With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/3/2011, 1:17pm PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Oil companies heart Osama!; Record-breaking storms lead to record-breaking floods --- and exploding levees; Too little, too late?: a new tsunami wall for Fukushima; Big Oil spends millions to protect billions; PLUS: The role of climate change in last week's deadly storms ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Correlation or causation?: energy prices and US recessions; Court upholds CA's rights on federal auto emissions standards; Transparent solar panels to turn windows into generators; Shale gas and fracking unavoidable?; Response to blowout delayed despite PA plan for quick action; Study ranks food pathogens by cost to society; 21st century West to become even drier; Blowout could spill 58 mil. gallons in Arctic; Paper industry profits from pollution tax credits; Recycling resolution targets General Mills; "Mining is a loser" in practically every way; Cleaning up our air for World Asthma Day ... PLUS: The Real Reason Why Coca-Cola Isn't Ditching Bisphenol A ...

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

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

  • Correlation or Causation?: Energy Prices and US Recessions (Early Warning blog):
    In every case, energy prices were rising either before or immediately at the onset of the recession, and in every case they "broke" in some sense before the recession was over - either declining, or at least sharply slowing in growth.
    ...
    [T]his data is at least consistent with the narrative that, in the post 1973 era, energy is consistently in somewhat problematic supply, and you can think of many of the recessions as showing a pattern in which energy prices are rising as the world overshoots what can currently be supplied, or what can currently be supplied drops as a result of geopolitical events, and energy prices rise until some pre-existing weakness in the global economic fabric tears in the course of a recession, and prices fall back again.
  • California's Right To Exceed Federal Auto Emissions Standards Is Upheld (Los Angeles Times)
  • Transparent material opens a new window on solar energy (Physics World) [emphasis added]:
    Researchers in the US have developed a new kind of organic solar cell that converts a small but significant fraction of the sunlight that falls onto it into electricity, while still allowing most of the visible part of that light to pass through. Thanks to this transparency, the team says that the cell could be mounted onto windows in buildings or cars in order to tap a currently under-exploited source of energy.
  • Why Shale Gas and Fracking May Be Part of Our Clean Energy Future (Triple Pundit)
  • Response to Nat. Gas Blowout Took 13 Hours, Despite PA Plan for Quick Action (Pro Publica):
    When Chesapeake Energy lost control of a Marcellus Shale gas well in Pennsylvania on April 19, an emergency response team from Texas was called in to stop the leak. By the time the team arrived more than 13 hours later, brine water and hydraulic fracturing fluids from the well had spewed across nearby fields and into a creek.
  • Study Ranks Food Pathogens by Cost to Society: (Washington Post):
    Of the food pathogens that cost society the most money - in terms of medical care, lost days of work, long-term chronic health problems or deaths - half are found in poultry, pork, beef and other meat products, according to a study due for release Thursday.
  • 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.
  • Blowout Could Spill 58 Million Gallons in Arctic (AP):
    The federal agency overseeing offshore drilling in Alaska says the worst-case scenario for a blowout in the Chukchi Sea lease could result in a spill of more than 58 million gallons of oil into Arctic waters.
  • Paper Industry Profits from 'Black Liquor' Tax Credits (Washington Post):
    At a time when tea-party budget-cut fervor is taking food out of the mouths of children, the paper industry is reaping billions in unintended taxpayer-funded federal subsidies from a loophole meant to encourage alternative fuels.
  • Recycling Resolution Targets General Mills and Procter & Gamble (As You Sow.org):
    "We're burning and landfilling 40 million tons of recyclable packaging materials estimated to be worth $15 to $23 billion every year." said Conrad MacKerron, As You Sow's Senior Director for Corporate Responsibility.
    ...
    "We believe it's time for companies to manage the full life cycle of packaging as efficiently as they manage design and marketing of products," said MacKerron.
  • National coal expert: "Mining is a loser" in practically every way (Grist):
    Anytime coal's cost to America is discussed, the coal industry reflexively talks about what an economic lifeline it is for the states in which it operates. Headwaters Economics, a Bozeman-based think tank focusing on natural resource issues, has a solid new study that's getting national attention for undercutting those claims. For instance, the Headwaters study finds that "fossil fuel production has not insulated energy-producing states from fiscal crisis," that "fossil fuel extraction has a limited influence at the state level on economic indicators such as GDP by state, personal income, and employment," and that "the volatility of fossil fuel markets poses obstacles to the stability and long-term security of economic growth in energy-producing regions."

    This is a problem for the coal industry, which spends heavily to construct a fantasy world in which it's a "clean" industry to which we should feel grateful, a vital supplier of our power, and an economic lifeline to host communities.

    But in the real world, coal's case is even weaker than the Headwaters study shows.

  • The Real Reason Why Coca-Cola Isn't Ditching Bisphenol A (Treehugger) [emphasis added]:
    The REAL reason that Coke isn't talking is that they know perfectly well what the real answer is to the issue of how to get rid of BPA in cans: bring back the returnable bottle system that they have spent fifty years trying to destroy. As I noted in my post Recycling is Bullshit, the switch to disposables has enabled Coke to centralize production, eliminate the independent bottlers that served each community or region, and ship the stuff around the country on the interstates paid for by the taxpayers.
  • Cleaning up our air for World Asthma Day: Comment on EPA’s plans to cut air toxics from power plants (Climate Progress)