IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: California doubles down on clean energy; Obama vows to continue the fight as well in budget speech ... PLUS: Renewables vs. Nukes: More jobs in renewables, so why hasn't the President mentioned that? ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Should kids be exposed to more or less toxic pollution?' Loss of penguins tied to loss of krill; Shooting badgers to be legal under plans for 'big society cull'; BP executives brace for a stormy shareholders' meeting; Times Square air cleaner now that cars are gone; Iowa's topsoil washing away; Australia: Energy giants face new tax bill; Brazil ethanol prices surge 65% in one month; Mother Earth to be given rights equal to humans; Study: Algae Could Replace 17% of U.S. Oil Imports; MN to pass law banning undercover farm videos; Studies begin to reveal effects of Gulf Oil Spill; Coal co. agrees to install pollution controls; Meet the Gulf 'Spillionaires' ... PLUS: Surprise!: Leaked talking points show oil companies don't give a frack about the truth ....
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Obama Vows Investment in Clean Energy v. GOP Cuts:
- WATCH: The Country We Believe In: President Obama's Remarks on the 2011 Budget (with transcript) (Truthout.org):
But the way [the Republicans'] plan achieves those goals would lead to a fundamentally different America than the one we've known throughout most of our history.
A 70% cut to clean energy. A 25% cut in education. A 30% cut in transportation. Cuts in college Pell Grants that will grow to more than $1,000 per year. That's what they're proposing. These aren't the kind of cuts you make when you're trying to get rid of some waste or find extra savings in the budget. These aren't the kind of cuts that Republicans and Democrats on the Fiscal Commission proposed. These are the kind of cuts that tell us we can't afford the America we believe in. And they paint a vision of our future that's deeply pessimistic.
Worst of all, this is a vision that says even though America can't afford to invest in education or clean energy; even though we can't afford to care for seniors and poor children, we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy.
- Obama seeks $4 trillion cut to deficit, higher taxes for rich (Boston Globe):
- Obama calls for more energy investments while proposing to cut deficit $4 trillion(Climate Progress)
- Cuts to DOE Loan Program Could Set Back U.S. Solar Industry: Industry executives say that several planned solar plants would be canceled if House Republicans succeed in eliminating key DOE loan guarantee programs (SolveClimate.com)
- Tough green questions on Obama's record (Climate Progress)
- Budget Cuts Mean 18-Month Gap in Crucial Weather Data, Says NOAA
- The budget deal slows innovation and slashes rail, green jobs, and cleanup programs (Grist)
- Federal Green Energy Loan Program Lives On: A DOE program to support clean energy technologies was spared the Congressional budget ax this week, while EPA's funds were cut 16 percent (SolveClimate.com)
- Energy Options and Polarized Politics (NYT Dot Earth)
- Krugman: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Weighs In (NY Times)
- Christopher Hitchens: 'America has become sour, nasty and boring': Christopher Hitchens, the provocative British author who lives in the United States, has criticised his adopted country’s current political mood. (Telegraph UK)
- California Doubles Down on Clean Energy with Nation's Highest Renewable Energy Standard
- Gov. Brown signs law requiring 33% of energy be renewable by 2020 (LA Times):
The California law increases a previous mandate of 20% renewable energy. U.S. energy secretary calls the law a model for other states, and an industry group says it could create 100,000 jobs.
The legislation will make it easier for renewable-energy companies to attract investors for green energy firms, said SunPower Chief Executive Thomas Werner. The measure "gives us long-term market visibility," he said.
- Google Invests $168 Million In World's Largest Solar Tower Power Plant (Gizmag)
- California's New Renewable Energy Standard Set at 33% by 2020 (Treehugger)
- Renewable energy: Will new law help or hurt California economy?: Will California's new energy legislation help or hurt the state's economy? (Christian Science Monitor)
- Signs of Life in Senate for Obama's 'Clean Energy Standard': Senators go back to square one with a new white paper on how to design a federal clean energy standard that includes nuclear and coal (SolveClimate.com)
- DOE shines $1.2 billion on a new solar plant I(Smart Planet)
- Renewable Energy Standards Across the US: A Survey of States' Clean Power Commitments (Treehugger)
- Renewables v. Nuclear: Nearly Equal Energy Generators AND 20% More Jobs:
- Obama Team Is Oddly Quiet About Evidence That Renewable Energy Beats Nuclear in Job Creation (Brad Jacobson, Alternet):
AlterNet has learned that University of Massachusetts researchers at the Political Economy Research Institute --- who are also consultants to the Department of Energy --- have provided data to the Obama administration that show investment in renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and biomass, would generate far more returns in American jobs than would investment in building new nuclear power plants.
The Obama administration, however, has steered clear of providing this fact to the American public.
- EIA: Renewable resources delivered 11% of U.S. energy production in 2010, just like nuclear power (Climate Progress)
- 11% of U.S. Energy Production from Renewable Resources in 2010 (Clean Technica)
- ONGOING COVERAGE: Japan's Ongoing Triple Disaster & Nuclear Nightmare:
- How to Help: Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (NY Times)
- UPDATED Coverage of Japan's Nuclear Disaster at BRAD BLOG.COM (BradBlog.com)
- Updated: Japan's Nuclear Emergency Explained (Mother Jones)
- Updated Full Coverage: JAPAN NUCLEAR CRISIS (Kyodo News)
- Updated Full Coverage Page at Reuters (Reuters)
- IAEA Update on Japan Earthquake (International Atomic Energy Agency)
- Facts: Nuclear Power Safety (Union of Concerned Scientists)
- LATEST DEVELOPMENTS: JAPAN'S ONGOING NUCLEAR CRISIS:
- Radiation surges above 4's fuel pool (Wired Danger Room)
- What Does Fukushima's New "Level 7" Status Mean? (TIME)
- VOA Correspondent Reaches Crippled Fukushima-1 Nuclear Plant (Voice of America)
- Tepco to Move Fukushima Power Backup to Higher Ground for Safety (BusinessWeek)
- Japan's Nuclear Crisis Yet to Stabilize, NRC Chairman Says (BusinessWeek)
- Hitachi, GE Submit Proposal to Dismantle Crippled Fukushima Nuclear Plant (Bloomberg)
- Tepco Seeks to Start Idled Reactor as Crews Battle Radiation (Bloomberg):
Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to seek government approval to start a nuclear reactor shut after a 2007 earthquake to help ease shortages, while the utility battles radiation leaks from its Fukushima Dai-Ichi station. The reactor at Kashiwazaki Kariwa, the world's biggest atomic station, is capable of supplying electricity this year.
- Fukushima's Impact on U.S. Nuclear Policy & Industry:
- US Nuclear Regulator Lets Industry Write Rules (Pro Publica):
The Davis Besse incident has resurfaced in the wake of the ongoing nuclear crisis at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant. Stories recounting close ties between Japanese nuclear regulators and utilities there have reinvigorated critics who say the NRC has not been an aggressive enough U.S. watchdog.
- U.S. health-care system unprepared for major nuclear emergency, officials say (Washington Post)
- What are the odds? US nuke plants ranked by quake risk (MSNBC):
So much for San Andreas: Reactors in East, Midwest, South have highest chance of damage.
- VIDEO: Before Japan disaster, GOP mocked concerns about nuclear safety (MediaMatters.org)
- Taxpayer Meltdown?: Taxpayers, Not Utilities, Liable for Most of the Bill (National Journal)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Should kids be exposed to more or less toxic pollution?: Yes, that's the question being asked in Congress these days. (Grist)
- Follow the Krill: A New Theory on Penguins' Decline (NY Times):
While the researchers say that ice loss does affect penguins, they say the more important problem appears to be a decline in the population of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba), tiny shrimplike crustaceans that occur in vast schools.
Krill, the authors note, "is the dominant prey of nearly all vertebrates in this region, including Adélie and chinstrap penguins," and changes in the amount of krill biomass provide the best explanation. Adélie and chinstrap penguin populations increased after competitors for the krill like whales and seals were heavily hunted in last century, but the birds have declined in number as climate change hurts krill and more seals and whales compete for the food.
In some areas, they say, a reduction in sea ice is associated with an 80 percent decline in the density of krill from the 1970s to the present.
- Shooting badgers to be legal under plans for 'big society cull' (Guardian UK)
- BP executives braced for a stormy meeting with shareholders (UK Independent)
- Surprise! Times Square air cleaner now that cars are gone. (Grist)
- Increasingly heavy storms washing Iowa's topsoil away, as much as 10 tons/acre/year: new study (Climate Signals)
- Australia: Energy giants face new tax bill (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)
- Brazil anhydrous ethanol prices surge 65% in one month (ICIS.com)
- Mother Earth To Be Given Rights Equal to Humans In New Bolivian Law (Treehugger)
- Study: Algae Could Replace 17% of U.S. Oil Imports (Dept. of Energy)
- Minnesota next up to pass law banning undercover farm videos (Grist)
- TVA moving away from coal as part of deal with EPA, states and citizen groups (Coal Tattoo)
- Studies Begin to Reveal Effects of Gulf Oil Spill (Oceana)
- Meet the Gulf 'Spillionaires': Profiteering and Mismanagement in the Wake of the BP Oil Spill (Pro Publica):
Some people profiteered from the spill by charging BP outrageous rates for cleanup. Others profited from BP claims money, handed out in arbitrary ways. So many people cashed in that they earned nicknames --- "spillionaires" or "BP rich." Meanwhile, others hurt by the spill ended up getting comparatively little.
In the end, BP's attempt to make things right --- spending more than $16 billion so far, mostly on claims of damage and cleanup --- created new divisions and even new wrongs. Because the federal government ceded control over spill cleanup spending to BP, it's impossible to know for certain what that money accomplished, or what exactly was done.
- Leaked Talking Points Show Oil Companies Dont Give A Frack About The Truth (DeSmog Blog):
An industry executive accidentally dropped a talking points memo [PDF] in an Ohio woman's driveway after coming to her home to talk about leasing her land for hydraulic fracturing. The memo reveals the extreme lengths that oil and gas companies will go to in order to ensure that people lease their land for hydraulic fracturing.
* "Men are more likely to sign than women. Men don't like to believe that you know more than they do, so they are also less likely to ask questions. In the state of Ohio the husband can sign the lease without spousal permission. Go that route if required. Tell them it is their decision. Write the lease agreement with only the husband's name on the paperwork. This will make it more likely that they will sign alone. Men are also more conservative, and more likely to want oil and energy independence. Women will have more concern for the environment and will challenge you more often."