IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Getting "Gas"-y at the Oscars; Freakin' Frackin'; Natural disasters are expensive; Catastrophic flooding, drought around the world ... PLUS: The State of the Union ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Texans rebel against TransCanada oil pipeline; McCain: 'Ethanol is a joke'; China leapfrogs past U.S. in wind power industry; Secret EPA study implicates new pesticide in decline of bees; Bloom fuel cell breakthrough (in financing); Is Biomass clean or dirty energy?; Warnings on leaky Alaska pipeline two years ago; Record melt of Greenland Ice Sheet in 2010; House GOP to grill Oil Spill Commission; More battles over mountaintop coal mining projects in Appalachia; Big cleanup questions linger at Hanford Nuclear Superfund site ... PLUS: 10 Common Misconceptions About California's Cap-and-Trade Program ....
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Prepare for Blowback: "GASLAND" Nominated for Best Documentary, NatGas Industry Retaliates:
- VIDEO: WATCH "GASLAND" TRAILER (Gasland YouTube Channel)
- Gasland nominated for an Oscar
This is the rather cuting response from Energy In Depth, the lobbying group, which has mounted something of a campaign against the film:
While it's unfortunate there isn't an Oscar category for propaganda, this nomination is fitting, as the Oscars are aimed at praising pure entertainment among Hollywood's elite.
- Natural Gas Industry Pushing Back Against Oscar-Nominated "Gasland" (The Hill):
It's not every day a major energy trade association weighs in on Academy Awards nominations, but that's just what happened Tuesday when "Gasland," a film about the effects of natural-gas drilling, was nominated for best documentary feature.
America's Natural Gas Alliance, a natural-gas industry trade group, blasted the Academy Tuesday morning for nominating the film for an award.
Josh Fox, who made the documentary, has defended the film.
"The natural gas industry's PR system is so great, many people believe that natural gas is a good solution to climate change," he said during an appearance on "The Daily Show" last year, according to The Wall Street Journal. "But it's a dirty polluting fossil just like the others."
- Fracking Bill Faces Industry Opposition (Bozman [MT]Daily Chronicle)
- Shareholder groups press gas drillers on fracking (AP)
- INVESTIGATION: Climate Benefits of Natural Gas May Be Overstated: New emissions estimates by the Environmental Protection Agency cast doubt on the assumption that gas offers a quick and easy solution to climate change. (Pro Publica.org)
- VIDEO: "FREAKIN' FRACKIN'" (JTMP YouTube Channel):
www.jtmp.org and www.op-critical.com present "Freakin Frackin" by Op-Critical, a protest song against "hydraulic fracturing". Hydraulic fracturing, or "Fracking", is using over 500 toxic chemicals to shatter rock to extract more natural gas from wells, driving profit up. It pollutes our groundwater and the air and is killing us. It is putting profit over the planet. It is time we ban this toxic practice that is harming our planet.
- Natural Disasters Are Expensive, Says the UN
- Cost of Natural Disaster $109 Billion in 2010: UN (Reuters):
Natural disasters caused $109 billion in economic damage last year, three times more than in 2009, with Chile and China bearing most of the cost, the United Nations said Monday.
- Disaster Risk Reduction Critical After Deadliest Year in Decades (Environmental News Service)
- Drought linked to climate change tightens grip on Beijing (Climate Signals)
- Sri Lanka Floods: UN Calls For Emergency Aid: at least 32 people have died and more than 300,000 have been displaced. (BBC)
- Nigeria: More Floods Coming - Say Climate Scientist (All Africa.com)
- Canada sees staggering mildness as planet’s high-pressure record is “obliterated”: How global warming is changing the weather (Climate Progress)
- Another terrific ABC News story — on the role global warming is playing in extreme winter weather (Climate Progress)
- The State of the Union Address, 2011 --- Shifting Tone on Energy, Corporate Regulation:
- WATCH: "40 YEARS" of Promises on Energy (Environmental Defense Fund):
American presidents from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush have talked about our need to reform our energy policies and end our addiction to fossil fuels.
The last 7 presidents couldn't make it happen.
President Obama can, but only if he adds his direct and immediate leadership to the Senate's efforts to pass a strong climate and energy bill.
- Will Obama Stand Up For Clean Air? (Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones):
Following the administration's announcement last week that it wants to make the regulatory system more friendly to businesses, there's some increasing anxiety about whether Obama will aggressively defend the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. A number of environmental and public health groups are lobbying the president to explicitly defend the agency's climate regulations in his State of the Union address on Tuesday.
- Obama's State of the Union: What He Should Say But Won't (Grist)
- An Environmental State of the Union: Opportunities for the Administration and the New Congress (Huffington Post Green)M/li>
- President Obama's Energy Advisor Carol Browner To Leave White House (Politico)
- Obama's climate advisor, Carol Browner, to depart White House: Browner's exit reinforces concerns that Obama is preparing compromises on his once ambitious green agenda to try to build a working arrangement with Republican (Guardian UK)
- Meanwhile, the "Surge" is Working for the GOP: Corporate Cash Surges to Republicans As They Plan to Slash Environmental Programs:
- Republicans Target Energy Spending, Environmental Laws (Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones):
House Republicans would like to cut a wide range of energy and environmental programs. As GOPers meet with energy lobbyists behind closed doors, corporate donations to House GOP leaders surge.
- House Republicans Would Slash Ten Environmental Programs (Environment News Service)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- One Oil Pipeline Too Many For Texas? (LA Times) [emphasis added]:
TransCanada's plan to pipe in tar sands oil angers Texas landowners who say they resent being pushed around by a foreign company.
Warnings that the pipeline could worsen the state's already potent refinery emissions and threaten water supplies have riled up people not normally inclined to cotton to environmentalists; TransCanada's heavy-handed approach to obtaining easements through rural property — a mix of dickering and threats of eminent domain — has populated the Sierra Club's recent meetings with rural residents in denim shirts and silver belt buckles whose political inclinations lean more toward the "tea party" movement than eco-activism.
"Basically, what you're saying is they're going to shove it down our throat, whether we want it or not?" Charles Crouch, a former refinery worker, said at a meeting on the pipeline last month in Lufkin. "That's hard to do in Texas, I'll tell you. We get riled up, and we're going to figure out a way to stop this thing."
- McCain: 'Ethanol is a joke' (The Hill)
- China leapfrogs U.S. wind power industry, American installations halved in 2010 (LA Times):
Chinese turbines are now harnessing more wind power than machines installed in the U.S., according to a trade group Monday.
The association blamed short-lived government subsidies.
"Our industry continues to endure a boom-bust cycle because of the lack of long-term, predictable federal policies, in contrast to the permanent entitlements that fossil fuels have enjoyed for 90 years or more," said Denise Bode, the group's chief executive, in a statement
- 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.
- Bloom Energy announces new fuel cell financing options as industry expands (LA Times Green)
- Alaska oil line that leaked deemed risky since 2008 (Reuters):
A risk assessment of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System in 2008 recommended replacing a stretch of line that leaked this month, since a concrete casing made it impossible to inspect for corrosion, operator Alyeska told a U.S. lawmaker this week.
- Record melt from Greenland icesheet in 2010 (AFP):
Greenland's icesheet, feared as a major driver of rising sea levels, shed a record amount of melted snow and ice in 2010, scientists reported Friday, a day after the UN said last year was the warmest on record.
The 2010 runoff was more than twice the average annual loss in Greenland over the previous three decades, surpassing a record set in 2007, said the study, published in the US-based journal Environmental Research Letters.
Ice melt has now topped this benchmark every year since 1996, according to the paper, derived from long-term satellite and observational data.
- Is Biomass Clean or Dirty Energy? We Won't Know for 3 Years (Solve Climate):
The Obama administration put off for another three years a decision on whether to regulate planet-warming gases from biomass power. The surprise delay dealt a blow to green groups' hopes for pollution controls on wood-burning incinerators anytime soon, while industry breathed sighs of relief.
- Lawmakers Gear Up to Drill Commission on Oil Spill Report's Findings (Greenwire):
This week the leaders of the presidential commission that investigated last year's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will take their case for increased funding and offshore drilling safety reform to Capitol Hill, but their specific legislative recommendations may reach deaf ears.
- Battles Over Mountaintop Coal Mining Rage in Wake of EPA Veto (Greenwire):
Before blocking one of Appalachia's largest-ever mountaintop coal-mining projects this month, U.S. EPA agreed to allow blasting to start on a half-a-dozen other mountaintop mines.
- Big cleanup questions still loom at Hanford Superfund Site (Seattle Times):
At the Hanford nuclear reservation, the Department of Energy is building a plant to clean up 53 million gallons of radioactive waste. But after a quarter-century of preparation — and cost estimates that have nearly tripled to $12.2 billion — builders still haven't resolved this project's most vexing technical and safety issues.
- 10 Common Misconceptions About California's Cap-and-Trade Program (Greenbiz.com):
In the aftermath of the California Air Resources Board's historic vote to adopt the nation's first-of-its kind program to cap global warming pollution across California's economy, understandably there are questions about what the program will accomplish and how it will get us there.
- Battles Over Mountaintop Coal Mining Rage in Wake of EPA Veto (Greenwire):