With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
Chernobyl 25th Anniversary edition
By Desi Doyen on 4/26/2011, 1:39pm PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: April 26, 1986: the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster, 25 years later; Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster, six weeks later; Fracking blowout in Pennsylvania; Praying for rain in Texas ... PLUS: Speaker Boehner opens the door to eliminating taxpayer oil subsidies ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Confessions of a climate change denier; An open letter to that conservative climate change convert; Sales of 'green' household products resilient in recession; Playing Politics With Climate Change; For a Few, Focus on Green Products Pays Off; Puzzle Persists for 'Degradeable' Plastics; Stunning Findings in Greenland's Ice Cores; A 21st-century water forecast; Resistance to Fracking, Gas Drilling Rises in TX; BP's criminal negligence exposed; Preliminary Deepwater Horizon Report Rips Transocean; Washington is lying to you about the cause of high gas prices ... PLUS: The Chernobyl Zone: World's Largest Wildlife Refuge? ...

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

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

  • Confessions of a Climate Change Convert (FrumForum) [emphasis added]:
    I was defeated by facts.
    ...
    I came away from the report convinced that climate alteration poses a critical threat to our health and way of life, and that “policies that provide a real or implicit price of carbon” are in fact necessary, from an economic and a moral standpoint, to mitigate that threat. Such policies—most notably the much-maligned concept of cap-and-trade—should not be considered job-killers but life-savers.
    ...
    I’d argue that conservatives and libertarians should strongly support regulation to reduce carbon pollution, since pollution by one entity invariably infringes upon the rights of others (including property rights), and no entity has a constitutional right to pollute. It does not put America on the road to serfdom to suggest that the federal government has a compelling interest in protecting the country from ecological damage. If anything, it puts America on the road to common sense.
  • Open letter to a conservative climate change convert (David Roberts, Grist) [emphasis added]:
    I still believe that: a freer, more transparent market, with all costs and benefits internalized into prices, would be a cleaner market. There's no reason greens and libertarians can't find common cause on that score.

    Greens want communities that generate more of their own energy and food, that are more self-reliant and resilient, less dependent on large, distant power centers. Is rugged self-reliance not a conservative virtue? Right now the energy industry is the sector of our economy that most resembles socialism: rule by a cozy cabal of politicians, cartels, and corporate welfare recipients. Greens want to break that cabal up, to decentralize control over energy, to expose it to more competition and innovation. Is decentralized power not a conservative virtue?

  • Playing Politics With Climate Change (Alaska Dispatch):
    What Americans believe about climate change depends almost entirely on their political affiliation and not their scientific understanding, according to a new national study that found the same dynamic in two regions of Southeast Alaska.
  • For a Few, Focus on Green Products Pays Off (NY Times):
    Manufacturers who have long aligned themselves with environmental causes, like Seventh Generation and Method, have rebounded better from the recession than the "green" lines of larger, more traditional manufacturers.
  • Daily demand and supply (Earth Day edition) (Environmental Economics) [emphasis added]:
    I didn't make a clear distinction between name brand products with green flavor and actual green companies with green products. Sales of green products from green companies has been increasing. These are the true normal goods. The income elasticity of Seventh Generation products is positive.
  • Puzzle Persists for 'Degradeable' Plastics (Scientific American):
    Eco-friendly plastics disintegrate, but might just linger in the environment.
    ...
    "Our conclusion was there is no benefit to the environment of oxo-degradable plastics," Thomas told Nature.

    These plastics should not be composted, as their breakdown fragments will ruin the resulting compost. But neither can such materials be incorporated into traditional plastics recycling as the same additives that encourage the break-up of the original material will degrade the recycled material produced.

  • Stunning Findings in Greenland's Ice Cores (Daily Climate):
    White's ice-core studies helped reveal two striking facts. The first is that the Earth's great ice ages are bookmarked by a clear fluctuation in carbon dioxide levels: 180 parts per million (ppm) in the glacial periods, 280 ppm in the warmer periods (the level at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution about 150 years ago). A shift of 100 ppm in CO2 concentrations meant the difference between flowers blooming in the Arctic and ice a mile deep over Chicago. [We are 392 ppm now. -ed.]

    The second fact is more worrisome, and led to White's seminal 1989 paper in the prestigious science journal Nature: These global transformations happened fast. Warming trends that forced widespread ice melting and monumental sea-level rise weren't a millennium-long process. It was decadal.

  • A 21st-century water forecast (NYT Green):
    The broad-brush conclusion of a new federal report on the future impact of climate change on water in the West is a bit familiar. Throughout the West, there will be less snow, and what snow there is will melt faster. The dry Southwest is going to get drier, and the wet Northwest wetter.
  • Resistance to Fracking, Gas Drilling Rises on Unlikely Soil (NY Times):
    Texans pride themselves on being the heart of the nations oil and gas business. But even here, public concern about natural gas drilling is growing. On Wednesday, several dozen protesters marched through downtown Fort Worth, waving signs and chanting anti-drilling slogans that reflected concern over air and water pollution.The anxiety centers on a recently expanded drilling method called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which is now used in more than half of new gas wells drilled in Texas.
  • BP's criminal negligence exposed (Al Jazeera English):
    "We have sued them under the Clean Water Act," Kieran Suckling, the executive director and founder of the CBD told Al Jazeera. "The way the Act works is it levies a fine based on the number of gallons [of oil] spilled and how malicious or criminal BP was acting when the spill occurred. So a big part of the suit is about determining how many barrels were spilled, and BP's level of negligence."
  • Robert L. Cavnar: Preliminary Deepwater Horizon Report Rips Transocean, Marshall Islands (Huffington Post Green):
    Late yesterday, the Deepwater Horizon Joint Investigation board issued a preliminary report of its findings related to causes of the Macondo well disaster that come under the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard.
    ...
    The report clearly places blame on Transocean for the explosions after the blowout due to poor training, corroded and poorly maintained equipment, and bypassed alarms and shut down devices. The report also singled out the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the flag state of the Deepwater Horizon, for "abdicating its safety inspection responsibilities". The report was an indictment on the status quo of the offshore industry that allows drilling and service companies to unnecessarily risk lives and the environment through complacency, and tax avoidance and substandard safety requirements.
  • Washington is lying to you about the cause of high gas prices (Grist) [emphasis added]:
    When it comes to the causes of high prices for gasoline, Washington is reaching truly epic levels of mendacity.
    ...
    Further oil exploration, as Murkowski recommends, won’t lower gas prices. The U.S. Energy Information Agency's Administrator, Richard Newell:

    "Long term, we do not project additional volumes of oil that could flow from greater access to oil resources on Federal lands to have a large impact on prices given the globally integrated nature of the world oil market and the more significant long-term compared to short-term responsiveness of oil demand and supply to price movements."

  • The Chernobyl Zone: World's Largest Wildlife Refuge? (Voice of America's Russia Watch):
    The human story is well told. Centuries old villages vanished from maps, disappearing into the undergrowth. Less has been said about resurgence of wildlife caused by the withdrawal of the hand of man.