President Hu Jintao (C-SPAN)
    • Obama: U.S., China have ‘responsibility’ to fight global warming (The Hill) [emphasis added]:
      “We’re moving ahead with our U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center and joint ventures in wind power, smart grids and cleaner coal,” Obama said in the East Room appearance with Hu.

      “I believe that as the two largest energy consumers and emitters of greenhouses gases, the United States and China have a responsibility to combat climate change by building on the progress at Copenhagen and Cancun, and showing the way to a clean energy future. And President Hu indicated that he agrees with me on this issue,” Obama said.

    • U.S. Seals Energy Deals as Hu Arrives for Visit (Wall St. Journal):
      Both sides have been sparring over clean-energy development. In December, the U.S. accused China of subsidizing wind-power projects and breaking World Trade Organization rules, after the United Steelworkers union raised concerns over Chinese subsidies.

      The deals were meant to show the upside of working together.

  • China Eating U.S. Lunch On Clean Energy: Yet Another U.S. Solar Panel Manufacturer Moving to China:
    • Solar Panel Maker Moves Work to China (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
      Evergreen, in announcing its move to China, was unusually candid about its motives. Michael El-Hillow, the chief executive, said in a statement that his company had decided to close the Massachusetts factory in response to plunging prices for solar panels. World prices have fallen as much as two-thirds in the last three years — including a drop of 10 percent during last year’s fourth quarter alone.

      Chinese manufacturers, Mr. El-Hillow said in the statement, have been able to push prices down sharply because they receive considerable help from the Chinese government and state-owned banks, and because manufacturing costs are generally lower in China.
      ...
      [W]e expect the United States will continue to be at a disadvantage from a manufacturing standpoint,” he said.

    • We can’t beat China at cleantech as long as GOP keeps kissing fossil-fuel ass (Grist)
    • Foreign Policy Mag: To be green or not to be (Foreign Policy):
      [T]he single most important cause of America's current high unemployment and relative economic decline... is not our mediocre K-12 education system, our high, marginal corporate tax rate, our federal budget deficit, our business regulatory system, our health care and retirement systems, our crumbling infrastructure, or our soaring federal debt. Rather, it is the fact that we have no economic or technological strategy.

      We, of course, have a military and national security strategy and devote enormous resources and talent to developing, maintaining, and executing it. But for the United States, national security has nothing to do with economics and our productive base. We wouldn't consider offshoring the production of our fighter jets, CIA drones, and warships. But when it comes to solar cells, wind generators, and other advanced technology we almost beg companies to move their production out of the U.S.

  • Update in the Investigation of the Upper Big Branch Mine Explosion that Killed 29 Miners:
    • MSHA outlines key problems that led to mine disaster (WV Gazette):
      Mining bits on the longwall machine were worn out, exposing steel shafts that could easily spark when they hit a piece of rock embedded in the coal seam. Key water sprays were missing or inoperable, leaving miners without an important protection against methane ignitions.

      Mine operators ignored repeated warnings from their own workers to spread more crushed stone, or rock dust, to prevent coal dust that had built up along miles of underground tunnels from providing fuel for an explosion.

    • News from the MSHA mine disaster briefing (Coal Tattoo, WV Gazette)
    • Rep. Miller renews call for mine safety reforms (Coal Tattoo, WV Gazette):
      In light of information released today by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) called on Congress to move on legislation immediately that would close loopholes in federal mine safety law that contributed to the inability of MSHA to prevent the Upper Big Branch mine tragedy. House Republicans voted to block the passage of mine safety legislation on December 8.
  • New Data on Global Warming: Growing Season is Growing Longer, Snow Cover Is Melting Earlier:
    • Growing season now 12 days longer over Northern Hemisphere (Climate Signals)
    • The Great Water Heist: CO Snow Now Melts 3 Weeks Earlier (Climate Central) [emphasis added]:
      Rust colored desert dust on the snowpack has been causing snow to melt on average three weeks earlier than it did before human activities in the West disturbed its pristine ecosystem, around the middle of the 19th century...
      ...
      This has been robbing the river of some 750,000 acre-feet of water each year, on average, compared to the undisturbed conditions that preceded human settlement. Astonishingly, that’s enough to supply the entire city of Los Angeles for 18 months.
  • California Retreats --- From the Ocean:
    • In Ventura, a retreat in the face of a rising sea (LA Times) [emphasis added]:
      Higher ocean levels force Ventura officials to move facilities inland, an action that is expected to recur along the coast as the ocean rises over the next century.

      At Surfers Point in Ventura, California is beginning its retreat from the ocean.

      Construction crews are removing a crumbling bike path, ripping out a 120-space parking lot and laying down sand and cobblestones. By pushing the asphalt 65 feet inland, the project is expected to give the wave-ravaged point 50 more years of life.

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

  • Exclusive: Bees facing a poisoned spring: A new kind of pesticide, widely used in UK, may be helping to kill off the world's honeybees (UK Independent):
    A new generation of pesticides is making honeybees far more susceptible to disease, even at tiny doses, and may be a clue to the mysterious colony collapse disorder that has devastated bees across the world, the US government's leading bee researcher has found. Yet the discovery has remained unpublished for nearly two years since it was made by the US Department of Agriculture's Bee Research Laboratory.

    The release of such a finding from the American government's own bee lab would put a major question mark over the use of neonicotinoid insecticides – relatively new compounds which mimic the insect-killing properties of nicotine, and which are increasingly used on crops in the US, Britain and around the world.

  • Six reasons free parking is the dumbest thing you didn’t know you were subsidizing (Grist)
  • Apple Computers is secretive about 'polluting and poisoning' supply chain, says report: Apple comes joint last among IT firms in a transparency study drawn up by leading Chinese environment groups (Guardian UK)
  • Podesta joins biotech firm with patent promising liquid fuels from solar energy (Raw Story):
    The company, Joule Unlimited, was granted a patent in September for their first in a series of microscopic organisms --- genetically altered versions of the E. coli bacteria --- that use sunlight and water in a process similar to photosynthesis to convert captured CO2 into usable crude oil.
    ...
    "Unlike biofuel processes that require costly intermediates such as sugar, algal or agricultural biomass, Joule is the first to achieve and patent a direct, single-step, continuous process for the production of hydrocarbon fuels requiring no raw material feedstocks – setting the stage for fossil fuel replacement at unprecedented efficiencies and costs as low as $30 per barrel equivalent," the company said in a media advisory.
  • Salazar details separation of Interior's drilling functions (The Hill)
  • VIDEO: Fracking Hell: The Untold Story (Link TV):
    An original investigative report by Earth Focus and UK's Ecologist Film Unit looks at the risks of natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale. From toxic chemicals in drinking water to unregulated interstate dumping of potentially radioactive waste that experts fear can contaminate water supplies in major population centers including New York City, are the health consequences worth the economic gains?
  • EU halts carbon market as permits feared stolen (Reuters):
    The European Commission on Wednesday halted its emissions trading scheme (ETS), its chief weapon against climate change, after allegations that permits worth millions of euros had been stolen.
  • Australia Floods: Sharks seen in flooded streets (Toowoomba Chronicle):
    Two bull sharks have been spotted swimming past the McDonald’s restaurant in Goodna.
  • What Kinds of Chemicals Are In Our Bodies? (Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones) [emphasis added]:
    There have been a few developments in the past week that indicate that we should probably pay more attention to the chemicals we are collecting in our bodies and what their impacts might be.

    A study published last week in Environmental Health Perspectives looks at the presence of chemicals in the bodies of pregnant women, finding that 99 to 100 percent of pregnant women tested positive for a number of potentially hazardous chemicals. These include DDT, flame retardants, substances used to make non-stick pans, and phthalates, a variety of chemicals found in many beauty products and plastics.