IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Another day, another deadly outbreak of tornadoes in a record season; Japan admits three meltdowns and turns to solar; Electric cars for the federal fleet; PLUS: House Republicans hold disaster aid hostage ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Suing the FDA over antibiotics in livestock feed; New US mpg labels now include emissions; Switzerland to phase out nuclear power; Norway plans billion-dollar clean energy fund for poor; What does a great sustainable city look like?; World Bank's coal electricity headache; Water scarcity impacts energy options in West; Will 10 Billion people use up the planet's resources?; Swine flu likely came from China; Cancer now leading cause of death in polluted China; Curious: AEI's budget proposal includes a carbon tax; GM recycles BP spill booms for ChevyVolt; Very cool liquid-cooled LED bulb introduced; A dark day for Brazil's Amazon jungle ... PLUS: Oil speculators charged with price manipulation. How does oil speculation raise gas prices? ...
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Another Day, Another Deadly Tornado Outbreak:
- Get Involved! Provide help & hope to those impacted by the tornadoes (Green For All)
- Forecasts, TV and luck eased tornado risk in Okla. (AP)
- 232 Still Missing: Missouri releases list of missing after tornado (BBC)
- 2011's Severe Weather Milestones (The Weather Channel)
- Can We Blame Extreme Weather on Climate Change? (Newsweek)
- Missouri tornado whips up media discussion of climate change and extreme weather (Grist)
- 118 dead in storm (CNN)
- Another Day, Another Deadly Tornado Strikes the US (Climate Central)
- OP-ED: Bill McKibben: A link between climate change and Joplin tornadoes? Never! (Washington Post) [emphasis added]:
Caution: It is vitally important not to make connections. When you see pictures of rubble like this week's shots from Joplin, Mo., you should not wonder...
Because if you asked yourself what it meant that the Amazon has just come through its second hundred-year drought in the past five years, or that the pine forests across the western part of this continent have been obliterated by a beetle in the past decade - well, you might have to ask other questions...
- Top Climate Scientist On The Monster Tornadoes: 'It Is Irresponsible Not To Mention Climate Change' (Think Progress)
- A Q-and-A on Tornadoes (NY Times)
- Tornado Outbreak Ingredients (The Weather Channel)
- Climate Change Is Getting Expensive For The Insurance Industry (Fast Company)
- Deadly Joplin, Mo., Twister Raises 'Tough,' Costly Questions, Weather Experts Say (ClimateWire) [emphasis added]:
Sunday's tornado also thrusts the insurance industry toward a potential record-breaking year for thunderstorm-related damage. Inland storm claims over the last three years have risen to about $30 billion altogether. That accounts for almost one-third of all the thunderstorm damage going back to 1990, amounting to $97.8 billion, according to the Insurance Information Institute. This year will add billions more onto that tally.
The number and ferocity of those storms have been rising for at least 25 years. It's unclear what's causing the rise, but many insurers are responding by raising rates and reducing policies. Factors behind the damage could include expanded development and rising property values.
But some insurers also believe climate change is playing a part...
- U.S. Weather Extremes Show "New Normal" Climate (Reuters) [emphasis added]:
Heavy rains, deep snowfalls, monster floods and killing droughts are signs of a "new normal" of extreme U.S. weather events fueled by climate change, scientists and government planners said on Wednesday.
"It's a new normal and I really do think that global weirding is the best way to describe what we're seeing," climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University told reporters.
- Extreme weather and climate science don't move Missouri deniers such as Rep. Todd Akin (Climate Progress)
- What's Behind 2011's Deadly Tornado Season? (NPR)
- Compassionate Conservatism: House Republicans Withhold Disaster Aid Over Budget Cuts:
- >Cantor Says Congress Won't Pay For Missouri Disaster Relief Unless Spending Is Cut Elsewhere (Think Progress)
- Conservatives bring new scrutiny to disaster aid (Politico)
- GOP Congressman Pays For Emergency Disaster Relief With Cuts To Clean Cars Program (Think Progress):
On MSNBC's Ed Show, Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) called the decision "just plain wrong":
"When you talk about cutting clean energy programs versus cutting subsidies for big oil, let's have that debate here in Washington. But not on the backs of the people of Joplin."
- House GOP pays for climate disaster relief by increasing climate pollution (Grist)
- Tornado forecasting saved countless lives this week. Too bad GOP voted against NOAA, Weather Service, Emergency Response
- Cantor learns DeLay's lesson on disaster spending (Washington Times)
- The House wants to slow the military's clean energy march (Think Progress)
- Power of the Purse: New Electric Cars for the Federal Fleet:
- U.S. government buys its first electric vehicles (LA Times GreenSpace) [emphasis added]:
The 116 cars --- a mixture of Chevrolet Volts, Nissan Leafs and Think Cities --- are the first electric vehicles to be purchased by the U.S. government for the federal fleet. They will be distributed to 20 agencies, including the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Defense, in five cities across the country.
The EV program launched Tuesday "is the next big step" in the government's adoption of advanced vehicle technologies, said Martha Johnson, administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration, which purchases vehicles for federal agencies. "It furthers the administration's goal of putting 1 million advanced vehicles on the road by 2015 and it represents a significant targeted investment in the next generation of automotive technology."
- Feds unveil new fuel economy labels for cars and trucks (LA Times GreenSpace)
- UPDATE on Japan's Nuclear Nightmare: Admitting Meltdowns, Changing Course to Renewables:
- Japan PM vows to boost renewable energy (Reuters)
- Japanese PM Briefs G8 on Nuclear Crisis (Voice Of America News)
- Kan sets 20% target for renewable energy: Nuclear plant crisis impetus for 'drastic' policy change (Japan Times)
- Japan PM: must review oversight of nuclear power (Reuters)
- Company Believes Three Reactors Melted Down in Japan (NY Times) [emphasis added]:
In a belated acknowledgment of the severity of Japan's nuclear disaster, the Tokyo Electric Power Company said Tuesday that three of the stricken Fukushima plant's reactors likely suffered fuel meltdowns in the early days of the crisis. The plant's operator also said that it was possible that the pressure vessels in the three stricken reactors, which house the uranium fuel rods, had been breached as well.
- Regulators Find Flaws in NEW Reactor Designs, Too (NY Times)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- Groups sue FDA to stop addition of antibiotics in livestock feed (Washington Post)
- Feds unveil new fuel economy labels for cars and trucks (LA Times GreenSpace)
- New M.P.G. Stickers Include Greenhouse Gas Data (NYT Green)
- Swiss Cabinet Agrees To Phase Out Nuclear Power (Reuters):
On Thursday, the Swiss cabinet agreed to build no more nuclear reactors once the current power plants reach the end of their lifespan, with the oldest set to come offline in 2019, while the newest would remain in operation until 2034.
Neighboring Germany is due to vote on its expected exit from nuclear power on June 6 and is expected to back a shut down of all its nuclear reactors within a decade.
- Oil speculators charged with price manipulation (CNN):
Federal regulators charged five oil speculators Tuesday for manipulating the price of crude and making a $50 million profit from the scheme.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission alleges the speculators bought enormous amounts of actual crude oil for sale in Cushing, Okla, during the early months of 2008.
This created a perceived shortage of oil in Cushing --- a major point for oil delivery --- and drove the price of oil futures contracts higher.
The speculators then bet the price of oil would fall by selling so-called "short" contracts to other investors. When the speculators sold their actual oil holdings in Cushing en mass, the price of oil did fall, netting the group a hefty profit.
- Norway plans billion-dollar clean energy initiative for poor (Reuters GreenBiz):
Norway wants to channel billions of dollars to renewable energies in developing nations, building on a scheme to protect tropical forests to which Oslo has been the biggest donor, officials said.
- Great places: dense, wired, and sustainable (David Roberts, Grist)
- The World Bank's Coal Electricity Headache (CO2 Scorecard):
The tradeoff between reduction in energy poverty and CO2 emissions became a major dilemma for the WBG during its energy strategy consultation: coal is cheap and poor countries will naturally continue investing in this carbon-intense power source. The WBG has felt compelled to contribute, but its own technocrats recommend that the Bank restrict future investments in coal plants to the point of near embargo-the exceptional case doctrine. Our analysis bolsters that recommendation. However, for the sake of credibility the Bank must provide a very clear and unambiguous definition for "exceptional," even if prominent member countries balk at such measures of clarity.
- Water scarcity makes some types of energy less appealing (High Country News)
- Will 10 Billion People Use Up the Planet's Resources? (Scientific American)
- Swine flu likely came from China (Reuters)
- As pollution soars, cancer now leading cause of death in China (Climate Progress)
- Curious: AEI's Peterson budget proposal includes a carbon tax (American Petroleum Institute, PDF)
- Gulf Spill Silver Lining: GM Repurposes 227 Miles of Booms Into ChevyVolt Parts (Take Part blog)
- Very cool: Switch Shows Off Liquid-Cooled LED Bulb (Giga OM)
- A Dark Day for Brazil's Amazon Jungle (InterPress Service):
The same day that the lower house of the Brazilian Congress approved a reform of the forestry code that would make it easier to clear land in the Amazon jungle for agriculture, a husband and wife team of activists who spent years fighting illegal deforestation in the rainforest were murdered.
- How does oil speculation raise gas prices? (How Stuff Works)